Saturday, 31 December 2016

Author Interview - NLJ on her book 'The Golden Sword'.

Welcome NLJ to my blog! Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions about your new debut book, 'The Golden Sword'. 

NLJ is an author, screenwriter, inspirational speaker, and former children's educator.  Her debut book, The Golden Sword, is book one of her four part series, entitled the 'Chronicles of Drenyon'.

The new book - 'The Golden Sword'.
In the land of Drenyon…

There is a maiden who is so desperately lonely that she befriends a frightful-looking tree that lives outside her village. Her name is Anya. Her tree is enchanted, and every day she listens to its strange and troubling fables, unaware that they are prophecies in disguise. One day, she returns home from visiting the tree and the first of the fables comes to life, causing her entire village to burn to the ground. Now it’s up to Anya to use the other fables to save the rest of her kingdom from the same destruction.  And according to these fables, there is only one weapon that has the power to save her people: The Golden Sword.

Author Interview NLJ – by Emily Williams

What made you want to become a writer?
I didn’t even know I was a writer until people kept telling me so. When I was in 4th grade, we each had to write a short story based on Egyptian culture. There was no page limit, but most people’s stories were a couple of pages long. Mine was 14 pages long, and I couldn’t even finish it because I kept thinking up new things for the character to do. The teacher read what I had so far and gave me an A anyway. 

Writing a long story doesn’t mean that it’s any good. But whenever I would share story ideas with people, they always looked at me as if I stole the story idea from somebody else. I assumed that the ideas were pretty basic until my teachers told me otherwise. By the time it sunk in that I was creative, I realized that I enjoyed writing.

Who were your favourite influential authors when you were a child?
There was a fantasy writer I was obsessed with as a pre-teen, her name was Sherryl Jordan. She wrote this fascinating book called The Juniper Game. It was about a game in which entire worlds were envisioned and then came to life.

There was also a series called Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede.
And then, for kicks and giggles, I simply could not resist the Bruce Coville series, My Teacher is an Alien. 

My mother also read a lot of Isaac Asimov and Gene Roddenberry to my siblings and I.

Which one of your characters would you like to spend time with? What would you do?
The Tree Man is a character I would love to spend time with. He is soothing, charming, mysterious and quite handsome! I believe the popular term going around is BB (Book Boyfriend.) Of course, I would eventually insist that he work on some of his internal issues. They can be real deal-breakers. ;-)
I would pretty much just want him to ask me about my day, listen to me talk, and then tell me that I’m beautiful. 

Which bit of the book did you most enjoy writing? Which was your least favourite?
I have a pair of uncanny characters who call themselves the Oracle. They share the one name, because they share one purpose: to guide others with their insight. Writing them is always a blast. They are a character study, so any scene with them in it is an experiment of placing them in a new environment and seeing how they will react to it. Additionally, I pride myself on being a mostly polite person, which means I stifle a lot of direct, blunt and callous things that I sometimes want to say. The Oracle says 70% of the things I try not to say. I love them so much, I can’t stand it.

I hate writing long paragraphs of description. It is a weakness of mine when I read other people’s books. I do not need 5 paragraphs of detail to explain how red the autumn leaves were when they fell into the pond. I’ve seen leaves before. I think red leaves are pretty. I can use my imagination to envision them.  

Hence, in my storytelling, I like to get to the point of things: Did the bomb blow up? Did the character die? Will she ever find love?
When I try to write extensive description, I feel bored, and I feel that I am boring my readers.

Do you have any other talents? Besides writing :-)
I have experience playing guitar, piano, taiko drums, and trumpet. I also am a decent singer.

Have you written in any other genres? What genre do you consider your book to be?
I greatly enjoy writing science fiction, and I have dabbled in some sci-fi horror. My readers seem to like both.
My current book is an epic fantasy, somewhat dark, and influenced by my fascination with Anime. I am a huge fan of Hayao Miyazaki.

Where is your book available to buy?
I hope you all will enjoy Chronicles of Drenyon: The Golden Sword as much as I enjoyed writing it.
The E-book is now available at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, ITunes, and Google Play.

Feel free to check out my author website at

Thank you so much NLJ for taking part in our author interview questions.
Thank you for your time!

Friday, 23 December 2016

Beta readers

As I have ran out of favours and asked every aunty, cousin, and neighbours dog to read my manuscript, I have learnt about a term I hadn't heard of - beta readers.

Goodreads have a fantastic resource in their discussion groups and now I have a beta reader for my novel. :-) Please also contact me if you would like to read through the manuscript. It has been proof read and copy edited, so I'm just looking for outstanding errors and opinions on the flow of the story/characters.

Contact me if you'd like to help too. Thank you Goodreads! :-). Happy Christmas holiday reading to everyone! Hoping for some books under my tree and not just the Harts Rules!

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Added to my Christmas wish list ...

Please Santa, may I have 'New Harts Rules' style guide to help me in my endless editing process! I have realised how much I have missed learning ( being taught in the 80s when we missed grammar!). I definitely need a few lessons.

Learning all about ellipsis ...

The new lesson I learnt last night (whilst slogging through notes from my editor) was about ellipsis. She mentioned that before and after an ellipsis ... a space is needed either side. However, there are rules that apply such as no space if a question mark is being used.

Does anyone know any other rules, she was using the New Harts Rules. Is this the most common book to be used for UK publishing?

Anyway, this editing lark has taught me lots! Back to getting ready for Christmas! - my little book trailer.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Christmas countdown!

The Christmas countdown is upon us. The presents are wrapped, the mince pies are ready and the wine is calling. The children are ridiculously excited, well the five month old seems oblivious but I'm sure she's just as excited inside! Hope you are all getting excited. I'm going to have a break from the editing and promotion for a few days now to enjoy Christmas with the family.

Watch my little stop animation video for a feel good love story with a twist.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Saturday, 17 December 2016

I've come a long way on this journey...

I have come along way since my first proof copy was created by a close friend Chris, at his printing business a couple of years ago.

I have learnt all about typesetting and formatting from him and others. I can set the text properly and have gained knowledge about many things I had never really heard about. Such as en dashes and smart quotes, typographic characters, widows, orphans, loose lines and bad breaks amongst others.

My lovely friends and family have proof read early copies and later work colleagues with more knowledge on grammar and punctuation have continued then copy edited. I have enjoyed this self publishing roller coaster, it's such a sense of achievement looking at the novel and knowing that I (with lots of help and advice) have produced it all myself :-).

I've been so thankful for many pieces of written advice from self published authors on the internet that have made me think about things that I didn't even know about. I have also explored the area often forgotten about - marketing and publicity. I had turned my back on social media when my son was born a couple of years ago, but now I'm taking myself out of the dark ages!

I'm making a book trailer and have contacted local papers. ISBN information has been very useful. I have looked up the worst errors self published authors make and have check them all to ensure my novel doesn't have them! All the things I learnt in school about speech marks and spaces were wrong when it comes to the publishing world. I have definitely learnt such a lot!

Many more things still on the to do list, and time is ticking down. Giving myself a deadline was a good idea in a way and bad in others! Onwards with this journey!

Friday, 16 December 2016

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Find and replace is my best friend tonight!

Find/replace is my best friend tonight as I continue the editing slog. Speech marks corrected, wrongly indented sentence starters corrected, spaces after full stops corrected and now onto checking all the letter dates in 'Letters to Eloise.'

Anyone know a quick way to check that the tense is correct? Most of the novel is written in the past tense as letters.

The more I read editing tips, the longer and longer my editing check list is getting! But worth it in the end!

Monday, 12 December 2016

My editing friend

Feel sad that my editing friend has now gone to her new home, miss you Pickles! Have three babies in the nestbox that will be hopefully joining me soon though.

Easy peasy

With a press of a button, it's all done. So much easier than I thought and no need for all the stress. Speech marks corrected and now a one space gap after a full stop. Still need to go through to check it hasn't affected any line breaks etc, but feel relieved.

So back onwards with the self editing list...

Lots to do!

More self publishing tips

Having read more self publishing tips about editing and publishing, I have decided to do it properly and change the speech marks to what is most common in U.K. published books.

Also to my horror, and showing my age, I have been using two spaces after a full stop and not one. I was always taught two and we still teach this at school! But in every published book it should be one. So I have a lovely find/replace task ahead tonight!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Double/single speech marks UPDATE

It seems the general opinion that it's up to you which speech marks you want to use, which is a bit of a relief! So I will stick with my double speech marks for now!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Double or single speech marks?

Which is correct to use?

I've just had a slight panic when reading through my novel and noticed I have used double speech marks throughout. I'm sure I researched this when writing the book a couple years ago, but have taken to my bookshelf. The majority use single speech marks with a handful double. I work as a teacher and we teach the children to use double, so why are the novels not using this?


Apparently UK uses single and US double? But reading other UK blogs this depends on publishers houses. As a self published writer, I am confused as which to use - help please!

Monday, 5 December 2016

Digital book thumbnail

Making a cover for Createspace

The process

I didnt realise that making a cover would be so complicated! But I am nearly there. Firstly I decided to use Microsoft word to design my cover, occasionally uploading to Createspace to check that the images werent going over the edge or the spine was in the correct place. Some images needed the background removing, quite difficult with the microsoft word version I have. Converting to a JPEG was easy using a free converter online. Then upload to Createspace.

However the most difficulty lay with embedding the fonts and realising that some fonts didnt have correct copyright so wouldnt convert. Many hours later, the cover is nearly ready to upload!

The same process needs to be done again for the kindle version on KPD. I feel Ive spent a lot of time making this cover, but most has been in the learning of the techniques, which I hope will come quicker in time!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Letters to Eloise book cover!
Finally decided on the rose petal paper for the book cover and took the photos. Now editing for the cover pdf, exciting!

Follow me on twitter!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Well said Héloïse

We are much fonder of the pictures of those we love, when they are at a great distance, than when they are near to us. - Héloïse

Stop motion animation

Been busy last few days with poorly children. Now planning my little stop motion animation book trailer, part one of my book trailer for 'Letters to Eloise.' Its harder than I thought! First stop today is cutting out the silhouette people for the video.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Editing and more editing

Finished my read through after a fair time away from the book. The time away has done me good and have spotted some errors I might not otherwise have noticed when being so involved in the writing process. Now for the long trawl back through updating the corrections!!

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Still photograph on a moving video

Seen an amazing clip of a moving video with a still of a book jacket on the top. Trying to research how to do this. Can anyone enlighten me? I'm learning lots with this trailer making lark! Stop motion animation and movie maker have filled my day.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Abelard - quote on love

Abelard to Heloise -
A love so like to hatred should provoke the utmost contempt and anger.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Abelard to Heloise -
The love of pleasure is not eradicated out of the soul save by extraordinary efforts; it has so powerful an advocate in our breasts that we find it difficult to condemn it ourselves.
The course of true love never did run smooth -
William Shakespeare

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Abelard to Heloise -
I promise myself that I will forget you, and yet cannot think of it without loving you.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Keep updated on 'Letters to Eloise,' page!

Keep up to date on page for release information.
The inspiration for part of the novel 'Letters to Eloise,'- Cissbury ring, West Sussex. Shame I set that bit of the story in early spring, the trees with leaves falling dont quite fit!
The model for my new book trailer for 'Letters to Eloise,' (the adult not the child!)... watch this space!
Choosing the paper for my book cover for 'Letters to Eloise,' - harder than I thought to find rose petal paper!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

5 ways to excite a toddler to learn to read

1. Can't give enough emphasis; read, read, read and read together. Doesn't matter what. Spend time looking at the photographs, pictures, get the child to point out the things and lead from their interests. 2. Letters - introduce them to letters. Point out the letters on the door to their room. Buy magnetic sand just let them play, causally pointing out and saying letters as you play. Make it fun. 3. Bath time! Ideal opportunity to play. Have foam letters and let them put on wall. Say letter sounds as you are doing it too. Have a mini net and scoop up letters saying the sounds. If unsure how to say the sounds properly, use a online video to help. Stick with letter sounds not names for now. It makes it easier when learning phonics. 4. Puppets - use puppets and toys to do imaginary voices and plays. Make up stories together, no matter how silly. Get involved with role play. Do it in silly places, get up a pop up tent or make a den. 5. Read and write everywhere. Have pens and paper in Wendy house in garden or on a picnic blanket. Use tunnel with books inside. Model reading everywhere, even though toddler can't read, knowing that print conveys meaning is a start. Show toddler shopping lists, local newspapers, even subtitles on their favourite program! Have fun! If toddler isn't interested, move onto something else. Even a trip to the park is an opportunity to talk and use words to teach, such as breaking down the word swing, so the child knows that words are made up from sounds joined together. Talk about words for effect such as playing with leaves and saying 'crunch,' and 'crackle,' etc.