Sunday, 22 June 2014

In defence of indie authors

There is unfortunately a down by many people (including a few indie authors) who will always go out of there way to bring a fellow hard working indie author down. I find it quite sad that these authors spark off about other authors, when in actual fact their own work badly needs professional editing and proofreading. This attitude does pull the indie market down. In my opinion it's a case of people in glass houses, should never throw stones.
I would never criticise a fellow author ever. I think to do it on an open forum is plain wrong. I would definitely not give them advice in a review. That is not the idea of reviews! Why on earth continue to read a book if the editing is that bad? I know I would return it for a refund. Anyway, you normally take a sample and that gives you a good idea of the book, editing and story line. 
I've even known people give a review on a sample. I don't think I would ever do that. It isn't fair to the author. You need to read a good percentage of the book to get a real feel of it. 
No matter how well meaning you are, unless you are a professional editor in every way, and by this I mean fully qualified with papers to prove it, I think it's best to keep silent. Or at the very least email your thoughts to (after all that's all they are) the author privately. As readers we're asked to critique the book content, not give advice about editing.
I'm fairly sure I would complain about poor formatting in a Kindle book, but nothing else. After all as I mentioned it's so easy to return a book nowadays, why bother to read something your just not enjoying? It's rather strange to say the least. Authors will soon realise something is wrong if they have a high percentage of their book returned.
I do know an excellent proofreaders and editor. If anyone wants contact details please email me. 
There are still a few self-published authors who churn out badly written, unedited books, but they soon become known for it, and no-one will buy from them in the future.
I will admit it took me a long time to find a good proofreader, I'm so glad that I persisted in my search. I try my hardest to get it right for readers, after all the reader is the most important person. It is all about pride in your work.
As far as traditional publishing goes I have found that the standard of many books is slipping, it’s the same with magazines. I think it is a sign of the times. It is a little discouraging when you have looked forward to reading a book to find it doesn't come up to the standard of yesteryear. There again does anything nowadays!
Seriously, nowadays it doesn't really matter how your book is published as long as it has an excellent story line, and is well edited. In other words a book needs to be a page turner to hold a reader’s interest.
I can't recommend any self-published books as I now read traditional published books. Only because I can buy them far cheaper (loss leaders). Indie books unfortunately are quite high priced. At the moment I prefer reading paperback books to e books. I will go through my files and find the titles of some of the indie books I have enjoyed in the past.

One of the books I will reread is The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey It's a magical read. I rarely reread but this books haunts me. Her descriptive powers are second to none. Although I felt slightly disappointed by the ending I am determined it will be my next.
At the moment I am reading a book by Diana Chamberlain. She's a new author to me and I am enjoying it. I can't find it on Amazon at the moment. I'll have a search round to see if it's out of stock or something. She certainly has a long book list.
I finished a book by Rosie Goodwin not so long ago. I enjoyed it. She wrote The Ribbon Weaver, her research is impeccable. She can certainly tell a good story.
At the moment I am studying wild flowers. One of my favourite books is Wild Flower Meadows by Pam Pilkington. It's full of beautiful pictures and packed choc-a-block with useful information

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Another enjoyable book I aim to reread is The Age of Innocence by Joan Riley,
I found this book packed with interesting facts about Joan's life and time. My only regret was when I finished it. 

Friday, 13 June 2014

A Love Poem - You Are

You Are

You are the whispers on the wind
You are the sunbeams that light my day
You are the starlight that lights my dreams
You are the silver of the moon and the rushing waterfalls
You are the snowflakes that kiss my face with a lover’s lips
You are the one who brings me love and laughter as daylight fades
and night time falls
You are the one I kiss each night before I sleep
You are the one beside me as each new day dawns
You are the one I will love and cherish
for evermore
You and I are as one until
we are but whispers on the wind

Copyright Carol Arnall 2013

Thursday, 12 June 2014

My Second Selfie Interview!

How is your new novel coming along?
 Due to being ill for six weeks it's taking me longer to gather my woolly thoughts together and concentrate on writing. I think the main problem is the eye trouble that the Bells Palsy has caused. Plus I am unable to spend as much time as I would like on the computer. Hopefully in the next few weeks everything will revert to normal. Including my concentration. Meanwhile, I use my time experimenting with new craft ideas. And of course being positive, but not trying to rush things. I'm lucky it wasn't worse. When the time is right I will return to writing full time.

Do you have anything else to share with us?
Yes, before the road traffic accident I was involved in back in 1989, I could not draw or paint. Since the accident occurred, I am able to do both. I find this truly amazing. It also gave me the opportunity to spend more time researching psychic phenomena, and time to write.

Have you any plans for new novels when you have finished the current one?
Yes, indeed, I have jotted down an outline for the next book. I find it a fascinating story, and I'm looking forward to writing it. I have no plans for a nonfiction book at the moment.

Tell us how a normal writing day is for you.
I try to squeeze an hour in before I take my dog for a walk in the morning. This of course depends on how early I manage to get up! If I oversleep -I should be so lucky - I try to write for at least fifteen minutes when I have my mid-morning coffee. If possible I can then squeeze a couple of hours in the afternoon. Much depends on the weather. Should it be raining or snowing I do manage to spend more time writing

Do you enjoy writing?
Yes, I wouldn't write if I disliked it! I love writing. I always have, from when I was young I have been telling and making stories up. The worst part is the editing, but if you tell yourself that you are almost there it's not so bad.

How long does it take you to write a book?
About twelve months for a novel, of say 80,000 words. But then the editing can take nearly as long afterwards. This involves proofreading, as well.
My nonfiction book Birmingham Girls took about ten years to write. I must admit I did leave it alone for months at a time. It was after my older sister died that I decided to finish the book. Pauline (my sister who died) had always encouraged me to write the book and also other work I have had published. I felt that she guided me through the writing process.

Available from Amazon Kindle

It's 12 months since we lost our beloved dog Boyden.

Since writing the blog below the anniversary of Boyden’s  death has passed. It was difficult to say the least. I keep busy forcing myself to remember the happy times rather than the day he died.
Sometimes a photograph  will trigger a memory bringing back the day it was taken. Someone has asked me to embroider them a picture; so this morning I was looking for a particular photograph of the bluebell woods. I happened to see a photograph of Boyden which I took a few years ago in our favourite bluebell wood. A few tears fell when I saw it. Although it's a beautiful photograph, it hurts knowing that now he will only ever be there in spirit with me.
It does help me to cope having the photographs and the memories.
It has been twelve months since we lost our beloved dog, Boyden. He died on the 7th July 2013.
This year has not been easy without him. Not only for us, but for his sister, Sophie. Even now I see her looking around for him. At times, I think she does actually see him as she will go to his favourite chair, stand in front of it and wag her tail like mad. Her tongue hangs out, and she looks for all the world as if she is smiling.
Sometimes, I see her standing at the back garden gate staring down at the emptiness without him. I know how she feels. She cuts a lonely figure. 
I miss him every day. He had enormous presence, he was so loyal and loving. I loved him, it's as simple as that. He like Sophie is irreplaceable. 
Some people long to spend a minute or even five minutes with someone who has left this world. I've never wished for that with my dog. I could not bear to part with him ever again.

This was how he spent nearly every evening his chin on my knee, or the corner of my chair. In the daytime, he walked beside me.

I still find it hard to walk the walks we walked with him and his sister. I always think he might be just around a bend in the woodland path. I imagine he will jump up and run to me his tail wagging like crazy. It is hard, but I go because I feel the spirit of our beloved pet everywhere, and I'm certain Sophie senses him. 

Will he be waiting for me just around this bend?
This is one of his favourite woodland walks.
Or this one? I know that he is with me in spirit every step of the way. 

Boyden & Sophie

2000 - 2013 RIP My beautiful boy

You’re Not There
I reach out to touch you, but you’re not there
I call your name; it hangs in the empty air
I touch your lead; I look at your empty chair
You’re not there
My days are long and sad
You’re not there
My fingers ache to stroke your soft fur
You’re not there
My arms ache to cuddle you forever
You’re not there
Because you’ve gone to another place
Where I’m not there
Carol Arnall c) 2013


I can’t believe you’ve gone away.
Away to a place where I cannot stay.
You’re in a place where’s there is no time, just space.
But in this space I have no place.
I need you to be with me within my space.
Because without you I have no place.
Carol Arnall c) 2013

I've included Boyden & Sophie's story in my sequel to Birmingham Girls. I have also noted the few times that I have been aware that he is still around us in spirit. I will miss him forever.
Available from Amazon Kindle

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

An Interview with Kenneth C Ryeland - A Self-Interview

An Interview with Kenneth C Ryeland.

When did you first start writing?
I was taught to write detailed, accurate technical reports when I trained
as a mechanical engineer in my teens and twenties. Later in my career I began to write articles for various learned bodies and discovered that I had the ability to make them sound interesting! My first attemp at writing for pleasure was when I began to record my experiences whilst living and working in West Africa during the late sixties. Later, I pulled all these snippets together and produced my memoir, "The Up Country Man", which I began to write in 1995, recounting my adventures in secessionist Biafra and the outbreak of the Nigerian civil war. It seemed natural to continue to write about West Africa and I have subsequently produced two fiction novels and a compendium of eight not-so-short stories, all set in the imaginary West African country of Nibana.

In which genre do you normally write?
All of my books occupy the Action /Adventure genre, even the memoir has lots of action and adventure! It just seemed to come naturally to me and reflects the interesting and eventful times I experienced during my working life in Africa, the Far East and the Middle East.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Filling the day with activity of some sort. Since I am now retired, a widower and all three of my children have left the family home, I tend to rise early and get the household chores out of the way, together with any correspondence, phone calls or domestic accounts. After a light lunch, I like to walk the footpaths and quiet lanes of Berkshire (UK) for a couple of hours, thinking up new plots or working out new twists to the book I happen to be working on at the time. I then spend the afternoon writing until about six in the evening. After dinner, I like to read or watch TV.

Do you have to do any research for your books?
Most certainly! All my books required some research since the stories are entwined with actual events that took place in West Africa during the 1960s and so it was important to get dates, places and events correct. It would be unforgivable to mention things, buildings or places that didn't exist at the time. Discerning readers will soon spot mistakes of this nature.

How long did it take you to write your books?
My first book, "The Up-Country Man", took about five years to write and entailed a lot of research and thinking! My other three books, which are fictional, took about 12 months each.

What is the message, if any, you are sending to your readers?
All my books are set in West Africa during the 1960s, even the memoir, and I wanted to convey to my readers, who may not be familiar with the region, what it was like to be an expatriate and an ordinary African in sub-saharan Africa during those turbulent times. Sadly the situation has not changed much for the ordinary Africans, they are still subjugated and oppressed by tyranical despots who rob the treasuries and exploit the natural resouces of the country for their own good. I think true democracy will be hard to achieve in sub-saharan Africa due to the tribalism, nepotism and corruption that exists at every level of society. I guess you could say that my message to the reader is: This is what happens to countries when the rule of law is subversed, ignored or made by factions with self-interest at heart.

What do you like about being an Indie author?
I like the freedom and independence it provides to the individual with an interesting story to tell.

Who are your favourite authors?
I have a very catholic taste in books, but like to read factual accounts of historic events. However, my favourate fiction writers are Nevile Shute, John Grisham and Wilbur Smith.

What is your favourite book?
My favourite book, which I read every couple of years or so, is, "A Town Like Alice", by Nevile Shute. The second world war was resposible for millions of dead and it disrupted the lives of even more millions. This story is typical of the bravery and determination of the many ordinary people who were caught up in its all embracing power to kill and maim. In the book the horrors of the prison camps and the forced march through Malaya are well described and based upon a true account of a group of Dutch women in Indonesia. Whilst the first part of the story is full of pain and misery the second part is an account of the "get up and go" attitude of the survivors of the war and their determination to build a better society. It reminds me of my own parents' struggle to build a life after the conflict. The book is a metaphor for the power of love, enterprise and triumph over the ravages of war. A classic!

Which of your characters is your favourite and why?
This is a hard one. I enjoy all my characters because they are so diverse and it is difficult to pick just one. However, if pushed for an answer I would choose Inspector Bello Akure who appears in "The Last Bature" and "The Mine". Here is an African police inspector watching the infrastructure and financial stability of his country (Nibana) collapse around him due to the corruption of the politicians and, subsequently, the military junta, but he maintains his composure and his integrity and does the right thing, no matter what.

I have published seven books in Kindle and Paperback format and all are available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.
The Up-Country Man (Memoir)
In April 1967, a young British Engineer arrives in Nigeria to take up his new job. On being transferred to Enugu, the capital of the troubled Eastern Region, the regional military governor declares secession and the Republic of Biafra is born. The Federal Government immediately declares war and Ken Ryeland finds himself trapped inside the rebel enclave as Federal troops close in for the kill.

 The Mine (Fiction)
"The Mine" is a political thriller set in Nibana, West Africa shortly after gaining independence from the British in 1962. With secession and civil war imminent, an archaeological find initiates a chain of events that lead to police investigations, MI6 involvement and the printing of large sums of money. An abandoned mine becomes the focal point when the main characters discover its secret

The Last Bature (Fiction)
This is a policeman's story set in Nibana, an imaginary West African state, shortly after gaining its independence from the British in 1962. What begins as a straightforward investigation quickly turns to intrigue when the superpowers vie with each other to secure a breakthrough in weapons technology. The action moves quickly, giving the reader an insight into the grubby world of espionage.

Tribal Gathering (Fiction)
“Tribal Gathering” is a collection of 8 stories set in an imaginary West African state shortly after gaining its independence from the British in 1962. Betrayal, revenge, ignorance, pride and stupidity intermingled with witchcraft, African Deities and Freemasonry, these stories have it all and Ken Ryeland deals with them in his usual consummate way to provide interesting and compelling reading.

Boom Town (Fiction in Kindle only)
This is a single story from the "Tribal Gathering" compendium. Charlie Robinson is employed to open a new branch of the company in the oil-rich Enube River Delta of Nibana. After many difficulties he succeeds, but civil war and sabotage finally renders all he has worked for lost. Miraculously, out of the chaos and destruction comes an opportunity for riches and a new life. 

Hot Metal  (Fiction in Kindle only) 
This is a single story from the "Tribal Gathering" compendium. Peter Stafford and John Hughes visit the ancient town of Ifun and encounter a mysterious African boy in the forest. Later, after strange happenings, the repercussions reach out to Peter Stafford’s family far away in England. 

Juju-Men (Fiction in Kindle only) 
This is a single story from the "Tribal Gathering" compendium. Ade Soyoyi and Bande Abaleko are persuaded to deliver a package to the local Freemasons’ Lodge by a houseboy, and this minor indiscretion leads to death, destruction and chaos in the Western Region of Nibana. 

Ken's books are available on Kindle and in paperback 
click here

Sunday, 1 June 2014

My First Selfie Interview - Lol!

 My First Selfie Interview!

I thought that seeing as selfie photographs are sweeping the world a selfie interview was definitely the way I should go! Here it is.

Do you enjoy any particular programmes on the television?
My favourites are the old films, such as Wuthering Heights. The original version is the best. It always makes me cry. I also like Gone With The Wind. I like programmes about the countryside. Any programme about buildings; such as Grand Designs, as long as they aren’t too over the top. Or if I’m lucky programmes about cathedrals.

What books/magazines do you read?
I enjoy novels about the post-war years. In particular family sagas where the main character overcomes serious problems and finds her happy ever after; Biographies about ordinary people are fascinating, and books about autism. Wild flower books are among my favourite read, and books about embroidery.
I don’t read many magazines nowadays. They don’t appeal to me. I have the writing magazines, Woman & Home, Good Housekeeping, Stitch Magazine & Workbox Magazine, to feed my embroidery obsession.

Do you have any hobbies?
Yes, walking, embroidering, fabric painting, and of course writing, and photography.

Do you listen to music?
Yes! I love listening to Rod Stewart, Abba, The Carpenters, The Pierces – particularly Kings. And a few of the classics.

What inspired you to write The Other Place?
 I was thinking about claustrophobia one night, and all the added anxieties that can arise from this problem. I have suffered with this horrid phobia nearly all my life when suddenly  Chrissie James and her family entered my mind. The story wrote itself after that.

After I had finished writing the story, many of my anxieties disappeared. I can’t say that I am cured, but it helped me considerably.
Available from Amazon Kindle and in paperback.
An Amazon Best Seller

A few of the other books I've written