Published… Again… At last!

Yes, here, on Alfie Dog Fiction.  Mine’s the story called Burnt Down.   (You need to scroll down the page to get to it.)  At 0.39p, it’s a steal.

You can’t know how uncomfortable I feel about promoting my own work.  I’m of the generation for whom ‘showing off’ was the worst of all possible sins and who would go to enormous lengths to avoid any form of self-aggrandisement.  If you got a good mark at school, you didn’t dare tell anybody.

Picture taken by Anna Brassey, a lady Victorian traveller. e http://public-domain.zorger.com/voyage-on-the-sunbeam/438-victorian-woman-writing-jornal.php
Picture taken by Anna Brassey, a lady Victorian traveller. e http://public-domain.zorger.com/voyage-on-the-sunbeam/438-victorian-woman-writing-jornal.php

We writers can be very lazy, regarding ourselves as arty types, who just want to be left alone to do what we do best – write.  After all our work is so good it will fall off the shelves in Waterstones, won’t it?   In fact,  we won’t need to do anything except pick up the nice fat royalty cheque twice a year.  What a terrible effort that will be!   Come on,  publisher, you do all the publicity.  Publisher, publisher, where are you?  You want me to self-publish?  All right, I can hack  the idea of reformatting my work and uploading it to SmashWords or something, but surely you don’t expect me to go out and tell people about it.  I mean, what are Amazon doing, apart from collecting huge profits (ha ha)?  What, you want me to do book signings in my own town?  And go on Facebook?  And Twitter?  How embarrassing!  I mean, what will people think of little me (Rosemary)?

Fortunately, none of this is necessary for a short story on Alfie Dog Fiction, which is a great site for short stories generally.   Have you ever hoped not to win a competition because you couldn’t hack going public on your writing and your story?  (I have.)  Part of me regards my writing as so personal that I can’t bear to share it.  The other part wants it all just to ‘happen’.

Talking of competitions, the Association of Christian Writers are about to launch a crime-writing comp.   Check the ACW site in January.

Happy Christmas.  I am not at all prepared, but I will be.  The family start to arrive tomorrow.

To all those whose bloggers I follow, if you’re following me, thank you for all the interesting posts which WordPress sends to me every Monday.   (What a terrible sentence!)  Do keep checking my other blog, Dear Reader.   When I’ve finished this post, I’m going to review The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith.

Why the Reader Put That Book Down

Good stuff here. A reader tells you what keeps her reading. Do you look for the same things as she does? Personally, I like a bit of good stuff, to share some ‘feel-good’. Why otherwise do you suppose so many detectives have loving families or good circles of friends? But I’m with her on checking facts. I’ve noticed that many writers – particularly – get it wrong when writing about the church and local government, but then that’s two areas I happen to know about. I wonder what other ‘areas of misinformation’ are out there.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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I do a ridiculous amount of reading because it is part of my job as a writer. My job in particular because I blog about craft. I read all genres and go through anywhere from 2-4 books a week. Audible will go bankrupt if I’m ever hit by an ice cream truck.

This said, I think I’m in a fairly good position to guide you guys on pitfalls to avoid from a reader’s POV. These are the mistakes that will have me railing at the heavens and throwing a book across the room…followed by depression because I can never get those wasted hours back.

I just returned a book so bad that I cannot believe I read as much of it as I did. It is a prime example why reviews can be misleading, even good ones.

I finally had to return it because there was just not enough blood…

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The Curious and Little-Known Slang Terms Found in Modern Britain

I haven’t read this myself, because I’ve only just come across the post on Morgen Bailey’s blog, but it sounds like an invaluable writing resource. Thank you, Morgen, Interestingliterature blog and, of course, Susie Dent (author).

Interesting Literature

From Susie Dent’s fascinating new book on ‘modern tribes’

The lexicographer and etymologist Susie Dent is well-known in the UK thanks to her role as the resident word expert and adjudicator on the long-running Channel 4 quiz show Countdown (the very first programme broadcast on the channel in 1982; Susie Dent joined the show in 1992). Dent is also the author of a series of popular books on the English language. Dent’s Modern Tribes: The Secret Languages of Britain is her latest book, and we were fortunate enough to be recipients of a review copy. The book is a treasure-trove of unusual jargon and colourful slang from various trades, clubs, sports, social groups, and walks of life – everything from an old publican’s friendly nickname for a habitual drinker (that’s a tosspot) to the theatrical term for an actor who performs in an exaggerated, hammy manner (that’ll be…

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The Most Useful Skills I’ve Ever Learned

Did you ever sit in school wondering why on earth you were learning Latin?  Or about Henry VIII’s wives?  Or the Periodic Table?  Yes, I know the value of education, that it’s not just a set of vocational skills designed to get you a job, but I’ve often wondered about the most useful, and most used, life skills I have.

My Most Used Skills (in no particular order): The skills I don’t have, and wish I did have, are (in no particular order):
To read. To use a television remote control.  (Truly, I can’t.  My husband, son or daughter has to do it for me, particularly when grandson is demanding to watch CBeebies.)
To drive a car. To do routine household maintenance.  (I can’t change a light bulb, knock a nail in a wall, or mow a lawn.)
To cook (family meals, mostly, not Master Chef stuff). To do routine car maintenance.  (My husband checks my oil and water and the local garage does everything else!)
To touch type. To gain the confidence to talk to people, particularly to strangers and in crowds, without drying or talking nonsense.
To express myself on paper using grammatical English. To speak a foreign language.  (I can read French, Spanish and Italian up to a point.
To sew (make clothes, alter and mend them). To express myself better on paper.

kokcharovskillhierarchy2015Wait a minute.  This blog is called Write On.  It’s supposed to be about writing.  So, if you’re still here, Dear Reader, and haven’t yet moved on to the next blog…  all these skills do impact on my writing.

If I’d never read, I’d never have wanted to write.  I started thinking up stories in childhood, because Enid Blyton (in particular) hadn’t written enough for me.  If I couldn’t express myself on paper, I’d be climbing up the wall, because the stories inside me would have no outlet.   If I couldn’t touch type, my writing progress would be intolerably slow and – even more importantly – my ability to express myself on paper would drain away from me if I was having to search out each letter on the keyboard.   So much is obvious, but the other skills on the left hand side, apart from being essential survival skills, provide valuable thinking time.   As for the wish list on the right hand side, not being able to use a television remote, which is only marginally inconvenient, stops me wasting time on the gogglebox.    Not being about to speak ANY foreign language is a nuisance when travelling, and a pain, unless you set every story on your own doorstep.  The one that really holds me back is having such poor confidence in social situations, as I could never promote my own work, which you have to do if you’re going to be successful, traditionally-published or self-published.

Btw… deep breath… a story of mine, Burnt Down, will appear on Alfie Dog Fiction starting from 18 December.  I’ve been asked me to promote it, so I am doing just that.   Hope you enjoy it.