Review of the Year or What the Hell was That?

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I think it’s safe to say most of the reviews this year will be asking ‘WTF?’ Political and world events seemed to just be one cataclysmic event after the other. And on a personal level, I’ve had a couple of ‘WTF’ moments too. I won’t miss this year one bit.

But for me, there have been good moments too. The biggest thing was, of course, the publication of my first e-book. After writing stories for twenty-six odd years, I finally have a full-length piece of my work out there for people to read. No matter what happens next year, I did it and now I have, I intend to keep going. I’m currently editing a bunch of short stories for the next book whilst planning the one after that, another full-length novel. I’m working to finally establish that I am a writer – in my mind if nothing else.

Thanks to everyone I know and everyone who follows this blog or my social media accounts. Thanks for being there, for helping me, for encouraging me when I needed it and for reading my book!

To my fellow writers wherever you are in life or career, keep going. Keep sending those words out. Keep speaking even if you feel silenced. Stories are the lifeblood of us all, whether we’re reading them on the page or being part of them via Virtual Reality goggles.

We are all stories. See you on the flip side.

 

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The Princess who Loved Words: Farewell Carrie Fisher

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When Terry Pratchett died, it affected me because he shaped the person I am today. The same is true of Carrie Fisher, albeit in a different way.

To women of a certain age, especially those in love with fantasy, she was an icon. There weren’t a great deal of notable female characters in the genre at the time, so Princess Leia in Star Wars was a revelation. She was determined, brave, funny and caring. An excellent shot, a true friend and a rebel leader even after her entire family and planet were destroyed(. And she got Han Solo. No question, I wanted to be Leia. Many of the first stories I wrote included Princess Leia type heroines, fighting and shooting with the best of them.

When I got older, I began to appreciate her for the woman she was too. A brilliant writer and script doctor, she was outspoken and bitingly funny. She discussed her addictions and mental illness without shame. Ultimately, she loved words – and that’s my kind of Princess.

I did the traditional thing with falling in love with words, reading books and underlining lines I liked and words I didn’t know. It was something I always did.

Carrie Fisher

Christmas special offer now on – get “Under this Skin” for only 99p! Limited time only!

hiresIt’s Christmas Eve my friends and you know what that means. Time to start eating and reading!

For a limited time only, get “Under this Skin”, my original e-book, for the bargain price of 99p! Snuggle up with this fantastical, five-star tale whilst chowing down on (several) mince pies.

Offer starts 8am today. The price will go up to £1.99 on Dec 27th and be back at its original price of £2.99 on New Years’ Eve.

Take me to the offer!

 

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If you want people to read your e-book, you’ll need to do some ‘metaphorical’ legwork. And if, like me, you’re new to all this and aren’t sure where to start, here’s some basic (and free) ways to promote your e-book.

  1. Add yourself as an author on Goodreads

    Goodreads is like Trip Advisor for books and I’m sure most of you are on their already talking, reviewing and generally loving books. But did you know they have an Author profile? Add your own book to Goodreads and claim it as your own and bingo – you’re a Goodreads Author! You don’t need an ISBN either.

  2. Promote your book with Writers Online ‘Subscriber Showcase’

    I’ve subscribed to the Writing Magazine for years and as the biggest writing mag in the UK, it has some clout. So when I found that they’ll add your book to their online Subscriber Showcase free for two months if you’re a subscriber, I was all over it. They’ll also add you if you’re not a subscriber but you would need to pay a small fee.

  3. Schedule your social media promotion with an app

    There are plenty of apps to help you juggle your social media accounts. Basic help is usually free so you can try things out to see what’s right for you.

    I use Buffer and thus far it’s provided what I need to manage my Twitter and Facebook. With their basic service I can set up one message about my book to repeat at a regular interval, in my case once a week. It’s also proved useful to queue up a variety of other messages about other things too. Don’t continuously cry ‘BUY MY BOOK!’ because you will put people off.

  4. Got Twitter? Try welcome Direct Messages

    Okay, I know not everyone is fond of these – but I’ve actually had some nice conversations because of them and I think they’re a good way to highlight what you’ve got going on. Like with other social promotion, keep if short and personal and not just ‘BUY MY BOOK!’

  5. Update your social media and blog bios

    If you’ve got a blog, update your ‘About’ page with a link to your book and consider a link on your menu or sidebar as well.

    Similarly, pop a link into your social media bios linking to your new book. If you’d rather leave your Twitter bio as it is, try pinning a tweet to the top of your time line instead, so it’s the first one people see visiting your feed.

Got a tip that’s helped you with your own work? Please share in the comments below.

 

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A Visit to Stonehenge

Even though it’s not far from neck of the woods, I’ve only just got round to visiting Stonehenge.

It helps that we’ve joined English Heritage as it’s not cheap to visit the stones. Understandable I suppose, given that it is one of the most famous sites on the planet and they have got a rather good visitors centre. Inside is a 360 display of the stones, plus an exhibition on their history and artefacts found at the site.

There’s been many a story inspired by these great, ancient stones and the burial mound covered landscape that surrounds them. I shall let the pictures speak for themselves.

Who else has been to this magnificent place? What were your thoughts?

 

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dont-underestimate-the-power-of-words

If you’re a writer, you’re going to love words. But part of that love comes from your knowledge of their power. Words are beautiful gifts – with sharp edges. I believe in freedom of speech. But we often act as if words exist in a vacuum. They do not.

Our ability to communicate has given us civilisations, nations; dominance (rightly or wrongly) on this planet. That shows you the power of words. So we should never pretend that because they do not inflict physical change, they can’t be powerful or dangerous. Words can incite, words can enflame. Words can support and justify and embolden. The words we speak and hear, and words you write and read; the power comes from both sides.

The age of internet and global media means we’re overflowing with words. Sometimes we’re close to drowning in them. We struggle under their weight, so we try to sum up, to ‘sound-bite’, this torrent of words in a nice neat bow. But it’s not possible. And when we do so, we erase their context and inadvertently make words even sharper.

I won’t repeat that oft used ‘Uncle-Ben-from-Spiderman’ quote, but it’s foolish not to understand what words can do. And the freedom some of us have to send them into the world comes with a price. We must take responsibility for our words. We must never underestimate how powerful they can be.

Visiting Virginia Woolf – A trip to Monk’s House

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Monk’s House was once the home of Virginia and Leonard Woolf. Today it’s owned by the National Trust. It’s a simple, unassuming 18th century cottage with a beautiful big garden and orchard.

Virginia writing shed can be found in this orchard. And she resides here too, her ashes scattered amongst the trees.

Virginia and Leonard Woolf owned this place as a retreat from London. In it they made welcome several notable members of the ‘Bluestockings’ literary and artistic set in the 1930s.

There’s a real sense of simplicity about the place. It’s a home not a grand place to show off. Which isn’t to say it’s not interesting. It’s full of books and colourful rugs, painted chairs and vases full of flowers.

If you’re a member of the NT and you’re into your authors, this is a good place to visit and it doesn’t take long to go round.

The garden is delightful and many a visitor was enjoying a picnic on that summers afternoon. You can see why Virginia and Leonard found a creative bolthole here.

I think you either love Virginia work or admire it and I’d say I fall into the latter category. I’ve read a number of her works (favourite is The Years) and I’ve been fascinated by her themes, her use of words but I’m not as passionate as I know some will be. But her influence on the literary world and development of Feminism cannot be underestimated. So if you’re in the vicinity, why not pop in and look around.

Anyone else been to Monks House?

“Under this Skin” available to buy on Amazon!

“Under this Skin” ebook is available on Amazon! 

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The link goes to Amazon UK Kbut it’s up on other countries websites too – just search for “Under this Skin”.

And you can borrow it for free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited customer.

If you’re not sure if it’s right for you, check out my blog post 6 Reasons you Might Want to Buy my Book. Plus you can read the first few pages on the posting itself.

So go give it a look!

Read the Book Jacket Blurb for “Under this Skin”

Here’s a peek at the back jacket blurb for “Under this Skin” – due out this Saturday 22nd Oct!

Forty-something, divorcee Trude doesn’t expect much from life anymore. Least of all a mysterious box, a possible romance and some distinctly unusual ‘growing pains’.

When a neighbour she barely knew dies and leaves her a box full of personal belongings, her life gets a boot up the backside. Her neighbour’s friend David tries to help her understand why – and provides the tantalising possibility of romance. Things should be looking up.

Except…

Trude begins to suffer disturbing symptoms and finds herself slap bang in the middle of a ridiculous nightmare. Plagued by painful changes and blackouts, she wakes up in strange places without her memory – or her clothes! She sees visions of other peoples’ thoughts. And the weirdest thing of all – something is stalking her inside her own head.

Uncover the secrets of this darkly comic contemporary fantasy debut by R. F. Walton.

 

Ps – I won’t keep banging on about my book once it’s published – promise!

6 Reasons Why you Might want to Buy my Book

My book, “Under this Skin”, is going up for sale on Amazon Kindle this Saturday 22nd of Oct. I’ve kept not disclosed much about it so far, least of all why you might want to pony up your hard-earned cash and buy it.

So here are six reasons to buy my book:

  1. You like contemporary fantasy – this book is a fantasy/horror set in present day reality. And if that’s your bag baby you should give it a whirl.
  2. You like a bargain – £2.99 is less than a cup of High Street coffee and for that sum you’ll get a gathering of original words in a pleasing order to be read again and again. Bargain.
  3. You want something fast-paced – there’s nothing wrong with a Game of Thrones-type epic but sometimes you need something a bit more nippy. At 55,000-odd words, my book gets into the story with no messing about.
  4. You want to be amused – fantasy can be super serious. This book does deal with some nitty-gritty themes it’s true, but it’ll also make you giggle.
  5. You like cats – if the Internet has taught me anything it’s that everyone loves cats. And this book has one. But not too much of one if you’re not enamoured with cats.
  6. You’ll make me happy – and I’ll share that happiness with the people around me. So you’ll be ‘spreading the love’ far and wide. Massive Karma bonus for you eh?

So hopefully that’s piqued your interest. But if not, that’s okay. You can still come by and visit anytime (as long as you bring me a kitty).

 

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