Saturday, 29 October 2011

Happy Hallowe'en

Time once again to share the scare as Hallowe'en is upon us!

...and that's exactly what Neil Gaiman is proposing with his new initiative, All Hallow's Read.  He wants to start a tradition of giving away a scary book to someone at Hallowe'en.  Get the full details here:

All Hallow's Read

...and in the spirit of that I thought I'd treat you all to a painful slice of Horror flash fiction...

One of Four

I am one of four shadows that watch you.  I am there in the dark.  In the corner of your eye.  You pretend that I do not exist.  But I am here. 

We all are.  The breath on your neck.  The slightest parting of your hair.  The flicker of movement.  The briefest sound. 

Listen!  Did you hear?  The other three are content to watch, but I want more.  I want what you have.  Life and light.  I am on the move, reaching out of the dark, out towards you and…

Yes!  That’s right.  Stand up.  Now you see me.  Don’t look away.  The moment you do, you’re mine.  I am swift and I am vapour.  Our physics match.  There is no escape.  So sit back down. 

Sit right there and pray.  Frozen.  Fearful.  Waiting for my next move.  The clock ticks on…

When it stops you’ll be gone. Tick, tick, tick, stop…

And you are one of the shadows now.  One of four.  The darkness in the corner of my eye.

Friday, 28 October 2011

e-book publication in 10 steps

Smashwords  Product Details   

Here's a quick 10 step guide to e-publishing - just the bare bones and a few useful websites.

  1. Fact or Fiction?  Practical subjects are the way forward if you want to make some quick cash.  See
  2. Research your subject - to make sure it's not been done to death already.  You don't want too much competition.  See both and
  3. Structure - give each idea its own chapter and keep it simple.  A good guideline would be 10 chapters with 10 clear points under each heading.
  4. Short and Sweet - It's an e-book so it doesn't need to be encyclopaedic!  15-70 pages is an acceptable range.  Publish small and often.
  5. Editing - Love it or hate it you won't get anywhere without editing your work.  If you prefer someone else to do it for you, there are people out there who will do it for free.  See and
  6. Image is King - They say never judge a book by it's cover, but your cover image can affect your sales by as much as 25%.  It needs to be strong, relevant to your subject and simple.  You could hire a designer for around £60.  See
  7. Set the Price -  Kindle allows you to set your own price (dependent on size of the book) and the price you set determines the amount of royalty you receive.  You get 70% for books priced between £1.49-£6.99.  Either side of this earns you a 35% royalty.  My advice - be realistic about what you are selling and think about what you would expect to pay for it.
  8. Website - build a platform for selling your book.  Give potential customers a taste of what you have to offer.  Including the book's table of contents could boost your sales by up to 28%.  See
  9. Distribution - You need to get your book out there.  Upload your book on the Amazon Kindle site and smashwords.  See and  Also set up a paypal account for when the big bucks start rolling in!
  10. Network - It's all about building a platform for yourself - website, blog,twitter, facebook, linked-in - and letting the world know what you have for them.  You can also enter discussions in relevant forums.  How about releasing a teaser of your work?  See

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Doctor Who

How The Doctor Changed My Life (Doctor Who Short Trips)

Here's a link to the Doctor Who anthology that I contributed to.  I didn't realise you could order it from Amazon.  It's even got a 5-star review.


Obsolete World

You will notice a new link in the Wonderful Distractions side bar.  This is Obsolete World, the blog of artist Jeannie Lynn Paske and the beautifully sorrowful creatures who populate her forgotten land.  I was drawn immediately to these wispy, ethereal beings and the sparse sunset landscape that they wander through.  I imagine they all have a good story to tell. 

Hope you enjoy the site as much as I do.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Man Booker Prize News

Follow this link for news and reactions to the result of the Man Booker Prize 2011, plus reviews of all six books short-listed for this year's prize.

If you haven't read Julian Barnes' winning novella The Sense of an Ending yet I can assure you that it is well worth your money and your time.  Great characters, great structure, great ending.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Fitter, Stronger, Happier

Well, somehow it's still summer.  Better late than never, I suppose!  Apologies for the lack of posts in recent weeks, I've had my head down and focused on writing the novel.  Progress is good.  I've also been catching up on a bit of reading - which is like filling up with petrol for writers.

I recently finished 'What They Do In The Dark' by Amanda Coe, a story about the loss of innocence set in 1970's Doncaster.  All credit to Amanda, I've never read a book as fast as i read hers.  Why?  Because it was truly engrossing and because I knew from quite early on that something disturbing was going to happen at the end.  A bit like the car crash that you can't help but look at, I had to find out what would happen to the characters.  And they were thoroughly believable characters too.  Amanda's name may be familiar to some - she has also written scripts for the Channel Four series 'Shameless.'

You'll also see a link in the Wonderful Distractions sidebar to the website of Myke Gray.  Myke is one of Britain's leading Personal Trainers.  I thought this site would be helpful to anyone struggling with the work-life balance, whether they be a full-time writer or not.  Myke has a great philosophy on life and well-being.  His site is completely free and offers exercise videos and meal plans.  Please take a look if you are wanting to make a positive change to your lifestyle.

Until next time.  Come back fitter, stronger, happier!