Updated… Meet My Character – Carlie…

May 24, 2016 at 4:46 pm (Interesting stories, Into the Mists, News and updates) (, , , , , )

ITM_Trilogy_LRWhat is her name? 

Carlie (named for the goddess Kali) Parker. She’s the main character in Into the Mists and its sequels Into the Dark and Into the Light, and the story is told from her point of view…

Is she a fictional/historical character?

She’s fictional, although many of the rituals she takes part in are based on my experiences, her questioning and scepticism around magic and spirituality echo mine, and she drinks her tea the same way I do, so I guess there is a little of me in her – or her in me… I’m not sure which way that goes:-)

When and where is the story set?

Carlie is from Sydney Australia, and there are flashbacks to her life there, but most of the story is set in Summer Hill, a small village in south-west England, shrouded in the magical mists that are a character themselves in these books. It’s set in modern times, although I avoided the whole Facebook/iPhone aspects of today, in favour of Carlie being able to connect with the magic of nature and the landscape around her. Summer Hill is a fictional place, but it could perhaps be a parallel universe that sits atop the town of Glastonbury – a different kind of Avalon…

What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

When we meet Carlie she is seventeen, and on a plane to the other side of the world. Her parents have just been killed in a car accident, and she’s being sent to live with a grandmother she didn’t know existed. She’s devastated, obviously, and angry, and already hates her new guardian – her mum had left England as a teenager, and always told her that her grandmother was dead, so she believes that this woman must be a monster, to have driven her daughter to flee to Australia and break all contact with her.

What should we know about Carlie?

She’s full of grief and loss, which has also made her angry and bitter, and she’s drowning in self-loathing and guilt. She’s angry at her circumstances and at the world, and cynical of anyone she meets – real or magical – that wants to help her. But her journey into the mists becomes a journey into her inner self, and she has the potential to reveal another self, one that’s smart and funny and caring and full of love, if she has the courage to let go of her teenage defiance and the walls she’s built around her.

What is the personal goal of the character?

In the beginning, she doesn’t really have any goals – she’s not even sure she wants to live. She’s so broken by loss – of her whole family as well as her best friend, her home, her school, her whole future life that she had planned out – that she wishes she had the courage to end it. But eventually the darkness recedes a little, and so her goal becomes to get through each day, to start to heal, and to make amends for her own bad behaviour. She also becomes desperate to uncover the secrets of her mother’s younger life, which have left her shattered and unsure of who she really is, and to unlock the mystery of the woman in blue and the cottage within the mists that isn’t always there…

How does she develop over the time of the Trilogy?

She faces loss, and love, and more loss, and new friendship, and hope… She learns a lot from her wise priestess grandmother – but she does grow a lot from when we first meet her to the events at the end of the Trilogy, and she ends up teaching Rose a thing or two too…

Trilogy_smallerWho is the publisher, and where can we read more about the book? Are there more in the series?

Into the Mists, Into the Dark, Into the Light and the brand new Into the Mists Trilogy Hardcover Omnibus, are published by Blessed Bee Books, and available in print and ebook formats. You can order them through Amazon, your local bookstore or my store, where you can read more about them too. I am currently working on two Into the Mists Chronicles…

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What Do You Want – and How Badly?

January 9, 2016 at 12:34 pm (Interesting stories, Magical Places) (, , , )

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This is a fascinating article by author Mark Manson, which is definitely worth a read…

If I ask you, “What do you want out of life?” and you say something like, “I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,” it’s so ubiquitous that it doesn’t even mean anything.

A more interesting question, a question that perhaps you’ve never considered before, is what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.

Read the full article here.

It’s so true… I often get told I’m lucky that I’m motivated enough to write a book, or work out every day, or travel, or whatever… But it’s not luck. It’s just wanting it enough to sacrifice other things in order to achieve it.

Writing a book involves endless hours/days/months of hard work – and sacrificing time with friends, giving up reading for pleasure, limiting time spent chilling out watching Arrow with Juz, definitely sacrificing sleep – but to me it’s worth it…

Working out every day definitely requires sleep sacrifice too, and it’s hard, and it hurts, and it involves a lot of effort and stubbornness and dedication and commitment, but it’s worth it to me to feel stronger (mentally as well as physically), to be fitter and healthier and (hopefully) avoid some illnesses…

Even travelling requires sacrifice – buying fewer clothes, going out less, taking your lunch to work etc, to save up. A friend was jealous I was going travelling for three months – but spent all her money on very expensive shoes and equally expensive wine. She didn’t want it enough to give those things up. Which is fine. It’s your choice, so own that choice.

You just have to decide what matters to you. Because it doesn’t matter if you don’t want to write a book or get fit or go travelling or be a rock star or whatever it is you think you want. Realising that a dream is not actually a dream is very liberating – you can stop struggling and stressing and beating yourself up about not doing it, and enjoy your life.

So, what do you want? And more importantly, is it worth struggling for? If it is, DO IT! Live your dream. Work hard at it. Sacrifice something for it. Make it happen… xx

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The Heart of Brazil

December 9, 2015 at 4:40 pm (Interesting stories, Magical Places, Sacred Sites, Serene's articles) (, , , , )

inspirit_articleThis is an article I wrote for InSpirit Magazine, which appeared in their January 2015 issue. Someone was asking me about it the other day, so here it is…

I believe the earth is sacred and nature is healing, and I’ve learned a little about myself, and gained some kind of healing, from every place I’ve travelled to. From plant medicine ceremonies in the jungles of the Amazon and pagan rituals in the English countryside to meditations inside Egypt’s Great Pyramid and spiritual pilgrimages along the leylines of Spain, I’ve long appreciated the magic of the earth itself to heal us.

The South American country of Brazil is no different. It’s a place of powerful crystals, ancient magic, exotic spirituality, lush rainforests, dramatic waterfalls, potent energy and intense vibrations. My journey began in the hot, dry north, a place of sun-soaked, primal energy. Salvador is the centre of Afro-Brasilian culture and of Candomble, a spiritual tradition developed from the rituals introduced by African slaves, the Catholicism they hid their practices within, and the animistic beliefs of the Amerindian people native to this land. I was so grateful to be able to attend a Candomble ritual in the home of a priestess, which was fascinating, with its primitive drum beats, trance dancing and channeling of messages from their deities.

inSpirit-Healing-Cover-231x300I felt more at home in the south though, at Iguazu Falls, the sacred meeting point of air, land and water (and three separate countries – Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay), and a place of rainbows and wild nature. The thermal resort of Caxambu was also deeply healing, and I felt refreshed and renewed as I soaked in the heated mineral waters of one spring and drank from a cooler source. The twelve different springs all have a different mineral composition (and a different taste!), and are recommended for the treatment of various different ailments, from kidney stones to eye problems, high blood pressure and infertility.

Spiritual travellers also flock to the village of Sao Thome das Letras, which is located on a bed of quartz rock in the mountains and is famous for the number of UFO sightings that have taken place there, as well as for the entrance to a tunnel claimed to burrow all the way to Machu Picchu in Peru, which is kind of spooky to climb down into. Some claim it is one of the seven energy points of the planet, and the vibration of the area is palpable.

paintingBut my most profound healing experience took place in the centre of Brazil, the heart of the country, where the energy is nurturing and gentle. Joao Teixeira de Faria, known as John of God, has been healing people for decades in the tiny village of Abadiania. He was guided to build his healing centre, the Casa de Dom Inacio (the House of Saint Ignatius), here because it’s located on one of the largest quartz crystal deposits in the world, and quartz amplifies healing vibrations. You can certainly feel the energy of the land here. The gardens surrounding the buildings are a place of immense peace and power, and it’s wonderful to just relax under the trees, meditating on the wooden benches, talking to other pilgrims and soaking up the sunshine and the leylines of the earth.

Nearby is a sacred waterfall, and a visit is often prescribed as part of people’s treatment. An underground stream flows through the crystal beds beneath the Casa and is purified and charged with energy before splashing down into the waterfall. It’s wonderful to submerge yourself in its (refreshingly cold and) healing waters, gazing up at the sky through the green canopy overhead, absorbing the ancient power of nature, and of the crystals and the earth itself. Some people have visions there; others feel physically, emotionally or spiritually cleansed, and it’s considered a sacred place for direct communication with Spirit.

The incredible healing energy of the land in this area is an important part of Joao’s work, but so are the visible operations, psychic surgeries and energy work he performs at the Casa. He has cut tumours out of bodies, got wheelchair-bound people walking, cured cancer, blindness and HIV, and facilitated spiritual and emotional healing from grief, depression and psychological disorders. Yet the seventy-three-year-old dubbed the Miracle Man can’t read or write and has no medical training. Instead he is a medium, channelling thirty-three different entities, many of them deceased Brazilian doctors and surgeons, as well as the founder of the Jesuits the Casa is named after. It is they who diagnose the thousands of people who flock to Abadiania every week, prescribe the herbal medicines and perform the surgeries. Joao doesn’t even remember what he’s done at the end of a session – he’s an “unconscious medium”, giving his body over while he channels the medical experts through. Staff at the Casa can tell which being he is incorporating by his mannerisms, voice and even eye colour, which changes depending on which entity is working through him on a particular day.

I don’t know how or why it seems to work; certainly it defies logical explanation and understanding. Joao has been studied by doctors and scientists from around the world, but no one has been able to explain what he does or prove him a fake. He has his sceptics, but it’s hard to doubt when you’ve experienced it yourself and seen it with your own eyes. I witnessed some visible surgeries – which I struggled with because I am squeamish and their gruesome vividness was confronting – and was astounded by the quick recovery and effectiveness for those who had them.

I took my mum in the hope Joao could cure her diabetes, so I was surprised, when I went before the entity on my first day, to be told I’d be having an operation that afternoon. Terrified by the prospect of an eye scraping or scissors up the nose, his most common treatment, the whole time I waited to go in I prayed for it to be an invisible surgery. Thankfully, it was. I filed in to a small room with several others and sat in meditation, then Joao came in and said a prayer in Portuguese, asking the entities to heal us. I felt a sensation below my chest – not pain exactly, but discomfort, as though something was being done there. When I went back to my room, where I was instructed to rest for 24 hours, the area was swollen and sore. If I was imagining it, it would not have been there that I pictured something being done. I also felt dazed and vague, much like the after-effects of anaesthesia. In scientific tests of Joao’s patients, x-rays have discovered incisions and internal stitches in people who’ve had invisible operations.

After resting, I spent the next day and a half in current – when visitors are not having an operation, they sit in the surrounding room, meditating in order to raise the vibration and send energy to Joao and the entities. I went back for revision the following week and sat in the current room again, spent time at the sacred waterfall, had a crystal bed session, and went before Joao with a photo of a sick friend, who was prescribed herbal medicine. I was also prescribed herbs for 55 days, along with slight dietary changes.

My migraines did improve for a while, although I was not cured. Nor, unfortunately, was my mum. But we met people who had been diagnosed with terminal illnesses and dramatically cured by Joao, including a woman who was riddled with cancer and told she would soon die – she’s since dedicated her life to helping him as a volunteer – an American man crippled with arthritis, who was slowly beginning to walk again, the woman who ran our pousada, who was cured of a brain tumour, and an Aussie healed of a near-fatal heart murmur. We also met an amazing Brazilian woman who’d travelled to the Casa in search of both emotional and physical healing. When she saw Joao he told her to start painting for him. She replied that she had no artistic talent, but he insisted she did now – and she could suddenly paint the most beautiful healing artworks, which gave her an income as well as a purpose.

Meeting fellow pilgrims is definitely a huge part of the experience, and a wonderful sense of camaraderie develops with the other people who are there hoping to be healed. Visitors swap stories, share experiences, and lend support as each person goes through their individual process. The healings here are not always what you would expect. Some are far more subtle, or address a different issue, but just being in the energy of this place, in this land, with these people, is an experience I will always treasure.

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Meet My Character: Book Blog Tour – EC Hibbs

March 8, 2015 at 10:59 am (Interesting stories, Interviews, Publishing) (, )

I recently took part in the Meet My Character: Book Blog Tour, where I wrote about Carlie from Into the Mists. You can read that here. Then I tagged two other authors to continue the tour.

EmmaHibbsOne was Emma Hibbs, who I met at the online book launch of Into the Mists (which I shared with Selina Fenech, who was launching Hope’s Reign, the second book in her Memory’s Wake Trilogy), where we chatted about faeries and nature and archery and Merida from Brave. We’ve kept in touch since – one of the joys of Facebook is connecting with wonderful people from around the globe – but as Emma lives in north-west England, we haven’t met in the “real” world yet 🙂

Writing as EC Hibbs, she is the author of the YA fantasy novel Blindsighted Wanderer and the paranormal romance/thriller Tragic Silence – and she’s already completed books two and three of the latter, and begun a new series. Emma is also a talented artist, which you can check out at her Elphame Arts website, where she does portraits as well as designing gorgeous book covers. Find out more about her at echibbs.weebly.com.

Emma_book_blindsightedIn Emma’s blog post she writes about her character Merrin, from Blindsighted Wanderer.

“Merrin is inspired by a race of mysterious water nymphs from the folklore of Cheshire in North West England. Her people are the Asrae, and live deep within a great lake in the forbidden west of the Elitland Valley. As with all of them, Merrin ages at a much longer rate than humans, only gaining one year for every hundred that pass. Merrin is introduced as carefree and trusting, with the physical appearance of a 15-year-old girl. She is deeply in love with a human named Adrian, but her entire world is turned on its head when he betrays her – an act which almost costs her life. Enraged, she unleashes a powerful curse on her lover, dooming all the men in his family to die by a water illness. For the next two hundred years, her vengeance almost consumes her…”

You can read much more about Merrin, and Blindsighted Wanderer in Emma’s blog post.

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Meet My Character Book Blog Tour – Felicity Pulman

December 22, 2014 at 4:26 pm (Interesting stories, Publishing) (, , , , )

felicitybookAustralian author Felicity Pulman’s latest book is I, Morgana, a beautifully written story about King Arthur’s half-sister, a woman loved and loathed in equal measure. Just as exciting for readers, a reworked version of her brilliant six-book medieval crime/romance series The Janna Mysteries, about the daughter of a herbwife and healer being trained in the Craft, whose life is turned upside down when her mother is murdered, is being republished from January 2015. Felicity has also penned A Ring Through Time, The Shalott Trilogy, Ghost Boy, The Little Penguins of Manly and more.

You can read my interview with Felicity here, and visit her at Felicity Pulman.

Sophie Masson invited Felicity to be part of the Meet My Character Book Blog Tour, for which she wrote a great article about her character Morgana. There’s also still a chance to win a copy of the I, Morgana ebook, just check out her blog post.

From her post: “The character of Morgana has always fascinated me. Throughout the legend she’s portrayed as a wicked, scheming ‘witch’, bent on Arthur’s destruction, and yet it is said that after the Battle of Camlann she took Arthur by boat to the sacred Isle of Avalon to be healed of his wounds – which seems such a loving act, and completely out of character after what has gone before. And so I set out to understand why she does what she does in the legend, and I, Morgana is the result: the story of a proud, ambitious and passionate woman, bent on revenge, and who is ruled by her heart and not her head, a flaw that lies at the heart of this story.”

Enjoy Felicity’s blog post, and I’ll be joining the book tour next week to talk about Carlie… xx

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Author Spotlight – Felicity Pulman

October 19, 2014 at 12:31 pm (Book reviews, Interesting stories, Interviews) (, , , , )

Pulman_FelicityAustralian author Felicity Pulman’s latest book is I, Morgana, a beautifully written story about King Arthur’s half-sister, a woman loved and loathed in equal measure. Last night she was awarded a fellowship to spend three months in England to write and research the much-anticipated sequel. Just as exciting for readers, a reworked version of her brilliant six-book medieval crime/romance series The Janna Mysteries, about the daughter of a herbwife and healer being trained in the Craft, whose life is turned upside down when her mother is murdered, is being republished from January 2015. Felicity has also penned A Ring Through Time, The Shalott Trilogy, Ghost Boy, The Little Penguins of Manly and more. Read her interview below, and visit her at http://www.felicitypulman.com.au.

felicitybookWhat inspired you to take on Morgana, such a huge presence in literature and legend, and write her story?

My interest in Arthurian legend began when I wrote the Shalott Trilogy, a timeslip ‘rewriting’ of the doom of Elaine of Astolat (the ‘Lady of Shalott’) and Camelot. The legendary ‘wicked witch’ (Morgana) and the ‘jealous bitch’ (Guenevere) fascinated me, and while I went some way towards reclaiming Guenevere’s character in the Shalott trilogy, Morgana continued to haunt me. I was intrigued by how she’s always reviled (in traditional tellings of the legend) as a wicked, scheming ‘witch’ bent on destruction – and yet legend has it that she was one of the queens who took Arthur by boat to the Isle of Avalon to be healed of his wounds after his bloody battle against Mordred at Camlann. Why? To me, this is an act of a contrite and loving sister, completely at odds with the Morgana of the traditional legend. So I decided to rewrite the story from Morgana’s point of view, coming to an understanding of this magically complex, passionate, ambitious, charismatic and deeply flawed woman as I did so. It was a fascinating journey, a journey that will continue in the sequel as I look towards the future and the prophecy, that ‘one day Arthur will return to save Britain in her hour of need’.

[Read my review of I, Morgana…]

Did you learn anything about yourself, or life, while you explored her psyche?

I think all writers invest something of themselves in the characters they create – so yes, it was certainly an exercise in exploring my own dark side! It was also an affirmation of the need to think before you act and also to take responsibility for your actions – a hard-won lesson for Morgana, but also for us all! It was an exploration of ambition, power, the use of magic to get what you want (as in ‘be careful what you wish for!’) and of hate, jealousy and revenge. But it was also an exploration of the love between a man and a woman, and the love of a mother for her child – and the heartache that loving sometimes brings.

Did your research into that time, and that form of spirituality, challenge your beliefs in any way?

I love writing about the Middle Ages, contrasting the splendor and extravagance of the court with the squalor and dirt – and the hard scrabble for life – suffered by the poor. Christianity, of course, was a huge part of everyone’s life at that time, whether secular or within the confines of an abbey or monastery. Both Morgana and Janna spend time in an abbey, and their questioning reflects my own conflicted views and beliefs (which I believe mostly stem from a past-life experience). My head reached a conclusion long ago, but my heart tells me different so, like my characters, I fall back on the notion of a God, but not necessarily a Christian one.

felicity-janna-book1-2Can you give a little update about The Janna Mysteries yet, or is it still a secret?

It’s not a secret, it’s more a work in progress, but I can give you an update of what I know so far. The Janna Mysteries are being reworked for an adult readership, and will be retitled The Janna Chronicles. The originals took plants and herbs as their titles: Rosemary for Remembrance, Rue for Repentance, Lilies for Love, Willows for Weeping, Sage for Sanctuary and Thyme for Trust, reflecting the knowledge of herbs and healing that Janna learned from her mother. The new books will have different titles which focus more on the crimes and mysteries that Janna solves on her quest to find her unknown father in order to fulfil her vow to avenge her mother’s death, and we’re still working on these. The first book will be published by Momentum in January 2015, with the next five books published every month thereafter – so fans of The Janna Mysteries who didn’t manage to get hold of all the books will soon be able to read the whole series within six months, as will a whole lot of new readers!

[Read my reviews of The Janna Mysteries…]

And how is the sequel to I, Morgana going?

The great news is that I’ve just been awarded the inaugural Di Yerbury Writing Fellowship from the Society of Women Writers, which will give me accommodation in the UK for three months of quiet writing time next year, as well as a base from which to do all the research I’ll need to do for the next book (with the working title Return to Camelot.) I am so grateful for this opportunity and already have a growing file of notes that will form the basis of the new book.

What’s your day like in terms of writing?

I don’t have a set schedule, but I do try to do writing-related ‘stuff’ every day – whether it’s being out talking about my books, or conducting writing workshops, or planning for either of those things, or researching what I need to know, or reading historical fiction (my favourite form of research!) or – yes – actually sitting down and WRITING!! Followed, of course, by editing – often accompanied by swearing and consumption of chocolate.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A bit of both. Through mistakes made in the past, I’ve learned that what works for me is to know how the book begins (there are often a few false starts) and also how it ends (although that sometimes changes too). For me, the joy of writing is to dream up the characters and a situation, and then set them in motion and follow their journey towards the end – a journey that often takes unexpected twists and turns because I’ve learned to listen to the voices and visions that sometimes inspire me. Even if I don’t know where they’re taking me, I always find that ultimately it all makes sense and that the story is immeasurably strengthened as a result. So I’m a pantser in that regard – but everyone works differently, so it’s really a matter of finding out what works best for you.

Any tips for people wanting to write a novel?

Lots! You can look at my website to read them all – the writing tips are here. The most important message, I think, would be: if you don’t care passionately about your story and the characters in it, don’t bother to write it.

Are you a tea or coffee person, and how do you take it?

I drink both (with milk and sugar) but in the evening I’d rather have a glass of wine!

 

You can buy I, Morgana in bookstores or from Momentum Books. Keep an eye out there for info on The Janna Chronicles too…

Visit Felicity at her website here, and her blog here.

Read my review of A Ring Through Time.

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The Upside of Bad Reviews

October 12, 2014 at 12:40 pm (Interesting stories, Publishing) (, , , )

A fascinating blog post from author Anne R Allen, who not only survived bad reviews from the Amazon bullies – she got a huge sales lift. Thanks Mean Girls!

Read the full blog post here.

All successful authors get terrible reviews. Every. Single. One. Here’s a hilarious sampler of one-star Amazon reviews of classics from the Huffington Post. But bad reviews don’t always bring down sales.
In fact, bad reviews can actually stimulate buying. It happened to me.

I got a swarm of one-stars on my buy page for my Camilla Mysteries Boxed Set as “punishment” for standing up for a bullied writer on a high profile publishing blog. Probably not a wise thing to do at the time my mother was dying and I’d been diagnosed with a breast tumor, but I thought I was in a safe place when I wasn’t (there are no safe places).

Even though the blogger wisely deleted the troll-infested thread almost immediately, the mean girl army had already been deployed and had orders to swarm. “Swarming” a buy page with one-star fake reviews is a major sport on Amazon. It has even happened to the Zon itself. Its new Fire phone has over 1500 one-stars, apparently as a protest from Greenpeace, who don’t like Amazon’s environmental policies.

But when it’s just you and you’re already stressed this stuff can be pretty upsetting. I dreaded booting up my computer every morning for months. I knew better than to go to Goodreads, the native habitat of that particular denomination of meanies, but I had to go to Amazon occasionally. Each time I had a new review it would be one or two stars, containing a veiled personal attack that also showed the reader hadn’t read anything but the “look inside”.

Then a weird thing happened. My sales started to climb. And climb. After a couple of weeks, it hit the bestseller list in humor. One day I woke up and found I was ahead of five Janet Evanovich titles and my favorite humor book of all time, Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The book sold over 2000 copies that month and stayed on the bestseller list for half a year. Thanks, Mean Girls!

Read the full blog post here.

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Best-selling Author Goes Indie

October 12, 2014 at 12:20 pm (Interesting stories, Publishing) (, , )

There’s an interesting article about indie publishing at Publishers Weekly. Read the full story here.

New York Times bestselling author Eileen Goudge has written 32 novels, sold millions of copies, and been translated into 22 languages. But you won’t find her next novel in a publisher’s catalog: she’s doing it herself.

Back in 1989, Goudge published her first novel, Garden of Lies with Viking Books. It went on to become a New York Times bestseller that shipped over a million copies and was published in 22 languages. “I was riding high, touring the country, doing book events, being interviewed by major newspapers, and appearing on TV talk shows,” says Goudge of her early success. And she continued to garner six-figure advances — for a while.

Once the 2008 recession hit and digital publishing revolutionized the industry, Goudge found her book sales declining and her career in trouble. “To my horror,” she says, “I found I was facing a major crisis as my career went into a death spiral.” Luckily, she found a solution. “For me, she says, “it was self-publish or perish.”

In order to learn more about promoting her books as an indie author, Goudge says she’s joined several indie-author groups as well as subscribing to blogs about the subject. In particular, she recommends following the publishing blogs of both Jane Friedman and Anne R. Allen. “I’ve implemented many of their tips, which have helped boost my SEO,” Goudge says.

Read the full story here.

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Sad – less than 20 per cent of WA students read books…

October 9, 2014 at 8:37 pm (Interesting stories) (, )

A very sad story today – less than 20 per cent of teenagers read books 😦

Read the full story here.

Margaret Merga, who interviewed the students as part of her PhD studies at Edith Cowan University, said reading books not only helped teens get better results at school but also boosted their chances of getting a good job and increased their ability to communicate in modern society.

“Communication in this day and age is like a kind of power,” she said.

She was concerned that adolescents were choosing to read less even though demands for more advanced literacy skills had increased.

“Research suggests that aliteracy, the state in which an individual has acquired the skill to read, but chooses not to, is a growing trend both in Australia and internationally,” she said.

Dr Merga said evidence showed that many of the benefits that came from reading books – such as developing a longer attention span – could not be gained from reading magazines, comic books or digital screens…

Read the full story here.

 

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NaNoWriMo Countdown…

October 6, 2014 at 11:41 am (Interesting stories, NaNoWriMo) (, )

Less than four weeks til NaNoWriMo starts (yikes – it gave me a bit of a shock writing that!)…

Here’s an interesting interview with author Sophie Kinsella from the BBC, about her tips for writing – and finishing – a book. It’s different for everyone, but some might inspire you – and some might even totally disagree with, and make you realise an opposite truth about yourself and your writing. Either way, these ten tips are food for thought…

Read the article here

My favourite, cos it’s so true? “JUST GET TO THE END. It’s the hardest thing and it’s the most important thing because so many of us have ideas for books. The first stage is actually write it instead of just talking about it, and the next stage is to keep going until you get to the end. Everybody, no matter who they are gets to the middle of a book and thinks crikey, I’ve had enough of this. You get bored with your story and your characters, you hate them all, you can’t think why you started this wretched story in the first place. The truth is, every book is hard to write, everybody reaches a wall, whether it is a plot hole or a scene that you can’t get past. So you’ve just got to get to the end. Even if it’s not the greatest draft, if it needs rewriting fine, at least you have a book to rewrite…”

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