A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “self-published”

Guest Post by Glenn McGoldrick

Gleen McGoldrick is a writer of short stories.  Today Glenn is on my blog with his very own story which I hope you enjoy reading.

 

My Story

Where to start? I liked writing as a kid. Yep. My stories at primary school. Tiger Man was one of them. I wrote and wrote, page after page. Can’t remember any of the story at all. I was probably around 7 years old. I just had the main character, Tiger Man. Total crap.

I won some kind of prize for it. Notepad? Jelly babies? Gold star? Something.

At secondary school I was The Man in English class; won the yearly prize plenty of times. I could spell. I was Mr Coleman’s favourite, when I wasn’t being a little bastard in class.

And I was a reader too. Oh, yes. I liked reading so much that I stole a nice collection from Mr Coleman’s shelves. All the classics, in really attractive covers. There were about ten copies of each book, so he didn’t really notice me skimming a book every couple of days.

And I was a reader. What did I read? Stephen King. Yeah, horror mostly; during my teens, I loved it. Westerns, too.

I kept a diary for a few years too. Found it helpful to write stuff down. But I stopped, in my early 20s. With my mother helping me, I tore up all my diaries, chucked them in the bin. Why? It felt like I was letting go. Of what? Moving on? From what? It felt therapeutic.

Now I have my writing ‘sessions’. Something bothers me, then I write about it, pages, free flow, let it rip. It’s personal, a conversation with me – that’s what I tell myself.

It’s a confessional, a chance to just get it all out, no editor, no censor, just throw it onto the page. Sometimes I’m scared of where it takes me.

Sometimes it takes me to dark places, upsetting places. Painful. Yeah. Sometimes. But I usually feel better afterwards. Lighter. Clearer of mind.

When did I start writing fiction? I had the idea in 2012. Read a ‘How To’ book and thought, this is something I can do.

I enrolled on a course: Creative Writing Flying Start. Different assignments and exercises. The last assignment was to write a story. So I wrote my first story. It was OK, good marks.

I moved to Argentina. I wrote some stories, but didn’t get much done, as my head was coming apart. Thousands of miles from home, and I just didn’t want to be there. I didn’t really want to be with the woman I was with, but I struggled to just say it.

I just kept it to myself, growing more miserable each day, drinking more. I’d sit in the garden until long after midnight, drinking, thinking about my family back home, staring at the tall trees in a neighbour’s garden. I looked into the dark tree tops silhouetted by moonlight, seeing strange shapes, big cats, snipers taking aim at me; I was just hoping to see the faces of friends.

Eventually it all went to hell, and I came home broken and confused. I didn’t know if I’d see her again, how big I’d screwed up, or what was coming next. A week later my mother died.

So, as well as seeing a therapist for depression, I started another writing course with Writer’s College. Somehow I got plenty of work done. How did I focus? Jesus. I don’t know.

But I got work done, happy to have something to throw myself into, and my marks were good. Eventually I started dating again, and felt a lot better about things.

Why writing? Short stories for now. It’s hard at times. Need discipline. Just sit down and write. Never mind the laundry, or making a curry, or going for a bike ride – sit your ass down and write. There’ll always be other stuff to do, so get to it after you write.

And criticism? Yeah, it sucks. I paid for critiques from a professional. Some of them got to me. Not his fault; it just hurt.

You’ve been working on something for a week or two, develop it, get it down, finish it off, sit back and think about how good it is. Then a stranger shows you all the holes in it and you think, Bloody hell! He’s right. It’s not so great.

So, initially it was rough, facing criticism of a story that I’d put a lot of work into. But I toughened up.

I can’t expect every story to be a success, every story to sell. If it does well, then great; if it doesn’t, then too bad. I just get the hell on with the next one.

I pay attention to all the critiques I receive, and try to take all the criticism constructively. If I don’t get too ruffled by some negative remarks, then I see it as a chance to improve, hopefully getting a little better with each story.

And when a story is accepted, it’s great. Relief. Joy. Satisfaction. Validation. I can do this. Show me the money.

So I’ve had some successes, sold some stories, won a competition or two. I’ve had plenty of rejections and disappointments too. So what. It’s all part of the game.

I published a collection of some of my stories on Amazon Kindle. Researched for a couple of months, did all the work, even the cover photo. I wanted to be able to say that I’d done absolutely every part of the process myself. It turned out quite well, I think; it was stressful at times, but very rewarding, and it’s great to see my book on Amazon.

I promote the book on social media, and I’m trying to spread the word, get reviews, all that jazz. I’ve sold some books already, but it’s not enough. It’s never enough.

But, to me, there’s no hurry. The sales will pick up, I think, as I learn how to better promote my work, and until then, well – I’ll just get the hell on with the next story.

 

About Glenn McGoldrick

I worked in land-based casinos for five years, living and working in such diverse places as Luton, Israel, Greece and Middlesbrough!

In 1996 I started to work on cruise ships, then travelled the world for the next 15 years. I saw many wonderful places, had some great times and met some real characters.

I finished working on cruise ships in 2011, and since then I’ve settled in England, making my home in the North East. Life is good, but I still miss a little bit of scuba diving…

 

Links

Website:       http://www.glennmcgoldrick.com/

Kindle:         http://amzn.to/2p1vU0k

Paperback:    http://amzn.to/2pddBFA

Twitter:         @G_T_McGoldrick

Facebook:      Glenn McGoldrick

Goodreads:    http://bit.ly/2pLDbES

 

Guest Post by Wendy Janes

Book Cover

‘What Jennifer Knows’ is Wendy Janes’ first solo novel which she recently self-published.  Wendy has written a guest post for my blog.

 

From Enid Blyton to Anne Tyler by Wendy Janes

I was one of those children who would always be found reading a book. I loved Enid Blyton, and then progressed to Helen Dore Boylston’s series about a nurse named Sue Barton. An obsessive devouring of Agatha Christie followed. My reading tastes may not have been adventurous, but you couldn’t fault my enthusiasm for the written word.

Each weekend I’d spend my pocket money on paperbacks in WH Smith, return piles of books to our local library and gather another armful to take home. I must have stood for hours in front of bookshelves, head tilted to one side, reading titles on spines, plucking a book from the shelf to admire a cover and read a blurb. Making the right choice was very important because these books would be my companions for the next few weeks, some staying with me for much longer. Adventures and mysteries entertained me into my early teens, although Alice in Wonderland gave me nightmares.

During my late teens, with school exams in English literature looming, my reading choices were influenced by the curriculum. Luckily I loved classic English authors such as Graham Greene, George Orwell, E.M. Forster and Jane Austen. Perfectly crafting their words down to the last syllable, these people could write!

In addition to those books from school, I found others at the library. I discovered F. Scott Fitzgerald. He took me to the 1920s, where I would dance and drink champagne while falling in and out of love.

My regular trips to bookshops and libraries continued through teacher training, numerous office jobs, marriage and children. Searching for stories that reflected my own experience, and tales that took me abroad and to other times, I was attracted by contemporary women’s fiction, literary fiction, and what came to be known as chick lit.

I spent many satisfying hours in the company of Maeve Binchy, Helen Fielding, Kazuo Ishiguro, Maggie O’Farrell, Vikram Seth, Carole Ann Shields, Anne Tyler and many other gifted writers. I didn’t realise it at the time, but they were teaching me how to write, how to craft a story, develop a character, hone a sentence that touches someone’s heart.

I’ve always sought education, solace and enjoyment from the books I’ve read, although since becoming a proofreader, I admit I’ve become more critical of the books I read for pleasure. Often I have to remind myself to stop actively looking for typos and inconsistencies. Now that I review books and write stories myself, I’ve become more analytical, which unfortunately has diminished some of the natural joy of reading. However, when I find a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter or a book that transports me, it’s still a wonderful treat and possibly even more precious.

I do not have any pretensions that I will ever write as beautifully as the very best authors who have kept me company over the last decades, but I look upon all my years of reading as a vital element of my apprenticeship in writing.

Now I’ve published a novel and some of my short stories, my apprenticeship continues. I hope it never ends.

 

About Wendy Janes

Author Picture

Wendy Janes spends her time running her freelance proofreading business, writing novels and short stories, and volunteering for The National Autistic Society’s Education Rights Service. She has recently published her first solo novel, What Jennifer Knows. You can connect with Wendy online and discover more about her writing via Twitter, her Facebook author page, Goodreads Author page and Amazon author pages (UK/US).

Guest Post by John Raynor

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John S. Raynor is a blind writer based in Cheshire who has achieved a lot and who I already admire very much.  He has very kindly provided me with a guest post for my blog which I hope you enjoy reading.

 

The snail’s pace path to publication

Like you, I am also a lover of books.  After losing my sight in the late seventies, I read nothing for over thirty years.  In 2011, I registered with the RNIB’s Talking Book service and bought myself a specialised MP3 player on which I could read many of the superb books available.  Since then, I have read about forty books each year and can not imagine life without a book to read.

I also enjoy crime, thrillers and supernatural themes.  My favourite authors are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Tom Clancy, Harlan Coben, Tess Gerritsen, Dan Brown, Lee Child and James Herbert.

I started writing in the early seventies using speech synthesis and, more recently, screen reading software on my computer.  I have self-published two novels, two autobiographical works and three children’s short stories.

Recently I have completed a thriller and, after an editorial analysis from Cornerstones Literary Consultants, I am currently modifying the text to make it more presentable to a Literary Agency.  It is so difficult to be accepted by a recognised Agency/publisher these days, but I am hopeful that I can join the ranks of the “Published authors”.

I totally agree with Tim Baker about research.  I have carried out extensive research, with the aid of the Internet, for all my works in an effort to make the plots more plausible.  I notice that Tim has an interest in Guide dogs.  Although I do not have one myself, I have had a great deal of experience with them over many years and have actually included Elsa, a German Shepherd guide dog in this latest work, titled “See All Evil”.

 

You can visit John Raynor’s website at www.jsraynor.co.uk

Twitter – @J_S_Raynor

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