Archives for posts with tag: Writing

Hi all:

Yes, I keep on writing, and as promised, I’ve been having a look at old posts. And this time I decided to go back to the very beginning.

My first post was on the 16th of October 2012 and I called it ‘Trying to Blog’. Bless!

Here I repost it, with some clarifications and a bit of embellishment (I don’t think I had worked out the use of bold in the blog). I also decided to add a picture…because it’s pretty.

Here it goes, traveling back in time to 16th October 2012 (Ah, don’t miss a special invitation at the very end):

Hi all:

I’m Olga and although I’ve been writing (and reading) since I was a child, I’ve never focused on it. There have always been other things, like studying Medicine, then Psychiatry, then working…Every so often I take one of those life-changing decisions. I’m never quite sure if they’re due to tiredness or desperation, or a mixture of the two. Do you know that strong feeling that you should be doing something else or that there must be more to life? I came to the UK after trying unsuccessfully to find a job as a doctor back home (Barcelona). I’m not very patient and I tend to give myself time-limits. ‘If such and such hasn’t happened in…a month, a year, 3 years…it’s time to move on. In the case of the job (or an exam to get a job) 3 years was my limit. And after some years training and working in psychiatry one good day I reflected that there were many other things that I really enjoyed (literature in particular). I always thought I might go back to university after retiring and study, but that particular day I thought: ‘what am I waiting for?    What if I could make a living out of teaching at university or found some other job related to it? Let’s try it now.’ I loved the degree (American Literature at Sussex University), including the year abroad (Mount Holyoke) to the point that I stayed a further 3 years and completed a PhD (the Films of David Mamet). No jobs came my way, and tired of working as a locum psychiatrist after over a year I decided to find a full time permanent job (yes, I know, not many of them these days) in psychiatry. Because I had worked in forensic psychiatry before and I found the dealings with the criminal justice system particularly interested those are the jobs I’ve done since. (Since publishing this post I had another one of those moments and I left my job in March this year. Now I’m writing, translating and exploring other avenues. Read this post for more details.)

Wonderful creations by Lietta Cavalli exhibited at the Museum of Costumes in Florence's Palazzo Pitti. I love the owls!

Wonderful creations by Lietta Cavalli exhibited at the Museum of Costumes in Florence’s Palazzo Pitti. I love the owls!

After a health scare this year (thankfully only a scare, now three years back and no further developments) I again came to one of those turning points on the road when you realise all those things you’re saving to do some time in the future might be left undone. Carpe diem! Let’s try to see if my writing can come to anything.

I’ve been reading a lot about self-publishing and realise that although technically pretty easy, just getting your book out there isn’t enough and you have to convince somebody to read it (and not only your Mum. By the way, although my mother doesn’t understand the technical aspects of it, she’s very enthusiastic. She’s always been of the opinion that anything that makes me happy must be good. If only…). So social networking and social media are the word. And there we are…trying. I have  webpage (another attempt…it will change I hope), a facebook page (not quite used to the concept) a Twitter account (I quite like twitter although it is difficult to strike the balance of spending enough time there but not letting it take over your whole life. Maybe it will get better with time), and now…I was missing the blog.

I’m not sure what I’ll be writing about but if I find anything that I find interesting or useful, I’ll bring it here. I also intend to post how my adventure on self-publishing is going.

Several people have suggested that I might be able to advice on psychiatric matters (I don’t mean treating people or giving consultations, but rather on a creative capacity). Do ask if you want to run ideas by me. I’ll try and answer if I have a useful answer (or can signpost).

And I’ll try and not talk about the weather.

I intend to also blog in Spanish, so that is still to come.

Thanks and feel free to contact me via Facebook or Twitter also.

Good luck and be good!

And more of her dresses!

And more of her dresses!

And as promised, the invitation. Sally Ember is interviewing me live tomorrow at 10 am Eastern US Time. I know not everybody might be able to catch it live, but she’s also kindly posting the interview in You Tube, so you might be able to listen to it at a more convenient time and date.

Here I leave you the Promo Post that has all the information:

Welcome to Episode 13 of *CHANGES* G+ HOA with another intriguing author, Olga Nuñez Miret, Ph.D., who also blogs and reviews bilingually in English and Spanish.  Join us LIVE https://plus.google.com/events/cc1tgg69iabjof2d4otgeh2c244 on Wednesday, November 19, 10 – 11 EST USA , or catch our conversation any time on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7PX-lwvbRA.

Explore Olga’s website at http://www.OlgaNM.com

 

Thank  you for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment, and if you can, listen to the interview. Ah, and I’ve won NaNoWriMo (although I can’t claim it officially yet). I’m over 50000 words! 

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Hi all:

I decided I should share some of the blogs I follow and read regularly (as much as I can) for a couple of reasons. One is because I’m a bit in flux at the moment and as I wasn’t sure how much new content I could provide, I thought it was only fair to share the content of some of the blogs I come back to regularly so you would have  a chance to go exploring. Another reason is that every now and then I get offered some award for blogging, and as I decided some time ago to concentrate on the writing, I don’t follow through. A fellow blogger (more about her later) when she gets offered and award, she shares some of the blogs she follows and finds inspiring, and I thought that was a very good idea. So, thank you Teagan!

I follow many more blogs and I read as many as I can, but I thought I’d leave you a selection of a few (more next week) by topic. I hope this would become a feature and I’ll bring you updates regularly.

Image courtesy of Dominic Harness / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Dominic Harness / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today I thought I’d share some of the blogs that offer good information on all aspects of writing, and some that are by writers who talk about their trade, but also about their lives and other equally (or to my mind sometimes much more) fascinating themes.

Seumas Gallacher:

http://seumasgallacher.com/

This Scotsman now living in warmer and drier climates, has a unique style of interaction and loves social networking (you have to read him to know what I mean. I won’t try and imitate his style). He is amusing, provides useful information, and his approach proves that being unique and genial are strong assets in this world of blandness and copycats. Go on and check him out!

Daily Writing Tips (Maeve Maddox):

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/

Not being a native English speaker, I’m always trying to check my language and looking for tips, suggestions and good explanations. Maeve’s post never fail to teach me something new, and they’re always well thought and researched. A great resource!

Communicate Resources for Writers (Cate Artios)

http://cateartios.wordpress.com/

I know Cate through one of the writers’ groups I belong too, and we belong to the same Tribe in Triberr, so we share each other posts regularly. I enjoy the posts of all of my colleagues, but I’ve found Cate’s posts again a great resource and a mine of information. Cate creates her own posts and she’s always prompt to reblog and share posts she thinks will help others. Thanks Cate!

Sandy Appleyard (Author of hopeful memoirs and fiction)

http://www.sandyappleyard.com/

I’ve been following Sandy’s post for a while. She always manages to discover a new way to promote your books and increase visibility, and she’s always generous in passing the information on and offering help if you have difficulties. Now I’ve joined a group she’s created in Facebook and I’m sure there’s plenty more learning to come!

The Creative Penn (Joanna Penn):

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/

Joanna Penn and ‘The Creative Penn’ are well-known for their efforts in informing writers about resources, technology, programmes, training opportunities, and bringing innovators to her blog. I can’t imagine there are many people who haven’t come across her yet, but just in case somebody has been asleep for a while, I thought I’d mention her.

Teagan’s Books (Teagan Geneviene):

http://teagansbooks.wordpress.com/

Teagan’s blog, like many blogs of writers (I guess including mine) are a bit of a mix. Sometimes we all like to feel that it is our blog and therefore we’ll write about what we like, and if somebody likes it, all the better. But what I love about Teagan’s Books is the writing. Teagan is committed to writing a new piece (instalment) every week, and she takes to writing challenges like duck to water. I only discovered Teagan recently (although it feels as if we were close friends already) but I’m glued to her series of the three ingredients, where she’s writing a story set in the 1920s incorporating 3 food ingredients every week (these are provided by friends and other bloggers). She’s done other writing assignments before and I hope to be able to catch up with them soon. And don’t miss the care she takes in finding great period images for her posts (and of course, the recipes)! Go Teagan!

The next three blogs are by writers about writing also, but to me they have a bit of a more personal style.

Laurie Smith’s blog:

http://laurie27wsmith.wordpress.com/

Laurie Smith is a man who seems to have lived many lives in one. I love his Army series, that includes pictures of the period (oh, the pink tank!), his Wednesday offerings (usually great pictures and kangaroos and wallabies for good measure), and recently he’s talking about his experiences as a medium. If you want variety, Laurie is your man!

Barsetshire Diaries (David Prosser):

http://barsetshirediaries.wordpress.com/

Lord David Prosser (as his close friends call him), follows a diary style for his blogs. He writes his daily happenings and posts on a Sunday. Over time I’ve become fond of Reuben (grandchildren always a plus, and he’s gorgeous), his fishes, his brother (what time will he get up today?), the people at the eateries he visits, and the never ending stream of e-mails and posts that keep him glued to his computer (unfortunately my posts are part of the problem). He’s recently published a children’s book with illustrations and he’s a generous and thoughtful blogger, who will add mid-week posts if some good cause comes his way. He’s also become part of my family of bloggers.

Ailsa Abraham:

http://ailsaabraham.com/

I’d love to remember who alerted me to Ailsa’s posts (I think it might have been Seumas, who’s always prompt at reblogging posts he enjoys) but I read one where she was talking about trying to cope with her stroke in such a humorous way that I kept telling everybody I met about it. Ailsa is a writer, now living in France, and she has a fantastic sense of humour. She’s trying her hand at poetry and I cannot recommend her blog enough. Go and visit! You’ll feel better for it!

Thanks to all the bloggers for participating (without their knowledge but I hope they won’t mind), thank you for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and if you have, please like, share, comment, and especially CLICK and FOLLOW!

Hi all:

As I’ve been doing recently I share today two recent works by a guest author that you should follow. S. R. Mallery is a writer I met through one of the groups of writers I belong to and must admit I was fascinated by the title of one of her works. Now that I’ve read it (and I include the review in this post), the title reflects well the inventiveness, breadth and quality of the work. And, as a special surprise, the author is running a giveaway of Sewing Can Be Dangerous… in Goodread, so I leave you the link (you only have time until the 12th April, so don’t waste any time!)

But let’s the books talk for themselves.

Unexpected gifst by S. R. Mallery

Unexpected gifts 3

Can we learn from our ancestral past? Do our relatives behaviors help mold our own? In Unexpected Gifts, that is precisely what happens to Sonia, a confused college student, forever choosing the wrong man. Searching for answers, she begins to read her family’s diaries and journals from America’s past: the Vietnam War, Woodstock, and Timothy Leary era; Tupperware parties, McCarthyism, and Black Power; the Great Depression, dance marathons, and Eleanor Roosevelt; the immigrant experience and the Suffragists. Back and forth the book journeys weaving yesteryear with modern life until finally, she gains enough clarity to make the right choices.

E-book edition:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GU0T3G6/

In paper:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0988954206/

Sewing Can Be Dangerous by SR Mallery

Sewing Can Be Dangerous by SR Mallery

Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads

The eleven long short stories in “Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads combine history, mystery, action and/or romance, and range from drug trafficking using Guatemalan hand-woven wallets, to an Antebellum U. S. slave using codes in her quilts as a message system to freedom; from an ex-journalist and her Hopi Indian maid solving a cold case together involving Katchina spirits, to a couple hiding Christian passports in a comforter in Nazi Germany; from a wedding quilt curse dating back to the Salem Witchcraft trials, to a mystery involving a young seamstress in the infamous Triangle Shirt Factory fire; from a 1980’s Romeo and Juliet romance between a rising Wall Street financial ‘star’ and an eclectic fiber artist, to a Haight-Asbury love affair between a professor and a beautiful macramé artist gone horribly askew, just to name a few.

 

E-book:

http://amzn.to/1P8TOyo

In paper:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0989310574/

And the GIVEAWAY:

https://www.goodreads.com/event/show/921367-book-giveaway-2-print-copies—s-r-mallery-s-sewing-can-be-danger

And my review of Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads

Women, sewing, history and storytelling.

Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads by S. R. Mallery is an extraordinary collection of 11 short stories with a common ‘thread’, sewing and allied crafts. The stories have an incredible breadth, not only because of the variety of the plots (and they are all very different) but also because of their well-researched and vivid historical settings, and their diverse genres. We go from immigrants in early XX century America, to the slavery period, from mid-Western pioneers, to the Salem witch trials, from the Zodiac serial killer in San Francisco, to a quilting teacher turned sleuth in a cruise, from the Germany of the Nazi era to modern time Native American reservations and everywhere in between. I’m not an expert in quilting (although I’ve always wanted to learn, now even more after reading the book) but this book is a quilt of stories, where each piece and patch brings its own memories to create a complex design, not a crazy quilt but something more than the sum of its parts.

At the heart of the stories are the women, who might use their skills to make a living, to survive and create a better future for those they look after, to express their artistry, to pass on cultural and spiritual traditions, to get revenge, to escape, to fight… Because it’s not only the big gestures that make the society we live in, but each small stich is a piece of the puzzle that is life.

S. R. Mallery brings to life a fantastic array of characters and recreates vividly the historical periods where the stories are set. The reader gets dragged into the moment and shares with the protagonists their unique experiences. If I had to choose one I’d go with ‘Precious Gifts’ that I loved and took me completely by surprise.

I recommend this collection to everybody, whichever your genre of preference, no matter if you like sewing or not. Go and read it. You’ll be amazed and feel better for it.

Thank you for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment and CLICK!

A change is (soon) coming

My post on changes coming my way

It’s Friday today and we have an author guest. This time we have a familiar face. Vanessa Wester has been a guest in my blog before, but this time she’s coming to tell us about her now complete Evolution Trilogy and how she came to write it. Without further ado, I leave you with Vanessa Wester!

Vanessa Wester

Ever since I started writing The Evolution Trilogy, I have worked really hard to take my baby to childhood then adulthood… I hope it can now go out into the world with its head held high.

Hybrid

A lot of the Trilogy has been based on some of my experiences when arriving at university in the UK as a foreigner (colonial), from my swimming days as a teen, my experiences as an adult, and my upbringing on the Rock of Gibraltar. BUT, a huge amount has come from my warped imagination…

When I found out I was pregnant again in 2008, on the same week I received my contract to return back to my teaching job after 7 years, I was convinced it would be a nightmare. My first two children were born 18 months apart and I had struggled with weight gain, depression, an under-active thyroid, loneliness, and the rest that comes with becoming a new parent…

My cousin also passed away aged 27 from a brain tumour, and other events happened to close family members that broke my heart. These made me reflect on my own life all the time, and I did not feel I had the right to complain about any hardships I faced. What could be worse than losing your life?

However, we all have the right to “suffer” and obtain sympathy for whatever makes us feel down. The characters in my trilogy encounter many difficulties, and I guess in a fictional setting it is easier to make things happen and talk about things that effect us all. The science fiction idea is complete fantasy, and the use of vampires is all for fun.

Complications

What I have learnt is that in life things happen for a reason. I have enjoyed every minute of being a parent for the third time. I was so much more relaxed, had fun with my daughter, and balanced three kids with some grace (most of the time… ha ha ha). It was whilst I sat watching my daughter at home that I started to write on a notepad, then progressed to a laptop, then computer… Once I caught the writing bug nothing stopped me and I became obsessed for a while. Every time my daughter slept, I wrote.

I bought a copy of the Writers & Artists handbook and tried to figure out the submissions process. I joined The Word Cloud, read a lot, and learnt to take critique. Then I saw the posts by David Gaughran, who wrote Let’s Get Digital on the Cloud… and decided to go for it and self publish. It took me months to figure out the process of ebook publishing, using the advice on smashwords. I quickly realised Amazon was where a lot of readers bought books – the dominance of the kindle! So, off to Amazon I went… Don’t even get me started on the paperback formatting!

When I was gifted an iPad by my father in law (thank you) my life changed. Social media became easier to use…

Now, I don’t want to bore you… I should write a book about this!

The point is… had I not got pregnant I would never have started writing books. As a child I dreamed of being a writer, but the fact I was scientifically minded made me abandon the dream as the years went by. Yet, the fusion of my interests and dreams has led me to write this Trilogy.

Like I say on my catch line… In the game of life, destiny is the winner

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Anyway, my Trilogy is suitable for mature readers of about 10ish and above (my daughter is a fan – aged 9!). In addition, my books have been enjoyed by both men and women of all ages, to my huge surprise, so I hope some of you decide to give them a go.

My latest reviewer said:

“A great set of books. A must read for all. Imaginative story somehow believable. I would like to visit the community myself.”

Thank you for reading, and thank you, Olga, for hosting me on your site.

Vanessa 🙂 xx

Thanks Vanessa. It was a pleasure to have you as guest again, and I hope you’ll visit us with news soon. I leave you links to Vanessa’s works and blogs:

www.theevolutiontrilogy.blogspot.com

www.vanessawesterwriter.blogspot.com

Here a link to her previous guest post. And of course, as always, thanks for reading and if you’ve enjoyed it, don’t forget to like, comment, share and CLICK!

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/guest-author-vanessa-wester/

If you loved Lost in Translation, you should read this!

Loosely translated
I am Spanish and write in Spanish and English, although because I live and work in the UK I do most of my writing in English now. When I read about the subject matter of the book I knew I should read it and I’m happy I did.
You have an English author, Mike Grey, who’s become stuck in a rut writing misogynistic detective novels, that at face value appear not to be worth the paper (yes, paperbacks, not digital) they’re written in. He’s threatened with discontinuation of the series by the publishers but cannot get motivated to change. Then suddenly, luck strikes. A Spanish publishing company decides to translate his books and they become a great success. He’s invited to a book signing in Madrid and meets a fascinating, puzzling, annoying and lovely woman, Maria, whom he initially thinks is only interpreting for him and later realises is the person who has translated his now successful book to Spanish. Maria is an unpublished writer, talented, and frustrated. She decides to do the translation as a chance to try and get attention for her own writing. She’s so appalled at the poor quality of Mike’s novel that she starts making ‘improvements’, amongst them, turning Mike’s detective protagonist, Eric, into Erica.
Maria has to try and avoid both the readers and Mike discovering her ruse, and she manages quite well. Although she despises Mike’s writing she discovers he’s not that bad and eventually things develop…Yes, in the direction you imagine. But as you know the course of true love never runs smooth and misunderstandings and confusion abound. Other people come in the way, translations and miscommunications get even more complicated, trips to and fro abound, and author’s egos are bruised but eventually healed.
Mr Wheeler has written a solid comedy of errors, with good and likeable (flawed but more human for it) main characters, some fabulous secondary characters (I love Maria’s father, her aunt, and the barber/Spanish teacher), and scenes that will make you cringe and laugh in equal measures. The writing is fresh, well paced, adapted to the different characters and surroundings, and it shows a deep understanding (and dare I say love?) for the cities and subjects it touches. We laugh at the world of publishing and writing from the inside, but we also wonder and marvel at is power and magic. You’ll be sorry once it finishes as you’ll feel Mike and Mary have become your friends, but don’t worry, there are plenty of epilogues to keep you going!
I recommend this novel to anybody with a sense of humour, particularly if you love books, and if you’ve ever tried to translate something, this should be compulsory reading! I look forward to reading more of Mr Wheeler’s books.

If you’ve liked what you’ve read, check it out. Please share and CLICK!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009Y3BGTS/

Hi all:

Although I have several projects going (including writing an epilogue for the three novellas in the series Escaping Psychiatry and publishing them as a single volume, and also translating them to Spanish) sometimes you come up with an idea for a story that won’t leave you until you do something about it. So there you have it, I’ve started writing another story. This is a romantic story, and although I’ve written stories (both publish and unpublished) with romance in them, none have had romance as the main focus.

English: Oscar Wilde, photographic print on ca...

English: Oscar Wilde, photographic print on card mount: albumen. Español: Oscar Wilde, impresión fotográfica en papel de albúmina. Français : Oscar Wilde, une photographie connue. Tirage albumen sur carte. Gaeilge: Oscar Wilde, prionta ghriangraf ar cárta albaimin. Italiano: Oscar Wilde, una fotografia che ci sia pervenuta, ricavata da una stampa fotografica. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But this one wanted to be written, so, what could I do? As Oscar Wilde says, the only way to conquer temptation is to fall into it.

I leave you the very beginning of the story (probably. I’m writing it so things might change. The title that I think I’ll keep is ‘Click Me Happy!. It is going to be a somewhat reluctant romance that has its origins in interactions in social media rather than face to face. When I prepared this post last weekend I was looking for ideas for a cover but since, I’ve found one I like (Raquel who was a guest from the Spanish group suggested this and I’m in love). What do you think?

Here a small sample:

Chapter 1. We meet the “heroine”

“No. Not another bleeming romantic novel! I’m going to puke! Come on, come on, look at it! Pink cover with a hunk showing off his chest and a gorgeous girl looking impressed. And somebody’s idea of a Scottish castle on the background. I can’t stand it any longer!”

Lilith Darville was far more attractive than she ever gave herself credit for. She was not a ravishing beauty (whatever that means) but she had nice brown hair, that she always wore short (no talent for creating hairdos), big almond shaped brown eyes, a beauty spot on her left cheek, a small nose and a well-defined mouth. A very pleasant combination whatever her opinion.

She only wore makeup under extreme duress (and on very special occasions), and although she used to be big as a child, between healthy eating and plenty of exercising she was now slim and reasonably fit. Not a supermodel but, who wants to be that skinny anyway?

“What’s it called?” Asked the Head librarian and good friend of Lilith, Debbie.

“What does it matter? It should be called: Just look at the six pack in this guy, get horny and buy my book. Does anybody believe all this rubbish?”

“It’s not about believing, Lilith. It’s fantasising. Who wouldn’t want to go out with a gorgeous guy and be the centre of his world, and have other women envy you and…?”

Thank you for reading and don’t forget to leave me comments and suggestions/ideas for the cover.

Clickmehappy

I met my now close friend Mary Meddlemore (well, Mary is a character, who demanded to write her own story and the author […and although I know who she is I won’t reveal it…you can ask her if you want] seeing her determination and her love of stories could but agree) through the group of authors I’ve mentioned quite a few times now, ASMSG (logo and website attached to my blog). We got chatting on Facebook, then started exchanging e-mails, we organised a joint giveaway in January…and keep talking…and exchanging ideas about promotion, and writing….

I’ve loved Mary’s dedication to writing, and particular her love of stories. She makes no secret of the fact that she loves stories and stories possess her to the point where she has to write them as they demand it. In the case of ‘Forever After: A Dimensional Love Story’ one of the characters in the story, Mary Meddlemore (and she is a character and a half) insisted in writing the story. And it is absolutely wonderful. I’ve reviewed the novel (I leave you the link below) and loved every minute of it. And I’m very happy to say that Mary/Martie is working on the continuation of the story. And she has very ambitious plans indeed.

I leave you a sample of the novel, some links (Mary has a wonderful blog and has recently created a Facebook page that everybody who loves stories is welcome to visit and participate in) and my heartfelt recommendation of Mary’s books.

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www.amazon.com/dp/B009HXI30A

Sample of ‘Forever After. A Dimensional Love Story’

Andrew slowly got to his feet. He felt ancient.

There was a sudden sense of motion.

She was next to him, next to him, but when he turned his head, she was in front of him and he could only see her hair and the elegant motion of her hips and shoulders. He could have touched her. She walked right through the huge glass pane next to the door and was gone.

“Are you all right, Sir?”

Andrew nodded. His legs moved stiffly through the door the attendant held for him. There was no need to ask if somebody else saw her. It was obvious that nobody did, because she was not real. He could not set a trap for her and he would never be able to talk to her. She was some kind of … apparition.

He walked back to the office. It was overcast and freezing outside and he was completely crazy.

Mary’ s author page in Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Meddlemore/e/B009IAJQ26/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Don’t forget to check her other books: ‘In the Reign of Ilev’ and ‘The Seventh Sheep’!

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http://tinyurl.com/bk9pbnq

51F+qa7uqHL._AA160_

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AUFMWC4 

Mary’s blog:

marymeddlemore1.wordpress.com/

And this is Mary’s new Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/MaryMeddlemoresILoveStoriesPage?ref=hl

Thank you for reading and don’t forget to CLICK!

Blogs to follow:

http://www.seumasgallacher.wordpress.com

http://escritoresilustradores.wordpress.com/

http://plagueofdissent.wordpress.com/

http://theverybesttop10.com/

Hi all: As you know on Friday‘s usually we have a guest author. Dan O’Brien, who as he’ll tell us is also an editor, has been kind enough not only to agree to come and talk to us about his books, but also about his experience as an editor, to give us the view from the other side of the fence. He’ll also be our guest next week, when he’ll offer us an interview with his characters, but today, he has some invaluable advice:

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A Writing Perspective from the Other Side of the Fence

A Guest Post by Dan O’Brien

Life as a writer can be hard sometimes.

Success is elusive; fans shift as often as a summer wind.

Yet, we persevere, writing into the late hours of the night and waking in the early hours of the morning to log the hours and enter, for a time, the worlds we create. When I first started writing, more than a decade ago, it was because I loved the idea of immersing myself in a place where I could construct the narrative; walk through dense forests and to the tops of mountains. Over time the process became more about writing as a tool to move through emotions and languishing memories that required catharsis.

Writing takes on many forms, for many different writers, over the course of our lives.

For me, the process is the reward.

I love to write.

When I ask myself that silly question of what I would do if I had all the money in the world, the answer is always quite simple: write. Now more than a decade later, I have a renewed sense of purpose and have become quite adept at balancing the spinning plates of responsibility.

Recently, between being a full-time graduate student and writer, I joined Empirical magazine as an editor – among other responsibilities. A national magazine similar in spirit to Harper’s or The Atlantic, the magazine is firmly rooted in a West Coast sensibility. There is a little something for everyone, and honestly, the hope is that everyone will take a look. Contributors to the magazine come from around the globe and cover everything from politics to fiction.

Working at a magazine, especially at this point in its maturation, is a wonderful experience. There are so many moving parts that enliven your day. Sometimes I spend the day sorting through fiction and poetry submissions, searching for that piece of prose, or perhaps a stanza, that ensnares my imagination. Other days I am editing, constantly referring to the Chicago Manual of Style to ascertain the correct usage of an archaic sentence structure. As a writer, the prospect of editing and rummaging through the work of others might not sound exciting, but there are some wonderful consequences:

  1. You learn to become a better editor of your own work
  2. You begin to recognize redundant sentence structures and overused phrases
  3. Your grasp of language grows exponentially

However, the most important component for me is:

  1. You get to help others bring their work into a public forum

For many writers, and certainly for me early in my writing career, the notion of being picked up by a magazine or a small press was foremost in my mind. It was that distant promise of publication and everything that goes with it that pushed me forward. When I got rejection letters, most of which lacked a personal touch, I would get down on my writing, denigrate my ability.

The years passed, during which thousands of rejection letters amassed, and I realized that the pursuit of writing for a purely extrinsic reward was dooming myself to Vegas-style odds. I became clear to me that I needed to write because I loved it, and then find a way to share it with others – even if it was not through traditional routes. I found that I was more comfortable with my writing when I did it for the pure joy of it.

Now that I am on the other side of the fence, so to speak, I have noticed a few myths about submitting to paying publications that otherwise mystified and frustrated me prior to becoming an editor and being responsible for interacting with first-time and established authors.

I have decided to provide a humorous, but serious, collection of things you should do and things you shouldn’t do when submitting and entering into a discourse with a publication – sprinkled, of course, with some anecdotes. And without further ado (or perhaps slight ado if you count this sentence here):

Things You Should Do

  1. Read the publication you are submitting to before sending an email. This one sounds obvious, I know. However, it happens so often that it warrants mentioning. If you have written a brilliant piece of prose that is about zombies, it is quite likely that Popular Mechanics will not be that interested in it. Pick up an issue of the magazine you are interested in submitting to and familiarize yourself with the kinds of stories they publish. The next part is the hardest part: be honest. Does your piece fit with what they publish?
  2. Read and follow the submission instructions. Again, a no-brainer. If you are thinking that you don’t know where to find the submission instructions and you just have an email address, be prepared for disappointment. Your email might go to submission purgatory with a one-liner response about having received your correspondence – if you’re lucky.
  3. Address your submission to the appropriate person. If you are thinking that I am giving you the obvious pointers, then you are quite right. With that in mind, imagine that I still receive hundreds of emails a month that manage to ignore these simple suggestions. If you are writing a stunning expose on corporate greed, the poetry editor is probably not the best destination for your work.
  4. Edit your work. I tell this to students a lot, so I will mention it here as well: spell check in Microsoft Word is not sufficient. I am not saying that you need to be a copyeditor to submit to a magazine, but do yourself a favor and read it out loud. If it something sounds funny when you read it, you can only imagine how it will sound to an editor who is choosing among thousands of articles and stories to determine what goes to print.
  5. Be cognizant of turnarounds. By this I mean, the amount of time between when you sent in the work until you hear back from an editor about the status of your submission. Nothing will send your work to the bottom of a slush pile than to send a follow-up email the day after you submitted, wondering whether or not you are going to be in the magazine. Most publications will post how long it takes to hear back from them about the status of a submission, and an amount of time after which you should contact them if you haven’t heard from them.

 

Things You Shouldn’t Do

  1. Send an email telling an editor that they would be stupid not to publish your work. It always surprises me when I get an email telling me that I need to publish a story, poem, or piece of nonfiction because it is the next best thing. Top this off with letting me know that I would be a fool not to accept it, almost guarantees a trip to the trash can.
  2. Send a photocopy of your story by registered mail.  If you want to have your story in a magazine, start by giving it to editors in a format that they can actually use. By sending a faded and blurry photocopy of your forty-word poem and declaring that it is a soul-searching masterpiece does not inspire as much confidence as you would think.
  3. Contact an editor on a frequent basis about the status of your submission. I have to sort through hundreds of emails a day, edit for the current issue, and work on editing an anthology; not to mention a thousand other intangibles. We posted a time table about getting back to you for a reason: read it.
  4. Be discouraged by a form rejection letter. This is a bitter pill to swallow for many writers. They think the form rejection letter means that the editor didn’t read their work, or simply had things already planned and was stringing writers along. The reality is on any given month I send out hundreds upon hundreds of rejection letters. There is simply not enough time in the day to offer feedback to every single person. This not to say that I do not offer feedback, or that editors do not offer feedback in general, but instead the process is streamlined so writers can be responded to in a reasonable amount of time.
  5. Call the magazine to find out about your submission. This is subsumed by not contacting an editor about the status of your submission before enough time has passed, but I thought it warranted a special mention considering it is really going the extra mile in terms of being an irritation. If we haven’t gotten back to you yet, calling us is not going to suddenly make us more accessible.
  6. Send another email with corrections. Read twice, send once. If you don’t think what you sent is ready for publication, then please don’t send it. You get one chance at a first impression, and nothing speaks to being underprepared and unprofessional than sending a draft and immediately following up with another draft. If your piece needs work, note that in your submission, but don’t send a series of emails chronicling the different stages of the edits for that story. The exception, of course, is if you have already been accepted and you have been asked to make edits.
  7. Contact the magazine to air your frustrations about not being selected. I say this with all seriousness. It is very likely that you got rejected because the piece was not a good fit and not that the magazine has decided to order a hit on your writing career. Please don’t treat it that way. Lashing out at a publication for sending a form rejection letter, or passing on a piece you have written, reeks of a lack of professionalism and could impact your ability to publish elsewhere. Many editors are friends, especially in the digital age, and word spreads fast.
  8. Contact the magazine to ask if you think a story you are working on would be a good fit elsewhere. I can appreciate the sentiment. A lot of editors are writers themselves, and they love talking about the process and the product. I find myself building friendships with writers, those we publish and those we do not, and often I will give them suggestions about their work. However, if you don’t know me personally and have never been published or solicited in any way to use me as a sounding board, then do not contact me and ask if a poem or story would be a good fit at another magazine. If you think it is ready for publication, then submit it here. An obvious exception would be if the writer knew the story would not be a good fit and asked because they were uncertain in venturing into new territory.

 

I could probably keep listing things you shouldn’t do, but I will wrap it up there. I encourage you to keep trying and keep writing. Things only get better with time, and time is all we really have. I love to hear from other writers and potential readers, so please stop by and say hello.

 

 

Bio: A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com. He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here: http://www.amalgamconsulting.com/.

Path of the Fallen (US): http://www.amazon.com/The-Path-Fallen-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B009D2PNIU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348005293&sr=8-1&keywords=the+path+of+the+fallen+dan+obrien

Path of the Fallen (UK): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Path-Fallen-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B009D2PNIU/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348194299&sr=1-2

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authordanobrien

Bitten (US):  http://www.amazon.com/Bitten-Lauren-Westlake-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B005METJLU/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328663974&sr=1-1

End of the World Playlist (US): http://www.amazon.com/End-World-Playlist-ebook/dp/B0072KE9EO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1328663887&sr=1-1

Cerulean Dreams (US): http://www.amazon.com/Cerulean-Dreams-ebook/dp/B005S9ZKLM/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328664085&sr=1-1

The Journey (US):  http://www.amazon.com/The-Journey-ebook/dp/B005MEND1M/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328664146&sr=1-1

The End of the World Playlist (UK):  http://www.amazon.co.uk/End-World-Playlist-ebook/dp/B0072KE9EO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1328664608&sr=1-1

Bitten (UK): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bitten-Lauren-Westlake-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B005METJLU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1328664631&sr=1-1

Cerulean Dreams (UK):  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cerulean-Dreams-ebook/dp/B005S9ZKLM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1328664681&sr=1-1

The Journey (UK):  http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Journey-ebook/dp/B005MEND1M/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1328664706&sr=1-1

Blog: http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/AuthorDanOBrien

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And a quick reminder that today (1st March), for one day only, my Young Adult novella ‘Twin Evils?’ is free in Amazon. Check it out!

And thanks for reading!

Twin Evils cover11

http://viewbook.at/B00BDRA9DM

 

JOINT GIVEAWAY WITH MARY MEDDLEMORE

I promised I would be writing about this wonderful giveaway we have organised. WE as in Mary Meddlemore and I. “Who is Mary Meddlemore?” you will ask? Excellent question, as questions go. Mary is a character. And a writer…Or something like that.

Mary is also writing in her blog about the giveaway and the process of setting it up and all. Well, I don’t know exactly what she’s writing as we were both going to post on the same date, so I haven’t seen her post. But if you check, she might explain it more and better…

Here is her blog page:

http://marymeddlemore1.wordpress.com/

So, what’s the story? Mary and I met through a group of writers. ASMSG (Authors Social Media Support Group). I was happily Tweeting about all kinds of things, but doing a fair amount of retweeting about other writers and the founder of the group (R. Grey Hoover, great man) contacted me and there I was…a member of the group. We have a variety of fora, one being Facebook, where people post about their writing, interesting stuff they’ve come across…you know…(By the way, if you want to check the webpage of the group, here is the link: http://asmsg.weebly.com/index.html   Plenty of useful stuff.) Somehow Mary and I got talking (or messaging), and got on like a house on fire. Yes, we live very far away from each other, in different time zones, completely different climates (luckily for her), and we’ve never set eyes on each other (only our avatars or some pictures) but what does any of that matter? We shared the joys, the frustrations the misunderstandings, the hopes and aspirations, the gossip, the ups and downs, and we enjoyed each other’s companies. If nothing else comes out of this writing thing, meeting Mary and some of the other wonderful people I’ve come across along the way will make it well worth it. (I would add some nice sentimental music here, but you should see how difficult it was to just do a sound post, so…sorry…).

Through chatting about writing we discovered we had published in Amazon around the same time (in October 2012…it seems years now!) and therefore chances for using our free giveaway days were running out. And, hey presto! Light bulb! Why not combine the giveaways? Yes, our writing is quite different, but that should make it far more interesting. Mary was working on her new collection of short stories The Seven Sheep (it’s fabulous, but don’t take my word for it! Download it! It’s free from the 10th to the 14th January!) and wanted to give all her books away. She’s a truly generous soul. I started with my novel ‘The Man Who Never Was’ but then thought…I should give the Spanish version away too…And…Maybe we should make it half a dozen, so why not add one of my novellas?

We had some comings and goings and thankfully Mary organised our blog/webpage for the giveaway. Although you can choose to go to each one of the books and get them, why make life difficult for yourself? If you follow the below link, you can click on all the books and download them to your heart’s content. If you’re not in Amazon.com we have the ASIN of the books and they should be available in all Amazon stores (beware of time zone differences.) Not only that. Even if you don’t have an e-reader, Mary has also added the link to download the Amazon PC e-reader App, so you can always read them in your computer.

http://freestuffolgamary.wordpress.com/

And Mary kept going with her writing and editing, and I kept investigating how to promote our giveaway and sending information to Mary (who had sent me information before. We’re like explorers in an alien planet trying to understand the language and laws of this book marketing thing) and started pestering people and posting things on websites…and of course, here…

Now, the time has nearly come. From the 10th to the 14th of January Mary and I are giving away 6 books. Sci-fiction, short-stories, novellas, family sagas, humour, absurd, magical, tears, laughter…Why? Because we love stories, and without stories we’re nothing.

Or as Mary writes in her introduction to The Seventh Sheep:

“Stories cannot be contained. They can be labeled and sorted into categories, but readers read and make of them what they will and so it should be.

Stories have wings. They fly where they want to.

Stories are the soul of mankind. It doesn’t matter whether the story is “intellectual/literary” or just fun, whether it is meant for children or adults etc., all stories contain the same story elements, namely: characters, settings, actions (or non-actions), consequences of actions or non-actions, story moments and a story line etc.

Whether you read just for pleasure or whether you study a story, the story elements invade your being, because your life, is a story too. Stories merely mimic human existence, because being human, human authors cannot think of anything outside their “human” capabilities.

Extraterrestrial intelligence will be elegant, complex, internally consistent and utterly alien.

Carl Sagan in Cosmos

 

Stories bring extra experiences, because when you read, you get to “know” thousands of “characters”. There is no way that you could ever “know” so many “real” people intimately. Thus, reading automatically widens your perspective.

Stories can also bring awareness if you “read/notice ” yourself, or others  or specific familiar circumstances in a story.

Awareness brings the possibilities of change, if it is wanted or needed.

Each story is experienced and interpreted differently by every single reader and so it should be, because you are all unique.

The gifts of stories are immense!”

Readers, here are our stories. Please help us share them with others! If you have any ideas of how to spread the word, please leave a comment and we’ll be on your eternal debt!

And thanks for reading!

I'm a featured author at Freebooksy

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