In one way it does feel like seven years but in another way it doesn’t. In that time I’ve posted 5,280 posts, created 182 pages, and replied to 9,782 comments. Over that time, the blog’s had 473,146 visits so hopefully we’ll hit the half a million mark this year. I currently tend to post the writing prompts and reblog others’ posts but I do plan to be more creative and post new content. I’m not sure what yet but it’ll certainly be useful to anyone interested in writing, so watch this space…
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Miriam A. Averna writes horror, dark, mystery, twisted or just plain weird stories. She lives in Milton Keynes with her two cats and partner, but is originally from the South of England and was born in sunny Sicily. She enjoys writing flash fiction, short stories and has just completed her medical mystery novel- No Cure for Fear.
She began writing when she was a kid and is an avid reader of fiction. Her stories have featured in a number of publications.
Her horror story Run, Scream, Eat, REPEAT featured in the first ever edition of Canadian magazine Devolution Z in August 2015 http://www.devolutionz.com/previous-issues.html.
Another horror story, End Trails, is available for free download on www.pennyshorts.com. It tells of a girl who is persuaded to run a 5k zombie race by her friend… but is it all it seems? Click here to read that story.
In the Autumn issue of Kishboo e-magazine, she won the runner-up prize for her short quirky story I didn’t like those shoes anyway. Ever wondered how shoes end up on the side of roads? Then read this story to find out!
She is also Assistant Editor for Horror Scribes which publishes flash fiction stories and regularly hosts competitions, their most recent one was based on Dante’s Inferno. https://horrorscribes.wordpress.com/fright-cards
When not writing she is mostly eating, thinking about eating or cataloguing ales and craft beers in her head.
And now from the author herself:
Yani is an Amazon Best Selling Author of five 5-star novels hailing from the North Philly and Germantown sections of Philadelphia.
She’s been in the top 20 of African American Fiction-Urban Life for her A Thug’s Redemption series and debuted at number 12 in Romance and Erotica for Obsessive Intimacies.
Yani has a unique way of bringing stories to life, giving her readers the feeling that they are watching a movie with every page that is turned.
Her characters are real, raw and easy to relate to while her story lines are original, and having the ability to evoke emotions in the readers from start to finish.
She has been featured in Yo! Raps magazine for ‘A Thug’s Redemption’ and was also a featured author at the 2013 Houston Black Book festival.
Yani first got her start writing for her school paper at University City. Her popular poems granted her an invitation to the Tri-State area’s number 1 Hip-Hop and R&B radio station, where she recited one of her most memorable pieces, “Why Tyrone Can’t Read”.
She then moved on to performing at various open mic nights in Philadelphia before landing a publishing deal with Publish America.
With the desire to self-publish and develop her own production company, Yani bought back the rights to A Thug’s Redemption and re-released it under her own publishing company “Anitbeet Productions”.
She then followed up with two sequels and penned her first erotic novel in 2014.
She is currently in the process of turning A Thug’s Redemption into an independent film and working on her sixth novel which will be released summer of 2016.
To learn more about this remarkable author and her incredible body of work, visit www.theauthoryani.com.
And now from the author herself:
Every writer has a problem. It’s not writing books or even publishing books. It’s getting the books seen. I have thought about this a lot. Some people crave ‘reviews’ on Amazon. They’re nice, I’m always grateful if people leave a review. But to see the review the potential purchaser has to find the Amazon page. How do you get people talking about you and get them to look at the page in the first place?
Frankly I don’t know. So I decided to try something. One day, when thinking about it, it struck me that my genres of choice, Sci-Fi and Fantasy, are the ones which exploded in the days of pulp fiction. Published in magazines so cheap the paper never even had its edges trimmed. Sold for pennies in the midst of the Great Depression, they were here today and gone tomorrow. A lot of what they published was rubbish, a lot they never paid for, but out of that system emerged some of the greats.
I’ve also noticed that when I release a new book, I often get a boost in the sales of other books. So the more releases, the more boosts? So rather than just releasing something every year, how about releasing something more often, but on a regular schedule so that people are waiting for the next one? That too harkened back to the magazine model. It also set a size limit on the ‘book’ because there is a limit to how much I could write in that period.
Another way I’d go back to the ‘pulp model’ was to keep the price low. In Sterling terms I wanted to hit that 99p price tag. Again this limited the size of the book I was willing to sell for 99p.
Now I had my idea, but how to develop it? One successful model from the past was the serial. Each episode ended with a cliff-hanger. The cinema used that for many years with children’s cinema clubs. Yet reading discussions on Goodreads and elsewhere I don’t think that is a model that works now. I’ve known people give 1 star reviews to books, purely because they end in a cliff-hanger and you have to buy the next book to find out what happens next. I suspect that in the world of the boxed set where you no longer need to wait for next weeks exciting episode, the day of that sort of serial has passed.
I also felt the more conventional series wasn’t for me. Listen to the comments made about Game of Thrones where the author is chastised for not extracting the digit and getting the work finished. Again I’ve come across a lot of people saying that they’ll never buy a book in a series until the entire series is published. They don’t want to commit to reading a series that might never end.
So I looked backwards once more and borrowed the model used in the Sherlock Holmes stories. These stories were written and published in a certain order, but you as a reader can read them in any order without losing anything.
So there was the plan. Now for the execution, I had to write them. Eventually I wrote six stories. I had them edited and proofread and they were all ready to go. Next I made arrangements for them to be released at four monthly intervals. That was the next two years organised. I’ll fit in the releases of anything else I write around them and hopefully this will build interest and even better sales.
Oh, and the stories themselves? Each is a ‘detective’ investigation set in the city of Port Naain. Yes there are fantasy elements but the stories do not need magic to prop up the plot.
So far so good, but then the project grew beyond my control. The first story in this project has been published. ‘Flotsam or Jetsam’, it is available from Amazon (the second of the stories will be out on the 1st December). But one of the characters in the book, Tallis Steelyard, is a poet. Being a poet he is prone to dropping lines of verse into his conversation. My editor, Mike Rose-Steel, is also a poet and emailed me asking if he could borrow Tallis and proceeded to write ten poems.
I then had one character write the background to these poems, and Mike had another character write a literary criticism of the work. We looked at it and published it as Lambent Dreams.
So will the project work? I don’t know. I’ve tried to provide it with depth, enough room for people to ‘lose themselves’ in it and still want to spread out to trying my other books. These you can find on my Amazon page.
If that’s not enough Tallis has even produced more of his poetry…
The bottles sprawl unheeded
The discarded valiant dead
Their sacrifice accepted
Sobriety has fled
The truth it surfaced briefly
But shrugged and went to bed.
Will you walk again beside me?
Will you tread the path I tread?
The wine it made me wordy
The truth when poured was red
I didn’t mean to speak them
But I meant the words I said.
*** Breaking news! My online creative writing courses are currently half price! ***
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Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the four hundred and thirteenth, is of cross-genre author Robert Eggleton. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Robert Eggleton was born into an impoverished family in 1951, the oldest of four children. He grew up in low income neighborhoods surrounding Charleston, West Virginian, U.S. His alcoholic and occasionally abusive father suffered from PTSD, called “shell shock” back then – night terrors caused by WWII traumas – and had difficulty holding onto a job. Robert’s mother did the best she could, but Robert had to begin working himself as a child to feed his family. He started paying into America’s Social Security fund at age 12, dreamed of a brighter future, and has worked at various jobs for the next fifty-two years.
In the eighth grade, Robert won the school’s short story contest. The award made his dreams concrete – A Writer. As it often does, life got in the way of his dream. The Vietnam War motivated him to go to college to avoid the draft. As covered by local press, Robert organized antiwar protests while attending college. Except for a poem published in the state’s student anthology and another poem published in a local alternative newspaper, his creative juices were spent writing handouts for antiwar activities and on class assignments. He graduated in 1973 with a degree in social work and with no student loan debt.
Robert worked in the field of adolescent substance abuse treatment as he attended graduate school at West Virginia University. His dream, creative writing, continued to be “on hold.” After earning an MSW in 1977, he focused on children’s advocacy. He helped establish a shelter for runaways, a community-based residential program for high risk youth as an alternative to putting kids in huge institutions, and a state-wide network of family-like emergency children’s shelters. His heartfelt need to write fiction was dissipated somewhat by the publication of nationally distributed social service models, grants, and research on children’s issues.
Robert’s dream of becoming a creative writer continued to take a back seat to nonfiction when he accepted a job as a juvenile investigator for the West Virginia Supreme Court. He worked in this role from 1984 until mid 1997. During this period he was the primary author of dozens or investigative reports on children’s institutions, and statistical reports on child abuse and delinquency published by the Court, and now archived by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.
After running a small nonprofit agency that served people with developmental disabilities, Robert went back home to direct services. He accepted a position as a Therapist in an intensive outpatient children’s mental health program. Most of the kids, like Robert, had been traumatized, some having experienced extreme sexual abuse. One day at work in 2006 it all clicked together and the Lacy Dawn Adventures project was born – an empowered female protagonist beating the evil forces that victimize and exploit others to get anything and everything that they want.
Robert soon found out that it takes much more than good creative writing to become an author. It wasn’t like in the 8th grade when his hand-printed story had won the school’s contest. He was naive about the protocols within the marketplace. Technology was in a period of rapid advancement with publishers presenting a mixture of electronic and traditional submission guidelines and publication formats. Robert was lost. A day after he registered for his first ever science fiction forum experience, he was banned for life due to what the moderator said was self-promotion of his debut novel.
The next day at work, Robert reassessed his life-long dream of becoming a creative writer. During a group therapy session, he looked into the kids’ faces as they disclosed the horrors that they had experienced. It fueled his determination to make his own dream come true and he dedicated half of any author proceeds to a child abuse prevention program.
Subsequently, three short Lacy Dawn Adventures were published in magazines. Robert then found a publisher for his debut novel, Rarity from the Hollow – a traditional, small press located in Leeds. Since the publisher was willing to bear all upfront costs, Robert signed the contract and Rarity from the Hollow was released in 2012 as a paperback and an eBook by Dog Horn Publishing.
Robert then learned that release of his novel was the beginning of a long journey called marketing. His novel has received glowing reviews, most notably by long-time book critic Barry Hunter and by the Missouri Review, award winning authors Darrell Bain, and Piers Anthony, and others, Robert’s writing was compared to that of Vonnegut by the editor of the Electric Review, A Universe on the Edge. A retired editor of Reader’s Digest published that Rarity from the Hollow was the best science fiction that he had read in several years.
Four months ago, Robert retired from this job as a children’s psychotherapist for the local mental health center so that he could concentrate on writing and promoting Rarity from the Hollow. He is holding off on the release of the next Lacy Dawn Adventure, Ivy, until he achieves greater name recognition. Shorter works are pending consideration – two poems and a short story have been submitted to magazines. Another very short story has been entered into a contest. Robert is finally pursuing his life-long dream of becoming a full-time creative writer, but he may need to get at least a part-time job in order to pay his bills in the meantime.
And now from the author himself:
Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the four hundred and twelfth, is of debut novelist Dave Riese. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Born in 1946, Dave Riese grew up in Arlington, Massachusetts, graduating from Arlington High School in 1964. He attended Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, majoring in English literature. During his junior year, he studied English Literature at Oxford University.
After graduating in 1968, David enlisted in the Air Force one step ahead of his draft board’s invitation to join the army. He married Susan, his high school girlfriend, during leave between tech school and his posting to the Philippines at Clark Air Base. During his final two years in the military, he and his wife lived near Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington D.C.
Discharged from the military in 1972, he attended Boston University on the GI Bill for a Master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism. The following summer he was hired by the University of New Hampshire to script and film videotapes about government social programs for the elderly.
His videotape grant ran out in 1976, but luckily at that time, companies were eager to hire people for their IT departments. With no computer experience, David was hired by Liberty Mutual Insurance to attend their three-month training course. He learned later that the major reason he was hired was his writing and communications background. He has often said, “This goes to show you that an English degree is a valuable asset!”
During his 35 years in information technology, the industry evolved from mainframes to personal computers using the internet. He retired from Massachusetts Financial Services in spring of 2012.
He and his wife moved north of Boston in 1974. Their daughter lives in Ireland with her husband. Their son and his wife are both pediatricians working in Rhode Island. They have four grandchildren.
Since retirement, he spends 3 – 4 hours a day, writing (or marketing), usually in a local coffee shop. Echo from Mount Royal is his first novel.
And now from the author himself:
Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the four hundred and eleventh, is of novelist and autobiographer Christine Anne Cole. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Christine Anne Cole’s working life as a librarian spanned all parts of the profession. It was in the media where she learned to manage staff and multi-media resources for customers researching under the discipline of “deadline” as well as hone her writing skills, alongside from journalist friends.
A graduate of the University of Kent, Canterbury UK, she worked in old-established provincial newspapers as well as BBC television, joining the profession at a time of technological change. She helped co-found a new professional association to deal with the digital issues of the day, advised by the distinguished News Librarian and Alumna from America, Barbara Semonche, who visited Christine at her news library in Northampton, UK.
Christine’s later appointment as Information Manager (Italy) for the British Council based in Rome in the nineties meant arranging conferences and “outreach” in different parts of Italy, supervising the Council’s four traditional English language lending libraries, organising trade fairs for British firms, as well as managing the British Library’s Document Supply Agency to its many Italian customers.
Throughout her career Christine published articles in newspapers and magazines as a freelance writer. In fact, she has been scribbling and writing stories all her life and loves the research behind a character, especially within an historical background. She especially likes writing fiction for women, featuring on their emotional and professional lives. She enjoys travel and has lived in Egypt, Germany, Italy and France. She recently enjoyed a brief stay with the Ngadjerri people of South Australia.
Christine is now retired and lives in a Northamptonshire village in England. She has two daughters both engaged in their own professions and five grandchildren spread between England and Australia.
And now from the author herself: Continue reading
Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the four hundred and tenth, is of young adult and romance writer Ana Huang. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Ana Huang is a 24-year-old Florida native who is currently based in Washington, D.C. As the daughter of Chinese-American immigrants, she had to take ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes in kindergarten. Determined to improve her English, she started reading everything she could get her hands on, thereby kicking off a lifelong love affair with the written word.
When she was sixteen, she started writing All I’ve Never Wanted, a Young Adult romantic comedy inspired by the Asian drama Meteor Garden. Three years later, she discovered Wattpad, a social reading platform where she posted All I’ve Never Wanted under the username ACRL37. So far, the story has attracted over 17 million views and helped her gain over 35,000 followers on Wattpad.
Ana primarily writes Young Adult and romantic fiction. She published All I’ve Never Wanted as a Kindle eBook, available on Amazon worldwide, June 9, 2015. She is also the author of If We Ever Meet Again, a romantic drama about college students studying abroad, whose characters and events closely mirror her own study abroad experiences. Currently, If We Ever Meet Again is still available as a full-length story on Wattpad.
And now from the author herself: Continue reading