My top ten mythical beasts

There comes a time in every man’s life when he must sit back and ponder the universe’s imponderable questions, such as: Do you get wetter or drier if you run home in the rain? Why is moldy cheese good but moldy milk bad? And what are the most super-duper awesomest mythical beasts ever?

Coincidentally, just as I was drawing up a list of the latter, I was asked to write a top ten for a blog called the Creatively Green Write At Home Mom as part of my book tour to promote the Embodied Trilogy Special Edition Ebook Collection. Here’s the link to the post, and be warned… the number one might surprise you!

1280px-Great_Sphinx_of_Giza_-_20080716a

Here’s one final issue to ponder while walking through the rain or eating moldy cheese: Are ebooks real? And if they aren’t, does that mean they’re mythical beasts too?

John

PS – Let me know what your favorite mythical beasts are and why in the comments below.

Photo from Wikipedia: CC-BY-SA-2.5

Book tour interview

I’m thoroughly enjoying my blog book tour (watch out for my mythical creatures Top 10 list next week!) and today’s stop is at Urban Fantasy Investigations, where I have an interview and book giveaway contest.

Check out my interview here.

In the interview, you’ll discover things like what I do in my down time, which character in the Embodied trilogy was my favourite to write, and where I keep my piece of the Berlin Wall.

 

My first book tour!

Rather like one of my favourite literary characters, Don Quixote, I shall put on my suit of armour tomorrow morning and embark on a chivalrous quest, riding my trusty steed.

Okay, fine, just like the man from La Mancha, I’m letting my imagination get the better of me. But tomorrow morning I will drive my daughter to camp in my trusty Subaru and THEN… I shall be visiting the first of many stops on a month-long virtual tour of fantasy and science fiction book blogs.

embodied_851x315 (1)

Blog tours are a great way for a Young Adult author like me to get in touch with new readers and share some information about my books, my life and my writing. A tour is the online equivalent of travelling to a bunch of book stores across North America doing interviews and signing sessions.

During the tour, I’ll be promoting the new Embodied trilogy special edition ebook collection, which is out tomorrow. As the name suggests, it’s a 3-in-1 version of the entire series. But that’s not all! The reason it’s a special edition is that it also includes deleted scenes (basically an alternate ending) from Diamond Splinters, as well as a brand new foreword with author insights and a fun quiz/treasure hunt. As a bonus deal, for the duration of the tour, the trilogy ebook’s retail price is 20% off ($7.99 instead of $9.99).

Here’s the full tour schedule with details of what you can expect at each stop along the way. Thank you to the awesome Roxanne Rhoads at Bewitching Book Tours for organizing the whole thing. More dates may be added along the way. Now to grab my sword and shield…

July 11 Spotlight

Share My Destiny

http://sharemydestiny.blogspot.com


July 12 Interview

Deal Sharing Aunt 

http://dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com/


July 13 Interview

Roxanne’s Realm 

http://www.roxannerhoads.com/


July 14 Interview and review

Happy Tails and Tales Blog

http://happytailsandtales.blogspot.com


July 15 Spotlight

3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, and Sissy, Too!

http://3partnersinshopping.blogspot.com/


July 18 Interview

Fang-tastic Books 

http://fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com/


July 19 Spotlight

Lisa’s World of Books

http://www.lisasworldofbooks.net/


July 20 Spotlight

Zenny's Awesome Book Reviews

https://zennysawesomebookreviews.wordpress.com/


July 22 Interview

Urban Fantasy Investigations

http://urbanfantasyinvestigations.blogspot.com/


July 25 Guest Blog/Top Ten List

The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom 

http://creativelygreen.blogspot.com/


July 27 Interview

Sharon Buchibinder

http://sharonbuchbinder.blogspot.com/


July 28 Spotlight

JeanzBookReadNReview      

http://jeanzbookreadnreview.blogspot.co.uk/


July 29 Review

Romance Authors That Rock

https://pratr.wordpress.com/


August 1 Spotlight and review

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium

http://silver-dagger-scriptorium.weebly.com/


August 2 Interview

The Violent Vixen

theviolentvixen.blogspot.com


August 3Interview

Diane’s Book Blog 

http://dianes-book.blogspot.com


August 4 Interview

House of Books 

http://www.house-of-books.com


August 5 Spotlight

Ramblings of a book nerd

www.booknerdramblings.com


August 8 Spotlight

T's Stuff  

http://teresanoel.blogspot.com/

 

Neil Gaiman demystifies writer’s block

Who hasn’t been there? The blank page. The blinking cursor. The author’s horrifically empty torture chamber: writer’s block.

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman  in a snuggly sweater

Well, according to Neil Gaiman, best-selling author of the Sandman comic book series, Coraline and many more super-imaginative works of fiction, writer’s block is just as much a fiction as anything else that pours out of an author’s mind. In this fascinating interview on the Goodreads website, he talks about how his ambition as a writer has evolved over the years and offers these pearls of wisdom about the dreaded you-know-what (shhhh… don’t say it out loud or it might come true!):

Writer’s block is this thing that is sent from the gods—you’ve offended them. You’ve trod on a crack on the pavement, and you’re through. The gods have decided. It’s not true. What is really true is you can have a bad day. You can have a bad week. You can get stuck. But what I learned when I was under deadline is that if you write on the bad days, even if you’re sure everything you’ve written is terrible, when you come to it tomorrow and you reread it, most of it’s fixable. It may not be the greatest thing you’ve ever written, but you fix it, and actually it’s a lot better than you remember it being. And the weird thing is a year later when you’re copyediting and reading the galleys through for the first time in months, you can remember that some of it was written on bad days. And you can remember that some of it was written on terrific days. But it all reads like you. Fantastic stuff doesn’t necessarily read better than the stuff written on the bad days. Writers have to be like sharks. We keep moving forward, or we die.

So on that note, here’s a toast to all the other authors out there: have lots of fun over the holiday season and then sit at your desk and work. Cheers!

Photo credit: Lvovsky via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

A great story is a great story…

Read about the amazing success story of Romanian author Eugen Chirovici (EO Chirovici) who published 10 novels in his native country with some success, then moved to Britain with his family three years ago and is now likely to earn seven figures from his first English-language novel.

The article I’ve linked to makes it sound like Chirovici’s success is out of the blue, but a little research shows this to be far from the truth. His non-fiction works have already been published in the US, he’s a member of the Romanian Academy of Sciences and holds three (!) honorary PhDs in Economics, Communication and History.

I’m a big fan of Vladimir Nabokov (be sure to read the Alfred Appel annotated version of Lolita first), and Chirovici is another Eastern European author who also goes to prove that English doesn’t even need to be your first language if you have imagination, storytelling ability and, oh yeah, maybe a touch of genius.

The current state of the indie publishing nation

Roz Morris interviewed me for her wonderful Undercover Soundtrack site last year, and now she’s posted this fascinatingly honest interview with a mysteriously anonymous author. In it, they discuss whether independent publishing has hit a wall, fallen off a cliff or is simply in a downturn as part of a normal cyclical phase.

It’s scary up there.

The author is quoted as saying:

“I check in on Kindleboards now and again. Yesterday I saw an author who started out making $13,000 a MONTH on four poorly written books say she’s now ghosting for other indies to make ends meet. Another author posted about the publication of his new ‘novel’, which is 117 pages long with lots of white space (probably 15K words) and selling for $2.99. Everyone was fawning over him and his swift production.”

Have we reached the top of the cliff? If so, should we admire the view, walk back the way we came, or take the plunge and hope that this is just a metaphor and not reality?

Photo credit: Peter Morgan / Foter / CC BY

Conversing (sort of) with other human beings

I like chatting to people. Friends, strangers, mascots… But being stuck at my desk most of the week either writing or writing about writing isn’t conducive to the aforementioned chatting. I’m therefore thinking of striking up a conversation with my blog followers. How? In a completely unnatural, stilted way, that’s how!

Here’s the plan: people will ask questions in the comments section of this post and (if there are enough questions) I will then video myself answering them, one after another in a chatty, engaging way in front of my laptop camera, possibly wearing a burgundy long-sleeve tee, as in this screenshot:

Young adult novelist JB Dutton, smiling

Me, JBD.

I’ll upload the resulting video to YouTube and post it right here too. So… ask away! Anything you like about the writing process, my books, my shirt, life in general. Anything. After all, I get to pick which ones I answer.

 

The Undercover Soundtrack – John Dutton

My post for Roz Morris’s The Undercover Soundtrack – which features writers talking about how music has influenced their work – is online today. In it, you’ll find out how I’ve been inspired by Blondie, The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Arcade Fire, and Talking Heads, plus an unlikely appearance by Doctor Who’s enemies the Daleks!

My Memories of a Future Life

for logo‘Music to find inspired randomness’

Once a week I host a writer who uses music as part of their creative environment – perhaps to connect with a character, populate a mysterious place, or hold  a moment still to explore its depths. This week my guest is YA fantasy author John Dutton @JohnBDutton

Soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel, Blondie, Talking Heads, Arcade Fire, The Beatles

Creating a work of art is usually stochastic; a combination of logical planning and inspired randomness. A novelist needs to wobble across this stochastic tightrope from blank page to finished text.

John B Dutton colour official

Ideas

Original, unexpected ideas come from a variety of sources. Dreams, alcohol and drugs fueled writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William S. Boroughs. As for myself (and in the words of the great Meat Loaf) two out of three ain’t bad. The odd pint of Guinness has…

View original post 1,092 more words

Author interview – Linda Gillard (part three)

Here is the third and final part of my interview with British author Linda Gillard, in which she talks about genre-related hurdles in trying to crack the North American market, fascinating heroines, and her upcoming writing plans.

Me: How are your sales in other territories, in particular North America and Oceania? Do you have any plans to promote your books specifically for those markets or are you happy enough with your success in the UK?

Linda: So far I’ve made no real impact anywhere other than the UK. I’ve tried paid adverts for the US market. They boost sales for 2 days, then they go back to single figures, so I’ve now let it go. I have no experience of paid adverts working, so I’ve stopped buying them. My UK sales earn me a living. I’m gradually getting more reviews on US Amazon and they’re good, so I think my readership there will grow slowly – possibly slower than stalactites, but that’s how it was in the beginning in the UK.

Linda Gillard’s Emotional Geology

I don’t write genre fiction and that’s made it hard to crack the North American market. I’m not sure how well my stories will travel anyway. I’ve been told by American fans that my books don’t have enough sex in them to appeal to readers of romance and paranormals. Most of my heroines are well into their forties. They aren’t the girl next door and never were. Sadly many Amazon reviewers assess books according to whether they’d like the heroine to be their best friend. I’m not writing for those readers.

I think the first duty of a protagonist is to be fascinating, not likeable. Let’s face it, Jane Eyre is not exactly Miss Congeniality. And I’m surely not the only one who’d like to slap Emma Woodhouse. Cathy Earnshaw is a minx at best. Becky Sharp, Anna Karenina, Emma Bovary, Scarlett O’Hara, Tess D’Urberville – none of them would have made Head Girl. But these problematic heroines haven’t exactly blighted the books in which they appear. On the contrary, they’re the reason we read and re-read. We relish their complexity, their guts and their moral ambiguity.

I cherish a review of my first two books in a Scottish literary journal that said, “The emotional power in these novels makes this reviewer reflect on how Charlotte and Emily Bronte might have written if they were living and writing now.” That reviewer picked up that my protagonists and stories pay homage to the Classics. A LIFETIME BURNING, with its incestuous twins, is my 21st century take on WUTHERING HEIGHTS. My novel STAR GAZING owes a lot to Charlotte Brontë’s VILLETTE.

That’s a plus for many UK readers. I don’t know if it would be for North American readers. I’m not all that bothered. I write what I want to write in the way I want to write it. I’m indie.

Me: What has your experience been with niche subjects and do you think they fare better in a self/indie publishing environment than the traditional publishing world?

Linda: I think they probably do fare better because there are no editors setting themselves up as arbiters of taste. In the indie world, niche subjects can at last find their readers.

I’ve discovered readers are quite happy to tackle novels featuring challenging topics (bipolar, PTSD, depression, suicide, disability, bereavement, addiction, survivor guilt). My fiction is issue-led because I’m interested in discussing these issues and how they affect people. I think issues like these also increase the drama potential of a story.

Linda Gillard’s Untying the Knot

Issues also give you an angle for your book promotion. I can say to you as a reader, “Try UNTYING THE KNOT. It’s a great love story, it’s funny and it will make you cry.’ Do you care? Probably not. But supposing I say to you, ‘I saw a white van in Glasgow with the words “Bomb Disposal” on the side. I wondered what sort of guy goes into bomb disposal. Then I asked myself, what sort of boy grows up to become a man who goes into bomb disposal? Then I wondered what it would be like, being married to a man in bomb disposal. So I decided to write a book about all that.” Do I have your attention now?…

Don’t tell people your book is good, tell them why you just had to write it.

Me: What’s next for you? Do you take a break between books or plunge right into the next one?

Linda: I usually take a short break after a book, but I don’t stop for long because I’m addicted to writing. But there was a sad hiatus last year when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Surgery & treatment stopped me in my tracks and I wrote no fiction for a year. Instead I wrote a lot of guest blogs and caught up on my reading.

I started writing a new novel on New Year’s Eve and I hope that will be launched before Christmas. It will be another genre-buster: a contemporary family drama set in a decaying Scottish castle. It’s a bit of a whodunnit, with a love story and a ghost. In other words, it’s a marketing nightmare. But so was HOUSE OF SILENCE, my most popular book. I’m not worried. When readers buy my books now, they expect the unexpected. That’s all part of the fun.

A big thank you to Linda for taking the time to share her absolutely fascinating insights and experiences. You can find out more about her (and of course buy her books!) on her Amazon author page here.