All Authors Blog Blitz!!

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So excited because I am hosting my first All Authors Blog Blitz!!!

I am very pleased to be hosting the versatile and talented Karen Einsel who has a fascinating insight to the relationship between authors and athletes.I know what you’re thinking:

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What? How? I sit and type, and sometimes get up to make myself a cup of tea or coffee. I’m no athlete.”

 

 

 

But Karen has made an interesting connection that just might change your mind. Take it away Karen!

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Authors and Athletes

I’m a tennis fan, and if you’re not, that’s okay. No matter which sport you are a fan of or who your favorite player is, you have to admire their tenacity. Their willingness to go the extra mile. To give it their all, win or lose.They didn’t get to where they are by how many tweets they tweeted, nor by updating their facebook status. No, it took studying their craft, practicing, and a lot of hard work. They play through pain and adversity. When others say they can’t, they believe they can.

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Authors can learn a lot from athletes and believe it or not, we have a lot in common. For one; Not everyone will like us, or like what we do, or even how we do it. And that’s okay. We need to realize that we are all unique. Each of us have our own strengths and weaknesses, but it’s what we do with them that sets us apart. We both have hopes and dreams. We set goals and work towards achieving them. Sometimes we fall short, but we struggle on.

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And last, but not least, we both have support groups. We might have the raw natural talent, but we need the people who rally around us. Who help us along the way. Family and friends make up a big part, but athletes also rely on trainers, nutritionists, and coaches, where writers have beta readers, editors, and proofreaders. But the bottom line is, it’s up to us if we want to succeed or not. Do we swing and take a chance on striking out? If we strike out, do we just give up? Or do we go back out there and try again? So the next time you throw your hands in the air and shout, “I give up!” Stop and think, “What would your favorite athlete do?”

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Thank you Karen for an interesting insight into the challenges that face both authors and athletes.

And to continue the BLOG BLITZ – you can check out my post – CREATIVE USE OF LANGUAGE IN NOVELS –  on Karen’s blog here:

 

You can find and follow Karen:

Here on Facebook

Here on Twitter

And her Blog – Karen’s Different Corners: HERE!

 

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Editing Your Work

Ah, that word so evocative of heartache and worry – EDITING!

I am currently editing the second book in a series, and it is hard. I keep putting it off and doing other things.

Making soup, taking photographs of random insects, writing Sestinas, and cutting my own hair. Anything except editing my work.

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I asked myself why, and replied, ‘Because it is hard work and because it feels like I am slicing bits of my own flesh off each time I cut a sentence or paragraph.’

But deep down I know it is necessary to prune and hone my narrative to make it the best it can be. So I got together a list of what to look for when I edit.

If I have missed anything out, please do let me know!

Editing – Some things to look out for and check:

Over long sentences that would be more dramatic or effective if they were more concise. (Did you see what I did there?)

Choose the right/appropriate word.

Get rid of unnecessary repetition of words and or ideas.

Use appropriate similes to enrich the narrative. Get rid of inappropriate or redundant similes.

Typos. Grammatical errors. Punctuation.

Tighten the language. Depending on what genre you are writing in, make sure your sentence length reflects the mood and pace of the narrative.

Are your characters believable?

Is your dialogue naturalistic?

Do you tell too much?

Does your story have a strong beginning?

Is the storyline/plot believable?

Is the ending satisfactory? Does it make sense with the rest of the story?

Does your story get stodgy around the middle?

Do incidental characters add anything to the plot? If not, erase them.

Is the setting described well enough?

Is the point of view consistent?

Are there scenes that can be cut?

Now creeps ever forward the editing bug. Image

Self-publishing – Help!

I have decided to self-publish some of my short stories. I’ve never self-published before, so am somewhat apprehensive about doing it. I made the decision after being published by a small independent company. I realised that I am doing the bulk of all the marketing and publicity, so I thought I’d try to publish on my own.  My book is selling very slowly, but I’m a debut author so it’s to be expected.

Any advice from self-published authors out there, would be very welcome. I plan to release an ebook first, and see how it goes before stepping into the paperback minefield!!

Any way, I have posted an excerpt from a new short story that I might include in the anthology. If anyone would be kind enough to give feedback, I would be very grateful. If you would like to read the entire story, go to Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/29186761-the-grooves-that-her-feet-made

The Grooves That Her Feet made

They were her mother’s shoes. Black stilettos with a tapering toe that ended in a sharp point. To Maggie, they looked more like a weapon than footwear. She recalled the day her father brought them home. He smelled of lager and cigarettes and she’d moved her head away from his damp kiss. Mr Harris laughed, ruffled his daughter’s hair, turned to his wife and grabbed her by the arm. ‘Put on your best dress Suzie. You’re going to go out to dinner with the new, “Overseas Manager of Distribution”. And don’t worry about what shoes to wear, I got you these,’ he said and handed over the shoes. ‘I’ve asked Carol Pickton from next door to look after Maggie.’

Maggie was nine years old and couldn’t understand why she had to stay at home. She clenched her fists and howled. Her mother wiped away her daughter’s tantrum tears and promised a family trip to the zoo.

It didn’t happen.

Mr Harris went to work in America for a six-month trial period, and never came back. The shoes were wrapped in tissue paper, put in a box and pushed to the back of the storage closet under the stairs. ‘Don’t touch them, do you hear me? They stay in there forever.’ Maggie gulped at her mother’s words, nodded her head and thought of nothing else. Every time she walked past the cupboard, she felt the urge to put them on.

When she was thirteen, Maggie crept downstairs, opened the closet, took out the shoes and pushed her feet into them. A hand gripped her shoulder and a voice full of hate raged into her ear. ‘Take them off. Right now. As long as I’m alive, those things are out of bounds.’

And so they were. Maggie grew up, got married, left home, got divorced, moved back, tended her dying mother, and never once touched ‘Those things.’ She didn’t even wear them to the funeral, out of respect to her dead mother’s wishes. But as soon as the service was over, and the stragglers gone, Maggie went to the cupboard and took out the forbidden footwear.

She opened the box, peeled away the tissue paper and dusted off the stilettos. She held them up against the hallway window and watched as the light caught the polished leather. The shoes gleamed like a black panther basking in the African sun and Maggie let out a sigh. She placed the stilettos before her twitching feet and raised her right foot, ready to slip them on. But she couldn’t. Her mother’s words repeated inside her head and Maggie jumped back as though the things were about to strike.

Maggie stared at the shoes for a moment, waiting for them to move. When they didn’t, she wrapped them up again, put them in the box and shoved them to the back of the hall cupboard.

Time went slowly for Maggie and each day alone left her tired and irritable. A hole inside her chest grew and she yearned for male companionship.

Months were dedicated to on-line dating agencies all promising to find the right man and all failing to do so. At one of her lowest moments she even went out with Mathew Pickton. It lasted a couple of months before fizzling out. They’d grown up together and she considered him, ‘More of a brother than a potential mate. You understand, don’t you Mathew?’

Mathew didn’t answer. He glugged back the glass of wine, threw forty pounds onto the table and walked out of the restaurant. The next day, Maggie posted a note through his door that said, ‘No hard feelings? Still friends?’ She received a bunch of white roses in way of a response.

Maggie came across Daniel, quite by chance, on a chat room for fans of all things leather. They exchanged emails for three months before she plucked up the courage to suggest they meet. The day arrived and Maggie knew that it was time for the stilettos to be brought out of hibernation.

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