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How long to live? Only 15 minutes?!

PHOEF SUTTON author of Fifteen Minutes to Live published by Brash books on May 5th 2015.

http://www.brash-books.com/author/phoefsutton/

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  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? I’ve always been interested in brain trauma and diseases, ever since I read Oliver Sacks’ The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat.   Once I read about Korsakoff’s Syndrome I knew there was a book in it.
  2. Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique? Most stories of amnesia deal with who can’t remember who they are.  This is different; Jesse remembers who she is, she just can’t remember the last eighteen years of her life.  And she never will.  She’s lost the ability to form new memories.  The makes much more involving, much more tragic story.
  3. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time? I think about topics for a long time before I start to even plot the story.  An idea needs to gestate for a while.  If I remember it and keep thinking about it for years, it might be interesting enough to make a book.
  4. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book? I do tons of research before I start a book. And I do tons of research WHILE I’m writing a book.  You never know what you have to research ‘til you get to it.
  5. What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote? I did a lot research in medical text books. I also talked to people who had various brain disorders.
  6. How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience? I find that most people are happy and willing to talk to writers about their work.  I just ask.
  7. How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?  It’s a double-edged sword.  My first novel was accepted by a major publisher.  Unfortunately, they insisted on a lot of changes, which made it much worse.  By the time it came out, it was neither here nor there.
  8. Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up? Years later, when self-publishing had taken off, I got the rights back and reprinted the book, in its original form, under a new title. It felt so good to get it out there, as I had intended it to be seen.
  9. Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist? I can’t really speak for anyone else.  For me, it gave me an opportunity to get my work out there, which led to other publishers and authors taking interest in my work.  I didn’t make much money in self-publishing at all.  But it did lead to bigger and better things.
  10. Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened? I have written for television and movies for years.  I have made a living as a writer for almost three decades.  I have made a living as a writer of published fiction only for about a year or so.  We’ll see if it keeps up!
  11. What is the best piece of advice you were given that you could pass on to aspiring writers? Write, write and write!

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And are your eyes brown? Then you are not interesting to me.

 

 

Graced

by

Amanda Pillar

Netgalley review

In this fantasy novel 3 main forms of humanoids inhabit a world that has been constructed by genetic manipulation. Not medieval thankfully – more like late 18th century customs and scientific knowledge.

But there is a secret 4th type of humanoid – humans with abilities that are more than the norm – the Graced.

The graced are trying to keep themselves secret – because it profits them to do so. But the colours of their eyes are different from the ‘normal ’humans and an observant vampire notices and wonders why and what is different about these humans. Unfortunately, he then decides to experiment on those humans with coloured eyes – those that are not the normal brown – and so the story begins.

This is a very different and in many ways a more empathetic look at vampires and werewolves. We learn that vampires can learn emotional responses, that human females can be kick-ass City Guards, and that little girls can be very good at concealing truths.

A nice writing style and promising fantasy writer publishing her first book. It feels more accomplished than first novels often are and I suspect that a good series will follow.

4 stars.

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Books/book review/fiction/health/Older women/net galley/Tea and Cake
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Cake and Canals: a divine mix

The Cake Shop in the Garden

by Carole Matthews

A  Netgalley Review

A feel-good story here of the spinster looking after her mother – a very demanding and nasty tempered old woman – although it turns out not so old… who took her bed as they used to do in Victorian times when upset. The latest research says that middle age lasts until 74 at least for women – 15 years before you are due to die according to the insurance actuaries.  So at 70 she was still very much in her middle age.

In fact the main character was an enabler here and psychologists would be very unhappy with her behaviour. Whilst it is difficult to change habits as one grows older – don’t I know it – this kind of behaviour needs to be changed. Pandering to her mother enabled her mother to continue to bully her and to continue to undermine her own health.

So the story is set alongside one of our lovely British canals, a cake shop in the garden of a house that backs onto the canal. Tea and cake, as regular readers of my posts will know, is quite a feature of our days out and something we British all look forward to, especially good home-made cake, and thus this cake shop is ideally situated.

Walking the canal-sides is also a regular feature of our time out and most canals have excellent paths alongside them used regularly by both walkers and cyclists.

Also, many have houseboats permanently moored as well as those who wander the canal by-ways. Canals of course were designed for horse drawn boats and often near bridges as the tow-path narrowed horses might slip off into the canal. Thus, if you look carefully, you will find some steps under the water for horses to climb back out. Additionally, you might wonder just how did horses get under some of the very low bridges? The answer is simple, they didn’t. What happened was that were taken off their harnesses and walked around and over the bridge, and the boat was taken under the bridge by men ‘walking’ the surface underneath. An interesting experience no doubt.

And of course there are a number of wildlife that make their living along British canals. Swans and other water birds including herons and cormorants.

Father Thames kindly permits some people to live on boats....

Father Thames kindly permits some people to live on boats….

canal bridgeP1020873 P1020875 P1020876 P1020877

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Okay things to mess with on the web when bored

Okay – I’m being lazy? – or just wanting something different  to rest my mind having completed an article about clematis for a journal and lots of posts in preparation for going on holiday and… – so have been looking at the Internet and some recommended sites just to see something of what’s out there.. so much!

So here are some sites I’ve looked at for Ladies and others.

Nailsomething.tumblr.com

For those of you who like the new nail art and I confess I think it’s fun and have started having my nails painted different colours (3 one shade and 2 another for instance) or using the new varnishes – currently they are shellacked as per my birthday present from my daughter. A lovely sparkle over a deep plum. And then I had them painted deep witchy green with a sparkle. So I looked on this site for inspiration and fun. Have you ever thought of having your nails painted as Simpson Characters? Or as  part of a painting – Picasso for instance?  Well, see what other clever people have done. I confess I tried some dots and they weren’t good but practice I guess..

On a more serious note a great book site for women –

Forbookssake.net. ‘For and by independent women’ , is its strap line and lots of good ideas for what to read and conversations with authors and of course you all know ‘GoodReads’ which has some good groups to join with book challenges and so on. I challenged myself to read 125 books last year, and made it!

http://www.whatshouldireadnext.com/  like Amazon suggests what you should read next but without the money element. So I put in Nora Roberts the series about the detective and it offered me Catherine Coulter; Heather Graham; Lara Adrian;  Nalini Singh; Shelly Laurenston; Stephanie Laurens; Tami Hoag (who I do also love); Sherrilyn Kenyon; Amanda Quick; and Christine Feehan. None of which apart from Tami Hoag had I heard of, so I shall search these authors out in the future.

Then there’s SoulPancake.com, a site with a mix of art, culture, philosophy and so on; and some conversations that you may or may not think are good or even useful – with some really bad spelling. Why do people think that just because you are commenting on a website, you can spell anyway you want? Don’t they ever check what they say? I confess I do get the odd mistake from time to time – but at least I try…

On a general note – for everyone – probably especially my husband who LOVES QI (I have some great QI facts to share in due course) there is mentalfloss.com. There’s even a magazine you can purchase with them. Lots of lists and so on…

Then there’s  Engrish.com   with Misspelled wording and poorly written grammar,

This is a site that takes photos from all over the world of things like signs or product packaging that are riddled with spelling and grammatical mistakes, or just convey an entirely different message due to translation errors and extreme unfamiliarity with the English language. There are lots of different categories for the spelling errors and I just had to check out Stationery. The number of stores that just can’t spell this! But it was about stationery and the funny things written on it by – mostly – Japanese manufacturers. I always say just remember the little saying:

E for envelope and a for car and why will you then have a problem? But don’t get me going on the apostrophe!

A nice site is http://webtrends.about.com/. They will even teach you how to make an Internet meme – you can waste a lot of time on that!

I also waste time on Zulily. Now here is a shopping site par excellence. You can get all sorts especially cute stuff for kids from small designers and occasionally well known designer end of lines, at a tremendous discount. Not much for men and some stuff for the household but seriously shopping addictive – warm up that credit card!

http://shutupandtakemymoney.com/ is another shopping site, but this is full of useless but addictive items eg mugs with pictures that come and go with hot or cold water – and something possibly more useful – a car desk that you can use when on the road for business…

And finally, in my list here,  there’s www.theuselessweb.com.  This will take you to a new site every time you click on it, some will be fun, some will be quirky, some will be …..

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Ali tells us about Indie writing

Guest Blog Post – Being an Indie Author and Loving it!

 

I think from a young age I’ve always been independent, always looking for a way to forge a new path and climb a steep hill and do it mainly on my own. I think like most Indies, I started by trying the traditional route and after loads of rejection, it was just easier to forget it. A few friends of mine are making it big in the indie world and have reluctantly pulled me into it as well. I will tell you that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

I’m not a superstar, but a story teller – which is all I ever wanted to be. I set my schedule, write what I want, love on you guys by giving away whatever the hell I want to and life FEELS right/good.

Let me tell you why else I love being Indie.

  1. No one will ever love my book as much as me. It’s my creation and having the freedom to choose what it looks like and where the plot goes is all mine to decide. I don’t have someone standing over my shoulder making it “better” by their definition of “better.”
  2. I can spend as little or as much time, energy and money as I want. Obviously the more I put into it, the more I’m going to get out of it, but that’s with anything in life. The cool part is that if I’m a good editor or if I can design my own cover, then those are costs to be saved and skills to be used.
  3. I belong. In a world of independent authors I find myself fitting in just perfectly. We all work hard and dream big and the encouragement is beyond belief. I don’t have to write a certain genre or stick to a certain structure in the plot. I simply write, promote and support and honestly feel great about myself at the end of the day.

Being an Indie author, to me, doesn’t really have anything to do with being Independent though. It’s a statement that says I’m capable of making every step along this book writing/producing platform to take a dream from start to finish. The truth of what Indie authors are doing is showing the world that there still exists hope. Hope to dream big and work hard to make that dream a reality.

That’s why I love being Indie!

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