Monday 30 September 2013

And now for something completely different... Poetry!

Next up on my guest list is Joanne Faries. Joanne is a great blogging friend, who has supported me since Cat and The Dreamer was a mere kitten, so when I noticed she was publishing three collections of poetry with a whisper, I thought I should shout about them for her!!

Amazon US and UK
Amazon US and UK

No memorization required!!!  No hidden meanings.

Amazon US and UK

Follow the links under each title to take you directly to the Amazon page of your choice.

Welcome to my blog, Joanne. I'll admit it straight away, I'm a little out of my depth when it comes to poetry... Tell me a bit about the collections you've just published? 

Thanks, Annalisa, for having me and I'm out of my depth on poetry too. It's the last thing I expected to write. However, I met Sheryl Nelms through Trinity Writers' Workshop.  Her poems were funny and I understood them. I could express myself with poetry, and actually my first publishing successes in on-line journals were poems. Now over five years later, I chose to compile my work and certain themes sorted out - nature/childhood nostalgia/emotion. I decided to keep my Wordsplash title and call these Poetry Puddle. I hope folks splash through the collections and come away thinking, "Huh, I like poetry. Who knew?"

Yes, your blog is called Word Splash and your collection of flash fiction is called Word Splash Flash. I read and loved your flash fiction, so I'm looking forward to reading these collections. Do you prefer writing prose or poetry?

ThanksThe words flow into prose or poetry depending on how the picture takes shape. Some tales need dialogue and become flash. Some teensy thought just needs word brush strokes to become a poem (and they can have a small plot or a character - read Brush Your Teeth in Hazy Memory. It conveys astonishment at my Nana's false teeth)

How do your ideas form themselves into finished poems? I've read thousands of fiction writers' methodologies, is poetry similar? 

I hear a phrase or drive in fog or sit on my patio in Texas having heat stroke - there are a few "hot" poems in Nature.  In Hazy Memory - I reflected on times at the beach or with my grandmother. I had a happy childhood, so these poems are joyful gauzy memories. In Tread Water - I tap some deeper emotions. I have one about communication. It evolved from watching folks dining out and not talking. Everyone was staring at a cellphone.

Have you ever started writing a poem and found it turned itself into a piece of flash fiction? 

Absolutely and vice versa. I'll write a flash and decide I like some phrasing or image, and turn it into a poem. It's funny - I have trouble writing full blown fiction. Maybe it's my business background, but I was great at writing terse memos. Now, the few novels I've attempted - I find them too talkie. I can't seem to expand. I remove extraneous verbiage, and use a thesaurus, etc to choose the absolute right word. I also like the letter "S" - I definitely use a lot of slithery, slippery, skedaddle words.  

Do you float around meadows staring at the clouds like Wordsworth? (Yes, my vision of poets is very romantic!)

In Texas, you float in the pool. Splish, splash.

What question are you dying to be asked that no one has ever asked you?

Which poem has been rejected the most, but you love it anyway? Answer - Hardy Garden and yes it is in the Nature book.
Final thoughts: 
I will say - don't be afraid of poetry. I hope my poems demonstrate that and just make folks happy or nod their heads in agreement at the moment I captured. I haven't studied meter or anything fancy and I don't pretend to think I'm Maya Angelou or Mary Oliver. I try to space the words on the page as needed and sometimes the whitespace adds dimension to the poem story. Sound is important - the words need to clunk, clink, kerplop - they add action and can heighten tension.

I used the word shlop in one of my stories  - I love words like that! Thanks for visiting my blog today, and good luck with your collections.

Joanne Faries

Saturday 28 September 2013

Is bad really better than good?

Warning: this might end up being a little bit of a rant.

I'm squeezing this post in between lots of guests - and on a Saturday afternoon when no one reads blogs anyway, no less - because it's topical.

Last Friday, I read an article in the Daily Mail about Quin Woodward Pu who sent a bizarre text to a man who 'dumped' her after two dates. (Note: after two dates, surely there is nothing to actually dump, it's more of an it was nice to know you, have a good life kind of deal?) A lot of the comments called her a narcissist and a bit delusional.

Reading the article further, I discovered this story had already been covered on Buzzfeed, which is more and more a trait of certain UK papers. Then, reading even further, I discovered this twenty-six year old woman was also a blogger and had two self-published autobiographies available on Amazon. (You'll recall the words narcissist and delusional from the previous paragraph, yes?)

But hang on a minute... what great publicity!! (Cue my cynical head, because - boy! - as a writer I would love this kind of free advertising for my books... albeit with a little less laughter at my expense.)

I attempted to follow the link to her blog, but my anti-virus programme blocked it (LOL!), so I did the next best thing and looked up her books. I found one here and the other here.

Do you see what I see (apart from the fact that this unknown woman has put herself on both book covers)?

The first book has 146 reviews, at the time I'm writing this. Mostly they are one star, and quite a number of them are from people who'd spent $10 on the paperback version... and what's more, when you read the reviews, they are from people who had bought the book after they'd seen this text melt-down by the author - and who assumed the book would be bad.

I'm going to reiterate that, because this is the source of my rant: people spent $10 on a book they knew was going to be bad. 

I know many writers, self and indie published, who would love to sell over 100 books in two days (myself included) - but they don't, we don't. It would be lovely to think that when we write, edit, proof-read and generally make our books the best they can be, readers would be on the other side of the process waiting to read them. But no! Apparently notoriety is a much bigger draw.

If anyone knows how we can change this, please let me know!

Friday 27 September 2013

Ashley Chappel trailer reveal

Today I'm thrilled to be part of Ashley Chappel's book trailer launch. I've never had a trailer on my blog before - and I've never considered doing one myself - but this is awesome. As I told Ashley, the fact she composed her own music for the trailer swung the deal for me.

Book Title: TILT: Dreams of Chaos #2
Release Date: October 11th, 2013 

Blurb: Two years ago, teen goddess Trotter saved the entire pantheon of Realm from a dark god bent on revenge. Her battles led her into fantastic and dangerous worlds where she discovered new friends and family as well as new foes. She also discovered the extraordinary secret behind her birth that her parents had kept hidden for centuries: Trotter had been marked by Chaos himself. Now, cast out from Realm by the very gods whose lives she saved, her refuge among the humans on Aevum has been destroyed as the world is tilted violently from its sun. Trotter will stop at nothing to save the world and the people she loves, but winning this fight will force her into a choice that may mean giving up the only home she’s ever known. TILT is the second book in the Dreams of Chaos series which has been hailed by reviewers as "Darker and more enchanting than the Heroes of Olympus Series."

**** FREEBIE! As part of the upcoming book launch festivities, ALICE WILL: Dreams of Chaos #1 will be FREE on Amazon for Kindle from 11 - 14 October! Get your copy here: **** 

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Wednesday 25 September 2013

Yo-yo writing

You've heard of yo-yo dieting, but I've discovered the joy-pain-joy cycle of yo-yo writing.

I have WIP1, which is resting - I love the story, but I'm not sure it should be the next book, I think it would work better as the one-after-next.

So, I brought WIP2 out from under the bed and started to read it, loved it, hated it, tried to re-write it, decided it was perfect as it was, hated it...

... and searched out WIP3... Meh. Yeah, all right, I guess. Needs so much work... hmmm, but if I just take this sub-plot out, tweak this character, change this woman to a man... Oooh, I love this novel... Wait, no I hate it!

Where's WIP2? Great story... No it's not, it's too depressing and doesn't make sense

Am I making too much work for myself, should I just get WIP1 ready to submit?

BUT it's not the right story...

Oooh, that's a great line I've just woken up with in my head. Now, does it fit it WIP 2 or WIP3?

If you're in the middle of working on your most favourite story ever, I salute you - and feel a little jealous. I know I'm pretty lucky to have three great projects available for me to work on (which doesn't even consider the fact I've got another one gathering dust that Hubby thinks I should finish!) but there's something stopping me. I've got this horrible feeling that the stories are too big for me, that I won't be able to do justice to the characters and their plights.

Monday 23 September 2013

A chat with Teresa F. Morgan

Last week I visited Teresa F. Morgan's blog, and today she's popped in to see me.

Teresa has just released her debut book with Harper Impulse, so what better time to share her with my lovely blogger buddies.

So, Teresa, I first met you in May 2011 (I checked) via Sally Quilford's 80,000 Words in 80 Days... Been busy since then?
Wow, was that when we first met? Well, back in May 2011 I'd put my first book on hold, to let it rest and started writing my second book (current working title Perfect Isn't An Option) in the 80,000 words in 80 Days - great challenge! That first book is now called Plus One Is A Lucky Number and has been published by Harper Collins' imprint company Harper Impulse. I have a two book contract, so I'm currently trying to tidy up the second book - it needs editing and some additing - to send it off to them. I've had a few dramas in my life since May 2011, divorcing and moving house, so haven't been so busy on the writing as I'd like to be. Now I'm settled in my new house, I am hoping to get into a better routine with my writing.

How did that feel, having your book accepted after working on it for so long?

I guess I feel relieved... and I'm still pinching myself that I'm a published author!
I started writing Plus One for the Mills and Boon competition in 2010 (I think it was around September). I didn't get anywhere but continued writing the book. So it has taken me three years to get published, and I'm chuffed to bits. You hear a lot of writers never getting their first ever written novel published, and I have. I sent it out to publishers last year, but with no joy. When I heard about Harper Impulse, my book was still with the RNA New Writers' Scheme and I was awaiting a full critique back, but I sent it off anyway, wanting to grab the bull by the horns as it was a fairly new company. 

Did you ever consider self-publishing, or were you always heading towards a publisher?

For me, I always wanted to head towards a publisher. I feel rather new to the game, as I only started writing in 2006 and decided to do it professionally in 2009. I know that self-publishing works for some, but I think because I lacked confidence in my ability, (and still do!) and didn't want to be one of those writers who publish tripe (they do exist - seen it in the fanfic world!), I wanted my writing to be endorsed (is that the right word?) by a publisher - someone saying yes this woman can write! I think if it was 10 years down the line and I still hadn't been published, then I might have done it just to get my book out there, lol! But at first I wanted to try the 'traditional' route.

What's next?

Book two - Perfect Isn't An Option. I really want to get this off to my publisher so I can write my third book! I think the only way I'm really going to get back into the swing of writing again, is to write. Editing is very hard to get motivated over... well, for me it is.

Is your writing career how you imagined it?

At the moment, no! I would love to be spending afternoons in Costa brainstorming, days out researching, hours reading then writing in my study (which I no longer have), but instead, it's very much the same as before. I'm running around after two boys, trying to keep on top of some of the housework and having to do the part time jobs which keep me afloat with a regular income. lol! When I do get to do writing, I've now got a desk in the corner of my lounge. One day, if I can give up the part time jobs, and have an office/study where I can go write - shutting the door to the outside world, that will be lovely. I've eyed up my son's bedroom to become my study, but because he's six I think I have a long time to wait. All depends on how clean he keeps his bedroom... otherwise I might convert it sooner rather than later!

About Plus One is a Lucky Number:
Sophie’s going to a wedding where the invite is strictly plus one… but with her single girl status not exactly fitting in with the bridesmaid dress code, and the best man being none other than the ex she would rather forget, Sophie needs a date and she needs one fast!

Luckily for Sophie, her dreamy but distant co-worker Adam Reid owes their mutual friend James big time…and his gorgeousness more than fills the role of the ‘Perfect Boyfriend’!

As they take off to the sunny shores of Cornwall for the wedding weekend, it’s not long before pretence leads to passion and Sophie and Adam must decide; is their relationship real or is it all for show?

Teresa lives in sunny Weston-super-Mare, trying to hold onto her Surrey accent where she was born and bred.

For years she persevered with boring jobs, until her two boys joined the nest. In an attempt to find something to work around them, and to ensure she never endured full time boredom again, she found writing.

Teresa is at her happiest baking cakes, putting proper home cooked dinners on the table (whether the kids eat them or not), reading a good romance, or creating a touch of escapism with heroes readers will fall in love with.

You can find Teresa here:

Sunday 22 September 2013

A song for a lazy Sunday

One of my favourite Duke Special songs. I hope you enjoy it. I saw him live in Plymouth, UK in April this year and he was fantastic.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

I'm visiting Teresa

I know you're not used to me posting everyday, but this is just a quickie to say I'm being interviewed over on Teresa Morgan's The Wittering Woman blog today.

Teresa has recently published an ebook with Harper Impulse, Plus One is a Lucky Number...

Click here to visit Amazon UK

Teresa will be here next week to talk about her new book.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

It's a giveaway!

To (further) celebrate the release of That Sadie Thing in paperback, I've organised a giveaway via Goodreads. I'm afraid I'm restricting it to the UK, for postal costs reasons unfortunately. If someone would like to invent teleportation in the next two weeks I'd be delighted to hand you the book in person!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

That Sadie Thing by Annalisa Crawford

That Sadie Thing

by Annalisa Crawford

Giveaway ends October 01, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Monday 16 September 2013

Introducing Indiestructible

You'll all have heard about Indiestructible - and seen this cover everywhere - by now. I'm kinda late to the party. But it doesn't hurt to remind you again... 

This is a fantastically inspiring insight into the self-publishing ventures of our favourite bloggers. Plus, when you buy it, your 99c will go straight to a great charity which is helping to break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy!

And for those who have been living in Outer Mongolia for the last couple of months here's Jessica to explain what it's all about in her own words...

by Jessica Bell

The day I realized I’d been obsessing over my sales figures way too much was the day I closed my eyes and tried to think about the real reason I am an indie author.

Is my primary goal to make money? No. So why do I keep obsessing over my sales stats? I realized it’s because more sales means more people reading my work. What I really really want is to be read. I want to share the one thing in this world I would cut my fingers off for. I know. If I didn’t have any fingers, I wouldn’t be able to physically write, but you know what I mean.

My passion for writing comes with a perpetual replacement button, attached to my side seam, just in case it becomes unraveled, and falls off, after a day gallivanting through the publishing jungle. It can be tough in there, but in the end, being an indie author is OH SO WORTH IT.

This made me wonder …  what’s everybody else’s story?
Then Indiestructible was born.

Need motivation and inspiration to self-publish, or sign that contract with an interested small press? Have you done all the research you can, but still feel ambivalent about the idea? Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle brings you the experiences of 29 indie authors—their passions, their insights, their successes—to help you make the leap into indie publishing.

This is not a how-to guide. This is the best of the indie tradition of experienced authors paying forward what they’ve learned, giving you information to help you on your journey. The personal essays in this book will leave you itching to get your work into the hands of readers and experience, first-hand, all the rewards indie publishing has to offer.

Not only is this anthology packed full of interesting, unique, and genuinely helpful information, and totally worth the 99c (only 99c!!!), 100% of proceeds will be donated to, a movement which breaks the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education.

Pretty amazing, huh?
What are you waiting for?
Buy Indiestructible—support the indie author and an amazing charity—TODAY!

eBook: $0.99 USD
Publisher: Vine Leaves Press
ISBN 10: 0987593102
ISBN 13: 9780987593108
Language: English
Edited & Compiled: by Jessica Bell

Contributing authors:

About Jessica Bell:
The Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet, and singer/songwriter/guitarist, Jessica Bell, also makes a living as an editor and writer for global ELT publishers (English Language Teaching), such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

She is the co-publishing editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and the director of the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca.

Connect with Jessica online:

Friday 13 September 2013

Christine Rains cover reveal

I'm really excited to be part of Christine's cover reveal today. I haven't read her 13th Floor series yet, so I was really happy to hear they'd all be out in one collection!

The 13th Floor Complete Collection
Author: Christine Rains
Genre: paranormal romance

Release date: October 13th, 2013

Six supernatural tenants
Living in a haunted apartment building
On a floor that doesn't exist.

Six novellas telling their tales.
  • A retired demon acquires a price on his head.
  • A werewolf is hunted by her pack.
  • A modern day dragonslayer misses his target.
  • A harpy challenges Zeus for the soul of the man she loves.
  • A vampire is obsessed with a young woman he can't find.
  • A banshee falls in love with someone who's death she has seen in a vision.
  • And a sweet ghost must battle a primal monster to save them all.
All the stories take place at the same time intertwining their lives together on the 13th Floor.

Author Bio:
Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not writing or reading, she having adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. The 13th Floor series is her first self-published series. She has eight novellas and twenty-one short stories published.

Website  //  Blog  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Goodreads 

Wednesday 11 September 2013

That Sadie Thing sneaks into paperback

So, today was a strange kind of day. I published the paperback version of That Sadie Thing. It kind of just slunk into existence. I was expecting some big display of celebration from Amazon, but there wasn't even a 'Publish Now' button... it just happened.

I got a hug from my mum though, so that was nice. And, I should warn you, if you know her, you will be getting my book as a birthday present!

This is the very excitable picture I posted on Facebook a couple of days ago when the proof copy was delivered!

And this is the copy in close up. Isn't it pretty? I honestly spent half the time I should have been doing the final proof read just flipping through the pages.

Long before POD publishing, I was the person who used to format my Word documents into book size and shape just to see what it would look like. It was a rather surreal experience when I was doing it for real.

And finally, here's a picture to convince you that you really need to buy a copy of this book - just look how good it will look on your book shelf...

Thursday 5 September 2013

Happy Anniversary, Hubby

If you're visiting to catch up with yesterday's IWSG post, click here.

I couldn't delay this post because...

15 years ago today, I got married.

The 15th anniversary is traditionally Crystal. But I don't like crystal, so we'll be ignoring that bit.

During our reception, England - playing a European football championship qualifier - lost 2-1 to Sweden. We announced the result during the speeches, because it was important.

The best view of my dress is the back, because there are three red roses at the bottom of the bodice. Unfortunately, I think there are only a couple of photos, and one of them is black and white.

Yes, the bouquet was as heavy as it looks - never tell your florist to go wild with the colour! By the end of the day, my arm was pretty much locked in that position.

Our first dance was something by Wet Wet Wet, I think.

We're off out to lunch later which is the first time in those 15 years that we've actually celebrated!

Wednesday 4 September 2013

This wonderful group - an IWSG post

Scroll down to the bottom for
the linky list!
Welcome to the first Wednesday of the month, and therefore my IWSG offering.

I had this post all written last week, and then I received Alex's email reminding us that the IWSG has reached it's 2nd anniversary, and it's still going strong. I think I've managed to post every single month, too, which is an achievement for me. 

Two years ago, my blog was small and had very little traffic; I had a couple of novellas that I'd given up trying to publish; and it had been almost a year since my last short story was published via a competition. Was I feeling insecure? You bet I was. But then I started reading about everyone else's insecurities, and realised that everyone feels the same, no matter what stage of the process they're at. Everyone thinks their current draft is rubbish, everyone thinks their last novel will be their last because this one's just not going right. And everyone can step up and tell other's that they felt like that last month, and it will pass, and we're all in this together.

Writing is such a lonely business, if you're not careful. I started writing before the internet was born, and I can tell you I was very lonely - none of my friends wrote, only a few of them loved books as much as me, and none of them had to be persuaded to open the next present on Christmas Day because they were too engrossed in their last (book) present..

Today, it's hard to feel insecure - I've published two Kindle books, gained some fantastic friends from all around the world, taken risks and shared parts of my life with people who really know what I'm feeling. The encouragement I've been given, and seeing the success of others, really helped me to take my goals to the next level.

Of course, Alex (the guy who doesn't even need a link) deserves a huge standing ovation for having this brilliant idea in the first place, for continually promoting fellow authors, for always visiting our blogs, and for apparently never working, eating or sleeping to be able to manage all this blogging time. I'm so glad to be part of this group, and for meeting you all.

Have you been part of the group from the start? Have you just joined? Has it helped you as much as it's helped me?

Sunday 1 September 2013

My sunny summer, and an announcement


It's been roughly three weeks since my last post, I took time off to enjoy the summer and relax with my kids. And what a fantastic summer it's been in the UK. We had sun! Lots of it. I got a tan, and I haven't worn trousers in weeks. In the end though, my kids found numerous ways to entertain themselves... so I was actually very productive.

I sent out my WIP to three critiquers. And then nervously waited for their comments. I am not good at having people read my work - usually I pace, but it's hard to pace for three weeks straight. This story is a huge departure for me (I mentioned in the last IWSG post that I might need to release it under a pen name), and I was worried how people who've read my other work would respond. Luckily it's be positive so far.

To take my mind off the wait, I dusted off an old WIP (again I mentioned this last month - it's the very depressing one) and tried to figure out what the heck was wrong with it. I stared at it for a long time, then woke up one morning last week and - boom! - it was obvious. However, I now need to cut a lot of it, which is a lot of work. I'm currently slashing huge swathes of text and laughing rather maniacally.

And, finally, I had one more idea... (if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or if you've visited my website recently you'll know this already)...

That Sadie Thing is going to be a paperback! And it includes three brand new stories.


It was an almost spur of the moment decision - I only signed up to Createspace eleven days ago - but I'm already waiting for the proofs in the post. It helps that most of the editing was done for the ebook version, but there were some interesting formatting issues to get my head around. And then, I managed to wipe all the headers and footers while trying to change something else entirely.

I want to say a huge thank you to Rachel Morgan at Morgan Media for taking my 2D Kindle cover and making into an awesome book cover - it's exactly how I would have done it myself if had any kind of design skill.

I've added the book to Goodreads, with a release date of 1 October, but I'm hoping I'll be ready earlier than that. There won't be any tour, because I did all that when I released the Kindle version in February, but if you want to mention it to your non-Kindle-owning friends, I won't stop you xx