Character Conversations

Image Credit: All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated.

Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.

Pictures of Lady are by me, Allison Symes.

Image of Val Penny was kindly supplied by her.

Image of me signing a copy of From Light to Dark and Back Again taken by Jennifer C Wilson.

Image of me reading at a Bridge House event was taken by Dawn Knox.

Image of me with Tripping The Flash Fantastic was taken by Adrian Symes (Lady would’ve helped but she has not yet managed cameras!).

And after all that, down to business!


Facebook – General – and Association of Christian Writers – More Than Writers blog – Character Conversations

My turn on the ACW blog today. I talk the talk and ask if you know when your characters SHOULD shut up! See link above for my Character Conversations.

I must admit conversational ping-pong with your characters can be great fun but behind dialogue in fiction, there should be a purpose. There should be a sense of moving the story on.

So I say again, do your characters know when to shut up and talking of which….

Many thanks, everyone, for the great comments on my ACW blog post today about Character Conversations. It is always nice when positive tips are shared in the comments box too!

Am thrilled to say my copies of The Best of Cafelit 9 arrived today. I have two stories in there. Humourless is a flash piece and Green Door is a standard length short story. So good to be between the covers with friends old and new in this one.

Not a bad start to the week then and it is only Tuesday!

 

Appearing on the Christmas Book Hub Facebook Page

Note: I take part in a few selected Facebook groups. A time limited one is the Christmas Book Hub and I have posted about Tripping The Flash Fantastic on there. I thought I’d flag this particular post up for the obvious marketing reasons (!) and to share a little of what I love about writing flash fiction.

Hello, everyone. One thing I love about writing flash fiction is it has to be character led. That in turn means I can set my characters wherever and whenever I want and I do!

Are there Christmas stories in Tripping The Flash Fantastic, my new collection? Oh yes. Re-living The Past and Good To Go are two stories from Santa’s point of view and were great fun to write.

And one of my poetic stories, The Working Man, looks at the Christmas tableau from the viewpoint of a carpenter. Strangely appropriate that!

Tripping the Flash Fantastic Medium


Hope your Monday went well. It was full on puppy party at the park today with Lady having a riotous time with her best buddie, a lovely Rhodesian Ridgeback, and other pals. All went home shattered. Job done!

I’ve written the odd flash tale around dogs (most notably The Magician in Tripping The Flash Fantastic) but mainly getting out and about with Lady is a chance for fresh air and exercise, rather than story inspiration. And that’s fine.

The break away from the desk in itself can help your imagination. Why? Because you are giving yourself time to recharge and that’s important.

Hope you have had a good weekend. As well as the Zoom event yesterday, which was great fun, my box of goodies from a well known print company arrived on the same day.

Now I must admit to still being a big kid when it comes to opening a parcel with my name on it. So what with my copies of Tripping the Flash Fantastic arriving and this box of goodies, I have had a very good week. Whether the postie is pleased about it is another matter!

I’ve also been blogging away (as you do – 😊) and hope to share links to these in due course. Many thanks to all those who will be hosting me and those who’ve hosted me recently. I love hosting people on CFT via various mini-series I’ve written and will continue to write but it is also lovely being the guest. It’s good to be put on the spot with questions!

My main writing tasks for the next few days will be my CFT post, more blogs, and preparing for my cyberlaunch. Am so looking forward to that.
I try, with these things, to ensure they’re the kind of event I would want to go to if I was the guest.

Putting yourself in your readers’/potential readers’ shoes is always a good idea. That tip also helps me with my stories directly as I’m always thinking about what impact I want my characters to have on those who read about them and I write accordingly.

Write with your Ideal Reader in mind is always a good idea. Why? Because one of those Ideal Readers WILL be YOU. You have to like what you write. If you do, others will like it too. By also looking at what other Ideal Readers might like with your writing, it helps you to focus on what matters in your story and cuts the temptation to waffle. And that is always a good thing.

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Had a fabulous afternoon at the Zoom event with #GillJames and #DawnKnox. We talked about our work and shared stories. I read Enough is Enough and The Pink Rose from Tripping the Flash Fantastic.

I also talked about my love of flash fiction, how it can benefit all writers regardless of what they mainly write, and shared a Powerpoint presentation. All good fun!

And it was great to see friends, old and new, here too.

In other news, and thanks to a shared tip earlier today from #PatriciaMOsborne, I’ve now used Booklinker net to create shorter links for my two books, From Light to Dark and Back Again, and Tripping the Flash Fantastic. Mind you, I think for my next book, I will have to come up with a shorter book title given only 22 characters are allowed! 😆😆

Still this gives me a chance to show my nice new short link for TTFF off! See http://mybook.to/TrippingFlashFantastic

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again


Hope your Tuesday went okay. Not bad here. Am busy prepping for blogs I’ll be appearing on fairly soon and also for the launch of course. Plenty to do on my To Do list but am working my way through.

The positive thing about marketing is that it is ongoing and not everything has to be done at once. Not everything can be done at once anyway, which is why working out what you want to do here and “making a plan” so you get it done is a good idea. (Well, it works for me, and naturally I’ve learned from the launch of From Light to Dark and Back Again).

I know marketing does not come naturally to many writers, including me, but working out what you would enjoy doing helps. I love blogging so that is a natural route for me to go. (And material you prep for these things, if it is not all used in the blogs, can always be recycled for use on your website etc).

Delighted to have my copies of The Best of Cafelit 9 reach me today. I have two stories in there. Humourless is a flash piece but Green Door is a standard length short story.

My longer term projects are on the back burner for the moment but I will return to those in due course. And I do have plans for further flash collections as well so plenty to keep the old imagination going for some time to come!

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Delighted to share part of a review for Tripping The Flash Fantastic from Scottish crime writer, Val Penny.

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The Review

Tripping the Light Fantastic is a special little book, the right size to keep in a pocket or a hand bag with stories and poems to entertain while on a bus trip, train journey or just relaxing with a cup of tea.

There are various examples of flash fiction. I had not realised that poems could be considered to be flash fiction until I read this book. The book contains some very short stories with good twists in the tales, longer pieces (still under 1000 words) including Symes’ trademark fairy tales and several neat poems. Tripping the Light Fantastic is varied, clever and entertaining. I highly recommend it to readers of all age groups.

See the full post at https://bookreviewstoday.info/2020/09/24/tripping-the-light-fantastic-by-allison-symes/ and many thanks, Val!


How do I flesh out a character for my flash fiction? Physical appearance doesn’t usually matter for me (though there is an exception in Tripping the Flash Fantastic where one of my characters can change into something very unusual indeed).

I’ve mentioned before that I look for the major traits. I should add I look for the positive and negative ones of these. I look at what these traits could lead to and often by the time I’ve finished doing that, story ideas are coming to me and it is then a question of working out which would be the strongest and most likely to work.

I then write the story! I guess I like a framework in place. I know that doesn’t work for everyone but when you find something that works for you, then play to the strengths of that.

 

It was great to see everyone at this afternoon’s Zoom author event with #GillJames and #dawnkentishknox. It was lovely reading stories from Tripping The Flash Fantastic for the first time too. I read The Pink Rose, also talking a little about how I came to write this one, and Enough is Enough (which I think anyone who has ever dieted would sympathise with!). All great fun.

I think the most important thing to remember when you’re reading work aloud is to slow yourself down. You’re less likely to trip over your own words doing that. (Oh and if you ever needed a reason not to give your characters complicated names, let the thought of reading them out loud be the reason! It is reason enough!).😆😆

Picture below of me reading at the Bridge House event late last year was taken by Dawn Knox and it was great to hear a story from her collection Extraordinary today too. I love being read to just as much as I love reading my own work! And that’s how it should be. The pleasure from stories is very much a two-way thing.

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Dawn Knox

Dawn Kentish Knox. Image kindly supplied by Dawn.

Goodreads Author Blog Reading Aloud –

I had the great joy of reading two stories from my new book, Tripping the Flash Fantastic, today. I chose The Pink Rose and Enough Is Enough. One is a moving tribute to someone special to me and the other is a wry tale about someone who changes her life and gets her own back on those who humilated her.

I love listening to stories and it was great to hear stories from Dawn Knox and Gill James too at this online event.

There is something so soothing, I think, in being read to like this. And, of course, from a writer’s viewpoint, you get to hear the rhythm of dialogue from other people’s stories and you can of course learn from that for your own work.

I loved being read to when I was a kid and later, on becoming a mum, loved reading to my son. The first novel I read to him was Kenneth Graeme’s The Wind in the Willows. Yes, it went down very well with all of us!

Do you remember which book you cherished having read to you when you were a kid? Equally, what was your favourite book to read out loud to your children?

I see storytime like this (and this afternoon’s event was kind of like a storytime for adults I thought) as so important. In our current situation with the pandemic, the joy of stories and books and being read to cannot be lauded loud enough I feel.

Preparing An (Online) Party

Image Credit:  Pixabay/Pexels unless stated. Book cover image from Chapeltown Books.

Image of Val Penny giving a wonderful talk at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School kindly provided by her and used in previous CFT posts.

Images of Gill James and Dawn Knox also provided by them respectively and again used in CFT posts.

Many thanks also to Penny Blackburn for her picture of me reading at the 2019 Open Prose Mic Night at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School.

Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

Many thanks to everyone who has already reviewed Tripping the Flash Fantastic and/or has shown support for my cyberlaunch. Very much appreciated. (Further down I share a link to a wonderful review on Val Penny’s Book Review Blog and I hope to share further reviews in due course).

No prizes for guessing why I wrote this piece for CFT this week! See link below (and I do like the way this aspect of the new WordPress works).

My CFT post this week is all about that launch with all relevant details included, BUT I also go on to talk about the advantages of this kind of event. I also share some thoughts on how people can support their writer friends. Hope you enjoy.

Preparing An (Online) Party

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Also, just a quick reminder about the author event I am taking part in tomorrow afternoon, with Gill James and Dawn Kentish Knox. Would be good to see you “there”!

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It has been a good day. Delighted to get off in the post copies of Tripping the Flash Fantastic to someone I know who has been waiting for the book to come out almost as much as I have! So first sales – yippee!

Did I mind going round to the Post Office in a mask for that one? Not a bit! (Got a sneaky bit of advertising in while I was there too. You know how they always ask you what is in the parcel…. well I told them!).😆😆

Also delighted to see the latest review for Tripping the Flash Fantastic is now up on Val Penny’s Book Review Blog. Many thanks, Val. (It is particularly nice to see the covers for both of my books forming part of this review).

My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week will be about my cyberlaunch for Tripping the Flash Fantastic. All the necessary details will be there but I’ll also be sharing thoughts on the advantages of having launches this way.

There are several advantages (and not just for the writer either. Events like this can be huge fun for the audience and I love attending the ones my writer pals hold for this reason. A good event should be entertaining. The idea is to engage with an audience and, yes, hopefully generate book sales but engaging with the audience is SO important. The event has to be fun for them as well as for you.).

I’ll also discuss how readers can make a huge difference in supporting their writer friends holding this kind of event. Link up on Friday.

And just a quick reminder that #GillJames and #DawnKentishKnox and I will be on Zoom this coming Saturday between 3 and 4 pm discussing our works. There will be stories. There will be giveaways. Hope to see you at both events! Should be fun!

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

For both the author event I’m involved with tomorrow and my cyberlaunch on 10th October, I am particularly looking forward to is reading out some of my flash fiction. Flash works excellently for this kind of thing as it is short and to the point and I’ve always loved being read to! Hope you enjoy that too.

I read work out loud regularly as it helps me to literally hear how the story flows. If I trip over words while reading, then I know readers will, so I can correct that. I sometimes record and play back too (usually for longer pieces) and that is also helpful.

Have a lovely time with your reading and/or writing this weekend!



I’ve mentioned before that flash, despite the word count limit, has more flexibility than you might think. Not only can you vary the word count you choose to write to (up to 1000 maximum of course), you can vary the genre of flash story you write.

In both FLTDBA and now Tripping the Flash Fantastic, I have deliberately exploited that. I’ve written crime tales, historical ones, fantasy ones, and so on. I’ve also varied the format of my flash tales. In TTFF there are stories told in poetic form. I’m working on linked flash stories for what I hope will end up being my third collection eventually.

I like to mix up the way I approach a flash story because it keeps things interesting for me and it makes me “up my game”. It’s not a bad thing for a writer to be kept on their toes. Indeed I’ve found it helps my flex my imaginative “muscles” and the more you use those, the more you find you CAN use them.

That is one reason to write regularly. Naturally you need to read regularly too to help feed that imaginative muscle too. We are all inspired by the stories that have come before us. It would be nice to think later others will be inspired by the stories we’re writing now.

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I love that moment when I know I’ve got a character “set” and ready to go. It means I know what makes them tick and, whether I then put them into a funny story or a darker one, I know they will “rise to the occasion”.

For me, a story of whatever length is always about the character. It’s their story. It is them I want to find out about. (Mind you, I am a curious soul like that!).

That doesn’t mean plot is irrelevant. Far from it but you do have to have a “cast” who can get the most out of the plot you devise for them.

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Fairytales With Bite – Magic in Words

A good story has a magic all of its own. It will make you forget the cares of this world for a while and take you into the created world the writer has set up for you. This is why a story that is written “just” for entertainment should not be looked down on in my view. Helping people escape for a while through stories is a wonderful thing to do. And stories inspire people, which is another reason to love tales of all kinds.

So there is magic in the words we write then but for me, as you know, it is all down to the character. They have got to draw you in and one of my favourite ways of doing this is to ensure a reader HAS to find out something about said character.

That can mean showing the reader a character’s obvious flaw and the hook here is to see what that flaw does to that character during the story. If my character is a bossy boots, how does that flaw get in their way to achieving their objective? Does the character realise the need to change and how do they do it? There is the story. A reader has got to be curious enough to want to read on. So always think about what your hook is going to be. (And that’s a good marketing tip too!).

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This World and Others – Advantages of Using An Alien Setting

A number of my flash stories in From Light to Dark and Back Again and Tripping the Flash Fantastic involve alien worlds to a certain extent. Due to the restricted word count with flash, I can’t show a lot of the settings, but I can imply such an alien world in few well chosen words.

For example in my story, Job Vacancy, I start with the words “Wanted: Wizard’s Assistant”. Now that tells you immediately, the story has to be set in a magical world and your imagination can conjure up (pun intended!) what that might look like while I get on and show you the rest of the wizard’s job advert!

In The Terrified Dragon in TTFF, I have arranged things so said terrified dragon is surrounded by angry humans right at the start of the story. Now that means this story could be set on an Alternative Earth where dragons existed. Or we go right back in time right here on the planet we know and love where dragons could have existed. I leave that to the reader decide while I again get on and show you what happens to the dragon.

With alien settings which are either directly spelled out or implied, that gives me freedom to suspend some rules. If my story is not set here but on some strange planet at the back of beyond, then maybe that is a place where gravity doesn’t exist or the sky is coloured British Racing Green. People accept all of that and more as long as it is clear from the outset that the world is alien to what we know and, as a writer, I can have a lot of fun with that.

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And once again, thanks to Val Penny for a fab review of Tripping the Flash Fantastic.  See screenshot for more.

Screenshot_2020-09-25 Tripping the Flash Fantastic eBook Symes, Allison Amazon co uk Kindle Store

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Cyberlaunch News – Tripping The Flash Fantastic

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.
 
And as a bonus, I’m sharing again here the video I made for the Waterloo Festival where there is a further extract from Books and the Barbarians.
 
– Allison Symes – Waterloo Festival 2020 video.
 
Screenshot_2020-09-19 Author Dashboard
So thrilled at the first two reviews for Tripping The Flash Fantastic. A lovely way to go into the coming week.
 
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!
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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!
 
Hope to see you there.
 

Screenshot_2020-09-22 (2) Tripping The Flash Fantastic Cyberlaunch Events Facebook(1)

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!).😀

One very happy author

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.
 
My first published flash story was A Study in Magic on Cafelit back in 2013. See http://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/…/A%20Study…
 
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!).

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”!
What is my favourite kind of character?
 
I like one who can stand up for themselves.
 
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.

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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…
 
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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.

Goodreads Author Blog – Reading While Travelling

Can you read while you travel?

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.

So what do you read when you travel and why?

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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Welcome to Tripping The Flash Fantastic

Facebook – General

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).
 
whats-your-story
 
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.
2. Editing
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!

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Goodreads Author Blog – Audio Books

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.

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