Tuesday, 28 October 2008

The Bait Shack by Harry Hughes - Out Now

Unemployed whiz kid Dale Cooles struggles to save his marriage and his sanity when his previously charmed life’s turned topsy turvy by a cadre of killers and clowns.

Dale and wife Lacy – daughter of an eccentric but filthy rich Tennessee lumber magnate – unwittingly adopt into their domestic wrangle Twist, the brain-damaged orphan, and Lieutenant Revels, the beat-weary yet determined conservation officer seeking revenge for Lacy’s unscrupulous boss’s part in the mysterious extinction of rare birds on a prime piece of real estate.

And then there are the other extinctions ... the human ones.

In the parade of offbeat characters in Hughes’ ingenious and ’90s-set street smart black comedy of crime, we meet cutthroat businessman Henry Meredith, out for what he can get, psycho hitman Connie Jablonski, out for what he can hurt, mobster Johnny Avalino, greedy to enhance the value of his beach-front property by any means, Nancy Littlecrow, the shameless and cagey Native American attorney who gives new meaning to the term ‘Indian Affairs’, Seymour L. Bram, the retired and retiring Air Force Major suffering from chronic depression and delusions of easy money, Duncan Slochbauer, the slovenly and obsessed amateur producer of grisly news videos ...

And we don’t quite meet poor Karen Kern and the faceless others who might have crossed the path of a crazed and kinky serial killer nobody seems to have noticed lurking somewhere in Hughes’ uniquely colourful dramatis personae.

Harry Hughes takes noir to a new level. Wry, classy, compelling, and utterly hysterical. Think Iain Pears crossed with Martin Amis. Dale and Lacy make an endearing team of anti-heroes in a world showing its true colours. Magdalena Ball. The Compulsive Reader

A stunning first novel. An up-to-date take on the classic American murder mystery. Harry Hughes tells his suspenseful story in quick-paced and colorful prose and creates dozens of sharply drawn characters, including Dale Cooles, an unforgettable anti-hero in the Philip Marlowe tradition. Michael Lydon. Author. Co-founder of Rolling Stone Magazine

Read an extract from The Bait Shack

About the Author

Purchase: paperback | eBook

Title: The Bait Shack
Author: Harry Hughes
Print ISBN: 978-1-905202-92-8
eBook ISBN: 978-1-904492-93-5
Page count: 264
Release Date: 28th October 2008

Distributors: Bertram Books, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, Ingrams

BeWrite Books are available from: BeWrite Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones and other online booksellers and to order from high street bookshops.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Developing an Internet Presence: Book Trailers

Book Trailers

Book trailers are to authors what music videos were to the rising musical talents in the early 1980s. Why were music videos so successful? They were innovative and engaged the viewer using the power of site and sound. Although we see more and more book trailers being used today, they are still a popular 30-90 second book promotional tool that has the same power to draw a viewer in and capture their imag
ination. The question is, if the video is bad, can it hurt the success of the book? There are thousands of samples to view. Take a few minutes to view a selection and make note of what attracts you to each sample and what turns you off.

An effective book trailer will stimulate viewers through pictures, text, color, and music.

Don’t try to fit the book blurb into the trailer. Consider the recent movie trailers you’ve watched. They only hit on the key points of the film, not every detail of the action. Highlight the major plot twists without giving the story away. Another reason to avoid lengthy narratives is that viewers want to watch the trailer, not read long sentences. Use 2-3 key words per frame tops. A 90-second trailer can have anywhere from 18-21 frames depending on the viewing length of each frame or how long each frame will remain on the screen. Decide on key words or phrases that will peak the viewer’s interest. Make every frame count with appropriate, thought-provoking p
hotographs or other images. Choose color(s) that reflect the mood of your book and use it as a theme that ties it all together along with an appropriate piece of music.

Pacing is a crucial component of matching the images and text to the music. Just as the writer uses pace to slow down the action or build suspense, the tempo of the music should be used in the same man
ner. The right combination can spark an emotional reaction from the viewer which is the goal of any such promotional tool and will hopefully trigger the impulse to buy the book.

Possibly the hardest part of creating a book trailer is timing – make sure every frame fits the music within 90 seconds or less. Be sure you use only copyright/royalty free photographs and music. Here is one site to find free downloadable photographs http://www.sxc.hu/home. There are similar sites for music too.

Of course you could pay to have a book trailer created, but Microsoft Word has a feature called Movie Maker that works just fine for those who are interested creating one themselves. Once the trailer is done, save it to the web using one of the servers that supports Movie Maker. Mydeo is one of them and costs around $10 a month for unlimited viewing. Once completed, the book trailer can be downloaded onto your website and any number of websites sites that allow authors to download videos, such as, Gathers, Myspace, your personal blog(s), Youtube, NING groups, and Google. Add a link to your signature line on e-mails, etc. It’s another great promotional tool to save on a CD to include with your media kits.
  1. Developing an Internet Presence: An Author's Website
  2. Developing an Internet Presence: The Public Author
  3. Developing an Internet Presence: Book Trailers
  4. Developing an Internet Presence: Spread the Word
  5. Developing an Internet Presence: Virtual Book Tours
  6. Developing an Internet Presence: The Hometown Advantage
Marta Stephens, a native of Argentina but a life-long resident of the American Midwest, began her career as a fiction writer in 2003. This evolved into a life-changing passion that has led to the birth of her Sam Harper Crime Mysteries and her debut novel, Silenced Cry. She runs the popular Murder by 4 blog along with her fellow crime authors at Murder by 4. She also has several short stories and flash fictions to her credit.

Marta's debut novel, Silenced Cry, was published by BeWrite Books in 2007. Watch the Silenced Cry trailer here.

Her second novel, The Devil Can Wait, was published November 2008.

Friday, 17 October 2008

ALLAKAZZAM by Daniel Abelman review

"A very good read.

Subtitled “Man, Myth and Magic in Lightest Africa”, this is a wickedly funny – but oh-so-perceptive – journey into the realities which compound Jewish/South African identity, as embodied by Abelman himself.

We follow him through a maze of cul-de-sacs and byways from the African bush to Jerusalem, via Germany, resolving endless riddles that blur the lines between history, the present, fact and fantasy. Abelman’s breathless pace, boundless imagination and wit dazzle the reader, but the authenticity of his characters rings loudly, and ominously, through the chaos.

The book includes three short stories which poignantly underline the book’s theme, and illustrations by Catherine Edmunds."

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Out Now!

The Jealousies by Benjamin Stainton

"Ben Stainton's incisive poems take us back to what we think are familiar places … There seem to be no barriers. Life, death, location, the inner workings of the body, blood and skin are all seamlessly accessed, sometimes all at once … These tasty, gourmet poems satisfy our less familiar appetites." Greg Cox

"Inspirational … a truly great poetic read."
Lisa Stewart

"Brilliant, original, evocative, vivid … wonderfully sinister and often very beautiful."
Jane Darwin

Win a free copy of The Jealousies signed by Benjamin Stainton by simply adding a comment to the topic on Facebook here

We will chose a winner at random from those who post a comment by Thursday 16th October 2008.

Read an extract from The Jealousies here

Title: The Jealousies

Author: Benjamin Stainton

Print ISBN: 978-1-905202-96-2

eBook ISBN: 978-1-904492-97-3

Page count:152

Release Date: 9th October 2008


Bertram Books, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, Ingrams

BeWrite Books are available from:

BeWrite Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones and other online booksellers and to order from high street bookshops.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Peter Tomlinson - The Genre Strike

One Author Who Believes Pigeon Holes Are For The Birds - Part Two

Read Part One here

Peter’s road to print was long, winding and frequently pot-holed. Born in a working class district of Merseyside, UK six months before the outbreak of World War II, he retains some hazy memories of the blitz he lived through.

“I vaguely remember my mother cradling me in a blanket and telling me that the ‘all clear’ would be heard soon and we would be safe again.”

His father joined the Royal Navy and served throughout the war on destroyers and mine-layers, returning home in 1945 a virtual stranger to Peter. Meanwhile, Peter was evacuated with his mother and elder brother to a remote hill farm in North Wales to escape the blitz, and that is where his vivid memory begins.

“I well remember the sheepdog and the farm animals and I have a pictorial recollection of being left on the edge of the field whilst my mother helped the farmers with haymaking. There is also a recurring infant memory of a distant mountain that seemed very remote and mysterious.”

There was no electricity, gas or piped water in the family’s evacuation home so that much time was spent collecting wood for the fire. Whilst in the safety of North Wales they knew that their home town was being heavily bombed and that relatives were in constant danger. It was inevitable that the anxieties their mother felt were inadvertently transmitted to her children.

When the war ended, the family was re-housed back on Merseyside in one of the emergency prefabricated houses (prefabs) on a cleared bomb site opposite a pawn shop. Peter received the minimum education and often ran wild with other kids in the wasteland of bombed-out buildings and post-war dereliction.

He has only two clear memories of his junior schooling: fear of being wrong and the embarrassment of a recurring stutter, a disability suffered by many wartime children. Perhaps this early communication difficulty led him to retreat into his own imagination.

It was during his brief secondary schooling that his interest in storytelling began. Often, when the teacher was engaged in administrative tasks, Peter was called out to stand in front and tell the class a story. It was terrifying at first, but he gradually mastered his stutter and enjoyed the task. This happened so often that making up stories on the spur of the moment became second nature to him.

He left school aged fifteen and worked briefly in a shipyard before finding a job as a telegraph boy at an American Cable Company’s station in Liverpool. They trained him as an operator and taught him the telegraph man’s economy and precision in the use of language. They also trained him to touch type, a skill useful to an author. In fact he can still type as fast as he can speak.

His main recreational interest at the time was mountaineering and rock climbing. He associated with a group of free-spirited, rebellious young people who regularly hitch-hiked to North Wales, slept in old barns and tents that fell down whenever the wind blew, and involved themselves in poetry, heavy drinking and deep discussions by candlelight.

Peter was a very early member of the Cavern Club in Liverpool. But these carefree years ended at the age of eighteen with conscription into the British Army. Peter resented the curtailment of his freedom and the discipline, bull and homesickness played heavily on him. Years later he published a poem recalling those feelings:

Conscription 1958-60

Barracked and confined
in drab wooden huts
with the smoke of cheap cigarettes,
smells of adolescent sweat
and scant privacy.

Tethered to an unfamiliar routine,
a world of harsh discipline,
contrived discomfort
and coarse khaki roughening skin,
chasing any kind word or praise
amidst insults and humiliations
embarrassingly endured.

Cold, always cold
in those slow, homesick,
day-counting weeks
in alien Catterick.

An ache filled the space
where our freedom once was,
where fettered youth could no longer run.

Then ranked in tight marching order
and dispatched as props for a dying empire
with mum’s fears, dad’s knowing eye
and daft words like: ‘It does them good’.

© Peter Tomlinson – first published in Reach Magazine

As a wireless operator, Peter spent eighteen months in Cyprus. It was here that his serious interest in poetry really began. It was often too dangerous for young soldiers to venture far from their army camp but he was able to wander freely in the nearby deserted ruins of an ancient Greek city and give his vivid imagination free rein. Often he put his thoughts on paper and years later he worked these into published poems.

Another three or four carefree years passed after demobilisation before he went to college and university and pursued an academic career.

After early retirement, he worked for a few years as a cultural guide overseas, leading tours on foot in Rome, Venice, Florence, Assisi, Verona, Istanbul etc. What he saw and what he learned was to find its way into the fictional land he created for Petronicus and his descendents.

Since achieving his ambition to take time to write, he has published hundreds of poems in scores of magazines. Success came to him when Bluechrome published his first commercially produced poetry collection Tunnels of the Mind, which received favourable reviews.

In an effort to present even more work to readers, his wife, Margaret, suggested self-publishing under their own imprint, Hengist Enterprises. This launched four collections of poetry, two collections of short stories and two collections of original epigrams.

Peter read his poetry at numerous poetry festivals. At the Oxford Poetry Festival he had a chance conversation with a friend, the well known British author and poet, Sam Smith, who suggested submitting work to his own publisher, Bewrite Books.

Neil Marr – who edits both Peter and Sam’s work for BeWrite Books – said: “It was a fortuitous meeting. Sam is another author whose writing refuses to be pigeon-holed. It courageously crosses genre lines or, like Peter’s, absolutely defies all genre definition.

“The sheer scope of Peter’s books is breath-taking. He’s the only author I know who can produce an epic in a tight 80,000 words.”

Many of Peter’s ideas for poems and novels come to him whilst he roams wild and lonely places; the Shropshire hills and forests, the mountains of North Wales, the Lake District and the Alps. He finds that the restful rhythm of solitary walking removes his thoughts from the futile imperatives of modern life and provides an easy conduit for ideas to flow into his receptive mind. His wife Margaret acts as an at-home editor, paying meticulous attention to his manuscripts, ensuring clarity, correct use of grammar and making sure a good clean copy is sent to his publishers.

Margaret says: “After we’ve had breakfast and discussed our plans for the day, Peter settles down to the intensive daily writing session. He is very self-disciplined about this and not even the lure of a visit to the supermarket can drag him away. Slips of paper with cryptic words litter the house as ideas enter Peter’s head and he scribbles them down before forgetting them. This can happen at awkward times: I’ve even found messages on the loo roll!

“He freely admits to living in a dream world and it can be disconcerting living with a daydreamer. Not only does he forget important things I’ve told him, but he forgets what he’s told me. Is this the onset of senility or the flame of genius burning bright?

“Despite these drawbacks, I think that Peter’s writing has drawn us closer. I am full of admiration for his creativity and feel privileged to be involved in the process, especially when we discuss ideas and language, although the dots and commas department is where I really feel important.

“Entering into the dream world is the best of all: during our recent travels to Iceland and Greenland we were both fired with delight at recognising scenes from Petronicus – the Land of the Towering Rocks, the Land of the Bubbling Mud, the Mountains that hold up the Sky. Peter had created them in his mind before we saw for ourselves that they actually existed in the real world.”

Interview by Alexander James

Interview first appeared in Twisted Tongue Magazine

Read an excerpt from The Stones of Petronicus, The Time of Kadrik, The Voyages of Delticos

Visit The Petronicus Legacy site

Click here for Peter Tomlinson's biography