Tag Archives: stories

Author visit…

So, this week’s blog post is coming to you a little later on a rather blustery Sunday evening as I’ve just finished going over the final copy-edited manuscript of Magical Masquerade! (I say final, but we’ll not speak too soon…)

Anyway, it feels good to have that done as it’s getting closer to the time when I discover the joys of formatting and get to send off for my proof copies!

img_2281

With Principal Anne Crossett and the P5-P7 pupils of Kilross Primary

 

In the meantime, book proof or no book proof, I’ve already enjoyed my very first school visit as an author and I do say enjoy, because I found it really fun. On Friday I visited Kilross Primary School just outside the village of Tobermore, where I spent the afternoon with pupils in the P5 – P7 classes. They had prepared lots of questions for me and also came up with a good few on-the-spot ones as well, which was great.

img_0954I explained about the writing process and even got to act as teacher for a while, using the whiteboard to explain basic story structure and character profiles.

The kids then had a go at creating their own character and the beginning of a story, and I gave out a couple of notebooks and pens to the top two. Hopefully it will inspire them to keep writing! My attempts at homemade bookmarks for Magical Masquerade also seemed to go down well and each pupil got one of those to take away. The blow-up cover I’d printed off for them to see also seemed to go down well… Oh, and I read a couple of extracts from MM as well.

Next time, they’ll get a copy of the book for their school library. 🙂img_0964

This week I’ve also been working on another promo element for the book, which I’ll be sharing with you soon, so that’s something else to look forward too…

Meanwhile, aside from working on my own book, I’ve also acquired a fair few new books for my TBR, thanks to getting some vouchers for birthday and discovering a great book-tuber called Piera Forde, whose recommended reads are now (mostly) piled up in my living room.

I’ve also ordered my very first FairyLoot YA fantasy-fiction-themed subscription box, which will arrive in March and will contain a new release HB book along with a lot of bookish goodies. It also happens to be their one-year anniversary box, so is going to be that little bit extra-special. Can’t wait for this to arrive!img_0925

Going back to MM, I’m really very happy about all the lovely comments I’ve had since last week, when I shared the cover for Magical Masquerade, so thank you everyone for that. Although the countdown to actually getting my hands on a physical book is now closer than ever, I still won’t actually believe it until I see it. On that, however, I’ll definitely keep you posted. 🙂

Advertisements

Comments Off on Author visit…

Filed under Self-publishing

Magical Masquerade

ink-316909_1280So … it’s the start of a new year and I’m happy to report that, aside from taking a few days off over Christmas to celebrate the season, I spent most of my time editing The Book. What’s more, my winter whittling shaved off a further 16,000 or so words from that, which I consider a definite result.

My book is aimed at what would be termed middle-grade readers, and is a fantasy story which, my research shows, provides more scope for length. Fantasy novels for any age just tend to be that bit longer, what with all the world-building and so on, so I think I’m on track, though there’s still time for more snipping before publication if needs be. My beta readers also said that when reading a fantasy book, they preferred something chunkier, which signified a story they could really get stuck into. So, we’ll see.

Introductions, please…. 

Before I go any further however, I thought I’d share something which probably should have been shared a little while ago now. Yes, that’s right – it’s maybe time now for a title??

In truth, my title has been in place more or less since I started hand-writing The Book quite a few years ago. It did undergo a complete revision at one stage, but I ended up reverting back to the original because I just felt it fitted what the story is all about and well, because I’m also an alliteration addict….

I’m still holding back on sharing the cover, as I need to get a further wee thing added onto that and would rather it was in its final form before I make it public (maybe I’m being precious about this but that’s just how I want to do it! Also, if any of you good people subsequently feel inclined to share it when I do put it’ out there’ [here’s hoping!], then at least the right version will be floating about the internet.)

Anyway, I hope I haven’t built this up too much, and if you’re an eagle-eyed sort of a person, then you’ll know the title already, as it’s also the title of this week’s blog post. Yep, you’ve guessed it. My book is called:

Magical Masquerade

I hope you like it.

If you don’t, then apologies, but that’s what it is. 🙂

fullsizerender-13

CreateSpace

Back to the business of book-making…. I’ve been re-reading my self-publishing manual over the holidays and New Year (which is Self-Printed by Catherine Ryan Howard, for those of you who are interested), and it’s been great. Again. Although there’s A LOT of work to be done in formatting the e-book and POD (print on demand) paperback once the manuscript is good to go, knowing what the things are that need to be done is better than not knowing (or forgetting), which just makes the process seem scary and impossible all over again.

So, thank you again Catherine for (A) blogging about all this stuff in the first place and (B) self-publishing a pretty cool book about it.

One thing I did forget though, was that Self-Printed isn’t written in the order that you’ll necessarily be doing things (which Catherine does make clear at the start). So, there’s some stuff in the final section for example, which is all about selling SP books, which you need to be aware of early on, as you’ve got to get certain things in place re promo etc., rather than waiting until the book is live on Amazon. This is why I read the book last year, but I forget things, hence the re-reads…

That said, I think I’m pretty much on track with most of the prep work, though much still needs to be done. I’m someone who likes to have lists and lists and yet more lists when doing pretty much anything in life – it’s just ordering them into a chronology that will ensure everything happens in a timely fashion which sometimes complicates things!

For example, while I’m going to wait until the finished book is uploaded to CreateSpace and I can order proof copies for myself and hopefully, some reviewers, if I want to get a quote for the cover, then an ARC (advanced reader copy) would be ideal. The book still needs to be in a near-final form to do this, however, so one has to think ahead for that. Have I got someone who’s actually agreed to do this…? Stay tuned my friends, and I’ll keep you updated. 🙂

The copy-edit

clockAs we speak, Magical Masquerade is back in the inbox of my editor, who will be working on the final copy-edit throughout January. After that I will take a couple of weeks to work through her feedback again and make the required changes. Then, once I’m happy the book is worthy of publication (!) I will format and upload the e-book and paperback interiors (and order my proof paperbacks), wait up to a week for these to be approved and then wait a further week or two for my proofs to arrive in the post.

After that, I’ll be happily spending a few more weeks poring over the paperback and once that’s finally cleared for publication, I’ll hopefully get, at last, to hit that ‘approve proof’ button on CreateSpace and release it into the world. (Though it’ll then still take a week or two to actually appear on the Amazon site).

This is the timeline, and I’m aiming for an April release of Magical Masquerade, BUT, I know plans are all very well, but things don’t often go to plan. The holidays are over and I’ve still got a copywriting business to run, while there’s bound to be some sort of hiccup when it comes to formatting the different book versions. (I just know there will be – I’m not a technical whizz!)

However, I do now actually have a CreateSpace account and have filled out my tax details and completed the required tax questionnaire for that. I’ve also got my trim size confirmed (i.e. the size of the paperback) and have downloaded my interior files template (which I’ll copy my manuscript text onto for formatting later), so it’s all getting more real by the second.

Oh – and I now have an ISBN, so it’s official. The Book is really real. 😉

What’s next?Q

Good question. A lot of stuff, but I’ll need to consult my ever-lengthening list and get back to you on that one. More details are definitely coming soon about my self-publishing journey though and … perhaps also a little snippet about the official launch? Well, maybe, maybe not. Suffice it to say, there will definitely be a launch, but details are under wraps for the moment, though discussions are ongoing, so I’ll share about that when I can!

In short story news, The Ghastling journal should be out this month, so I’ll post a pic of that when I have it. (I’ve got a story in it, in case you didn’t read my last post).

That’s all for now!

Comments Off on Magical Masquerade

Filed under Self-publishing, Uncategorized

Winter whittling….

A sculptor whittles away at a piece of stone, gradually shaping it into something that resembles a form we will recognise. So too does the storyteller shape words, working away at refining swathes of text to create something that’s sharper, clearer and more interesting than what they initially started out with.

Tree of booksAs the day job has slowed down a little over December and Christmas approaches, I’ve been squirreled away doing just this – shaping my story one last time to get it into a form that I’m happy to publish. At the point that I sent it to my editor, I wasn’t sure what else could be cut, as I’d worked on it so many times before.

However, since getting her feedback, I’ve already managed to chop a further 13,000 words from it – and we’re not just talking about cutting scenes solely for the sake of lowering the word count. I’ve actually been adding in words with the rewrites, while removing those scenes that I’ve realised now don’t really move the story along. I’ve reworked parts of the story and clarified some plot points and … it’s all coming together rather nicely I think (well, I hope!).

I’ve got just a few more chapters left to go through, before I print the book off once again for a hard copy read-through after Christmas. All will be finished tomorrow, so I can have a few days (or a week) away from it, before that happens. Then it will be sent back to Emma for the final copy-edit as I read up again on what to do next!

While she’s copy-editing, I’ll therefore be setting up my CreateSpace account, learning about formatting POD (print on demand) paperbacks, and ebooks, and doing all sorts of other preparatory work that needs to be done before the book is out.

In the meantime, my book cover is now signed off, but I’m going to wait until the New Year before I start sharing that… I don’t want to be too early in getting it out there and I imagine it would be lost amongst the flurry that is the festive season anyway. I’ve already got an invitation to do a reading at a local primary school, which is great, and I’ve got a few other bits of good news which I hope to share in the near future too…christmas-tree

Aside from all that, I’ll be looking forward to getting a copy of The Ghastling journal in January, as one of my short stories has been accepted for publication in this. What better way to start off the new year? Here’s hoping the rest of 2017 is similarly positive in bookish-related matters…

Anyway… Happy Christmas fellow writers, readers and bloggers. I hope you have a lovely holiday and we’ll pick up again in the New Year! 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under Self-publishing

The world is a story…

Today is World Storytelling Day – a day which celebrates the art of oral storytelling and which this year, focuses on the theme of water.photo 5

Stories saturate every part of our lives, whether we’re fully aware of it or not. We use them when we’re relaying accounts of our day; we find them in advertising and in the news. They come to us in thoughts, in oral form, in the written word and in pictures. Stories are powerful because they connect us with one another and they make things personal.

We ‘buy into’ commercial stories because they hook into our emotions – we buy the vision of the brand above what they’re actually selling. That’s the power of storytelling.

Books can leave us emotionally drained, exultant, bewildered and more, depending on what you’re reading. They can challenge our perceptions and open up new worlds and belief systems to us.boy-1262989_1280

Oral storytelling engages us in an ancient and still thriving way of sharing stories. The storyteller may use different voices for characters; they set the scene with the tone of their voice, through dramatic pauses and energetic or quiet speech. Telling stories aloud isn’t just for the kids!

Stories have been around for longer than we can remember and will always play a central role in our lives. On World Storytelling Day, why not have a think about what stories mean to you, or try to remember a story that’s really stayed with you over the years. It just might surprise you what comes to mind…

Comments Off on The world is a story…

Filed under Musings on writing

The power of storytelling…

“The first duty of a storyteller is to tell a story… That’s what I do, tell stories.”

This is a line from a superb play I saw at The Lyric Theatre in Belfast at the weekend called The Pillowman. Written by the critically acclaimed playwright, screenwriter and film director, Martin McDonagh, the play explores the power of words – of storytelling – through a mediocre writer who’s been hauled in for questioning by a policeman and a detective with a penchant for shooting writers. The story is set against the backdrop of a totalitarian dictatorship, where to be different or to speak your mind – to have a voice – is dangerous.

PILLOWMANOur writer – Katurian – admittedly isn’t one of ‘the greats’, and he claims only to want to tell stories, not to create symbolic art, but as the play progresses, we see just how loaded his words really are.

Without giving anything away to those who haven’t seen the play, Katurian is arrested because his stories – tales which mostly depict the gruesome deaths of little children – have seemingly started to happen for real. He doesn’t understand it, and we go on a journey with him as the story unravels and we discover the truth behind the grisly goings-on.

Essentially, The Pillowman explores the potency of stories – how they can inspire people to good; others to bad. They have a weight, a depth that can resonate long after they’ve been read, and they can be interpreted in many different ways.chalkboard-620316_1280

In my opinion, this is a great play that’s layered with myriad themes and overtures. There’s lots to think about – both in terms of the play itself, the stories created by the fictional writer in the play and also how our upbringing can affect us adults. And that’s before you even begin to peel away the 1984-type world the play is set in.

It brings to mind a book I love, and must re-read –  The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Bulgakov, who lived under the Stalin regime and indeed, initially enjoyed a level of approval from Stalin for his work, later saw his stories and plays banned, as critics condemned him and censorship won out. His fantastical tales, which critiqued Soviet society as he saw it and experienced it, lived on however, finally being published after his death.

Freedom of speech – of thought – is always at risk and should always be protected. The Pillowman, and stories like it, reminds us of this, and of the inherent power that the written word can have.

 

 

Comments Off on The power of storytelling…

Filed under Uncategorized