Monday, December 19, 2016

What Stops Me Writing by Peter Ford

Author Peter Ford

Much as I enjoy writing the Dave Slater Mystery Novels, I have many other ideas I would like to develop. One of those I would most like to take further is set in the sixties, and I have played around with this one over the last few months. Recently I sat down and created a rough, one page trailer for the book (which I believe could easily become a series) and wrote the first two or three chapters. I printed these out, and handed copies to my wife and a couple of friends, and asked the question; 'What do you think?'
I should point out these friends are in my own 60+ age group (but then most of my readers are) so, as a test, I also handed a copy of the trailer to my step-daughter who's obviously much younger. Her immediate reaction was 'I'll read it!' I have to admit this was a bit of a thrill for me, but the comment that I found most interesting was from one of my friends: 'this just wouldn't happen in the real world.'
It's an honest opinion, intended as constructive criticism, but is it a valid comment? I don't think it is, and here's why:

In my opinion there are two types of writing, there is fiction, and there is non-fiction (fiction based on fact is still fiction). Fiction is primarily intended to entertain (although it can inform, too) and non-fiction is primarily intended to inform (although it can also be very entertaining). You could argue this viewpoint is too simplistic, but the important thing to remember here is fiction has been created in the imagination of a writer. This isn't just my opinion. Here are two of many definitions I found online…

From the Oxford English Dictionary:
Fiction - Literature in the form of prose, especially novels, that describes imaginary events and people.
Novel - A fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.

From Wikipedia:
Fiction is the classification for any story, or element of a story, derived from imagination and not based strictly on history or fact.
Fiction constitutes an act of creative invention, so that faithfulness to reality is not typically assumed; in other words, fiction is not expected to present only characters who are actual people or descriptions that are factually true.

I could have gathered a lot more of these definitions, but already you can see the common thread in the descriptive words: imaginary, some degree of realism, derived from imagination, an act of creative invention….

I've had the odd review of my books where it's been suggested my detectives don't follow correct procedure. 'They wouldn't be able to do this in the real world.' And, of course, these reviewers are quite right, my detectives wouldn't be able to do this in the real world, but I believe anyone leaving a review like this is missing the point. My detectives, don't live in the real world; they live in a world I created in my head, and in my world, they play by my rules, and sometimes, for the sake of the story, they follow my procedures. 

Let's face it, if every work of fiction had to stick to the facts, whole genres would be eradicated overnight. How would Harry Potter have got that letter about Hogwarts? (Nobody ever said, 'but in the real world owls don't deliver letters,' did they?) And what would become of Science Fiction, or Fantasy?

Now, I'm not for one minute suggesting a reader shouldn't be allowed an opinion, or that they shouldn't be allowed to express that opinion in a review. Bad reviews are a fact of life if you're going to write, and I've had my share (you soon learn you can't please all of the people all of the time!) But, next time you're reading a novel and you think, 'this wouldn't happen in the real world', just bear in mind, if you choose to read fiction you are choosing to enter a world created by the author, and that, by definition, doesn't have to be the real world.

P.F. Ford, Author.  “If you like your crime with a lighter touch, The Dave Slater Mystery Novel Series is a refreshing, entertaining mix of mystery and humour that never takes itself too seriously.”

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Joy of A First Book

Author Randal Eldon Greene

The joy of having a first book published is not like the joy of a first story appearing in print. With that first story, being published was joy and validation itself.

Then came the second, third, and fourth story. All in the same year. With each acceptance letter, surety in the ability to write fiction grew. Each publication was a joyful event, but they were not firsts and did not have quite the joy of that first published work.

A first book must be a lot like opening your first gallery, playing your first lead in a major theater production, or hearing the overture of your first opera being performed for an audience. Yet the joy of a first book is simply not as great as that first little story in that obscure (and now defunct) magazine.


Descriptions of Heaven by Randal Eldon Greene
Because it’s a release. Publishing the book was not easy. Sure, there was a rush of emotion when hearing that the publisher accepted the book. But that announcement opened up a box of work requiring both skills and time not needed before that acceptance letter. The novel-in-progress was set aside in order to work on this debut. A backlog of short story ideas accumulated. Looking back, the memories are not pleasant: emails and more emails, disagreements about the best uses of advance release copies, and those three weeks the manuscript was untouched because looking at the editor’s notes became unbearable. The whole process became unbearable.

Unbearable until it wasn’t. There was an emergence from the fog of being overwhelmed, followed by a new stride, a jog in the sunshine of action. Last minute edits. Running boldly past terrifying doubts. ARCs out in the mail. A desire to move—just move—on with the process.

Then the reviews started coming in. Finally, something positive. An okay review. A glowing review. A little award sticker saying IndieReader Approved. Interviews with bloggers and newspapers. Giveaways blasted across the infoscapes of the Web. This is what it was all about. Validation: all those spotlights illuminating the authorial ego.

But still, there’s more to do. A whole list of places to contact, more people and companies to send copies to. That’s okay. Doesn’t matter. This thing is a process. A published book didn’t just happen with the click of a button, a wave of a wand. Like any baby, it took time to grow. And it still needs nurturing, even after it’s gotten its driver’s license and hit the road.

The joy of a first book isn’t the joy of that first published story. The joy of a first book does not come from seeing the fiction in print. The joy comes from letting it go out into the world. Relief to see it gone. A desire to see it—someday—totally out of the mind, like that first story, finally retiring comfortably as another important entry in the oeuvre.

Find Randal Eldon Greene (author of Descriptions of Heaven) at

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

How Music Inspires Author Rowanna Green

Author Rowanna Green
by Rowanna Green

I don't function well (at all!) without music; I’m permanently plugged in to my iPod. This love of music has entered my writing. Many of my chapter headings are song titles, and one of the characters (Carrie, in “Wolf in Sheep's Clothing”) mentions some of the soundtracks to her life throughout the book. That was great fun to write, but now it's taken on a new dimension.

Journey have been my favourite band since the early eighties when I danced round the front room to “Escape,” drawn to the superb story-telling in every song. In 2008, I spent a week in hospital, recovering from an operation, so I wrote a Jukebox Musical (as you do!) based on twenty of Journey’s greatest hits. “Don’t Stop Believing” sat on the back burner for almost a decade, but now here it is.

The story of the musical is “Faithfully” tailored to the sentiment of each song, and the main characters are determined by the situations suggested by the lyrics. Finding a credible setting was challenging, but the diverse nature of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival adds a quirky element so often found in jukebox musicals like “We Will Rock You” and “Rock of Ages.” Veronica Richards, bestselling author of “The Heartless Fey,” was swept away by the fast-paced plot. ‘This world of music and relationships held surprises, as I thought the author was going one direction and then pivoted in the end to a much more satisfying conclusion than I expected.  All round, a delightful read.’

As Journey fans will know, relationships are at the core of their sensitive, emotional ballads, so it’s no surprise that this is a character-driven story exploring three contrasting relationships. Jean Grainger, bestselling author of “The Tour” says this. ‘The way the three stories entwine cleverly highlights the differences in attitudes between a couple meeting for the first time, another trying to patch up a dying marriage and a third who are tentatively rekindling an old passion.’

After reading Neil Daniels’ excellent biography, “Don’t Stop Believin’: The Untold Story Of Journey,” I contacted the music journalist for advice. He was incredibly helpful, and agreed to read a copy. I'm thrilled by his endorsement: ‘A nostalgia-filled AOR romp for seasoned rockers. Hugely enjoyable and highly entertaining.’ My biggest hope is that someone will like the idea enough to collaborate in bringing this to stages in the West End and on Broadway. I can dream, can't I?

For the first time, I entered NaNoWriMo, and the result is two more Jukebox Musicals based on the British rock band City Boy. “Young Men Gone West” will be released in December, and “The Day The Earth Caught Fire” is set for release in the new year. You can win a free copy of these by signing up to my musicals-newsletter.

Released in November, “Don’t Stop Believing” is available at a bargain $0.99 (£0.99 in the UK), but only for the next week – it will be back up to normal price very soon.

Rowanna can be reached on her Website and Facebook

Friday, December 9, 2016

Who is Julien Ayotte?

Author Julien Ayotte
            My entire career has been one where I wrote countless articles in the corporate, legal, and academic worlds.  As a result, when I retired in 2002, turning my attention to completing a novel I had begun writing in 1987 entered my mind.  I was encouraged by my oldest daughter, a former English major at Boston College, to finish what I had started.  So in 2012, Flower of Heaven was released as my debut novel.  The international thriller has gone on to receive four national book awards and hundreds of high ranking reviews on amazon and Barnes and Noble.  This success of my best-selling novel led to the release of the sequel, Dangerous Bloodlines, in 2014.  Also a multi-award winner and highly rated book on Amazon (4.8 out of 5.0), Dangerous Bloodlines is not your ordinary sequel as many readers found to be even better than the original Flower of Heaven.  The beat goes on.  Inspired by my first two novels, I focused my attention on a totally different suspense thriller, A Life Before, which was released in late April 2016.  In a very short time, A Life Before has received twenty-one reviews, nineteen of them five-star rated.  You can’t ask for more than that.  Add to these two monster reviews from US Review of Books and Apex Reviews, and you have the makings of an exceptional novel.
Flower of Heaven by Julien Ayotte
A Life Before by Julien Ayotte
So, I guess it’s time to take a break after three novels in just over three years.  Wrong!  I’m knee deep into my fourth novel as I write this in November 2016, having completed nine chapters already.  While the first three novels focused on an affair gone wrong and an indiscretion leading to international implications years after the affair, to a corrupt contractor implicated in a brutal murder and a young coed whose nightmares aid in solving a twenty year old cold case, this new book will be about the witness protection program and its susceptibility to deception inside the US Marshals office.
Dangerous Bloodlines by Julien Ayotte
            I like to write about incidents and occurrences that few think about.  Everything I write is in longhand first.  Changes are made as I type my handwritten chapters, one chapter at a time.  I do not have a book layout, plan, or prescribed ending defined for the book I am writing.  Each chapter comes into mind spontaneously, and I have no clue what the next chapter will bring.  It merely comes out on its own.  Some days I can’t write a single word.  Other days I write fifteen or twenty pages.  I like to take about nine months to complete a draft of a book, then spend two to three months to fine tune the manuscript, prepare and complete the front and back cover, and the synopsis for the back cover.

            I have not had success yet in securing a literary agent, something that would bring another dimension to my books, but I will continue this pursuit with each new novel ready for publication.  You would think that with three successful novels, this task would be easier, but it’s not.  In the words of one of my Amazon reviewers, “I can’t believe Julien Ayotte hasn’t yet been signed up by major publishers, TV and movie producers.  Apparently he is a star yet to be discovered.  I am happy to share this secret with all who love a great read and a great story.”

Follow Julien on Facebook, Twitter and check out his Website

Monday, December 5, 2016

When A Heroine Swoons Over Someone She Shouldn’t by Elaine Stock

Author Elaine Stock

Have you ever been in a situation, for better or worse, unable to go back but unsure of whether you can move forward?

All Isabelle, the heroine in Always With You, wants is to be loved without conditions. She’s eighteen, has healed from a health setback, and after losing her mom years ago and being raised by an emotionally distant father and grandmother, she wants her Prince Charming. In her mind, she doesn’t care what faith or race or background he is. She’s certain that when her heart tells her whom this destined man is, she’ll recognize him.

Love, in the very real body of an attractive young man, pays a needed visit just in time to call him a true hero! Tyler intervenes when a gang of punky teens has less than stellar plans for Isabelle. But, many eyes around her small Adirondack town, let alone her own dad, are suspicious of the community, The Faithful, where Tyler lives. She’s forewarned of possible dangers, but chooses to see only the Wonderful in Tyler, and that’s with a Capital W.

What causes a fairly intelligent woman to fall for a man that society sees as less desirable?

In Isabelle’s case:

  • Longing for close family and faith she lacked growing up, Isabelle doesn’t want to repeat that heartache for the rest of her life. In Tyler, she has a strong man who isn’t afraid to take a stand, believes in God, and is devoted to his siblings and community.
  • Tyler is orphaned, and has more responsibilities—both to family and community—than someone his age should have. Nor has he had the traditional opportunities (like college or career) that usually come along when connected from a more supportive family. Isabelle empathizes with Tyler and feels his anguish. She believes she can be the one to make a difference in his life.
  • She and Tyler are young. Together, they can enjoy the rest of their lives. They both want love, a real family bond, and faith in a God who wants them—all missing tickets from their childhood. Determined, and with headstrong tenacity, their minds and more importantly, their hearts, tell them that their union is meant to be.

Enter the unknown, aka tension or obstacles to their Happily Ever After. It’s not until Isabelle marries Tyler and is pregnant with their first child that she slowly comes to learn that Tyler and the community she now lives in have deceived her by making her think that they are kind and morally right folks.

But, Isabelle loves Tyler. Isn’t that all that counts? Yet, with a baby on the way, she must make the most important decision of her life, even if it’s the most heart-ripping one she’s ever faced.

Author Bio:
Elaine Stock is the author of Always With You, which released in January 2016 and has made the Kindle bestseller list. Her novels fuse family drama and psychological suspense. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and contributes to the international “Happy Sis Magazine.” In addition to Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, she hangs out on her active blog, Everyone’s Story, dedicated to uplifting and encouraging all readers through the power of story and hope.


Website/blog: Everyone's Story
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