Thursday, 23 December 2010

Happy Christmas to all SANDMAN readers!

I just want to say thank you to all those who have already bought SANDMAN, and particularly those who bought SANDMAN as a Christmas present. It is really great to be able to say: "Merry Christmas to all my readers." Special thanks to those who have reviewed SANDMAN so positively.
I had hoped the Kindle version of SANDMAN would be ready by Christmas. Sadly it seems to be taking a little longer, but it will be available early in the new year.

Monday, 13 December 2010

One Night in Vegas - starring Martyn Lucas

Last night I went to the lovely little Regent Theatre in Wimborne, Dorset, England, to see 'One Night in Vegas' starring Martyn Lucas. I just had to write something about it to tell you about Martyn's tremendous talent. There were more spare seats there than he deserved and, since he comes back each year, I hope there will be fewer spare seats next time. Apart from the orchestra, four dancers and one female vocalist, this is practically a one-man show. But not to worry, Martyn can more than hold the stage, and he is on it, performing, practically all the time. Apart from having a tremendously good and powerful voice, he transforms it effortlessly into the likes of Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Elton John, Elvis, Barry Manilow, Cliff Richard, Michael Jackson and others. Truly, his Elvis is better than many full-time Elvis impersonators, his Michael Jackson, his Elton, they are all truly brilliant. Apparently he had the dream a few years back of getting together his own company to do this shows and Christchurch is privileged to see it given he has performed in London and New York. Check out these credits:
“Voice was Excellent…….” London Palladium
“Michael Buble, Barry Manilow in one, wow…..” New York Times
... but so many more in one, trust me. Go to see this show whenever you get the chance.

Martyn also sang his downloadable release of his composition Anybody Out There which was excellent. Click here for a full list of his MP3 downloads including Unchained Melody and Don't Stop Me Now - enough to stop any pretender!
Martyn's talent - and that of his band - is best illustrated by the genuine requests he plays after the interval. During the interval you can request songs and he gives out dedications and then sings the songs - with the band picking him up. Sheer brilliance. Oh, and I didn't even mention he plays piano as well!

There is a website, but, frankly, it is not anywhere near the standard of the performance. I will not even give you a link because it may well disappoint - which is more than can be said of the show. Go to see that, not the website! What follows is a YouTube snap of the show, but even this does not adequately demonstrate his talent. It does, however, give you a feel for the show. Listening to the demo soundtracks of his MP3 downloads will give you a much better idea of his talent. Trust me: seeing him is best!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Now Actors can become Ageless

Thanks to the advances of technology, real actors can now be digitised, aged or regressed. Yes, it's true! All visual effects need to do now is take a few pictures from which to build a three-dimensional model of a star, and the rest is easy for Digital Domain in Los Angeles. They can superimpose that head onto another body. Jeff Bridges has just been given back his youth for the movie Tron: Legacy, in this way, playing the same character he did in Tron, released in 1982. With minute facial movements recorded digitally, they can be superimposed onto a digital model of his younger self. It actually opens the way for the big names to stay at home and just licence out their image! Somehow, I don't think they would get the same sense of pride at doing that, even if is easy money.

Now they only  need one actor to play themselves from youth to old age instead of many carefully selected actors. The interesting thing about this is that technology could create realistic and really handsome men and beautiful women from a composite of images formed from several different people. But would the public be happy with that? Can anyone fall for a computer creation, for example? And if the did, how sad is that? Even sadder if they think it is a real person they are swooning over.

In years of late, we have seen that you can no longer believe what you see in the film industry - thank goodness, when it comes to those living dinosaurs. Yes, technology is great, but where will it go next? (I live in fear of the cloned-dinosaur, by the way. I don't dare to imagine zoos of the future.)

One thing, at least, seems safe. You can hardly press a button to get a computer to write a novel in an author's style - yet. Writing has always been more labour-intensive than most art forms. Weird then, isn't it, that unless you write a bestseller, you get such a poor financial reward as an author?

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A Big Wedding? Oh yes!

At last the news is out: Prince William and Kate (sorry, 'Catherine') Middleton are engaged. And we hear the Royals are waiting to gauge public opinion as to whether the wedding should be high or low profile. Surely there can be little doubt that everyone wants it to be high. For, in these times of austerity, something happy to look forward to would be a tremendous boost for beleaguered Englishmen and women. Yes, it will cost money, and yes, some will say it is extravagant, but do not overlook the money it will bring to the country from tourists who, of late, have not been so numerous. England is still a great destination, and this will be a timely reminder. The English do the ceremonial sort of thing rather well, and with the focus on the Royal Wedding in 2011, followed by the Olympics in 2012, England will be well and truly on the map again and, hopefully, proud to be there. The visitor boost in 2011 should help with the cash for the Olympics in 2012, and boy, we do need that. The Queen, of course, will have to polish her best tiara and dig deep into her golden purse. But she, of all people, will recognise how this will help boost the Royal's standing once again.

Some have even dubbed this the wedding of the century and, given this is the wedding of a future king and queen, they are probably right. Certainly Kate is pretty enough to take on the mantle of fashion icon, vacant since Princess Diana sadly departed us, and apart from the unhappy fact for Cheryl Cole that the lenses may sometimes turn elsewhere now, Kate looks fit and ready enough to cope with that. Will she last the course? It looks more likely than for former Royal newcomers. The Queen even said '‘It is brilliant news. It has taken them a very long time.’ Just as modern in her talk, Camilla said, 'I'm so happy and so are they. It's wicked.' She spoke as one, no doubt, very pleased to see the big lenses turn the other way. As for Prince Charles, he said, 'About time. They have been practising long enough.' And he should know. William timed the release of the engagement announcement perfectly, waiting until after his critical helicopter training and then, sensitively, until after Armistice Day. No doubt living in remotest Wales his helicopter skills will prove very handy. It's an easy flip to London.

Congratulations to them both. May they have a long and happy marriage. I predict this is one that will actually last. Yes, they've taken their time, but I think they've considered all the angles. I believe Kate will prove a great asset to both the Royal Family and the country. Well done Kate!

Friday, 5 November 2010

New Writers for Old!

Let me introduce you to a fantastic web resource that literally helps you find new writers for old! It is called and it allows you to enter the name of your favourite author, after which it generates a 'map' showing authors similar in style. It is fascinating to watch as the names shuffle into place on the map, with those nearest in style edging closer to your chosen author at the centre of the map. Give it a try! It could map out a whole new world of literature for you, and it is fascinating to watch.

Oh, and if you can spare the time, please can you tell it about 'Ian Kingsley': a new author it has yet to properly discover? It needs lots of votes to convince 'gnod' that I exist. Thank you so much!

How was it for you? Let me know if it opens new horizons.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Help boost your favourite author's books - by clicking Amazon tags

If you like an author's work, there is a very quick and easy way you can help give him/her a vital boost: via 'Amazon tags'. This is a simple way to help make his/her books sell better, and that can only lead to more books from that author!

Just scroll down any Amazon book page and you will eventually find a heading called 'Tags Customers Associate with This Product'. Beneath this are the 'tags' that readers have already associated with that book. (If the link 'see all tags' is there then click this to see them all.) The idea is that when people use search phrases matching these tags, the results will include that particular book; but Amazon takes the number of times a tag is placed against a book as a 'vote' for that tag's validity. As a result, tagging a book by just confirming existing tags helps that book to rise a little higher in relevant search results—and to sell more copies. You can add new tags if you like. Lots of people assume it is pointless tagging if the tag already exists, but this explains that is far from the case.

So, on a personal basis, please, if you enjoyed my novel SANDMAN, it would be really great if you 'tagged' it by confirming as many of the tags you think appropriate. This won't take you a moment—just a few clicks of your time—and those clicks and ticks will go a long way towards making it more likely I will be able to get more novels published in the future through greater sales of SANDMAN. Thank you so much if you can help in this way! Just go to either the American or UK book page for SANDMAN to do this.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

We're helping to train dogs for the disabled. Could you help sponsor one?

In my post of 22nd September 2010, I told how we had lost two dogs in a year to cancer. The house seemed so empty without a dog and we do not yet feel ready to take on another rescue dog, so we're doing something quite different. My wife and I have become socialisers for a charity which trains dogs to help the disabled by doing wonderful things like fetch the phone, unload the washing machine, help dress/undress, take purse to till, push buttons on pedestrian crossings, etc. They are all wonderful golden retrievers, and we get one for anything between a few days and a month. This is prior to their intensive training at 18 months old for 6 months.

We teach them good manners, to be cool with traffic, noises, distrations, strangers, other dogs, to obey basic commands, etc. It is very rewarding. No one keeps them for too long during training to prevent mutual heartbreaks! The downside, of course, is that we cannot become too attached. But the secret is to think of this as having a lot of (very similar) dogs. And when we lose one we gain one. Hopefully we'll see a lot of the same dog over a year, anyway. We only started yesterday, but our first trainee, Mia, is a delight.

Would you like to help sponsor one of these dogs? It costs £5,000 to train a puppy during the first 2 years, and then a further £6,000 for backup during its 10 active working years. Schools and firms often sign-up to sponsor a dog. How about you or yours? Or you can contribute as little as £3 per month as an individual. Please  let me know if you would seriously like to get involved in this and I will give you further information.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Fellow authors: Publish details of your novel on Scribd

I recently discovered Scribd as a high-profile source of books and documents put out in the public domain. It is a really interesting website, and it prompted me to publish an outline and extract of my novel Sandman there. I would suggest other authors do not miss out on this site, given its really high Alexa Ranking: meaning it will gain lots of 'eyeballs'! However, if you just want to get to an extract of 'Sandman' fast, I would suggest you go straight to Sandman on my own website for an easier form.

Gaining online presence is a never-ending task for authors these days and so knowledge of high profile platforms is valuable information. Publishing a reasonable extract from your book makes a lot of sense. I hope this information aids fellow authors to find a great place to do just that.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

20 Little Mysteries of Life

Time for a smile? Here are 20 Little Mysteries of Life. If you know of any better ones (that will also be meaningful in the UK), then please feel free to suggest them and I will update weak mysteries with better ones. (They are not in any particular order.) Revised Mysteries will have an asterisk (*) placed in front of them.

1) Why some Amazon Associates offer used copies of books at up to twice the price of new ones.

2) Why anyone would buy used copies of books at more than new copies.

3) Why celebs you haven't heard of for years are so 'in your face' once they've published their autobiography.

4) Why no one ever parks in Coronation Street unless it is time for their car's annual outing.

5) Why 'Corrie' people have a car when they only use it once a year.

6) Where 'Corrie' people park their cars when they're not using them.

7) Why something will always go wrong if you expect it.

8)  Where Ross and Phoebie live in 'Friends'.

9) Why important Wimbledon tennis matches move between channels so you can't record them if you are out.

10) How children develop selective hearing from such an early age.

11) Why the UK government sees no correlation between sex education given at ever younger ages and an ever increasing number of children born to under-age youngsters.

12) Why payments for works of art are inversely proportional to the time it takes to create them. (For example, a year to write a book, or a morning to compose a pop song.)

13) Why publishers are always looking for something new and fresh yet abhor anything not readily identifiable by genre.

14) Why TV ads are always much louder than programmes.

15) Why children's voices are always so much louder than adult's.

16) Why women think they are logical and men think they are empathetic.

17) Why it is impossible to pick the shortest queue.

18) Why only English children are born with an innate ability to queue.

19) Why the diameter of a lad's car's exhaust is inversely proportional to their brain power.

20) Why dogs are born to chase cats.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Dogs have such a special place in your heart

Our wonderfully loving rescue dog Meg died a few months back after nearly nine wonderful years with us. She was always there, watching us lovingly. She was a German-Shepherd-Whippet cross. I used to joke she was a 'quick thinker'. She used to love putting her paw in your hand and would do it endlessly if she had the chance. Her point of loving contact. She has the German-Shepherd sensitivity and brain, mostly the whippet body, and was a placid soul (except in the car, when she got excited at any prospect of it stopping and a walk following). She died of cancer. It was horrible.

Around 6 weeks later we took on another rescue dog, Russ, a beautiful border collie with a superb glossy black coat. He was 10 and loved - and lived - to play and swim. We were looking for a 3 year-old dog but Russ won our heart. He loved to put his chin on you and would go to great lengths to achieve that. His point of loving contact. He would bring his ball right back to your feet all the time and then grin, as if saying, 'Come on, let's do it again, Dad.' His only problem was he had lived in the country and was not used to other dogs. I had to train him not be fearful of them. He had just about got over that problem. I think he probably had a history of fly-ball or something similar, because he always went 0-60 mph in around 4 seconds! He didn't know how to do anything slowly. It had worn out his rear hip joints somewhat and it turned out he had a slight spinal problem as well. He also got an aggressive form of cancer and, as a result,  because all zest for life suddenly went and only pain remained, he had to be put to sleep yesterday.

Another wonderful and loving companion gone. Far too quickly. But we were privileged to enjoy his wonderful personality for that short time and he - and we - had loads of fun together. So intelligent. So obedient.

Dogs have such a special place in your heart. We so miss them both.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Hot Dog!

It may be obvious by now that I am rather keen on dogs - well, most dogs, that is. So I want to tell you about Barney, a collie cross, who works for the Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service. (Click here to see a picture of him and his owner, Kerry Burns (yes, that really is her name; how appropriate!). Barney wears special little boots so he can safely tread through the dangerous remains of fire damaged building sniffing out for signs of arson. He can identify 12 different flammable liquids and is a real specialist: there are only 16 other fire dogs working in the whole of the UK. Since qualifying in 2006, Barney has sniffed out 286 fire scenes. Dogs have a far superior sense of smell than electronic equipment, so Barney is invaluable. His other job is as a 'fire prevention ambassador' when schoolchildren visit his fire station.

Barney's success is down to highly skilled training. His drive and determination means he can work at fire scenes not readily accessible to human fire investigators. Now eight, Barney is soon to retire gracefully and relax as Kerry's much loved pet. Knowing collies, he likes his work. So I wonder if he's really looking forward to  hanging up his boots.

So, there you go, never underestimate a collie. Which is worth pointing out, given one plays a really important role in my book Sandman.

Friday, 13 August 2010

My novel, 'SANDMAN', is now available to purchase

My novel, 'SANDMAN' is now available to order. Yes! At last we got there. For details of this psychologcal thriller and how to buy it, please click here. I hope it will at least get into the shops near the real location in Dorset, England, during August, but if you are interested, just order it now from Amazon or any good bookshop.

The unreadable stuff near the bottom of the cover image shown right  is the following endorsement from Sophie King, bestselling author of The Wedding Party:

'A gripping psychological read with characters that reach out and grab you. A real page-turner.'

(Thanks a lot for that, Sophie!)

Here is a copy of the rear cover blurb:

Lazing through hot summer days at their beach hut, life seems just about perfect for the Vincent family - until their peace is shattered by murder. An incident between Paul Vincent and Stevie Clarke - an unbalanced beachcomber known by some as 'The Sandman' - leads Paul to inform the police he believes Clarke is the murderer. This provokes frightening and prolonged reprisals against the family from Clarke. Matters deteriorate further when Leah, Paul’s teenage daughter, unwittingly reveals evidence to the police that implicates her own father. This gripping psychological thriller places turbulent emotions in stark contrast to beautiful surroundings, testimony to the fragile nature of tranquility.

*   *   *
‘SANDMAN touches our primary emotions: jealousy, love, fear, guilt, hatred, and grief... Kingsley has written an intriguing mystery/psychological thriller with interesting, believable and well-developed characters. There are twists, turns, red herrings, and a healthy dose of hair-raising fear and suspense to keep even the most fickle reader captivated. The dialogue is authentic, and, along with the scene-painting narrative, you’ll feel like you’re on the beach witnessing the unfolding action’

-WILLIAM POTTER, Reader’s Choice Book Reviews

* * *

The author's website,, reveals the beautiful settings used for this novel at Mudeford Sandbank and Hengistbury Head in Dorset, England.

* * *

Please check this novel out. Thanks! If you buy it, I do hope you enjoy it - and that I hear from you!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Mudeford Sandbank and Christchurch Contacts Sought in connection with my Novel: 'SANDMAN'

My novel SANDMAN, set at Mudeford Sandbank, Hengistbury Head and Christchurch, will be available later in August 2010. I would love to hear from anyone with a website covering these areas with a view to offering reciprocal links (bringing 'eyeballs' rather than 'ranking').

I shall also be including a few advertisements from local establishments (eg B&B, hotels, cafes, and stuff to interest tourists), so please also contact me if this is of interest; it will help boost my small marketing budget for the novel! Check out my author website at to see what I am talking about!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Writing a Sherlock Holmes Story is More Than Elementary

I really enjoyed the first episode in the new series of 'Sherlock' on BBC 1 last Sunday called: A Study in Pink. It was billed as 'Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson's adventures in 21st Century London. A thrilling, funny, fast-paced contemporary remake of the Arthur Conan Doyle classic,' an assessment with which I would wholeheartedly agree. Conan Doyle was brilliant at concocting the cleverness of Holmes, and the writers of this series are to be congratulated on not only being able to equal that skill, but to do so with so much underlying humour and in a way that it works in a 2010 setting. Brilliant work from Doctor Who writer/producer Steven Moffat and actor/writer Mark Gatiss for their action-packed production.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the role of Holmes brilliantly - although the superhuman pace of his delivery when explaining his deductions does force the mind to flounder while trying to catch up: a problem, I suppose, anyone might have when trying to keep up with Holmes. Martin Freeman plays the part of Dr. Watson, fresh from military service in Afganistan, amazed - nay mesmerised - by the brilliant deductions of his new friend Holmes. In this modern incarnation, Holmes acts as a private detective - or 'consultant' detective as he prefers to call it, when helping out the bumbling police. (Lestrade does seem a shade too fawning for a modern police inspector, however, although this is mitigated slightly be a policewoman who keeps telling Watson what a freak Holmes is.) We are told Homes doesn't get paid for this 'consultancy' work, which I slightly worry about. What is the source of his income in this mercenary world? I reckon that if he is so bright, he would be making something out of his talent rather than just 'getting off' on the excitement.

Watch out for the next two episodes!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Is there anyone out there?

It has just been announced that the space telescope 'Kepler', which has been scanning the skies for planets that are orbiting stars since it was launched in January last year, has already detected more than 100 Earth-like planets in just the  last few weeks. Now since this is not April 1st, I assume we can assume this is scientific 'cenrtainty': so far as anything is ever certain in science. This should give a boost to sci-fi authors. Even more incredible is that, according to this Daily Mail report, scientists now believe that there are likely to be around 100 million planets in the Milky Way which harbour exactly the right conditions for life - And they expect to be able to identify around 60 of these habitable Earth-like planets within the next two years! Richard Branson is no doubt already dreaming about the day he will be able to offer a passenger service to some of them. I wonder if these worlds are as 'taxing' as ours?

So, maybe we are not quite as unique as we thought. Actually, since the human race is best at destroying itself and its habitable world, it might be better for the universe if we are unique.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Raoul Moat - Stranger than Fiction

From the name to the aftermath of the death of Raoul Moat, the story is stranger than fiction. The character called 'Stevie' in my novel 'Sandman' is a weird fellow, not quite right in the head, and he can be pretty scary, but fiction could not have created a more threatening and dysfunctional man than Moat. As for the aftermath, where Siobhan O'Dowd thought it was 'funny' that Moat had managed to evade capture from police for more than a week and established the internet shrine to him, and a trader on eBay is sick enough to cash-in and sell ‘Moaty’ T-shirts depicting his face, this really is stranger than any novelist would try to get away with in fiction as the aftermath of a murder and suicide. Why? It is too unbelievable. Yet that is life, stranger than fiction, and some people just are unbelievable. Imagine what such actions mean to relatives of those affected by Moat’s violence.

It is all too sad that, when a man knows he is going off the rails, nothing is done to help him due to a real ‘Catch-22’ situation. Moat must have indicated he thought he was going a bit crazy to many of his friends and colleagues, but they would have reckoned he could not be if he could be so rational about it: Catch -22 to a tee. Apparently he made appointments for psychological treatment but did not keep them. Crazy, or what? Yet no one took the necessary steps or realised just how much help he was crying out for. Perhaps that was the one extra step that should have been taken by those who just sat back when he did not keep any of those appointments.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Cover Proofs for my debut novel 'SANDMAN' approved

I have just had a few days off - relaxing at home and taking a few trips in the beautiful Dorset countryside - including a visit to Hengistbury Head and Mudeford Sandbank, both locations used in my thriller called 'Sandman'.

It was fitting that as soon as I got back to work I found an email from my publisher with page proofs of the 'Sandman' cover. Here it is:

Since I have approved this, all the files will now be sent by the publisher to the printer - at last after so long working on this project; serious (re)work on this began in March 2009. Not that the work stops here, of course. Marketing is required by all authors in the present age of cost constraints: not always the best bit for authors who just want to write! So when the book is out, please buy a copy and tell friends about it if you like it. That will make it much easier for me to get my second book published. Just click here if you would like to read more about this psychological thriller - and its real locations on the beautiful south coast of England.

Understand the doggie mind

I have been the owner of rescue dogs for well over 20 years and I have to say that my knowledge of them at the beginning was poor, to say the least. We did not really understand our first dog, Bruno, very well, but our second dog, Meg, taught us a lot. Since then I have studied dog behaviour and can see where we used to go wrong, and I have learned how to approach training in a more informed way. I am therefore publishing a number of dog-related articles on my website to encourage more informed ownership, and you can see them listed here. If you are a first-dog owner, I hope it will be of particular value.

The first dog article I published on my author website was on stopping your dog pulling on the lead, and the second, published today, is on better understanding the dog's mind. I have included a comparision between the nature of a human and dog brain to emphasise why a dog relates to connections as opposed to reasoning. I hope you find it interesting.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Create your own website - with the minimum of tears

I am fortunately experienced enough to be able to create my own website from scratch - as I did with my travel website - although it was a hard learning-curve. But when I wanted to create my author website,, I decided it might be worthwhile investigating easier methods since the site would be considerably smaller. As a result I ended up trying out quite a lot of 'website builders': websites offering you the means of creating a website without getting involved in the background technicalities (such as HTML, cascading stylesheets, etc).

In the end, none were quite right for me, because I had some very specific needs involving interaction and random page text generation, but they would be suitable for most people who just want to create a simple first website with the minimum of tears: whether personal or business. I therefore decided to write a couple of articles to help you assess which might be best for you. If this interests you, I invite you to read Simple website generation using website builders.

If you can use a word processor, then using most of these website builders is not much more difficult. Most of them allow you to try them out for free, and this is a great way to find out which one suits you before you invest considerable time and effort. My articles are designed to minimise the time it will take you. I do hope you find them useful. The great thing about website builders is that you generally start out with a professional looking template and no one need guess you did it yourself.

A personal website is a must today for any published author, since it provides a hub where all your other online presence points; the website then becomes you point-of-sale, where you can place your sales pitch. As such, it should be the first thing you create: even it if is only a page or so, at first. It will give you the chance to buy your own long-term domain name and thereby get all your other online presence to pointing to this. That way, even if you change the method you use to edit your website, or your web host, everything will already be set up for you and you will never loose any older links.

I wish you the best of luck creating your own website.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Stop Your Dog Pulling on the Lead

If your dog tows you along it its wake, it is time to do something about it. If you always let it go way ahead of you on an extending lead, Fido probably thinks you've promoted him to Pack Leader, so he will always want to do that. You need him by your side and under control. Long-leads have their place, but that is not while walking along the pavement/sidewalk when you should have better control. More likely, however, is he is just so eager to get to the park he can't wait for you. You need to make him realise pulling is not the best plan.

Methods to stop this include stopping suddenly, then waiting for the lead to go slack before starting again, turning around to reverse the expected progress, treat training combined with the above, click treat training, or using one of the really kind and effective non-pull harnesses on the market - but not the 'wrong ones' which can injure your dog.

I've posted an article on my website on this subject which suggests 5 detailed solutions - including the harness details! I hope this helps you get to enjoy your doggie-walks a whole lot more! For the full article go to:

Friday, 2 July 2010

The singing dancing crazy dog

I've seen some clever dogs around, but how about this? Singing and dancing to 'It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time':

That's all folks!

Authors: reject rejections!

No wannabe author needs telling it is hard to find a publisher. Most give up after a few rejections. But you cannot get there if you let rejections put you down. Let's face it, times are tough in the publishing world and a mainstream publisher really only wants to take the risk of a new author if he can see big bucks. As for an agent, his 10-15% is only of your much smaller bucks, so he or she is even harder to convince.

It is therefore heartwarming to tell the story of a young mother called Marina Fiorato who did not give up, despite her first book being rejected by every major British publisher. She has now gained a £125,000 advance for her current novel and its follow-up in the States, plus a similar deal in Germany. Her historical tale The Glassblower of Murano, set in Venice, was eventually bought by small independent UK publisher Beautiful Books and has gone on to become a bestseller in 21 languages. Marina has also been commissioned to write a movie screenplay for the book by a US producer. This is plain evidence that rejection should not be taken as a valid criticism of your work - unless, of course, there are actual words of warning within the rejection. (If there are, take some heed, for someone in the publishing world is trying to help you.)

I know all about this from personal experience. One publisher even told me a submission I made was the best she had ever received: at the same time as turning it down as 'not for her'! So hang in there and one day your route to publication will be found. Just make sure what you have written is worth the persistence, though, by getting feedback in the form of a professional critique: maybe on just the first three chapters, to keep the cost down. Professionals can tell a lot from that. Or post it on a peer review website and see what the feedback from there is like. Personally, I think this kind of unbiased feedback is far more valuable than hurried feedback from friends in  a writers' group, for they probably won't want to offend, and may have given far too little time, anyway, to truly digest your work. For similar reasons, family feedback is usually not very valuable. Peer review authors wanted to read your work, and professionals are paid to read your work. Both, hopefully, have a better idea than friends of what is publishable.

I used a peer review website for the early version of SANDMAN - although the working title then was 'Brief Respite'. Like everyone else, I got good and bad feedback, but thankfully the good encouraged and some of the bad helped me to improve. Build up confidence you have a good MS to offer, then keep at it. A rejection is merely someone declining to go into business partnership with you. Or think of it as someone who would not lift your book off the shelf in a bookshop - and then realise that most readers would not lift the majority of books of that same bookshelf, simply because it was not their thing; that hardly reflects on all the other authors represented on the shelves, does it?

Yes, rejection hurts. But, as an author, you need to harden up and get realistic, it's all part of the process.  You need to learn to reject rejection as personal criticism and hang in there. Success will be all the sweeter.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Show Not Tell - unless your fame lets you off the hook!

The well-known adage 'show, not tell', is constantly bandied on creative writing courses and in articles on writing fiction. I fully agree this is very sound advice. It is therefore most frustrating when you read highly successfully authors who 'tell, not show'. So why do they do this? Probably because it is far easier, and amidst their signing tours and talks, it becomes increasingly more difficult to actually find the time to write. My article on this subject, Show not tell—for starters! proves the point by taking a couple of examples from a very well-established crime writer.

The fact is that many famous writers get away with 'telling', and this can be very misleading to wannabe novelists. (Telling was the traditional way to tell stories, in any case.) The reason why you should take the 'show, not tell' advice very seriously as an author is that publishers demand it of a debut novelist: because it shows they have real writing ability. Once you start 'telling' the reader stuff then you come to the forefront as the author and it tends to ruin what publishers call the 'suspension of disbelief'. If you show the same information through the eyes or mind of a character, however, your authorial presence remains remote and the reader can become more deeply involved in the story. Follow the old adage and your reader will be happier - as will your potentional publishers.

Check out my article for a more detailed treatise, with examples.

Two Little Bibles for Writers

I have been referring to Hart's Rules for Compositors and Readers for years. This little book clarifies those uncertainties when it comes to typographical subtleties. Although equally well established, I have only recently discovered The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. This provides some excellent advice on how to write well, and in a concise manner; appropriately, the book itself is very concise. So I would recommend both of these little books to be on any serious writer's bookshelf, especially any self-publishers on whom the burden of perfection now truly falls. It is interesting that both these works have been around for many years.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Synergise New Feature on Oregon Caves

I have just spend the morning editing my travel site and publishing the latest feature article on the Oregon Caves National Monument by Randy Kohl. They sound to be quite an experience. Over here in England it is considerably warmer than the 7°C of the caves. If you're anywhere near Oregon, this looks like an attraction well worth a visit.

Life is Good especially for the Wren!

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the air is fresh, and even getting back to work after a week's break in Wales, near the Elan Valley, is not so bad as I take a coffee break and sit on the swinging seat in the garden for a moment. A blackbird is building a nest under the arbour by the kitchen and a wren is busy preparing to nest in one of the two nesting boxes right outside my garden office window - yes, a wren, not the tit family as planned and who have raised there family nearby. Last year there was a brood of coal tits in the same box but this year they have decided to take lodgings elsewhere, leaving a vacancy - despite much examination and discussion. So it is great to see the latecoming wren showing considerable interest. I was most surprised and couldn't believe my eyes. Lots of stuff being taken in. Perhaps it was because I was away for a week and the garden was quiet that it decided to nest there. I do hope my presence will not put it off this week! As I sit at my desk I can watch the space near the box out of the corner of my eye. Oh yes, there you are again! Make the bed well!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Welcome to my Blog!

Hi. Welcome to my blog. It's pretty empty right now because I 'm just setting things up. But to find out more about me and my debut novel 'SANDMAN', please visit my website

This atmospheric novel is a psychological thriller set in and around Christchurch and Mudeford Sandbank, on the south coast of England. My website includes a lot of information about this real setting. Others have said my style lies somewhere between Ian McEwan and Minette Walters. I wouldn't comment on that. My style is just my style. Although my debut novel is a psychological thriller, my next planned novel is very different. My output is always likely to be eclectic to stave off boredom - I could never write a series - but it will always focus on character: with a good plot to give the novel direction.

Ian Kingsley is a pseudonym: because no one can ever spell my real surname correctly! I have published 5 previous non-fiction books (long ago) but my ambition, from a child, has always been to write fiction. At last!