Bridge House Celebration, ALCS, and the What If question

Image Credit:-

All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated.

Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing. Image of me with wild hair and Tripping The Flash Fantastic taken by Adrian Symes.

Facebook – General

Great to see Amazon have updated my Author Central page quickly so Mulling It Over and Transformations are now both on there.  (Lovely to see a good collection building up here!). And that has reminded me to add these books to ALCS too. What is ALCS?

As I’m a member of the Society of Authors, I have free membership to ALCS (the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society). ALCS collects money from copyright licences etc and distributes said monies to authors. There is no way any one writer could possibly keep tabs on X making photocopies of their work here, Y doing it there and so on.

If you’re not a member of the Society of Authors, you can still join ALCS. It costs £36.00 and this is lifetime membership, not per year. See https://www.alcs.co.uk/how-to-join for more.

I had my first modest pay-out from ALCS back in March and most welcome it was too. Do check out their website for more information. The main thing to remember is to update your details when you have new works out. And this includes, for me, not just my two flash fiction collections, but all of the paperback anthologies I have been in and continue to have work appear in.

(The reasons for the emphasis on paperback is ALCS need you to tell them the ISBN number and ebooks don’t have that. They have an ASIN which ALCS do not work with but given most anthologies come out in ebook and paperback, you can at least register the latter!).

Very well worth doing. (And another little task ticked off my writing admin list today!).

Even colder than yesterday here in Hampshire though Lady did get to have a fab time with her busy buddy, a lovely Rhodesian Ridgeback today. No chance of them getting cold with all that running around.

I’m going to be having a look at Continuing Professional Development and how it can apply to writers in my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week. Have also put in my book order for copies of Mulling It Over and Transformations and have also asked Amazon to add these two to my Author Central page in due course. Hopefully they’ll appear on there later this week. I’ve usually found Amazon answer such requests quickly.

It is nice to see a good collection of books appearing on my page now. This is not something I anticipated when starting out but it does show the value, I think, of persistence, keeping going, and learning over time to get better at targeting my work to the appropriate market. And yes, it does take time. But this is true for everybody and I found that quite encouraging when I was starting out. It is good to know it is not just you!

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Brrr… so cold today. Even Lady wasn’t sorry to get in from her evening walk. Enjoyed watching The Polar Express tonight. One of my favourite Christmas films along with A Muppet Christmas Carol. Better half put the decorations up yesterday so the old homestead is looking festive. Am very thankful Lady leaves the tree alone.

Making good progress on my non-fiction project. Am on track to finish the first draft by the end of the year. Whenever I write anything, I always feel a certain relief on getting that first draft down. I love the creative side but I also enjoy the editing and getting the work into good shape ready for submitting somewhere. I swear I can almost feel the draft getting better as I take out my usual wasted words and sharpen up what remains. I like that feeling.

I’ve also got a third flash collection on the go. I plan to resume work on that once I’ve got the first draft of the non-fiction project done as I know I’ll need to rest that for a while so I can look at it with fresh eyes when I get back to it.

Writing is the gift that keeps on giving in many ways.

Firstly, boredom is a thing of the past as I’ve always got something to work on!

Secondly, writing stretches me. I want to keep trying to get better at what I do.

Thirdly, to write well you need to read well so you get two activities in one here. But best of all?

Making friends thanks to a shared love of writing!

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It was great seeing everyone at the Bridge House Publishing celebration event this afternoon. It was lovely to see friends and meet new people and the turnout was wonderful. There was plenty to celebrate too, despite the obvious problems affecting everyone this year.

There were plenty of new books out via Bridge House, including the recently released Mulling It Over and Transformations. Plus there were new single author collections out too, including my own Tripping The Flash Fantastic.

There was a cryptic clue quiz. I was hopeless at it but I always am at cryptic clues. It was something of a relief that I did get my book title in amongst the mix, plus the two I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of editing for Bridge House this year. (And that really was about my lot!).

There was lovely mix of stories read too and I read Progressing. This was my first winning story for the Waterloo Arts Festival Writing Competition (and is in the new Transformations book too).

All great fun and we are all looking forward to next year’s events! Pics for this one are the Cafelit (BB) mock up, the tunnel one, my anthologies one, and the phone one plus the “sky” one for FLTDBA and TTFF.

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Delighted to share my latest story video on Youtube. This is one of my acrostic flash tales called Autumn. Let’s just say the video is apt for the tale and that no spades were harmed in the making of this story! Hope you enjoy.

 

As well as my own flash collections, I often contribute flash pieces to CafeLit. My Humourless in The Best of CafeLit 9 is one of my most recent and is on the darker side for me. The idea for this piece came to me when I asked one of my favourite writing questions – the old classic “what if”? What if someone had lost their sense of humour due to their job? What could that job be?

Finding a starting point for your stories is crucial and asking the “what if” question is an invaluable place to begin because it should trigger other questions and you will find yourself wanting to know what the answers are. If you can be hooked into finding out the answers, then hopefully a reader will be too.

Other useful starting points include using Kipling’s famous serving men – What, Where, How, Why, When, and Who? Anything that makes you ask questions to find out more about the character and what they’re facing is going to help you plot out the story in more depth.

The tricky bit is in working out what the most relevant points are and focusing only on those. This is why I find flash’s restricted word count useful. It makes me focus and that’s no bad thing.

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It was especially nice to talk to a fellow flash fiction writer, Dawn Knox, for Chandler’s Ford Today last week. Always good to advertise the form and to show what can be done with it.

Flash is a great vehicle for character studies. I find those work best when kept short (as is the case with monologues) and flash fiction is ideal – a match made in writing heaven perhaps.

When I’ve drafted a flash story I ask myself certain questions about it.

  • Does the story make the impact I thought it would before I wrote it?
  • How does the character make me react/feel? (No reaction = character not strong enough = no story).
  • Have I marked up my usual suspects of wasted words ready to take out for the second draft?
  • What phrases have I used that could be fine tuned into creating stronger images for the reader?

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Delighted to see another review come in for Tripping The Flash Fantastic. Many thanks! Reviews really do help authors. Neither do reviews have to be lengthy. I use reviews myself when checking out potential books to read or when I’m wondering whether to try a new grocery product!

Had a fab time at the Bridge House Publishing event this afternoon. It is one of the highlights of my writing year. It was great to see a good turnout too. I did miss the actual getting together (and the splendid authors’ lunch that precedes it!) but I am sure we will make up for that next year!

But the biggest thing about Zoom is making events accessible and it was wonderful to see some of Bridge House’s more far flung authors able to take part in today’s event. When the nightmare of Covid is over, I want to see Zoom continuing. It has been one of the more positive things about this whole year.

Screenshot_2020-12-05 Amazon co uk Customer reviews Tripping the Flash Fantastic

 

Goodreads Author Blog – New For Old?

New for old is a catchphrase from Aladdin of course but is this something that is appropriate for book lovers?

After all I love old books. I love new books. I just love books!

I think it is good to have a balance of old favourites. These are my comfort reads when I need that.

I also like to read new books, especially from contemporary writers. It is good to know what is being put out there now.

One handy side benefit to making writer friends is this does help ensure you do get plenty of contemporary reading in. I take great pleasure from the fact I have shelves which are packed full of fab books written by people I’ve come to know and count as friends. I always look forward to adding to my shelves in that regard. I can’t wait to get back to book events so I can pick up those books signed by said friends in person.

Naturally I’m looking forward to being able to hold some book events of my own in due course.

So have I got books on my Christmas list?

What do you think?!

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Twitter Corner

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New Book, New Anthology, New Zoom Event!

Image Credit:  Pixabay/Pexels.  Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.

Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

Am always pleased to share my Chandler’s Ford Today posts but this one is bound to be a bit special! The title explains all!
I’m so pleased to share three pieces of good news in this week’s post.
My new flash fiction collection, Tripping the Flash Fantastic, is now out. I have two stories in the newly released The Best of Cafelit 9as well.
I am also taking part in a Zoom event with #GillJames and #DawnKentishKnox on 26th September between 3 and 4 pm. The event is FREE but you do need to register. All details for that are in my post and on the link here.
The three of us will be talking about our books and writing related matters and sharing stories so if you love being read to (as I do), then do register and join us! There will be giveaways too.
This will be my first event for Tripping the Flash Fantastic but I am planning a cyberlaunch in October and hope to share details about that soon.
My CFT posts are always a joy to write and to share but this one is special. No prizes for guessing why!

What does good writing do for you?
A tremendous story will take you right into its world so you completely forget about this one. Now there IS a good idea for you right now!
Great writing will move you. It might even make you change your opinion. You will get to see where characters are coming from and that is easy to relate to behaviour we see all around us.
Reading a lot does encourage empathy. If you write as well, you get double the effect here as you have to work out why your characters would act the way they are for the purposes of your story.
You don’t have to like what they do (I frequently don’t with mine!) but you do have to understand. And encouraging understanding has to be a good thing, I think.
Tripping the Flash Fantastic and The Best of Cafelit 9 are now up on my Amazon Author Central page. See https://www.amazon.co.uk/…/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1
That probably counts as my marketing for today!
In case any one is wondering whether it is worth submitting details of new books etc to ALCS (the Authors’ Copyright and Licensing Society), it IS. I had my first modest payment from them earlier this year so yes, at some point this week, I’ll get the two new publications added to the records they hold for me.
I have free membership being a member of the Society of Authors but you can join directly. (Oh and I’m not on commission for ALCS by the way. I’ve forgotten who told me about ALCS but thank you! And I hope this post will encourage someone else to check ALCS out in their turn).

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

I’ll be sharing a couple of stories from Tripping the Flash Fantastic on the Zoom event on Saturday 26th September. I always love reading aloud and being read to so am also looking forward to listening to stories from #gilljames and #dawnkentishknox. See the link below.
The event is free, there will be giveaways too, but you do need to register.
Also bring along questions. Gill, Dawn, and I look forward to seeing you “there”!

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Hope Thursday has proved all right for you. Have placed my book order for The Best of Cafelit 9 and Tripping the Flash Fantastic. So naturally can’t wait for those to arrive! Nothing beats the feeling when you open a box of YOUR books.
Choosing what goes into a collection can be an art form in itself. I like a mixture of moods in my books, as you know. Just as life isn’t all sweetness and light, neither is it all doom and gloom (no matter how much it might feel like that right now!). So I like my stories to reflect that.

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After discussing random noun generators a little while ago, I thought I should take a look to see if there was such a thing as a random adjective generator. Well, you just would, wouldn’t you?
And yes there is!
So further scope here to trigger ideas for flash and short stories.
I chose three adjectives and what came up and the following appeared:-
1. absurd
2. well-groomed
3. wild
Again, you can use the words as a title or a theme. For something like absurd, you could use that to set the mood of the tale.
You could also use this tool to help you flesh out your character(s). Your main character could be absurd, well-groomed (perhaps taking that to the height of absurdity), but wild when they think nobody’s looking.
Your story could then be centred around someone else discovering that wild side to your main character’s chagrin. How would they react to being found out?
Have fun! (And I am always pleased to find more random generators to add to my idea generating list!).

Fairytales With Bite – Realism in Fairytales

The obvious response to that title is to say “what realism”? How can there be realism when a kindly older woman with a pointed stick with a star on it is likely to turn up at any moment to bestow wishes on the downtrodden but deserving characters in the tale? (See Cinderella for more on that!).

For me, the realism in a fairytale is based on character portrayal and also in showing what we are capable of. There is a lot of cruelty in fairytales (again see Cinderella and then there’s poor old Snow White facing the real threat of being murdered). While we should not approve of the wicked stepmother’s wish to kill Snow White the fact her jealousy of the younger woman is so well portrayed means we are not surprised when that jealousy leads to drastic actions. How often have we seen things like that in soap operas, the news etc?).

Fairytales DO shine a light on human behaviour and what we see is far from flattering but it IS truth.

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This World and Others – Exploration

When you set up a world of your own for your stories, do you get your characters to explore it? If so, how do they do it? What transport is available? How easy is travel? What do your characters do to overcome difficulties here?

Readers like to explore fictional worlds. I love reading little details about a world to help me get a proper “picture” of it in my own imagination.

Often those details are given in passing. Two characters are talking and there is a little description of their location. The name of a street can sometimes tell you a fair bit about the setting.

Terry Pratchett was brilliant at this in his Discworld series. I just loved the thought of Peach Pie Street!

Fantasy, of course, has given the world the fictional map and probably the most famous example (well it is to me!) is the one Tolkien created for The Lord of the Rings. But the map has to be useful and it was handy to know where Rohan and Gondor were in relation to one another and to Mordor.

What details do you think your readers will need to know about your fictional world to make sense of it? How can you drip feed these into your story?

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