Friday, 31 October 2008

Olsen Twins, Book Signing Protest

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Olsen Twins

Not only is the ability to string together intelligible words a prerequisite for churning out books, not only must you NEVER offend the Muslim brotherhood with your storyline, but what you wear is important too, so it seems.

Where will it end?

A book signing for fans of the Olsen twins, actresses Mary-Kate and Ashley, took an unattractive twist when irate campaigners assailed the event.


The two girls were staggered to find animal rights activists in uproar outside the store where they were signing books. The protests were part of a movement launched by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, against the stars for their fashion choices.

An angry PETA spokesperson said, "People who still wear fur haven't woken up to the fact that a big, dead animal on your back makes you look like a troll.”

Now I’m not getting stuck into the debate one way or another – but I wonder if the same spokesperson wears leather shoes? For some reason people seem to ignore foot ware - or don’t dead animals on your feet count?

Will there be a protest at my next book signing because I wear a leather belt and have woollen socks? Okay, so the sheep didn't die to give me wool, but leather....

  1. Next post on 'Tell Me A Story', Danielle Steel.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Danielle Steel and her first blog

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Danielle Steel.

I feel extremely privileged.

I've had the extraordinarily good fortune to make a comment, on the very first blog post by the celebrated author Danielle Steel.

It's been accepted and is now showing, but in general, comments are, provided they don't contravine decency. I've respected her forever and it’s unbelievable that I should have discovered her blog when it's so new. I thought at first there'd been no other comments, that I was the FIRST, but it was merely that Danielle hadn't accepted the earlier comments at that point.


It's strange to realise that Danielle was as apprehensive about her first blog post as the rest of us. None of us know what to say when we start out. We just feel our way into the blogosphere a bit at a time. It falls into place after a while, thank goodness, or I wouldn’t be doing this now.

At any rate, I hope you all join me in wishing Danielle all the best with her new blog.

Louisa McCormack, The Catch

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Louisa McCormack .

Lousia brings us her brand new story with The Catch. The characters in The Catch are a diverse mix of laid-back islanders and Toronto on speed. In fact, the first pages of The Catch almost need a programmed "breath break."
Pages blur as heroine, Minnie, scurries through the frantic free fall of her days at the TV network. When her latest reality TV project goes belly up, she decides to regroup.

Minnie is 40, a producer for reality TV. When her latest brainchild is turned down by the network, Minnie abandons her high speed city life for Tuck Harbour, a fishing village on Prince Edward Island. A tiny fishing village in Canada’s smallest province.

The heroine traces Louisa McCormack’s own route in her move from Toronto to Prince Edward Island. "But," says McCormack in a noisy Halifax coffee shop, "that’s where it stops."

We shall see!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Site authentication

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Site authentication posting.

Undergoing MyBlogLog Verification

Dialogue, make it plain, make it obvious

Tell Me A Story

Caught up in dialogue

High-quality dialogue can help readers identify with characters. If your characters hold what appears to be a natural conversation, readers will be caught up with their story. They will feel they are part of what’s going on.

Dialogue has many uses. It can shed light on complex conditions. It can put us in the picture about the past, explain the present, and give suggestions about the future, but whatever way it’s used, it should always be obvious - make it plain.


Your reader must at all times grasp what your protagonists are on about, don't make your dialogue hazy. It’s a mistake to make oblique references to events from dozens of pages earlier. The only time you can get away with that is if the incident was so amazing that the reader is bound to remember.

Unbearable dialogue

Be careful of what you allow your characters to say. The area where people come from, often affects the way they speak. This doesn’t mean you should try to write your dialogue in dialect or regional accent. The occasional use of a local expression can be enchanting, but a whole dialogue in dialect is almost unbearable to read.

Make dialogue plain and make it obvious.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Tatiana Boncompagni and the stolen book!

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Oh oh! Trouble looms.

The wife of heir to Hoover domestic appliances, sued her sister on Monday, accusing her of talking credit for her new novel, "Hedge Fund Wives", and publishing stolen chapters of the book onto the Internet.

Socialite and freelance writer Tatiana Boncompagni wrote the novel and for those not aware, she’s the wife of Max Hoover – wow, talk about power trip.

The book is due to be published by HarperCollins Publishers, in May 2009. It will be a sure fire hit now. It was always assured because of who she is - but now it’ll break the bank.

Publicity stunt

Jeez, these celebs piss me off! Publicity rolls towards them like shit to a blanket.

As far as I'm concerned it's just another stunt, similar to the one recently pulled by Stephenie Meyer when her latest novel was supposedly leaked 'WHOLE' to the internet.

Mary Soliel, debut book

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Congratulations are in order.
Another success story for a first timer. I love to see first timers strike lucky. It gives heart to us all.

Mary Soliel
The debut book by Mary Soliel, a non-fiction called, I Can See Clearly Now: How Synchronicity Illuminates Our Lives, has been selected by USA Book News as a Finalist in both Best New Non-Fiction and Best New Age Non-Fiction categories of the National Best Books 2008 Awards.

Well done, Mary Soliel. Long may your success continue.

Monday, 27 October 2008

A Halloween poem

Tell Me a Story - Halloween Poem

I hold up my hand, I'm no poet so writing a Halloween Poem doesn't come naturally....


I'm a novelist. Modern poetry, like modern art, escapes me. I'm of the old school. Poems, to me, should have rhythm and rhyme. So it should come as no surprise that when called upon to write something resembling poetry, I turn to unpretentious stuff.

Okay, so, we've been invited to a party and we’ve each been asked to bring along a Halloween Poem. So here’s my little ditty. Forgive my lack of chic and style; I’m a simple soul.

A Halloween Poem

The Witch

Cackles and crows, and twelve toed boys,
And smelly old crones with bent up bones.
And toads and mice, and long hair with lice,
All tangled and torn start to SWITCH

With fingers crooked in, scratching mole ridden chin,
And hairy old nose, rheumy eyes squinting close,
She drools spittle and blood, and under black hood
All tangled and torn, wears no STITCH.

Mumbling 'tongues', with a broom she prances the room,
And raises her hand, teeth bared, black and fanged,
With eyes rolling bright, she screams into the night,
All tangled and torn, she’s a BITCH

Fear clutches the earth, ghosts writhe and give birth
To worms horrid and cold, no place even for bold,
The world groans and hangs head, as she raises the dead
All tangled and torn, from the DITCH.

The dead, dance in the night, whilst living take flight
Fleeing magic and seer, and dark Halloween fear.
And though rain spews down black, and lightning bolts crack,
All tangled and torn flies the WITCH

So.... my little Halloween Poem is soon to be aired. I hope it goes down all right. If YOU want to read it out at your party, feel free, but please remember to mention my name.

End of post - A Halloween Poem


Looking for a good read? Try:

SHORT MOMENTS - A collection of 10 short stories
PAST SINS - A contemporary novel

The future for books

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Should Authors stop writing

Anthony, is there any future for books? I think advances in technology are perhaps making electronic books and audio books slightly popular, but now-a-days teenagers don’t like reading. They enjoy films more. The future of books seems to be on the wane; do you think books have any future at all in the coming years? Should authors just stop writing?

  • Hello Colin, an interesting point, but what are you basing it on? Where are the facts to back it up?

  • Hullabaloo

  • It seems to me the attractiveness of books has never diminished. Look at the frenzy over Harry Potter, look at the long queues and hullabaloo over the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer - it’s tantamount to adulation, and almost on the scale we saw when the Beatles first hit the scene.

  • I think reading will never 'die a death'. There’s certainly latitude for media other than books, but the power of the written word remains awesome and I seriously doubt books will ‘die a death’.

  • When people read, they’re transported by the story. In their mind they construct the most ideal circumstance possible for the adventure. When watching films, they see the director's version of events and it can NEVER be as perfect as the one in their mind.

  • I think most people will agree that a film is rarely as good as the book. So Colin, my answer is, as far as I'm concerned the future of books remains assured.

End of - The future for books

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Dialogue, characters, and stock words

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Stock words
in Dialogue

Sometimes it’s a good idea to give your central characters a phrase or a few stock words of dialogue, which are theirs and theirs alone. It can help identify and it sets characters apart. It happens in real life so why not in your story. We all know people who have this habit – in fact, we probably all do it to a greater or less extent - take a listen to your own dialogue sometime.

Let your character(s) repeat the words on odd occasions so the reader gradually identifies them, BUT don’t do it too often, or you could make them sound slightly crazy. If your heroine is bouncy and thinks life is “terrific”, you shouldn’t make it her stock answer to every situation, better to use the term intermittently, so readers increasingly recognize the tendency.

Identifying the speaker by dialogue

Carefully consider the words and phrases before you ‘tag’ a protagonist with them. Make sure it’s in keeping with character and social class. Remember, don’t over-do it, but do bear in mind this really is an uncomplicated way to identify the character.

**** Dialogue ****Dialogue **** Dialogue ****

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Oprah Winfrey and Kindle

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Ultimate endorsement for Kindle

For those authors like myself, who have taken a very tentative look at Amazon's Kindle e-reader and dithered over whether or not to go down that route, the push to action may just have been taken.
In a posting on her Web site, and on her show, Oprah Winfrey discloses that Kindle is her "favorite new gadget".

Wow! That sort of sets it in concrete, doesn't it. The future will definitely be bright for Kindle. It now has the ultimate endorsement.

I wish she'd do the same for Without Reproach!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Dialogue, characters, and the novel

Tell Me a Story - writing advice

Principal element

I’ve said in earlier posts that characters are the principal element of any novel.

Part and parcel of any character development, and of the novel in general, is the manner in which people speak - their dialogue.

  • Dialogue can impart an enormous amount of information in a seamless way
  • Dialogue offers clues to a character’s personality and social class
  • Dialogue offer clues to a characters frame of mind.

As part of characterization creation, dialogue is crucial.

Fifty percent of your novel

  • Up to 50% of your novel will probably be dialogue - it needs to be. Dialogue keeps your story dynamic.
  • Modern books steer clear of long pieces of narrative, modern readers want things to move - narrative slows things down.
  • Modern readers are brought up on a diet of TV and films - loads of dialogue - little narrative. They expect their literature to be the same. Confirm this in popular published books. Study in particularly, those in your genre.
  • Acceptance or rejection of your novel can hang on the balance and quality of your dialogue.
  • If dialogue is going to compose half the novel, it better be good.

    At it’s best; dialogue advances the story and depicts characters far more plainly than descriptive writing. Let’s face it, plain old narrative can be quite boring. Who wants their character or story to be thought of as boring?

Toss that descriptive narrative aside and concentrate on dialogue. That descriptive narrative might be your pride and joy - it might be full of wonderful flowing passages - but it can also weary the pants off people.

Show don't tell

Instead of saying someone was angry, let that character yell and scream. Show what's happening by the tone of words, the staccato remarks, or conversely the gentle exchanges of love.

Vary the tempo

  • Use a verbal exchange of ideas and repartee to infuse buoyancy into a heavy scene
  • Use dialogue to separate long passages of descriptive work
  • Use speech to vary the tempo of your writing.

Don’t assume though, that you can merely pop up with a smattering of any-old dialogue to perk up a dreary section. Speech should fulfil an objective. If it doesn’t, if it’s only chitchat, scrub it out, find something else for your character to do. Every word in your novel should count, whether it be dialogue or narrative there is no excess baggage allowed.

Every word, every piece of dialogue, every character in your novel should fulfil an exact purpose. There should be no hangers on in this game.

End of post - Dialogue, characters, and the novel

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Books-A-Million writing scholarship

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Meagan Sanders of Haughton, Louisiana, is the winner of the third, annual, Books-A-Million Writing Scholarship.

Meagan Sanders created and illustrated Boogie Woogie Man, her first book, while still a senior at Haughton High School in Louisiana. Meagan is at present a freshman at the Louisiana State University in Shreveport taking a degree course in Elementary Education.

The scholarship, created by Books-A-Million in 2006, acknowledges outstanding new authors and illustrators of children’s books. Each year, one student or team of students will receive a $5,000 scholarship, to be used for any line of study at any U.S. college or university, the award-winning piece to be published and sold in all Books-A-Million locations.

Well done Meagan. I wish you all the best.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

What is the normal rate of writing a novel

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Tell Me a Story - advice

Hello Anthony. I have a question for you, what is the 'normal' rate of writing a novel? I only seem to get about two to three pages written in a three hour session. My typing speed is about normal, so what am I doing wrong? Is this a normal rate or am I super slow?

Hi Andy, thanks for sending this question in. First off let me say there's no such thing as a 'normal' rate of writing. Everyone has his or her own comfort zone. I know some super-fast writers, whose work is hardly earth shattering. On the other hand, I know of writers who’ve taken years to produce a novel, but the end result has been a best seller.

Do you plan your writing?

I fully advocate making an outline before you even begin to write. Planning really can help you to be more efficient. Planning helps you know where the book is heading. It can be as detailed or as sketchy as you like, but making a plan means there’s less likelihood of writing yourself into a corner or spending hours staring at a blank screen.

One more thing, don’t be tempted to edit as you go along. Editing as you work can seriously slow you down. Get words down, finish the book before coming back to edit. The time to make your work perfect is the polishing stage – and that can be longer than the original writing.

Please don't worry about your production rate. Just do your own thing – oh, and don't forget to enjoy it. Writing is about enjoyment not worrying about time-scales.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Tea with JK Rowling

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Put your thinking caps on quick!

Celebrated author, J.K. Rowling wants to see if readers can write. In another publicity stunt, the creator of Harry Potter is considering an essay contest for young fans — ages 8 through 17 — and the winners would be invited to join her for tea.

There are five positions for American winners (and their chaperones) for the all-expense paid trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, in which the young writers will get to attend the event at the National Library of Scotland on December 4.

250 children

Ms. Rowling will read from “The Tales of Beedle the Bard,” which will be published that day, and then take part in a questions and answer session with editor, Barry Cunningham. 250 children and teens will be present.

So how do you get to be one of the U.S. five holding hands with JK Rowling? Scholastic, who is sponsoring the contest, is asking fans to write an essay of 200 words or less, describing how they have helped others — either in their schools, their communities, or around the world. Entries must be received before October 30.

I wish you all the best of luck.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

An interview with writer, Leon Basin

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  • This week I’d like to introduce writer, Leon Basin.
  • Hello, Leon, welcome to the site. Tell me, do you plan your stories first, or does it come to you as you write?
Hi Anthony, thanks for inviting me. I suppose it depends on what I’m working on. I tend to do an outline for books but I ignore outlines for stories/articles.
  • Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?

I know the ending of the story sometimes, because I usually write it in my head. However, when I’m working on a non-fiction, I sometimes know how I am going to write it, but sometimes I just want to put it together.

  • Leon, it’s often said that authors write themselves into their characters. Are there any parts of you in your characters and if so, what would they be?
In the two books I have published most of the poems/prose are connected to what I have experienced, seen or heard. However, when I’m working on fiction I try to step outside of myself and see how I could stretch my self further into how a character might behave.
  • So when in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?

Both of my books were self-published, Anthony. I didn't feel that they were good enough for a publisher. However, the books I’m currently working on, they will definitely be sent out to publishers/agents.

  • And what has been the best part about having your books in print?

I think networking with other writers. I enjoy meeting new people who are doing what I want to be doing. I love asking questions and watching other writers improve themselves. It pushes me to do the same.

  • And what are your plans now?

I have a few dozen of book projects on the list. The main two books I am focusing on are: A Journey into the Unknown, which is two-volume set. It is going to be a fiction about a kid growing up in bay area who seeks knowledge into the unknown. Another book I am focusing on is a Introduction to Metaphysics. I’m also completing a poetry collection for children.

  • Sound like you're going to be busy. Where can readers find a copy of your work?

They can find my books on my website and blog:

  • Leon Basin, thanks for your time. It’s good to chat with other writers to see how they fare. Good luck with your projects.

  • Next post, Making a living.
  • Bedlam.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Making a living from writing

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Anthony, I’m about to leave school and have always wanted to be a writer - I think I can make a living from writing fiction. Mum wants me to continue with higher education. Can you say something to help me change her mind?

  • Wow, Izzy. I simply can’t do that. I’ve touched on this before. The problem is, the majority of writers make very little money and most of them don’t make a living, certainly not enough from writing to live in a comfortable manner.

  • Not Good Earnings

  • I pointed out in an earlier post, that Steve Weber in his book on book promotion and writing, tells us out of approximately 150,000 books published each year, 100,000 will sell less than 100 copies. These aren’t good figures I'm afraid.

  • Not Evenhanded.

  • I wouldn’t advise it as a career unless you have an independent source of money, or have been writing for years and already built up a following. Further data shows that 5% of authors earn 95% of all money from books. Not exactly evenhanded, is it? Yet it's little different to the music industry, where lots of good musicians get paid peanuts.

  • Please don’t stop writing, but treat it as a hobby until you’re certain that your earnings will support you. Not many people actually make a living from writing fiction - you could be the odd one out, but don't bank on it. Maybe look to journalism, or online writing, but fiction.....

  • Next post, Nino Ricci.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Nino Ricci takes his time with, The Origin of Species

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Taking your time
So you think it’s taking you too long to get your novel finished? I know sometimes I think I take forever with my stories, in fact readers have asked me several times when the sequel to Without Reproach will be out….

Take a peep at the case of Nino Ricci though, and you might just change your mind about time. Certainly, no one could point the finger at Nino and charge him of rushing to get his story published.
The Canadian author says the first glimmer for his latest book, The Origin of Species, started at least in the early 1980s, perhaps even earlier.
Inspired and troubled
Between the many cogs and sparks connected to the novel was a concept introduced by scientist and now-famous atheist Richard Dawkins in his book, The Selfish Gene. Dawkins made a case that there is an evolutionary explanation for altruism, a perception that both inspired and troubled Ricci. That was nearly 25 years ago.
"Writing was just a pipe dream then," says Ricci, now aged 49. "I had no idea of the shape the novel would take. I think that's been true of all my books.”
So, take a leaf from the great man. Don’t worry about time – unless it’s running out that is!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Man-Booker prize winner

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Well done!

A first-time novelist from India, Aravind Adiga, won the Booker Prize last night with the novel ‘The White Tiger’, which was commended by the judges for portraying the "dark side of India". It was compared to Shakespeare's Macbeth "with a twist".

Début novel

Adiga, 33, was one of the youngest authors in the 40 years of the competition to win the £50,000 prize. He was also the second writer from India to win with a début novel.

I can only imagine what an emotive affair it must have been. Congratulations.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The president of Brazil and the Mexican writer

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Lucky bastards!

The president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes have just shared the International Prize, Don Quijote de la Mancha, from King Juan Carlos of Spain.

Da Silva was awarded the prize for his work to promote the Spanish language in Brazil, while Fuentes' award was for his "boost" for the culture of La Mancha, a region in central Spain. The prize, was 25,000 euros (about 34,000 U.S. dollars) and a sculpture of each of the two winners.

25,000 euros… Wow! My heart starts to pound at figures like that. Bet they hardly noticed it!

The award is apparently for recognition of work that contributes most to the awareness and promotion of Spanish culture and language.

I could just do with a cash injection like that. I wonder if they’ll consider 'Without Reproach', after all, it’s set in the Costa Blanca region of Spain….

Sunday, 12 October 2008

550 Alternative words for 'said'.

Sorry for the inconvenience but this was originally a small blogpost. It has been expanded into a major article to include 550 substitute or modifying words for 'said', and moved to 550 OTHER WORDS FOR SAID Please click on it and give it a look and let me know if it has been of help.
End of the post - Alternative words for said

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Without Reproach reaches 25 on best seller list

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For some reason, the Canadian Amazon store seems to like my book. I checked over the figures this morning and was absolutely amazed to see that Without Reproach had reached number 25 on the Amazon best seller list but had SOLD OUT!

For the second time, Amazon Best Seller.

But damnation. How can it remain an Amazon best seller if there are no books to sell? The USA, the UK, --- there was zilch movement - nada, but Canada - wow!

Temporary best seller.

Okay, I know this best seller thing is only temporary, and it's probably slipping already, but it's been there, done that. By tonight it will most likely slide quietly out of the list and settle into oblivion, so I've taken a screen shot to remember it by.

For a view of the screen shot go to Best Seller. I just had to take it to remind myself in the bleak days ahead.

The last time it had a brief surge, it reached number 50. Now it's 25. How, why? Hey .... do I care, I'm just enjoying the buzz.

Canada. I love you!

Amazon best seller, Amazon best seller

Next post on Tell Me a Story, Nik Morton.


Tuesday, 7 October 2008

An interview with author, Nik Morton

Links on Tell Me a Story


  • This week I’d like to introduce you to author, Nik Morton. Nik, how long have you been a writer?

Thank you, Anthony. I’ve been a writer for about 46 years. I wrote and drew comics then moved on to short stories when I was about 14.
When I was 16, I’d written my first novel, a spy adventure entitled A MAN IS KNOWN BY THE COMPANY HE KILLS; needless to say, it’s unpublished, as is its sequel, KILL A MAN WHILE HE’S DOWN. I didn’t do much else until I was in my early twenties serving in the RN: I edited the ship’s magazine and contributed stories, articles and illustrations.

In about 1970 I started a writing correspondence course and within a short time I was selling genre short stories to men’s magazines, when they used to feature non-erotic adventure fiction. My first commercial short story was ‘Hover-jack’, a spy story set in the Solent, published in Parade. My sales successes were such that the correspondence course advisers wanted me to become a tutor – but I was required to be on the end of a phone which clashed with my naval career, so I had to turn them down. I’ve been writing ever since.

  • So just how many books have you written?

Besides those two early attempts (which I still have), I’ve written and completed 9 novels (7 sold) and 3 novellas.

  • Wow! Quite a feat. What prompted you to write your latest books?

My two latest books – The Prague Manuscript and The Tehran Transmission are set in the Cold War, a period I enjoyed reading about: thrillers by Adam Hall, John Gardner, John Le Carré and Len Deighton, among others. For more years than I care to remember, the psychic spy Tana Standish has been with me, evolving. Her missions take her to many exotic places and I’ve even been to some of them while in the navy – including the Khyber Pass! I believe you’ve got to enjoy the genre you’re writing for or the writing will fail.

  • Too damn true, Nik. Have you had many struggles on the road to being published? Most of us have tales of failures to tell.

I’ve sold many short stories and articles and I know my writing is of a publishable standard – a publisher told me when rejecting a manuscript, ‘indeed, it’s better than many books that are published, but…’ So it’s probably just inappropriate subject matter, bad luck or bad timing or not approaching the right people at the right time; any or all of those reasons meant my novels didn’t get taken up.

  • I think that’s quite often true.

In retrospect, I was probably still acquiring my ‘voice’, though that ‘voice’ depends on the type of novel I’m writing. Style and voice in Pain Wears No Mask, which is narrated by a nun who used to be a policewoman, is different to the third person narrative of Tana Standish and her fellow male agents, Tyson and Swann, and yet different again when writing about hard men and tough women of the Old West in three quite varied westerns.

Over the years, I’ve been close – two big literary agents were very interested in my character Sister Rose, though that wasn’t her name at the time. I even had an interview with a publisher with a view to publishing a series of crime novels about Sister Rose. But the interest died or the publisher changed direction in response to the accountants. A fantasy quest novel came very close too, but again a publisher’s reorganisation diverted interest.

  • So what has been the best part, and worst part, about being published?

The best part was holding my first book, a hardback western, in my hands, albeit under one of my pennames – Ross Morton. After so many years striving, I found it a little ironic: I researched the westerns published by Robert Hale, planned a story and then wrote it in 19 days. Equally satisfying is to see books published that have been many years in gestation; the wait was definitely worth it: inevitably, after many rewrites over time they’re better books. I kept my faith in the characters and their stories and Libros showed faith too in accepting and publishing them. Worst part about being published? There isn’t any, though much creative time is spent spreading the word and getting people to read my books. After all, I wrote them to be read, not to make mega bucks. Usually, readers enjoy them, and that’s the most important aspect of writing – spreading enjoyment.

  • And where would you say your work was aimed , mainly at men, women or children?

Throughout my writing career my reading has been eclectic. I’ve read westerns, sci-fi, horror and fantasy books, sagas, romances, thrillers, biographies, history, crime and even erotic novels. I don’t specifically aim at a readership, though I know that probably 60% of book readers are female. Certainly, my crime thriller Pain Wears No Mask will appeal to readers of Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell and Tess Gerritsen. My Tana Standish thrillers probably appeal to both sexes. Most feedback for both books has been favourable, the comments from both sexes usually being, ‘I couldn’t put it down!’

  • So where are your books available?

Any online bookstore, Bookworld España in Spain, or any mainstreet bookshop, though they may have to be ordered at the latter.

  • I know! It’s always a problem getting books stocked in brick and mortar stores – too many books chasing too few shelves. Have you any other work in the pipeline?

I certainly have, Anthony. I’m into the third Tana Standish thriller, The Khyber Chronicle, set in Afghanistan at the lead-up to the Soviet invasion. I’m also planning a sequel to Pain Wears No Mask entitled Silenced in Darkness, which again will be in the first person – ie from Sister Rose’s perspective, with more flashbacks to her time as a policewoman. And several short stories are bubbling to the surface, plus a new private eye series of books…

  • Would you like to give us an outline of your latest book?

My latest book is due out soon from Libros: The Tehran Transmission, is set in Iran during the period 1978-79, leading up to the Islamic Revolution. She has recovered from her mission in Czechoslovakia a couple of years back and is sent into Tehran following a number of pro-Khomeini demonstrations and deaths; the shah has declared martial law and British interests are threatened.

Tana assassinates SAVAK captain Mokhtarian who tortured one of her friends then teams up with an underground cell conspiring against the shah. Meanwhile, in a Special Psychiatric Hospital at Kazakhstan, Dr Schneider from the Prague Manuscript is visited by Spetsnaz trained GRU lieutenant Aksakov. She asks him to tell her all he knows about Tana Standish. Elsewhere, in the Kirlian Institute, Professor Bublyk’s Group has been alerted to keep watch for a psychic by the name of Tana Standish. Dr Schneider brings word about Tana’s abilities...

Bublyk learns that she is in Iran. Capturing the British SIS agent would vindicate all his expensive psi research. And he wants her as a live experiment. Within the institute one psychic, Raisa Savitsky, is jealous of Karel Yakunin’s infatuation with the British psychic, Standish.

In Iran, Tana teams up with Lance Colombo, a CIA operative who discovers that his superior has been helping the SAVAK secret police torture civilians. They both just avoid death at the hands of a demented Pahlavani assassin. Tana attempts remote viewing, spying on Evin prison and learns of a plan to capture an Iranian friend and his family.

She is tipped into mental limbo where only the psychic contact of Karel helps her prevail and recover. Now she knows about The Group and Karel Yakunin. At Shiraz Tana plucks her friends from the clutches of SAVAK. There are tense moments as Aksakov in a helicopter closes in on Tana. But they manage to contact a British submarine, HMS Onyx, in the Persian Gulf and evade Aksakov. The tension mounts as Tana is called out to Iran again; it’s probably a trap but she has to go – this time to the ancient city of Yazd. Her psychic abilities will be called upon to combat Aksakov and Bublyk’s Group.

There’s a cat-and-mouse conflict in the snow-clad mountains on the border of Afghanistan with the ending an ironic echo of the book’s beginning… Which will lead on to the sequel, The Khyber Chronicle, which I have begun.

A fourth chronicle is planned, set in Argentina during the Falklands War, 1982. For a change of pace, I’m also writing a romantic thriller set in Tenerife; I’m 11,000 words in and it’s fully plotted; but other tasks keep preventing me from continuing; I’ve been trying to get busy on it for the last four weeks!

I have five other books planned, plus another upcoming western. I’d also like to find a book publisher for my sci-fi, fantasy and ghost short stories, most of which have been published in magazine format. I have to admit that times are quite exciting right now. And to cap it off, my wife Jen and I have been made grandparents for the first time.

  • Exciting times indeed, you're a very busy man. Thanks for that Nik, and congratulations on your first grandchild. I have eight now, and I’m afraid I’m at the point where I start to forget names and birthdays. I have to write birthdays down in a prominent place, it would be terrible to miss them.

  • All the best with your new book. Hope we chat again sometime.

  • Next post, My interview.
  • Bedlam.
  • .

Sunday, 5 October 2008

My interview on, 'The Truth About Lies'

Links on Tell Me a Story


It's good to interview other authors. You get to understand what makes your fellow writers tick. This time, however, it's my turn.

Jim Murdoch, a well respected writer from the Scottish land, has just posted an in-depth interview with me and about me. I must say it was rather searching. Jim has an uncanny knack of digging things out that you didn't know were public knowledge.

Well they are now.

Take a look at The Truth About Lies and tell me what you think.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Storytellers and writers.

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Hi, Anthony, what's the difference between a storyteller and a writer? Are they the same?

  • Hi Sara. It's generally accepted a storyteller is someone with a natural ability to produce exciting stories.

    Storytellers spellbind their readership, they seem to have an innate understanding of what constitutes an interesting tale. However, being a good storyteller, doesn't necessarily equate with being a 'good' writer. They may not have a grasp of the technical side of writing. Their sentence structure, characterization, and grammar may be poor.

    An example of this could be Stephenie Meyers. Although not having read any of her work, I understand it to be poorly written, yet popular. Someone who certainly falls within this scope is Jeffrey Archer. His books sell by the million, are exciting and highly readable .... yet are in fact poorly written and grammatically incorrect. His stories are full of 'holes'.

    Alternatively, someone may be excellent at structuring their work, but have little of interest to say .... yet, are lauded as producing works of art.

    Who is to say which is right or wrong. It's all in the eye of the beholder. You pays your money, you takes your chance!
  • Next post, Book promotion.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Book promotion.

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Of Interest

For those striving to get their books out into the public's gaze, I've come across a neat little site that might be of interest.

Worth Consuming.

The website offers book promotion advice, and as far as I'm concerned, every drop I can find is worth consuming.

Check it out at

It seems to offer good material.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Book promotion and the shy author.

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Another day of Benidorm.

Okay, so I've done it again. One more day of shopping, drinking and handing out bookmarks. Drink? Well, I have to have a brandy or two inside me before I dare hand them out, so I make a day of it.

For someone as shy as me, its an ordeal. If you were one of the people I offered bookmarks to, may I say, thank you. Thank you for taking them from me, thank you for not snubbing me, thank you for saying, thank you.

I'm Shy.

Promotion doesn't come easy to an introvert. I have to do it. I know I should do more, but I'm shy. I wish books sold themselves, but they don't, so do it, I do, do it I will.

Oh well !!! I suppose I'll have to do it again sometime in the near future. So if one day you find I'm handing a bookmark to you, please smile, even if you feel like scowling.

Next post, POV.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

RssHugger once more

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Okay. I realise I am on about it again, but I quite like rssHugger!
It’s a powerful blog feed that displays all my feeds on their site for visitors to find. It’s simple and easy!
I recommend rssHugger for connecting people to blogs, and of course bringing more traffic to bloggers. Simple. Easy. Just how I like things.

Point of View when writing a story.

Links on Tell Me a Story


Hi, Anthony. I’m about to start on a story. What is your opinion of POV. Do you prefer writing where the main character is telling the story or where you are narrator? 1st person or 3rd person?

Hello, Julia. For some reason, most inexperienced writers tend to go for first person narrative, perhaps believing they’ll make their story more convincing, or maybe more passionate. It's wrong of course. Any novel is only as good as the writer and plot.
Technical Problems
There are certain technical grounds for avoiding first person narrative. It can be tricky getting away from the self-important "I" part of it, for instance …. “I did this, I thought that, I said” .... etc. It becomes tedious if the writer doesn't have the skill to find a way around.
Into a corner
There’s also the problem of writing yourself into a corner. For example, suppose you need to let the reader understand what the protagonist is up to. It’s difficult letting let them know an event is taking place if the main character, the "I" of the story, isn't present.
For these reasons alone, first person can be a little limiting. I tend to advise new writers to steer clear.
I've written short stories in the first person, even first person present tense, but nowadays I go for the wider sheet of third person.
Roy Gough, next post.