Posts Tagged ‘ fiction ’

2016’s Writing Progress

Novels
2016 went quickly and slowly at the same time as I slugged through the editing and rewrites for my fantasy book, While I Slept. By the end of December 2016 I had finished the rewrite based on feedback from beta readers in the summer.

The book is now with a fresh group of beta readers for round two. I’m hoping the changes will be less severe this time around so I can get on with production. I’d really like to get this book out there soon since I’ve been talking about it for years – literally. I don’t want my novel production schedule to turn into a George R R Martin scale of a problem.

On the plus side, I’ve learned a lot about character arcs and story structure during the rewriting process. I feel better prepared to face another novel and the things I’ve learned should help me finish the first draft of the second book with fewer errors. Fingers crossed!

Short Stories
In terms of short stories, this year has gone well. I was invited to submit to two collections edited by Matty-Bob Cash. Both were horror themed.

The first horror collection Death By Chocolate was out in March by KnightWatch Press and centres on the theme of chocolate. Who knows – if you have a weak stomach, it might help you make it through the joys of detox January!

Death By Chocolate Book Cover

If you’re interested, check it out:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2gqhim2
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2hn7Ty0

The second horror collection 12Days Anthology was out in December from Burdizzo Books and all its proceeds go to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. It can also be said to have a loose chocolate theme as the collection had a count down in the form of twelve short stories based on the 12 days of Christmas. One was released each day in the run up to release, from 12 drummers drumming to a partridge in a pear tree. The final collected kindle and paperback editions are bursting at the seams with stories based on Christmas Carols and Songs.

12Days Anthology Book Cover

If you had a difficult holiday season and want to read about someone that likely had a worse time than you (and give to charity at the same time), this is the book for you.
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2hSuMaV
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2jbN8sI

Looking to 2017…
A few projects are in the works for me in 2017. I’ll check in with you once I’m cleared to release details.

Advertisements

New Site, Updates Here will be Slowing Down

Holly Ice new website

Holly Ice’s new website logo

This is a short post to let you all know that my wordpress updates will be slowing down. I’ve ventured out on my own and have set up a website and address under my name for which I’ve paid a hosting charge.

There will still be the occasional update here for topics which will be off topic for the main site – things such as writing exercises, thoughts on life and writing inspiration. For news about my newest publications, more information will be available on the new site but I will be updating here after the new releases go live, as well.

I hope no one is too disappointed and please do follow me over to the new site or stick around here if you’d rather not split your attention.

Best,

Holly Ice

Editing out the Chaff – While I Slept

14108984543z07r by hotblack on morguefile

 

A few days ago I had that magical moment I was looking for.

I found an editor for my fantasy novel While I Slept that’s good at what I’m bad at spotting: plot holes, character inconsistencies, unrealistic reactions…

 

That’s what I always view as a good editor-writer relationship – something complementary rather than complimentary, needlessly critical or hacking.

 

Every writer knows what they want for their manuscript and their style of writing. I didn’t want an editor that would slash away my voice and implant their own style, or someone who would make “improvements” that I viewed as deteriorations. A writer has to be careful whose advice to take with their writing. It is true what is said: not all suggestions are going to improve what you already have.

 

For now, I’m grinning like an idiot and really looking forward to finding out what my editor has got to say about the book as it stands. As someone on the other side of the planet (the USA), she has no reason to say my book is good if it isn’t and has no reason to be scared away from saying something critical.

 

In effect, she will be my first reader who is a complete stranger to myself and that’s exciting. I haven’t experimented in showing my writing to strangers since my early, early attempts at writing on www.fictionpress.com (I was on the site before it split into fan fiction and fiction).

 

I am also getting a brilliant editor at a fraction of the cost a lot of established websites will charge and this way I can ensure I am not getting a package deal but an individual deal, catering to my specific needs. I’m sure there are benefits to the larger companies and they will have a lot of experience but for a book of my length (around 97K words), I’d be looking at £500-£700 which, to me, feels like robbery.

 

I’m happy with my editor and the price we settled for, a fraction of the cost of larger companies but still a decent remuneration for the task at hand. I loved her sample edit and the suggestions she made were very insightful so I only see good things ahead for the edit, and the future of my novel.

 

My next blog post will be focusing a little more on my novel, letting you know a little more about what it’s all about as it has been a long time since I last did a sneak preview. Until then!

 

Holly Ice

1404341641ezt58 by ttronslien on morguefile

The Self Publishing Question

 

dodgerton skill house, books, fiction, self publish, publishing, self-publish, self-publishing, agents, publishers, money, author, writing, story, fiction, fantasy, quest,

Picture by Dodgerton Skillhause (http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/870011)

I keep coming back to this question: is self publishing a better route to take?

Shopping for an agent is tiring, brings up tonnes of tabs on your screen and in the end you only end up finding a small handful that really might like what you do and you like what they do (at least, that’s what I’ve found of the fantasy genre).  You send your samples off, you wait, you hear back, usually not positively either. And what for?

Self-publishing gives the author a higher percentage of each sale but it does require a marketing mind. I don’t have a marketing mind but could I learn those tricks? I’ve read a lot on the topic of self publishing and it was a huge topic at the LBF (London Book Fair) 2013 but how many seminars does it take to learn how to do well? Can you learn how to do well? Probably not. A lot of the trade is luck and timing.

It is an agonising choice to make; to go it alone or to stick to traditional marketing teams for low profit?

I took the big step today (for me it seemed big) of contacting a cover artist whose work I adore for a rough cover quote, as well as an associate of hers who does photo shoots. This will give me some more information on the potential cost of sourcing a professional cover for a self published book that I would be happy with and give me an idea of how practical this approach might be for me and my needs.

In the mean time, I think I will send my sample off to the remaining agents on my list and leave it to fate; if the agents I chose don’t choose me back, I think I might just go it alone and risk my name on that scary big market out there.

Wish me luck!

(Any advice is also welcome).

 

Holly Ice

 

Horny Ancestor Ghosts and Weird Romances of the Living – Ghost Lover – Liza O’Connor

Image

 

Here’s a book review for you all. It’s been a while since the last one. I obtained a free copy in exchange for an honest review. It’s an exciting book, if not often wholly realistic. I would recommend it for some fun holiday reading or for the young adult audience (if you’re happy for the detailed sex scenes to be read!)

Ghost Lover by Liza O’Connor
Publisher: Possibly self-published, though the publisher used to be Lyrical Press.
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: 229 pages
Heat Level: Pretty spicy – some play by play love scenes thrown in – even one where a ghost sleeps with a living human!
Rating: 3 stars/5

Synopsis according to Amazon:

Two sexy English brothers.

One irresistible ghost.

Who would you choose as your lover?

 

Completely broke and with a criminal record to boot, Senna Smith is one day from eviction from her apartment when Brendon, her promiscuous roommate from London, suggests she go to England, marry him, and manage his fortune. With few other options, she agrees to an open marriage. But she’ll never, ever, have sex with him, knowing if she falls in love with him, he’ll break her heart.

 

As trustee of Brendon’s family fortune, there is no way Brendon’s older brother, Garrison Durran, is going to let him marry a self-professed American gold-digger. As Senna tries to embrace castle life and English society for Brendon’s sake, Gar discovers Senna is the perfect woman for him–beautiful and intelligent, kind and caring. Now, if she wasn’t already engaged to his brother…

 

The ancestral ghost of Durran Castle has to intervene if the Durran brothers have any chance of an heir. He can’t leave them to fix matters on their own. They are useless buggers when it comes to love. As counselor to Gar, matchmaker for Brendon, and lover to Senna, a ghost’s work is never done.

Ghost Lover is not a novel for those who value realism, and that does not mean there’s a lack of realism because there are ghosts in the story; it is the characters and situations in this book which defy reality rather than the paranormal characters which, if anything, are more magical realist interlopers.

Brendon and Gar are brothers; rich, upper class men based in the United Kingdom, and yet they act like over the top, ridiculously selfish, pre-pubescent boys who’ve never been taught manners. There is some reasoning for this, as they’ve had a terrible upbringing, but it was shock to find a romance novel with such immature and rude male protagonists.

The setting is also exaggerated and surreal as these brothers live in a huge house in the country, basically a mansion. Few of these still survive today and even fewer with rich, attractive brothers attached rather than an architecture-loving charity or grey-haired old men.

The plot follows the same route as the setting: Senna is willingly whisked away to the UK when she passively lets Brendon steal her money and not pay her back, with the condition if she marries him, she can have some of his trust fund. Many questions hit me at this point. Why would she trust him? Has he proved this trust fund exists? No. Why would she go with him then? The questions remain. Even later in the book, etiquette becomes a major concern and a large ball is hosted where Senna fails to make a great impression. For a modern day, contemporary romance, this does not reflect even the upper class within the UK that I live in. Balls are a very rare, special occurrence rather than everyday and the upper class are much more in line with the rest of the population than in previous decades.

Having said this, I was enamoured with Mr Finch, the ghost cat, and Lassier, the promiscuous orgasm-inducing ghost, ancestor to our boys Brendon and Gar. Lassier is the brains and the schemer behind the love interests the brothers eventually find and works behind the scenes to ensure a future generation for his family line, even if it means literally taking over his descendents’ bodies to do so. Mr Finch is a much warmer, cuddlier, and seemingly harmless purring cat who sometimes gets ticked off and throws papers to the floor but otherwise doesn’t really impact on the plot.

What surprises me with Ghost Lover, is that, despite all the inconsistencies in “norms” for the contemporary UK, despite the over the top, lacking in believability character traits and despite the slightly too perfect ending, I enjoyed reading it. It isn’t realistic and doesn’t appear to pretend to be. It’s a bit of pure fun where logic can remain suspended just long enough for the weird boy to get the equally strange girl.

 

You can buy this book if you fancy it on Amazon UK or Amazon USA 

and here is her personal website: Liza O’Connor’s website and extra character info on Ghost Lover.

 

Until next time!

Holly Ice

The Crime Writer’s Guide to Police Practice and Procedure – Michael O’Byrne

DSC05736

I read this book because I have no idea about the police system and yet will be including bits of it for my next novel.

It’s actually quite good, even if you don’t write pure crime. It gives you the levels and names of police bureaucracy as well as how procedures work. It told me what numbers of people work on crimes, rapes and ordinary offences as well as how suspension, bad jobs, punishment etc works in the police force.

It expelled a lot of the myths which fiction and TV has created around suspension and office hates etc. Some however, like badly looked on people getting all the boring or horrible jobs, is true.

The only thing this book has none of is the comradery and how people act with each other in the police. This we have to create by ourselves it seems. However, at least now we can do it with the right name tags and equipment (there are also sections on forensics and police databases).

A good read for those, like me, that are clueless about the inner workings of the force.

Doesn’t take too long to get through either. About a day or a day and a bit in sections.

I’d give it a 4/5.

I don’t have an editor…but I don’t need one.

Image

Have you ever wanted to say that? To be good enough at editing yourself that your work is almost press ready?

To be honest, very few of us are likely to get there but last night I stumbled upon a programme through an obscure list of comments in the back end of the internet.

This programme scans your work – yes, even whole novels – for repetition, clichés, repeated phrases, overused words, dialogue tags – even adverbs. As we’ve been told, adverbs are the bane of existence. For those that don’t know what they are, there’s a big list of  a few below.Image

Image

Then, if you double click on the offenders, it takes you to each places in the text they appear, just like ctrl+f. I believe you can save the data it finds. 

I think my favourite function is it watches overused words for you – even counts the amount of times they appear. It seems I use “down” “eyes” “nodded” and “smiled” far too often. I shall have to think of some new actions for agreement or for aversion of a subject. It’s kind of like the facebook app that analyses your posts and creates a picture of your most used words only more complex and on a larger scale. 

It’s free, too.

Image

Yes, Bart Simpson as well as, I’m sure, many big published authors have repeated some words many times in their novels. So what. You want to be better than them, right?

You want your book to be the best one yet, right?

I, for one, feel as if I’ve stumbled across the holy grail with this programme. I will no longer have to trawl through thousands of words and try to remember exactly what phrase I used earlier.

Of course, some phrases or clichés, words even, are stylistic choices that need to remain. Don’t let the machine control you – you are the one with a sentient brain!

With that little caveat out of the way – enjoy, and remember that it doesn’t edit for plot, character pitfalls or clunky phrasing. So you’re not completely get off the hook in terms of editing but it is, I believe, a big help.

Here it is: http://www.smart-edit.com/

*** I should also mention that the programme only works with RTF (rich text files) and .txt (notepad) files. I copied and pasted my novels into notepad and saved it before opening it in smart edit. I believe MS word also has a function to “save as” files as RTF.

Say thank you by following me on twitter, if you wish 🙂 https://twitter.com/Holly_emma_Ice

Or, even better, comment away beneath me with your disbelief/hatred for the programme.

For a bit of fun I’ve found another programme for you to look at too. It analyses sections of your writing and tells you which author you are most like. I’ve found the result changes between my blog writing and fiction so don’t take it as gospel!
http://iwl.me/

crime writing solutions

Offering guidance and advice to writers of crime fiction.

Sally Bosco

Author of Dark Fiction

Damaris Young

Creative writing blog

Simple Pleasures

Visual Poetry, Photography and Quotes

Book Hub, Inc.

The Total Book Experience

Lightning Droplets

Little flecks of inspiration and creativity

adoptingjames

Read our Mission. Find out how you can help us adopt James.