Tuesday, 26 July 2011

If Choke Hold were a movie, Tarantino would direct

Sometimes you start to despair of the way women are portrayed in fiction. Even when they're the police officers in charge of major investigations they tend to be weighed down by child care arrangements and will they or won't they get it on with that colleague? You don't get that with male characters.
At times it seems that women are only defined by two things: motherhood and their relationships.
How refreshing it is therfore to read a book like Choke Hold by Christa Faust where the woman in it, the brilliantly named Angel Dare, is a person in her own right. She's not looking for the man of her dreams or looking to be a baby mamma. She just wants to stay alive and is feisty enough to do all she can, including using violence if need be.
If you think Choke Hold is the book for you, I've reviewed it at Shadowlocked. There's also a link in the review that will direct you to an excerpt so you can try before you buy.
This book is worth the money for the cover alone.
Released on 7th October 2011, priced £7.99

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Time saving devices cost you time

Don’t get me started on modern technology that’s supposed to save you time.

Yesterday, I was out and about when inspiration struck and I thought rather than doing what I normally do and writing in the notepad I carry around with me, that I would use the Notes facility in my Nokia 5800 Xpress Music mobile phone. That way when I got home I could synch it with my laptop as I’d done countless times before.

I tried it and the thing wouldn’t work. So, I went online looking for trouble shooting guides – you know the one the manufacturer didn’t think would be helpful to include with the phone.

Nothing seemed to work.

Five hours later, I’m snapping at my partner who’s only trying to help and have visions of taking a hammer to the phone and smashing it to bits, before setting it on fire.

In the end I did a factory reset and set everything up again from scratch.

Time consuming? Yes.  Did I get any writing done? Nah. I guess these time saving devices aren't as time saving as they claim.

A word to the wise to Nokia and anyone else making electronic devices: if you have a manual it’d better be concise. You know one that actually has a trouble shooting guide on it, instead of space being taken up with things like ‘don’t let your phone overheat’ (do they honestly think I was going to send it to the sauna) and ‘how to switch it on’ (doh, that’s too high tech for me).

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Some useful things every writer should have

A scanner pen
These are ieal for scanning text you need for research purposes and for working out the word count of articles and books. I have an Iris pen, but there are many more on the market.
Tip – make sure it will work on your operating system. For instance the Iris pen I have was bought when I had Windows XP, but it does work with my new Windows 7 laptop (although itv won't scan as much text as it would in XP)

A netbook/ipad
Perfect for those occasions when you want to travel light, but anticipate that you will be doing some writing.

A notepad with a light
Perfect when your OH is asleep and doesn’t want to be awakened by you scribbling down details of how to mutilate one of your characters.
A subscription to a writing magazine
Every single book I have had published (five so far and two on the way, including my first novel) has been down to reading about markets looking for writers in Writers’ News. It’s available on subscription although it comes with Writing Magazine. It’s a UK magazine, but they allow subscribers from abroad. Wherever you live there is bound to be a writing magazine.

Notepads and pens scattered around the house
Where do you get your best ideas: probably when you’re not sitting at your desk actually working? I have notepads and pens scattered around my house, including in the bathroom. There is nothing worse than coming up with a fantastic idea for an article or a scene in your book and not being able ro write it down.

Membership of a writers messageboard
Who else knows what its like to write, to send manuscripts to publishers and magazines and get a no? To have family who don't understand why you write? Other writers that's who. I belong to a site called Talkback and people are so helpful and friendly.

A dead Fred
To get me in the mood for writing crime I have a dead Fred pen holder. Reminds me of the outline of a body at a crime scene.

Some visual aids
To help me know where my characters are at any given time I use B Movie action figures that I bought on Amazon. Childish? Maybe, but when I’m writing about a group of characters I can tell where they all are.
Tip – Other, normal people may use pictures they’ve cut out of magazines and catalogues and say ‘this is what my character Bob looks like.’

A wee, happy dug to chase around the room
Writers can neglect their exercise. Having a dog who likes to be chased around the room at all times of the day and the night is the perfect way to make sure you don’t spend too much time on your fast expanding derriere.


DI Duncan Waddell - Detective in a Coma Book 2

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