Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Trials of a Newbie Author

Writing a book is comparatively easy compared to all the work that comes after. If someone had told me that three years ago, I would have said they were nuts! But, it's all true.
You've got a great story; it's down on paper - or on the hard drive - and you can't wait to inflict share it with the rest of the world. Now, comes the editing part and the - seemingly - endless string of corrections. I'm convinced I have dyslexic fingers! Then again, from a total of 119,000 words, having only 87 typos isn't too bad, I suppose.
Since I turned down the services of a traditional publisher in favour of indie publishing, I went to CreateSpace to format my manuscript into a paperback, and do the kindle conversion for me. I know the facility is there for me to do it all myself, but my knowing my techno-skills - or lack of - I thought it safest - less hair pulling and screaming all round - to let the professionals do it instead.
CS only allows 50 free corrections, and since I've got slightly more than that (I hang my head in shame) and it'll take approximately 4 weeks (and extra bucks, but it's still less than if I was to send them a spanking, brand new manuscript ) for these to go through.

The editing, correcting, re-structuring and polishing my manuscript took longer than actually writing it in the first place. And that's good, as it means my debut novel, Bloodgifted, will not be released until it's ready, and can proudly take its place alongside the best of traditionally published books - although these days it's sometimes hard to tell. The lines between traditionally published and indie published books is blurring. I've seen just as many badly written and edited books with the former as with the latter.

So, how far have I come? Hopefully, in the next two months, Bloodgifted, Book 1 in The Dantonville Legacy, will be released, and the next in the series, Bloodpledge, will be out in 2014.

I'd love to hear from other newbie writers. What has been your writing experience? And if you had the choice, which would you rather choose - traditional or indie?

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Book Review: Blood Roses by Lindsay J Pryor

It's always a pleasure to write a review of a book which has captured your imagination and held you in its spell for a few days, while everything else around you lies neglected. But, that is the art of good story telling.
For anyone unacquainted with Lindsay J Pryor, she is a new talent in the paranormal romance writing scene, and her debut novel, Blood Shadows, was released late last year, and which I reviewed at about the time. 
She has created the world of Blackthorn, a dystopian society inhabited by three species - human, vampire and lycan - but, it's the humans who rule. The world of Blackthorn is dark, depressing and vividly real. It can exist in any city ruled by an apartheid regime; because that’s the background in which her characters exist and must survive, especially Caleb Dehain's people – the vampire species. They’re second-class citizens restricted in ghetto-like conditions, in the worst part of town and deprived of any political rights. Anger and despair seethes through the forbidding streets.
Caleb Dehain is dark; he’s dangerous; he’s driven – and he has every right to be. Although not a character to inspire sympathy, he demands understanding and respect, and when a mortal enemy – serryn witch, Leila McKay – voluntarily enters his territory, Caleb seizes his chance.
As for Leila? She’s there to save her sister from certain death, but at a terrible price. What follows is a battle of wills between her and Caleb, and neither will survive unscathed.
Blood Roses is the second book in the series, and it's a riveting tale that  draws the reader in like a moth to a flame. Her characters will enthrall, and entice and not let you go till they have told their story. Be prepared for a sleepless night!
Five out of five stars? Pity I can’t give it six!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Bloodgifted Teaser #1, Book 1 in the Dantonville series

Since my debut novel, Bloodgifted, is only weeks away from its launch date, I thought it time to reveal the first, of what I call, my teasers! Based on the cover of my book, they're a series of pics designed to wet the appetite for those who love paranormal romance, with a hint of Aussie flavour.
This first one introduces Alec Munro - Princeps and Head Elder of the Brethren (Blood Drinkers) in Sydney.

I'd love to know what people think. 
Once Bloodgifted comes out, readers will be able to choose their own favourite quote(s) from the book and it'll appear on one of the teasers.
This is first taste!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Updating My Website. Part 2

Well it's almost done. I've progressed from blog to website, and I've changed the name from, Bloodgifted to Tima Maria Lacoba. Me! Maybe I should have realised sooner that naming your blog after the title of your first book is not such a good idea, especially as there are other titles to come.
But, as the old adage says, sooner late than never!
I also discovered readers like to trawl through the websites of their favourite authors for any extra information about them and about the characters in their books (me included).
So, why deprive them!
But what makes a good website? I decided to search around and check out some of the best author sites for ideas, and this is what I found:

The Best Websites Have No More Than Seven or Eight Pages. Anything more than that, and readers reach information overload.

1. Home page - This is possibly the first page any reader will stumble across - your greeting page. If anyone can afford to hire a web designer to do all this, then great. But, to the rest of us struggling writers, either Wordpress or Blogger are just as good, and it costs you nothing.
My home page includes the most recent snapshot of yours truly, and some information about me, my book(s), and my promo material. It's simply a brief introduction to me - the author and writer.

2. Author bio - This is your professional page and should contain information about your writing career - almost like a resume. State why and how you began writing; competitions entered and their results; publishing history (or if you're new, like me, whether you've been offered a publishing contract); future plans for your writing, and finally, where readers can find you. Never underestimate the importance of social media.

3. Blog - I don't think think this needs any explanation. Every author needs to keep a blog. Not only is it good writing practice, but it shows your readers you're still alive! If they're avidly waiting for the next book in the the series, your blog posts will keep them informed - and hopefully, loyal.

4. The World of the Author's Book- Most authors will include information about the fabulous world they've created. After all, you're in love with your book, it's characters and setting, why not share it with everyone? Describe it's genesis; provide pictures of locations (particularly if it's contemporary); add snippets of dialogue to wet readers' appetites. I've even created a heraldic crest for the family around which my series revolves. Later, I'll add a genealogy and any other glimpses of the world my characters inhabit that readers would find interesting.

5. Books - Although mine's not finished yet, this page is essentially the author's bibliography. It should features book cover(s) and links to where they can be purchased.
As the list of books grows (be that traditional or indie), so will the content on this page.

6. Reviews  - These will include both pre- and post published reviews from book bloggers, Goodreads, Amazon... etc. Again, as the number of published books grow, so will the reviews.

7. Contact - Lastly, include where your readers can contact you. Apart from twitter, facebook, goodreads, linkedin... etc, I'll be including my author email address. I guess nothing compares with someone personally writing and telling you how much they enjoyed your book and can't wait for the next. Ah, Nirvana!

8. Book Extract - Don't forget to add an extract from your book. It's a taste of your story that, hopefully, readers will want more of.

So, that's it.
Whether I've been successful in creating an attractive and interesting website, only time - and my readers - will tell.
Check out my new website and let me know what you think. Have I overlooked anything?
It is still under construction, so any feedback would be helpful.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Guest Post - Australian Children's Author, Peter Friend

This week I've posted an interview with up and coming Australian children's author, Peter Friend. His illustrated book, What's the Matter Aunty May, is a delightful story about a young boy who tries to be helpful around the home, but inadvertently ends up creating havoc, aka Dennis the Menace style.
The illustrations are gorgeous. I bought a copy for my five year old niece, and she loved it.

Peter and I have known each other a long time - we started our teaching careers in the same school, and eventually followed our muse into writing.

But, I think I'll let Peter do the talking.

1.  What is the title of your book?
What's the Matter, Aunty May?

2.  Where did the idea come from?
In a sense it's a classic children's theme - a kid with the best of intentions who naively (and humorously) causes chaos! It's written in rhyme. I began with the first couple of lines (I have some questions, Aunty May /
Why did you shout at me today?) and then the unfolding destruction of the
Aunty's house  sort of suggested itself.

3.  What genre does your book fall under?
Children's picture book

4.  What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?
A little child very helpfully tries to help his aunty clean her house, and
cannot understand why she reacts so negatively to the results!

5. Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?
It was published by Little Hare Books (which is an imprint of Hardie Grant
Egmont) in March 2012. I don't have an agent. I approached the publisher

6.  How long did it take to write the first draft?
It actually began as an 8-stanza poem that I had already had published in a
children's magazine (The School Magazine, published by the NSW Department of
Education). I sent the publisher at Little Hare a selection of my poems. She
liked this particular poem and asked me to expand it by three more stanzas
to make it into the text of a picture book! I spent about a month trying to
perfect those extra three stanzas, aware that they had to heighten the comic
drama and make it worthy of a full picture book. It didn't take a month
full-time, of course; I just kept going back to it, an hour here, an hour
there (a lot of hours all together!), until I was happy with the result.

7.  What other books would you compare your story to within your genre?
It's been compared to some of Dr Suess's work because of its rhyming
structure and zany story. But of course it's quite distinct too.

8.  Who or what inspired you to write this book?
No-one and nothing in particular. I just like pursuing funny ideas.

9.  Is this your only book, or are you planning on writing others?
This is my first published book, and it's been out about a year. I've just
had a second children's book published by another publisher, Blake
Education. It's a very different book - a short fantasy/adventure novel
called The Cliff Runner, written in eleven chapters for mid-primary readers.
I also have quite a few other children's book manuscripts (either written or
half-written) that I've been trying to interest publishers in!

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
The illustrator for What's the Matter Aunty May? was Andrew Joyner, who is
one of Australia's finest humorous children's book illustrators. I love the
wonderful sense of comic irony he's portrayed in the illustrations, and the
characters he's created are just fabulous. He's also introduced a lot of
subtle (and not-so-subtle) motifs that run through the book and that add
beautifully to the overall fun. The other thing that might interest readers
is that the book has just been listed as a "notable book" by the CBCA
(Children's Book Council of Australia), so it seems to be striking a chord
out there, which is wonderful.

11. Where is your book available?
It's available from bookstores in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, and
also on-line: just ask or search for What's the Matter, Aunty May? by Peter
Friend and Andrew Joyner. 

Thanks, Peter. 

If anyone's read Pete's book, leave a comment, or better still write a review on Goodreads and/or Amazon, as that's one of the best ways to support an author.