Tuesday, May 28, 2013


So, has anyone noticed a pattern here? I'm not sure why, but a lot of the writers I've connected with have been from Australia. Hmmm. I wonder what that means. I haven't purposefully gone out to find authors from Down Under. I just connect with people that appeal to me, and funnily enough a fair few are from that part of the world. 

I didn't want to ask Philip the same questions everyone asks. He is not only a self-published author but offers his services for editing manuscripts at an incredibly low rate. So I wanted him to speak on both subjects. So, here goes...
What do you want readers to know about you as author? And as an editor?
It took a long time before I could finally call myself an author. I have been writing off and on since my early teens. At that stage there was a great deal of poetry full of existential teenage angst. Over the years I started many novels, often with a fantasy/sci fi theme. I read all the classic sci fi and fantasy books and wanted to emulate them. But I was never able to finish writing any of the books I started. There were also a few abortive attempts at non-speculative fiction, usually with a semi-autobiographical flavour. It was not until the beginning of 2012, when I was a young lad of 54, that I finally finished my first entire novel. A second followed quickly, and then a third. The first two are now self-published, but I am holding back the third until I have finished the fourth. What happened? It suddenly felt as though I had lived enough life to be able finally to say something worthwhile. All of the stories and ideas began to mature and coalesce. Et viola.
The idea for the editing business arose from the writing. I began to read some of the other self-published books out there – you may have noticed there are one or two these days. One thing that became apparent was that many of them required some serious editing and proofreading. At the same time, as a penniless writer myself, I knew how unaffordable professional manuscript assessment and editing services could be. I could not afford them myself. I decided to offer a much less expensive option and tap into a potentially large market. In addition to my fiction writing I have completed two doctoral theses (one in theology and one in biology) and published several scientific papers. These required very high standards of writing. As a post-graduate student (the second time around) I was employed to be a student advisor, helping other students to put the right words on the paper in the right order. I knew even then that I had a very good eye for detail, and would spot errors that everyone else had overlooked. Although I have no professional training as an editor I feel that my experience as a writer and a teacher, as well as my broad life experience, equip me very well for this line of work.
What is the biggest mistake you see authors make when you’re reviewing a manuscript?

Well, there are many common mistakes that authors make, at various stages of the process. I know, because I frequently make them myself! There are issues of structure, style, and the nitty gritty of grammar and spelling. It is difficult to single out one mistake as the biggest. At the grammatical level, people often have difficulty knowing how to correctly punctuate direct speech within a sentence; they also very frequently link sentences together with only a comma (the notorious comma splice). At the stylistic level, writers often use too many words to say something. They might say, for instance, ‘Fred stood up and decided to walk over to the door’, when all they really need to say is, ‘Fred stood and walked to the door’. On the other hand, people tend to write as journalists, rather than as creative writers. By that I mean they describe events as a reporter might – just the facts – instead of using more imaginative language. ‘Fred stood and walked to the door’ is a very factual description, and is OK sometimes. But it might be good to employ more colourful language from time to time. For example: ‘Fred rose in response to the summons from the door.’ It depends on the context, but language can be used to evoke feelings and create images, rather than just to describe events. I wouldn’t suggest that every line has to be a work of poetry; that becomes annoying and pretentious. But there needs to be variety, and there needs to be balance.
What services do you provide and what makes you qualified as an editor?
I provide a range of services from manuscript assessment (which some would call structural editing), to copy editing to proof reading. Manuscript assessment is concerned with the broader questions, such as the structure of the manuscript, the development of plot and character, and the general writing style. Copy editing concerns the nuts and bolts of sentence and paragraph structure. It is not only about grammar and spelling (although it can include that) but also about good sentence structure, removing unnecessary repetition and ensuring plot/character/timeline consistency. Proofreading is about correcting those grammatical and spelling errors that have inevitably been missed previously, or have occurred since rewriting. Although I believe that my academic and writing experience well qualifies me for these tasks, I would add to that my broad life experience and extensive general knowledge. Editing is about more than correcting grammar. I was reading a self-published book the other day which was set in Australia during the 1930s (note the absence of an apostrophe here! Another common error) and one of the characters bought something for so many dollars. Until 1966 the currency in Australia was pounds, shillings and pence. Having a broad general knowledge, knowing how and when to check factual information – this is just as important as understanding the ins and outs of writing and grammar.
I always like to know what people are reading. So what’s on your nightstand right this minute?
These days my Kindle is on the nightstand. I usually have a couple of books on the go at one time, with many more on the waiting list. At present I am reading Bliss by Peter Carey and a book by a self-published author, which I plan to review. I am also in the middle of reading the complete works of Virginia Woolf – I am in between her books at the moment. The next book on my list is the final volume of the Wheel of Time fantasy series.
Name 3-4 of your favorite, best-selling authors, their books, and why you like them.
This is a tough one. Most of my favourite authors are not necessarily best sellers. At a pinch I would say that my all time favourite authors are: D. H. Lawrence, Patrick White, Chaim Potok and Alice Walker. My favourite Lawrence novel is probably Sons and Lovers; my favourite White novel is Riders in the Chariot; my favourite Potok novel is The Book of Lights; and my favourite Walker novel is The Temple of My Familiar. There are many, many other authors that I also love. I like novels with some depth and substance. On the other hand, I still love reading fantasy and sci fi – if it is a fantasy or sci fi novel that also has some depth and substance, all the better!
I’m always searching for new indies to love. Do you know of any self-pub/indie authors that you would recommend? (And what’s the difference between self-pub and indie?)
There is this great up and coming YA writer called Su Williams you should check out (wink). I like what Colleen Sayre is writing. I particularly liked her recent novel, A Solitary Life. I recently gave my first ever five star review to TheDark Man’s Son by Meg Whitlock.
The difference between indie and self-published authors is not one I have really considered much before. There seems to be some suggestion that a self-published author basically does it all his or herself, while an indie author employs professional services for cover design, editing, ebook conversion, marketing and so on. There is clearly a whole spectrum in between. Indie authors often (it seems) also publish their own work via a company that they set up for the purpose. There are many of those notorious grey shades evident here.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned on your writing journey so far?
Probably THE most important thing I have learned is that I can produce a finished product. I always believed I could write well. What I couldn’t do was put it all together into a completed work. Now I know I can. This is 80% of the battle for me. I am still learning many things about the writing process, both from my own writing and from reading the work of others.
What website(s) have you found most helpful for both your writing and editing activities?
I tend to bounce around the internet from site to site looking for information. There is no website that I can point to as one I go back to again and again. I use the social media extensively, but I am yet to determine how useful or helpful that is. Among my other activities I write a blog, and I have found that Reddit has been helpful in getting some individual blogs to really take off. Not all of the blogs to which I have posted links have taken off; but the only blogs that have really taken off have had links posted there. This seems to be a useful way for my writing and my business to gain exposure.
Anything else we haven’t covered that you’d like people to know.
 I love chocolate, so if anyone wants to buy me a birthday present… (My birthday is June 21, btw.)

Sorry Philip, postage is mondo-huge to Australia, but I got you some really yummy pictures of chocolate to cue your salivary glands. Please be careful. I don't want you to chip a tooth trying to get at these sumptuous e-chocolates!

If you'd like to get to know Philip more, or learn more about his books or editing services, his links are below:

Facebook Page for one of my novels: Maybe They'll Remember Me
Twitter (as All-read-E)

Philip, thank you so much for visiting today. I truly hope some of my readers will make use of the services you provide. It's been a pleasure getting to know you a little better and wish you the best in all you do.

Who's your favorite indie author? Post their link in comments so we can all learn to love their work!

As always,
Dare to Dream!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013



From May 3 to May 20 Dream Weaver was featured on blogs from around the world! I hope you enjoyed the Dream Weaver trivia, meeting Emari Sweet, Nick Benedetti and Sabre James, and getting to know more about me as author. And maybe you found a new writer to love.

May 3 - My interview for British author, Sam Whitehouse on Prophecy of Three Quartet   @SamProphecy

May 5 - Pick Your Poison Book Reviews  @DJKile1

May 6 - Angela Scott Desert Rice, & Wanted:Dead or Undead  @whimsywriting

May 7 - Arthur Crandon (Brit. author in Hong Kong)  @arthurcrandon 

                  Jill Sanders, Pride Series  @prideseries

May - 8 Lisa Orchard  @lisaorchard1

May 9 - Philip Newey, All-Read-E editing, Cairns, AU  @All_read_E

May 10 - Cally Jackson, The Big Smoke, Brisbane, AU  @callyjackson

May 11 - Liz DeJesus (post #2) First Frost  @Liz_DeJesus23 

May 13 - Cheryl Rainfield - Canada  @CherylRainfield 

May 14 - Lucy D'Andrea Moonlight Gleams  @MoonlightGleams
               AJ Wiliams Great Romance Promotions  @AJ_Wiliams

May 15 - Toni Sinns  @TurningBookPage

                Kandy Kay Scaramuzzo Pie: An Old Brown Horse (that knows what he is doing)                                 @KKScaramuzzo

May 17 - Dawn Husted  @TheDawnHusted
               Tina Pollick  @TinaPollick

May 18 - Megan S. Johnston Transition: A Chimera Hunter book  @MeganSJohnston1

May 19 - Red Reader   @RedReaderReview 

Thank you to everyone who hosted me on their websites and blogs. I'm excited to return the favor so my friends can meet you, as well.

One of my photos
So, what tips do you have on conducting a blog tour? I'd love to hear what you have to say. Please leave a comment with your advice.

And as always!
Dare to Dream!!

Friday, May 17, 2013


Isn't she a cutie?

Another Aussie Interview
I'm happy to introduce this week's interviewee, Cally Jackson. I met Cally last year when I discover her through a new genre some authors are trying to persuade the literary world to acknowledge. The new genre is called New Adult and falls in the cusp of readers between YA and adult. Early on, I thought young adult meant just that. But it's actually categorized for readers from about 13 to 18 years old.
But enough of literary lessons. Let's get busy talking to Cally Jackson, indie author from Brisbane, AU who penned 'The Big Smoke.'

I Give You, Miss Cally Jackson!
You've done several interviews. What were 2-3 of your favorite questions you were asked? And the answers. 
I’ve enjoyed answering a wide variety of questions. Here are some of my favourites. 

Tell me, how did you develop such honest, flawed, and true characters? Any tips for writers?

Firstly, thank you! I’m thrilled to hear you connected with my characters. I really wanted to develop characters that were three-dimensional and that people could relate to. My first draft didn’t achieve this, as I learnt when I had the manuscript professionally appraised. When I received that feedback, it was a blow, but it was feedback I needed to hear to push deeper and really bring my main characters, Ceara and Seb, to life.

The key for me was getting to know Ceara and Seb (and the supporting characters) on a deep level – what were their biggest fears? Their biggest dreams? What memories tortured them? How did they see themselves and how did that compare to how others saw them? Once I knew this detail, I had to work out how to show it through their narration and the story line, so that it unfolded organically rather than feeling staged.

In terms of tips for writers, I’d encourage them to consider how they can show the varying dimensions of their characters. We all have many layers and the best characters are as complicated and multi-faceted as we are. 

What’s been most challenging about writing? 
Not giving up. I have a very clear memory of a time a few years ago when I was very early on in my rewrite of The Big Smoke. It seemed like I would never reach the end and I was seriously questioning whether it was all worth it. My inner critic had found a microphone and it was practically impossible to drown her out. I wrote a blog post about this experience – the weight of great expectation – which I read aloud at my book launch (to prove it’s possible to recover from those awful moments and achieve your goals). 

I totally get that. I actually wrote a conversation between me and my defeatist self. 
I re-read it when I get frustrated. So, do you have a favorite character or a favorite 

This is a tricky one because I have a lot of favourites. As much as I love my main female 
character, Ceara,she’s a little too much like me (worries way too much), so I think my main 
male character, Seb, wins  out. He’s a bit hopeless at times but his heart’s in the right place, 
and he’s quite funny. I laugh at all his  jokes – we must have the same sense of humour. ;-)

In terms of favourite scenes, it would be a tie between the date that goes horribly wrong for 
Ceara  (not a nice scene by any stretch of the imagination but I’m proud of the writing) and the 
scene where  Seb returns home after he learns ‘the truth’. I can’t say any more than that 
because I’ll give too much away! 

I agree with you. It’s not always the main character we writers fall in love with. 
What advice would you give to indie authors getting ready to publish? 

I have three main pieces of advice: 
     * Be aware that you will need to commit a great deal of time to the process to do it
 justice. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my self-publishing journey, but it has consumed a LOT
 of my time and energy. You need to be prepared to not only be the author, but the
 typesetter, the proof checker, the accountant, the distributor, the publicist… and the
 list goes on. 
     ** Engage professionals to help you along the way. A lot of self-published books have 
great potential but are let down by poor editing or an unprofessional cover – or both. To give
 your book the best chance of success, it’s worth paying for these two services. If you try to 
cut corners in these areas, it will show. If you’re not confident in other areas (such as
 typesetting etc), consider getting help for them as well. 
     *** Enjoy the journey! Try to take a step back every once in a while and look at 
what you’ve accomplished. Self publishing is hard work but if you commit to doing it 
properly, it’s very rewarding.
Best of luck! :-)  

I couldn’t agree more. What were your favorite books/authors as a child? 

I had a LOT of favourite books. I loved most of Roald Dahl’s books (particularly 
The Witches,the Twits and Matilda. Not so fussed on James and the Giant Peach), 
and I also enjoyed Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven series. The Never-Ending 
Story was another favourite, and I’m sorry to say, I also had a soft spot for The 
Babysitters Club. 

We won’t hold that against you. Tell us who your top 5 favorite 'best-selling' 
authors are now? 

I have lots of favourite authors, so here are five of them in no particular order: 
AudreyNiffernegger, Stephenie Meyer, Lauren Oliver, J K Rowling and John Marsden.  

Rowling is amazing. Just for fun I added a link to Pottermore!
Are there any indie authors/books that you would suggest? 

Apart from mine, you mean? ;-) I really enjoyed Tamara Webber’s Easy, which I reviewed recently. I think it’s been traditionally published now but it was originally self published.

I also really like Rachel Morgan’s Creepy Hollow series, and I’ve been hearing some buzz about another self-published book called Dream Weaver. Maybe you’ve heard of it? I haven’t read it yet but it’s at the top of my to-read list! 

I’m excited to hear what you think. If you could be any character in any book, who would you be? And why? 

This is an awesome question. It needs some serious thought…
Okay, I’ll choose a male character because it would be interesting to see what it’s like to be a boy. I’d also like to have some magical powers. Hmm…
Harry Potter becomes the obvious choice, but he’s got Voldemort on his back all the time, so I’ll go for Dean Thomas. He’s a wizard, he’s on the ‘good’ side, he’s attractive, and he plays Quidditch – I think that would be pretty fun to experience! 
More about The Big Smoke
Beautiful cover art!
Ceara’s desperate for love; Seb’s desperate to get laid. Ceara adores reading novels; Seb hasn’t finished a book in years. Two strangers, both moving from small country towns to Brisbane – the big smoke. As they prepare to attend the same university, their paths seem set to collide, but they keep missing each other. Maybe fate is keeping them apart, or maybe it’s just chance

When the semester starts, things get complicated. Ceara’s best friend withdraws from her, Seb’s closest mate turns into a sleazebag, and the relentless demands of university make their stress levels soar. Before their first semester is over, both Seb and Ceara will be forced to question who they are and what they want from their lives. Will they have the courage to find the answers, or will they crumble under the pressure? And when they finally meet, will it be love at first sight or a collision of headstrong personalities?

You can purchase a copy of The Big Smoke: 
In paperback format: 
Cally's buy page (Australia and New Zealand)
or Amazon (rest of the world) 

In e-book format: 
Smashwords (preferred digital supplier) 
iBooks, KoboDiesel and other e-stores. 

Cally, how can people get in touch with you?
Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon 

Cally Jackson, thank you for visiting with us today! Best of luck with The Big Smoke. Happy writing!

And as always,
Dare to Dream!

Monday, May 6, 2013

I'm so excited to introduce this week's guest. Paul and I just recently met on Goodreads through a clever open letter to Amazon. We had a bit of fun travailing the fickleness of the book giant. We both have a passion for young adult literature and I have very much enjoyed getting to know him through this interview.

Paul, tell us a little about yourself. Where you're from? What you write? ....
Bendigo Pottery

I am originally from a little city called Bendigo in Victoria Australia, but I have lived in South Australia most of my life. It is where I met my wife, had 2 children and where I went to University. My background is in education, but before that I was actually a Motor Mechanic. I have taught for 10 years mainly Drama, but also English and other subjects across a range of year levels from year 4 right up to year 12. My wife and I have been married for 25 years and are still very much in love. I write in lots of different forms and genres and currently have literally thousands of pieces of mainly poetry floating around all over the Internet. Recently, I have written children’s books, such as “The Misadventures of Red Bear” and “Lucky and Scratch”. But it is Young Adult Fiction where I want to make my mark. I have written 2 novels, one being a junior novel, “The Black Fairy and the Dragonfly” and my most recent achievement, a Young Adult Sci-Fi Adventure, “Star Child: The Cosmic Birth”. My poetry is sometimes dark and mysterious and I have been known to write Fantasy Stories in Verse frequently. I love to write for young people, because as a Teacher and Father I feel I understand them. So my characters and stories are written with this in mind.

Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
I would really love to go to South America and visit the Mayan Pyramids and Temples there. There is something about that part of history that really fascinates me. Aside from ancient history I also have a love for science. I would love to go and meet Elon Musk and see how his company SpaceX build their rockets.

One of your favorite quotes.
“All the world’s a stage and the people merely players,” would have to be a quote which stands out for me, as I think Shakespeare has hit upon something which applies to every generation for all time. Life feels like that sometimes. You often hear people say words to that effect. “It’s a game and you have to know how to play it,” my wife often says.

 List 3 books you just recently read and would recommend.
My good friend and fellow author has just released her wonderful little children’s book, “Wandering Willow”, which I read and reviewed and it would be remiss of me not to mention it. She is just starting out in publishing and is already proving to be quite the hit. Aside from that the two other books I have read recently are Russell Kirpatrick’s Path of Revenge and George R.R Martin’s Game of Thrones both of which I thoroughly enjoyed.

 If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be? And why?
When I sat down to think up a name for my new novel, Star Child: The Cosmic Birth, I tried to imagine a character which best represents the spirit of this adventure and after some consideration decided on Tamsin. Without wanting to give too much away, Tamsin means Twin. I also love the name. I would love to meet such a character because her story is so unique and spans a much longer period than the average human lifetime and at a time and place so alien to us now. She strikes me as a confident and strong person who bares the weight of expectation of an entire species and although she struggles with the burden, she ultimately triumphs.

What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?
When I went back to school, after working as a Motor Mechanic for 13 years, I developed an interest in writing which had lay dormant for half of my life. So when our English Teacher asked us to write a story I jumped at the opportunity and wrote a short story about a guy who thinks he is a super hero and tries to live out the fantasy in real life. It was a modest achievement, but sadly, I would not know where I have it. Probably on an old 3 and a half inch floppy in a cupboard somewhere.

Name three of your favorite traditionally published authors.
Arthur C Clarke is an amazing writer who conceives such brilliant concepts and makes them so believable. I really think there is no writer quite like him. Another of my favourites for a long time was Kim Stanley Robinson who wrote the Mars Trilogy, a most ambitious and highly successful series. More recently I discovered a little-known New Zealand author called Russell Kirkpatrick, a cartographer by trade, but also an accomplished author. His writing is exceptionally detailed and his maps are like no other in any fantasy book ever written. Just extraordinary.

Are there any indie authors you'd like to tell people about?
Yes, 2 or 3 come to mind. Katie Jennings, author of The Vasser Legacy, a brilliant established Indie Author. Also Stevie McCoy, author of Wrath on Earth. These two authors I admire greatly because they started from scratch, with nothing more than an idea, a dream and the guts and determination to see it happen. Of course, I would not be a guest on this blog if I didn’t also respect yourself, Su, as a fellow Indie Author. You are obviously passionate and willing to give as much as you receive. For Su Williams I do not consider myself an especially ambitious person, but I do know what I like and what I can achieve.

Su, I want to thank you for this opportunity and I look forward to working with you.

Many thanks to you Paul for doing this interview with me. Readers can connect with Paul through the following links.
Paul G Day
Google +

I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to feature indie authors from all over the world. Today, Australia. Last week, Great Britain. I have interviews lined up from Hong Kong to Canada. So keep checking back.