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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Do Authors Dream of Electric Books?

In case you’re wondering, the answer is no, I’m not clever enough to think up a title like the one above. It’s a lovely name for a blog though, and the reason I’m using it is to let you know that this is where my blog post will be today. Here’s the link you will want to click to see it
My blog post has the title What is Tartan Noir? And I’m sure you’ll want to read it to find out.
A bit about Do Authors Dream of Electric Books. This is a fascinating blog well worth following. There are approximately thirty contributors and a new post goes online every day. My day for posting is the 19th day each month, so if you pop onto the site today you’ll catch my post. However, if you go there after the 19th you can still scroll down the page to find me. Oh, and you never know what other fascinating titbits might come up in the process.
So, I look forward to seeing you while I dream of electric books, and maybe you’ll join in my dream by leaving me a comment.


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

So Whats New? The Next Big Thing

It’s autumn now, or at least if feels like it, and it’s the time for new things. New series on the telly – are you watching Dr Who? – and I’m told Downton Abbey is just about to appear again. New books – aren’t you fed up with Fifty Shades yet? New films – I’m not up to them as there is no cinema in my town. So what else is new? Well, last week I was tagged by one of my Love a Happy Ending mates, Mandy Baggot, in her blog post ‘The Next Big Thing’, so this week it’s my turn! I have to answer ten questions about my work in progress and tag five other writers to tell you about their latest work next Wednesday. But before we start I have to make an admission! The work in progress is progressing very slowly because I’ve taken time out to prepare Night Watcher for a paperback edition. So watch this space, it won’t be long before it is out.
Now for the work in progress, the novel I really must sit down and finish because I’m only a smidgin from the end.
Check out the questions and my answers. I’ll try to be as honest as I can!

1.What is the working title of your next book?

Well, over time it’s had a couple of working titles. It started out as Vigilante, and then it changed to Predator, and I’m not going to tell you what the final title is as it’s under wraps at the present.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I suppose it started out by one of my friends suggesting I should write a book with a plot that involved computers, because I’m a bit of a techie nerd. So I turned over some ideas in my head and played around with ideas about chat rooms and internet predators, and the plot developed from there, although I must say it became a tad more complicated than my original idea with my usual dose of sub plots and twists. I’m not going to tell you any more, you’ll just have to read it when it comes out.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Same genre as Night Watcher and Dead Wood, it’s a psychological crime thriller and is the third in the Dundee Crime series.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmm! I’m not sure who I’d like for DS Bill Murphy. It would have to be a younger version of Liam Neeson. I rather like Nathan Fillion, but he’s too quirky for Bill, so the role is open to any takers. I think Julianne Moore would be ideal for DS Sue Rogers.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Jade vanished five years ago – is she alive or dead – and who is doing all the killing?

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’ve been published both ways and decided some time ago that self publishing was the way I wanted to go. You see, I’m a bit of a control freak, and I like to keep my hands on the driving wheel. Agents and publishers tend to impose conditions which I’m not comfortable with.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I hate to admit it but I’ve been working on this novel for over a year, and I’m behind schedule. I usually allow a year from beginning to final publication, you need that kind of time to ensure the novel is as good as it can be, and to allow for the revision and editing process to make sure the book meets that criteria.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It’s difficult to make comparisons because a book is unique to the author who writes it. Let’s just say that I veer more towards Val McDermid than Agatha Christie.

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I think it’s my own inner demons who provide that push. Writing is an addiction, it’s an itch you just have to scratch.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I hope the fact that it’s the third book in the Dundee Crime Series will be enough to tempt my readers to pounce on it.

Now! “Tag you’re it!”
Here are some great authors I’ve tagged to tell us what their next big thing is. Hopefully they’ll have time to tell us what they’re working on.

  1. Gilli Allan:
  2. Miriam Wakerly:
  3. Carol E Wyer:
  4. Eileen Schuh:
  5. Harvey Black:

I look forward to getting a sneak peak of what they’re writing and hope you will too.


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Do Writers need Writers Groups?

I got to wondering how other writers see writers’ groups. Are they beneficial? Or are they just social gatherings?
Well, there are all types of writers’ groups and whether or not you are involved is, of course a matter of choice. I am involved in several of these groups, physical ones and virtual ones. Let’s look at the physical ones first.
Members of Angus Writers' Circle

The first group I became involved with was Angus Writers’ Circle I was one of the founder members over 20 years ago. At that time I was a novice writer and much of my writing really wasn’t worth publishing. I’ve progressed since then, my writing has improved, and I’ve become a professional writer. Now I don’t know whether I would have had the same outcome if I’d never belonged to Angus Writers’ Circle, but I can say that the crits and encouragement I experienced along the way did help me develop as a writer.
I have to say, though, that there are writers’ groups in existence which simply give praise irrespective of the quality of writing. These groups do nothing to help a writer develop. The groups that are of the most benefit are the ones which are honest with their crits, even if the truth hurts.
One of the benefits of belonging to a writers’ group is acceptance to professional bodies like the Scottish Association of Writers. I have attended their weekend conferences on a regular basis over the past 20 odd years, and have been awarded many prizes from their annual writing competitions. The most prized of these was when I won the Pitlochry Award on two different occasions, once for Night Watcher, and again for Dead Wood before it went on to win the Dundee International Book Prize.
Margaret Thomson Davies presenting me with the Pitlochry Award for Night Watcher

But crits, encouragement and awards are not the only benefits from belonging to these groups, there is also the social aspect, the networking, and the acceptance from other writers. I met many of my now more famous friends through these groups, at a time before they became famous. People like Ian Rankin and Alex Gray. I could name many more, but enough of the name dropping and let’s get on with the blog.
It’s time to have a look at virtual groups. There are many of these around, particularly on Facebook. I’ve sampled a few of these and when they become overloaded with ‘buy my book’ posts to the exclusion of most of the other posts, I usually back out the door and only look in occasionally.
The exception to these is the three main groups I’m heavily involved with. I’ll take them one at a time.
First there’s the group which is an invitation only group for authors, although they also have readers, editors and publishers as members. This group started a year ago and as of this morning there have been over a million visits to the website. When I was invited to join, I think my first response was ‘You do know what kind of books I write?’ You see I never thought of my books as being anything to do with happy endings. The response when it came was that they wanted a mix of authors and anyway, in my crime books, the fact that the crime was resolved equated to a happy ending. So I agreed to join and actually felt quite honoured to be one of their thirty authors, because that was the maximum amount they take on as members at any one time. If you want to have a look here is the link

Then there is the Famous Five Plus group, FFP for short I saw this coming to prominence on Twitter and became curious, so that was why I joined it. I’ve had no regrets about joining, although members are expected to promote the group through Twitter and other media sites. That’s why you’ll see me with loads of retweets involving FFP. But it’s a fabulous group with lots of lovely members who are supportive. The website’s pages are worth checking out, they have a Home page, Books page, Authors page, Review page and loads more. They also post an excerpt from one of the books every day. I love it when it’s my turn. Oh, and they also have a readers’ club if you would like to join. The details are on the Books page of the site here’s the link
Last and not least, there is the Authors Electric group, which again is an invitation only group. Each member is expected to provide a blog post for their blog – Do Authors Dream of Electric Books. My turn is on the 19th of each month if you want to check me out. The blog itself is a mix of posts from various writers and is well worth a look. Here’s the link

Well, that’s an overview of the groups I’m involved with and all I can say is that I find them beneficial. However, whether you would is a different matter and only you can decide whether to join a group or not. The only advice I would give is, be selective.