Category Archives: Writing

Background to writing

Review, Reflect and Move Forward to 2021 (and a festive Giveaway)

If I knew in December 2019 when I reflected on the previous year what I know now, would I have made different plans and had other aspirations? Who knows!

2020

Early March

               Click cover for link to Amazon

… saw the launch on my second ‘mystery inspired by history’ novel

MISSING Past and Present

at the last social gathering in Kinghorn, a cheerful event held at the Station Gallery.

 

More used to face to face bookish activities rather than on line, I must admit to have struggled with social media this year, having spurts of activity, interspersed with period when I just could not get my head around it.

(Like everyone, being unable to visit my elderly parents was a constant worry; both having dementia but attempting to live independently. It is only when the security rug is swept away that you realise just how much loved ones rely on visits from family)

April/ May

I worked on a little book of encouragement for young people who need direction and a bit of positivity; a project I began a few years back. I hope for it to be released February, March 2021. Watch this space for a cover reveal in the new year. 

June

 

 

Unable to be creative I worked with local ladies in Kinghorn to prepare

‘Kinghorn Lunch Club Social Memories;’

a lovely little book which, among other wonderful ideas, was a much needed morale boost for our elderly folks during the pandemic.

Click on cover for link to Amazon.

 

 

 

July

I actually began to write again, focusing on the sequel to MISSING.

August

With infection rates lower, the highlight of the month was visiting my elderly parents which was a mixture of heart wrenching moments but relief to be with them.

September/ October/ November

Working with fellow Eventispress author Brian Kerr, whose third book 

How to Value a Skylark ~ The Countryside in a Time of Change

will be launched in January 2021.

(meanwhile my parents were hospitalised not with Covid and transferred to a care home, where both are now cared for and safe. I still long to see them but when it is safe to rwsume my regular visits down south ~ the culmination of a very stressful and upsetting time. So hard not to be with them when they needed us most!)

Click on cover for more information about Brian and the book. 

 

Charity Sales

Sales of Kinghorn Lunch Club Memories and The Healing Paths of Fife (currently sold in aid of Kirkcaldy Foodbank which covers Kinghorn, Burntisland and surrounding areas as well as Kirkcaldy) 

£673

has been raised to date!

I would love it to reach £1000 as soon as possible!

On reflection, in the writing world I have some achievements to be cheerful about in 2020.

What do I long for in 2021?

~ First and foremost to see my parents and to spend some quality time with them. Both having dementia, I cannot make up for a whole year lost, but I want to do my utmost to make their lives as pleasurable as I possibly can.

~ Secondly I wish Brian Kerr every success with his new book. 

I’d like to reach my goal of £1000 through the sale of ‘The Healing Paths of Fife’

Yes, of course I would love you all to read ‘MISSING Past and Present’ and with that in mind I am willing to give 10 ebooks away if you’d like to email me ~  dianariduna@yahoo.com

…and finally I’d like to wish you all a safe Christmas,

        …that you’ll be vaccinated soon in 2021

                  …and that you can be reunited with your loved ones as soon as possible in 2021.

 

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Filed under Author Diana Jackson, Book reading, Marketing your novel, MISSING Past and Present, The Healing Paths of Fife, Writing

Light Bulb Moment of inspiration ~ Just a Sentence ~ then a Story Plan

HAVE A NOTEBOOK AT ALL TIMES

Do you have a notebook, or a plethora of notebooks to hand when inspiration for writing strikes?

Sound advice!

All it took was just a sentence popping unbidden into my mind:

‘While picking blackberries in the hedgerows one day, I found a dice.’

CHOOSE AN UNUSUAL PROTAGONIST

I had already decided to write about a homeless person but wanted to choose an unlikely character, This one sentence was the perfect lead to my protagonist, Dot. Picking blackberries is second nature to her and thus she would be a ‘jam making women’s institute sort of lady’, the sort who you might pass unnoticed in the street. If a lady like that who hadn’t done anyone any harm, well almost, became homeless, straightaway I felt that the reader would feel empathy towards Dot when her husband went missing.

BACK STORY

Then I began to think of her back story. Holding the dice which I had found one day it struck me to be a fantastic tool for Dot’s memories while she was trying to recover from the breakdown of all she had known. (Her memories were not personal ones to me by the way, except maybe one, but I’m not going to admit which one.)

 

 

SUBTITLE

No one deserves to have their life destroyed, but what sums up the overriding question in Dot’s mind as she tries to make sense of it all.  Life is never fair but

Is Life Just a Roll of a Dice?’

My subtitle came to life.

MISSING Past and Present on Amazon

SETTING

The scene of picking blackberries could be an idyllic one, but in Dot’s case it was a means for survival, to glean from the countryside. What was it like to survive when homeless.

MAIN THEMES

This led to the main themes in my novel, as explored in previous blogs, leading to further tension and miscommunication.

Homelessness, soup kitchens and food banks

Mixed race relationships

Multi faith marriage

Gender inequality

Prejudice, racism and acceptance

SUMMING UP

Thus, finding a dice in the hedgerows gave me a sentence.

Out of the sentence came the protagonist, back story and major setting.

This allowed me to develop my plan, including themes pertinent to my story.

What originally inspired you to write your latest novel?

If you would like to be a guest writer on this blog why don’t you take the Dice Challenge and get in touch with me diana@dianamaryjackson.co.uk

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Filed under MISSING Past and Present, Mystery inspired by history series, Planning a novel, Writing, Writing a novel

What do successful indie authors say about achieving success?

During the month of August I interviewed five successful Indie authors on this blog. You can click on them down the sidebar.

Here is a summary of of their advice to writer’s and similarities about their approach:

BE DILIGENT

~ Treat Writing Like work

It was clear from all of the authors interviewed that they took all aspects of writing novels, marketing and the publishing world seriously. Although many of us may not aspire to the dizzy heights of employing staff like Adam Croft ~ most of us commission people to do the cover art, formatting and editing. We aim for a professional product our readers expect of us.

I’ll let you into a little secret here. I met Adam when he was promoting his first ever crime novel, giving it away free on Amazon through Smashwords ~ and so there’s nothing wrong with aspirations of grandeur! (and possibilities)

Writing seriously IS HARD WORK!

BE CONSISTENT

~ Build your audience by expectation

Although many authors dabble in different genre and some are successful doing that, it is the consistency of publishing in a certain genre, an awareness of your audience and regular releases of books in a series that appears to build success. It may take time, but patience is then rewarded.

(If you click on the links below they will take you to the author pages on Amazon)

I know if I buy an Anne Allen book that it will be some kind of mystery, reflect a period in history and be set on the island of Guernsey, usually in at least two time periods.

Tony Riches writes historical fiction, researching characters in history who are less well known and it is obvious from his books that he has explored the places and well as also the lives of the people.

Margaret Skea is also a  competent historical fiction writer, often with some mystery adding a different dimension.

Adam Croft writes crime. His plots are quirky and increasingly complex, but all of his books are ‘a good read.’

Maggie Anderson writes Regency Romance which has a great following and are easy to identify.

Skimming over their author pages gives a clear picture of what to expect if buying their books.

BE CREATIVE AND AHEAD OF THE GAME

Adam Croft was into Audio Books well before they ‘took off.’ Margaret Skea has taken the opportunity during lock down of launching her books on audio too. With audio increasingly popular and profitable, why are more of us not taking up this opportunity? (note to self!) At first Audio books were mainly in the realms of libraries but not anymore.

Many of us are glad we ignored the doomsayers about e books and have always diversified into both paperback and e book. This is vital in today’s odd world.

BY GIVING YOU RECEIVE ~ IN MARKETING

I am a great believer in this message. No author is an island unto themselves. (a Diana mis-quote!)

Avenues for marketing are limited these days for those of us who were used to speaking to an audience, having stalls at craft fairs and book signing. There’s a plethora of different ways though, to promote your books on line. Margaret Skea, author of Historical Fiction, gives the good advice that it is essential to ‘give as much or more than you take’ when marketing on Social Media.

Help other authors out and they are more willing to support you.

I certainly feel the same. Author Tony Riches is always promoting other people’s work and because I love his books I trust his choice of books he promotes. It’s a win win situation. He has also given me tips along the way and pointed me in the direction of marketing opportunities, such as The Coffee Book Club Tour.

Maggi Anderson mentions the importance of a newsletter ~ so important and often overlooked.

… and finally just get writing!

If you would like to do a guest blog between now and Christmas on this blog then please read:

Throw a Dice for Memories of a Character in your novel

Then leave your contact details as a comment on my blog or email diana@dianamaryjackson.co.uk

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