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Showing posts from December, 2016

On Publishers

I don't want to talk about contracting - I'm not a contract expert and would never give any advice except to take advice, or know contracting enough to be confident. Instead, I want to talk about some of the practices I've seen and, perhaps, give a heads up to those who are trying to decide if a press is for them.

(Suffice to say, checking the press seems solvent, pays royalties, isn't known for screwing its authors, is business like and has been in business long enough to be confident* is good. (*Or, if not, they have experience onboard. I went with a new press and it worked out fine, but I knew my editor had a lot of experience and was giving great advice).

However, (this blog is going to need a Get-out-of-jail contract of its own, soon), what press is right for which author will vary from person to person, circumstance to circumstance, and book to book.

But here's some of the questions I think it's worth asking before signing.

1. What editorial support wil…


Inish Carraig audio is live, and I’d heartily recommend it. Last week I started, at last, work on the sequel (in between a few other active projects, so it will take a while).
Inish Carraig 2 (working title - Culchies I Spas – country bumpkins let loose in space), isn’t schelduled until next year at the earliest. Actually, schelduling makes the process seem a little more formal than it is – it’s vaguely in my mind as suitable for coming out around then. But there will be no publisher driving it: I will self publish it.
But I’m struggling with my newest work in progress – specifically, I’m not yet hearing the voices in my head that I need to write it. Which means I need to give a little more time for them to grow.
When I wrote Inish Carraig, it was to give me confidence that I could write something other than Abendau. I knew I wanted a writing career and I knew it would take more than one book and more than one world.
I did not expect Inish Carraig to be as popular as it is, and I…

On Reviews

I have several friends whose first books are coming out in 2017 and a few with recent launches, too. More and more the success of a book appears to be reliant on Amazon reviews - and, like it or not, many new authors spend a fair bit of their time obsessing over them. I certainly did.

Note that. Did. I think, as time goes on, a bit more balance comes into the whole process.

Anyhow, for the sake of this blog I went and looked at my review stats. Over my four novels I have 269 reviews (some of which will be duplicates as a few people are kind enough to post their review in more than one place) with an average 4.52 ranking. Which is very nice. (Thanks to anyone who took the time.)

My highest ranked book is Sunset Over Abendau (which is my fav, so yay! Good author taste), then Abendau's Legacy (but it is a very new book so has fewer ratings.)

My most popular book looks like Inish Carraig, which doesn't surprise me. It has a lower overall average at 4.54 but an awful lot more revie…

On giving up the day job

That title will have had a range of responses. My writerly friends are pressing their noses to the glass to see if one of us has become a Free Elf and escaped to writing nirvana of coffees and muses and no daily grind (ha! The coffee bit does seem a staple of being a writer, as to the rest... Hmm...). My mother is poised to pick uo the phone and say, 'You're doing what!' My real-life bosses and clients are blinking and wondering if it would have been nice to know in advance.

Sadly, my message is slightly different. I'm not giving up the day job. In fact - this is going to be one of my unpalatable truth blogs - for most of us, I don't think it's possible.

Let me be frank. Writing earnings are, generally, crap. There are very few big-publishing deals out there in this risk-averse business and, despite me knowing a good few of them, kindle makes very few writers rich. So, yes, there are writers who are writing for a living (more on that later) but the vast, vast m…

On Process

A quicky - I'm on my way out the door for some writerly things.

When I wrote my first book, I followed a linear pattern. One scene led to the next, to the next. I edited in a linear fashion. I didn't plot - but I already knew most of what was planned. I did much the same for Sunset Over Abendau.

For my third book, Inish Carraig, I did a bit more swapping around of scenes, but still the linear fashion was what I followed.

At no point since Heir have I enjoyed a first draft. In fact, I hate them. They slip on me. I don't know the story or the voices or where it's all going. I grit my teeth to get to the end and then, essentially, I go back and start again.

This week, I found myself stucker than usual and I've changed things a little. I now have a list of scenes I think need to be in the main book. I still don't know the ending, or who-dunnit (it's that sort of book) or the plot details. But I know what some of the key scenes will be. So I'm writing them. …

Myers Briggs your characters

As some of you know, as well as being a sff geek, I'm also a bit of a management nerd (hey, a girl's got to earn a crust somewhere...) So when MD Presley offered to come along and guest about using the Myers Briggs Indicator in character development, I jumped at the chance. And then I did it for some of my characters (turns out Kare's an introverted me. How cool.) 


The phrase “know thyself” is credited to Socrates by Plato, and is an underlining tenant of modern psychology. There are myriad of forms this knowledge can be attained, and the field of personality psychology frequently employs the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to determine 16 different personality types. Since fictional characters are often extensions of the author’s own personality, I personally find the MBTI exceptionally useful when designing my characters.
And yes, I can almost hear you groan through…