Friday, 23 October 2015

The Power of Words

It is now day six of the blogging challenge and I am thinking about words. This is from the point of view of the reader and the writer. Most writers will have had a love affair with words since the first minute their parents read them a story. Without knowing it children are absorbing words and learning how these can fit together to form conversation. During story telling they are learning how these can be used to bring pleasure. The words are supported by the pictures in the book which is being read.

Before long the older child can read stories themselves and the words help them conjure up images in their head. They also start to use words to tell their own stories. Thus writers are born. As writers we take time to craft each word we write. We search for just the right word which will alow the reader to conjure up an image of the scene. Each and every word in our work is thought about and used to create unique sentences. These sentences then form paragraphs, chapters and an entire book.

When reading, the reader is not aware of the individual words. Many of them will not really register, and yet as a whole they pull the reader into the story as in the picture above. It is that which the writer is trying to achieve when searching for the perfect word. And we love every minute of it. There is no greater feeling than knowing you have used just the right word.

There we have it for another day Bookaholics. See you back here tomorrow. I'm off to craft some more words on my next novel.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Reading More Widely

Day five of the blogging challenge and I'm still going strong. As I said in yesterday's blog, I haven't been feeling too well.  However, one thing which any writer can still do whilst ill is read. In order to be a writer you also need to be a reader. Now I read voraciously but mainly in the crime genre. It is often good for a writer, and in fact an individual, to expand their horizons in regards to reading choice. This allows the writer to view things from a different perspective and avoid becoming too narrow in their viewpoint. Their writing can be strengthened as they absorb the variety of ways in which writers express themselves.

Last week I was away from home and staying with friends. I was entertaining a two year old and he wanted me to read to him. He had a wide variety of books, but one which stuck with me was Ted's Birthday Bus. This was simply written but demonstrated beautifully how to build suspense and provide a surprise. My young friend loved this facet of it as well, resulting in my having to read it about fifteen times.

I appreciate that this may not be the best book to help me develop my writing skills. So I have bought the first book in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, and Archbishop by Michelle Guinness. Completely different from each other and also different from my usual choice of book. I am looking forward to reading them and will report back when I have done so.

There ends day five of the challenge. I will see you Bck here tomorrow for the next instalment in the series. Until then keep reading and writing.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Proofreading for Writers

Day four of the blog writing challenge I had set myself and I almost fell at the fourth hurdle. I'm ill today and really could do with a day off. However, publication day is sneaking up fast and there is proofreading to be done. For the umpteenth time. Killer's Craft has been proofread by a number of people. It has been looked at practically with a magnifying glass. Still errant typos creep in. I am sure this is the single most difficult, and yet important, task of any writer. I wrote a blog recently about the Hunt for the Lesser-Spotted Typo. You can take a look here.

There is notother way to flush out typos than to go through the manuscript word by weary word. It's not even the type of job which can be done with music on. I'd get carried away with the music and typos would fly past me unseen. They would then bury themselves deeper into a place in which the hunt has already taken place. As the end is in sight one would think it was a time for celebration. But no, it's time to start again.

So please forgive me if I seem a bit harried today. A little pale and wan. I will leave you now to go back to the hunt. See you all back here tomorrow. If I survive that is.

Enjoy your evening Bookaholics. Until I return, keep reading and writing.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Book Review: The Flame Ignites by Donna Fletcher Crow

The Flame Ignites

For my third day of my 31 Day Blogging Challenge I bring you a review of a cracking prequel to the best selling Elizabeth and Richard series. 

I love Donna Fletcher Crow books so was excited to read this new one. I was parricularly interested in the fact this is a Prequel to the excellent Elizabeth and Richard series. As well as being a mystery the book also reveals how they met. The mystery in this book is gentle and is not the main focus of the book. However, there is enough mystery in there that I wanted to find out what happened. This is handled well and blends in well with the rest of the book. Where this book comes into its own is characterisation. The characters are skilfully drawn and come across as both real and engaging. I loved seeing how the relationship between Elizabeth and Richard developed. They play well off each other and I definitely was left wanting to know more about them. Much of the book covers a correspondence between Elizabeth and an American author named Elswyth Thane. These took place many years before the book begins and brings the history of literature to life. It provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of many long dead authors. The research done to ensure historical accuracy is evident, ensuring a fascinating read. Far from being boring, Donna Fletcher Crow, brings the history to life in an imaginative way. She is a skilful writer and this is evident from every word. This is a superb book which I have no hesitation in recommending.

I was given an advanced release copy of this book for review purposes. At no time was I asked to provide a positive review. My review is based on my reading, and enjoyment, of the book.

See you all back here tomorrow my Bookaholic friends. Until then keep reading and writing. 

Monday, 19 October 2015

Research for Writers

In day two of my blogging challenge I am looking at research for writers. I am sure that all writers would agree that research is crucial in informing their writing. I would venture to say this is true in all genres, even in Fantasy. Not being a fantasy writer I can't actually comment on that, however, as a crime writer I think research can often be key. This is not just for ensuring accuracy but also as ideas for future plots. The most unlikely things can make a crime writer's mind go in seriously deranged directions. 

I am currently in London and when I discovered that there was a Crime Museum Exhibition at the Museum of London, I had to go. This is a temporary exhibition so I paid my money and took my chance. What a fabulous couple of hours. The museum is packed with evidence from crimes throughout the history of the Met Police, as well as other artefacts I never even knew existed. How about Death Masks from offenders hanged outside Newgate Prison. The earliest one I could see was that of James Greenacre aged 42. He was known as the Edgware Road Murderer and was hanged on 2nd May 1837 for the murder of his fiancee, Hannah Brown aged 47. I'm never going to stroll up the Edgware Road in quite the same way again. 

An older case, but no death mask on display was that of Henry Fauntleroy in 1824. He was the last man to be hanged in Britain for Forgery. Another interesting facet of this case is that he was a partner in the bank from which he stole the money. He admitted guilt but his defence rested on the fact he said he did it for the good of the bank. Funnily enough they didn't believe him. He was hanged outside Newgate Prison in front of a crowd of 100,000 spectators. That's some audience. 

Exhibits include The Kray's Briefcase and a stocking mask which literally is made from the top of a stocking. There are outlines of numerous real cases with the artefacts from these cases displayed alongside them. The most modern exhibits are those from acts of terrorism including the 7/7 bombings. This certainly makes you think about the fragility of human life. It is fascinating in a macabre sort of way. 

As a writer, research can come in many different guises. It is worth looking to see if there is anything you can do which will help you with your writing. My day out has certainly helped me. Look around and see if there is anything different you can do that will help you. It is so much fun being an author so make the most of it. 

There we are for day two my Bookaholic friends. See you back here tomorrow for the next blog in the challenge. Until then keep reading and writing. 

Sunday, 18 October 2015

31 Days of Blogging

I have just heard about the 31 Day Blogging Challenge which starts on the 1st October every year. This means blogging every day in October for 5 minutes a day. This is 5 minutes of free writing. Now I realize I am late to this party but I thought I would give it a go. I will spill into November which is also NaNoWriMo month. I love a challenge. Bloggers need to decide on a topic in advance and mine is going to be writing and reviewing. This fits in beautifully with this blog's topic. So, look out for 31 days of insights, fun, frolics and challenges as I stimulate the old grey cells and firce them to think of 31 different sub topics. Then comes the hard part. Writing cogently about these. I am hoping it will make me think more clearly about the art of writing, as well as help others along the way.

So there we have it bookaholics. A brand new post every day for 31 days. It would be great if others could join me. You can find out more about the 31 Day Challenge on the link below.

31 Days of Five Minute Free Writing

See you all back here tomorrow. Until then keep writing and reading.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

An Alternative Anthology

Today I am going to be taking a look at anthologies from the point of view of a writer. However, this is an anthology that is worth buying and reading. 

As writers we are often asked to contribute to anthologies. We also feel that we should be contributing to anthologies. For me it is a way of flexing my short story writing muscles. As an author I mainly focus on writing novels, but short stories are a good way to develop brevity in my writing. Every word needs to work for the story as a whole and needs to be carefully chosen. 

Unfortunately, lack of time meant that I was unable to contribute to this particular anthology. This was a shame as this one was a little different. Firstly, all the stories were based on the characters from a particular crime series, starring DI Frank Lyle. The challenge was to choose a character and write a crime story form their point of view. This makes for an interesting read, seeing how the different authors interpret and give voice to the characters.

The second, and most important reason for this anthology is that the proceeds are all going to Macmillan Cancer Support. This came out of the tragedy of the editor losing a loved one. I love the way that out of tragedy came hope, and a thought of others in the same situation. 

So today's blog supports a worthy cause.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Forgetful heart by Lucy Mills

Good morning my fellow Bookaholics. It's a dreary day here in Bonnie Dundee. It's lashing down with rain and cold. In fact it's the perfect day to put the heating on, grab a coffee and a chocolate biscuit and curl up with a good book. Today I bring you an excellent Christian book which I think every Christian should read. 

Forgetful Heart is one of the most insightful and interesting books I have read in a long time. We are all living in a world where we are bombarded with information and it is often difficult to remember who we are, never mind what we are meant to be doing. In this book Lucy Mills draws us into the very heart of God, who never forgets us. She outlines what is important and what we need to remember about ourselves and our relationship with God. 

However, this book is so much more than that. It is well researched and full of interesting facts and wisdom. Each chapter takes a different aspect of memory and skilfully draws us back to the bible for answers. I love the way in which the bible quotes and insights are interweaved and relevant. This is a book which you will read through once as you re enjoying it so much. You will then want to delve into it more deeply and slowly. You will also want to return to it time and time again. 

Forgetful heart really spoke to me on many levels. It made me take stock of my life and what is important. It made me think of what my business is doing to both me, and my relationship with God. Mills is a skilful and passionate writer and I am sure we will be hearing more from her in the future.

This is an inspirational book which I would not hesitate to recommend.


So there we have it for another day my Bookaholic friends. See you all back here very soon. Until then, keep reading.