Allison Symes shares her Facebook author page blogs, her website posts and Chandler's Ford Today magazine articles with links. She also blogs about her writing journey and shares thoughts and hints on flash fiction.
Image Credit: Pixabay/Pexels unless stated. Book cover images for Tripping the Flash Fantastic by Chapeltown Books. Picture of very happy author by said author’s husband! Screenshot by Allison Symes
Facebook – General
Goodreads profile and Amazon Author Central pages updated. See Goodreads screenshot.
(The books shown are the most recent for me except Alternative Renditions which is where I had my first story published, A Helping Hand, way back in 2009. Is it me or does that seem like a world away now?! That Bridge House anthology will always have a special place in my heart! You always remember your first time as they say….!!).
Also delighted to share here an interview Gill James has put up on her Goodreads page with yours truly. I chat about the Waterloo Festival Writing Competition held earlier this year AND there is an excerpt from my winning story, Books and the Barbarians. Hope you enjoy and many thanks to Gill.
Am hoping to share news of my cyberlaunch later on in the week PLUS am looking forward to taking part in the event on Saturday with Gill James and
Dawn Kentish Knox. Will re-share the link during the week. Have also decided to share it further down the page.
Now waiting with eager anticipation for MY order of the book to come in. You don’t lose the buzz of opening a box to discover your creation inside it! You don’t WANT to lose the buzz etc…
I only wish I could bottle that feeling for those days when you feel the world IS out to get you and we all get days like that…
Hope the week proves to be a good one!
Facebook – General –and Cyberlaunch News
Two pieces of news tonight. Firstly, I’m thrilled at another lovely review for Tripping the Flash Fantastic.
My reviewer singled out two particular stories – The Cake Bake and The Pink Rose and the latter is one of my favourites. It is also a tribute to someone special and I hope to be talking more about this during my cyberlaunch.
Talking of which, the second piece of news is I now have set up an online event for Tripping the Flash Fantastic.
Date: Saturday 10th October 2020
Time: 7 pm to 9.30 pm
Venue: Wherever you are with your laptop, phone, I-Pad etc!
And naturally it was time for the first picture and post to go up on the discussion page on the TTFF events page.
The first post had to be this one really. The moment every writer lives for I think. (Apologies for the hair – I swear sometimes it has a life of its own. Hmm… there’s a story in that somewhere!).
As you may well have seen from my first post on the TTFF cyberlaunch page earlier (see above!), I received my copies of the book today. Such a wonderful moment.
But a lot of work goes into that moment, both from the writer’s and publisher’s end of things. So is it important to cherish the special moments? Oh yes.
The writer’s life is full of ups and downs and you do get used to that. You become more resilient too, which is no bad thing. But I’ve found you appreciate the special moments more too and that is also good.
I’ve come a long way since then and that is exactly how it should be.
Writing is good for you precisely because it encourages you to keep pushing yourself and, even when you have found the exact genre you want to write in for ever and ever amen, you still want to be improving on what you do all the time.
Well. that’s how it has been for me to date and I hope that continues for a very long time. (For once, I’ve found a justified reason to use the word “very”. Very is one of my usual suspects of wasted words which usually are cut out!).
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.
I love humorous characters who can laugh at themselves as well as at the situations they find themselves in and, even more so, when the trouble they’re in is of their own making.
I like a character to have some “fire in their belly” (which is why I can’t get on with Jane Austen’s heroine in Mansfield Park – far too wishy-washy for me. Elizabeth Bennet is a very different matter!).
I like characters who show me something of themselves and can still surprise me. I always appreciate wit and irony.
I like characters who know right from wrong and don’t tolerate evil. It’s why I’ve always been a huge fan of the fairytales, I guess.
Having said that, I can and do have a soft spot for a villain if I can see why they are the way they are. I don’t like villainy for its own sake. There has to be “just cause” behind it even if it is only just to the villain.
Sent off book order for Tripping the Flash Fantastic –
Sent off order to well known print company for various goodies.
First reviews in for TTFF.
Delighted I’ve found the tick emoji, finally!
I will be reading a couple of my stories from my new book at the event on Saturday. Gill James and Dawn Kentish Knox will be sharing from their work too.
Looking forward to reading a couple of selections from mine and listening to what Gill and Dawn share. Will put the link up again later in the week. Is available now further up the page!
One joy in the book production process when working with an indie press is in working out what the book cover should be with my publisher. There IS an art in getting the image right.
Appropriately for a flash collection, I wanted an image that would conjure up the essence of my book in one picture. It took a while for both of my books to get this exactly right but it was so worth it.
Both FLTDBA and TTFF have covers I will always be proud of. Why does that matter? Well, firstly as a writer, you do have to like your own books. If you don’t, why should anyone else? Also you will be promoting so you should be proud of the product!
A book’s cover should entice you into reading it after all. It is the first advert for the book. And not every big name author has been pleased with the covers they’ve had for theirs. One of my favourite quotes from P.G. Wodehouse said “God may forgive …………………. for the cover of …………….. but I never shall!”. Hmm…
Delighted to see this on the Waterstones site. Looking forward to seeing Tripping the Flash Fantastic on there too in due course!
Flash fiction can be set in any setting you choose but don’t forget you can also go forwards and backwards in time too. I’ve done this in Tripping the Flash Fantastic but will be doing more of this in my follow-up to that. (Yes, I’m working on a third collection though naturally that has to go on the back burner for the moment).
The important thing is to have fun with what you write. You are your own first reader. If you enjoy it, it is highly likely others will.
And, later, when it comes to promoting your work, it will be a joy to do because you yourself like what you have written. That is SO important because promoting IS hard work so you really do need to enjoy what you choose to do here.
And the support of other writer friends helps SO much. Thanks, everyone!
One of the joys of flash is having to continually invent characters. I’ve always loved that aspect of fiction writing so win-win here for yours truly.
It is, I think, behaviour under a specific set of circumstances (i.e. the story) that fascinates me. There is a lot of psychology behind writing and most of it subconcious to the writer!
The themes that fascinate us most will come out in our writing. And with flash that can be intense as you are shining a spotlight on one single moment in a character’s life.
I use the What If question a lot when working out my characters and stories? It’s a useful place to start.
I never used to be able to do so when a kid. I was lucky enough never to feel travel sick but reading while a car was moving just felt odd and so I didn’t bother! Why make myself feel odd when I could just look out of the window and play I-Spy or Pub Cricket? Also, we tended to listen to music a lot while going to see family etc and, while I can write with classical on, I prefer to read in silence and always have done.
These days, reading while travelling (when possible!) is less of a problem but I tend to stick to using the Kindle for this. That is partly convenience – one device, loads of books to choose from! I’ve always liked that about the Kindle.
I tend to read light works when out and about. I like to save the murder stories etc for when I’ve got to my destination. Oh and magazines. I can manage the odd one of those while travelling. I often catch up on Writing Magazine articles this way.
Well all good things must come to an end and I am now travelling home. Fantastic tour of Scotland on the way, mind you. (As at 12th September!)
Am looking forward to holding a cyberlaunch for Tripping The Flash Fantastic. Will post about that separately. Am looking forward to taking part in author event with Gill James and Dawn Kentish Knox later this month. Next few weeks will be busy, busy, busy but all in a good way.
As you can imagine, I’m thrilled to have two published books to my name and hope there will be more in due course.
Naturally I am proud of the anthologies my work appears in too.
Did I have any idea any of this would happen when I started out as a writer? Of course not. The writing journey is a rollercoaster ride and I can’t tell you how many rejections I’ve had. I gave up counting to be honest.
What I do know is not giving up and being open to trying different forms of writing worked for me. There is no Use By Date here either so hope these things continue to work for me.
Many thanks, everyone, for your kind words, likes etc., since I announced the “arrival” of Tripping the Flash Fantastic.
I look forward to sharing news of a cyberlaunch in due course but the first event will be the 26th September one where I will be talking about the book and sharing some stories from it.
I also look forward to hearing what #GillJames and #DawnKentishKnox have to share. Do join the three of us from 3 to 4 pm on 26th September. I will be posting about this on Chandler’s Ford Today later this week and all details for how to register etc will be on that.
Oh and you can get a flavour of TTFF if you pop across to Amazon and use the Look Inside feature. (See link below and above).
Have started the process of updating pages like this one (my Facebook author page) with my book cover image for Tripping the Flash Fantastic. Thought I’d include a couple of images where I’ve been reading from From Light to Dark and Back Again. (I do LOVE the Chapeltown frames. Do check the entire series out incidentally. The books are a real eclectic mix but that frame makes them stand out as far as I’m concerned).
Many thanks to #PennyBlackburn for the one of me reading at Swanwick (I’m behind the stand for that one). Also thanks to #DawnKentishKnox for the one taken of me reading at a Bridge House Publishing event.
A big thanks to my other half for the picture of me with published works, though he is going to have to redo it! (Am hopeless at selfies to be honest). All part of the marketing though.
Have started the process of catching up with everything after a holiday. I need a fortnight I think..!
Just a quick post to say I’d contacted Amazon to update my Author Central page and they did so within 24 hours.
Hope your Tuesday has proved to be okay. Very warm in Hampshire. Coming back from Scotland at the weekend, well it does seem like someone has turned up the thermostat in Hampshire! (It’s either that or I’m having more hot flushes than I realised!).
Writing plans at the moment are focused on getting ready for the Zoom event and my cyberlaunch for Tripping the Flash Fantastic, plus of course my CFT posts and other blogs I write for.
Am looking forward to getting some goodies prepared with my book cover on so will no doubt be spending some time on a certain well known company’s website at the weekend, working out what I’d like to get in! I loved this aspect of things for From Light to Dark and Back Again.
How long does it take to get a collection together? For me, it is about 18 months. That is partly due to the fact I like to have a couple of writing projects on the go so therefore a collection is bound to take a bit longer to put together.
The advantage of this approach though is I am blogging in different places, entering competitions, revamping earlier stories and submitting them and it makes my writing life beautifully varied and interesting.
I’m also taking part in blogs and interviewing authors especially for CFT and I do see posting my blogs as part of my overall marketing. It gets my name out there and I hope the blogs prove to be useful and interesting. I love reading a well crafted blog myself and always learn plenty from them. I do limit how many I read though otherwise I wouldn’t get any writing done!
Facebook –From Light to Dark and Back Again
The journey home from Scotland is a lovely scenic tour and I love glimpses into the places I pass by. What will I miss most on going home? The gorgeous views around where I was staying.
What would your characters miss most if you took that away from them?
If another character tries to take that away, what would your lead character do to stop them? What revenge is your character capable of?
Plenty of story ideas there!
You would be right if you thought I might be a tad excited about TTFF coming out! But on to other issues as there is a question I’d like to put to you, yes you.
Quick survey. Which do you like LEAST about the writing process?
1. Getting the first draft down.
One thing I try to avoid with my flash fiction is in writing “the same old”. This is why I like setting my tales in different worlds, time periods etc., and to use varying genres for the stories themselves.
There is so much variety in writing historical flash fiction, crime flash, horror flash, funny flash etc. The other advantage of this is it means I’m never going to be short of something to write!
I like to think of my books as “selection boxes” of stories. Who doesn’t like a selection box from time to time?! I often read flash and short story collections in between reading novels. By the time I’ve finished reading a collection, I know what genre of novel I want to read next!
Hope you like the change of picture at the top of this page! (My Facebook book page). With a new book out there is plenty to do but the good news is it doesn’t all have to be done at once. I am planning to share a couple of stories from Tripping the Flash Fantastic at the Zoom event on 26th September. Look out for my CFT post on Friday which will give more information and the link for this.
I love opportunities to read my stories aloud so am so looking forward to this event. And I am looking forward to hearing what fellow authors, Gill James and Dawn Kentish Knox, will share with us too.
The challenge of flash fiction writing doesn’t diminish. You have to think of new characters all the time and work out what to do with them. You get through characters very quickly. But that is all part of the fun for me. Inventing new people was always the big draw for story writing for me so win-win here!
Audio books come into their own for long car journeys. It has been a joy to re-listen to Raising Steam and Snuff from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series on my way home from Scotland. Hope to listen to his Reaper Man later too.
And it is lovely to be read to as well. From a writing viewpoint, I get to hear how dialogue works. And I can always learn from that.
What are your favourite audio books? Do you prefer the book in audio or in print? What makes a book work for you in audio?
For me it has to be the way the narrator brings the characters to life. A good narrator makes all the difference.