Monday, 29 July 2013

What Recipe Could Possibly Reflect A Vampire Book? I've Been Asked.

The Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop. My dear friend and fellow vampire writer, Lindsay J Pryor tagged me for this fun infopost, even though in my part of the world it's the middle of winter! But it's always the right season to find out about the quirkier side of any author.
So, what's it about? As the title reads, it's an author blog hop where I discuss my current summer - or winter, depending on which part of the hemisphere you inhabit - release or Work-in-Progress (WIP, for those who like abbreviations).
I then have to answer five foodie related questions and top it off with a recipe that ties into it!
What recipe goes with a vampire book? Stick around and found out!

Here goes:
MY CURRENT RELEASE IS... 

... Bloodgifted, part 1 of an urban contemporary vampire series called, The Dantonville Legacy, and due for release in early August. It's a paranormal romance about a young woman whose rare genetic mutation holds the key to ending a centuries-old curse. 
   


MY CURRENT WIP IS...

...Bloodpledge, book 2 in the series. I'm nearly halfway through and hope to have it completed by Christmas.

QUESTIONS...

1. When writing are you a snacker? If so, sweet or salty?

I try not to snack, but sometimes the brain needs a little extra nourishment and I start rummaging through the pantry. Usually I look for healthy stuff, like mixed nuts and seeds and dried fruit. Then I add some dark chocolate for interest. I've been told it's a health food!

2. Are you an outliner or someone who flies by the seat of their pants? Are they real pants of jammies?

 I tend to be 75% outliner, 25% pantser. It's probably the teacher/Head of Dept part of me which has to have everything organised and planned before I even start. Although, saying that, I let my characters lead me on occasion.
As for my pants? Jammies, definitely jammies. And at this time of the year, they're a warm, flannel tartan!

3. When cooking or baking, do you follow the recipe exactly or wing it?

My cooking skills are legendary in my family, so much so, I'm the one who's always asked to bring the drinks or a salad (because you can't kill lettuce!) to family get togethers. It's safer that way.
Scones? Mine always seem to turn into rock cakes. Cookies/biscuits? I could sell them to the army as mortar deflectors! But, I can do a mean stir fry. That, I can wing!

4. What is next for you after this book?

Book 3, and I haven't decided on the title yet. When that's completed, I plan to set book 4 where the entire story had its genesis - in 3rd century Roman Britain. So, I suppose it'll be moving from urban contemporary to historical. And since I'm a historian and archaeologist, I can't wait!

5. Last question... on a level of one being slightly naughty to ten being whoo whoo steamy, where does your book land?

I guess it depends on individual interpretation, but I guess mine would land somewhere around a 7-8.

Now for the SUMMER RECIPE, and the reason for my title.

It has to be something dark with a little bite, like my hero, Alec Munro, so go and find some chilli chocolate. Grate finely and set aside while you make his other favourite beverage (next to blood) - espresso coffee. Plunger or percolated coffee would work just as well.

Pour ready coffee into a red mug, then add something sweet and tempting (like the woman who wins his heart - Laura Dantonville). I suggest vanilla and toffee ice-cream.

Sprinkle the grated chilli chocolate liberally over the iced-coffee, add straw and suck!

Now I'm tagging my fellow bloggers - and Australian authors - whom I've persuaded to join the summer (or winter) blog hop.

Maggie Mundy

Dionne Lister

Clarissa Cartharn




Thursday, 18 July 2013

When Does Social Media Become More of a Hindrance Than a Help? When It Distracts from Writing!

It's the bane of the modern world, yet we can't be without it - facebook, twitter, pinterest, tumblr, linkedin, triberr and others I can't even remember. Too much? For a writer like myself it can become that vortex which sucks you away from the important business of writing.
I did a quick mental maths of the hours I spent on social media compared to working on my manuscript and the result was depressing. No wonder I've been stuck on the same chapter for nearly two weeks - social media is frazzling my brain!
Now, as writers we know it's imperative to connect with our readers. After all, they're our "bread and butter." And isn't that what the gurus in the marketing world are constantly telling us? But, when it tears you away from what's really important - your writing - it's time to start ditching!

Interestingly, some best-selling novelists rarely interact on twitter or facebook, and some others only have a website, but not a blog. Why? They know that it's their books that sell, not their latest status or tweep. Their loyal readers are waiting for the next book in their series and they don't want to disappoint.
The secret to success?

- Keep writing. For if you can produce a great story, the message will spread by word of mouth. That's how 50 Shades of Grey, and even Harry Potter reached superstar status.

- Keep social media to a minimum - It'll always be there, but the time to write is precious. Don't waste it. What's the point in having thousands of followers if that second, or even first, book is never completed?

- Readers won't wait forever. I know after Eragon came out, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the second and third in the Inheritance series. But, I had to wait over two years for the last book, by which time I'd lost interest. To this day I haven't been able to read more than a few pages - the magic is gone.

So, what am going to do? I'll keep my blog and stick to my pattern of posting once a week. Anything more than that I see as spam anyway. As for facebook and twitter? Only when I'm in the mood!
My books come first.

I'd love to hear from you. What do you think? Is social media killing your writing time?

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Choose The Correct Font For Your Published Masterpiece. Otherwise, It Sucks!

Yes, I'm late with my blog this week, and that's because I've been "backside up-head down" trying to correct those wretched typos which creep into our writing, and destroy reader credibility. On top of that I chose the wrong font in which to publish! It's amazing how something as simple as font choice can affect the overall look of a book.

Here I was thrilled to finally be holding a physical of my novel, Bloodgifted, only to realise the font I'd chosen - Century Gothic - (despite it's name) is not suited to a work of fiction. Looks great if used to describe the mating habits of vampire bats with accompanying images, but not - I repeat - for a novel.
Who would have thought?!
To illustrate my point, here's an example of Century Gothic in action using a segment from my desperately-trying-to-get-released-novel.


             Aunt Judy and I walked out the back entrance of the house and down the narrow brick-paved pathway that led to a low stonewall separating the house from the Council owned park on the other side. Opening the wooden back gate, she led me out and onto the quiet path that ran alongside the gently coursing Cook’s River. A gentle breeze sighed through the upper branches of the weeping willows that lined the sloping bank, bringing the sweet scent of a summer evening to lazily drift around us. 
She stopped, released my arm and turned to face me. ‘Laura dear…’ she looked at me pensively, ‘…I knew this time would come, but still it’s hard to know where to begin, especially as –’ she paused, her face flushed, and her hands, which lightly gripped my elbows, shook slightly, ‘– you’ll have difficulty believing it. But nevertheless, all I’m about to tell you is the truth. Never doubt it.’
Well, “curiouser and curiouser,” as Alice in Wonderland remarked. As a child it had always been my favourite story – that of an ordinary girl who suddenly finds herself in a strange and perplexing world.   

You can clearly see it doesn't work. The spacing was also wrong. 
Now, here's the same example using Garamond 3, 1.5 spacing - 

Aunt Judy and I walked out the back entrance of the house and down the narrow brick-paved pathway that led to a low stonewall separating the house from the Council owned park on the other side. Opening the wooden back gate, she led me out and onto the quiet path that ran alongside the gently coursing Cook’s River. A gentle breeze sighed through the upper branches of the weeping willows that lined the sloping bank, bringing the sweet scent of a summer evening to lazily drift around us.
She stopped, released my arm and turned to face me. ‘Laura dear…’ she looked at me pensively, ‘…I knew this time would come, but still it’s hard to know where to begin, especially as –’ she paused, her face flushed, and her hands, which lightly gripped my elbows, shook slightly, ‘– you’ll have difficulty believing it. But nevertheless, all I’m about to tell you is the truth. Never doubt it.’
Well, “curiouser and curiouser,” as Alice in Wonderland remarked. As a child it had always been my favourite story – that of an ordinary girl who suddenly finds herself in a strange and perplexing world.

Much better! I only wish I'd it known earlier and saved myself all this time and hassle. But, as the old adage says, experience is the best teacher.
I also decided to change the paper colour, from white to cream, as it's much kinder to the eyes.

There we have it. Live and learn! Now, I must wait another ten days for the CreateSpace people (who've been fantastic through all this) to complete my corrections and send me another physical copy of my book. And, hopefully, this time I can finally press that "Approve" button and my book will be available on Amazon three weeks after that.

Will I hear the Halleluia chorus when that happens? I bloody well hope so!