Author Spotlight no.146 – historical novelist Freda Lightfoot

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and forty-sixth, is of historical novelist and interviewee Freda Lightfoot.

FredaBorn in Lancashire, Freda Lightfoot has been a teacher, bookseller and in a mad moment, a smallholder on the freezing fells of the Lake District where she tried her hand at the ‘good life’, kept sheep and hens, various orphaned cats and dogs, built drystone walls, planted a small wood and even learned how to make jam. She has now given up her thermals to build a house in an olive grove in Spain, where she produces her own olive oil and sits in the sun. She has published 39 novels including many bestselling family sagas and historical novels.

And now from the author herself:

What inspires a story for me? I write historical fiction so I’m always looking for some major historical event to use as a hook. When visiting San Francisco on holiday, I did as all writers do, not only soaked up the atmosphere of the place, but set about learning as much as I could about its history.

The earthquake of 1906 struck San Francisco and surrounding towns over a distance of almost three hundred miles on the coast of California at 5:12 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18, 1906. The tremors were felt as far north as Oregon and as far south as Los Angeles. Due to the San Andreas fault, and the Hayward and San Jacinto faults, San Francisco had always been prone to earthquakes. The city suffered countless tremors each year as the plates constantly shifted against each other and stress built up, and still does. But nothing of this magnitude had been experienced for almost half a century before 1906. And strict codes on construction had been put into place. Sadly it wasn’t enough to save them. Even more devastating than the earthquake itself was the fire that followed which ruptured gas mains, destroyed approximately 25,000 buildings, and 3,000 lives were lost.

The PromiseI, of course, was most interested in how such a cataclysmic event could affect the inhabitants. What might you do, how might it change your life, when your world is collapsing all around you? It was with this question in mind that I began to devise some characters and plan The Promise.

As I enjoy dual-time stories myself, I set this one partly in San Francisco at the time of the quake, and partly in England some 50 years later. Chrissie Kemp is puzzled that her mother’s maiden name on her marriage certificate is not the one she expected to find. Can it have anything to do with the family feud, and the reason she has never met her grandmother? She travels to the Lake District to meet Georgia Briscoe for the first time, only to discover a shocking family secret. As the truth gradually unfolds, the passion, emotion and astounding love that blossomed in San Francisco years earlier is finally revealed, with devastating consequences.

Writing this kind of story is quite challenging as you need to keep the reader sufficiently interested in the characters and story-lines from both time periods without losing the thread of either. If the reader becomes confused she will put the book down and never pick it up again. But as the writer, I confess that I never know all the answers, not even the ending, until I’ve written the book. I know some highs and lows of the journey, but not every turn in the road. As I write I’m continually asking myself questions, digging deeper, thinking of new twists, till finally I come up with what I believe is a good one for the ending. Once I knew where I was going with The Promise, I then rewrote and revised entire chunks of the story, putting in fresh clues, taking out those which were no longer needed, all the while making certain that the ending was logical, and hopefully a surprise.

***

You can find more about Freda and her writing via her website http://www.fredalightfoot.co.uk. The Promise is published by Allison & Busby. Paperback: £5.99 Ebook – £4.79: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Promise-ebook/dp/B006WB7LQW.

***

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with multi-genre novelist Jan Tilley – the five hundred and eighty-seventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.

For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.

As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do, and a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words (and post stories of up to 3,000 words). Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (up to 3,000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me posting it online in my new Red Pen Critique Sunday night posts, then do email me. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Guest post: Shore Up Your Sagging Middle by Heidi M Thomas

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of the middles of novels, is brought to you by novelist and creative writing teacher Heidi M Thomas.

Shore Up Your Sagging Middle

Writing is a lot like building a bridge. Each scene serves as scaffolding or supports for your entire story to rest on without sagging.

Maybe you’ve made a great start. You have a dynamite hook (some of my favorites: “The last camel collapsed at noon.” (Ken Follett) and “The man with ten minutes to live was laughing.” (Frederick Forsyth). You’ve gotten off to a good strong start. Maybe you know how your book is going to end, and even have the final scene written.

Now, how do you get through the middle part without it sagging and possibly collapsing?

First of all, you don’t need to write chronologically. You can write scenes out of order. Pick out some highlights and write those scenes, then see if you can figure out what you might be able to fill in between A and G.

Now, send your inner “nice guy” out for ice cream and figure out just how mean you can be to your character. Conflict is the key to keeping a story moving, to shoring it up. You’ve introduced your character and the problem she has to solve. You know what the goal is at the end.

Let’s say Cathy Character wants to be the first teenage girl to climb Mount Huge. What are her obstacles? Her parents are against the idea. It’s too expensive, too dangerous, she’s not in shape, who else is going, etc. Cathy has to overcome each objection, solve each problem.

Maybe her neighbor is a banker, so she approaches him for a loan. If he smiles and says,” Sure, Cathy, anything for you,” the problem is solved too quickly. The story can get boring and the reader’s interest will sag quickly.

But what if he says no? Now Cathy has to figure out another way to raise money. What should she do – a bake sale, a part-time job, rob the local drive-in? (You can see the various paths this story could take.) There are all kinds of ideas and none of them should be easy.

Every time your character figures out a way over, around or through a problem, throw up another obstacle, within reason, of course. You don’t want her to fail at everything.

But when she solves the money part of the problem, there should be another one waiting. Who, besides her parents, are going to oppose her? Does she have a rival? Or is there a friend who is supposedly helping her, but is actually sabotaging Cathy’s efforts?

Building a story is like constructing a bridge. You need conflict as the pillars that shore up the middle.

For each scene you write, ask yourself:

  • What is the purpose of this scene?
  • Does it move the story forward? (What if I take it out? Does the story flow well without it?)
  • Can the reader identify with the character’s problem and struggles?
  • Have you created suspense? (Will the reader want to keep reading to find out how your character solves this one? What’s at stake for him/her?)

Have fun being mean to your character and building your bridge!

Oh, I do. 🙂 Thank you, Heidi!

Heidi M. Thomas grew up on a working ranch in eastern Montana. She had parents who taught her a love of books and a grandmother who rode bucking stock in rodeos. Describing herself as “born with ink in her veins,” Heidi followed her dream of writing with a journalism degree from the University of Montana and later turned to her first love, fiction, to write her grandmother’s story.

Heidi’s first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, has won an EPIC Award and the USA Book News Best Book Finalist award.

Follow the Dream is the second book in the “Dare to Dream” series about strong, independent Montana Women and is a WILLA Literary Award winner.

Heidi is a member of Women Writing the West, Western Writers of America, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Skagit Valley Writers League, and the Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She is also a manuscript editor, and teaches memoir and fiction writing classes in the Pacific Northwest.

And a synopsis of ‘Follow the Dream’:

Nettie Moser’s dreams are coming true. She’s married to her cowboy, Jake, they have plans for a busy rodeo season, and she has a once in a lifetime opportunity to rodeo in London with the Tex Austin Wild West Troupe.

But life during the Great Depression brings unrelenting hardships and unexpected family responsibilities. Nettie must overcome challenges to her lifelong rodeo dreams, cope with personal tragedy, survive drought, and help Jake keep their horse herd from disaster. Will these challenges break this strong woman?

Follow the Dream is based on the life of the author’s grandmother, a real Montana cowgirl.

You can find out more about Heidi via www.heidimthomas.com, www.trebleheartbooks.com/SDHeidiThomas.html and http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com.

***

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with mystery / YA / non-fiction author Cindy Davis – the four hundred and ninety-seventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me. I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Author Spotlight no.118 – Melissa Harker Ridenour

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and eighteenth, is of Melissa Harker Ridenour.

Melissa Harker Ridenour, formerly a teacher and librarian, is now a children’s book author and freelance writer. Her first book, What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers, was published by Headline Kids, a division of Headline Books, Incorporated and has been honored as a USA Best Book Award Finalist sponsored by USA Book News, and as a Readers’ Favorite Five Star Reviewed book. In addition, the book has received numerous other very positive book reviews. She has published essays, poetry, magazine articles, and web articles as well.

And now from the author herself:

Sometimes people ask me why I wrote a children’s book on such a subject as protecting children against the risks of abduction or predator harm. I have a couple of reasons for writing What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers, beginning with a traumatic memory from my childhood. My very good childhood friend and classmate was abducted, raped and murdered by a predator. Adding to the tragedy of the story is the fact that her mother, the next year, committed suicide. She was never able to cope with the loss of her daughter, especially in such a violent way.

That haunting memory has always affected me, even as I became a mother myself. One of my greatest fears as a young mother, and even now that my children are grown with children of their own, is that something similar could happen to my children or grandchildren. That fear, combined with the alarming statistics regarding missing and exploited children is the second reason that prompted me to write a book that would teach children to take a pro-active role in staying safe from abduction, and to help parents and other caregivers learn how to keep children safe from abduction or harm.

My book, What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers offers a kid-friendly, parent-friendly, reassuring solution to parental fears. The book is targeted to elementary – aged children, but, ideally, it is meant to be a shared learning experience with parent and child / teacher and student.

Protecting one’s children from harm and teaching them how to take an active role in staying safe, without frightening them or making them distrustful of people in general, is a delicate balancing act. But it can be done. That’s why I included a chapter in my book specifically for parents / grandparents / teachers, and other child caregivers.

The concept of “stranger” is difficult for children to understand. What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers explains to children the concept of strangers in a very kid-friendly way and teaches them a method for determining whom they should and should not trust.

The book also presents an interactive format of multiple-choice solutions to potentially dangerous situations involving strangers. It creatively engages both children and parents and presents effective strategies for taking precautions and staying safe at home or in any public arena. It presents the most common predator lures and empowers children to become street smart and not fall for such lures.  There are self-defense techniques and reinforcing games and puzzles as well.

An invaluable book, I’d say. Thank you, Melissa. You can find more about Melissa and her writing via… her book website – www.AuthorMelissaHarkerRidenour.com. Her book is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Boos-A-Million, Follett, Baker & Taylor and Ingrams.

***

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with historical action adventure novelist and blogger Tom Rizzo – the four hundred and eighty-seventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me. I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Guest post: Should You Judge a Book by its Cover? by Nina Munteanu

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of book covers is brought to you by science fiction and fantasy author, short story and article writer, blogger and teacher Nina Munteanu.

Should You Judge a Book by its Cover?

Most readers—me included—will pick a book off the bookstore shelf because its cover interests us: the title intrigues; the cover illustration attracts; the author’s name is one we trust.

If you don’t know the author of the book, the nature—and implied promise—of the cover becomes even more important.

If the book does not deliver on the promise of the cover, it will fail with many readers despite its intrinsic value. A broken promise is still a broken promise. I say cover, not necessarily the back jacket blurb, because the front cover is our first and most potent introduction to the quality of the story inside. How many of us have picked up a book, intrigued by its alluring front cover, read the blurb that seemed to resonate with the title and image, then upon reading our cherished purchase been disillusioned with the story and decided we disliked it and its author?

This is because, as readers, from the moment we pick up a book, we engage in a covenant with the story’s author (but in actual fact with the entire publishing company) for a story whose promise we have interpreted from its cover image, title and blurb. It begins with the cover. A book’s cover is its sales pitch: “This is what I’m about!” the cover proclaims in shades of color and texture. The cover sets the tone and attitude with which a reader will interpret the book’s title and back jacket blurb and its interior.

It had better be true.

Let me tell you a story…

Some time ago, a writer colleague of mine secured a New York agent—based on her excellent query and synopsis—for her imaginative dragon fantasy. The agent pitched the book to a large publishing company, who made my friend an offer, and the agent secured a three book deal on her behalf. My writing friend’s career as a published author was launched.

Because the publishing company was one of the large firms, my friend’s ability to participate—never mind influence—the cover design and blurb was restricted. Decisions lay in the hands of the people in the marketing department, who may or may not have read the book (most likely not). This is why it is so important to write a blurb / query / pitch that both scintillates AND accurately portrays the story. All too often, the marketing department misrepresents the story (to sell more books) and you end up with an unsatisfied reader. This is what happened to my friend. Through no fault of hers, the marketing people developed a cover that did not reflect the true nature of her story. The trilogy my friend had developed was a dark tale of deceit, betrayal and suffering. The cover portrayed a lively and sultry seductress, draped with flowing robes and bared thighs against her dragon; hardly the ponderous story shrouded within. The blurb at the back was sufficiently vague to aid and abet the deception.

What followed the book’s launch and accompanying ad campaign was a barrage of bad reviews and censure, unfortunately aimed mostly at the author.  It was unfortunate that my friend suffered the brunt of the accusations for breaking her promise to the readers, when she had done no such thing; her publisher and marketers had created false expectations. And now she was paying for it.

I, too, experienced the effects of mis-marketing. I’d written a dark science fiction romance that ended with resolution but was far from the traditional happy ending typical of a romance. The publisher marketed it as a romance with science fiction elements instead of a science fiction with romance elements. Reviewers applauded it but it bombed with romance readers, who expected a different kind of resolution. Science fiction readers, however, enjoyed it; they didn’t have the same expectations.

The take home lesson for writers is this: write a scintillating but accurate synopsis, blurb, pitch and query that clearly establishes your genre and audience. Chances are your publishers will use it in their marketing department. If you don’t get in with the “Big Boys”, and decide to go with the small presses, chances are very good that you will have more control over marketing and cover design; that is a big bonus. If you are like me, creative control of your intellectual property is more important than the big bucks you get at the expense of your art. Don’t give in to the temptations of wolf-marketing.

I’m still learning that lesson.

The take home lesson for readers is this: don’t judge a book by its cover; certainly pick up the book if it looks interesting, then read with an open mind and let the story take you to where it needs to, despite what you may have expected from the false advertising. Chances are, the unexpected journey visited upon you may be a welcome surprise. And don’t blame the writer for something he didn’t have control over.

I’m still learning that lesson too.

That was great, thank you, Nina!

Nina Munteanu is a Canadian ecologist and novelist.

In addition to five published novels, she has authored award-winning short stories, articles and non-fiction books, which have been translated into several languages throughout the world.

Recognition for her work includes the Midwest Book Review Reader’s Choice Award and the Aurora Award, Canada’s top prize in science fiction.

Nina lectures at university and teaches writing workshops and courses based on her award-nominated textbook The Fiction Writer: Get Published, Write Now!  Her award-winning blog The Alien Next Door hosts lively discussion on science, travel, pop culture, writing and movies. Visit www.ninamunteanu.com for more information and to book a coaching/workshop session or class with Nina.

Nina’s latest book is Outer Diverse, Book One of her “Splintered Universe Trilogy”, a paranormal space thriller, starring the indomitable and magnetic hero Rhea Hawke.

Thirty years have passed since the mysterious Vos invaded the galaxy to destroy Earth. If not for the intervention of the arrogant Eosians, who drove away the Vos for the right to inhabit Earth, humanity would have perished. But not all of humanity is thankful…

Rhea Hawke, Galactic Guardian, must solve the massacre of an entire spiritual sect, dubiously connected with the crime syndicate Eclipse and the toxic drug Glitter Dust, the resurgence of a dark prophesy and the return of the cruel extra-galactic Vos.

Her quest for justice catapults her into the heart of a universal struggle across alien landscapes of cruel beauty toward an unbearable truth she’s hidden from herself since she first murdered an innocent man with her eyes.

“… a master of metaphor, Munteanu turns an adventure story into a wonderland of alien rabbit holes. When the action starts it goes into hyper-drive … A fascinating and enthralling read.” Craig H. Bowlsby, author and creator of Commander’s Log.

Outer Diverse is available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. The cover art by Costi Gurgu was recently nominated for an Aurora Prix for best artistic achievement.

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with science-fiction / general fiction author Karen A Wyle – the four hundred and fifteenth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Flash Fiction Friday 37: Dreams by JD Mader

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the thirty-seventh piece of flash fiction in this series. This week’s is a 210-worder entitled ‘Dreams…’ by my regular guest San Francisco-based JD Mader.

Dreams…

Fevered, I wrap myself in lies and absolutions.  I am not what I am, but a sum of the sad cliches that have led me onward.  Truth falls around me, gathering at my feet like a technicolor dream coat.  You lie?  Of course you lie.  I lie?  Sometimes, indeed, I do.  I am made of thatch and rosemary.  I am hidden from your view and lost in a forest of deceit.  I want nothing.  I need nothing.  Shadows morph into phantasms too dire to contemplate.  I tear at my skin.  I am on a quest for destruction.

Green pastures.  I remember them well.  They are memories, crushed now with skyscrapers, ash, and soot. All has been sullied.  Nothing pure remains.  I feel the needle deep in my vein and hold on for one more day.  One more chance to betray myself.  I will take it gladly.

You think I don’t remember.  But I do.  In bits.  In drabs and scraps.  I remember summer fields of alfalfa and innocence.  They mock me now.  They disgust me.  I will lie in my room.  I will let the weight of lost abandon press upon my chest.  I will try to breathe and fail and my heart will pound with the sound of defeat.

Thank you, JD.

JD Mader is a teacher and writer / musician based in San Francisco. 

He has been fortunate enough to encounter many giving and inspiring people in his life. 

He hopes to repay the debt.

And to make enough money with his writing to buy a house.

His website is http://www.jdmader.com where you can read more of JD’s writing and if you’d like more (and why wouldn’t you?) his first novel Joe Café, second, The Biker, and collaboration ‘Bad Book’ (with Hise and Brooks) are available from Amazon.

If you’d like to submit your 1,000-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with non-fiction memoirist Carol Anita Ryan – the four hundred and eighty-eighth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.