Friday, 12 August 2022

Taking a Risk

 Poised on the cliff edge about to take the leap!

No thoughts of suicide - oh no!

Or perhaps only in terms of covers for my e-books. I am about to change three of them.

And I'm changing them to something quite different. to what has gone before. Because I do them myself, I can chop and change as I like  and at no cost to me except in time. And perhaps frustration! Photoshop is not the easiest thing in the world to use.

With earlier attempts at covers I tried to be truthful to the period of the story, and accurate in terms of dress and hair style. Now I am venturing into a more romantic look for my covers. Accuracy will have to take a back seat for a while was I conduct this experiment. If the new covers sell better than the old ones, then a point will have been proved  - to me, at least. 

I am aware that criticism comes from cover artists  but I think have a different POV. This is their business, their profession and they will look for errors in style and execution, of course they will. I would too, in their place. 

But I enjoy doing covers. It gives me hours of pleasure trying things out and lately people have begun sending "Likes "and pleasant comments as the new covers appear. Now if only those comments would turn into sales I should be delighted!

Saturday, 6 August 2022

To trope or not to trope

 I learned a few things yesterday.

 The word Trope began to collide with me at every corner.

As an English Lit student, I equated it with Theme.

The dictionary takes it further - "a metaphorical or ironic use of a word." I hunted further still and discovered that a trope establishes a predictable character, setting or scenario in fiction, such as :

Orphan, best friend, kidnapped, road trip, secret identity, secret baby, politics, protector, violence, lost heir – all tropes. 

There are many more. You might think, like me, that they are nothing more than stereotypes and clichés, so I read on and found I was wrong. It seems the way the trope is used makes it far more than a cliché or stereotype.

I got onto this by listening to one of the many videos teaching people how to sell more books. I knew about sub-genres like the Ingenue, the Secret Baby, the Arranged Marriage from using the Amazon website.  I also recall trying to please Harlequin a decade ago  (I never did please them!) - they used the terms such as the Billionaire Oil Sheik and Marriage of Convenience back then. 

Perhaps they invented the tropes! It is food for thought, and as I hesitate on beginning a new book, I am at a very good place to put the ideas into practice.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

What is a comma splice?


I remember grammar lessons at junior school but not in great detail.

I usually know when a sentence is badly structured but it is a rare moment when I can actually explain "why" it sounds so wrong.

Basically all grammar makes for clear communication. Commas  are necessary to avoid confusion in a long sentence. My nearest and dearest often runs two separate sentences together, as in "She sleeps soundly, he lies awake and reads." This is a comma splice and Emma Darwin describes it perfectly:

"When two grammatically complete sentences, which really need a full stop between them, are separated by a mere comma, the grammar and syntax of the first sentence lead to the finish, but the comma isn't a firm enough stop. So the first sentence seems to tumble on, over the break, and land on the beginning of the second – which then doesn't get to launch properly. The paragraph as a whole feels sloppy and incoherent, as reading aloud will reveal, even if your eye didn't spot it.”

"She sleeps soundly; he lies awake and reads."

In this case a simple colon provides the slight pause required to separate two independent but closely connected sentences. There are lots of other examples, and you can read a clear explanation of the Comma Splice on the blog:

Thursday, 28 July 2022

No idea how I did it!

 Most people seem to like page numbers.

I am so used to reading e-books that I have become accustomed to them not being there.

Though I think I would miss them in a paperback.

So, once I decided to add them, I read the KDP formatting pages and  somehow got the impression that they (the Amazon wizards) added them as part of the final process. So when I discovered that my newly published paperback  Abduction of the Scots Queen  had no page numbers, I uttered a small swear word and decided I would have to buckle down and do it the hard way. Let me tell you I have struggled for the better part of the day to add page numbers to my book.

It is no easy thing to do. I consulted the KDP pages again, and found no help there.

I looked online but so many explanations of what to do were so dated as to be useless if you had newer software. I checked You Tube videos and came away with a set of instructions, but discovered that Word has a mind of its own in this matter. (Probably in many other areas too, but for the moment I'll stick with entering page numbers on a paperback!)

I tried and failed several times. Then I began again, following what I call the random hit or miss method. What I mean is, I did most of the things on the lists I had, but I did them in random order, keeping a close eye on the results I produced. The moment the longed for numbers came up in the right place on the page, I grabbed it, saved it and uploaded a PDF to KDP before it changed on me.

The trouble is that now I have no idea how I did it! Groan.

On the local farming front - the barley is safely balled. Perhaps circled would be a better term. Or rolled? What do you think?

Friday, 22 July 2022

Tell a good story


Flicking through stuff on the internet I saw a list of great women writers, still living, who can tell a good story. 

They have book sales that run into millions. The first name on the list was J K Rowling with 450 million books sold. Not a surprise.  I suppose we all know of the fantastical world of Harry Potter. She writes themes of acceptance, love, and courage.

The next name is one with which I am not familiar - Danielle Steel. She has sold 800 million books, not one of which I have read, and is the best-selling author alive and 8th best selling writer of all time. (This last claim may be the writer's own view. It is not mine.)

Best known for romance and drama, Danielle Steel’s novels have spent over 390 consecutive weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and 22 have been adapted for television.

Next is Stephenie Meyer of whom I have heard but not read her books. She has sales of 100 million and is best known for her vampire romance series Twilight. She has gained worldwide recognition with stories that tap into readers' romantic dreams and explore themes of immortality and sacrifice.

The list is someone’s personal choice and possibly not to be taken too seriously, but I have no reason to dispute it. Except to wonder where authors like Nora Roberts and Diana Gabaldon feature in such a list. Perhaps there is a definitive list somewhere; perhaps I should go find it.

(The pic is a view of a small town called Lalinde in the Dordogne.)

Thursday, 14 July 2022

The day the bathroom disappeared

 After Facebook's latest changes, I am flummoxed.

I seem to have lost  whatever little grip of it I had as ads swamp me (yet all I ever buy is ebooks). I may give up on it soon. 

Perhaps it will settle down if I give it time. Let's hope so.

The heat wave of the last few days has retreated and we have a cooler day today. The heat has been hard on Perla and all creatures who wear a fur coat. I tried to walk her early before the temperature zoomed up into the 20s, and it was really pleasant to be out in the fields, the woods or the river bank all alone with only the birds singing for company. Poor Perla can't hear them as she is deaf. All her enjoyment comes through smells, and every last little thing has to be sniffed. Today we will venture out again at a more normal, after lunch time, and see if the farmer has begun cutting his fields yet.

Sleeping with only a sheet for cover is rare in this country, but that is what has been happening of late. I am really glad our en suite was completed before the heat struck and I am happy to report that everything works well - except for the time I switched on and the shower head was facing the door. Ha! Half the bathroom disappeared under water. Lesson learned the hard way.

Friday, 8 July 2022

I was robbed!


The current return policy on Kindle ebooks is that a customer can receive a full refund within 14 days of purchase. I have used this myself once when I stupidly ordered a book I had already bought from them. The policy applies regardless of how much of the book has been read. I never thought about it at the time. I was just pleased they refunded without question.

But last week I was puzzled because I had a sale on Book Report that never appeared on KDP Sales Report. I dug a little deeper. There had been a sale, and then the book was returned. Now I understand that people are reading entire books and returning them for a refund. Bummer.

It has become so annoying that Author Reah Foxx started a petition on  and over 20,000 authors have signed.

A download fee for customer purchases isn’t reimbursed to authors when readers return the book. This can lead to authors making overall losses when too many people return their purchases.

In other words, the AUTHOR paid for someone to read their book! 

Yet books take time, thought and energy to write.  Costs are involved if the author buys a cover or pays for formatting  and proofreading services. For someone to deliberately buy with the intention of reading and then demanding a refund – well, in my view that is stealing from that author and it could lead to the death of the ebook.

Taking a Risk

  Poised on the cliff edge about to take the leap! No thoughts of suicide - oh no! Or perhaps only in terms of covers for my e-books. I am a...