‘Tell it like it is’ Tuesday ~ April: Writers’ Room 101

*grumblegrumblemoanmitherwhingegrrrrrr*

No, Victor Meldrew is not guest posting on my blog today. I’m just not in a very good mood, can you tell?

Why? ‘cos I’m 40!!

Booooo! BUT, here’s the good news: I am now officially allowed to moan…

Here on TiliiT, the idea was to give it to you straight.

No sugar-coating, no going round the houses, just deliver whatever it was I (or you shabby lot) wanted to say with as much subtlety as a right hook to the jaw in the final round or a Glasgow kiss (look it up my American friends) on a wet weekend at kicking out time.

So guess what?

You asked for it!

You asked for it!

WRITERS’ ROOM 101

We all have them right?

Pet hates, worst nightmares, absolute #fails? Everyone does.

It might be your partner leaving the toilet seat up and the loo roll empty. It could be the woman who sits next to you on the tube who talks into her phone really loudly, convinced that the whole world wants to hear what she told the girl in her office to do when battling over who was next to use the photocopier; it is most definitely the call you get late at night wanting to ask you if you are happy with your current electricity supplier or mobile phone provider. It’s human nature to be annoyed about things or fear situations and want them throwing down a bottomless well with a cast-iron lid, wearing concrete wellies.

Personally, my list is waaaaaay too long for this blog, so I will desist from putting you through it, however, as a writer I have a pretty consistent top ten!

We’ve all been there as fledgling scribes and virgin KDP’ers. We’ve made mistakes, we’ve committed the ultimate in social networking sin and hijacked another writer’s thread or dared to post something in the wrong place in a facebook group.  And hey, we should all be lined up and have virtual rotten cabbages pelted at us against a digital wall for tweeting too many times about our new books. Hell, we still do it.

We have to learn and when you are first starting out on the crazy journey that is becoming a writer, you will get things wrong. FACT.

You will also continue to get things wrong. It’s life. BUT, what usually happens, is that you learn from your mistakes…sometimes.

Welcome to my very own WRITERS’ ROOM 101

Straight in at 10…

#10 – RESPONDING TO NEGATIVE REVIEWS

Now look, I know as well as anyone how it feels when someone publically trashes your work. Hell, they might as well stand at ten paces with a flaming, hook-tipped arrow aimed at your heart whilst wearing a neon ‘We ♥ Mo Hayder’ t-shirt and grinding a copy of your latest manuscript into the dirt with one foot. It’s painful. AND it makes you angry.

If they only the reader knew the time and effort, not to mention that huge part of your soul, that you put into writing your book. Surely they would re-think and at least give you two stars and maybe remove some of the expletives from their slating, right? WRONG. And, equally wrong of us to expect them to.

When we first started out, we received some nerve-jangling one star reviews. Some were justified (it is UBER-IMPORTANT to ensure that your book is correctly formatted and has been spell-checked and proof-read before publishing), some were clearly anonymous trolls with an agenda and others were just from readers who didn’t like the book.

1star2

1star

And hey, guess what? They’re allowed this opinion.

Do yourself a massive favour and try not to let it bother you. Sure, take heed if a reader tells you that there are errors or glaring plot-holes because with the best will in the world (and an army of beta readers) there will still be things you miss. Make changes; that’s the beauty of digital publishing (no trees were harmed in the correction of mistakes) but do not, I repeat, do NOT, under any circumstances, reply publicly to negative reviews. NOT EVERYONE WILL LIKE YOUR BOOK.

Some writers are of the opinion that you should never reply at all, even to positive reviews. Heck, Karin Slaughter told me that she doesn’t even read them, but that is your choice. Personally, I have made some great contacts and even friends via postings on the net and emails about my books, so I’ll leave that one to you, but please, take this one seriously. As I infamously once said (see, we all do it) in a raging on-line debate under a newspaper article, a reader cannot unbuy a book (and yes, before you start, I realise that theoretically, they can return one). Similarly, they cannot unread something that you have written, even if you remove it. The cyber-imprint remains in the ether like a fading negative. It will be remembered.

A non-mover at 9 is…

#9 – THE LONE STAR WRITER REVIEW

See above for this one.

OK, I admit, all writers are also readers and that means that they are also entitled to an opinion on a book. You paid for it, right? So you’re allowed to leave a review as long as Mo Farrah’s legs about how awful it was and how the writer should be ashamed of themselves for publishing it? NO. YOU’RE NOT.

Why? Because even if it is true and even if you did feel that you’ve just wasted four hours of your life that you’ll never get back and a fiver that you needed for the kids’ lunch money, you’ll look bitter and unprofessional.

You could even be accused of deliberate sabotage and let’s face it, it’s hard enough being a writer as it is, without an army of enemies amongst your peers and readership eh?

So ZIP IT (and smoulder quietly away on the inside). Honest, you’ll thank me for this one.

It’s a new entry at 8…

#8 – KINDLEBOARDS (more specifically the Writers’ Cafe)

Okay, I admit, I am skating on ice thinner than Luis Suarez’ excuses for biting Ivanovich at the weekend are wearing, with this one (and risking adding to the troops in the army mentioned in #9) but I feel compelled to warn you about this.

Firstly, let me start by saying that KINDLEBOARDS is a pretty good site in general. (now called Kboards).  If you own a Kindle, want to talk about Kindles, want links to books, wanna learn the ropes for Kindle publishing and generally wanna get all kindled-up, it’s cool and it is very well run. I spent many an hour on these boards back in the day and found some brilliant advice and links. I am STILL a member and every other week, will pop in and see what is afoot. Herein lies the problem.

If you are offended by what you might have read at #10 and are appalled at the thought of the accusations you might have unleashed against you if you commit the lone star review sin of #9, then the Writers’ Cafe is not for you.

There’s some pretty gnarly characters to be found on that there board and if you’re just starting out in the writing wilderness, it certainly isn’t the best or kindest place to cut your teeth. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

kb

80% of the folk that post there are genuinely nice and helpful, but as always, whenever you hang out with peeps in the same business as yourself, there’s bound to be back-biting, sniping and down-right jealousy.

My advice? Become a sometime-lurker. Hang around, read the posts that grab your attention and follow the links that you think might be useful. DO NOT tout your books, dare to argue with a seasoned member or post a topic that has been posted before. Oh and beware, Kboards is a major time-suck. Before you know it, you will be receiving personal hate messages and fretting about it on the way to the post office to draw your pension; and the book you were once writing…?

Holding steady at number 7…

#7 – Social media slaying/bashing/stoning of fellow writers or readers (aka facebook f*ck-ups)

Right, we all know that there are three things that should never be discussed at a dinner party and that they say never to work with animals or children on television, so why, oh why, would you publicly disagree with someone on your social media platform?

socialmediasuicide-200x200

I’ll keep this one brief and very, very simple. JUST DON’T.

Back up from eight to number 6…

#6 – ‘How I made five billion Martianese sabretooth Drachma in just three weeks’ books

Since the advent of KDP and digital publishing, everyone and their dog have jumped on the bandwagon with a veritable plethora of ‘How to’ books. Sheesh, I even bought a couple and back then, they were value for money (for us) and there still are some out there now, that as a newbie writer, you would do well to spend a couple of quid on.

These two, should belong in every writers’ virtual locker:

Kristen Lamb’s ‘WE ARE NOT ALONE

The fabulous WANAMama tells you all you need to know about social media

The fabulous WANAMama tells you all you need to know about social media

Anne R Allen & Cathryn Ryan Hyde’s ‘HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE

These two experienced writers certainly 'Pay it forward' with what they've learned

These two experienced writers certainly ‘Pay it forward’ with what they’ve learned

There are some other really useful ‘How to’ books out there, but please make sure that you research them properly before buying. All too often, they have an enticing title that promises you’ll get rich from your book in less time than it takes Ussain Bolt to run for an ice-cream and with as little effort. Do you notice how none of these so-called “experts” don’t actually have any bestsellers in the charts??

Mostly, it is the same information (most of which you probably already know) re-hashed and put inside a new, snazzy cover. If there really was a secret to success with digitally publishing a book, do you think they’d be sharing it?

Down three places at number five…

#5 – ‘Candy Crush-like’ capers on fb & twitter

Any writer who has a twitter or fb account will tell you the same thing: the majority of their followers/likers/scary cyber-stalkers are other writers.

Now that’s all well and good and it is great to share experiences, moan about sales slumps and find out useful marketing tools and sites hosting book giveaways etc. What isn’t so great is the endless barrage of likemyauthorpageorcutecatwithsunglassesonpicture-joinmyfanclub-cometomybooklauncheventhoughitsnotreal-sharemydeal-buymybookandillbuyyours requests that litter your timeline or clog up your newsfeed, nor do they sell you many books.

Social media and self-promotion is a necessary evil when you’re a writer, but try not to get sucked into the writers’ whirl that exists on these platforms and TRUST NO ONE.

JUST BECAUSE THEY ADDED YOU ON FB DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEY ARE REALLY YOUR FRIEND!

Anyone can put a photo of a cheery-looking, semi-retired grandma of three who writes historical chick-lit and tell you how wonderful it would be if you just featured them on your blog and helped them sell the 25th copy of their latest book so that they could afford to send their poorly aunty on a trip to the local whist-drive one last time before she succumbs to a tropical disease that she picked up whilst nursing in the Crimean war – it doesn’t mean that they’re not really a fat, balding, bitter sci-fi fan who has had their latest manuscript rejected for the gazillionth time and you’ve just agreed to co-write a short story with them.

You remember that your mother told you to never take sweets from strangers, yeah?

cc

Right, so why on earth would you spend all day getting a lard-arse in your faux-leather chair with your nose pressed to the screen of your pc, accepting invites for virtual events and tweeting links to books that you’ve never read? LIMIT THE TIME YOU SPEND ON FB & TWITTER AND USE IT TO INTERACT WITH READERS.

A surprise inclusion in the chart at number four…

#4 – The two-headed monster that is the PUBLISHAGENTASAURUSREX

No, they haven’t been wiped off the planet leaving a smouldering pile of iPad entrails and singed Armani and yes, you can still play nicely in the playground with them.

What is this shit about book stores becoming extinct, everyone reading on the walls of their living room by 2015 and the agenticide rates going through the glass ceiling when they realise that they are gonna have to retrain as lifecoaches?

NEWSFLASH! PEOPLE STILL READ BOOKS!

Yes, digital is here to stay and taking a larger chunk of the market year-on-year and no, having a literary agent does not mean that your masterpiece will never see the light of day, but get real folks. We can all share the sandpit together and lend our spades, even if we now have more choice on what colour that spade might be, how big a hole we let them dig with it and when we ask for it back.

Publishing is evolving, not dying and roles are changing. That doesn’t mean they are no longer required or useful to you as a writer.

We have had this term hybrid author thrust in our faces recently and I guess it’s as good a way as any to describe the new scribe who takes both a traditional publishing deal and retains digital rights –  for now. I am sure that new deals and machinations will evolve as the publishing landscape changes again, as it is certain to do. Personally, I don’t like being labelled. I prefer the term writer

Down 2 places from last week, number 3…

#3 – When is a bestseller really a bestseller?

So come on, what’s the magic number? What was it back in the day? Did a debut author have to sell 1,000 copies? 5, 000 copies? 10,000? to be considered a success…

How many record sales did it take to get to number one in 1980 compared to today?

Here’s one for you: Our debut novel has sold more digital copies than JLS sold of their last album, Evolution. Does that make us bestsellers? I like to think so.

What I DON’T like, is authors who sell 50 books and end up in some obscure category at number 99 for an hour that has nothing to do with their genre and then hail themselves as bestsellers because they appeared on a list.

Example here:

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 09.24.00

That’s just a lie.

The bestseller tag is hard to disprove for a reader and it’s true, there isn’t a number, but come on people, play fair and be truthful about what that status really means…

Last week’s number one is this week’s number two…

#2 – Rumble in the literary jungle: Indie vs Trad

When is a writer not a writer?

When they’re a painter.

I am sooooooooooo tired of listening to both camps harp on about the other.

1280px-COCK_FIGHT

I am sick of indie writers being vilified and told that they are the poor relation of unheard of mid-list writers whose sales they could probably count on one hand and their decrepit budgie’s foot and that because indie books haven’t been through the revered slush-pile that they are bottom feeders in the ‘tsunami of crap’. GET OVER YOURSELVES – ALL OF YOU.

A writer is a writer is a writer. THE END. (There, that has a beginning, a middle and an ending. Will that pass the Publishagentasaurusrex’s slush pile test d’ya think?)

Also see #4…

And so, to this week’s number one. A Writers’ Room 101 Chart-topper. My biggest fear/phobia/gut-wrenching, intestine-twister. The one thing that should scare the beejesus out of all of us…

#1 – BLANKPAGEitis

*scratches head* "Shouldn't there be something here?"

*scratches head* “Shouldn’t there be something here?”

You’ve spent so much of your precious and valuable time worrying about/taking part in/reading up on and arguing with everything mentioned in 10-2, that you haven’t written a goddamn single word – even if it was gonna be shite and no-one would ever want to publish it.

I don’t know much, but one thing’s for sure: if you’ve been doing any of the things in 10 through 2, you sure as hell haven’t been writing…

Saffi

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in books, writing

‘Tell it like it is Tuesday’ ~ March 2013

Okay, okay. Before you start. I know it’s not the first Tuesday of the month. I’m late. There, I said it before you did.

I can hear all the sheeshing justified moaning now.

rollseyes

Sooorrrreeeee. ‘K? 😉 I’ve been uber-silly busy and then, to top it all off, went and slipped on some ice and put my back out, so I HAVE an excuse. Shoot me now. (not literally, you understand).

Right, that’s enough apologising from me, let’s crack on.

Time to ‘Tell it like it is’!

I uhmed and ahed about doing this blog today for various reasons. One, because of the subject matter and two, because of the age of the two girls involved, but then I thought, nah, go for it. This blog, afterall is primarily about writing and creativity and I thought that this was just too good not to show to the world.

You may be aware that recently, we (as in, Mark and I, my partner-in-literary-right-and-wrong-doings’) published a Young Adult novel, co-written with two teenage authors. In true no-crap style, I won’t go into detail here, head on over to my other blog for that HERE.

Anyway, the relevance to today’s blog is two-fold: One: we are hopefully spawning a generation of new writers and personally, I don’t think they get taken seriously enough. And two: retribution.

We are very good at dismissing the scribblings of those not old enough to drive or vote yet and other than them posting their work on sites like Wattpad and fanfic sites, they don’t always get the billing that they deserve.

wanted-poster-template

So, when I asked around for some sassy youngster to contribute to this blog, I didn’t hold out much hope. That was, until a friend of mine contacted me and asked if I would like to see a poem that her daughter and her friend had written.

Of course, I jumped at the chance.

I must admit, I was a tad fearful of having to offend her and politely dismiss it as unsuitable. Until I read it.

Like any good piece of writing, it needs no explanation or introduction. All I will tell you is, is that the two young scribes concerned are still only 12 and 13 years old respectively and were probably MUCH younger when they wrote this. They were also pretty perceptive. See what you think:

On the 11th of September 2001,
Osama Bin laden had a job to be done.
A job to destroy and hurt a nation,
To cause chaos, despair and devastation.
Four planes were hijacked, made to be crashed,
Flying into the target they smashed.
One plane landed in the middle of nowhere,
The next three hit buildings without a care.
Smoke filled the air and dust clouds grew
The sky forevermore grey, no longer blue.
The workers inside were screaming,
The queues to the fire escape were heaving,
The fire spread and spread and spread,
Leaving many people unfortunately dead.
Bin laden’s job was almost done,
But the biggest disaster was still to come.
One by one the floors broke down,
Their burnt souls now left to be found.
As people jumped and hit the ground,
The screams and shouts were really loud.

Jumping to die quick and pain free,
Scenes got too sad for people to see.
Cameras then flashed with the pictures they took,
As the ground trembled and shook.
The dust grew bigger, witnesses had to abort
And do all they could, to help find support.
Firemen were quickly on the site,
With people hoping with all their might.

Down came the second tower,
With such strength and such power,
Floors by floors they slowly broke down,
Now this heart-breaking disaster is the talk of the town.
Now Bin laden’s job is done,
His cold dark days are soon to come,
All the people he killed that day,
Are no longer here to have their say.
A nasty idea it was indeed,
He now has no-one to follow his lead.
This happened at such an unexpected time,
Now he must pay for this terrible crime.

By Megan Shelton & Lauren McGahan

This is Megan and Lauren:

Megan

Megan

Lauren

Lauren

I think maybe we have two budding, talented writers on our hands. I also think that they might have finally got their wish.

Saffi

 

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in books, writing

‘Tell it Like it is’ Tuesday ~ February 2013

Ahoy there!

Did someone say it was Tuesday? The first Tuesday of the month by any chance? Hmm, well, in that case – it’s time for a bit of TiLiiT!

Tillit

Like the new logo? 😉

Don’t worry, it won’t be that large every month! I just fancied showing off a bit in February…

So, er, brrrrrrrrrr, it’s been a bit cold, right? The weather here in the UK, as always, has been very peculiar. We went from two foot of snow and -12 to 13 degrees, sunshine and howling winds – all within ten days!

As you lot are busy reading this, I will be sunning myself in the Italian mountains and indulging in rather a lot of apres and probably-not-so-much ski! 😉

No, I jest. I love my snowboarding and hopefully, by the time you read this, I will have mastered some of the more scary runs and honed my technique a little…

THIS is my baby:

Meet Bertha!

Meet Bertha!

And THIS is me trying my gear on again after two seasons of it languishing in a suitcase!

Yes, I know. GEEK!

Yes, I know. GEEK!

Note to self: make sure you don’t actually snowboard in your pj’s, Saffi! 😉

Anyho’, must crack on, lots to do before I head off to the slopes…

So, what’s on the agenda for this month then?

Well, I wanted to talk about something specific today. Something that affects readers and writers alike.

I happened to be perusing the charts the other day (as you do) on Amazon and I came across a book that caught my eye. Here it is:

TheHunterSplash

OK, now personally, I have never heard of this guy and consequently, haven’t read any of his books, so take note: this post is NOT about him or his books. Right? We got that? Good.

No, the reason behind my post isn’t about any of the above, it is about what I found on the reviews for the book on Amazon and what your opinions are as readers and writers.

Take a look (you may have to click on each pic to read them properly or go here to see them online)

rev2

rev

Don’t pull any punches do they? And hey, why should they?

If you part with your hard-earned cash and buy something, anything and you don’t end up getting what you bargained for, you’re gonna moan right? It’s human nature.

I am a paying reader as well as a writer, so I can see things from both perspectives.

In this particular instance it is clear that this ‘book’ certainly isn’t a book and there are questions as to whether it even qualifies as a short story. It seems that it is basically a very short (and from one or two reviews, not even a very good one) story, followed by page after page of excerpts for other Chris Carter books, that most readers have already read.

No. That is just not cricket.

I can’t condone this from any angle.

#epicfail

Now, I have no doubt that Chris himself had very little, if no, contol over this; I am presuming his publisher made the decision to put it out there in a bid to generate a buzz for a forthcoming release, but the paying public are not happy that they did.

This book has a 2.9/5 star rating now. NOTHING to do with the content or writing it seems. Just a bunch of angry readers who were excited at reading a little snippet from an obviously-rated fictional character and instead, were well and truly ripped off.

There are a gazillion blog posts and articles around the web that cover ebook pricing and how fair it is to fill the percentage/page count of an ebook with promotional stuff, I read tons of them a week, but what I want to know from you guys, is what YOU think is fair as the buying public. How happy are you to see other books advertised at the end of one you have just read? What price difference do you think is reasonable between a full-length novel and a novella/short story?

I don’t want to get into the indie vs traditionally published debate, I don’t care and nor do I think it should make any difference. What I want to know is, if you buy a book and it consists of only 60% story and 40% hey-buy-my-next-book! marketing, are you gonna be enraged?

Don’t get me wrong, I know as well as anyone how important marketing and social network sharing are for books on e-readers etc but here at the SD camp, we limit ours to a link or two at the end of the book and keep the boring stuff at the beginning to a bare minimum.

When I am sat, relaxed on Saffi Island (as Mark calls my imaginary sanctuary) in my beach chair, being fanned with hand-picked palms and shadowed by a dazzlingly white-suited servant, holding aloft a tray of chilled champers and I power up my Kindle (other e-reading devices are available from many other high street and on-line retailers. Saffina Desforges neither represents or receives any monies from…nah, only kidding) to start a new book, the last thing I want is page after page of crap. NOR do I want a rushed, half-assed effort at a story, brought to a bitter and untimely end just to make way for twenty other pages of books that I have already bought. Sure, tell me that if I enjoyed what I have just read, then I can go wherever to look at some more, and even put the cover and first couple of pages of a forthcoming release in as a teaser, but don’t and I mean DO NOT waste 35 pence of the 99 I have just spent, showing me your previous three offerings.

‘Cos guess what? If you do, I will probably not buy any more of them. I might also head straight over to the product review page and leave a scathing one star tirade, even though I kinda enjoyed what I have just read.

And whilst I am on the subject: £16.99 for an ebook????!!!!! Really? Nah.

We always try to price our books reasonably and in relation to the word count, content and length of time it has been published. You will see that our main novels are mostly under £2.00.

One of the Rose Red Rhymes is 99p and the other 77p. That is because one is slightly longer than the other. Oh and note to Simon & Schuster (Chris Carter’s publisher), out of the 63 pages in the higher priced book, 60 of them are actual book, not advertising. *sigh*

We promise to always keep our book prices reasonable. They may vary slightly from time to time and on different platforms or genres, but we will never knowingly or willingly over-price a book. We want to provide our readers with the best quality covers and content and as much value for money as they deserve. That comes from being readers first and foremost.

So what do you lot think? What say you on this much-discussed subject? Go on, the floor’s yours…

Saffi

UPDATED ~ FEB 2013. Check this out! Even worse than the above! A short story, already released under a different name and then regurgitated and sold for £7.99 on Kindle as a novel! SHOCKING!

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in books, writing

Welcome 2013 and hello ‘Tell it Like it is Tuesday’!

Ah, there you are? Did ya miss me? Did ya? Come on, admit it, you know you did…

So, here we are: 2013.

The fact that I just typed that means that the world didn’t end (again) as predicted and we are all (hopefully) still here. Good.

Happy New Year!

2013-new-year

So, it’s Tuesday.

It’s the first Tuesday of the month. (OK, that’s not strictly true, but you’ll forgive New Years Day, right?)

That can only mean one thing: time to TELL. IT. LIKE. IT. IS!

Okay, that’s the salutations out of the way, so let’s get cracking! What will we be talking about on TiLiiT during the coming months? Hmmn, let me see: Well, in-keeping with the theme from last year, although the premise and the title may have changed slightly, the message here hasn’t. I still want this place to be somewhere people can come and just enjoy reading and commenting on the things we all love. Mostly books and writing, but why not throw in a few more artistic subjects? There might be some music, some film mentions and even the odd photo, drawing or painting.

Let’s face it, writing a book or a short story is mostly about inspiration and that inspiration can come in any form. It might be something you hear, see, touch or feel; it might even be a memory or an emotion that stirs something in you. Usually, if you’re like me and write fiction, it is a new character sauntering into my head and introducing themselves!

So let’s swing the SMoD&L doors wide open and have a look at anything we find interesting ~ but remember, no bullshit please! No advertising our books or shouting about sales etc, we’ll leave that for other blogs and the caffeine-swilling, mug-swinging self-praising individuals who like the sound of their own virtual voices eh? 😉

OK. So we’re all clear? Great!

Firstly, a very late addition to this blog. I had planned something else, but driving to work the other morning and listening to Radio 1, they were doing a feature called ‘The Sound of 2013’ and I heard a band. My American friends may already know about these girls as they hail from the States, but I had never come across them before. Prediction Numero Uno: they are going to be HUGE!

haim

Described as a ‘nu-folk-meets-nineties-R&B’ pop group, HAIM are a group of sisters from LA. I have now listened to a couple of their songs and was blown away. Just what the world needs right now, a PROPER (and by proper I mean non-manufactured and talented) girl band. They are cute, hip and above all, hugely good at what they do. If you fancy a listen, check out the BBC site here for interviews and some live recordings.

So, we’ve done the good, now for the bad (not sure I have an ugly btw):

I say this through gritted teeth because I have mentioned it before and am now convinced.

James Patterson has lost the plot.

Ok, so maybe he personally hasn’t lost the plot, but releasing a book that has the tag-line ‘The World’s bestselling thriller writer’ on its cover and then filling the pages with the utter dross that exist behind this cover, is just down-right insulting to readers everywhere.

Alex-1024x1024

I have repeatedly lived in hope that each recent book would be better than the last. I gave up on a few and put it down to series fatigue or a blip in form, but this one, will be the last I read and certainly the last I part with my hard-earned cash for.

Let me tell you what’s wrong with it…

Everything.

Awful, awful writing. Totally confusing POV switches. Random plot. Shocking dialogue and worst of all a boring storyline. The opening chapters bored me to tears and I had to force myself to read on. I willed it to get better. It didn’t.

In the first scenes, Alex and his partner get a call about a domestic hostage situation. Some ex-husband has taken his kids, ex-wife, her new husband and an unfortunate-to-be-visiting-at-the-time neighbour hostage in a big house somewhere. John is relaying what he knows info-wise to Cross and says something like, “We only know this because the neighbour managed to send a text to her husband when she excused herself to go to the bathroom.”

What? Run that by me again. So some poor woman drops presents or a pie round at her friends house, only to find her drug-crazed ex has her and the kids held at gunpoint and not only does she manage to persuade said meth-head to allow her to go tinkle, but given the chance to save them all, she just sends a text to her husband providing him with intel??? She doesn’t call 911? Or her husband and ask him to?

It got worse. A terrorist that is petrified of dogs, a night that goes on for about three days time-wise and continued shabby, lazy writing. I had to re-read so many lines more than once, that I had a headache a third of the way in.

I haven’t finished it yet, although I will. I can’t help it. I still can’t believe it can be that bad all the way through.

Now I know JP probably doesn’t give a damn. He sells gazillions of books and he probably hasn’t written a line of any of the last ten, but come on, have some respect for the buying public and loyal fans and at least ensure that if you put your name to a book, that it is half-decent. Shame on you and your publisher! I shall watch the new film out of interest and because I have loved Alex Cross for so long, but I’m afraid I won’t be keeping up with what he does in the future.

Phew. Rant over. I suppose we could call that the ugly too.

Oh no, hang on, wait! I have something even more offensive:

Amazon and their invasion of the twenty pence book!. Now that’s a horror if ever I saw one, but I’ll save that for another day.

Until next time, tell it like it is and keep it real.

Saffi

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in books, writing

Competition! Win a signed copy of ‘Anca’s Story’ by Saffina Desforges

Competition! Win a signed copy of ‘Anca’s Story’ by Saffina Desforges.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Hundred Year Old Man That Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared.

The Hundred Year Old Man That Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared..

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized

‘Banning the Bullshit’ Sunday ~ ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens

Sniff…

Did you hear that? Yes, the day has come.

Today is the last BtB ever.

imagesCA6JVENS

Angles will fall from their celestial seats in desperate spirals toward earth, their wings tattered and useless; tidal waves of tears will meet at the very edges of the oceans to form one last suicidal tsunami and civilisation will be snuffed out like a retiring Nightwatchman’s candle.

This, is the end…

…until the new year and then we will move to Tuesday’s and ‘Tell it like it is’!

Phew. Thought I was going to have to slap you then. You should know by now we don’t take no shit here. 😉

Right, let’s get on with it.

They say you should go out with a bang, so go out with a bang we will.

Last week, I let you have a sneaky peek at the greatest Christmas film ever made.

This week, I’m gonna give you the greatest Christmas tale ever told:

‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens.

250px-Charles_Dickens-A_Christmas_Carol-Title_page-First_edition_1843

I am very proud to say that the inspiration for this story came when Mr. D visited a little town not too many miles from where I live, called Malton, North Yorkshire. Rumour has it that he often visited a good friend and his wife there and that is where he got the idea for his novella from. Cool huh?

The good folk of Malton have, just days ago, bought back an original, inscribed copy of the book to the town. When his friend died, he wrote in a copy for his widow: ”To Mrs Smithson from Charles Dickens April 18 1844’’ (For a writer, he didn’t have much to say did he? Incidentally, that day happens to be my birthday. DAY, I said, not date!) and when the people of Malton saw that the book had been put up for sale, they rallied round to raise the money to bring it home. You can read about that here.

Of course, I jest with you, there was an apparently emotional and heartfelt letter included with the book but no-one has ever found it.

Now look, I am not going to tell you what the story’s about, you MUST HAVE/HAVE TO HAVE/BETTER HAVE/OUGHT TO HAVE read the book or at least, seen the film or the play. If not, then what the hell are you doing here? Shoo! Go on, be off with you and hang your obviously empty heads in shame. Tsk!

I mean, come on! Really?

What I am going to tell you to do, is read it/watch it again and think about the message. Sure, there is more than one hidden in among the chain rattling and the burning of the midnight oil, but the underlying theme is quite simple: Family. Without them, you’re nothing.

Not only would you not be here and not be who you are today, but you would also look a bit daft sitting  in your Christmas jumper (that you’d have bought yourself) with your tissue-like party hat askew on your head, about to dive into a golden-basted bird on your lonesome.

Oh and be nice to people, you never know when they’re gonna rock up wearing a sheet over their head woo-wooing at the foot of your bed. 😉

Well, once again, my work here is done. I have faithfully steered you lot clear of the crap and charted your dung-dodging course through the bowels of bullshit, every Sunday for the last year. It’s time for you to go it alone.

I have faith in you, little ones. For I have taught you well.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and remember: Always, ALWAYS steer clear of the shite.

imagesCACH68L6

Saffi.

x

Oh, and see you in 2013! 😉

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in books, writing