Monday, 4 December 2017

What Would You Write for Christmas?

Here's something I wouldn't expect to see written this Christmas. . . 


Maybe it's me mutating into a seasonal Humbug but Christmas seems to have got lost somewhere under the wrapping paper and microchips. 
My low point this year was watching a female TV presenter get all emotional about the new John Lewis Christmas advert.
If I'm honest I have to admit to a sense of guilt. Every time I see starving children or homeless refugees I realise my capacity to feel compassion has been diminished along with my humanity.
Thank goodness for movies like 'It's A Wonderful Life' that attempt to reach out to the good in us.
Here's a challenge. What would you write for Christmas?
Perhaps it could be featured on this blog next year.


Chris Marchant is an author originally from Port Talbot who has already written a short story on a Christmas theme. It's due to be published in an anthology by a New Zealand concern who run a website entitled pledgeme.co.uk. The premise is:

"On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me..." 
Can you imagine what it was like being the recipient of those gifts? Twelve drummers drumming. What would you do with twelve drummers? I mean, the upkeep alone would probably be crippling. Twelve drummers are for life, not just for Christmas. 
Chris' story is:
Chris describes herself as a writer of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and a cat herder. I know what you mean Chris, I live with one. Chris says:
"I currently live in Co. Cavan, Ireland with Drizzt the Muse Cat, eight other cats, and the boyfriend. I write mainly Science Fiction and Fantasy, with a little historical, horror and young adult. Currently working on a LitRPG novel."

Keep me updated Chris and if you want you can include extracts on this blog. It's also a good idea to try and build an audience while you are still writing the novel. If anyone is interested in finding out more about how to go about building an audience then read the guest blog post written by New Zealand author Jonathan Gunson on Kindle Authors.

http://kindleauthors.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/how-to-attract-readers-expert-advice.html

Chris' author's page is: chrismarchantwriter.com/

She has been published in the following anthologies.


Click on the images to visit Chris' Amazon Author's Page.

Once the Tales From Wales website is up and running all authors featured here will also be featured there. If anyone wants to provide free downloads as tasters they can also be made available from the Tales From Wales website.

Sincerely Folks! I would like to wish everyone Peace, Hope and Joy this Christmas wherever you find it.


Monday, 27 November 2017

Tales From Wales - We Have Lift Off!

Thanks to everyone who has responded so far. 

Below is Mary Grand's Facebook Page header. Every author should have a Facebook Page. Click on the image to pay it a visit and give Mary a Like. I'll shut up now and let Mary introduce herself. 

"I was born in Cardiff and lived there until I left at eighteen. Wales is in my DNA. When I started to write it was natural to set my stories there.
For me the best thing about Wales is the people. I know it is difficult to generalise but in my experience people are willing to show their emotions, and the gentle, singing accents reflect an innate friendliness and warmth. When I first went to teach in London I remember thinking that a lot of people were angry with me, not because of what they said but because of the harshness of the tone!
At present I live on the Isle of Wight with my family and cocker spaniel Pepper .A few years ago I stopped teaching Deaf children and decided to write my first novel, “Free to Be Tegan”. This is the story of a young woman, Tegan, and her recovery from her upbringing in a psychologically abusive cult and set in the Cambrian Mountains.
I was very encouraged by the response to this novel and went on to write an anthology of short stories. After this I embarked on my next novel “Hidden Chapters”, set on Rhossili Bay, Gower. It is about Catrin who finally has to face early experiences in her life that she has tried to keep hidden. The story explores motherhood, adoption and family secrets."

Mary's Contact Details (Click on the text to visit)

Links to Mary's Books:

     

I hope no aspiring author is put off by this post. Mary is obviously a talented writer which helps! She is also social media savvy and uses all the tools at her disposal to get her work out there including video - a topic we'll look at in more detail in a future post. Tales From Wales intends supporting writers at any stage of their development - even if you're just thinking about writing something.

Hopefully Mary can share with us anything that she feels might help writers struggling to get their work out there. She has over one hundred positive reviews on Amazon and that's a considerable achievement in itself. 

One of the things I am looking forward to is getting to know established and emerging writers. When one of my former pupils, Paul Worthington, published his first collection of short stories I was almost as thrilled as him! One of the next authors to be featured is Chris Marchant while Will MacMillan Jones emailed me to say:
"I'll reply properly once I’m back from Sledge-lit 3 (Fantasy/Horror convention) in Derby, where I have a table and sponsor some panels."
This I have got to hear about!

Please remember this is a work in progress. The website is under construction. Just published a Facebook Page that's a little sparse at the moment and needs all the Likes and Shares it can get! I intend setting up a Twitter and a Pinterest account also. 

The next post will feature Chris Marchant and maybe an update from Will. We'll also consider the place of video trailers.
Please share and click all the Social Media Buttons!!!


Thursday, 23 November 2017

A Platform for Welsh Authors - OR - Authors with a Heart for Wales.

   Do you tick any of these boxes? 
  • A self published Welsh writer.
  • A self published writer living in Wales.
  • A self published writer living anywhere on the planet with a heart for Wales.
  • An aspiring writer who falls into any of the above categories.
If so then this blog has been written specifically for you.
The question you are probably asking is WHY?

SIMPLES!

To give fellow aspiring and self published writers a helping hand - however small.
It's something I did with another blog - Kindle Authors
Here's a sample of some posts:

I feel there is a specific need for writers based in Wales as my experience has been quite negative to date. The established literary scene appears something of a closed shop. Even if you are published by one of the established Welsh publishing houses there is little done in the way of marketing. It comes as a shock to many aspiring authors that the majority of promotion for their book rests with them. This blog will attempt to help writers get to grips with promoting their work.
The situation was brought into sharp focus by Welsh author Julian Ruck in his article:
 
When I approached the magazine that claims to be the foremost literary magazine in Wales and asked them would they review my novel the response I received was, "It doesn't sound like my cup of tea". I pointed out to the editor that as the publication was heavily subsidised by the Welsh Arts Council was it not incumbent upon her to at least read the book before passing judgement. I received no further response.


In 2013 Ceri Shaw (AmeriCymru.net), Gabriel Becket and I launched ETO, a bi-annual anthology entitled ETO for, I quote:

". . . writers who are Welsh, based in Wales, have Welsh roots or simply harbour a love of Wales and all things Welsh."


I included a list of contributors to Volume 1 on a Kindle Author blog post though some of the links on the page have since been removed. "ETO: Birth of a Magazine"
We produced two publications but unfortunately the project has stalled. A shame because it really did offer a great platform. 

Several members of our local Tonypandy Writers Group had short stories included. They even got a mention in Wales Online. We have now started publishing our own anthologies, the first in memory of one of our founder members June Bacon.

I firmly believe we have to help ourselves and each other. So if you would like your book, and yourself, featured on this blog all you need do is contact phil@talesfromwales.net
Once www.talesfromwales.net is fully up and running your books will also find a permanent home.
I am open to suggestions but here are mine:
  • a blog (talesfromwales) that will feature you and your books.
  • opportunities to provide guest posts
  • a website (talesfromwales.net) that will advertise your work and also house any free samples  such as short stories or book extracts
  • video trailers - this is a topic I will write about on the blog
  • audio samples and downloads
  • potential to sell you book from the site with links to Amazon, Smashwords etc
  • with your permission we could publish our own anthologies that would provide another platform for your work as with ETO
If you have any suggestions please email me at phil@talesfromwales.net
Also I would like to know if there are any specific topics you would like me to blog about - or find an expert who can!

Although I assume this blog and website will be of most interest to Welsh writers there will undoubtedly, and hopefully, be exceptions.
Sarah Woodbury is a case in point.
I met Sarah in Portland, Oregon at Wordstock. You can read the post I wrote about it here:


Sarah Woodbury is an Oregon girl extremely proud of her Welsh ancestry and given the fact both her parents are historians it was almost inevitable that when she eventually succumbed to the writing bug her genre would be the historical novel. Fortunately her visit to Wales was to prove a catalyst in the context of her development as an author and consequently she has written a whole series of novels set in medieval Wales

Sarah is one of the new breed of authors who realises the importance of self promotion and has been extremely effective in using social media to get her books noticed. She has sold over 150,000 copies and has a following of loyal fans, including me! Sarah did not sit back and wait for an agent to ride by on a white horse and wave a shiny contract in her face. Her success has been down to hard work and a willingness to take responsibility for her own success. 

It's up to us to do the same.
    

The Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mysteries

    

Thursday, 9 November 2017

A Christmas Ghost Story

Who doesn't love a Christmas ghost story?

Probably the most famous and well-loved Christmas ghost story of all is Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol'

I love Dickens and being Welsh share his passion for social reform. So much so I decided to write a modern adaptation (A Manhattan Ghost Story: A Christmas Carol Revisited) in honour of the great man. It was also an attempt to explore the social issues he might well have confronted were he still alive. His voice is needed today as much as it ever was. 


Although I can never hope to match his literary genius I could at least attempt to express  the concern and outrage he  would have felt living in the 21st Century.


This YouTube video trailer will give some idea of the issues set within the context of a Christmas ghost story. The video also includes an interview with Roy Noble and author Nigel Crowle when I appeared on Roy's Reads - a feature now sadly discontinued. It was a great platform for aspiring or self-published authors.




To my delight a staged adaptation of A Manhattan Ghost Story was performed by the New York City Bar Entertainment Committee at a charity event in Manhattan on 12th December 2012. I was delighted to receive this email from Francie Scanlon (Entertainment Secretary)

"Did you hear the applause in the middle of the Welsh night!We did!  Attention was paid to your singular contribution to tonight's Program.  It's wondrous how everything works out and still Life shall never be taken for granted.  Please e-mail me your mailing address - I want to post to you momentoes from the Program.  My best regards and deep appreciation for your considerable personal artistic expression."Francie Scanlon


It's not what you think!

If you're into Christmas ghost stories and want to purchase A Manhattan Ghost Story don't let me stop you - but that's not what this blog is all about.
I have discovered as an aspiring author that it's easier to find recognition abroad than in the UK - especially Wales. The market for my educational products is almost exclusively in the US. I Brexited years ago!
In my experience Wales is, to a great extent, a closed shop, for new and aspiring authors. 
We need to help ourselves and each other.

ENTER TalesFromWales.net

There are many talented writers in Wales.
  • Some aspire to become full-time authors.
  • Some enjoy self publishing as a hobby.
  • Some would like help with the process.
  • Every writer wants a platform for their writing.
For years I've run kindleauthors.blogspot and featured many self published authors and their books. (Click on the link to read one of the more technical posts).
At one point I collaborated with Ceri Shaw (Americymru.net) to produce a bi-annual anthology.  
Sadly ETO appears to have hit the buffers. 
That is why I am creating www.TalesFromWales.net as a home for self published and aspiring writers who are Welsh, based in Wales, have Welsh roots or simply harbour a love of Wales and all things Welsh.


What Will Tales From Wales Offer?

  • A site that will feature you and your books.
  • A site from which you can sell direct if you wish.
  • A site that will offer help and advice via this blog - responding to your questions and requests.
  • A site that enable downloads of your free short stories or extracts to help you get noticed.
  • A community of aspiring and self published authors.
Unity is strength it's also good business sense.
Potential readers and customers are more likely to visit a site where there is plenty of choice. Think how take-aways cluster together in city centres.

If you want more information or just express your interest please email:

philrowlands@talesfromwales.net

TalesFromWales.net will be fully functional very soon - FOLLOW to get the latest update.

What Would You Write for Christmas?

Here's something I wouldn't expect to see written this Christmas. . .  Maybe it's me mutating into a seasonal Humbug but ...