2015 – A Year of Writing

 

Like many other writers, I enjoy turning a fresh page, whether it be reading, writing, or turning that page metaphorically. As we approach another year end / beginning, I’m taking a look back at my targets for 2015.

Firsts for 2015

I published A Taste of Honey in December 2014, so I was delighted to begin my new writing year with great reviews of my latest title.

In that happy frame of mind, I set myself the following aims:

1.  Update the ‘back pages’ information in all of my books.
2.  Read and review more work by the members of the IASD writing group.
3.  Step in quietly and offer assistance to new / novice writers wherever possible.
4.  Update my author website, creative writer and artist website, and this blog.
5.  Attempt a book or series for children.
6.  Write a new novel.
7.  Write a sequel to one of my present novels.
8.  Write another anthology of short stories.
9.  Work harder at my ongoing project of my fact-based fiction, coming-of-age story.
10. Work hard to make my blog topics interesting.

*

How did I do with my ten general topics?

1.  I updated the information for the back pages of my published titles, and set out a standard document to make the process simpler as I moved forward.

2.  I read and reviewed 15 books in the IASD.

3.  I’ve given assistance to three novice authors directly from our group. At the time of writing I am editing a fellow writer’s debut novel. I’ll be formatting the finished manuscript, and producing the cover for him in 2016.

4.  I updated my two personal websites and my blog, and in an ongoing effort to streamline and improve them, I’ve gone on to overhaul my secondary website and this blog twice more within the past year.

5.  On my first attempt at writing for children, I failed on several levels, but rather than dwell on a specialised genre where I recognise I don’t belong, I decided to leave the genre to those who write it well.

6.  A fresh novel was beginning to look like another thriller, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and based on the success of my erotica anthology – I wrote a novel in the same genre.

In September, I published Give & Take: a Tale of Erotica.

7.  My first sequel saw the light of day, after a lot of procrastination, planning, and hard work – and then of course it was rewritten several times.

In November, I published Beyond The Law: Retribution.

8.  I started the year with three ideas for an anthology, and following the offer of including work by guest authors, the anthology was eventually created.

In December, I published, The Welcome: and other Sci-Fi stories, a collection of 15 stories, six of which are from guest authors.

9.  My fact-based fiction novel is now taking shape as my first attempt at a series. It is presently intended to be a five-part story. The first book is ready to be formatted.
A Life of Choice – Part One will be published on Amazon in January 2016.

10. I’ve written blog articles on marketing, blogging, writing anthologies, and a few other topics. My official followers have now risen to the dizzy heights of 170+.

*

What else have I been up to?

writingmagazineI had an article in Writing Magazine in March, highlighting my writing successes to date.

I wrote Goals, a short story for the charity anthology, You’re Not Alone, being produced by Ian D Moore. Stories from 28 members of the IASD were included and it went live on Amazon in July. Book cover - You're Not Alone

I wrote Faith, Hope, and Charity, a short story for Holes, an IASD anthology produced by Eric Lahti, as a marketing tool for our members.

Holes snip

I wrote the poem Whisper Wood, for inclusion in a children’s anthology of stories and poetry being produced by Sylva Fae. The collection will be published in 2016.

I’ve been interviewed by Christoph Fischer, and had a Recommended Read award from Patrick (Max) Power.   Max Pwr Rec Read

Since October, I’ve been working hard on the IASD website with fellow Admin guys, Paul Ruddock and Ian D Moore. The restructuring is complete and the new, improved version of our website will be posted for public viewing in January, complete with our first Featured Author of 2016.

IASD - globe 2I’ve signed up to another couple of websites too, but whether they will prove useful in the long run is hard to predict.

My most recent trial has been signing up to BookLinker. This is a site where a regular Amazon URL can be transformed into a ‘universal’ link. I’ve been using the links on Facebook and I’ll be reporting my findings in January 2016.

*

That’s about it for this year, so I’d like to say a sincere thank you to all who have played a part in my writing journey over the past 12 months, whether it be in buying my titles, reviewing, offering advice, reading my blog, or any number of other things.

Have a great end to the holiday season, thank you for checking out my scribbles again, and I’ll see you all in 2016 with a new set of projects.

***

The Self-Publishing Conference 2014 – a review

Before I write my review, I’d like to reiterate a statement I made on this very blog on 11th March 2014.

‘Even if we don’t take all the advice that’s offered to us, we owe it to ourselves to find out what is on offer out there, and this has to be one of the most beneficial days any self-published author could spend.’

I would now like to follow that quote by saying, that if I hadn’t already said it; I would be saying it now.

The event was held at the Stamford Court Conference Centre in Leicester yesterday, Sunday 30th March 2014. It was well organised in every respect, including overflow parking, to allow for those who don’t know how to guide their car between two white painted lines …

There were 4 sessions, which overall offered a choice of 21 seminars to attend. This meant that each delegate made their own choice of which seminar to attend during any particular session. These were pre-booked. Apart from the final seminar, each was followed by a refreshment break.

Rather than tie my faithful (or new) readers down, with a detailed view of everything, I will be writing individual posts over the coming weeks on the four seminars I attended, which were:

1. Work successfully with bookshops and libraries to sell your book.

2. The importance for new authors of an author website.

3. The importance of cover design.

4. Using your existing author website to the full.

Needless to say, the impact of the seminars I attended will be reflected in my follow-up activity. For now, I’ll say no more on that subject. I would suggest, that attendance at the conference next year would be beneficial to any self-published writer. I will most certainly be highlighting it in my diary.

Sponsors of this year’s conference were: Writers & Artists, Writing Magazine, Nielsen, Matador (Troubador), Kobo, Writing Life, Cornerstones, TJ International, Cameron, Self-Publishing Magazine, Booked PR, and The Writers Advice Centre.

It would be remiss of me to leave out one important personal aspect of my attendance. I got to meet fellow writer and blogger, Paul Ruddock. We attended a couple of the seminars together and used every available moment in between, to discuss views that would have taken a much longer time by email or blog post. For any of you that wondered; yes, he really is a nice guy.

The A to Z Challenge starts tomorrow.

Thank you for reading.

NaNoWriMo – HAWK update 1

I decided to investigate any other use of Hawk as the name of a crime-fighting hero. I came across a variety of entries when I used Google, so with effect from today my novel’s working title is changed to – HAWK, A HUMAN HUNTER.  I am still in the early stages with my novel.  The accompanying graphic is a drawing I did of a fox.  It may be a different animal but it came to mind as I thought of a hunter who is cunning, skilful and a colourful character.

another cunning, skilful and colourful character …

It’s Day Six of the writing challenge to beat all writing challenges the NaNoWriMo.  Perhaps it’s because it’s still early days or is it because I’ve just completed Chapter 3 … whichever it is, I still feel upbeat about my novel idea.  My next chapter is already underway … at least in my head.  Whilst things are going well I’m intending to continue with the tale.

Progress is being made by both me and my main character.  I had the good fortune to receive one of my writing magazines on Thursday through the post and what was featured in it … ‘chapters’ the building blocks of a novel.  Two things came to mind.

Firstly, when I read the article by James McCreet I decided it was as timely as any article could be to drop in your mailbox.

Secondly I thought it would be a good idea to write a letter to Writing Magazine to tell them of my good fortune and thank Mr. McCreet at the same time.  It seems like months since I saw my name in the letters page of a magazine … oh yeah, that would be because it has been months.

Time is moving on and so must my story so if you happen by please take a moment to sample HAWK, A HUMAN HUNTER.  All the first three chapters are featured on the links to the left on this blog.  If you should decide to have a peek I’d be delighted to see any comments you may have.  Feel free to say what you think … the Hawk isn’t real so he won’t be coming after you.