Happy Memorial Day

About The Author

I was recently asked to write an author blurb – you know, that bit of information below the author photo on the dust jacket. I didn’t have the faintest idea what to write, so I looked at a few.

Well, I noticed all the female author blurbs mentioned they were married, and how many kids they had. Well, I’m single, and have no kids, and apart from that, I don’t see what my marital status has to do with me as an author.

Or they say that so-and-so has a great job in such-and-such a company, and they live In a wonderful place. My day job isn’t that great, and I don’t want it defining me. Although I am perfectly happy to say I live in London, because I love London.

I really wanted my author blurb to say more about writing than me. Apart from my writing, I’m not very interesting. So I said a little about when I started writing, and what I wrote, and what interested me. I hope it’ll do.

Promo help by Christine Duncan

I have used different promo tools over the years to try to get the word out about my books. Help a reporter is an email newsletter that works on the principle that we all have an expertise or knowledge that some reporter may need.  In return for that expertise, you get free publicity. It’s interesting to read through some of this stuff, and it has been around a while.

A more recent tool is blogdash. It can help you monetize your blog if that is your deal.

I like it when authors get together to help publicize.

Marketingforromancewriters has an email group as well as the website that is a great help when you are needing promo ideas and help.  MurderMustAdvertise a simillar group for mystery writers, has some good advice for writers but is a little less hands on.

Sometimes we all just need a little help.

Inspirational Mantra?

‘Dream big’ (generic inspirational remark)

‘Aim for the moon. If you miss, you’ll be amongst the stars’ (quote from a badge I had about twenty years ago)

‘We are all in the gutter, but some of are looking at the stars’ (Oscar Wilde)

These are all inspirational quotes I’ve heard, not just about writing, but about everything. I did find them useful at first, but now I think they’re a bit vague. For example, dreaming big is all very well. But what you need is something telling to do the next small step, and the step after that, and the one after that, and by the way, this is all hard work, and some luck, and a lot of effort and dreaming doesn’t get you anyway. But that’s not quite so snappy, and doesn’t fit on a t shirt.

The Oscar Wilde quote is lovely (of course, it is, it’s Oscar Wilde) and is very true, (again, Oscar). But the point is, you can’t just look. Oscar made being a genius look very easy, and effortless, but he put a hell of a lot of very hard work into his writing. He didn’t just look at the stars, he sat down at his desk and worked hard at viewing this stars.

I have two quotes on my desk. ‘Never never never give up’ by Winston Churchill. Well, it’s less of a inspiration than a command, if you imagine it in Churchill’s voice. I’m choosy about which situations I apply it to though. It’s perfect for my writing career. It’s not so perfect for ice skating, where I tend to fall over and break bones. Giving that up was a great idea.

The other one is from Arthur Conan Doyle ‘Life is infinitely stranger than anything we can imagine’. This is very useful when I’m writing a plot, and I think it’s ridiculous. I look at this and think that no matter how ridiculous my plot, it will have happened some place, some time in real life.

A good inspirational quote can keep you going. It’s a mantra to push you onwards through disappointment and never-ending hard work. But choose it carefully. Choose something carefully. It’s probably best not to choose something that’s been on a t-shirt. Choose something that helps you when you in the depths of despair, not just when you’re happy and successful (or drunk).

Dream big is a great idea. But ‘baby steps’, (meaning don’t try and do everything at once, take everything step by step and move on when I’m ready) is my own mantra for my writing career, as well as my recovery from my terrible health, and getting acting training and learning lines, has been a lot more helpful – but it wouldn’t look good on a t-shirt.

Happy Mother’s Day!

The Home

Do you know the first line from Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. ‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.’

Manderley was based on a real house that Daphne Du Maurier saw and loved (and later bought). I read an article this week about houses that famous authors lived in, and many of them used the houses they lived in – or the houses they saw – as inspiration for their books.

These homes almost become characters in their own right. They feel real. They feel complete.

However, the image in the books, even when based on a real house, don’t always match up to the real house. Satis House in Great Expectations looks nothing like I imagined it (the real house is in Rochester). But there is still a sense of a real, living place, that you can see and visit, if only you can find it.

I love the idea that these homes really exist. But do I want to visit? After all, I have an image in my mind of these homes, and the image isn’t always the same as the author’s.

And just to let you know 221b Baker Street is a lot smaller than I imagined it – but as it didn’t exist when Arthur Conan Doyle wrote Sherlock Holmes, it’s amazing it’s there at all. But there it is, with the chairs by the fire and the VR in bullet holes in the wall and the pipes on the table. It’s a prime example of a house being created to match the story, rather than the other way round.

Speedlancer Reviews Anyone? by Christine Duncan

I am still trying to find a way to make a little more money with my writing.  So I was more than a little interested when I got an email inviting me to apply at Speedlancer.  I had never heard of them before.

From what I’ve read on the net, Speedlancer launched in 2014. They set the terms for the writing (or data entry or logo/banner design,) promising the client the work will be complete in four hours   So its a win-win situation–no messy bidding for writers looking for projects and quick turnover for people who need work finished.  It sounds great.

All I want is to find some writers who work for them to review Speedlancers.  It is after all, new.  Have there been any glitches? Anyone?