Tag Archives: writing

News, an announcement and a first look for email subscribers

I have been awfully quiet of late.  That is because I have been a little sick over the last month or so.  So much so that I was admitted into hospital on my birthday with an annoying case of cellulitis and was there for a week.  I have now just started to get my energy back and wanting to return to writing and get my production schedule back on track.

And David B contacted me the other day (Hi David!) and asked a very pertinent question, which I will answer below…

Announcement Time!

Now I have some news that I need to share with all of you.

Azure Fire Publishing, a 501(c)(3) Literary Nonprofit publisher, devoted to promoting Youth Friendly Fantasy and Science Fiction to all ages

I have been offered a writing contract with Azure Fire Publishing and I have decided to accept it.  All of my Fantasy/Sci-Fi books will slowly start the transition over to be published by them.  My Weird Western (John McCall Mysteries) and Urban Fantasy series (The Order and Ravensdale) will stay with me.

What will this mean for my back catalogue and future Fantasy/Sci-Fi publications? Well, I will get more exposure as a published author with paperback books going into bookshops and also audio books (something I’ve wanted to do for a while but just haven’t had the funds). The publishing company will give my books a nice professional edit. And as well as getting a bit of polishing inside, you will continue to see the same gorgeous covers that were designed for me by Deranged Doctor Designs.

This also means that The Way to Freedom Book 6 – The Searchers, will not be released until Azure Fire have released the previous 5 books Plus Book 1.1.  To make up for this wait, I am going to release the raw chapters every couple of weeks via this email list for you all to read.

What will this mean for readers? My work will be able to reach more individuals in more places while offering a higher quality read and you will get a better end product.

Current deals and Things to Look Out For!

Take a look at:

  • Daughters of Destiny is a 10 author Scifi/Fantasy boxed set that I’m a part of, and is available now on all retailers.  It features the first book in my Verge Series – The Enclave.  It is only going to be out for a limited time, so get a good bargain with all these authors while you can.  Tell your friends 🙂
  • The Tower’s Alchemist – Book 1 of the Gray Tower Trilogy is now out for Free for a limited time – Magic and mayhem during World War 2.  And as an added bonus, Book 2 is out for 99 cents!
  • The Way to Freedom Season One Episodes are now Available on Kindle Unlimited – if you are a KU subscriber and have read The Kalarthri, take a look, you won’t regret it.
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About new books, news, specials and the next Freedom book

News

Spring is going strong here in Ohio, with at least one large thunderstorm running through each week.  This then has everyone on edge about twisters… But weird weather is a thing here in Ohio – very much like living in Victoria, Australia.  You can go through all four seasons in one day. 🙂

What am I working on now? Well, book 6 and 7 of the Way to Freedom series now have covers and are due to be released soon.  I’ll give you a sneak peak at the cover for The Searchers, which is Book 6.

While that is underway, I’ve started re-writing my urban fantasy novel Winter’s Magic.  This will be re-released at about the same time as The Searchers and will be the first in an urban fantasy series called The Order set in Australia.  I will also be working on a partner series based in the same ‘universe’ but set here in Ohio called Ravensdale.

Oh, and Citizen Erased will be out soon as well, I’ll show off the cover for that next time 🙂

Here is the long awaited cover for The Searchers – Book 6 of The Way to Freedom Series.

 

Current deals and Things to Look Out For!

Take a look at:

  • Daughters of Destiny is a 10 author Scifi/Fantasy boxed set that I’m a part of, and is available now on all retailers.  It features the first book in my Verge Series – The Enclave.  It is only going to be out for a limited time, so get a good bargain with all these authors while you can.  Tell your friends 🙂
  • Lady Blackwing is a new Superhero novella from Devorah Fox which is now avalaible for preorder for 0.99c
  • The Way to Freedom Season One Episodes are now Available on Kindle Unlimited – if you are a KU subscriber and have read The Kalarthri, take a look, you won’t regret it.

Snoopy the Writer

If Snoopy can do it, then anybody can 🙂

peanuts-3-hr

This is just to remind people that there is a story in every one of us. You just have to make the time to write it out.

And also remember – even Snoopy didn’t like his critics 🙂

Watch the video below to get inspired!

News from the Empire

LanternAn Official Missive
By Justicar Videan Tsarland
 

Trouble is brewing along our northern borders.  Arranian forces are massing around the passes on their side of the Bhaglier Mountains.  This can only mean one thing.

That they are gathering with their Ice Tiger allies and are going to make an unprovoked attack on the Great Suene Empire.

Five Regiments and two flights have decamped from Darkon and are now readying themselves at Fort Foxtern.  Morale among the troops are high and they are looking forward to the expected battle with Arran.

The Emperor and Prince Garrick are also mobilizing the troops at Herod to give support if needed to the troops at Fort Foxtern.

Have no fear noble citizens

The Emperor protects his people

LONG LIVE THE EMPEROR.

The Way to Freedom: Season Two – Book 6
Coming soon………

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3 Things Agatha Christie Can Teach You About Writing

Agatha Christie

I will openly admit that I have been reading a horrendous amount of Agatha Christie of late (my own favorites being Evil under the Sun and Death on the Nile), and felt inspired to write a brief post about her career and what can be learned from it.

Agatha Christie was a master at her craft.  No one can deny it.  After all, she basically invented her style of close-house mysteries.  Her stories have generated several world renowned and much loved literary figures such as the immaculate Hercule Poirot and the indomitable Miss Marple.

Her output was predominately Mystery/Crime fiction, but she did release six romance books under a pen name – even she grew a little tired of her genre- as her name became more synonymous with crime.  I had better add successful playwright as well, I cannot forget The Mousetrap – the longest running play in the modern era.  It has not closed since it initially opened in 1952.

She had a writing career spanning more than fifty five years and never during that time did she ‘fall out of fashion’ with her readers.

What Agatha Christie can teach authors

Fellow writers can learn a lot from people like Agatha Christie, and I am going to give three of my ‘take aways’ from her for a successful writing career below.

  • Hating your Creation – It was no secret that Agatha Christie did not like her most famous character – Hercule Poirot – I think her words to describe him were “Insufferable” and “Egocentric creep”.  But she kept writing him because her fans loved him, and she did not let her writing or storylines suffer because of it.  She saw herself as an entertainer first, whose job was to produce what her reading public wanted – and they wanted more Poirot.  Write to Entertain.
  • Recycling plotlines – Agatha Christie did create the close house, all suspects (still alive) together at the reveal Crime/Mystery Genre.  Basically, a murder is committed, there are multiple suspects who are all concealing secrets, and the detective gradually uncovers these secrets over the course of the story, discovering the most shocking twists towards the end. At the end, in a Christie hallmark, the detective usually gathers the surviving suspects into one room, explains the course of their deductive reasoning, and reveals the guilty party.  Whether you are reading Poirot, Marple or Tommy and Tuppence, the general plotline above is used.  But this plotline is a very stable, well functioning framework, which, when dressed with a well woven, tightly scripted storyline makes for a good and entertaining read.  Write on a well founded Framework.
  • Characters – What made Agatha Christie’s stories stand out were her characters.  Agatha would take the characteristics and mannerisms from the people she saw around her (mainly from what she observed from strangers), and give them to characters in her books.  It made her characters more ‘real’ and would give the reader something that they can relate to.  Write your characters as real people.

Agatha Christie was a very successful and well loved writer.  She has over 70 books in print and even though she died in 1976, they are still selling well which is a testament to her skill as a writer and her storytelling.

NB: This article was originally published on Bookmarketingtools.com

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The Writer’s Bookshelf: 3 books every writer should own (and READ!)

I have read a LOT of books over the last few years about writing and marketing for authors. And no matter if you are self published or traditionally published, as an author, you need to know about both.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what books every writer should have on their bookshelves (and have READ them), if they want to make a career out of their writing. So I am about to give you my three recommendations.

onwriting1) On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

This was published in 2000 and has since become one of the most recommended ‘must reads’ to every writer. And for good reason.

The book is basically a small memoir focusing on King’s ‘writing/career’ experiences and a mini guide book for those who want to be writers. The career memoir is fascinating and the tips he gives in his writing guide are basically what you will hear or read anywhere else. But he tells you what works for him and ways you can make it ‘work for you’.

— Get “On Writing” or read more reviews of it here.

He does give you the ‘rules’ – follow the Chicago Manual of Style, grammar rules and cut back on passive voice – but then gives you leave to break them if it will help push the story along. King’s main message in this book is that the Story is King and that the writer should never put themselves above writing the story the way it wants to be written.

If the plot draws the reader along by being unconventional and breaking every writing rule in the book, then go with it. If the plot wants to be fast paced and action driven, then go with it. If the plot becomes mired in pages of description and then collapses in a prose stumbling heap, then cut it out and go back and redo it.

If you are willing to put in the work by reading a lot and creating routines to write a lot, then you are on your way to being a consistent and successful writer.

And that leads us onto my next book.

cover-write-publish-repeat-final2) Write. Publish. Repeat. The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self Publishing Success by Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant with David Wright.

This is the book for writers to read if they want to make a living off of their writing. The authors host a Podcast called the Self Publishing Podcast where they and other indie authors talk about their experiences with writing, publishing and the marketing strategies that need to make it all run. This book is an offshoot of this show.

The title itself tells you the basics of what you need to be able to get on the road to making a career of writing.

The steps you need are:

1) Write the work,

2) Publish it,

3) Go to Step 1

— Get “Write. Publish. Repeat” or read more reviews of it here.

There is a lot more to the book than just this. They go in depth into how this works for them and other successful writers and how you can get this working for yourself. They go into marketing strategies, writing routines and creating product funnels. They talk about websites, blogs, email lists, and at all points in the book they give constant warning that this will take a lot of hard work and persistence.

And now onto my final suggestion.

1st 1000 copies3) Your First 1000 Copies – The Step by Step Guide to Marketing your Book by Tim Grahl

This is the book you need to read if you want to build up your author brand, your author platform and your fan base. Not only does Tim detail what needs to be on your author website, he tells you about delivering value, content and how to create that all important email list.

— Get “Your First 1000 Copies” or read more reviews of it here.

His motto is to be ‘Relentlessly Helpful’ and Tim Grahl does that himself in spades. Tim Grahl is a professional book marketer and has helped many successful authors build and keep their fan base (Dan Pink, Hugh Howey, Michael Bunker etc). And the email list is key to making this happen. He gives you a system to build your platform and create content, get outreach and then gain permission by having people want to be on your email list. And remember that your email list is your number one marketing tool. Every writer should be focusing on building one. Anyone who has followed Tim Grahl for a while will know that is his number one recommendation to any budding career builders. And email list is a direct link to your fans and you should never give that up.

So there are the three books that I would recommend to any budding, career minded writers. Those are the three that I have gotten the most out of and have enjoyed reading. If you disagree with my choice or want to recommend any other books, please tell me in the comments below.

NB: This article was originally published on Bookmarketingtools.com

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A Big Thank You – And I need your Help

classic-library-book-free-desktop-wallpaper-3840x2400

Thank you for reading!

I am very glad that you have enjoyed my books.  (I have to tell you that my favourite is still The Kalarthri. ) Many readers have been asking me three things.

  • When is Season Two coming out for The Way to Freedom?
  • Will there be any stories of Kalena growing up as a Hatar Kalar?
  • When is part three to Winter’s Magic coming out?

And here I will answer these J

  • Season Two for The Way to Freedom, is now planned to start being released this September (That’s the plan anyway.)
  • Yes, there will be more stories of Kalena and Adhamh’s adventures growing up at Darkon.
  • Act three of Winter’s Magic will be released in the next month or so.

As an author, I love feedback.  And since most of my mail has been about The Way to Freedom Series, I will be focusing more on writing more stories based in this world and with these characters.   Please feel free to tell me what you liked, what you loved, even what you hated.  I’d love to hear from you.  It is this feedback that tells me what to focus my time on.  Leave me a message here.

Finally, I need to ask a favour.  If you’re so inclined, I’d love it if you would leave a review for any of my books on Amazon.  Love them, or hate them – I’d just enjoy your feedback.

As you may have realised, real reviews can be tough to come by these days.  You, the reader have the power to make or break a book.  If you have time, here is a link to my author page on Amazon.  You can find and leave a review for all of my books here.

I just want to thank you all so much for reading my work and for sharing your time with me.

Peace, love and cheesecake

H.M. Clarke

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Why Chocolate Is Good For You AND Your Writing

This article was originally published on Bookmarketingtools.com

Books and chocolate

No really, chocolate is good for you. Dark chocolate can even help you lose weight!

But as with all good things, for the above to be true, chocolate should be eaten in small quantities. That means those small quantities had better be good.

The same can be said about writing.

A lot of excess words can help bulk out word count and make you feel good about your output. But it can also make your manuscript overweight, unwieldy and a hard slog for readers to get through.

“In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.”-Stephen King, On Writing

Scenes, paragraphs, and sentences should be pared down and always be working to move the story forward in a flowing, logical manner. A good way for testing this with a piece of writing is to read it aloud. If it flows well while speaking it, then it should flow well while reading it.

I am not going to say that I am the perfect writer that does everything correctly, and never use too many words to get my point across. In fact I am the opposite (as can be seen from this post). I love words and like to use as many of them as possible wherever I can. But as with eating too much chocolate, I know that in the long run too many words will be a bad thing for the story (and this article).

“Good description is a learned skill, one of the prime reasons why you cannot succeed unless you read a lot and write a lot. It’s not just a question of how to, you see; it’s also a question of how much to. Reading will help you answer how much, and only reams of writing will help you with the how. You can learn only by doing.”-Stephen King, On Writing

Now, I am not going to tell you how to write like this, just as I am not going to tell you what chocolate to eat. That is up to each individual to decide. Everyone has their particular brand of chocolate, and everyone has their own particular writing style.

Ultimately it is up to you to decide what stays, what goes, and what chocolate to eat.

Happy chocolate munching!

-H.M. Clarke

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The Hardest Part Of Writing Is… Writing.

 

This article was originally published on Bookmarketingtools.com

Steve Coogan in Hamlet 2
Steve Coognan in “Hamlet 2”

I absolutely, positively, hate writing the last page and paragraph of a manuscript.

For me, ending a story is the hardest thing for me to do.

For others, just sitting down to put pen to paper and actually write is the hardest thing. Either from telling themselves that they just don’t have the time or from a fear of what others will think and say about their efforts.

Now I will admit that I did suffer from the second reason. But through age and sheer Australian ‘pig headedness’, I am now no longer scared about bad opinions of my work. If it is constructive criticism, I can use it to improve my writing. And if it is just meanness for meanness sake? I just put it aside and let the bad karma fairy sort them out later.

The main thing is, if you want to write, then write. It doesn’t matter if it is a recipe, biography, journaling your repressed feelings about the kid who picked on you at school, or writing the epic story that has been sitting inside your head for years. The thing that matters most is that you are WRITING. Every time you put anything down on paper (or on a keyboard or your phone), is taking you that one step closer to completing whatever writing goal you had set out to do.

Also, making a point to write something every day will help to form the ‘habit’ of writing. Just like making yourself jog everyday gets you into the ‘habit’ of exercising.

Even if you can only snatch ten minutes in a day to write, that will get you ten minutes closer to finishing your project than you would have been the day before.

Then after all of this writing, you get to the ‘Tale End’ of the story. The Finishing! I find this the hardest part of writing for the following reason.

You’ve just finished writing the epic scene where all your important story threads for the book get tied up nicely in a neat packaged, exciting finale… Then you have to write the section where you see how this dramatic scene has affected your characters in a neat and tidy wrap up.

Every time I write one it feels like a bit of a letdown. But it is needed to give your readers a chance to come down from your exciting finale and to see what ‘settled’ life is like for your characters.

So, all of my above ramblings now begs the question.

Writers, what part of writing is the hardest for you?

Share your thoughts with me in the Comments. I would love to know what people think.

-H.M. Clarke

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The Procrastinators Guide to Story Avoidance

This article was originally published on BookDaily.com

procrastination-1

Nice catchy title, and oh so true in my case. (Case in point – me writing this blog post is a good example – I should be finishing The Station).

I also have a horrible habit of going off topic, (yet another symptom of procrastination), so I’ll try my hardest not to do this too much.

Let’s get straight to the point here. Writers generally drop into procrastination mode when either of the following conditions occurs:

1) Coming up to the point in their story where there is a difficult scene to plot out and write.
2) Characters write themselves into a situation that the author does not know how to get them out of
3) Your Manuscript is in the editing stages of the second and third drafts (and everyone definitely wants to avoid that)
4) Any other situation that a writer can find themselves in that makes doing the dishes right at that very moment a high priority task.

Now, this blog post is supposed to be about story avoidance. That means, whenever any of the above conditions occur, you must immediately go and find something as far away from the object of avoidance as possible.

Avoidance strategies can be either very simple or extremely extravagant. Strategies that I use regularly are:

1) House cleaning – it does help getting your mind off the hurdles in your writing and then gives you time to look at things from a fresh perspective and can actually be helpful in the long run.
2) Baking – This does the same thing as house cleaning except you get cakes, biscuits and cookies at the end of it.
3) Research – This can be anything ranging from historical to scientific or basically fact finding in general. This again can be helpful in both finding plots and ideas for future stories, or for finding examples that can get you out of your writing quandary.
4) Taking the family on a day trip – This also does the same thing as house cleaning, except that you also get exposure to daylight and spend quality time with your family.
5) Television – Um, television really is the procrastinators’ friend. I never get anything useful done when the TV is on. Unless I’m watching something in connection with point 3.
6) Internet – Same point as Television. It is an incredible tool for procrastination. But it can also help overcome your issues by going to relevant blogs, websites, and friendly communities that might help you by discussing issues or reviewing the piece of work or idea that is troubling you. There are many of these writing communities around; it’s just a matter of finding one that suits you and your genre. Also be aware when trying to find a writing community that there is a difference between constructive criticism and being downright mean.

I could make this list a lot larger, but I think I have procrastinated long enough. I hope that I have given some good tips to successful procrastination methods and I would love to hear what works well for you and what doesn’t.

Happy Procrastinating

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