Category Archives: Kindle

Short Journeys

I have talked about short stories before and how important they have been to me on this journey to become ‘real writer’… that makes me think of Pinocchio I want to be a real boy… 

I think, all too often, we tend to overlook the short story form, assuming that the real success and I guess therefore the real creativity and even the real money is to be made from the novel that becomes the bestseller that becomes the Hollywood blockbuster… and so on. But short stories have also been made into movies you know. And besides, not all short stories want to grow up to be movies, do they?

I always talk about how I ‘cut my teeth’ as a writer working on the short form, and how important this was for me in terms of developing my style and honing my craft and I have spurts now of still writing short stories and sending them out. When I did that earlier this year I had three successes and two of those placements has resulted in a publication; one of which is now available to pre-order, I was runner-up! So I thought I would share a short extract of that as a teaser with some links…

Thinking in Circles

In order to understand something, we must exist outside it.
We are all made of numbers.
Aged 13, Size 8 shoes, Form 5, the 14.35.
We are all on a journey to somewhere from somewhere else with
our eyes half-closed.
And sometimes we get stuck.

You are standing there. Head tucked down; reminds me of a
penguin. The strap of your big blue school bag cuts across your blazer
and it’s as if there’s a thread attaching your head to your shoes. Not
shiny new shoes. These are scuffed, end of term Clark’s one-size-too-small
shoes; they didn’t buy new shoes. Because of what happened
over the summer.
It’s the thing – the thing no one will want to talk about – but they
will talk about it. They’ll whisper. They’ll pretend they’re not talking
about it.
People say bad news is always better when it happens to
somebody else but even when it happens to somebody else,
sometimes it’s happening to you.
You shuffle last year’s shoes to the front; to the desk you used
last year. And the year before. And the year before that. Soon they’ll
all come in and sit where they always sit and nobody will ask. But
they’ll all know.

They’ll all know because it was in the Echo. It was in the Echo
over the summer. Shock had filled up the kitchen: a line of uttered
Oh Gods.
In the sound you were sure you heard something break.
Not like a snap. Not like an ornament shattering into a million
pieces. Not like that. And not like the jolt of something stopping
suddenly, because that happens all at once. This was like a slow
unpicking along the seams.
It happened because of what happened over the summer. It
happened to your dad when he went quietly mad and your nan had to
move in.
It was in the Echo. Everyone knows. About the thing – not your
dad going quietly mad, or your nan moving in. About the thing. The
thing that happened over the summer.

The train left London at 14.35. The name on the front said
Southend Victoria…

© Debz Hobbs-Wyatt 2017, With Our Eyes Open, Published by Bausse Books October 15 2017

The book is available now for pre-order as an eBook and a paper version will follow in tine for Christmas! I will share the link again!

With Our Eyes Open

Order me…

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Meeting the lovely people…

I know some writers who tell me they’d hate to do what I’ve been doing these last few weeks. Standing in bookstores armed with bookmarks and telling them how I’m signing in store and come have a look at my book.

Well you know, promotion like this is just one of the ways to get your work noticed. It’s baby steps. You’re making only a small dent in book sales, I know that. You can stand in store talking to everyone and really working it, for hours on end and sell just six copies. But that’s six more people who know who you are and more importantly who will read your book, not to mention the ones who they’ll pass the book onto and those who say they prefer Kindle and will download it. And since I give out a lot of bookmarks, and yes many will end up in the bin, some  I hope will buy the book later. It is hard work but I like people. And our  readers matter, so you have to do it. And you might as well enjoy it, right? It is what I always wanted to be and it goes with the job.

It’s amazing how tiring it is spending four hours or more standing and talking! But I realise that while the blurb sells the book in terms of if it’s their kind of thing, people buy into people. So yes I am annoyingly happy all the time and yes always smiling and no that’s not fake, that’s just me, my sociable approach must count. Or I hope it does. I am certain the way I approach people and really just chat to them, means if they like me, they are more likely to go and pick up my book to read the blurb and perhaps buy it.

It’s been a busy but great few weeks. Yes it means having no day off and I can feel the tiredness seeping in, but it’s so worth it. I have my final two Saturdays in Bangor back to normal, meeting writing friends etc and then once I move, and as we head closer to Christmas (yes I did use the C word!) I will be putting together a signing tour in that part of the world, so if you think your local bookshop might be worth including, preferably south-east or close, let me know! I am going to make a list of places soon and start approaching them. I figure a signed novel is an interesting and different Christmas present, right? So many books will be bought online and that’s fine but something unique about it being signed by the author. Remember I also have signed copies I can personalise on my website (sadly I do have to include the £3 postage) but I will have it an offer price of £10 with p&p in the run-up to Christmas, so if I am too far to make it to your local bookshop, please do message me or watch my website as I will be able to send a signed one.

Yes these are baby steps, but how else will people know about my book.

And that’s why reviews count so if you have read my novel please do post reviews on blogs and Amazon or Goodreads etc (if you liked it!) and it all helps!

Right. Might be bank holiday for some here in the UK, but for me, business as usual.

Have a great day everyone!

Signing in LlandudnoSigning in WHSmith, Llandudno, Saturday August 23rd 2014

 

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Promo day!

Hi everyone, sorry to do the old promo thing but my novel was selected for a gold star promotion on Amazon Kindle in the UK which means for today only it’s back to 99p on Kindle!

So if you don’t have it or if you do but can help promote it please do share this page!

Part of being an author also means doing this hence there will be lots of tweets and Facebook posts today (sorry). I do get a bit fed up when all anyone tweets are buy my book, but this is usually more something I do when there’s a promotion — and that is today!

Please share far and wide! Thank you so much!

Off to Essex later so no post now until next week. On Monday I see Barry Manilow at the O2 and I might never come back!

But at least I have a legacy … this book! Wonder if Barry would like a copy?

 

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Blog Post 600! Unique Extract and Giveaway for US followers!

US book reviewers, bloggers, book clubs! Giveaway if you reply to this blog!

While No One Was Watching is a novel about Eleanor Boone — a little girl who goes missing from the grassy knoll at the exact moment Kennedy is assassinated and is still missing 50 years on — so what did she see? It’s a story of love, loss and what what happens when you turn your back for a second. But it’s a lot more than that. Find out more on the publisher’s website:  LINK  Narrated by a local reporter, Dad, divorcee Gary Blanchet and a charismatic African- American retired police psychic Lydia Collins (yes I am British but I wrote an American novel!) it has many more layers, but everything comes together when looking for Eleanor Boone …

US Giveaway!

US Giveaway!

 

And this is Blog post 600! So time for something special!

I aim for 5 posts a week, the odd day off here and there and when I was in LA. I started blogging to talk about all things writing which I do, my critiquing, editing, publishing — and some! I also invite other writers to talk about their books. Sometimes we get into the nuts and bolts of narrative style  and sometimes I just talk about books and what inspires us, etc.

Anyway on this lovely Spring morning in Snowdonia I decided I was going to see if we can get some more interest in my novel in the US. The official release date should’ve been April 1st but now it seems like it will be by June 1st. Because it’s a UK publisher they rely on their US distributor and since this is an American novel with the Kennedy angle, I would really like to find a way to get it noticed out there! Hard I know!

As you know I did have a launch party in LA and the reaction from my US friends has been great. SO … while I think of ways to get the word out there, I am planning to give away up to 5 signed copies of the book at my own expense to US followers/bloggers/reviewers happy to review it for me and help me spread the word, mention it to their libraries, write a blog review — that’s if you like it of course! But I’m hoping you will. It’s a chance I’ll take.

So what do you have to do? Well reply to this and let me know if you’re happy to help and where you live in the US and I will pick! Might have to pick them out of a hat to be fair but we’ll see! You don’t have to be a follower of the blog but I do ask for this givevway that you are in the US and have a blog or are in a book club, or will post a review! So please share far and wide I’ll pick some at the end of next week, so a week’s time! MAY 2nd will choose so comment by midnight (UK time) on May 1st!

So to whet the appetite for those who have not read the book I am including a unique extract below!

This comes at the end of Chapter 3 when Gary a reporter for a local paper is called to a park  where a little girl is reported missing. Thankfully she’s already been found when he gets there, by an old woman …

I watched from the path until the small group had thinned right
out and then I could see one of the cops holding onto the arm
of the old lady. The other was talking to the girl. I took a step
closer to hear what they were saying.
“She was nice,” the girl said. She was thin, blue jeans, pink t-shirt,
a rain jacket draped over her arm.
“She bought you ice cream?” the cop said.
“She’s just a nice old lady.”
“I won’t press charges,” I heard the mom say. “Katie got lost,
the old lady found her. No harm done.”
So then I wondered if it was worth talking to them at all when
I looked down and realised the little old lady was wearing
slippers. Then one of the cops started talking into his radio.
That’s when I realised who she was. I laughed, thought about
Al. The old folks’ home was a few blocks east of Memorial
Park. As I watched the old lady, standing there in her slippers,
all bent over, I thought maybe I did have a story after all.
Missing Girl found by Missing Woman: All’s well that ends well.
A nice story for somewhere on page three or somethin’.

I recognised the cop holding the old lady’s arm. He looked in
my direction and nodded. I was about to say something about
a photograph and some names when the old lady reached out
her arms to the little girl. “Eleanor,” she said. “My Eleanor.”
The mom stepped closer to her child. “No this is Katie,” she
said wrapping her arms around her, as if claiming her possession.
“We had ice cream,” the girl said trying to pull away from
her mom’s grip.
Then the old lady stood statue still and I realised she was not
only wearing slippers but what at first I thought was a coat was
in fact a long blue dressing gown with chocolate ice cream
dripped on the front.
“Come along Edith,” the cop said. “Let’s get you home. I
think you’ve had enough excitement for one day.”
“Eleanor,” the old lady said again. There was something
about her expression; something I knew would haunt me later.
Maybe the emptiness in her eyes and the way she lifted her
hands out towards the girl.
“Please,” she said “I’ve been waiting for you to come home,
Eleanor.”
“Edith, this ain’t Eleanor,” the cop said, trying to shuffle the
old lady away and looking in the direction of the other cop.
“This little girl is Katie Brown and this is her mom. I’m guessing
your little girl will be all grown up now?”
The old lady lowered her head, looked down at her slippers.
The cop started to walk with her and I stepped back, caught the
expression on the mom’s face and took the moment to talk to
her. “Grapevine Star,” I said. “A photo and a quote for the
newspaper?”
But she turned away.
That’s when the old lady spoke again. “It was the day the
President was shot,” she said and of course we all turned back
to look at her when she said that.
“Eleanor went missing the day Mr Kennedy was shot.”
I saw the horror in the mom’s eyes; she was staring right at
me and then at the cop, the whole time pulling her daughter
closer to her. “Kids do that,” she said. “Wander off.” She
looked at Katie when she said that. “But you found her, right?”
The old lady said nothing, then the cop said. “That was a
long time ago. Let’s get you home, Edith.”
“Please,” she said, “Find Eleanor.”
I stepped closer.
“Come on Edith,” the cop said reaching for her arm.
That’s when she lifted her head, looked right at me. She tried
to shuffle towards me but the cop held onto her.
“What happened to Eleanor?” I said.
I had no idea if she knew what I was but she stood there for
a second and then she said, “Will you help me? Please dear, will
you help me?”
I saw the young cop roll his eyes and link his arm with hers.
He began to lead her away, whispered something to her,
something about it getting late.
“Edith,” I said and as she turned her eyes met mine, just for
a second but it was long enough. “Did you ever find her?”
In a voice as frail as lace she whispered, “She never came
home.” And then so soft I had to lean in real close to catch it,
she said, “Help me. Help me find my little girl.”

©Debz Hobbs-Wyatt, Parthian Books 2013. Can not be reproduced without permission of the author or publisher.

If you’re new to this blog and want to know more about me here’s my website: www.debzhobbs-wyatt.co.uk 

And you can follow me on Twitter @DebzHobbsWyatt and do come and LIKE my Facebook page!

So do you think you can blog about this book, post a review on some US book sites for me? Please get in touch! Get some discussion going? Would love to send a copy to a book group out there?

Reply to this post and tell me if you want your free copy and where you live in the US!  Tell me if you’re a book reviewer/blogger and I’ll email those I choose for where to send the book!

New cover WNOWWThere are still books in stock in the UK on Amazon! Buy me

And The Book Depository offers free world-wide shipping so if you just want a copy please do! And let me know what you think (hopefully something nice of course!)

Also on Kindle too!

And in case you’ve not seen it — here is the book trailer!

Please share and reblog me!

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Here we go … setting your writing goals

Yay it’s a shiny new year! Don’t spoil it!

I don’t know about you but I love the feel of a new year. I used to see it as a way to start over with new paper, clean diary, new goals but now I see it more as a restoration of the default setting and to make sure I am still on track.

Resolutions are usually broken within a couple of weeks so I prefer to think it terms of setting realistic goals and this can be at any time, but then pushing yourself to achieve. If you see it as a chore you will never succeed. If you  just keep making lists and moving the writing one down further, or pushing deadlines too much, the initial relief you feel will fade and you will still feel like a failure.

I am very driven anyway and I remember spending new year’s with  friend a few years ago and one of the first things I did in the new year was buy a copy of Writers & Artists Yearbook for that year and say — I have to stop getting rejected and I will do what it takes to find me an agent or publisher. At the time I think this was with the infamous Colourblind and I adopted a new approach by being more choosy in the agents I contacted. While I soon learned at the time my writing was not quite there, the agents who did look at it mostly asked to see the rest of it and it was certainly better than my send to all approach as a novice!

When I knew it wasn’t good enough I then set out new goals and took more courses and in my case studied for my MA too. I went back to short stories to learn the craft. I was determined and still am. But an important lesson I learned was that like evolution and indeed ecology, we must adapt to a changing landscape in order to move forward.

At this melancholy time of year we often look back. So look back at some of your earlier writing as this is a wonderful way to see how far you’ve come. We never stop learning.

So here’s some advice for those with manuscripts and the dream  that this will be the year, how much have you worked and reworked that MS? What has the feedback been like? Are you still trying to flog a — no I won’t say it, are you still trying with the same novel you wrote ages ago? There comes a time when you have to move forward with the next one, as I had to do with Colourblind. That isn’t the same as giving up, it’s learning, adapting, taking what you learned from each step and progressing and one day you will come back to that MS with fresh eyes and be able to do it justice. You will see why it was rejected.

I am a lover of lists and I live for the dream, but not just the realisation of it, the ride to get there which is why I say you should celebrate every success along the way, it’s all part of the journey. And we never stop learning.

For me as well as my having to keep telling people about my book (still 99p on Kindle it seems!) and planning the LA trip etc, I am now having to focus on getting the next one submitted and being prepared for rejection because it will come — but let’s hope this is the year I find me an agent.

We need goals, but just don’t set yourself ones that mean flying before you have learned to walk, the oh sod it, let’s just self-publish this anyway approach. You know what I mean, sending it out there when it’s not quite ready. It is a long ride, but if you want it you will get it.

And anyone who missed my Essex twang I was invited onto a Radio Show on New Year’s Eve. Funny as I follow a couple of Essex radio stations on Facebook and that morning it had asked for people to sum up their year in 5 words. I chose: My dream finally came true. And in a short follow-up said why. Apparently it was read out on BBC Radio Essex and I was picked up for the Mike Forrest Show that goes out to 39 local radio stations in the BBC! So that was a great way to end the year. Oh and when you listen, sorry George Clooney! I only meant he is too old to play Gary in the film (since Gary is in this 30s) I’m sure I could find a role for him and no way is he too old, oh George … fine!

Mike Forrest Show 31/12/2013

(about 23 mins in)

Welcome to 2014! 

Come fly with me!

NYE

PS if anyone wants to contribute a piece to CafeLit here is the link: CL

Bridge House are now open for short story submissions: BH

And if you want me to start up Fiction Clinic on the last Friday of the month, I am seeking 500 words that need a little online TLC. |Email them to me

Oh and I have revised my prices on novels and novella work finally on my website but there is still an introductory discount for new clients

Tomorrow I will share a link for a little guest blog post I did!

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Wild n Free: Celebrating Literacy and Raising Awareness

I had the most wonderful day in London on Saturday where I got to meet more than 20 of the children whose FAB stories and drawings made it into Wild n Free Too.

I have photos taken on my camera, Dad’s and my brother’s so will pick the best ones and create an online album for those who fancy a gander (no not talking about geese here!) But there is an animal theme of course!

I will also share some on here!

The Wild n Free project started life when I first met children in schools and started talking to them about the work of Born Free as well as teaching the mechanics of good story writing. This is the second book and I am so proud to see the way the children and their families have responded to it.

From a financial viewpoint I do lose out, although Born Free benefit from a royalty — but it’s not about that and when I get to meet the children as I did and see what it means to them, I know I have to do it again! And we are.

I wish I’d had more time to talk to individual children afterwards but the time just flew, but I am so glad I did meet them and their lovely families.

It’s a pity the local press never seem to want to come along because there is so much bad press about literacy in children and this book proves the talent is there and it needs to be nurtured. Schools do the best they can to teach ‘literacy’ but this is a whole lot more than that and story telling is a refined technique and one that requires the great imaginations children have — so we really do need to tap into that more. This book proves not only that children have amazing talent, but represents a wonderful way to teach children about empathizing with other animals. We have a right to protect them and we need to teach this young.

So I hope people out there will not only tell their own children but also can I ask one thing — print out our poster and take a copy to a local school, church, Brownies meeting, library and help me spread the word! Please.

Here is a link to the poster and the current competition is open until January 31st! POSTER

Also do look at getting the book for Christmas: Amazon here and we have a Kindle version! WILD N FREE TOO

Thanks so much for your support!

I will be posting photos here too and on the dedicated Wild n Free Blog that has been a little neglected of late so we also need to start publishing the other stories and drawings that did not get into the book but deserve to be read!

The venue was Millbank Primary School near Pimlico and very well attended. I was delighted to see so many there!

We started with refreshments kindly organised by my lovely mum while my dad and brother sold raffle tickets and books and helped children find their badges and sign a few things for me! I was flitting around!

I was also so thrilled that the amazingly talented multi-award winning children’s writer Gill Lewis and the other multi-talented Dr Who writer and YA novelist Daniel Blythe — two of our main judges, made it along and spoke to the children.  Also thrilled that Anne, the Marketing Director at the Born Free Foundation, managed to find tie as I know she really had other commitments, to come along with lots of goodies for the children and told the about the valuable work of the Born Free Foundation — which is really what this project is about. Thanks Anne!

And of course the real stars of the show are the children themselves who came to the front, one by one, for their moment in the spotlight, that I know would have been a bit daunting for some, but EVERY single one of them did really well!  Made me so proud! Thank you.

I appreciate some of the quiet voices were hard to hear at the back and another time I will try to get a microphone, but I tried to avoid as this can be more frightening for the children.

I so so wish we’d had more time for signing and photos but I think, from what people said, they all had a good time and appreciated what being in this book does for the  confidence of a child. Thank you. That makes me know how worthwhile the project is and why I want to keep it going.

We raffled a few things I bought for the event and made £26 for Born Free which isn’t bad for a small raffle.

I also asked all the children to sign a card for Virginia McKenna that I will be posting off today as well as Darragh’s copy of the book as a runner-up that is now being posted off to Canada!

So more photos to follow but I will leave you with one that shows us all!

Some of the talented children from Wild n Free Too! Millbank Primary School, London, Saturday December 14th 2013

Some of the talented children (and me!) from Wild n Free Too! Millbank Primary School, London, Saturday December 14th 2013

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In The Spotlight :New Spotlight on Crime Series Stephen Puleston

Please welcome to the spotlight in the first in a new series showcasing some crime writers Steven Puleston. Steven is a member of the novel critique group I am part of and also co-edited the Bridge House Crime after Crime book. He has just released his first two novels to Kindle — so big warm welcome …

Have you always wanted to be a published writer? Tell us something about your path to having your first book/story published.

I have been writing for a number of years. Initially I didn’t concentrate on crime fiction having written three un-published novels previously. As I have a background in the law I decided to take advantage of my training and experience to write crime fiction.

Do you have an agent? If not did you try to get one? Any advice about that?

I don’t have an agent as I took the decision a year or so go to self publish using the various E digital publishing platforms. In 2010 I was signed by an agent who was very enthusiastic about my work. I spent six months rewriting my first novel Brass In Pocket with his editor but he subsequently decided that he didn’t want to pursue trying to sell the novel. In today’s market, with publishers not taking submissions other than through literary agents, they have become very powerful in the industry. If you’re thinking of submitting to an agent always follow their submission requirements to the letter and have your submission properly proofread beforehand.

Do or did you ever belong to a writing group? Crit group? Did you ever have someone professionally critique your work before first submitting? Or do you have friends or anyone else who sees it before you send it off? 
Belonging to a writing group can be very helpful for a writer as we can all draw inspiration and help from others with the same interests. A crit group is even more helpful, especially one with members that offer constructive and helpful criticism. I always have my work professionally edited and proofread as well as it being subjected to critiquing from colleagues and friends.

Can you tell us something about working with an editor? How important is that to you now – is there a lot of discussion and does the editor make a real difference to your work?

A good editor can make an enormous difference to every piece of work. An editor forces the author to think about every word, every sentence and every paragraph. It makes the author realise that no matter how precious we may be about our work the important thing is writing well.

How much marketing have you had to do? How comfortable are you with self-promotion?

Having a background in business makes me more aware of how important marketing has become particularly for self published authors. Although I’m comfortable with marketing it is one of the things that takes me away from my writing

Tell us about the latest published books …

Brass in Pocket
It is the middle of the night …The road is deserted …A killer is waiting …
Two traffic officers are killed on an isolated mountain pass in North Wales. Inspector Drake is called to the scene and quickly discovers a message left by the killer – traffic cones in the shape of a No 4.
The killer starts sending the Wales Police Service lyrics from famous rock songs. Are they messages or is there some hidden meaning in them?
Does it all mean more killings are likely? When a politician is killed Drake has his answer. And then the killer sends more song lyrics. Now Drake has to face the possibility of more deaths but with numbers dominating the case Drake has to face his own rituals and obsessions.
Finally when the killer threatens Drake and his family he faces his greatest challenge in finding the killer before he strikes again.

More here: LINK

Speechless
The body of a young Pole working in Cardiff is pulled from the River Taff. His tongue has been amputated in some sort of ritual.
More murders in the Polish community take Inspector John Marco and his team into the East European immigrant community and the murky world of people trafficking.
But what is it that links all the deaths together?
When the evidence points to one of the city’s criminal and the involvement of a gangster from Poland Marco faces the challenge of gathering evidence from a close knit and secretive community.
And why do the Polish Secret Service seem to be interested?
When Marco finds himself entangled emotionally its impossible for him to think clearly. In search of an answer Marco travels to Poland only to find himself implicated in a murder and hoping he can avoid another.
Racing back to Cardiff he hopes he has enough to unravel the case and arrest the perpetrators.

How did the idea for the book come about?
Brass in Pocket — Driving over the Crimea pass near Blaenau Ffestiniog where the first two murders take place.

Any advice for writers who are trying to get their work published?

The publishing world is changing so dramatically now with self published authors becoming commonplace but the important thing is to write well. Go on a course, join a writing group have your work critiqued, accept criticism and keep writing.

If you could go out for a meal with any author (from any time) who would it be and why?

Raymond Chandler, because he’s probably one of the great crime novelists of all time. Although he only wrote a handful of books they all stand the test of time. I probably reread The Big Sleep every year wondering just how he managed it.

The first three chapters of the two currently published books are available on my website www.stephenpuleston.co.uk

Thank you Stephen for your great interview. If anyone else has written a crime novel and would like to be part of this series then please do get in touch …

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