Check out Indie Book Promo’s interview with Lorraine Pestell, author of the A Life Singular serial – thanks, Barb!:
It’s my pleasure to bring you a Rave Reviews SPOTLIGHT author guest post from Bruce A. Borders, author of Good Vs. Evil. You can follow the Rave Reviews Book Club here. Over to you, Bruce…!
A huge thank you to all the members of Rave Reviews Book Club who agreed to host me on their site! I am honored to be the Spotlight Author.
Miscarriage Of Justice tells the story of two people, Ethan Rafferty and Mariana Clark. Ethan has just been released from prison after serving fifteen years for a crime he didn’t commit; Mariana is the D.A. responsible for putting him there. As we get to know the characters, their lives are moving in opposite directions. One is continually sinking to new depths; the other is slowly making an ascension to becoming a better individual. It’s the old line of good versus evil – almost. But what happens when those lines intersect? When neither side is exactly virtuous or exhibits an upstanding moral character?
In writing this book, I wanted to bring out that sometimes it’s hard to tell, with certainty, the good from the bad. Sometimes, good and bad seem to run together, with the attributes of both present. I think the majority of people fall into this category – I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “no man is all good, and no man is all bad.” Yet, there is a right and wrong. Most of us inherently know which is which, but events and situations can muddle what we know.
We’re taught that good always triumphs over evil, but what if you’re not sure which side is good and which is evil? Then how do you know which side is going to win?
In the beginning, both Ethan and Mariana are normal people – reasonably normal anyway. But as they respond and react to situations, into which they have unwillingly been thrust and over which they have no control, their paths take them in opposite directions, until…
Miscarriage Of Justice
Connect with Bruce:
RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR, Bruce A. Borders was born in 1967 in Cape Girardeau, MO. Bruce’s childhood years were spent in a number of states, including Missouri, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
During his high school years, he was a member of the football, basketball and track teams, involved in various non-athletic activities such as school yearbook production and photography, and won numerous awards for his artistic creations. Bruce graduated Valedictorian in 1984.
While in school, Bruce held three part-time jobs; a store clerk, a janitor, and a dental technician, working about 60-70 hours per week. After graduation, he became employed full time as a dental technician. Other jobs have included restaurant manager, carpenter, and grocery store cashier. For the past sixteen years, he has worked as a commercial truck driver, logging more than two million miles.
At the age of fifteen, Bruce decided to become a writer. He began by writing songs, news articles, and short stories. Eventually, books were added to the list. Over the years, he continued to write and currently has a catalog of more than 500 songs, numerous short stories and over a dozen completed books. He writes on a variety of subjects such as fictional novels of legal issues and westerns. Titles include: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, Miscarriage Of Justice, The Journey, and in The Wynn Garrett Series – Mistaken Identity, Holy Terror, Remote Control, Judicial Review, Even Odds, and Safety Hazard.
The last stop on my Fire and Ice book blog tour. Thank you, Fantastic Indie Authors, for featuring me and my serial.
And huge thanks to Shelly from Fire and Ice for organising the tour!
I have been fortunate to be interviewed by Self-Publisher’s Showcase about my writing. They asked some particularly relevant and challenging questions – a very interesting exercise!
Please check it out at: http://selfpublishersshowcase.com/interview-lorraine-pestell-a-life-singular-author/
Very exciting! Thanks to the wonderful Ida Jansson of Amygdala Design in Norway, here are the covers for all six parts of my serial “A Life Singular”.
If you’re looking for a creative partner, I can’t recommend Ida highly enough!
The end of January already! Where did that month go?
I’m halfway through my first book blog tour, put together by Fire and Ice (please see this link for the remaining dates). Today’s stop is at The Complete Self-Publishing Indie Authors Resource Site (http://selfpublishingindieauthors.blogspot.com.au/), whom I thank for publishing my Qs&As. Here is a transcript, which delves into why I am writing the “A Life Singular” serial:
What inspired you to write A Life Singular?
My earliest inspiration came from a wonderful English teacher who brought our language to life! As a teenager in a leafy London suburb, I grew up revelling in the richness of words and obsessed with perfecting the art of stringing them together to convey a deeper meaning.
The enduring love story at the heart of the “A Life Singular” series emerged from an adolescent fascination for pop stars and the music world. I developed a habit, purely for my own entertainment, of writing journalistic pieces that presumed a backstory about my favourite celebrities, and as I grew older and began to understand the world’s complexities, I longed to discover why so many of our ‘rich and famous’ seem to struggle in their private lives.
Later on, when my own life took several wrong turns (and continues to do so), I found myself coping with severe depression and an inescapable death-wish, and so took refuge in writing, writing, writing… From here, the notion of a serial sprang forth, transforming the cute romance between a pop star and a rock guitarist into a sharp yet tender examination of the human condition.
My two main ambitions for “A Life Singular” are firstly to inspire sufferers of mental illnesses to rise above their symptoms to achieve happiness and success, and secondly to appeal to non-sufferers for their understanding, love and support in our efforts to live a ‘normal’ life.
Did you run into any snags along the way?
‘Snag’ is Australian slang for sausage, by the way; a favourite at barbies…
Well, I never suffer writer’s block, that’s for sure! Quite the opposite is true. The need to establish a career and earn money, coupled with a gipsy tendency which has spirited me all over the world, conspired to limit the relentless flow of words from my fingers. I seldom get more than a couple of hours’ sleep at a time, because my story ideas wake me and demand to be recorded, or else they refuse to let me fall asleep again. An array of sticky notes covered with scrawl on both sides typically litters my bedside table by the time morning rolls around!
Snags a-plenty in the publishing journey however, more of which can be found in the question below about my publishing experience. The regular rejections from agents and traditional publishers are somewhat discouraging of course, as they are for everyone. Also, my series is predominately set in Melbourne, and it has been important to preserve my characters’ use of Australian idioms and vocabulary in a way that’s clear enough to American and Canadian readers to prevent confusion, but without boring them by explaining every nuance or creating a glossary!
Genre classification was fraught with danger. I didn’t wish to restrict my audience only to women, readers of contemporary romance or people in need of help. It was the classic case of “all of the above”. Unwittingly, I fell into hot water when I used the word “inspirational” in my synopsis, suddenly being inundated with evangelists tweeting to save my soul. After checking with a reliable source, I realised that this word in the US and Canada suggests a Christian or religious message, which is conspicuously absent in my writing!
My most recent bugbear is the fact that Amazon does not consolidate customer reviews across regional markets. Australia is an enormous island continent with a tiny population. Consequently, an aspiring author from the southern hemisphere, whose early reviews are likely to come from local contacts, friends and family, will find it difficult to gain exposure in the larger markets of North America and Europe without some indication of the quality of their work. Amazon’s regional sites do not currently copy local reviews to other “stores”, and therefore we are required to impose upon our reviewers to paste their reviews in up to 12 places.
How did you remain motivated?
Motivation is an eternal challenge for someone with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Without venturing too far into the morbid, living each day depends on garnering considerable motivation from external sources. Mine comes from my old dog, volunteering for non-profit organisations and the promise I made to outlive my alarmingly healthy parents.
I have vowed to accomplish this mission through completing all six parts of the “A Life Singular” serial, thereby giving new meaning to ‘a life’s work’. So far it’s going well, and I remain driven to help destigmatise mental illness and to encourage people to embrace it as one of the many complex non-negotiables of the 21st century.
Part Two was released in December 2013, and I’m currently working on Part Three. I aim to publish at six-monthly intervals, which will see a story which spans nearly fifty years reaching its conclusion in contemporary times.
What was the publishing experience like for you?
There were several false starts at the hands of the off-shore publishing elves with their westernised pseudonyms and lack of awareness that Australia has more than one timezone. Wake-up calls at 6am were a regular occurrence, so much so that I have now migrated three hours forwards and 4,000 kilometres eastwards to accommodate them! These issues derailed progress until we grew accustomed to each others’ ways of working. Thankfully, my IT career has helped me greatly in dealing with far-flung people whose culture and interpretation of language are very different from my own. They key is to be very precise and unambiguous with their instructions.
My most unwelcome hurdle was being censored by this self-publishing company due to what they termed ‘under age sex’. Despite Part Two of my serial containing no abusive or exploitative content and certainly nothing below the age of consent, their ‘customer satisfaction specialist’ informed me that their policy is black and white. Life is not black and white, I tried to point out, but to no avail! A reminder that his company had happily published underage drinking and drug-taking in Part One was not considered a valid defence either. I expect to use Amazon’s CreateSpace for Part Two onwards, given the freedom it offers authors who seek to be unconstrained by such outdated, self-righteous and overprotective policies.
As mentioned earlier, my books don’t slot nicely into a conventional genre. It has been tricky to come up with the single-sentence ‘elevator pitch’ for those chance encounters either face-to-face or via the metaphorical elevator of the little blue bird. Social media is an exhausting necessity that takes authors away from their true passion. However, the unprecedented access it affords us to new audiences far outweighs the annoyance of having to constantly generate catchy soundbytes.
Is there anything you wish you would have known about writing when you started?
I was particularly naïve about the publishing process prior to beginning my journey to authordom, and my lessons are too numerous to mention here.
Without question, the value of an editor is huge, yet the cost is prohibitive for a new writer. Oh, for a magic curio capable of spotting errors and repetition in my work more quickly than my own reviews. This would save me hours, if not days of effort!
Using friends or relatives as a substitute for an editor is good for general feedback, although they don’t generally say anything more specific than “I loved it” or “It’s not my kind of book”. I also find that people who know me often cannot remove themselves adequately from the author to truly get into the story, and neither do they have eagle-eyes trained to spot those annoying misspellings and grammatical bloopers.
Lastly, I was also disappointed by the snootiness of some creative writing professionals, especially from academia. Aren’t lecturers supposed to educate? Attending the Perth Writers’ Festival this year as an e-chick looking to self-publish, I have never felt so inadequate as when seeking information from the literary cognoscenti of the world’s most isolated city. All power to independent authors who are proving these learned fellows wrong via the bestsellers lists!
What did it feel like when you finished the book?
Amazing! I’ve spent almost thirty years writing business cases, system specifications and project plans, leaving me in no doubt that I had the discipline to finish what I started. However, I was not prepared for the euphoria of receiving my first printed copy of “A Life Singular – Part One”. My cover design, my name on the cover, my picture on the back… A true sense of achievement, even though it’s the first of six!
More surprising though was how much the physical book meant to me, as a technocrat who converted to e-books many years ago. With an e-book, we only get an idea of how “long” the book is by our progress along the blue line at the bottom of the screen. When I saw Part One as a paperback and checked the number of pages, I was blown away with how long it is!
Have you made any changes to your book based on reader feedback?
Yes, a few changes have been made to Part One, mostly correcting errors that slipped through. I am definitely incorporating readers’ comments into the subsequent parts though. One piece of constructive feedback I received from a respected work colleague was that I use too many adjectives, which I later discovered was criticism levelled at JK Rowling. I might sit on that one for a while… At least until my second or third billion.
I am fortunate to have lived and worked in various corners of the globe, and I like to try my writing out on friends in different countries to make sure there are no more strange interpretations that might get me into trouble.
I must also mention my mother here, who’s opposed to any form of swearing and explicit sex scenes. I tried to create a swearword-free version for her, but abandoned it almost immediately because the dialogue no longer suited the characters and the result made me laugh out loud. Also, her e-mail response to the first sex scene was “Phew! Brings back memories.” Sorry, Mum, I couldn’t resist!
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Thanks for asking! In truth, I still consider myself a new writer, so don’t yet feel qualified to give advice. My biggest obstacles were my lack of self-confidence and the fear that no-one would like my writing. Yet the moment I took the plunge and released my story into the wild, this terror miraculously vanished and I became comfortable with talking about my work and what I’m hoping to achieve.
In terms of the technical quality of my work, I find that regularly downloading a digital draft and sitting down with it in “reader mode” enables me to pick up inconsistencies, overuse of particular words and other typographical errors much more easily than in “writer mode” in front of the computer.
To conclude, my mantra has become ‘Be true to yourself.’ If you feel compelled to write about something, then write about it with all your emotions laid bare. Particularly if people are battling a persistent mental health condition, they tend to live a life of pretence in their day-to-day existence. I know that writing is the only place where I can truly be myself.
Many thanks for inviting me to this interview. Best wishes for 2014 to you and all your readers from the blisteringly hot Melbourne summer. And thank-you, Shelly from Fire and Ice Blog tours, for organising a month of interesting blog travels for me!
For those in Australia, Happy Australia Day! Hope you’re all having fun in the sun! For those of you stuck in the northern hemisphere winter, here’s a picture of Bondi Beach, near Sydney, to keep you warm:
This is the second of my contributory posts to Ruth Snyder’s Blog Hop, where this time we’re exchanging our tips and tricks for recommended writing tools. As a quick comic diversion however, another blogger I follow posted about her self-improvement resolution to metamorphose from a “jerk” into a “tool”, quoting the awesome track “Tool” by Forty Six & Two . Funnily enough, in Australia the words “jerk” and “tool” are synonyms! What transformation therefore, I wonder?
Anyway, now to writing tools. [Not writing jerks, of whom I have come across plenty during recent forays into the Twittersphere... Perhaps that's a future post?]
(1) Brain (left) - by far my most useful tool, fast submitting to atrophy in these months of unemployment. I am currently engaged in providing critical reviews of draft manuscripts for a couple of other authors, which also serves to hone my own composition skills. Whereas most of my writing originates from another facet of my being (please see note 5 below), I strive to use the left brain’s analytical powers during editing and proof-reading, to eliminate as many style inconsistencies, typographical errors and most of all repetition. That was repetition… Did I say repetition? Yes, I think that was repetition. This is repetitive. And annoying, huh?
I was lucky to learn from an extremely inspiring English teacher in high school, who by now I expect is a thoroughly decomposed writing tool. Miss Baker (or “English Baker”, so as not to be confused with “French Baker”, who once told me that I’d better look for a job soon because I’d never get into university. A less inspiring teacher I cannot imagine, but this BSc (Hons) graduate is anything but bitter…) forbade us to use a character’s name twice in the same paragraph, unless for specific emphasis or when it was the only way to avoid confusion. Permission for this latter concession required pleading on several occasions, or much shorter paragraphs at the very least!!
This discipline does not seem to be widely followed, however. Surely we can think of other adjective-noun combos which will both enable readers to recognise our characters and afford a little more insight into their personalities?
Vocabulary overuse is also easily avoided between similar scenes with a thesaurus, a vivid imagination and some extra effort. I can’t remember how many times I flashed over “he found his release” when conducting my own research into what makes a mega-bestseller… Come on, own up! I’ll give you fifty guesses.
(2) Brain (right) - creative writing, IMHO, is an exercise in open-mindedness and perspective. Using all five senses to describe a location or event using our emotional responses to these sensory inputs is common enough, but I prefer to be mindful that my characters, whether central or peripheral, would not necessarily react in the same way as I would. This technique, with great fortune, also has a positive impact on repetition. Doh? There it goes again. How repetitive! Apologies
(3) Tablet – and yes, I’m the first to admit that medication can attain tool status also… My most indispensable physical tool would undoubtedly be my tablet computer. Mine is an Asus EeePad Transformer Prime, running Android, for any fellow geeks. The productivity and quality gains I achieve by saving drafts into e-books on a regular basis and then uploading them onto my tablet are enormous. My shiny, silver friend allows me to behave like a reader, with my feet curled under me on the couch or outside in the sunshine (Oh, did I mention that it’s summer here?), rather than as a bug-eyed writer staring at a vertical workstation screen in pursuit of those ever-elusive bloopers.
I can’t tell you how many more errors I pick up in “reader mode”. Using the annotation features available in most e-reading software, it’s a fairly painless process to correct these in the working document. Having said that, I may well be disadvantaging myself by using Android, since there may be some other fruity tools available to automagically make amendments between iPad and Mac, or between Windows tablets and Microsoft Word. Another option to investigate once I have an income…
(4) Social media helpers - I don’t know about you, but I never realised that authoring would entail so much manic manipulation of minuscule morsels of media material. NOW THAT IS TRULY REPETITIVE. Please, pleease, pleeease, Miss Baker, allow me this one…
“So you’ve written a novel? Well, that’s the easy part,” the hero said with a sexy half-smile and a sly wink.
“Ain’t that the truth!” I groaned.
Never fear! There are tools to help minimise our social media hours, if we abide by the maxim “Geeks to the rescue, caveat emptor”. [Is it acceptable to attribute the word "maxim" to something one makes up on the spur of the moment?]
My favourites so far are Hootsuite, SocialOomph and RoundTeam. It’s probably overkill to use all three, but no one product seems to do everything I need. These reasonably-priced tools allow us to combine the different types of feeds from Twitter, Facebook, our blogs and LinkedIn accounts into a single browser interface, from which we can schedule tweets to each social media outlet and make good use of Twitter lists for retweeting purposes.
- Hootsuite‘s strength is the ability to communicate to all platforms through the same messaging function. It’s weaknesses are the inability to tailor the post to the character limit, e.g. Facebook does not limit us to 140 characters, and that it forces you to log back in with frustrating regularity.
- SocialOomph / TweetCockpit is great for scheduling a number of blasts at once across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn only. It’s better than Hootsuite in that, once created, we can tailor the number of times the message is sent per platform, i.e. we may want to tweet several times a day, but only once a day to our professional LinkedIn network and once-and-only-once to our fondly-held Facebook friends, who are undeserving of exploitation.
- RoundTeam‘s all about re-tweeting our followers’ tweets, which increases the likelihood of them retweeting ours! It’s all about community, folks! [Essential note: make sure RoundTeam's "Sensitive" and "Profanity" filters are set, because I've been caught retweeting some particularly unsavoury content without my knowledge. Thankfully a friend notified me before I lost too many followers.]
(5) Heart – while I would credit my left brain as useful, without question my most valued writing tool sits within my ribcage. If returning to my chapters after an absence doesn’t make me smile, cry, moan, gulp or rile to some extent, I am not satisfied with them. In fact, one of the most pleasing aspects of reviewing old work is the element of surprise: did I really write this? This leads me to wonder if I’m simply the messenger, as does my equally cynical and irreligious protagonist. Where does inspiration come from, given it’s oftentimes transitory and that we require a reminder of past thoughts? If I knew, I might list a sixth writing tool.