Monday, January 28, 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Guest: Fleur Ferris

So far in these Guest Posts my invited participants have been writers from around the globe who have gone the Indie route. Whilst this area of the new publishing paradigm is growing, traditional publishing is still strong and many writers choose this as their way to success. This time I bring you a writer from Australia who offers all of us some very useful and interesting advice. Ladies and Gentlemen,

Fleur Ferris

Don't waste opportunities - be prepared to take your manuscript all the way

I wish I was sharing my “road to traditional publication” story, but I can’t. I haven’t completed that journey. But at the end of 2012 I met a major milestone. I signed with Literary Agent Tara Wynne of Curtis Brown Australia.

The list of milestones, opportunities and people who helped me reach this stage is too long for this post. But I thought I would share a few things I did that helped me reach this stage.  

1.       Goal setting – Decide what you want.

Two years ago I decided I wanted to write novels and publish them through traditional channels. I also decided I wanted an agent. I made this goal my number one focus, outside of family. I had already written three novels but had never actually sought publication or set publication goals.

2.       Mindset – Change your mindset and start doing what it takes to reach your goal.

Author, Rebecca Sparrow, gave some great advice one day in a brief comment after a blog post on She said, change your mindset from, “I want to be a writer” to “I am a writer” – you have to believe it before anyone else will. The next day I started a blog and put my writing out for public scrutiny. My blog was never that great, but it changed my mindset and gave me confidence to show people my work.

3.      Improving your craft – writing and gaining feedback improves your craft and boosts your confidence as a writer. 

The confidence I gained from blogging lead to me wanting feedback on my novels. I joined a website called It’s a site where authors can exchange reviews on their opening chapters. Your work is rated and placed in a chart so you can see where you fit in the YWO talent pool. Failure to achieve Top Ten on this website does not indicate failure outside of this website. I had completed my fourth novel by this stage and had started my fifth. I uploaded the opening chapters of both. Novel #4 came in at number 17, and Novel #5 catapulted into the Top Ten. Novel # 5 ended up being a winner of the The Next Big Author Competition (run on the You Write On website).

4.       Opportunities – Look for and do things to create opportunities.

There’s a writer’s festival in Australia called Write Around the Murray. This festival hosts something called “Moment with a mentor”.  In 2012 one of the “mentors” was Literary Agent Tara Wynne from Curtis Brown Australia. I applied with an extract of my fifth novel, a synopsis and a pitch letter. I was one of five writers to gain a 30 minute interview. I was told later by the selection panel that I was chosen because of my success on You Write On and because I had written five novels.

5.       Don’t waste opportunities – Be prepared and take your manuscript all the way.

Researching Tara’s client list did not put my mind as ease. It terrified me, and at no stage did I think I could ever be on it. I needed help. And fast. Many people helped at this stage, but I have to keep it brief so can only name one. Professional editor and author, Heather Webb (Twitter: @msheatherwebb blog/website:, edited my full manuscript and refined my verbal pitch lines. She did a superb job and I felt prepared as I headed off for my 30 minute meeting with Tara. Tara asked to read my full manuscript. Her next email went something like this: I’m gripped. I’ll call you tomorrow.  Huzzah!

I now have everything crossed for Novel #5, which will be pitched to publishers soon, and I’m writing Novel #6.  


Fleur spent the first seventeen years of her life growing up on a wheat farm in Patchewollock, Australia. She then moved twenty times in twenty years. During this time, Fleur sometimes saw the darker side to life whilst working for Police and Ambulance Services. She now lives a more settled lifestyle on a rice farm in Southern New South Wales, with her husband and three young children.

Fleur’s varied life experiences, combined with formal studies in applied science and professional writing has given Fleur a unique insight into modern day Australia. When she isn’t weaving this through young adult fiction, reading or spending time with her family, you will find her with friends, talking art, books and travel.

Fleur may be contacted at:
Twitter: @FleurFerris

We wish Fleur the greatest success with her novels. Remember the name; you will be seeing it on your local store's bookshelves soon.

Eric @

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Extreme Reading!


When you are asked about your hobbies and pastimes and list this amongst them, people still look at you askance. Why? It’s so passive, Dude! You know; you just sit there and turn pages, hardly any effort involved. Even less if it’s an e-book. Hey, forget that! Come do some Hang Gliding/off-road driving/downhill skiing – live a more adventurous life – experience, Dude!

And they are right.

But not why you think.

We readers of the World, we billions of readers, are too set in our ways.

Reading is a passive activity – yes, in that we don’t move a lot – physically, that is. Yet there are very few pursuits available to everyone that can take your mind to places that stir emotions, allow involvement in life-threatening pursuits, introduce you to memorable people and places that will change your whole outlook on life, that allow you to live outside your boundaries… and with NO RISK.

Vertigo, as you scale the sheer rock face alongside the hero? Just put the book down.
Anxious, as you see the speeding train near and the chains tying you to the track won’t budge? Just put the book down.
Trembling, as the assassin’s blade nears the throat of your beloved heroine? Just put the book down.

It’s controlled madness!

And there’s a whole bunch of writers out there finding new ways to make our senses tingle every minute of every day.

Excitement. Danger. Exotic places. Evil villains. Exceptional heroes. Mind-blowing tales.

So why do we insist on reading only in our comfort zones?

“I like police thrillers, so that’s all I read”
“Me, I only read paranormal stuff with vampires.”
“I like a good suspense novel. I just read these two or three authors”

And so on…

What a boring life!

Look, you have no risk. Just put the book down. Try something outside your usual fare. Just be a little adventurous… find something NEW!

Remember this:

Once upon a time, not that long ago, J. K. Rowling, Dan Brown, and even James Patterson, were unknowns. Someone discovered their books and experienced a sensorial thrill from their prose long before people bought their works just for the author name ('it’s a XXXXXX XXXXXXX so it must be good!')

Experiment and discover the new Indie authors out there and the fresh air they are bringing to your favourite genres. It’s like that moment when someone thought to put a twist of lemon into sparkling water!

Read outside your comfort zone!


This message has been brought to you by Eric J. Gates, author of a vampire novel where the creatures DON’T have fangs! And they’re Irish! What, how dare he!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The writer’s worst enemy

Perhaps, t'was last night’s TV; something you heard or saw,
Requiring a call, maybe, to friends, for a caw.

Or maybe it’s drinking tea; savouring the hot cup’s feel.
Could be important, see; might be a big deal.

Real interest easy to fake; when no one’s watching you.
About all you can take: the blank page, no clue.

Still there’s the dog to walk; another excuse with ease,
To family and friends you talk, ‘bout whatever you darn well please.

It’s all for a common reason; it’s really no big deal,
Nor is it a kind of treason; more like a big steal.

All efforts t’force your attention on work you have in hand,
Trying not to mention, it’s like swimmin’ through sand.

I know you see your error; I see it in your face,
Open eyes filled with terror, as you start to lose the race.

Now sit back down and breathe deep; no more procrastination,
This poem over now, so get back to your writing and stop wasting your time on useless pursuits!

-an annual post from Enrico Graffiti  (voted the World's Worst Poet).

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Guest: John Dolan

My guest this week is John Dolan, world traveller, tweeter extraordinaire, poet and writer (among other things). He’s penned a rather whimsical piece on writing for your enjoyment.

Playing A Round Writing

OK, now here’s the thing:
(And I’ve given this a lot of thought
So pay attention, will you?)

Writing is very much like golf.

Yes, yes, I know,
You don’t actually go for a long walk
While you’re writing;
And you don’t usually do it
With other people,
And you don’t dress up
In special clothes
(In fact you can write naked
If you really want to,
Although I wouldn’t advise it).

But it is a game of the mind.
Just ask Tiger Woods:
He’s a great writer.

Wait a minute.
I think I’m confusing him
With Jack Nicklaus.

It was he that wrote
“The Eagle Has Landed”,
Was it not?

You say I need to think this through more?
Are you taking a swing at me?

Then let me sit down with my cup of tee
In the sand-trap of my imagination,
Open my heart
And try to iron all this out.
Wood that I could
Just putt into words
The hole of my philosophy.
But I fear today I am below par:
Furthermore I would hazard a guess
You perhaps think that I am very green
And that I have a fairway to go
To justify my stance.

Of course, you may be write.
Perhaps I am handicapped.
Fore after all –
Who but a fool could confuse
Golf with words?

John's Bio:

"Makes a living by travelling, talking a lot and sometimes writing stuff down. Galericulate author, polymath and occasional smarty-pants." (John's own words).

John Dolan hails from a small town in the North-East of England. Before turning to writing, his career encompassed law and finance. He has run businesses in Europe, South and Central America, Africa and Asia. He and his wife Fiona currently divide their time between the UK, the UAE and Thailand. You can interact with John via his blog Galericulate or follow him on Twitter @JohnDolanAuthor

John is the author of the 'Time, Blood and Karma' mystery series. The first book in the series, 'Everyone Burns', is published by Tention Books.

Everyone Burns’ is available at and in paperback and Kindle formats.

John’s darkly humorous short story ‘Jim Fosse’s Expense Claim’ is currently FREE on and it contains the first chapter of ‘Everyone Burns’ by way of a taster.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

the CULL - a nice surprise

I don't normally post reviews of my novels on this blog, but in light of the comments I have made in the past regarding Reviewers (  previous blog post about reviewers  ) I was a pleasant change to see this appear on Smashwords this morning:

the CULL

Review by: Jonel Boyko 
on Goodreads, Jan. 04, 2013 : star star star star

"I must admit that when I first picked up this book I didn’t know what to expect. It looked intriguing so I decided to give it a go. I was pleasantly surprised, enjoying every word that I read. I was captivated throughout the novel by all of the suspense and mystery hidden behind the words. This book is James Patterson meets Dan Brown, while remaining entirely unique.

Gates’ writing style dictates your mood towards the story. At times he uses short, choppy sentences, making the action seem even more intense. Other times his writing is soothing. Yet again, the way that his sentences are put together brings out further compassion for the characters involved. Each section of the novel is written in a way to maximize impact, while still flowing seamlessly together. The novel also remains gripping throughout. Even the parts that are simply background information or descriptive narrative are never boring.

Based on the background of the novel there are times that medical terminology and techno-babble become very prominent. Without talking down to his audience, Gates manages to use this in a way that remains understandable to all readers, regardless of background. All aspects of this novel were well researched, from technology to medicine to history. There are many twists and additions to fact but there is no data that is completely out to left field. There are also many parallels that can be drawn with the Inquisition, creating a further link with the past. Gates also takes the preconceived notion of vampires (ie// Dracula) and gives it a never before seen twist that re-defines vampirism.

And let us not forget about the characters. Because what is a novel without well developed, interesting characters. The main characters are a pair of female Special Operatives that you cannot help but love. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that Gates did not use the typical male/male or male/female pairing. I spent a great deal of time wondering “who are you” when dealing with the antagonist (aka the really evil bad guy). He remained a mysterious entity throughout most of the novel so that you cannot help but want to know more. When you finally meet him, he is just as evil as you had imagined him to be.

This was by far one of the best suspense novels that I have read in a long time. I think that I need to go and find another of Gates’ books to read to follow this one."

Thanks Jonel; glad you enjoyed the tale.