Thursday, 14 August 2014

Half my life is an act of revision.

Half my life is an act of revision.
- John Irving

I hope you liked DB Martin's press release about Patchwork man. I've read the book and cant wait for the second in the series! I recently read that you should blog little and often - actually I re-read this but conveniently it slipped my mind. As an author, keeping up with Social Media is hard work! I've not excelled myself this year, but I have nearly hit my target for twitter followers (admittedly it was a low target). 

So what have I been doing? Well I am noticing that as I get older I have less energy. I don't write as quick or as much as I used to and I get tired easily. All this in just a year - what else does age have in store for me? Do other people out tehre feel the same? I have also become addicted to Scandal. I'm only on series two, but it really is addictive. And...wait for it...I have nearly finished my grammar course. Can you tell the difference in this blog post? 

Well I am still to complete the punctuation section, but I think my writing has improved. Not bad for £60! Next is a course I found on line about FGM and honour killing! I think it'll come in handy for Chupplejeep. I have also nearly finished reading a book on Criminology and the first draft of Poison in The water is almost ready for review by Abingdon Writers! Yay! and my publishers!  This is good news because it means I can get stuck in to my next Chupplejeep Mystery: The Body in the Bath. 

So there you have it - a short and sweet blog post! Until next time, people. 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Guest blog post for Patchwork Man by D. B Martin!



Introducing D. B Martin and her new novel: Patchwork Man! Todays guest blog post on the Coffee Stained Manuscript is a press release for DB Martin's new novel, Patchwork man. I have read this book so I can personally recommend it. Its complex, fast paced with enough twists and turns to keep you hooked! It is now available on Amazon.

 

This is Mockingbird for a new generation.

When Michael Gove championed the outlawing of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' from the English GCSE curriculum, he claimed to be intent on ensuring ‘a more nationally centred syllabus’ of ‘works originally written in English’. But the message of the book still inspired novelist D.B. Martin to make Atticus Finch the idol of her fallen hero, English barrister Lawrence Juste, in the first of a pithy and compelling mystery trilogy dealing with deception, murder and blackmail masked by respectability and privilege.

With ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ being released as an e-book for the first time, the novel, ‘Patchwork Man’, now released by Martin follows in the wake of Harper Lee's classic by celebrating the principles of Atticus Finch in this very English contemporary fiction.

Patchwork Man is a psychological thriller as fast-paced as any of Dan Brown's, whilst evocatively recreating the chaotic and poignant childhood that has led Juste, the patchwork man himself, to chaos. Lawrence Juste is the QC with a conscience - privileged, reputable; perfect. But Lawrence hasn't always been who he is now. When he is glaringly in the public eye after his enigmatic wife is killed in an apparently random hit and run, he could do with his hidden past surfacing like a hole in the head. Unfortunately the past has a way of finding its way back to you, just like betrayal, and his dead wife has helpfully left him a sinister resume of his... 

Martin writes adult and YA fiction with a specific intent in mind. She says, ‘We learn through what we read. It explains the world to us, and helps us come to terms with the more difficult parts of it that we don’t know how to deal with. That’s particularly important for young people, struggling with issues of conscience versus peer pressure, but without the experience to base choices on.’

With Patchwork Man now released and its sequel Patchwork People following in September 2014, Martin obviously has a lot more to say in Harper Lee terms. And Lee's comment (headlined) about the eBook release of To Kill a Mockingbird equally applies to Martin's book.

Martin adds, ‘Harper Lee’s message was as much about prejudice versus principles as about finding the right way to deal with that. It was – and is – inspired.’

Martin's websites are www.debrahmartin.co.uk for adult fiction and www.lily-stuart.co.uk for YA fiction. If you'd like more information, to schedule an interview with D.B. Martin, or receive a review copy of the book, please e-mail info@debrahmartin.co.uk

Friday, 1 August 2014

A writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily...

A writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, or because everything she does is golden. A writer is a writer because, even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway. - Junot Diaz.

I came across the above post on Pinterest and it really struck a cord with me. I thought  I would share this with my fellow writers out there. I think it sums us up perfectly. And I say this as sales for Goa Traffic plummet. Was it something I said? I can't really see a reason for the steady drop in sales over the last couple of months. GT has been selling well for some time now so why the sudden drop? It could be because I'm not really doing much marketing and when I am I'm concentrating on The Bittersweet Vine. It could be because I have sold over 3000 copies and perhaps those who were gonna buy it bought it. Although that doesn't really make sense. Surely there is a stat somewhere saying there is a new Kindle reader every second. I should look into this. I should increase my time marketing. I really have done zilch this year. I should be doing a lot of things.

The good news is that I am nearly at the punctuation module of my grammar course! Hurrah! Perhaps hits on my blog will go up as well. The second good bit of news is that I completed my tax return. That is always a mission. This year it was surprisingly okay. The third bit of news (I'm not going to say good because it's so-so) is that I am more than half way in editing Poison in the Water. I have about 30,000 words to go and then it can be submitted to my publisher. I can't wait to get it done. Im hoping by the end of August it will be ready. A bit behind my original deadline but it will do.  I think Im getting better at the editing process as well. I am not finding it too much of a slog. Perhaps its because I'm setting myself more realistic deadlines and taking my time with it.

Care to share any editing tips?! Do so here or tweet me @marissadeluna 

Monday, 7 July 2014

Delusion is what keeps us going.

Delusion is what keeps us going - Terence Blacker

Today in The Society of Authors I read a fab article by Terence Blacker on how sometimes the your greatest eery as a writer is your everyday self. Although he does go on to point out that your everyday self is also a help! The sentence which caught my eye is what I have used to open my blog because it struck a cord with me and I am sure it is something all authors identify with.

It has been a fair while since I last blogged. I had a holiday in Kefalonia which was fab. A perfect place to unwind and forget about the world. I even switched off from plotting my next novel. Instead I managed to catch up on some reading. I was slightly disappointed by my selection. I read:

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain which was excellent. My only excellent choice. It tells the story of Ernest Hemmingway's first wife. Behind every great man then is a woman and this is her story. It is well worth the read! It also reminds me that I must read some Hemmingway.

The Light Between Oceans - M L Steadman- I read such good reviews I think I imagined this to be a life changing book. I think I'm going to stop reading reviews from now on! It was an okay read. What would you do if you were desperate for a baby and one washes up next to your remote lighthouse? It makes you think but it didn't keep me gripped and was quite predictable.

At the bottom of the pile was The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones. It was like reading an episode of Downton Abby- Which I would quite enjoy but it just didn't interest me and finally The Silent Tide by Rachel Hoar. It was a pleasant read but I can't say I would recommend it!

So all in all not great on the reading front, but I ticked a few off my list. I feel like a right negative nancy with all these not so great reviews. I think half the problem is that when I read such good reviews for a book I expect so much more out of it. I suppose thats another reason to get some bad reviews for your book - it really evens it out.

The grammar course is going… well I wouldn't say well. I have kind of stumbled but I am sure to get back on it. I really need to get to the punctuation bit and move on from the modal auxiliaries, but I suppose I need to learn the basics first.

Anyway a bit of a boring blog post today but I will be back with tales on how my current WIP is going! 

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Knowing your conjuncts from your disjuncts


Knowing your conjuncts from your disjuncts!

So I have finally paid for the Grammar at Work course! It’s hell (which means it's actually a very good course). I did the starter test and I got 53%  - not bad but I have to admit a lot of that was guess work. I have vowed to myself that I am going to give my all to this course. I’ll know by Conjuncts from my disjuncts by the end of it. And with any luck I’ll also know where to place comma’s which seems to be the worst of my flaws. I won’t lie – I tried the first module. You really have to concentrate and quite frankly it left my brain in a state of shock. I’m going to battle through the metal block though and hopefully come out shining the other side.

In other news I have been critiquing a book for someone in our writing group and I will be working on Poison in the water – my current WIP! Deadline to go to an editor is September 2014! So not long. The plan is to edit a final copy for end July. Start writing the next Chupplejeep in August/September and work with Poison alongside it. I also need to get some more twitter followers! 1000 is my goal by the end of the year and I need a few more reviews for Bittersweet. My goal is 17, so I need 7 more! Anyone out there read it and fancy writing a review on Amazon?! And I also need 18 facebook followers! Come on people – help me out here! I have to admit marketing has taken a back seat but I’m hoping by the end of the year I’ll be in a comfortable enough position to take things slower!


GT has also taken a hit in regards to sales! Although the paperbacks are now selling quite well over the last quarter. How bizarre. Could I put it down to Monsoon weather in Goa so less visitors out there? It didn’t happen this way last year – so what has changed? Thoughts on a postcard. Anyway positive thoughts! I have things to get on with!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Time to bite the bullet

Anyone who reads this blog will know that my punctuation is terrible. This has to change. Gone are the days of me justifying that this was fine so long because it was all about the storytelling. If people can't make sense of what you are trying to say because your punctuation is screwed you are never going to be able to tell a good story. 

I say this after an 8 person critique of one of my forthcoming novels. I tell you it was an eye opener. two glasses of wine just about took the edge of as I accepted constructive criticism about my novel. After sitting on the information for days I eventually opened my mind to the comments and when i started editing my manuscript I saw things in a new light. This is a definite must do - if you are part of a writing group. No one critiques as hardly as other writers! except for agents that is. 

Admittedly, the general consensus (after they berated me about my atrocious punctuation!) was that the story was good. The main bits I worried about such as characterisation and writing dialogue got a thumbs up but the punctuation got a big thumbs down. I need to get this sorted. So it's time to bite the bullet and start that punctuation course. I am going to sign up over the weekend and start Monday. 

I have been super lame at blogging recently but I have been busy. For starters I have been creating character profiles for my Chupplejeep series. That in itself has been arduous. I am trying to be an organised writer though and by putting all the settings, locations and characters on easy to read excel documents I am hoping this will save time later when I am writing the series and need consistency. I  have a terrible memory. 

I have also been working on Under the Coconut Tree - book 1 in the series and Poison in the Water. Poison is currently with my sister for comment. She is taking her time with it but her deadline is approaching. Fingers crossed she likes the story. She is another vicious critic! 

June means finalising Poison in the water to show to my publishers too so along with learning how to punctuate its going to be a busy month! Watch this space. 

Monday, 28 April 2014

The benefits of reading a bad book...

The benefits of reading a bad book...

I have been thinking about reviews as in a recent writing group one of the writers referred to the horror of receiving a one star review. I wanted to say that it happens, but I didn't and since then I have been mulling over this  'review' society that we now live in.  Recently I  read three books that have annoyed and bored me. At first I thought of all the hours I had wasted reading them. Then I remembered the benefits of reading a bad book. Years ago I read a best seller and I found the book so dull and annoying that I realised that all reviews are subjective. It was one of the first incidents in my life that made me believe in myself and it gave me the courage to pick up a pen and write a book.

But this notion of bad reviews is something that plagues all writers. Unless you already have the skin of a Rhino. Whilst I have read some reviews saying how well my first book was written, I have read others saying it was badly written. I myself, have mixed feelings about my first book- after all it was just that - a first book. I discussed this with H and surprisingly he was supportive. 'Would you rather not have published Goa Traffic'  he asked?  It was the right question. If you regularly read this blog you will know that publishing that book has taught me so much I would never regret publishing it. He then went on to remind me about how impatient I was when I did publish it. It kind of ruined the moment. But it made me think of my options. I have self published so I could remove it from public consumption and rework it before publishing it again. However, I see that as going back when all I want to do is move forward and the majority of reviews have been positive and it's selling well. In fact it's funding this writing hobby/sideline that I have going and I am hoping to put some of the profits back into various charities in Goa.  I have a full time job and other books to work on and perfect - will going over my first book  be any use? And if I do do that what am I saying to people who have read it and enjoyed it? Your review is not good enough? I don't like the idea of that! The only downside of not going back to make your work the best that you can, is the fear that it may put some readers off any future work. I've been wondering about this but I have come to this conclusion: In my opinion every author has a voice. An individual voice. Readers will like this or not. If they are unsure they may try a second book of yours. If they hate it they probably wont like much of your work even if you go back and change it because they don't like your voice/style. Yes my first book was littered with 'head hopping' and other no-no's that give writers nightmares, but that was me then. Will I always be judged by my first book? Maybe but then again maybe not. My current work in progress is very different to my first novel and they may be easier to read because of the realisations I have made along the way, but has my voice/style changed? I doubt it - underneath it all - my novels are still just my stories!

I do think that whatever you publish you should be proud to put your name to. But that pride can fade with time. Now, I am proud of The Bittersweet Vine - I have more confidence with this book but what happens in two years time when my writing improves further (because lets face it honing your writing skills is an on-going process)  and I am no longer as proud of it as I am now. Do I change my name and start again?

All authors will know we are our own worst critics. Art is subjective. If someone loves your work then chances are that someone will hate it also! As an author you have to accept that there will be some great reviews and some not so great reviews. To prove my point have a look on Amazon at some of your favourite reads. I can almost guarantee you that they will have received bad reviews as well as good. Don't even get me started on some of my favourite reads which have an average of 3 *'s when they blatantly deserve a 5! I guess as a writer or any artist for that matter you just have to take the rough with the smooth !