Category Archives: Useful Resources

Lots of 99c and free books AND a giveaway! #funnybooks #99cbooks #freebooks #giveaway

Apologies to those of you who read my newsletter as well because this week’s blog post is, basically, what I just sent you. I know I’m a lazy, bad lady but I wanted to share the funny bits a second time.

Anyway, here we are, talk about time flying, I just blinked and it’s bye-bye January. Here’s hoping Nostradamus is wrong and armageddon, a 26 year long World War III (shudders, that’ll see me out) and all the rest, fail to materialise.

Luckily, I had other important matters to distract me this week as McMini required a bit of help from me to conduct his exhaustive research into the latest burning philosophical question that’s been bugging him:

Does Darth Vader poo?

Yep. And you know what? Amazingly, the answer is out there.

Straight up. It’s true. It’s amazing what you can see on YouTube these days.

Yes. We found it.

He doesn’t, by the way. Apparently he has bags and tubes around his armoured suit that collect er hem … stuff. He doesn’t have to eat, food goes in intravenously, but he does like a drink from time to time so he has straws inside his helmet so he can take the occasional drink. A bit like James Hunt then – or was it Nikki Lauda, or even Graham Hill? – one of them used to get thirsty during Grands Prix so had an orange juice delivery system rigged up so he could have a drink from a straw in his crash helmet. Needless to say, the first time he used it, most of the orange juice squirted in his face.

Anyway, burning question answered, McMini’s next quest is to find out weather Darth Vader has a willy, ‘because it might have been burned off when he fell in the lava after fighting with Obiwan Kenobe.’ He wants to know if prosthetics are involved and if the results are metal, plastic, etc, and whether the wires are properly insulated if it’s electronic, ‘because otherwise he will have an electric shock every time he has a wee.’

And I thought I was weird.

Odds are, by the way, that Lord Vader doesn’t have a willy. As one of the lovely folks who read my newsletter pointed out, wobbly dangly bits would be the first things incinerated in a lava pit-related plunging accident and it’s obvious he doesn’t. It’s why he’s in such a bad mood all the time. That and having sacks of pooh under his suit, next to his skin I expect.

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes. To be truthful, I am very happy to lose myself in the bizarre world of my son, if it distracts me from the relentless horrors of the real one. It struck me that you may be looking for a distraction, yourself. If you don’t have anyone of your life of suitably distracting eccentricity, fear not. I have three ways for you to lose yourself in books this month. Because I’m feeling all technologically whizzy, I’m going to put the pictures in too. Oh yes I am.

THING 1: Patty Jansen’s Monthly Promo.

This month over 100 sff books for 99c or 99p etc. It runs from today through to Sunday 5th February, but some books may be reduced after that. To check it out, click this link: http://pattyjansen.com/promo/

THING 2: CCEkeke’s Monthly Instafreebie promo.
For a week in February, 22 books, all free in return for mailing list sign up.

This runs from 5th – 11th February but you may find the offers are on before or after those dates.You can find that here: http://ccekeke.com/february-promo.

THING 3: There is NO Thing Three.*

THING 4: Funny Five.
Another smashing giveaway in which you can win funny books.

This one runs from 1st – 12th Feb. You can win copies of:

  • Good Omens (Pratchett and Gaiman)
  • The Ultimate Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Adams)
  • The Princess Bride (Goldman)
  • Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
  • Novels and Short Stories of Kurt Vonnegut 1963-73.

If you enter, you will also receive a series of curated emails featuring free or bobby bargain humorous books (99c). You can find that one here: http://readfunnybooks.com/giveaways/funny-five-book-giveaway/

So there you are! That should keep everyone going for a week or two!

Enjoy.

* Sorry, I have to stop doing that joke.

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Filed under General Wittering, Useful Resources

Few Are Chosen Officially Declared Awesome.

A quick post today: Awesome Indies have already been kind enough to list Few Are Chosen but here is the site’s review. I am pretty damn chuffed about this one, I must admit. So, if anyone’s interested, here it isReview: Few are Chosen by M T McGuire – fantasy.

Thanks to Tahlia Newland for taking the time to review Few Are Chosen!

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Filed under Encouragement, Humorous Fantasy Author, Reviews, Useful Resources

Top tips for writers…

From writers… Thank you Neil Gaman for pointing me at this from your twitter account – yes I am one of your many billion followers. Yeh, I know, I must learn how to re-tweet but as yet I haven’t so…

What I like about this articles is that unlike most of the how to books, sites or articles you read about writing, ask successful writers, themselves, and they suggest you write what comes out, rather than what you think will sell.

Mmm… I like that approach.  Anyway, enjoy the article which is here and part two can be found… here!

Enjoy!

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Audio publishing…

Hmm… so what I really need to find is a Smashwords for audiobooks…

I was thinking I could read it, myself, Scott Sigler style.

He is the guy who gave his books away as podcasts and ended up getting picked up by Orion after he had 50,000 downloads.  Something like 60% of the people who downloaded his book for free went on to buy a paper copy.  He did put in a long day around the internet taking part in forums, writers’ groups and the like ‘soft’ selling his books.

For the moment, I think I will stick to the e-shorts for this.  I’m starting on another one so I would be reading the first… so long as the police cars who drag race up my street, my son and my husband could keep quiet for long enough to allow me to do so… yeh… it’s going to take a long time.

I do have a good programme for doing the recordings… It’s made by a company called CFB Software and you can find them here.

LP Recorder – really a specialist thing for recording records onto your computer so you can make them into MP3s.  HOwever, it works very well when you change the input channel to mic as opposed to line in.  If  you combine it with LP Ripper which helps you split the recordings up into tracks, you get something pretty powerful.  It’s a reasonable price, too.  They quote $70 for the two programmes together or $40 for LP Recorder on its own.

So, same deal as my current e-publishing venture, give away my short stories for free and try to build up a following.

About 250 people have downloaded my first short story from Freado, Scribd and Smashwords although it’s probably all my mates and acquaintances… not sure…  Clearly the next step is to read this and put the recording on a new podcast page, here, with a link from the entries on scribd, freado and smashwords.

I’m crap at short stories so it isn’t easy and it isn’t necessarily going to help sell my book, which is rather better, I hope.  Even so… it will be interesting to see what happens.

As always, I’ll keep you posted.

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Filed under audio publishing, General Wittering, Marketing Ideas, Useful Resources

Writing Competition…

I’ve found a useful and informative blog run by the Writers and Artists yearbook.  They are running a short story competition.  2,000 words or fewer on unity or union.  The Price is £500, an Arvon course and on-line publication on the Writers and Artist’s Yearbook site.   It closes on Valentine’s day.

Check out this post for more details.

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Quality feedback about your writing, for free

Where to find it?  Well… possibly here.

YouWriteOn.com is partly ArtsCouncil funded… not the part which encourages you to pay them to publish your book.  I’ve read about that coming in for a bit of flack in places. The fact they hard sell it on just about every page is enough to make me leery.  Putting that aside this is the first review site I’ve read that is fair.  Here’s why:

  1. You upload the first 7,000 words of your novel or 2,500 words (I think it is) of your short story.
  2. You request a work to read and review it.
  3. Reviews are assigned to members of the site completely at random.
  4. You are given a credit for each review you write and each credit earns you a review of your work from another member of the site.
  5. You are given questions about the work you have read which you have to answer, thus ensuring that you read it.
  6. You are asked to mark the work out of five for aspects such as characterisation, plot, writing etc, which helps you to focus what you say to the author.
  7. The marks translate into scores, strictly ballroom style, which will contribute to the ranking of each piece of writing on the site…
  8. You are invited to write a comment of over 100 words and reminded to be constructive.
  9. When you have reviewed 4 pieces of other people’s work you can see what people have said about yours.
  10. When you have received 8 reviews of your work you can enter the “rankings” the points from your previous reviews are counted into this.

I’ve had two pieces of excellent feedback from readers for the first 7,000 words of my novel which have given me a lot to think about.

Where this system differs from other read and review sites is that although it has a ranking system, this is not dependent on return reads.  Because you are assigned work to read at random there is no incentive for you to butter up the writer in the hope of getting a good crit in return.  When you request some work to review, you will naturally aim for a quick turnaround because the faster you do it, the faster your work is sent out for review.

So… If you want feedback it’s definitely useful, I’ve no idea what it’s like from the point of view of reaching the top 10 and being “seen” although I’ve heard rumours that this does occur.

Looks good so far, then.  I will let you know how I get on when I’ve been using the site longer.

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Filed under General Wittering, Good Advice, Useful Resources

That second handy blog…

The second handy blog is… ta-da-daaaa.

This one

The reason I find this one useful is just to read comments from a savvy person who is an agent and is prepared to share information and time with the world.  Here in the UK, you do tend to get the impression, when you approach an agent, that it’s about how busy they are and what a nuisance (to the point of stalkerdom) you are.

And there go my chances with any of them.

But what I mean is, they aren’t all like that, even the ones who give that impression, they’re just laden with British guilt because they have about 3,000 authors after each slot on their books… possibly more.  Underneath it are people who want to help and when I read the work of Mr Bransford, even though he’s in the States I feel that yes, it is worth continuing the search for an agent, even as I self e-publish my book, because many of them are human.

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Filed under e-publishing, Finding an agent, Useful Resources