Friday, 6 July 2018

Summer sale for A Change of Mind and Other Stories

Hope everyone is having an awesome summer and you're not sweltering too much in this heat - we're definitely not used to it in Scotland! - and if it's winter where you are, I hope it's a pleasant one! To help celebrate, I've put my speculative collection A Change of Mind and Other Stories on half price throughout July - that's just $0.99 for a bunch of tales that's set to intrigue and tickle your imagination.


"This is a wonderful collection of short fiction. Nick Wilford's writing style is sharp and punchy and you'll find yourself sucked into these pieces." - Michelle Wallace

"Wilford’s ability to work an awesome plot-twist into such short pieces of fiction is simply amazing. My favorite of the shorter pieces was definitely Marissa, although I enjoyed all of them and felt disappointed when I reached the end of the collection. Don’t miss this one! It’s fantastic!" - Amazon Customer

"What a delightful collection of stories! There's good character development even in the shortest of works in the volume, and nice, forward-moving plots... If you're looking for some light, quick reads with a bit of an edginess to them, this is a good place to start." - KSF

"Some of the best writing I've encountered in indie fiction... For anyone interested in speculative fiction and snappy short stories, reading A Change of Mind is an afternoon well-spent." - JKU

You can find it here: Amazon USAmazon UKSmashwords

The Smashwords sale is running throughout July and you can find lots more great reads here.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

IWSG July 2018

It's the first week of July, and we're here a day early because I hear there's some sort of big holiday going on for my friends across the pond tomorrow. Nothing else has changed though, this is still the best place to gather and unleash our writerly worries in an atmosphere of mutual support. Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh remains ably at the helm, backed up this month by Nicki ElsonJuneta KeyTamara Narayan and Patricia Lynne.


I don't have much to be feeling insecure about - edits for the middle part of my trilogy are proceeding apace and I should be on track for an autumn release. Maybe taking a bit longer than planned, but for good reasons - I spent the past couple of weeks crafting a short story for a competition, for example. Diversions like that stop me getting bogged down, and I've come to believe that things will be ready when they're ready, rather than following a rigorous schedule. Let's turn to this month's IWSG question, which is as follows: "What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?"

That's an interesting one, quite deep for a glorious summer's day. I suppose in some way my goals have changed - initially I just wanted to finish one book, then I wanted to sign on with an agent. For the first I realised that, because finishing was in fact possible, I wanted to write a better book, and for the second, it did not seem as all-important as it once had after I started talking to other writers who were pursuing publication in all sorts of ways. But ultimately, my goals have always been to express myself and hopefully say something about the human condition. It's a confusing enough world - more and more so every day, it seems - and I'm always trying to find out what makes people tick, even if those people are on a distant planet or far into the future. I also want what I have to say to strike a chord with others and for them to relate to it, and miraculously, I seem to have had some success there, so I'll keep trying to take that further. Selling millions was never really part of the equation, which is probably just as well!

To read others' thoughts and insecurities this month head to the IWSG signup page here.


In other news, we only have just over two weeks to go before the next #IWSGPit on July 19. Will you be pitching into the fray with a tasty morsel to hook an agent or publisher? Last time we had about 5,100 Tweets and became a trending topic, and the next event looks to be even bigger, so don't miss out on grabbing a piece of the action! Rules are as follows:

Create a Twitter-length pitch for your completed and polished manuscript and leave room for genre, age, and the hashtag. On July 19, Tweet your pitch between 8am and 8pm Eastern time. If your pitch receives a favorite/heart from a publisher/agent check their submission guidelines and send your requested query.

Many writers have seen their books published from a Twitter pitch - it’s a quick and easy way to put your manuscript in front of publishers and agents.

Rules:

Writers may send out 1 Twitter pitch every hour per manuscript.

Publishers/Agents will favorite/heart pitches they are interested in. Publishers can either Tweet basic submission guidelines or direct writers to their submission guidelines. (Writers, please do not favorite/heart pitches.)

No images allowed in pitches.

Pitches must include GENRE/AGE and the hashtag #IWSGPit.

Ages:
#C - children’s
#MG - middle grade
#YA - young adult
#NA - new adult
#A - adult
Genres:
#AD - adventure
#CF - Christian fiction
#CO - contemporary
#F - fantasy
#H - horror
#HI - historical
#LF - literary fiction
#MCT - mystery/crime/thriller
#ME - memoir
#NF - non-fiction
#PB - picture book
#PN - paranormal
#R - romance
#SF - sci-fi
#WF - women's fiction

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

IWSG June 2018

It's the first Wednesday of the month and of course you know that means it's time for another meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Created and hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, it's a chance for writers of all kinds to air their insecurities without fear of being judged. Co-hosting duties this month are provided by Beverly Stowe McClureTyrean MartinsonTonja Drecker, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor.


In terms of insecurities, I'm not doing too badly this month. In fact I'm nearing the end of final edits on book 2 of my trilogy, which should be a fairly jubilant time (notwithstanding the start of the nailbiting countdown to publication). In fact, one of my last tasks is very closely related to this month's IWSG question, which is:

"What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?"

So at that moment I'm christening the last few characters who still remain nameless. They're very well defined apart from that, I have a clear sense of who these people are, I just haven't worked out what to call them yet. This has meant CPs grappling with interplay between the likes of (?), (??) and (???) - luckily they have the patience of saints and have somehow managed to keep track of them!

And of course, the book also needs a title. Out of the two, this is the one I definitely struggle with the most. I have to come up with far many more character names than book titles, so if I found them equally as challenging then I'd be in trouble. Writing speculative stuff, I do enjoy coming up with unique, out-of-the-ordinary names that tell you something about that character - I'm very much inspired by the likes of Tolkien and Pratchett in that regard. Sometimes they seem obvious, other times (or most of the time) they take a long time in coming.

But coming up with a snappy title that sums up an entire book in a couple of words? It's one of the most insidious tasks an author has to face. Having said that, I'm very clear on the title for the final book in the series - I'm sure I came up with a title for this one too, I just have to find where it's written down. But then I might want to change it completely.
How would you answer this question? Did you participate in IWSG today? Find other insecure scribes here.

Also, there's plenty of other exciting stuff going on in the IWSG camp. We have the next anthology contest opening on September 5th, which is also when the theme will be announced. The genre this year is YA Romance.
And it's the return of the ever-growing phenomenon that is the IWSG Twitter Pitch party on July 19th. This event is set to be bigger than ever with hundreds of agents and publishers signed up to check out your pitches. Get polishing them and check out all the rules at the IWSG site.
Finally, next month IWSG will be held a day early - Tuesday July 3rd - instead of the usual Wednesday. It seems some folk might be having a bit of the party the following day.

That's it - excited about what's in store for the IWSG?

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Some Very Messy Medieval Magic launch

Today I'm helping out C. Lee McKenzie, blogging friend, MG author and IWSG admin extraordinaire, with the launch of her latest novel, Some Very Messy Medieval Magic. I absolutely love that title, and this book closes out a trilogy that started with Alligators Overhead and The Great Time Lock Disaster. Check those out too.


SOME VERY MESSY MEDIEVAL MAGIC

 By C. Lee McKenzie

Pete’s stuck in medieval England!

 Pete and his friend Weasel thought they’d closed the Time Lock. But a young page from medieval times, Peter of Bramwell, goes missing. His absence during a critical moment will forever alter history unless he’s found.

 There’s only one solution - fledgling wizard Pete must take the page’s place. Accompanied by Weasel and Fanon, Pete’s alligator familiar, they travel to 1173 England.

 But what if the page remains lost - will Pete know what to do when the critical moment arrives? Toss in a grumpy Fanon, the duke’s curious niece, a talking horse, and the Circle of Stones and Pete realizes he’s in over his young wizard head yet again...


Release date – May 15, 2018

Juvenile Fiction - Fantasy & Magic/Boys & Men

$13.95 Print ISBN 9781939844460

$3.99 EBook ISBN 9781939844477

C. Lee McKenzie has a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days her greatest passion is writing for young readers. When she’s not writing she’s hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot questions about things she still doesn’t understand. http://cleemckenziebooks.com

Links:
Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Some-Very-Messy-Medieval-Magic/dp/1939844460/
Kindle - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079V72G8R
Foyles - http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/childrens/some-very-messy-medieval-magic,c-lee-mckenzie-9781939844460

Congrats, Lee! Have you read any of her books? Will you be picking this one up?

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Cockygate

I don't normally weigh in on controversial topics but the news unfolding on Facebook over the last few days has been disturbing, to say the least.

If you've missed the drama, a certain author (I don't want to give her name or offer her any more publicity than she has already generated) has put a trademark on the word "cocky" so others can't use it in their book titles. She's demanding that anyone who has used it in a title change it immediately - even if it was published before her own book - or face a courtly cost battle. Apparently it's all in the name of "protecting her brand" or some rubbish. I think she's already laid waste to her own brand with the negative backlash that has inevitably arisen.

It's hard to know where to start with this. I think it's the arbitrary nature of it that scares me. It's not like this is a special word she's made up that's unique to her story - in which case I could see where she's coming from. This is a normal, common word that's in the Oxford English Dictionary. Anyone could have been affected by this, it just happened to be this word, this nutjob.

But as one of my friends on Facebook has pointed out, it's the response to it all that's been heartening. People have been rallying round to support each other, share each others' books (check out the hashtag #thisishowyouindie), and generally showing the way an author is actually supposed to behave. Humour has also been used in the face of an entirely baffling situation, with mocked-up book covers appearing using the word "cocky" in bizarre contexts.

I just hope this doesn't set a dangerous precedent. One of the most frightening aspects is that she seems to have Amazon on her side. Is it too much to ask that common sense and decency will prevail? What do you think of Cockygate?

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Tick Tock launch and IWSG May 2018

Yes, it's time once again for our group posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, where we can share our fears and insecurities without fear of being judged. Hosted (of course) by Ninja Cap'n Alex J. Cavanaugh, the co-hosts this month are E.M.A. TimarJ.Q. RoseC. Lee McKenzie, and Raimey Gallant.


But first, onto that big news I trailed yesterday. Feels like it's been a while coming, but the next IWSG anthology, Tick Tock, is finally here! It was actually released on May 1, but I wanted to give it a push on IWSG day for some more exposure.

The clock is ticking...

Can a dead child’s cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?

Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting...

$14.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 204 pages, Freedom Fox Press
Mystery & Detective (FIC022000) / Crime (FIC050000) / Thrillers (FIC031000)
Print ISBN 9781939844545 eBook ISBN 9781939844552
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

“Each story is fast paced, grabbing the reader from the beginning.”
 - Readers' Favorite, 5 stars

“I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of thought-provoking crime stories.” - Denise Covey, author

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database, articles and tips, a monthly blog posting, a Facebook and Instagram group, Twitter, and a monthly newsletter. www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com

Tick Tock links:

Have you got your copy yet? I can vouch that this is an amazing bunch of stories.

So let us turn our attention to this month's IWSG question, which is: "It's spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?"

Well, I think I've already mentioned this in a comment on another post - spring in Scotland is very variable. We just finished up with the snow the other week, had some glorious weather the last few days, and back to rain today. It's very much a pick'n'mix, a smorgasbord of weather modes, but I do appreciate things like daffodils popping up around the edges of the garden (nothing to do with me, I'm not greenfingered in any way). Definitely a time of new beginnings, but I can find things to inspire me in every season - I love the autumn colours too. I think we need to push ourselves to write no matter what the external circumstances, but then so many outside factors are inspiring in the life of a writer - a fragment of a conversation, an interesting piece of graffiti - so it's inevitable that things like the vivid light you can get in spring might get us feeling creative too. Something quite indefinable but there it is!

What about you? Don't forget to check out the other IWSG blogs here.