Blog 55: Artists and Authors.

You might not think that authors are often artists too, but it seems to be true that creative people like to explore lots of different creative avenues even if their efforts are purely for pleasure and never taken seriously. With the recent opening of the British Library’s ‘Harry Potter – A History Of Magic’, I was surprised to stumble across blogs and articles claiming that J.K. Rowling herself has drawn pictures of her characters, though it is unclear as to whether or not any of these drawings are actually on display at the British Library. But if you’re dying to have a look at Rowling’s artwork, you should be able to find her drawings with a quick google search or a visit to her Harry Potter website Pottermore. read more »

Blog 43: Notes On Book Marketing.

The idea of marketing your book can be overwhelming, especially if you’re an indie author and you’re just starting out. Below are some of the thoughts and suggestions from a marketing friend of mine who has been looking at the most effective promotional tools for authors. From branding, to online and offline marketing, here is everything you need to know to get started…

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Blog 36: Nine Novel Things You Can Write Which Aren’t Your Novel.

Ok so maybe some of these ideas are not so ‘novel’, but being an author doesn’t mean you have to write novels and huge epic trilogies all the time. Some people just don’t take to writing the longer stuff and that’s ok, because it doesn’t mean that you’re not a writer. Or perhaps you do write novels and you just fancy trying something different with your writing skills? Here are just a handful of ideas that you can try when you’re not feeling up to writing your novel, but you really want to write…

1) Write A Poem Or A Song.

You don’t have to write the next Homer’s Iliad or Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, but a little song, poem, or even just a couplet, might be a secret talent that you never knew you had. Poetry and song writing is a good way to get creative with words, and learn some new synonyms and antonyms whilst you’re at it.

2) Keep A Gratitude Diary. read more »

Blog 31: Working in a Second Hand Bookshop

I have recently read George Orwell’s essay ‘Bookshop Memories’ – the cynic in me was delighted. I’ve been working in a second hand bookshop part-time for the past couple of months and even though I haven’t come across all the types of customers Orwell describes, it’s safe to say I had little trouble imagining them.

I can understand honestly Orwell’s frustrations, but I think his account is somewhat unfair and not quite so accurate nowadays, though I guess time may change my mind. I do believe that you have to be a certain kind of person to enjoy working with books, and although I’d struggle to describe that type of person, even to myself, I can tell you what type of person it most definitely isn’t. read more »

Blog 28: An Interview with ‘The Brunswick Saga Series’ Author E. K. Barnes

e-k-barnesQ1) In one or two sentences, how would you describe your Brunswick Saga series to someone who hasn’t read any of your work?

The Brunswick Saga series follows the lives of six siblings following the death and neglect of a parent. Each book in the series mainly focuses on one of the six and their struggles as time goes on.

Q2) How long did it take for you to finish and publish your recent work?

It took a little over a year and a half to write and publish the second book of the series (A Sister’s Imposition), which was released in March 2016.

Q3) Have you always wanted to write and when did you first discover that you wanted to write?

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Blog 26: I Met The Devil on a Road Trip.

devils-bridge

The Devil is a popular character. He, she, or it, appears in literature all the time; Dante’s Inferno, Good Omens, Waywalkers, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea to name a few. However, when and where humanity first developed the idea of ‘The Devil’ is difficult to pinpoint, and whether or not ‘The Devil’ actually exists is an argument that most of us are happy to leave to the philosophers and theologists. One thing is for certain though, The Devil has been around for a long time and this character won’t be disappearing anytime soon. In fact with technology today, this character is as close to immortality as it will ever get. Unless humanity is wiped out by an asteroid, nuclear weapons, the inevitable death of the solar system, greedy politicians, or a combination of everything that I just mentioned.

I have lived in the UK all my life but sadly, I haven’t really seen very much of it. I put this down to my terrible ‘small-talk’ skills, lack of funds, and an aversion to driving my metal box amongst other, bigger and superior metal boxes. Still, needs must, I have patient friends, and society demands that I see daylight hours, so I do venture out into the outside world.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve driven up and down the Northern part of the M6 read more »

Blog 5: Acrostics – A Fun Way to Create Characters!

‘What is an acrostic?’ I hear you ask. An acrostic is a poem or other form of writing in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out a word or a message. For example Acrostic could be written as;

A

Carefully

Reasoned

Ordered

Sentence

Tells

It

Clearly

Simple right? So what does this have to do with creating characters? Well if you take a person’s name, you can write an acrostic from the letters of their name, listing possible personality traits and descriptions. Not only does this make you think about your characters emotions, reactions and personalities, but it can also help you come up with some interesting, unique and conflicting traits.
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Blog 4: Should You Use a Pen Name?

Many authors choose to write under a pen name or pseudonym. It’s a difficult decision to make and comes down to personal preference and what you hope to achieve.

Personally, I chose to use my real name but I deliberated for months over it. Luckily my name is pretty unique, and uniqueness is a good thing in the literary world. It means whenever someone searches my name up on the World Wide Web, I’m not lost underneath thousands of ‘Caitlin Lynagh’ results. If you search my name now, you will most likely find Troubador’s website featuring my novel Anomaly, at the top of the first page. However, not everyone has a unique name and not everyone wants to use their real name, and there can be a number of reasons as to why.

Some authors use a pen name aka nom de plume, because they don’t want family and friends to know that they have written, let alone published, a novel. Writing is exposing and there is undeniably a huge part of the author in any published novel. As you write, you will consciously and subconsciously draw upon your own thoughts, feelings and past experiences. The characters in your novel may even be loosely based on your friends and family, and the locations may be based on actual places you have visited. This is all pretty normal, and authors habitually venture into the real world searching for inspiration or sit and watch the world go by. Nonetheless, it ultimately means that your readers will be judging you subconsciously as a person and consciously as an author. This thought can be scary, and it is why some authors choose to use a pen name. read more »

Blog 3: Time is Unique for Everyone.

Imagine it’s two o’clock in the morning. You’ve been awake all night, working on this and that, and now your little spot on this planet is slowly rotating its way to dawn. You’re tired and you know you should be asleep, your body is practically yelling this at you, but you’ve just been hit by an awesome idea that cannot be ignored. You quickly scribble down the awesome idea in your notebook, but it’s frustrating, your mind feels thick and sluggish and you keep yawning like a Venus flytrap. You desperately want to work on the awesome idea, but your bed is calling you. This often happens to me, yet it is apparently quite common.

Research has shown, and I mean actual scientific research, that people tend to be more creative when they’re tired. read more »

Blog 2: Becoming a Writer is Like Climbing a Mountain.

Becoming an author is not an easy decision to make. New writers have to convince an agent or publisher to take them on, write a novel that will appeal to readers, learn about the industry, improve their writing skills, and in most cases balance a job and family commitments too. At times it feels like trying to climb a literary equivalent of Mount Everest. It’s not easy, and not everyone is understanding. Your ideas will be rejected, probably by hundreds of publishing houses before one actually takes you on. Your family and friends may also reject the idea of you being a writer. I’ve heard many phrases such as, ‘A writer? that’s not going to earn you money,’ or ‘When are you going to find a real job?’ or ‘How about you take a dentistry course instead?’ and my favorite, ‘When’s your book going to be ready?’ Do any of these sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone, everyone goes through this, myself included.

The truth is, being a writer means that you are deciding to be self-employed, an authorpreneur so to speak. The majority of people would never consider being self-employed, it scares them and to be totally honest it is scary. Most people read more »