A good giggle on the incorrect use of words: acrologia

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  I hooted with laughter when my husband shared this on my Facebook timeline. My utmost desire is to see English well written and part of that is to use the words that mean what you want them to say, not just that sound like what you want them to say. Help me out here, authors, I do not want to end up in a feeble position. LOL. … [Read more...]

Another award for a book I edited.

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Spiderworld by Richard Bunning, a book I edited,  has been awarded an Awesome Indies Seal of Excellence. Well done Richard and well done to me! It's a terrific book, by the way, and deserves to be read. Please consider buying it and tell anyone you know who likes thought-provoking sci fi with a touch of metaphysics all about it. It'll be out on paperback soon too.   FYI. I'm not involved in Awesome Indies decisions on books that I write or edit - the awards would be meaningless if I did. You can read the post and the review of it on the Awesome Indies blog, just click through. … [Read more...]

Appraisals, edits and makeup on measles.

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Sometimes authors contact me wanting their book edited and when I say, ‘Okay, we’ll start with an appraisal,’ they tell me that they don’t want an appraisal, they want an edit. Then I have to explain that, for me at least, an appraisal is the first step in an edit. It’s the structural edit, also known as a conceptual edit. I’m not a cosmetic editor—someone who just checks grammar, spelling and punctuation—I’m a holistic editor; I deal with the whole book on all its levels. I do comprehensive editing. For me it isn’t possible to work on anything less than the whole picture. So I need to appraise a book before I edit to make sure that that the plot works, the pacing is right for the book, the dialogue is realistic, the characterisation strong, the descriptions adequate, the world building clear, and that information is not dumped and the backstory is well handled. I have to check all this before I do a line edit because if I don’t, it might be like putting make-up on measles. No … [Read more...]

Results of a photoshoot

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I had my 60th birthday recently and I had a steampunk murder mystery party to celebrate. My friends and family got dressed up and had a lot of fun, and we took some photos. The ones from the party were okay, but not brilliant, so I suggested to my family that we have some photos taken wearing steampunk gear. We set our studio up like a photography studio and set up the lights we bought our daughter for her 22nd birthday and she clicked away. The result was some funkly photos for me to use for my author profile. Why not be wearing a steampunk hat. They're too great not to wear. Here's some of me - and George.       See more photos on Tahlia's Masks.     … [Read more...]

Why you should never, ever, argue with a reviewer, not even privately.

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The pervading wisdom among author circles is to never argue with reviewers, and particularly not to respond to negative reviews in any way. And yet, some authors still do it. I would like those authors to fully understand the repercussions of their behaviour, be it done publically or privately, because their lack of professionalism adversely affects not only themselves but also all authors. This is how it works: A book is published. That means that anyone can review it and can say whatever they like about it. Authors need to accept this. A reviewer writes a review. No matter how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ a reviewer or their review is, they have put a lot of time into writing that review. Usually they aren’t paid to do it, and if they are, it’s a token amount that doesn’t go anywhere close to covering their time. They write reviews as a service to authors and readers. Authors need to understand and appreciate this, especially if they have actually requested that the reviewer review … [Read more...]

The reality of thinking mainstream publication.

Sister Daniella,  an Italian nun from the 17th century, is one of the characters in The Locksmith's Secret.

Every now and then I think, wouldn't it be nice to have a deal with a big publisher for my Prunella Smith books - not a little indie publisher like I have for my YA stuff, but a publisher that would put my work in the big time. Yeah, I know I'd still have to make an effort to advertise, still put the yards in when it comes to marketing, but with my attention so much on my art at the moment (see Tahlia's Masks and Steampunk Accessories)  I just figure it would be nice to have one of the big guys behind my writing. I know all the down sides too, so it isn't a pipe dream, it's just a 'I wonder if ...' Would it happen if I tried? Lethal Inheritance came so close to scoring a big deal, but close wasn't close enough. So I make a move in the mainstream direction and soon remember why I don't bother. The reasons for remaining indie leap forward with stunning clarity. It take an enormous amount of time to: research to find the kind of agent that might be interested in your … [Read more...]

Beautiful Liar by Tara Bond – And why I look for books published by Simon & Schuster

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Beautiful Liar is simply excellent. The story is gripping, the writing is smooth and rich, and the character exploration is deep. Though it has all the elements you'd expect in a romance, this is more than your normal genre-fiction romance. It's the kind of book I really like in that it has the best of both worlds, the great story we expect from genre fiction, and also the great writing and deep explorations of relevant themes we expect from literary fiction. Though it's not a thriller, the writer expertly manages to imbue every page with tension so that I kept reading long after I should have gone to bed. The characters are flawed and unpredictable, and they make mistakes, like normal people. The author makes their motivations and reactions to challenges clear and believable. As to the story, the blurb says it all: Responsible Nina Baxter knows all about responsibility. With her father dead and her mother drowning her sorrows, it's up to Nina to take care of her younger … [Read more...]

Can you fail at Meditation?

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  I suggested yesterday, again, to my husband that he would be happier if he meditated. He tends to feel miserable about things that I take in my stride, and it is now scientifically proven that meditation alters the brain so that the areas associated with happiness are lit up more often and more strongly in people who meditate than in those who don’t meditate, whether the person is actually meditating or not at the time. Given all that, he knows it’s a good idea to meditate. And when you include the scientific data on less stress related diseases, bodies that are 5 to 10 years younger in age than in non-meditators and better health in general in those who meditate, anyone who doesn’t think it’s a good idea to meditate isn’t paying attention to the facts. So hubby agrees that it’s a good idea, but thinking it’s a good idea and actually doing it can be worlds apart for many people. Effort must be made. A teacher must be found. Instructions must be given. Practice must be … [Read more...]

My favorite book of the moment: A review of ‘The Magician of Lhasa’ by David Mitchie

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Every now and then people ask what my favorite book is and I can never say, but for now, at least until I find another one, I can say that David Mitchie's The Magician of Lhasa is it. I first came across fellow Australian, David Mitchie's writing with his book The Dalai Lama's Cat, but this book is more dramatic than that and has more of a story in terms of plot. The Magician of Lhasa is the kind of metaphysical fiction that I really enjoy. The metaphysics enlighten the character's situation and provide points of wisdom for contemplation that further the plot, and this is what metaphysical fiction should do. Some works that use the metaphysical fiction handle fail to have much of a plot; they're more a delving into some metaphysical construct than a strong story with the kind of dramatic elements that a good story requires; such books are dull, but not this one. Anyone writing metaphysical fiction should read this and take note. Mitchie is a master of the genre. The Magician of … [Read more...]

Who is steampunk character Aviator Emelia Sottwell-Haverstone

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How do you come up with characters? When creating visual theatre, I often used to come up with characters after making a mask, but when writing they've just popped into my head. Recently, though, I've been making masks again, steampunk masks, and they are undoubtedly steampunk characters in their own right. I've even given them names. This one is Aviator Emelia Sottwell-Haverstone. I've sold her to a person in the USA, but I'm thinking that her and some of my other steampunk mask characters may well appear in a steampunk story sometime.   What kind of character do you think Aviator Emelia Sottwell-Haverstone is? What do you imagine her doing? What kind of role might she play in a story?   … [Read more...]