Tuesday, 23 October 2012

New title announced

This is just s short blog entry, despite it being almost a year since my last one.

I wanted it to be announced here, first.

Release of my latest novel, sequel to Black Donald.

Black Donald: Godsword, is currently being read by beta readers and will be released in the coming month.  It will be available in all major online book retailers, including, Amazon.co.uk (and .com), Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.com.

The cover has been designed (see image left).

I am quite excited about this release and look forward to reviews from readers.


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

So Long Since I last updated you all!

Hey folks,

You are small in number, yet you are still here following this blog.  I wouldn't blame you if you had decided to leave, because my loyalty to this blog has been rather diminished since Sept.  For that I apologise.  Lots of things have happened.

First, I finished SYSTEM FORCE ALLIANCE and am now looking for a couple beta readers to check it out and make suggestions before I edit it, and boy, is that going to be a job and a half.

But there we go.

Sadly, I have not been able to get anywhere with writing recently and I am struggling writing this to be honest.  I  just found out that I need some sort of glasses, will find out more tomorrow.  Hopefully, I can get straight back into the writing and perhaps continue with my sequel to BLACK DONALD.  Which is another thing I have been concentrating on.

The name of this sequel is still eluding me yet, but it is, like BLACK DONALD, based around an ancient Celtic folklore, Jack O' Lantern.  Of course, like BLACK DONALD, this sequel will have a struggle between good and evil in the Spiritual Realm and it spilling out into the normal realm, but it will be set a few years after BLACK DONALD.  Its all in my head, just need to sort my eyes out to get it on my proverbial paper.

Well, I am going to sign off now, with the mental note to visit more often than I have in the past few months, hopefully when my eyes are better and not giving me a headache.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Pinch of salt or really important?

Today, I received my first negative comment for BLACK DONALD.

"...his authorial intrusions keep getting in the way. Not a single line of dialog or exposition is ever presented without this meddling author telling the reader more than the reader needs... or wants... to know..."

To be honest, I was rather shocked after all the positive comments I have received.  I also had to look up authorial intrusions as I had never heard of that terminology before.  For those who do not know, it refers to the opinion of the author jumping into the story to give the reader some outside-the-character's-point-of-view knowledge.

I am in two minds about this comment because I have received quite a few positive comments from numerous sources regarding BLACK DONALD.

From Amazon.co.uk:

"...I was not disappointed. I had never heard of Black Donald, so was keen to read this story. It has a very interesting contemporary twist to a very old folklore character. Furthermore, the author has a very easy to read style to writing which makes you want to turn that page and continue. I could not put this down once I had started to read. I desperately wanted to know what happened to the main characters..."

From facebook.com (when they received the announcement of paperback release from my twitter account):

"...I loved BLACK DONALD!  Such an interesting twist at the end.  I read it in two nights before i went to sleep and couldn't put it down.  Can't wait for the next one."

A verbal comment made to me from an English Teacher colleague:

"Nigel, BLACK DONALD is fantastic!  I loved the characterisation, the plot and the twist at the end.  I loved how you incorporated parts of Revelations into it.  The only problem with it was, it was too short!"

Another teacher colleague:

"...my wife refused to read it, because she found it too scary.  Nigel, that is exactly what you want in a thriller, great job!"

These are just some of the comments - so what do I believe?  The average reader, or the one who went on to say:

"...If the writer had just told this story without over telling it, it might have been worth reading, but then, that requires studying the craft of writing, and few writers bother these days..."

I know what you are probably thinking - go with the average - but you know what, whomever this critic is, wherever they are in the world, I am going to take their comment on board, whether it is true or not.

However, one thing I have learnt over the past few months is, not everyone has the same tastes in reading and not every book in the same genre is everybody's cup of tea.

I am enjoying Simon Beckett's Forensic anthropology crime novels, and thought I would try Kathy Reichs' of the same genre - but sadly could not get into it.  They both are best sellers, Ms Reichs has been dubbed 'Number 1 in her genre', yet her style of writing was too jumpy for my liking - I could not get into it at all and had to stop after chapter 1.

I am not trying to put Ms Reichs' writing down at all - that is not my way, rather I am trying to make a point here...

Kathy Reichs has been a number one best seller, the top of her genre and has published numerous books using the same main character.  Someone must be buying and enjoying her books, in fact, to receive the much coveted award of number one best seller, Ms Reichs must have sold quite a lot of books - but they are not my taste.  I cannot get into her character's mind.  I cannot feel for her characters.  I cannot get past her jumpy sentence structure, her unique way of writing, her obvious successful method of story-telling.

So, and here is the point...

If I can't get past chapter 1 of Kathy Reichs' novel, a notable author with many published books to her name and an expert in the field of the her main character (forensic anthropology), then surely, BLACK DONALD, a novella based around the ancient Scottish folklore of Black Donald (that is the Devil who has all the skills to hide among humans, except shoe-making), will not be everyone's cup of tea?

So, in the end, I will take this negative comment on board and use it to improve my writing skill through the years...

Incidentally, I mentioned Simon Beckett's forensic anthropology novels earlier - Simon Beckett is not an anthropologist like Ms Reichs is, rather he is journalist who did some research.  That speaks volumes - doesn't it?

Friday, 26 August 2011

Black Donald is now available as Paperback!

So I was speaking to my friend, Piotr, about publishing and told him my dream of holding a physical copy of my first book, Black Donald, instead of the eBook version and he showed me a site called Createspace.com.

After much research into the site, I have found a few facts out about the site.

1: It is part of Amazon.com, so any book published through createspace.com will be available on Amazon.com (and all its sister sites around the world).
2: To self-publish this book is totally free and cost is only involved if

  • you choose to use their professional team
  • you buy a proof copy to review the book prior to releasing the final draft
3: You have full control of the book, maintaining full copyright and decisions about the book at every step of the way.
4: You can have a book published within a week of submitting it, providing you follow their guidelines and use their fantastic templates.
5: It gives story tellers like me, the opportunity to hold a printed copy of your first book.
6: It is print on demand, so you do not need to buy thousands to ensure it is distributed.
7: It is a reputable company, known the world over - Amazon!

Did I mention it was free until you buy a copy and even then, customers pay for the cost of printing and distribution when they buy a copy.

So to my announcement!

Black Donald is now available as a paperback book here.

You will notice when you receive the copy, the hood has disappeared, that is absolutely fine (it looks better in my opinion that way!), but other than that, it is fantastic quality.

I ordered a proof a few days ago, and it's like a professionally published copy, I am so impressed with it.

You can buy a copy from createspace.com for now, or wait a few days for it to be posted on Amazon.com.

Enjoy reading.  For those who are stuck between e-publishing and book publishing - why not do BOTH.  You will reach a wider audience covering both avenues.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Do you judge a book by it's cover?

If you haven't heard already, ebook publishing is going through the roof, why?  Most probably because people are looking towards the latest technology to do everything.  I have a friend who reads books on his phone, he current has access to over 5000 ebooks on his bookshelves, he only bought mine a few weeks ago (Bless him!).

But what is it that attracts people to buying ebooks?  Frankly, I don't know, but I would hasten to add, that my thoughts are along the line of the cover image and the cost.  The cost is easy, most ebooks are really cheap, between free and a few pounds (or dollars), in today's world people want to spend less and less, mainly because they have less and less to spend.  So the cheaper the better.

Another possibility is the cover.  I like going through the library and shops and look at the cover, I occasionally read the blurb on the back or inside front cover, but generally if the picture on the front does not grab my interest, I rarely go further than that - but in saying that isn't there a saying - 'don't judge a book by it's cover?'

I think in this case, the saying is as much important as it is for when it is used elsewhere in our language.   Should you judge a book by its cover.  I mean, some of the greatest books out there have a bland cover - the Holy Bible, for example, the most popular and widely translated book (or collection of books) the world has seen since Christ was born yet the cover is mostly always bland and uninteresting.

So, is a cover for an ebook really that important?  I think it is.  I designed an image for Black Donald, as if it were released as a hardback book - what do you think?

I searched high and low on the internet for a way to design an ebook cover, but all i could find was adobe photoshop, which if you are rich, then that is fine, but for the more humblest among us, I could not justify spending that amount of money just to create ebook covers.

So I set myself a challenge to create this.  It took half an hour using fireworks 8 from macromedia, yes this also cost money, but I already had a copy (albeit quite an old copy by today's standards!) and then showed my wife, who went, "Wow!"

I must admit, looking at it after sleeping, does tend to grab my attention - what about you?  It is far superior to the bog-standard rectangle cover which are widely used by amazon, smashwords and all other similar ebook stores.  But is it necessary?

I think it is - why?  Because if it can grab my wife's attention, someone who rarely reads but would rather watch the film (not that there are any plans to release a Black Donald film in the coming future!), then it will grab any reader's attention.

So I guess the old saying is wrong in this case - you should judge a book by its cover and authors should realise people do use the cover image to judge the content and work appropriately.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Black Donald - FREE offer until Hogmanay 2011

That's right folks!

As part of a deal I am doing with Operation eBook Drop with smashwords.com, I have created a 100% discount coupon for Black Donald.

All you need is to go to the smashwords page for Black Donald (click the book title) and buy as normal, that is the version you can read and when you come to buy enter the following coupon code: SK28M

Operation eBook Drop is a fantastic opportunity for authors and publishers to support the troops in deployment around the world, who need things to do in their spare time and no doubt take their mind off their job.

There is no obligation to do it, but you create a coupon for one or more of your ebooks and email the person in charge of Operation eBook Drop, Ed Patterson via this link Operation eBook Drop and he will do the rest.

If you have published through smashwords, then it certainly is something to think about!

Remember that code is SK28M

Offer ends 31st December 2011!

Book Review: The Calling Of The Grave

The Calling of the Grave, is Simon Beckett's fourth book and I must say, it has got everything.

To tell you the truth, murder mystery is not my cup of tea (unless it is on the T.V.), I borrowed the book from the local library just for a bit of research into writing practice and I cannot seem to put it down.  From the first word, I was grabbed!

On the back cover it says:

At first glance it could have been anything - a stone, a knotted root - until you looked more closely.  Thrusting out of the wet earth, its bones visible through rags of flesh, was a decomposing hand...

The story is in the first person and centres round the life of Dr. David Hunter, a forensic anthropologist who has been pulled away from his wife and daughter to a discovery on Dartmoor.  When the body is discovered, the murderer, who is currently being held in high security prison for 4 murders, offers to help find the other graves.  Everything, however, goes drastically wrong and the prisoner tries to escape and ultimately fails.  With the cold case closed, Dr. Hunter returns home and puts the whole situation behind him.

Eight years later, the murders resurface and Hunter is recalled to search for graves on Dartmoor, only to find that the escaped murderer, Jerome Monk is also searching.

Although, this genre is not my cup of tea, I found it incredibly easy to read and understand, and put myself into the picture.  Perhaps it was the scientific terminology used throughout (given the main character's role) or not, I am not entirely sure, but this is a great read and well worth a buy from Amazon or other good retail stores.

I give this book (available both as an ebook and paper book) a whopping 10 out of 10!  It was an awesome read and has hooked me to read his preceding three titles!

Check out Simon Beckett's website at http://simonbeckett.com!