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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5-ways-to-promote-your-ebook

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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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.

“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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The Book is Finished

 

‘…I watched as my fingers snapped over one by one, shooting pain down my arms. My legs concertinaed upwards, folding over and over. My eyes shattered.’

The book is finished.

What you’ve read in the header above is a tiny taster of what it contains. And on Saturday 22nd Oct it’ll be unleashed into the great, wide world via Amazon. I know some people have mixed feelings about Amazon and the power they have in the Digital book market, but for someone in my position it makes sense.

And it really is an amazing opportunity. If you’d have told 14-year-old me I’d have the chance to publish my book and access a market of millions without an agent or publisher – I’d have thought you were on something.

I know I’m not going to get many downloads but that’s okay. I’ve got the opportunity to put my work out there, which ultimately is all most creators want. A chance for expression. And maybe a tiny bit of feedback.

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In Real Life

The real world rushed into focus recently in the worst way possible. It’s why I’ve been so quiet on here. It was a full-on bolt from the blue and it’s sent everything I knew spinning.

We write to escape reality. Perhaps this is most true if you write fiction, but even those whose work is ultra realist are still escaping into the story. The beginning, the middle and the end. The place where we are in control. Where we have the power to go straight, diverge, rewind, erase and, if we don’t like where we’re going, switch off completely. The real world becomes clear and easy to hold. But now the sharp edges of life are here and they’re staying. They an’t be rewritten and they an’t be erased. These times remind me why we escape real life but also of the best parts of it. The people I love. You have to hold them tightly along with our precious armour; our words. It’s scant protection, but it’s all we’ve got.

Where's the oddest place you've done it

Write I mean!

On trains and buses, boats and rooftops, beaches, balconies and the bottom of the sea, we writers will do it anywhere (get your minds out of the gutter please!) I’m sure you know what it’s like to have the Muse (or just the need to flex those writing muscles) strike at an unexpected moment.

Personally, the oddest place I’ve done it was a department store. Working 9-5, you can only re-arrange the cushions and lights and mirrors so many times before you start to feel a bit zombified. In the long periods between customers (because no-one buys lights on a Wednesday afternoon), I used scraps of paper we kept for customer notes to scribble out a ghost story set in, yes, a department store.

So, where’s the oddest place you’ve done your writing?

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4 roadblocks to your writing and 4 ways to steamroll themFor every writing problem you may be having, there is an answer.

Not necessarily an easy answer that involves lamps and Genies but an answer nevertheless.

Here are 4 common roadblocks that stop you from writing – and 4 ways to steamroll them flat.

1) I don’t have time to write

When I was younger, there was a TV show about a boy with a watch who could stop time. I think everyone would kill for one of those, writer or not.

You’re allowed to have a busy life, a job, a family, kids, pets and all sorts of other commitments. You’re allowed to have days when you don’t write. Don’t feel bad about them.

But –

the fact remains that your book/short story/poem/screenplay isn’t going to write itself. So you’re going to have to make time. That might mean making a few little sacrifices; you wake up a bit earlier, you write in your lunch break or skip an evening TV show for a couple of hours of writing instead. If you don’t drive on your commute, you could fit in a few words then. Or even keep a notepad in the toilet – multi-tasking to the extreme!

2) I’m just not inspired

You can’t write without inspiration right? Well…actually, you can. People who write for a living don’t have a choice. It may sound mercenary but if you have to, you’ll find something to write about.

If you’re stuck on a scene, skip it and move on. Try editing something you’ve already written. Or go and write something completely different to keep your mind active until you’re ready to go back to your WiP. Blog posts are good!

Physical activity can also get the creative juices flowing. A simple walk can work wonders for the old noggin. A trip to the Library is even better. Grab a book to find your inspiration.

3) I’m not sure my writing is any good

Join the club, we’ve got jackets.

Every writer ever, in the history of writing, has doubted their work or their writing abilities. And not just once either. It’s completely natural. And it may be that what you’re writing on isn’t going to work out.

Step back. Let your work breathe. When you return to it, give it a the once over and, if you decide to scrap it, don’t chuck it entirely. Keep a copy so that if nothing else you can cannibalise it for ‘parts’.

You also need to remind yourself why you writeWhy do these characters dance through your through your head and onto paper? Because they need to. Because you need to. You may not be the next Charles Dickens (I know I’m not), but you will always have to write. 

4) I keep getting distrac-oh a butterfly!

The internet is a wonderful and terrible place. So are Netflix and Instagram  and all the other distractions of the digital age. When you turn on your computer to write, you open up world of procrastination right at your fingertips. I know this. I’ve already been distracted six times in the last paragraph.

Hmm…what was I saying?

You can try swapping your laptop for a pen and paper. But if you’re anything like me, you type faster than you can write anyway. Then you’ll need to get serious and unplug the internet. You can do this literally or by using handy apps from Chrome or Microsoft. Use them to block the Internet on your computer for as long as you need to get things done.
Or try a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, with or without music, to help you focus.

And hide the TV.


 

What are your top tips to get past major writing difficulties?

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