What a Shame!

Blog Browser Day

It strikes me as being a shame that nobody nominated any blogs for Blog Browser Day this week.  To me, this opportunities to bring the spotlight of free advertising to bear are priceless.  Okay, so this one is really intended to direct folk to blogs that we, ourselves, like, but I would have thought that there’s no shortage of those!  Please, my friends!  Don’t be shy about these chances!

What the…?

Those of you who follow me on Facebook too will know about this.  My feelings are, however, still strong on the whole thing!

Yesterday, while doing a quick check on my Smashwords Dashboard, I discovered a whole bunch of my books had been taken off “Premium”!  Now, that setting means that the books can and are sent to numerous other online bookstores.  A very desirable state of affairs, of course.  So removing books from it is devastating!  But why?  Well, all but one had, according to the Smashwords ‘autovetter’, a very, very tiny fault.  Now hang on!  I was under the impression that this system was part of the initial submission process for books.  All of these books have been available for several months!  So why did this happen?  I’d love to know but, to be honest, the folk handling such questions at Smashwords get very defensive and I’m really in no mood for such nonsense.  Suffice it to say that it took me bout 11 hours to make the amendments!

On a Very Much Happier Note…

I was delighted to discover that my short story, Skylord, had received another 5 star review!  It’s on Smashwords (yes, that same place) but I repeat it here:

Skylord is a short story depicting the plight of a young dragon nearing adulthood who is testing his mettle. When he flies too close to Ydren and makes an enemy of her, he tells his parents a lie about their encounter. There is an overabundance of dragons and not enough open territory. His lie leads his parents to go to war over territory. When Skylord learns that he cannot fly in the Phalanx and do battle because he is not yet an adult, he despairs that others will die and he cannot right his wrong. He flies off to the Lost Caverns and meets Belarth, a wise old dragon long presumed to be dead. Belarth gives him some valuable advice which gives Skylord the answer to the problem for which he as been searching. Great adventure fantasy for children ages ten and up.

Barbara Mojica on Aug. 16, 2013 : starstarstarstarstar

Thank you so much, Barbara!

And Finally…

Apart from being able to get the brand new ebook version of Shade of Evil from Smashwords or any Amazon store, with the great new cover by Chris Graham, the 2nd Edition paperback is being prepared right now.  In addition, my new novel is with skoobebooks and will, hopefully, be available in paperback by the launch date of 10th September.  In fact, and this is very exciting, it may also be available in hardback!  The ebook will be processed on the launch date, simultaneously at Amazon and Smashwords.

More exciting news:  I have an artist friend looking into producing illustrations and a new cover for Skylord!  The illustrated version, a fully fledged children’s book, will, I’m afraid, not be available as a free ebook, and the text only version will be withdrawn at the end of this month.  This will reflect the additional work involved in producing an illustrated book.  I will do all I can to keep the price down but ebooks generally can’t be priced below $0.99 USD.

~ Steve

Press Release: Clive the Magic Camel – A Guest Post

clip_image002.jpgclip_image004.pngClive the Magic Camel
– At the Zoo

Clive the Magic Camel – At the Zoo is a very old story about a camel that meets various animals and wishes for one of each of their attributes that he thinks will improve his personality. The name ‘camel’ changes as each attribute is added until he becomes so absurd that he realises that he was better as he was, and not something/somebody else.

The book is written to be read by 6 year olds and upwards, but it can be read to, or told as a story to, children from the age 3 upwards. This book, based on an old nonsense fun story, can even be enjoyed by those in secondary school. It can be read to groups of children to aid discussion on the subject raised.

The story was told certainly in Victorian times when there was no or very little entertainment in the homes. The writer has been telling this and other stories for many years to children and young people of all ages in schools, churches, and youth organisations.

A few years ago the author was told he ought to write down his stories and he has written Clive the Magic Camel – At the Zoo as his first book.

The book was published by Diverze Publications and was released on 14th February 2013.

The book is available in Stroud at ‘The Children’s Bookshop’, Union Street, ‘The Centre Bookshop’, London Road, and at ‘Come into the Light’ High Street, Stonehouse.

It is also available online at: www.diverze.com, www.amazon.co.uk, www.waterstones.com, etc.

Comments on the book (most recent first):

· Sarah, Milford VA, USA (Goodreads)

I have an 8 and a 9 year old daughters. They read the book together and they really enjoyed reading it. They had so much fun sounding out the animals name.

This would be a great book for the author to present at a school and read to students and celebrate everyone’s differences. We had a local author come to our school that did that and the children loved it. This is the perfect book for such a presentation and for children to learn about writing. I look forward to checking out more books from the author.

· Mary Jane Calara, London (FaceBook):

“Great book, the moral lesson is not just for children but for grown- ups too. Proud to have one! Thanks Clive Dale!”

· Janet O’Shea, St Ives (Facebook):

Nina, Morgan, Finley and Aidan really enjoyed this book. It was funny when mummy couldn’t pronounce the words! We are looking forward to reading Clive the Camel at the Seaside.

· Colin Morgan, Bristol (Diverze):

Great story with brilliant illustrations. My grandchildren ages 7 and 9 just loves Clive the Camel they think he is so cute. Hope the next adventure is just as good.

· Current rating on Goodreads is 4.75 out of a maximum 5.

Cotswold Life Magazine, August 2013
selected for an article on children’s books

Cotswold Life Cover Article Cotswold Life

More of Clive Dale’s Books in the Pipeline

Written, proofread and awaiting illustration and publication:

Clive the Magic Camel – At the Seaside
Johnny and the Rice Pudding

Being Written:

Ollie the Onion
Grub the Dog

About the author Clive Dale

Clive currently lives in Stroud, and has worked in the computer departments for various companies including: Purnells, Paulton; Rank Xerox, Mitcheldean; Brann Direct Marketing, Cirencester; and British Energy (now EDF) Gloucester while living in the West Country.

Someone told him he should write his stories down and get them published. ‘Clive the Magic Camel – at the Zoo’ is the first to be published, with ‘Johnny and the Rice Pudding’ and ‘Clive the Magic Camel – at the Seaside’ currently awaiting illustrations.

Clive is now retired and is able to find time to write his stories. He is a member of Ebley Chapel, and a Trustee of the Countess of Huntingdon Connexion. On 2nd April 2013, he was inducted as President of the Countess of Huntingdon Connexion for a two year term.

For over forty years he has been a leader in various children’s and youth organisations (mainly Boys’ Brigade) and has told his stories in those organisations, schools, and Sunday Schools.

He was invited to Longney School, Gloucester on 7th March 2013 for World Book Day when he told the story to four classes and answered their questions on writing a book.

Ben Gander his illustrator for the first book is an avid artist, having produced various murals for children’s bedrooms, a pub and a toyshop, as well as selling various cartoons, caricatures and portraits

clip_image006Contact Information:

Clive Dale
Website: www.dales-tales.com

More Useful Links:

www.facebook.com/clivesDalesTales
www.facebook.com/clive.dale
www.facebook.com/pages/Clive-the-Magic-Camel
www.pinterest.com/clivemdale/
www.goodreads.com/author/show/7035116.Clive_Dale
www.twitter.com/C_DalesTales
www.twitter.com/clivemdale
www.twitter.com/CliveTheMagicc

Meeting Victoria Zigler – A Most Remarkable Lady

Tori Zigler  “My name is Victoria Zigler, but most people just call me Tori.”  So says my very special guest for today.  Tori is a remarkable lady, and I use that term meaning all it infers, but I’ll let you discover that for yourself…

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When did you first discover the desire to write was so strong in you?

“I’ve loved to read and write since I first learned how to. I was taught to read and write at the age of three because I wanted to do “homework” like my big brother. By the time I was in full time school shortly after turning four I was in love with the written word and already attempting to write short stories and poems. None of them were any good in those first few years, but by the time I was about seven I could write a good enough story to earn a medal in a writing competition. I still have the medal.”

Do you usually write in the same genre you tend to prefer to read?

“I’ll read almost anything, but my favourite books are fantasy books and children’s books, and since I write children’s books – often with a fantasy theme to them – I’ll have to say, yes.”

Have you been influenced and/or inspired by another writer, or writers?

“Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales, Beatrix Potter’s animal themed Peter Rabbit series, and both Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl’s books were a big influence to me growing up, and I think still influence my writing today.”

Do past or current events in your life have an influence on your writing?

“Yes, past events influence my writing. I think past events often influence someone’s writing. It’s something you can’t avoid happening. Although, with my Toby’s Tales series it was intentional.”

Have you got a favourite author, who stands well ahead of all others?

“I don’t think one author stands out. I have a few favourite authors, but if I pick one of them I’ll feel bad for not having picked the others!”

Have you got both printed and digital books published?

“No. I only have digital books published. It’s not that I don’t want to have my books available in print, it’s just that it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe one day, but not yet.”

Do you try to write to satisfy what is fashionable, or do you write pieces that you would want to read?

“I write what I have ideas for. If what I write is fashionable, great, but if not then I just have to hope it’s good enough to interest people. Besides, fashions change so quickly that keeping up with trends is difficult to say the least. Also, working with ideas that pop in to your head of their own accord is usually easier than working with ones that someone forces on you.”

How do you fit writing into your life? Do you have set times for writing?

“I don’t actually have set times for anything. I tried routines, but they don’t work for me, partly due to an irregular sleep pattern. The only way things get done at specific times in my house is if someone else sets the times (for example, medical appointments we have to get to, events we want to go to, or trains we have to catch to get to somewhere before it closes). So, I just write when I feel it’s a good time to write, which can be any time of the day or night.”

Do you keep every jotting of ideas, just in case they might be developed at some later date?

“Yes. I have my ‘notes and ideas’ file, with snippets of ideas for potential future stories and notes on ones I’m working on in it.”

Do you write freeform or do you faithfully plan every piece meticulously before you start on a piece?

“I write freeform. I’ll just let the words flow freely on the first draft, not even stopping to check for typos or spelling and grammar mistakes. Then I slowly go through it a few times until I think it’s done. Then I go through again just to be sure. I think I end up doing about five or six drafts before I’m completely happy with something. But one thing I don’t do is plan out the story. I tried planning, but I felt it took the life out of the story. I prefer to just go with the flow and see where the story takes me. I mean, I’ll have an idea in my head of where I want to end up at the end of the story, but how I’ll get there is usually a mystery even to me until it’s written.”

When writing, most authors now use a computer of some description. Which do you find more satisfying: writing using any means available, using a computer, using a typewriter or using a pen/pencil?

“I’ll write using any means available to me, but most of the time I use a computer. I have a laptop intentionally so I can have it to hand and take it with me if I go away somewhere. Not that I go away that often, but since my family is spread all over the place I want to have the option.”

Have you ever been somewhere and discovered a copy of a book that’s extremely difficult to find, and drooled over the discovery?

“Yes. I get unbelievably excited if I find a copy of a book I’ve been failing to get hold of. Discovering books you’ve been looking for is more exciting than Christmas!”

What is your greatest ambition in writing?

“I’d love to be a well-known author. I’m not searching for enormous amounts of fame or anything like that – though it would be nice. I just want to be well-known enough that there are several people waiting eagerly for my next book. And I’d love to be in the top sellers list somewhere.”

Where can readers find out more about your works?

Website
Smashwords
Goodreads
Facebook author page
Twitter

==0==

Tori: In Her Own Words

“My name is Victoria, but most people call me Tori. I’m a blind, vegetarian author of children’s books and poetry. Born in the shadow of the Black Mountains in Wales, I now live in the South East of England with my husband, Kelly, a West Highland White Terrier named Keroberous, and four degus whose names are Jacob, Jasper, Jenks and Joshua.

“My favourite things to do are reading and writing, but I also enjoy watching movies and some TV shows, listening to music, doing various crafts (such as knitting and cardmaking), playing roleplaying games (such as Dungeons And Dragons), playing figure games (such as Monsterpocalypse and Classic BattleTech) and doing the odd bit of baking. I also have an interest in history (especially Stone Age and Egyptian history) and love almost everything to do with animals and nature (except spiders and creepy crawly bug things).”

==0==

The Books of Victoria Zigler

The Magical Chapters Trilogy:

  1. Witchlet
  2. The Pineapple Loving Dragon
  3. A Magical Storm

The Toby’s Tales Series:

  1. Toby’s New World
  2. Toby’s Monsters
  3. Toby’s Outing
  4. Toby’s Games
  5. Toby’s Special School

The Kero’s World Series:

  1. Kero Goes Walkies
  2. Kero Celebrates His Birthday
  3. Kero Gets Sick
  4. Kero Celebrates Halloween (due for release October 2013)
  5. Kero Goes To Town (due for release November 2013)
  6. Kero Celebrates Christmas (due for release December 2013)

Stand Alone Stories:

Bluebell The Fairy Guide

Frank The Friendly Ogre

The Great Tadpole Rescue

Asha’s Big Adventure (due for release August 2013)

Snowball The Oddball Kobold (due for release September 2013)

Poetry Books:

Mr. Pumpkin-Head And Other Poems

My Friends Of Fur And Feather

The Light Of Dawn And Other Poems

Waves Of Broken Dreams And Other Poems

The Leaf Monster And Other Children’s Poems (due for release September 2013)

Recalling the Past

Book Covers - May 2013 Overwhelmed!

A brief note of thanks to Deanie Humphrys-Dunne!  Deanie, who has created some lovely characters for children in her books, did me the great honour of interviewing me for her blog.  Thanks, Deanie!  I don’t know what I’ve done to be featuring on sop many blogs at the moment!!

=0=

Recollections

Yesterday, I was chatting, via email, to Chris, of The Storytelling Ape fame, about children and the books they love.   In fact, as Chris had been kind enough to invite me to make a suggestion or two for his special Kids Korner blog, in terms of books recommended, I was sent into a lengthy reverie.  Emerging from this happy state, I was able to name one book, My Cat Beany by Jane Feder (illustrated by Karen Gundersheimer), which my eldest son adored above all others and which was one of three that I was required to read to him at bedtime, even though we were both word perfect on it!  The other two were A Wet Monday by Dorothy Edwards (famed for her My Naughty Little Sister tales) and, at the right time of the year The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore.  In the course of this chat, I recalled not only these three great favourites, particularly for bedtimes, but also something which might seem contradictory to a subject I’ve discussed previously.

When our eldest was still little, Marshall Cavendish released certain partworks.  One was Story Teller and the other was Little Story Teller.  These featured stunningly illustrated stories, old and new, and each issue came with an audio cassette (for those now thoroughly lost, they predated CDs!).  We mortgaged our souls, virtually, to buy Little Story Teller!  We even bought the beautiful, strong, padded plastic covered binders (they could have done with being a bit more able to store the magazines without bulging!) and the equally excellent quality cassette cases.  Why?  Because we acknowledged that our son’s appetite for reading far exceeded the time we could devote to reading to him, especially as his brother and then his sister put in their appearances.  When there was no alternative, he would lie on the floor, on his belly, with an old portable cassette player, listening to tape after tape, and following the tales in the magazines.  I couldn’t begin to guess at how many hours he spent like that!  We also acquired odd issues of Story Teller from charity shops.  Theoretically, they were well beyond his age.  He still consumed them eagerly!  Then, as a result of the chat with Chris, and recalling how our son had fallen in love with a tale about Gobbolino, the Witch’s Cat, I just had to explore a bit.  As a consequence, I came upon a wonderful blog that’s devoted to Story Teller/Little Story Teller!  If you’re an addict of the partworks, or if you’re just curious, please do visit the blog!  There are even some Youtube links for some of the tales from the series.  (My son was thrilled when I sent him the link!)  Partworks are everywhere, these days, but I know of none that represent such excellent value as these old ones.

The aforesaid isn’t a contradiction!  I don’t believe that audiobooks are evil replacements for human interaction!  I simply believe that they must always fit a role in which they are an accessory – something that adds to genuine story times between parents and their children.  I would have been so full of guilt if I had abdicated my responsibility as a father by pushing my children to these cassettes rather than reading to them myself!  Worse, if I had so abdicated, I would have been deprived of very special times. So, my message is, and always will be, that there’s no substitute for parents reading to their children, whenever it is humanly possible!

There’s one final thing I’d like to say about KidLit.  I have, in the past, overheard parents in bookshops who, while browsing impatiently through a plethora of books for kids, that they must find the award winning books!  Why?  Surely, they should be looking for books that they know their child/children will like?  An award winning book on ‘good dental health – essential – educational’ may be a critically acclaimed volume, backed by every possible authority, but it may well not interest children as much as the adventures of a worn out old tractor or a rather less than clever dog!  Personally, I’d rather keep children eager to read than simply ‘well read’ and ‘well informed’.

~ Steve