Category Archives: Promoting/Marketing

Guest post by Erika Gardner: Everyday and Not-so Everyday Magic & Miracles

I am a big believer in miracles and magic. Yes, I write about fantabulous things, magical creatures and wondrous sorcery, but I see quieter magic all around us. People can do great things on a daily basis. The power of a hug, the comfort of prayer, and the outcome of a sympathetic ear all have a ripple effect upon the world at large. One person holds a door for another, then that second person picks up something someone dropped, the third subsequently compliments a friend on something and so on. The positive vibes flow, changing each person’s day for the better.

It’s no less special than the stuff in my books though it’s easier to miss the power of a kind word than a dragon appearing in the sky before. And on that note I’d like to share exactly that. This is an excerpt from my new novel The Dragon in The Garden. This is Daisy coming home. Please enjoy.


“Siobhan,” Turel said. The intensity of his tone caught my ear, and I turned to him. He lingered a few feet away from me, his eyes fixed serenely on a point far away.

I joined him, my eyes on the horizon. The setting sun painted the sky a vivid seascape of blues, pinks, violets and oranges. As the sun lowered to the lowest point in the sky, in the instant before its rays spilled over the back of the world, there shone a beam of concentrated light, as precise as a laser. After a second, the light expanded, becoming a brilliant, white ray. It continued to grow, morphing into a tunnel in reverse, but instead of darkness, it blazed a corridor of light. The white light became prismatic, flickering with a rainbow of dancing diamond sparkles, splashing colors of all hues in front of my dazzled eyes.

Turel enclosed one of my hands in his warm grasp. “It is something to see, yes?” His tone reflected true awe.

“Is this your first time seeing this?” I asked in a whisper. The tunnel became larger, dwarfing us. With my free hand I shielded my eyes. Leia sat at my side, gazing in the distance.

“No, I have seen this many times.” He held out his other hand and waved it at the mighty light show. “But a miracle is no less glorious for having previously happened.”

To my left Tim and Alex continued their ridiculous rock throwing competition. Their stones sailed right through the expanding brilliance they could not see. “Guys, are you kidding me?” In the emotion of the moment, my voice growled, low and hoarse.

They stopped and gave me matching blank expressions. “What?” Alex said.

“Hey, what are you guys staring at?” Tim sounded defensive.

Before I could answer their questions, I heard it. A sweet sound, soft at first, barely a whisper, carried on the breeze. Turel’s smile grew even brighter, matching the shining portal. “She comes.” His eyes shone as they met mine.

Alex glanced this way and that. “Does anyone hear that sound?” he asked.

Tim craned his head. “I hear it. It sounds like bells.”

“Wind chimes,” I corrected, still staring straight ahead. “It’s wind chimes.” The air shimmered. Light danced in an intense aurora borealis. Patterns of colors streaked and swooped in a heavenly painting. One hue dominated the others. The deep shade of jade green spread. An enormous form took shape, dressing itself in swathes of color. The huge outline solidified: graceful wings, a serpentine neck, and a curving tail. Two amber lights appeared like jewels in the viridian air. Everything intensified, heightening each of my senses; the lights pulsed. A beautiful, green dragon hovered in the air. With two mighty beats of her massive wings, she crested then landed behind us. I ran forward with a cry. “Daisy.”

“Damn it,” growled Tim. “I can’t see anything even a bit like a dragon.”

“Unless it’s a super little one,” said Alex, his face downcast.

Turel laughed— a big, belly laugh full of joy. “Gwyrdd, you sly minx, show them. Drop the glamour and let our friends see you.”

Daisy twisted her head to one side in a coquettish gesture and in that voice I had never forgotten said, “Certainly, Turiel, dear one.” Suppressed mirth laced her tone. “How’s this, children?”

When she spoke these last words the music of wind chimes came again, louder this time. As their bright notes sounded around us, I saw the precise instant when both my brother and my first love, the two who believed in me all these years, finally saw my dragon.

TheDragoninTheGardenbyErikaGardner-200To purchase The Dragon in The Garden please see:




erikagardnerauthorpicThis post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.


Quit India – the story behind it.

Quit India – the story behind it.

A thought became a revolution; it took over minds and hearts and it divided a country in two. Once brothers, the people of India turned into enemies when their motherland, India, became India and Pakistan.

But when did the hatred, the resentment begin? When did the British Raj become insufferable?

The British entered India in 1608, concentrating on trading on new land. It was only when the Mughal Empire weakened in 1707 and dissolved that the East India Company took over India in 1764 after the Battle of Buxar.  The East India Company – a British trading company administered power over India and ruled most states aswell as exercising power and control of Indian Military Forces.

There were many battles and disagreements through Indian history, such as the Battle of Buxar but what began the Indian Independence ‘battle’ was the ‘war’ between the British Raj and the Indians in 1857, known as the First War, the Great Rebellion and the Indian Mutiny amongst other such names. This war was a sepoy’s (an Indian soldier) fight that escalated throughout India.

Although this was seen as the catalyst of the First War, other factors contributed to the slow but sure build up of resentment and hate toward the East India Company.

It came to be believed by the sepoys that the East India Company intended to divide faiths and have them convert to Christianity, by force or deception. Land seizure was another British rule, one that forced the fact that if a ruler did not produce a true heir, their land would then be the property of the East India Company. As a result, many kingdoms such as Oudh, Nagpur and Awadh were taken over.

But what started the Mutiny? What was the cause of such an upheaval? The answer – a disregard of the native’s faith.  The beliefs of the Hindu and the Muslim man were ridiculed by the East India Company.

Ignoring the Hindu’s religious devotion and worshipping of the Cow, the ‘mother’ who gives milk, and the Muslim’s revulsion of the Pig, that they see as dirty, lazy and greedy, the East India company ordered their army to manually load ammunition that was greased with the fat of the pig and the cow. Therefore, biting one end of the cartridge before use in a certain rifle was outrageous!

But no one had the nerve to stand up until Mangal Pandey, an infamous sepoy, took lead and braved to voice the injustice of the Company. He brought the cow/pig greased cartridge fact to the forefront to his fellow sepoys.  Anger led to retaliation, with Mangal Pandey leading. He fired the first bullet.

Mangal Pandey with a few others was arrested and sentenced to death by hanging but Pandey was hanged ten days before his sentence date.

After the ‘War’, the East India Company was abolished and the responsibility of India was taken over by the Crown. Many steps were taken later to ensure some peace, some which included the end of attainment of land from stately princes.

After a lull in the Indian subcontinent, in 1915 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi arrived from South Africa, known as Bapu (father) and Mahatma (the Great One). Gandhi travelled throughout India to ‘see’. He observed the rich and the poor, he witnessed ill treatment from the British Goré (white people) directed at the natives. Racial discrimination and prejudice were high on the list of unforgiveness.

Gandhi realised that India needed to fight back, to win back her rights and to claim her country back from the ‘foreigners’. One day, Gandhi settled on his decision. The European’s injustices and his tolerance to them went just too far. In 1942, he called for the ‘Quit India Movement’. He wanted the British out of India!

Gandhi advertised the Quit India Movement throughout India and voiced clearly that there must be no violence. India’s people embraced the Movement and embarked upon it with passion. Vallabhai Patel – Indian barrister and statesman, Jawaharlal Nehru – Indian politician (who became the first Indian Prime Minister), and Muhammad Ali Jinnah – Muslim lawyer, politician, statesman (founder of Pakistan), united with Gandhi in the Quit India Movement and participated and argued in heated discussions and speeches.

They were all arrested for ‘disturbing the peace’. But this didn’t stop India, who fought back. Nothing was going to stop them now. During the course of the Movement, many riots started along with the damaging of government buildings, derailment of railway lines (which the British Raj had introduced into the country), boycotting of schools and colleges and the throwing away/setting fire of British goods.

Marches, riots and freedom speeches were a regular occurrence; violence (against Gandhi’s pleas to stop) turned murderous.  Indians were arrested or killed – the lathi, a soldier or policeman’s baton was never far away from the protestors.  Many were jailed for a long time or executed.

In 1946, Jinnah proposed a new country – Pakistan. He wanted a Muslim country, to be ruled by a Muslim man, not Hindu. The other leaders were not happy about this and tried reasoning with Jinnah to no avail. Jinnah was adamant.  He declared 16th August 1946 as Direct Action Day which saw colossal rioting and manslaughter across Calcutta.

Tension, anger and fear grew amongst the Hindu and Muslim communities and during October and November 1946, horrendous numbers of massacres, abductions, rape and forced faith conversions of Hindus,  aswell as loot and arson were seen in Noakhali, actioned by the Muslim community.

Gandhi spent four months in Noakhali trying to restore peace and bring the communities together. But his efforts failed. During this time, Partition of India was accepted by the Congress Party.

14th August 1947 – Pakistan was formed.

15th August 1947 – midnight, India was made a Free country;  she gained her independence. The British flag was lowered and the Indian flag rose.

It was Independence Day and both countries rejoiced in their new found Freedom.

Today, in England and in many other countries, Independence Day is celebrated each year on the 14th and 15th of August remembering those Martyrs who sacrificed their lives for us and mourning those Indians whose lives were taken away through riots and massacres; a time which changed lives forever and is still fresh in those minds who lived during those horrendous times.Freedom banner
Today, I am giving my book Freedom of the Monsoon away for free. Just click on the link below. I hope you enjoy the book, and I hope you will be encouraged to leave a review. Thank you!

Amazon UK  Freedom of the Monsoon

Amazon USA Freedom of the Monsoon (USA link)

Amazon India Freedom of the Monsoon (India link)

Abstract 1:

Pooja stared back at her reflection. The bruises were deep purple and her mascara had run, leaving black streaks behind. Taking a wet cloth, she wiped away the signs of abuse from the corner of her mouth. She took out a compact from the antique dresser and fought to cover the bruises with her scalded hands, then she brushed through her already knot free hair. It was then that she stopped crying.

Gingerly, Pooja adorned her hair with a butterfly clip, and stood up to examine herself in the full-length mirror. She looked better now; the bruises didn’t show up as much.

“It’s alright, beta, things will get better, I promise,” she whispered, putting her hands on her stomach. “Your Papa didn’t mean to do it. He is a good man.”

Pooja walked from room to room, overlooking the cleaning of the house. The servants were busy today; Amar was expecting guests. She must try and present herself well…

“Meenakshi, how is the dinner coming along?”

“Very well, Memsahib,” Meenakshi, the chef’s wife assured her.

 Pooja was satisfied, and moved on. Everything must be perfect today. Amar must have no complaints. Pooja passed the drawing room – something wasn’t right. The cigars!

“Laxman!” she called.

“Yes, Memsahib.” Laxman, who overlooked the housework, appeared.

“Laxman, the cigars. Fill the cigarette holder and quickly. Saab must have it full.”

The big clock struck seven. The guests would be here soon with Amar. Pooja steadied her breathing, and went to her bedroom to get changed. Maybe a little more powder will be good. She opened the wardrobe, which contained over two hundred saris, and searched for something suitable. She settled on a pink and silver one. She hoped Amar would approve. Glancing in the mirror, she noticed there was something wrong with her hair. It was the hair-clip. Amar didn’t like butterflies…he would be so angry. Pooja changed it to a flower design – yes, that’s better.

Abstract 2:

Since the news of the partition, Pooja began to worry about her mother even more so. She asked Amar, if she and the children could go and stay for a while, until the anger calmed down. Amar thought it was a very good idea. He went a step further, and arranged for their stay himself. He booked the train tickets and Pooja, and the children, were to arrive at Rajkot in a week’s time. She couldn’t wait.

Pooja thought of her husband now, and her love for him overwhelmed her. Tears pricked her eyes; her Amar had really come through for her. Since her arrival back in Bombay, they had slept in separate beds. She began to trust him a few months later and with his compassion, for her and her family, he showed her that he wasn’t selfish anymore. He showed her his love with every opportunity, and her love for him came back. But she was scared, what if he began drinking again? What if he began to bring women home again? She kept her distance but he didn’t falter. He was patient and kept on loving her.

Amar always brought Pooja a hair garland, a white one; it was her favourite after all. He never forgot.  She fingered the one he tied on her just that morning, and smiled. Today, she will ask him to share her room and her bed again. Today, they will be husband and wife once more.

Pooja leaned back into her chair. It was quiet and serene. Radha was asleep, Veer was at the neighbours, and Kamla and Rani were at the theatre, so she was left with little to do.

Suddenly there was a shout.

“Memsahib!” Ram, the help, appeared at the door. “Memsahib,” his voice was barely audible and his face was ghostly pale. “Please come quick!”

Pooja followed him, her heart thumping wildly. Was it Kamla or Rani? Visions of her own rape came back to her.  Or was it Veer? Had something happened to him? Radha…but she was asleep in her room. She should check.

“Memsahib, where are you going? You have to come now, this way!” Ram pulled Pooja away from Radha’s room.

“Ram, please tell me, what’s happened. Is it one of the children?”

“No, Memsahib,” he said. He led her to the front door.


Picking Character Names

Thicker_Than_Water_by_Mary_OSullivan-200Today, we have Mary O’Sullivan who will be talking about picking character names, and about her new novel, Thicker than Water. Welcome, Mary!

There’s a rafflecopter contest too, look out for it!


Picking Character Names

So what’s in a name?   Not a question you would normally think about a lot – until you find yourself having to pick a name for your baby – or character names for your latest story.

I always had the belief that children grow into their names. A traditional name, one that has been in a family for generations, gives a child a place in the family history. It says this child belongs. The problem is, it also imposes obligations, a duty to carry forward history and traditions not of that child’s making.  So Jeremiah Puddleworth the Fifth would most likely be obliged to attend the same school, play the same sport, follow the same career as his ancestors. His other option would be to rebel completely against tradition and take the Puddleworth name to a place it had never been before. Whichever path our Jeremiah the Fifth takes, his given name has a big influence on his future.

Then there is the common name. The run-of-the-mill, every second person name. Mine for instance. Mary. I remember thinking in my teen years that if I had been christened Avril, Jane, Ruth , Hanna – anything but Mary- my life would have been so much more exciting. To compound the solidity and lack of any pretension, my parents chose Brigid as my second name. A Mary Brigid treads carefully through life, not taking too many chances, rarely raising the head above the parapet. Yes, there were and are adventurous and successful Marys. Here in Ireland we have had two inspirational Presidents named Mary; Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese. Marys have excelled in all walks of life ; Mary Quant fashion, Mary Berry cookery, Mary Shelley writing, Mary J Blige singing, Mary Queen Of Scots a powerful monarch , and many more. Yet it is still my belief that these Marys are outstanding individuals despite, and not because of, their given name.

When my writing was first published, I had the option of choosing a pen name. I thought long and hard about that one. Belinda, Amanda, Jacintha, in fact any name ending in ‘a’ appealed to me. Something that would immediately stand out.  In the end the Mary Brigidness of my character won through. How could I hide behind a glamorous name when that would be the antithesis of what I am? In fact why should I hide at all? There is of course, the awful possibility that a newly published book will be slated by critics. The author may even be ridiculed and shamed. But that, said the Mary Brigid in me, is the chance you take when you decide to make your work available to the public. Besides, I suspected then, and know now, that the most likely outcome is that the work you have slaved over for the longest time will barely tickle the public consciousness as it takes its place with the hundreds of thousands of other new publications.

Given my belief about the influence of name, I attach utmost importance to naming my fictional characters. For each of my novels, the main character appears in my imagination, complete with hair and eye colour, height, weight, occupation, history – and name. And so before I put pen to paper , or typed a word, I knew that Claire (Parting Company) would be clever and practical; Robyn(Time And Tide) would be  a successful career woman ; Ella ( Ebb And Flow) would be sensitive and have a tragic history. I get to make the choices for the ancillary characters. I like short names like Zack, Fred, Frank, Martin for the men simply because I have to type them so often over the course of a 120,000 word novel. Laziness if you like. I keep the women’s names short also for the same reason – though if I felt a character needed a long and complicated name with umlauts and acutes, I must of course, allow them to have it. For the most part, I never name a character after someone I know personally. Safer, in case the character turns out to be a nasty piece of work. I am, needless to say, influenced by people in my circle, but I have never deliberately based a character on someone known to me. That is the glory of creative writing. It allows you, in fact it requires you, to use your imagination. To be creative.

Thicker Than Water, my latest novel, is built around the story of Maeve, Jan and Linda, friends for twenty years. Their lives are profoundly affected by a tragic twenty four hours in their home town of Ballyderg. Maeve was the first character to introduce herself to me. I saw her dark curly hair, brown eyes, figure still good but softening into middle age. I felt her vulnerability, understood her love for her husband and children. Yet I felt a strength in her and knew she would do anything to protect her family. The name Maeve, the one she already had, to my mind reflected all those qualities. And so I embarked on teasing out the awful events of the blackest day ever to hit the town of Ballyderg. The friends, Jan, an independent business woman, and Linda, the snobby wife of entrepreneur Gerard, were side by side with Maeve from page one through to the end.  As with real-life characters – which fictional ones have to be for the author during the twelve months it takes to write, rewrite and edit a novel – they grew into their names. It is my hope that people read and enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Thank you to malikagandhi.wordpress for hosting me today and to Lucy Felthouse (Writer Marketing Services) for organising my visit here.

Excerpt from Thicker Than Water

Gerard Shannon felt the tic beneath his left eye begin to beat a rhythm to his impatience. The Town Hall, an impressive granite-stone building from the outside, was a claustrophobic rabbit warren on the inside. To add to the unease of pale green walls, wilting yucca plants and vertical venetian blinds, the Planning Officer’s deep bass bounced off the ceiling and rolled in waves around the room. He spoke in sound bites.  Gerard smiled at him because Phillip Long was an influential man. An essential cog in the slowly turning wheel of commercial life in the rural Irish town of Ballyderg.

“So when do you expect full planning approval through?” Gerard asked.

“Next planning meeting.  Trust me, I’ll have the objectors on-side. Everyone wants to see Ballyderg recover and this development is the way forward.”

Gerard nodded but said nothing. Another block of retail units in the town centre was not, in his opinion, what Ballyderg needed.

“I’ll let you know about the meeting,” Phillip said. “Give you time to work up an ad campaign for letting the units.”

Gerard stood. As the only letting agency in the town his business should automatically get the contract without having to kowtow to councillors but that is not the way things worked.  At this moment he didn’t give a damn about the units or even about Ballyderg. He offered his hand to Phillip Long.

“Thank you. I appreciate you keeping me in the loop.”

“No problem. No problem. We’ll touch base when the planning’s through.”

Gerard made his way as quickly as possible down the once stately staircase. Outside he checked his watch. It was time. Leaving the town he headed towards the hills and the appointment he had to keep.


Blurb for Thicker Than Water :

When local teenager, Keira Shannon and her father, business man Gerard Shannon, go missing, the town of Ballyderg unites to search for them.

 As the search continues rumours of domestic violence, extramarital affairs and criminal behaviour are rife. The crisis causes families and life long friends to doubt each other.

 The only certainty left is that the town has been visited by evil. Or has it? Could it be the evil one has always lived there sharing history, laughter and tears? And if so, who could it be?

 Buy Links

 Amazon buy links :            

Tirgearr   Publishing                 

 Amazon Author Page:              

Author  Biography:

maryosullivanauthorpicMary worked many years as a Laboratory Technician. Her hobby, her passion, has always been writing. Busy with family and career, she grabbed some moments here and there to write poetry and short stories. She also wrote a general interest column in a local newspaper.

As the demands on her time became more manageable she joined a local creative writing class. It was then, with the encouragement of tutor Vincent McDonald, that the idea of writing a novel took shape. She began to expand on a short story she had written some years previously. It was a shock for her to discover that enthusiasm and imagination are not enough. For the first time she learned that writing can be very hard work.

Mary now has six traditionally published novels, nine eBooks and hopefully more to come, inspiration permitting.


Social Media Links

Please visit my web page at :

Chat to me on  Facebook at :

Follow on Twitter at :        

Thicker_Than_Water_by_Mary_OSullivan-200 GIVEAWAY!

Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here:


<a class=”rcptr” href=”; rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”8b9ec5be150″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_x6ldgdao”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>






To or not to self-publish?

10353184_10204372130369223_1878311095685583151_n (2)Today, I have the marvellous Mary Wood on my blog today. She will be talking about self-publishing and traditional publishing. Over to you, Mary!

Hello Malika, nice to be here, thank you for asking me.

To introduce myself, I am Mary Wood. I am a published saga author of Pan Macmillan Publishing House. I began my career as an Indie author and I hope my blog about my different experiences is interesting to you.

Let me explain the terms of the title: An Indie author is a term given to an independent author who publishes themselves, mostly on ebook outlets. A traditionally published author is one who is published by a publishing house and their books are in paperback and hardback in the shops as well as on ebook outlets.

  • Of course there are some things that are the same for authors in both fields: Firstly, however we are published we are all authors.
  • Secondly, we all have to work extremely hard to become successful.
  • Thirdly, we all have a readership, something that amazes us and pleases us all.

As an indie author: I was on my own. I wrote my books on what subject I wanted to. I wrote them in my own time. I had my own style, length and chose location. I paid to have my books edited. I designed, or when I could afford it, paid to have a cover designed for me, and promoted myself and my books with limited outlets and no help (I’m not talking about the wonderful support other authors, family, friends, or indeed my amazing readers were, but about practical and financial help.) And, lastly, financially; I did really well as an indie author, and my royalties came in every month, which was very nice. All of this can be summed up in one word, freedom – freedom to make all my own decisions. Freedom to determine my own success.

As a traditionally published author, I find every process that I have mentioned above very different. It took me a while to get used to some of them, but I can say that though I loved being solely an Indie author, I wouldn’t want to go back despite losing the freedoms above. For me I have swapped freedom for verification. I had this from my readers, but now I have it from the most respected professionals in the publishing industry as well. I still pinch myself every time I wake up. It is a dream come true. All of this I say with fingers crossed as not being in charge of my own fate, I rely on being offered a new contract every time one comes to an end and that isn’t guaranteed. When authors were dropped by publishing houses in the past, that was it. Now I have the security of knowing I can go back to being a full time Indie author.

The differences outlined: I will list each process that I have mentioned above and explain how each is different in the trad pub world to the Indie pub world.

  • Being on my own: As a traditionally published author, I am not on my own. I have an agent, who does so much for me and is in my corner. It is sometimes like having my own union rep as all of my interests are taken care of. Financial matters are in her hands. The correctness of contract. The fighting for new contracts and making them as flexible as she can to fit me. Also as lucrative as she can. She is concerned for my welfare and often telephones me if something is going to change to make sure I am alright. When I have to go to London she will meet me at the station and make sure I don’t get lost. She advises on plot if she thinks I am not on the right track. She checks that my statements are correct. And, she is a friend. She is paid 15% of all I earn but is well worth it. Besides her, I have a whole team of people in the publishing house, my own Editor, who works closely with me. She commissions my work – or could reject it – not happened so far, thank goodness. She guides and advises me and also supports me in any way needed. And is also a friend. I also have a dedicated publicist and both she and my editor have a team who are there to support help and advise me as well as to do all they can to further my career.
  • Subject: There is quite a leeway with this, but within a framework. For instance, at the moment, my novels are set in wartime and I have two world ones to choose from. This gives me a massive scope as I have chosen to write about women’s roles in the war and the family and personal toll on those who stayed behind and those who went to fight, or took up war work.
  • Timeframe: I have a stipulated deadline now and have to meet it. Mine is in November for a book that will be published the following November.
  • Style: Every publishing house will have their own style. Mine uses the ‘z’ spelling as in realize etc… Chapters are presented in a certain way and layout is special to the house too.
  • Length: For a saga, such as I write, there is a stipulation of minimum of 100.000 words. And this is a figure they would really like you to keep as near to as possible. Most of my indie books, which are gradually being published traditionally, are at least 20.000 words longer than that and I often find myself writing an epilogue in my new books to tie all the ends rather than give everything wordage. It is a process that I rather like as all my sub stories are drawn into it and it gives a lovely rounding off to the novel.
  • Location: I have been given a main setting for my books. This is because we authors cannot be all writing about the same things and the same area. We need an identity. Our readers need to know that Mary Wood books will be set in London and the North, and may take you to other countries. Whereas, Diane Allen books will be set in the Yorkshire Dales, and Annie Murray books in Birmingham etc: I found this particularly difficult to adapt to as I knew very little about London and had thus far had set all but one of my indie books around Leeds. It was the one that I didn’t, venturing out from the North to London and back, that won me the publishing contract and set the seal on my location. However, my subject helps with this as people travelled all over during the wars. Londoners went north, west, and east to become Land Girls, Special Agents went to France. Factory girls went to cities, so I can still have London based characters, but can mix them with Northerners.
  • Editing: This is a very difficult discipline for authors in traditional publishing as your editor and her/his team strive to give your work its very best face and to keep the pride of the publishing house standard too. A book can have several edits before it is ready to go. A structural edit is the first and the most painful. A first chapter may have to be moved to 4th (all authors will know what disruption this could cause!) Scenes can be cut, or elaborated on. Detail is scrutinised – in the sense of giving a grounding to where the characters are, what time of day it is, are they sitting or standing, and all has to be subtly written in so it doesn’t appear that you are stage managing your characters. Next will come a line edit, when punctuation is looked at and correct use of words etc… Next will be an edit that picks up on research, and if names are spelt the same throughout, and situations that couldn’t happen, or that deny something that has already happened. And finally there is the proofread edit. This is the last chance to put anything right that is wrong, and usually done by an independent reader followed by the author giving it a last sweep. A long process that often has you thinking that you cannot possibly read your words through again! But a very worthwhile one that makes your work sing off the page.
  • Cover: The author does have some input, but not the final say on the design of the cover. Portfolio pictures of models who might fit the bill are sent to me and I choose the one I think looks most like my imagined main character. Next there is a photo shoot in whatever costume has been decided upon. I am sent the photos and I get to pick the one I like best. The background, font and colour are the editor’s choice. Though there was one of them that I thought too light and said so, and this was changed. So, all in all very much a partnership choice.
  • Promotion: This is where I have felt an amazing change. Yes, there is still social media for me, but beyond that, I have been featured in a national magazine twice (People’s Friend). For each book I have an expenses paid book launch party and book tour. There are opportunities to have your name on other author’s books in the form of a comment about the book. I am featured on Margaret Dickinson’s next release The Buffer Girls. My books are visual as physical copies in supermarkets and leading bookshops. Local papers want to feature me. Papers from other areas review my book. I am suggested to bloggers as someone to feature.  I co-authored a book of Christmas short stories with four other very famous authors. And I’m featured in and often write a piece for Pan Macmillan’s own publication Tales from the Heart, an annual publication which gives news from Pan MacMillan saga authors, and showcases their next publications. Most of this is exposure I could not get as an Indie author.
  • Finance: I think this is where the biggest difference is between the two modes of publishing. I loved knowing exactly how many books I had sold and being able to see my royalties growing on an hourly basis. I also loved having a good payday every month. And with the kindle books I still have published, I do get this, only on a much smaller scale than I used to earn as the number of books that I own the publishing rights to gets less and less. Also they have been up for a long time and their popularity is diminishing. In traditional publishing finances work in a very different way and I have to wait six months before I receive a statement of sales and any money due to me.

I welcome your comments, and if there are any authors reading this who would like further information on any of the aspects I have talked about above, please ask the questions, I don’t mind sharing with you more about the finance for instance as that was always a mystery to me.

Well, that’s it in a nutshell, but just before I go a quick note on ‘Tales from the Heart’ magazine. Besides the features I have mention above, there are also competitions to enter and special offers on books. If you would like to receive this free magazine write to: Pan Macmillan, Saga Newsletter, 20 New Wharf Rd, London N1 9RR give your name and address and tell them you read about it in a guest blog written by Mary Wood, on Malika Gandhi’s Inspiration blog.

Thank you so much for reading my blog. I have very much enjoyed exploring this subject with you. Much love to all, Mary x

Thank you, Mary, for a brilliant in-depth explanation of the ins and outs of traditional and self-publishing. It surely is an eye-opener, and I am sure, it will be very beneficial to my readers.

Two Realms

realmToday, I welcome Marcia Carter on my blog, Inspiration, today. She will be giving us an insight into her books, Realm of Miotas, and Realm of Bynthcahal, and her inspiration behind it. Over to you, Marcia!

I’ve always been captivated and enamored by the many mystical places of the world. My favorites happen to be Stonehenge and Easter Island. I was amazed after completing and publishing my first book, Realm of Miotas, to find that in fact, there are many similar structures all over the world, but Stonehenge seems to get the most recognition. The Maoi statues that litter Easter Island, standing tall and proud, with little to no true explanation as to their creators or purpose, have also intrigued me. Their presence in our world has sparked my creativity and flow from their esoteric origin. Maybe I am a vivid dreamer, but I invite you to read about my dreams.

Realm of Miotas – Miotas is Gaelic for Myth – so in translation it is really Realm of Myth.

I have utilized a structure that was in ruins and reaffixed by Druids similar to Stonehenge in a forest. They unknowingly reassemble a portal to another realm. It only opens for a few hours, once every twenty years, when the hunter moon lies above the entrance, and aligns in the center of the stone formation. When it becomes close to dawn the doorway closes. All but one of the Druids crosses back and forth, until the doorway closes, leaving only one man to carry the tale of his friends disappearances. No one believes him and the man is deemed crazy.

The structure conceals itself in the forest to hide against anyone who is not true in heart. A group of gypsies later discover it, only to carry on the tale of the structure, until it is discovered again in the 1800’s by a couple families fleeing for their lives, hoping that the structure will be as it has been fabled about, a doorway to a new and magical world.

When the portal opens, the families enter, and they experience for themselves a world that Earth has been long disconnected from, Miotas. There they encounter many creatures and beings, such as fairies and odd looking creatures that resemble nothing like we’ve ever seen here. Also they meet the natives and begin to learn of their culture. A few surviving Druids that had long since crossed over to Miotas crave to return to Earth.

They find and reassemble another structure in Miotas; only to find that instead of being a portal to bring them back to Earth, it leads to a long closed Dark Realm, Druneul. Upon it’s opening, evil creatures cross over to Miotas to destroy and be released from confinement. Dormant guardian’s of the Realms of the Universe, Zemaxians, ten foot beings with Angelic features, awaken to aid the Miotian people, to fight against the darkness and try to close the doorway.

I do go into great length to build the plot in the book, for you to really get to know the main characters well, because many appear in its sequel, Realm of Bynthcahal.

Realm of Bynthcahal – Realm of Bynthcahal is the Realm of the Zemaxians.

I have given the Maoi definition for their creation, purpose, and value. In this story I was able to introduce many more creatures, fictional, as well as I used actual animals that have long been extinct in our world. My thoughts are, if a doorway did exist once, that they could have traveled back and forth between the worlds and could still exist there. Since the basics of the portals have already been explained in the first book, I dove into deeper depths with another world long disconnected from. One that has even more marvels than Miotas, but is an integral part to all of the Realms.

Thank you so much, Marcia. May I take this opportunity every success in your books, and writing career.

If you would like a copy of Marcia’ books, please click below:

41EiRgyf5nL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Get it here on Amazon – Realm of Miotas



yantA6NW-webGet it here on Amazon – Realm of Bynthcahal

Inspiration on Writing that something

Do you love to write? Do you want to write? What are your excuses? Can’t find the time, I have kids, I have … and the list goes on.

Well today, I have Katherine Garbera, a very successful author with 75 books published, here with me today to tell us how she organises her workload and how she manages to write every day! Over to you, Katherine!

Katherine Garbera

For the majority of my adult life (since I was 23) I have been writing.  I’ve been published since I was 26 and have made writing my daily life.  I set goals so I stay on track and accomplish the things that are important to me.  Goal setting and daily writing go hand and hand for me.  And I hope these tips will help to achieve your goals as well.

 Goal Setting

  • Write it down. There is great power in words. We already know this, it’s why we are writers, but when we think we want something but we only keep it in our mind and never write it down, it isn’t concrete.  By writing it down and looking at it every day, it helps to focus the mind and gives you the motivation to ensure you do are working toward your goal every day.
  • Make your goals achievable.
    It’s easy to get excited when making a list but if you don’t believe you can do it, you won’t. So pick things that you can accomplish.  One of my goals is to write every day.  I can easily do that and some days, if I’m honest, writing feels like a job and not fun, so putting down a goal of writing every day makes it easier for me to do.
  • Small steps = success.
    Once you’ve written down your goal then figure out what steps you have to take to make it happen. For example if your goal is to finish a book this year, then think what do you have to do every day to make it happen?  Probably write a certain number of pages/words a day.  Then you make that your daily goal and finishing the book your yearly goal.
  • Put things on the list that are easy i.e. write every day.
    Don’t make your list so big that the thought of looking at it makes you shiver with dread. Put on things you can easily do.  One of mine is stand up for 15 minutes every hour.  This is something I really should do, but don’t.  For health reasons I really need to start making it happen, so by adding it to my list, I’m making it happen.  But it’s easy and achievable as well with very little effort from me.
  • Make it measurable.
    How will you measure you steps to your target? Taking our earlier goal of finishing a book in year, then the daily goal of writing each day, you should have a check in at the end of every week and month to see if you are getting closer.  It might be that your book is going faster than you thought and you might finish it early.  Or you might find that you have to write more to make your goal.  Whatever happens adjust accordingly.

Daily Writing:

  • All you need is 5 minutes.
    A lot of time it’s easy to make excuses not to write. Writing is hard and sometimes scary.  So we tell ourselves that we can’t write because we don’t have a dedicated space (go to the library or coffee shop), it’s too noisy (use headphones and some soothing sounds i.e. rain forest or ocean), I don’t have a huge block of time (you only need five minutes to write a sentence).  This is the inner creative child who is afraid of failing stopping you from writing.  You can calm it by sitting down and saying I’m only going to write for five minutes and then stop.  Usually, that will jump start the creative juices and lead to writing for much longer.
  • Log your writing and find the time that works best for you.
    This is sort of fun if you like graphs and spreadsheets. I don’t but I still like doing it.  You try writing at different times during the day. Some of you (like people with demanding day jobs and moms) won’t have the luxury and you’ll end up writing like I did when I worked fulltime…in my car on my lunch break and then when I had two toddlers at night after they went to bed.  But you will find the time that you are most productive by logging the amount of pages/words you get done in a writing session.  Then you can focus your efforts to writing during that time.
  • Set your timer: Write 15 minutes, break 10 minutes, Write 15 minutes.
    Try the timer. It’s kind of like the only 5 minutes things but this is for when you are on a deadline and you have to get a certain number of pages done in order to turn your book in on time.  You can adjust the timing to whatever works for you.  This is my current set up and I really like it.
  • Set achievable expectations: 500 words, 5 pages, 1 chapter.
    It’s unrealistic to think you’re going to write 50 pages in one day unless you’ve done this before. So set goals that make sense to you and realize they will grow the longer you are writing every day.  I think of this creative part of my mind as a muscle that gets stronger the more I use it.  When I first started writing I could do one chapter a week.  That was it.  I had a full time job, two kids and a husband—more than that simply wouldn’t work for me.  But once I started writing full time I found I could write a little bit more and now I write a chapter a day and still have time to do fun things!
  • Use an affirmation that jump starts your writing session.
    This only works if you believe in affirmations.  But I always say “Writing is fun and easy for me.” Makes the writing session more like fun than work.

Thank you Katherine! I know what my goals are going to be!

To purchase her latest release, Eye Candy, click here: Eye Candy

To purchase her upcoming release, His Baby Agenda, click here: His Baby Agenda

Comments below very much appreciated.

Book Review – The American and The Brit: Unsolicited Advice

I absolutely lUpdated-The-American-and-the-Brit-ebook-full-21oved this book! It had humour, more humour, and stupidity that only the American and Brit could pull off even if they weren’t meant to!

Meet Phoebe and Lizbeth, two girls just like one another, but both from different ends of the pond. Phoebe is an American, and Lizbeth is a Brit. Meeting in a British pub by chance, they hit it off. They became the best of friends and Lizbeth decided to move to America on a work visa and was about to begin a new job at Phoebe’s workplace, when Phoebe managed to screw up!

Luck was on their side, when the girls landed another job quite by accident. They became agony aunts, giving advice to people on the net. Actually, I wouldn’t call it “advice” but more of a telling, just as it is! There is no tiptoeing here, oh no!

Thrown in with the two girls, are a bunch of other characters that are gorgeous, hilarious, and surprising. One character that stuck to my mind, was Hairy Mary. Yep – she is something! So, the girls get up to all sorts in their small world which literally becomes very big overnight. You will laugh with them and laugh at them!

The American and the Brit: Unsolicited Advice is told in the viewpoint of Lizbeth and Phoebe, and I have to tell you, it’s great!

Go and get your copy now! The American and the Brit: Unsolicited Advice