Category Archives: #SundayBlogShare

Meet author Salee Vidal Tadeo

 Salee 1Salee is a Lecturer of English Literature and Language in Norfolk, England.

Her first book is called, The Third Colour; a story about her youngest sister’s long battle for life, and eventual death.  For Salee, her sister’s story reignited the fire in her as a writer.

She incorporates her deep faith in God in all her writing because she believes that without God, she would not be able to write inspirational stories to share with the world.   

 

What is the title of your latest book?Salee 2

 

It’s called Sombre – The Incubus. It is about Ysabelle, a young girl who played Spirit of the Glass, a horror board game similar to Ouija. Little did she and her friends know that the spirit of the young man who answered their call on that dreamy night would become Ysabelle’s regular nightmare.

 

 

What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer? And the most rewarding?

The most challenging for me is keeping with a self-imposed minimum number of words to be written every day. The reality is there are days that I cannot write anything, not even a word because of many reasons, or I’d say excuses, for being a normal? human being (I put a question mark as I am not really sure if we, as writers, are normal because our brains are constantly working , i.e. buzzing  for plots, characters, twists and turns.)

Another reason for not keeping to my self- imposed rules is the reality that I am also a full-time lecturer. That does not need any elaboration, I believe. Teachers, like me, will definitely understand my state of mind and body at that.

The most rewarding is when I read a scene and feel exactly how my characters feel. That’s when I know that what I am trying to convey in my book is working.

All writers want to be published; that is the ultimate goal, so when you finally get that seal of approval from a publisher, you know that all your hard work has paid off.

A good review and excellent sales result add up to the joy of course.

 What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

 What I always try to do is the reverse chronology. I begin the story with its end without revealing the climax, of course: a scene that could create a rhetorical question that will ignite the reader’s interest.

I know the word passion is overly used, but it is really the bottom line. It should be embedded in everything that we do. If there is passion, you know that you’re doing it right. It may not be good in other people’s standards and in a writer’s case this could mean a rejection, but always remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder; you’ll find someone who will put his/her trust in you eventually. In my case, that someone is Solstice Publishing.

Prayers also play a big role in my life so I always pray for guidance. Believe it or not, but some parts of my book Sombre were manifested in dreams. The manuscript I am currently working on is also shown to me in a dream.

What are you working on at the moment?

 I am about to finish the first book for a trilogy. As mentioned above, the idea came from a dream. I was watching a film in my dream and the title was Heaven’s Archive.  I am going to use that as the series title. The first book is my own title, The River’s Ode (not from a dream, so it’s likely to change).

The River’s Ode is about a soldier’s wife who becomes bewildered after her husband has gone missing in action. She tries to find her husband by herself. She begins by going to the last place where she thinks he has disappeared.  Her feet lead her to a river tucked away behind rows of giant trees. Little does she know that that river holds all the answers to all the questions on her mind.

 What do you like to read?

My job requires me to do a lot of reading so I basically read everything; from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Othello and many more;  John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men;  George Orwells’s Animal Farm to books like A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness , The Savage by David Almond, Stone Cold by Robert Swindells.

However, my most favourite is any book based on a true story especially when it is about heavenly encounters. I am a fan of Mitch Albom, Leo Buscaglia and Jacky Newcomb.

 Where can readers find you?

 My website is www.english-matters.co.uk

 Book links at all Amazon sites: https://www.amazon.com/Sombre-Incubus-Salee-Vidal-Tadeo/dp/1625265921/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1503578920&sr=1-1&keywords=sombre+the+incubus        

 On Twitter: https://twitter.com/englishandbooks?lang=en-gb

GoodReads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16986661.Salee_Vidal_TadeoGoodReads:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorsaleevidaltadeo/?ref=bookmarks

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Time to give ‘Miss’ a miss?

What is the appropriate honorific for a woman? Mrs? Miss? Ms? Mx? None at all?

The debate is not a late twentieth century phenomenon. It has been going on since the end of the nineteenth century at least. According to the academic, Amy Erickson, ‘Ms’ was suggested as a suitable equivalent to ‘Mr’ in 1901, but never caught on.

Samuel Johnson, when compiling his dictionary in the mid-eighteenth century, was untroubled by the relationship between the married status of a woman and her title, be it Mrs or Mistress/Miss (a bit like the French madame / mademoiselle, where the latter tends to denote youth rather than the married state). However, in the Victorian and Edwardian era, ‘Miss’ started to be a term of preference for unmarried, but upper class and socially ambitious, women. As the twentieth century progressed though, attitudes to the title became more ambivalent.

The feminist, Sheila Michaels, who died in June this year, started to champion the use of ‘Ms’ for all women, during the 1960s. But it wasn’t until she was heard on a New York radio programme on feminism and talked about the use of ‘Ms,’ that she attracted the

gloria-steinem

Gloria Steinem

attention of the better known feminist, Gloria Steinem. Ms Steinem went on to create the feminist magazine ‘Ms’ and the rest, as they say, is history (or, as she didn’t say, Mstory).

It wasn’t too long before Government departments and banks, were accepting ‘Ms’ on their forms instead of Miss or Mrs, though the New York Times style guide didn’t acknowledge the term until 1986. Now the debate has moved on to the acceptance, or otherwise, of the gender neutral term ‘Mx’ for all.

Writers beware! We should be careful not to transfer twenty-first century sensitivities to characters set in the past. Most Victorian or Edwardian schoolmistresses felt no stigma when given the title ‘Miss,’ and cooks of the same era, whether married or not, were usually referred to as ‘Mrs.’

(Incidentally, Sheila Michaels is also credited with promoting the terms ‘feminism’ to replace ‘women’s liberationist,’ and ‘sexist’ instead of ‘male chauvinist pig.’)

If you have enjoyed reading this blog, and would like to read more of my work, please follow one of the links below to my Amazon author page. There are plenty of strong female characters in many of the stories. And at least one is always available as a free download.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00RVO1BHO

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00RVO1BHO

Or go to Solstice Publishing:

http://www.solsticepublishing.com

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Meet Author KateMarie Collins

KateMarie Collins

 

KateMarie Collins is no stranger to this blog – she featured here on 2nd July when she talked about her work as the chief operating officer for the Solstice Publishing House. She is also an author  in her own right. Today she talks about her experience as a writer, and her latest book.

 

 

What is the title of your latest book?

My latest release is Consort of the Successor. It’s the sequel to Mark of theKate 4 Successor and focuses on one of the characters from that book, Talin. It’s about discovering who he is, his past, and what it means to stand next to someone who will eventually rule.

 What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer? And the most rewarding?

Rewarding? Being told that a story affected someone in some way. Made them think, cry, laugh, whatever. If I get an emotional reaction from a reader, I did my job.

Challenging would be making myself sit down and write. I let a lot of things get higher priority than they should. Marketing is a close second, Kate 3though.

 What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

Don’t give up. If this is what you want to do, then go for it. The only difference between a published author and an unpublished one is that the first one hit send. They kept submitting until they got a contract. This job isn’t easy, and it’s not for everyone. You’re going to see months on end where your book doesn’t even sell one copy while you’re branding your name. You can’t do anything about those months. You just have to take a deep breath, let it go, and keep trying. This isn’t a get rich overnight type of career.

 Kate 2What are you working on at the moment?

Guarding Amber. It’s the follow-up to an urban fantasy novel I wrote in 2016 called Guarding Charon.

 

What do you like to read?

Fantasy. Have always loved the genre.

 

 

Where can readers find you?

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CAST OFF – the collection

I have earmarked the next few weeks in my diary as the time to really promote my new book, Cast Off, which was released by Solstice publishing last month. It has been selling steadily, particularly in the UK, without much input from me, but I will soon have print copies delivered to take to local events. Enough of a hint, surely, to get out there and do a bit of marketing!

Cast OffCast Off is a collection of short stories based around female characters in plays by Shakespeare – what are they doing or thinking whilst they are off stage? Do they like the lines the bard has given them? What do they really think about all that cross dressing? There is no need to be an expert in Shakespeare to enjoy the stories, but for the knowledgeable, there are plenty of opportunities to ‘spot the quote.’

Today and throughout September, in between the usual author interviews and posts on words and meanings etc, I will share the opening or closing sentences for several of the stories. And if these tempt you to buy the book, the purchase link is helpfully listed below!

Here are the first three excerpts:

  1. Last paragraph of Is Not This Well? (The Taming of the Shrew).

And, gosh, the audience didn’t half laugh on opening night, so he succeeded in writing a great comedy all right. I’m still not sure about the title though. And don’t get me started on that closing speech. “I ran out of time for more changes,” he told me, quite unabashed, when I challenged him. I’m sure there’s a word for men like that.

  1. Opening paragraph for A Midsummer Day’s Dreama midsummer day's dream

“You’re welcome.” Mia smiled her thanks to the barman then, with purse tucked under her arm and a glass of wine in each hand, she hobbled back out into the glare of the midday sun. Her feet were hot and sweaty, and she could feel the skin on both little toes chafing, adding to the pain she was already experiencing from an old blister on her right heel that had burst back into angry life earlier in the morning. It was stupid to wear heels on such a hot day but, with Helen being so tall, Mia liked to give herself a bit of a lift when she was out with her.

  1. Closing paragraph for Time Out Of Mind (Romeo and Juliet)

Dear Nursey, had she been to see this play one time in Verona before she came to the Bella Vista Care Home? She was such an old romantic, I can see why she would have loved the story. And I’m sure that is far more likely than that some English chap had written a play about how she and an elderly friar had tried to help two star crossed lovers get together. Maybe, as old age had worn away her wits, his tragic love story had become more real to her than her own life? After all, if I remember right, someone says at the end of the play – “they don’t come much fuller of tragedy and of woe, than this one of Juliet and her Romeo.”

Purchase links for the Cast Off collection and other stories: 

(Remember – you can always download at least one of my stories for free if you want to ‘try before you buy’!)

Cast Off, and most of the stories on Amazon Books, can also be purchased from http://www.solsticepublishing.com

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Meet Author Leigh Podgorski

Leigh 3

In my latest ‘meet the author’ interview Leigh Podgorski describes the many things, beyond just writing, that the modern author has to learn to be adept at. And all of that, for a lot of us, is on top of a hectic family and work life. It takes a special kind of dedication …

Leigh’s latest book was published in June by Solstice Publishing.

What is the title of your latest book?

WESTERN SONG. Western Song is a timeless love story filled with rich unique charactersLeigh 2 played out beneath the wide Wyoming sky about a bull riding rancher and his recently deceased best buddy’s Thai mail order bride As she learns the true power of freedom, he discovers he’s lost his heart.

What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer? And the most rewarding?

Unfortunately today the most challenging aspect is promoting and marketing. Things that once upon a time had nothing to do with “being a writer,” but today are the difference between whether a writer and more importantly a writer’s work will be read or left to wither and die away. The marketplace now is so vast—5.2 million books on Kindle, and counting to the tune of 1 million added per year. That’s a lot of noise to cut through. I always say the writing is the easy part.

Which brings me to the second part of your question: What is the most rewarding part of writing. To this I have often answered: Writing is the best high I have ever had. No substance exists that can fly you as high as writing can. You can create whole new worlds, universes and the creatures who dwell within; you can create love and sorrow—and you can grow the love and heal the sorrow. You can bring back characters from the dead, and kill off the bad guys. You are the creator of your world.

 What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

Write. Write every day. Write even when you don’t feel like it. Write.

 What are you working on at the moment?

Promoting Western Song. I’m also looking at several new projects and deciding which one to tackle first, one is a Mystery/Romance set in a Broadway Theatre in 1949; the other could become a Mystery/Series that begins in the Philippines; and the third book would be the continuation of my STONE QUEST series about a psychic tracker and his nemesis a black magician.

 What do you like to read?

I love a good mystery with well-written complex characters like Elizabeth George writes; literary fiction such as Barbara Kingsolver and Ann Patchett; great horror—Steven King, Anne Rice; family sagas: Susan Howatch; historical fiction. I’ve always devoured anything that Joyce Carole Oates has written. Basically, I like depth, complexity, rich characters—make me weep, make me laugh, carry me off to another time, place, another world.

Leigh 1 Where can readers find you ?

www.facebook.com/leighpodgorskiwriter

https://www.facebook.com/WStheNovel/

http://www.VioletHillsProductions.com

http://amzn.to/2sTk6CM

http://amzn.to/2u4dVsi

 

 

A cracking time in Dublin

I’ve just been away for a few days – a quick trip to Ireland involving two nights in a hotelP1010404 in Dublin and three beautiful sunny days in which to enjoy lots of sightseeing and plenty of ‘craic.’ Almost everybody knows what ‘craic’ means without needing a translation, but in case you are one of the few that don’t, it can be roughly translated as ‘a fun time with friends’. The word seems quintessentially Irish, but in fact it started out in Middle English as ‘crack’ (meaning a loud conversation), and was borrowed by the Irish in the mid twentieth century. Then, with the change to the more Gaelic spelling, it took on a joyous life of its own over there. It has however subsequently been borrowed back – as in informal  conversations: ‘What’s the crack?’ (What’s the news? How are you?). ‘We’ve had a cracking day out.’

 

P1010435Dublin is a beautiful, cosmopolitan city. It was founded by Vikings who sailed from Iceland across the North Sea, down the Irish Sea, and up the large estuary to a spot where the river Poddle (which is now underground) flowed into the river Liffey. Where the two rivers met, they formed a dark pool, surrounded by fertile soil. The Vikings decided it would be a good idea to settle around this black pool – better known now as Dublin. (Classical Irish / Gaelic for black was ‘dubh,’ and the word for pool was ‘linn’).

The city has a literary feel, with plenty of bookshops, museums connected with writing or specific writers and, if our hotel was typical, shelves of books in all the lounges, and earnest looking young men scribbling away in odd corners. A great environment in which to think about my current writing projects, and catch up on some reading.

 

Postscript: When I was in Dublin, I did no tweeting, blogging, or posting on Facebook. So I was pleased to note when I got home that my new collection of short stories – Cast OffCast Offhad been selling steadily on Amazon, especially as an e-book, whilst I was away. Cast Off includes thirteen short stories based around female characters in plays by Shakespeare. Only one review so far, but it was very positive about the stories. I could do with more reviews and if anyone is looking for something to read on their holidays and is willing to review my collection (and post the review on Amazon, Goodreads etc.) I would love to send you a copy. Just email me with ‘Cast Off review’ in the subject line and I’ll email you back a copy: margaret.egrot@gmail.com

Cast Off, and other stories are always available from Amazon books. And there is always at least one free offer if you want to ‘try before you buy.’

Are all book reviews equal?

I’ve been reading quite a lot about book reviews in various Facebook groups recently. One theme has been that even bad reviews can help sell your book. (I believe that JK Rowling has more one star reviews than any other writer, and they certainly don’t seem to have held her sales back).

To date I’ve only had a single one star review – for an anthology in which I had a short story (Mary’s Christmas in Festive Treats): festive-treats

Mary’s Christmas by Margaret Egrot relates the highly boring Christmas of an OAP in a nameless British town. Nothing of note happens. It is related in excruciating detail.

This review came straight after a much more upbeat one for the whole anthology, in which my story was again singled out:

Some of the stories are moving and heart-warming. The story of Mary’s lone Christmas, standing above the rest in the bunch, I feared another outcome, which is testament to the cleverness of how the author made the story unfurl, the resolution made me joyously happy! Margaret Egrot has written a truly beautiful story.

Just goes to show you can’t please everybody.

Despite (because?) attracting the full range of star ratings, Festive Treats has almost never been out of the Amazon best seller list – though the fact that it is free as an e-book might help!

One of my favourite ‘critical’ reviews was for my first YA novel, And Alex Still Has And Alex -coverAcne. The young reviewer hadn’t much liked the book, because she didn’t like books about topics covered by the celebrated author, Jacqueline Wilson. As many readers do though (including me) I was quite chuffed:

The book certainly shows the author’s understanding of the idiosyncratic problems which certain young people today (often described in the novels of Jacqueline Wilson) have to deal with.

Whether one star reviews boost sales or not, it is still re-assuring for an author to get a good first review after a book is published. So you can imagine I was delighted to get the following five star review last week for Cast Off, my recently released collection of short stories based on female characters in Shakespeare’s plays:

One word for this short story anthology? Original. Certainly an odd descriptor for a Cast Offcollection of tales based on the characters in another’s works, but Mrs. Egrot weaves intriguing story lines utilizing some of Shakespeare lesser known supporting characters, and spin-offs from his heroines. My favorite two? “Time Out of Mind” affected me on an emotional level, and “Ban! Ban! Cacaliban” left me wanting more. Each story stands alone on its own merit. If you’ve never even heard of the bard, and you were born in a cave and raised by wolves, you will find a tale here to fall in love with. Thoroughly enjoyed.

On balance, whatever they say about the merits of one star reviews, vis-a-vis five star ones, I know which I prefer for a first review!

All the stories mentioned are available from my Amazon author pages:

All but Festive Treats are also available from Solstice Publishing.

http://www.solsticepublishing.com

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