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Historical Realism – Guest Post by Jaq D Hawkins…

Re-blog from The Story Reading Ape. Excellent article by Jaq D Hawkins on how today’s reader can view historical fiction.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Among my favourite genres I read for my own pleasure is Historical Fiction. What makes Historical Fiction of interest to me as a reader is the opportunity to learn about a period of history by living it through a character’s eyes. The story must be well written to be enjoyed and the characters, fictional though they are, are what will make the story work. However, accuracy in the historical backdrop is essential to me.

Some allowances for Alternative History are a different matter. We know that airships have never frequented the skies and putting them into a Steampunk story adds a Fantasy element. However, the other details of the story are what will make the story ring true. I don’t want my history whitewashed or romanticised, I want as much realism as can be mustered.

Like most authors, I periodically have a look at any new reviews of my books…

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Author Friends – Jack Eason

 

I first met Jack on a little chat site called BookRix. Eventually, we all migrated to Facebook to offer our wares.  There, we began to chat on occasion after I left a review on one of his books. The time difference has been a challenge at times, but through hit and miss communications I learned a lot from my author friend.

I have enjoyed the camaraderie-ship, sharing those little things that only authors understand.  We encouraged each other and shared our newest literary accomplishments. We chatted about our lives and families. And even though we have never met, we learned what all humans should, that we all have common ground simply through being human. We dream, we strive, we hurt and we all go through life ‘s phases. and even on Facebook, we form bonds.

I asked Jack to give me a little background and this is what he sent.

“Jack Eason lived in New Zealand for forty-two years until 2000 when he returned to his birthplace in England. As far as he is concerned he will always consider himself to be a Kiwi. After military service in the 1960’s, he traveled the world, visiting exotic lands and making many friends. Now in his seventies, he is content to write and travel via the Internet.

Besides writing novels and short stories, he contributes to his own blog “Have We Had Help?” His literary interests include science fiction, history, both ancient and modern, and humorous tales like those written by his fellow writer Derek Haines, such as “HAL”. He lives in semi-retirement in his home town surrounded by his favorite books, ranging from historical fact to science fiction. His literary icons are J.R.R Tolkien, George Orwell, Arthur C Clarke, and John Wyndham.”

He recently finished another literary gem, “Autumn 1066: When Anglo-Saxon Dominance Ended.” Click on the link above to find out more. You can also visit his blog, “Have We Had Help?” Quite often he has some interesting information on new publishing trends as well as an eclectic collection of blogs on happenings in the world.  His recent new goal is trying to reach having 1000 followers on his blog and I hope he succeeds.

Meanwhile, I’m just grateful to have such a friend and I hope his book becomes a best seller!

 

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Time to Viking Up!

Viking ship

NORSE HEARTS IS IN PRINT ON AMAZON! Ebook to be released 11-23-2018

The biggest item in my Bucket List is done! Since the first time I read a romance book, I desired to write a historical romance about Vikings.  I have always been fascinated by this culture that burst upon the world in the 800’s. Their tenacity to survive, their code of honor and their impact on the world created a respect that resonates with me.
The original story and characters that I have lived with for so many years surprised me when I finally had the time to sit down and write. I realized that the prologue, which described a scene about their parents, was actually a story unto itself. I’m not sure you start a series with the last story first, but that’s what happened, This is the beginning of actually five stories now. Each one related, but each one different.
So, at last, the book is written. But it took me far longer to produce than I had anticipated. Real life, with real death, interrupted the process. Of course after the loss of a spouse your whole life changes. Then there is the grief to deal with. In the end, these characters could not be silent anymore and Norse Hearts is now finished.
You can find out more details on this book on the website page marked “Norse Hearts”.  Unlike the characters in my first book, Windswept Hearts, you will find Serphina and Einar to be individuals who are hard-headed and opinionated. They were a delight to write about and I hope they entertain you as well as they did me.

So I invited you to get a taste, feel and glimpse of a time long ago as you entered the world of the Vikings. It’s time to VIKING UP!

books, historical romance, indie books, indie writer, Uncategorized, Viking Culture, Viking Customs, Viking History, vikings, writing

Viking’s and Romance

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If a Viking man spouted poetry to a love interest, he could lose his life. Why? As with everything about the Vikings, there is only tantalizing little clues. Through the Poetic Edda, an oral history that wasn’t written down until the 13th century, we see glimpses of everyday life. It has been speculated this rule was to keep men from falsely leading a maiden on. Or possibly it wasn’t considered manly for a Viking warrior to spout soft words of love.

Most Viking marriages were arranged much like a modern company merger. There were strict rules about property and how the bride’s dowry would be dispersed. Viking women had more rights and freedoms than any of their counterparts at that time in history. This would have been due to their traveling husbands. Viking men were traders, leaving in the spring and wandering all summer long while the world was ice free. The return rates weren’t all that great back then. Between the dangers of ship travel, diseases in foreign lands, and raiding, a Viking man might never return.

So the Viking woman ran things at home. She had to oversee the livestock, production of crops and profit. While she was at it, she also prepared meals and made things for around the house. There was no local Wal-Mart to help out. It was a tough life. For this reason, all land inheritance was usually passed down through the woman.

With various gods, traditions, and superstitions, a marriage ceremony usually lasted on average, nine days. The Vikings had a thing about the number nine. There was drinking and feasting of course, along with rituals to entice the gods to give fertility, wealth and health. Quite often family swords were exchanged, and proof given that the marriage was consummated.

Another interesting concept − Viking woman could divorce easily. All she had to do was stand next to the bed shared with her husband and in front of three witnesses, simply say out loud three times, “I divorce thee.” Yup, it was that easy. Maybe that is why the men treated their women so well.

While monogamy was practiced, it wasn’t set in stone. If the man was lusty and wealthy enough, and his wife agreed to it, he could take a second wife. It was nothing to own several slaves as well. In fact, he was encouraged by his loving wife, to have a slave for copulation during her later months of pregnancy.

What of possible bastard offspring? Those long summer days did get a little lonely while Olaf was gone. Unfortunately, if a woman conceived while her husband was away, he had the right to deny feeding or clothing any offspring. When a baby was born, if the head of the household did not claim it on the ninth day, the baby was ‘exposed,’ meaning it was left to die in the forest.

The Vikings liked to keep things simple.

(For More Information on the Viking Culture and Customs please check out  http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/)

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Beware the Writing Contest

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Some might think I’m writing this because I’m an envious, disillusioned writer who has entered countless contests and never won.

Nah, though I have entered book contests, several creative writing contests, and numerous club site contests. I’m happy to say I’ve won a couple contests here or there. Sadly, it didn’t give me any more confidence as a writer.

So first warning, if you are basing the measure of your work by the contest you are entering,  it isn’t going to help, especially if you never win. If you do win, it is fleeting at best and the doubts just grow bigger. So just write because you like writing.

Second warning, if you must enter a writing contest just because you are a competitive person, I would suggest only entering contests where you don’t have to pay to enter. There seems to be just a few around these days, but they do exist.

“Why?” you might ask.  Well, let me share something I discovered. I was doing my taxes and as a writer, I was told I could add in my expenses for the money I paid into contests. You know, the ones where they say “send us your book – you must pay the postage – we won’t be returning it unless you pay for return postage – we won’t tell you anything about what the judges think about your book – and we want you to pay us to enter.” Yeah, those contests.

In one year I had spent five hundred on this venture, with no return. No wonder the government wanted to give me a break on taxes, they felt sorry for me. Either way, I started doing a little math. Yeah, this is going to be a word problem in math and I know these confuse you, but hang in there with me, okay?

Let’s say the contest is asking for a book. You discover you meet all the criteria. You have written a massive novel well over 80,000 words. You have paid a fortune for “kick-rear-end” cover art.  You even did your due diligence and got not only a copy editor but a proofreader.  You paid a few beta readers and paid to print or get ARC copies.  You have rave reviews. And lo and behold, you are a first-time author with no large group of dedicated readers clamoring for your new book.

Of course, you may have thrown all you have into social media, launch parties, cover reveal and still your book seems to languish. It is only logical that maybe a little bragging right on the contests you win might make it more appealing to the reader. Maybe you feel it gives you a little more notoriety in the world of books.

Whatever your drive, you have to also spend the entry fee. You and about five hundred other hungry piranha’s.

I don’t know, it’s just my opinion here, but I can’t figure it into my budget.  I can see it in the advertising book contest’s budget though.  They do none of the work.  They don’t pay postage return, no critique, or any solid feedback for your hundred bucks. You get nothing in return except a slim hope. And if you don’t win, you don’t even get that. In fact, (I hope I’m way off base here) I worry about exactly who gets to have all those cast -off copies of those books. So if there are 500 entries at hundred bucks a pop, well do the math. Who is getting what?

So, what is an aspiring writer to do?

I would recommend a blog. One I have mined gazillions of free advice from and that is:  https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com

This blog is always sharing the latest news in the publishing world.  I love the input from so many willing to share their success/failure stories. Take for instance the solid advice on how blogging helps build your skill as a writer and helps build a reader base for any books you put out. Or how Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Smashwords, Amazon, etc., help build your social platform. There are articles about Kindle stats, programming and changes. Or editing advice, writing advice, and story development. You name it; it’s all there for absorption on how to become a better writer.

As an author who dabbles in writing books, I have gained from doing all of the above. Still not selling a ton of books, but I’m happy with my progress and I see a growing readership.  I feel like I have succeeded in doing what I wanted and had fun doing it. I have gained confidence in the writing groups I have joined who have given me consistent feedback that has helped me grow as a writer. It has been finding the best editor in the world who doesn’t hesitate to be dirt honest with me and work with me.

So in short, the moral of this blog is, winning contests mean nothing. Hard work, persistence, a good support system and an exciting new story are the only way you are going to feel confident and sell books.

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Are You an Author or a Business?

 

1497472_575485172534149_120350454_nIf you are an independent author and have published a book with hopes of selling copies, you are both an Author and a Business Entity.

Welcome to the world of Indies. It will seem overwhelming at times. Social media platforms, business plans, budgets, advertising, even book signings.

I have collected the following words of wisdom to encourage myself on those down days. I share them with you in the hopes it will help your journey.  Enjoy! Take heart! If they succeeded, you can too!

 

 

“My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself.  I see life almost like one long University education that I never had.  Every day I’m learning something new. ”

Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin brand

“Information flow is the lifeblood of your company because it enables you to get the most out of your people and learn from your customers.” 

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation

“People I work with are open to leadership that has a vision, but this vision has to be communicated clearly and persuasively, and always, always with passion.”

Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop

“I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man or opportunity to make a living.”

John Rockefeller, American philanthropist

“Every decision you make is an important one, whether there are twenty thousand people working for you or just one.”

Donald Trump, Real Estate developer

“My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”

Oprah Winfrey, host of the Oprah Show

“When we consider a project, we really study it – not just the surface idea, but everything about it.  And when we go into that new project, we believe in it all the way.  We have confidence in our ability to do it right.”

Walt Disney, founder of the Walt Disney Company

“Success seems to be connected with action.  Successful men keep moving.  They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”

Conrad Hilton, founder of Hilton hotels

“You have to be open-minded when those early opportunities present themselves. Take advantage of them whether they’re going to make you a lot of money or not.”

Rachael Ray, celebrity Chef and Author

“You can do so much in ten minutes’ time. Ten minutes, once gone, are gone for good.  Divide your life into 10-minute units and sacrifice as few of them as possible in meaningless activity.”

Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA company

“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, “Make Me Feel important.”  Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”

Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

“Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise.  They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.”

Sam Welton, found of Wal-Mart chain

“What I wanted was to be allowed to do the thing in the world that I did best – which I believed then and believe now is the greatest privilege there is.  When I did that success found me.”

Debbi Fields, found of Mrs. Fields Cookies

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.”

Ray Kroc, found of McDonald’s