‘Letter to My Future Self’ writing contest & How I Bit the Marketing Bullet!!!

Also on Jan Hawke INKorporated & LinkedIn DreamWorlds Writers Collective Group…

Jan Hawke INKorporated

Hit this LINK for more information on the contest and the REALLY great prizes up for grabs for the 3 top entries, including $100, a BOOK OF THE MONTH slot & guaranteed entry into the 2nd annual edition of Rave Soup For The Writer’s Soul anthology for first place!

As of today there’s another full week to run for submissions in this super contest, which is open to all members of online community, The Rave Reviews Book Club (RRBC). Entry is $10 and membership (if you haven’t already joined – go HERE and say I sent you!) is $25 for authors. So – $35/around £22.50.

copyright - Thomas Wightman . . . get their heads above the horizon on the ocean of fiction that’s out there . . .

That’s not a lot to invest if you, like me, are a bit of a wallflower when it comes to ‘building yourself…

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10 Reasons you stop writing your book and why to ignore them

More words of wisdom from Dylan Hearn…

Suffolk Scribblings

Writers block copy

There isn’t a writer alive that hasn’t stopped writing, whether as a planned break or simply because they got out of the habit. It’s happened to me in the past and I’m sure it will happen again in the future. When it does, we often come up with excuses as to justify why we’ve stopped writing, but the majority of the time that’s all they are, excuses. The trick is recognising them for the lies they are and dealing with them. Here are the ten most common reasons people stop writing and why you should ignore them.

1 Your writing isn’t very good

You’ve just read back what you’ve been slaving over for the past few weeks/months and are horrified at how poor it is, so much so you’re questioning whether you’re a writer at all. I’ll let you into a little secret, every writer does this. OK, there may be a couple…

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Surfing the Rave Waves of the Indie Ocean of Excellence!

Worth repeating in places that matter – here’s an article about my second home online and why its community is so welcoming and conducive for those who’re taking an independent route as writers and/or publishers!

Jan Hawke INKorporated

If you haven’t yet cottoned onto the wonderful indie book community known as the Rave Reviews Book Club, or are still mulling over whether to join up – here’s SEVEN reasons to start swimming into the warm currents with this fast-growing and very dynamic group of people, joined in a shared passion for great books.

Whether you’re a writer or a reader (or, as most of us are, BOTH!) there’s so many reasons to enjoy membership of this excellent club that’s the beautiful bouncing brainchild of indie author, publisher and promoter, NONNIE JULESwho opened up her own reviewing blog to other like-minded souls in December 2013 and has been going and growing strong ever since by profiling, promoting and propelling indie books and authors. It’s not just about the reviews however. We have tons of other activities, including blog tours, writing competitions, author features and interviews happening online, but it’s our latest exciting venture onto the air…

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Extension for Qworks submissions

firefrontSometimes we have to bow to the inevitable, go with the flow, or postpone a pleasure… With my husband passing away this March, half a day after my other favourite man, Sir Terry Pratchett, work on the Qworks has had to take a back seat. This is partially why things have gone quiet in here, as other business needed my attention and then I had to let the old grey matter have a cogitate on how to prioritise the publishing schedule for the anthology and my own novel series into my new working routine (such as it is). So – official announcement on the new milestones for our second anthology project.

  1. submissions will now stay open up until 21st December 2015 (the Winter Solstice)
  2. editing phase will run for 4 months from 1st Jan 2016 until 30th April
  3. proofing will commence 1st May 2016 until 31st July
  4. publication of paperback edition 1st August 2016
  5. eBook edition released (on Amazon/Kindle only) 14th August 2016

A generous time scale for those of you who haven’t yet submitted and one which is gentler on everyone and should give me plenty of wriggle room to get things merging smoothly into my own evolving work-life balancing needs 😉 To those who have submitted already, my apologies for having to revise the timetable but I hope this one will be more realistic and be more manageable for those of us who’re involved in the editorial and production phases. One factor that we haven’t yet embraced for our group is that of marketing and promotion – sales of Dreamless Roads have been negligible, mainly because ‘getting it out there’ has not been the top of my list after the initial adrenalin rush of getting it out for Xmas. This will be changing over the coming months as I’ve recently taken on a new role with the online book review club RRBC admin team. More updates on this aspect soon in here, and on my own personal blog space, but for now it’s enough that we’ve got our latest project re-mapped. I look forward to seeing your new work winging its way into my waiting mailbox (my.book@dreamworldspub.org.uk) soon! 😀

THE BLOG TOUR – starring Author Jan Hawke

Well this is my very first professional foray into blog tours courtesy of 4Wills Publishing and RRBC fellow author/member Jason Zandri.
I’ll be visiting 7 others blogs over the next week ending on the 4th July 😀

The GUNDERSTONE review

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Deciding where to start a story is not always clear cut and, because I came at this book with a story plan that was loosely based on The Canterbury Tales, that followed several people’s experiences, there’s a fair amount of flashbacks and jumping ahead, whilst following along the main timeline of the safari. I hope I succeeded in making sense of the flow in the novel, but when I began to look ahead to marketing issues and found a need for a book blog, I quickly realised that I needed to streamline things more, so people could get a flavour of what goes on and where in the story more clearly.

We first meet main character, Sophie Taylor and her safari companions on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls, and the story roughly follows their itinerary from there into Zimbabwe and then Uganda and finally, after it’s over, into Tanzania…

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The QWORKS – the next anthology title

Let the submissions begin!
 firefront
OK – slightly different take this time in that we’re scoping right out on the genre front, so, like it says we want short story submissions in any fiction genre, so long as it’s quirky – not fantasy necessarily but something unusual and striking that marks it out from the crowd.
 
Submission Requirements 
  • between 500 – 20,000 words – deadline 21st December 2015
  • you may submit as many stories as you wish, but only up to 3 stories per author will be published – make sure you send the best of your best!
  • English language only
  • NO fanfic or homage pieces
  • you retain copyright
  • no fees, but you will be asked help with edits/proofing/PR phases, and/or to contribute to ISBN purchases (this will be spread between us and not exceed a fifth share of the costs – £90/$140)
  • any proceeds/profits are put to future DreamWorlds Publishing projects unless sales merit a small pro rata compensation (this will work on the basis of how many pieces of your work are included – one story = one share and so on)
  • submissions to dreamworlds.publishing@gmail.com

Artwork may change slightly but thus far I’ve got 2 colourways for the foreground titles as shown above and below

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feedback welcome! 😀

New broomsticks

Yeah yeah – Ding Dong the witch is dead etc etc.

Our new broomstick is our  add-on community site DreamWorlds Publishing as we’re officially up and running with my debut novel Milele Safari and Saranna’s out of print title (with Alistair McGechie) Perian’s Journey undergoing a good spruce up with new coverartwork before going out as a second edition later this year.

And so we come back to this old project with fresh eyes and more enthusiasm as we have a track record established for actually getting this realised and out in paperback and e-Reader formats. Except…

We still need content! We currently have 6 short stories to include but we need more and also more writers – you know who you are ‘cos we’ve been talking! So… what are you waiting for? Get writing or polishing or sending off that manuscript attachment!

‘Tis the season…

… and high time for an update 🙂

Well things are rolling along with the project on the sign-up side of things and, as I’m on schedule to complete my own novel by the end of the year, 2012 will see more activity in here as I’ll have more time for reviewing etc and starting to look at things like typesetting for the pieces we’ve already got on file once the edit phase is done with.

So far that’s 4 stories – 2 each from Daniel and myself with another one from me in the pipeline nearing completion for reviews (other than from Saranna ;-)).  Don’t worry if you’ve not got started writing yet (or looking through your back catalogue for suitable submissions) – as I’ve been saying all along on the forum, this is definitely going to be a slow burn along the production road with a provisional publication date for around this time next year and a likely commitment for at least a sequel, if not a series of volumes, as the focus of the main forum will also be shifting towards a co-operative writers’ community in the new year.

DreamWorlds will still be very much a playground for us, but with having my own novel ready to launch I want the site to evolve towards a more defined future and to go with the strengths of the community, small though it is. This will mean a more professional (rather than commercial) approach to help with the costs of maintaining the site and the publishing aspects. As you know I’m currently wanting to go the traditional agent/publishing house route for The Safari Tales, but being a shy retiring sort, 😛 there’s only so much touting around of the property I’m prepared to do and so, when my list of possible sources to fame and fortune are exhausted, I’m going to look seriously into self-publish options like Lulu.com since I’ve had  gainful experience on the production side of desktop publishing in HM Civil Service.

Lulu.com is currently where I’m aiming to place the Dreamless Roads anthology as part of the change in direction for the site, as this will be part of the marketing structure for the collection. However, it’s very much a venture into the unknown for me away from Adobe CS layout and pre-press software, so any experience or expertise you guys have of the wonderful world of commercial publishing to throw into the pool (besides your wonderful writing) would be much appreciated!

So – have a fantastic festive season fellow Dreamers, whatever you get up to and here’s to a very creative and wish-fulfilling New Year. 😉

Bump fest

Let’s get this place looking a little more lived in shall we? 😉

We’ve had a bit of a re-furb in here and are now a private blogspace whilst we’re getting the Dreamless Road Project off the ground. This may change in time but we’ll see if it needs opening up again in due course 🙂

For now feel free to use this area for general chat and go to the Dreamless Roads Project pages for edits and review specific work

Roleplaying characters ~ just silly games?

Well, yes. But then again, no…

Roleplaying (or RP for short) is one of those ‘love it or loathe it’ activities for most people I think. For starters it does require some ability of the imaginative kind and, depending on how you want to go about your roleplay, for most types it helps if you have a very good imagination indeed!  DreamWorlds, as a concept, lends itself to the landscapes of the imagination and nowhere has to be imagined more often than fantasy (or dream – geddit!) worlds. Which is where roleplay, for the majority of people, is most firmly based.

But what sort of roleplay is the next question of course. So many kinds, but there are differences and one of the determining factors in making a wise choice is, again, imagination. How much do you have? Before you tell me about your imagine-quotient, it’s my post, so I get to do ‘me-me-me’ first!  I have quite a good imagination, thank you! Some would say amazingly good, but some people’s ‘good’ is way too strange for others of course.  But what I most like to do with my imagination is stretch it and, for me, roleplay is the single most ‘rewarding’ way of doing that, without getting myself killed, or at the least terminally embarrassed, because the physical equivalent of my all action hero killer elf would be dead in two minutes if I could do it for real! So it’s a ‘safe’ way for me to be literally drop dead gorgeous, kick ass and never have a bad hair day ever again – as a warrior she-elf who plays in Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

This answers the ‘where am I?’ and the ‘what am I?’ questions for me (some of the time anyway). Your where and what could be in the Star Wars Universe as a Wookie; or in Half Life as a Black Mesa scientist; or a munchkin ‘in the merry old land of Oz‘; or something in Wonderland, or Narnia or… wherever you want really!  See – this is the beauty of roleplay, because in theory you can be anyone, anywhere, anytime you can imagine, including your own original and wholly personal worlds although, if you want a shared experience this can lead to problems, which is where fantasy genre comes into it of course. Because you do quite often want other people who know that genre in there with you, as they know what can happen and who you can be etc and therefore you can forget about having to do stage management all around you and just concentrate on being the ‘you’ in that particular RP setting – to the max.

In the end it’s all about making it as ‘real’ as possible without breaking the fantasy for everyone – look at how successful roleplay sites like Second Life are, to the point where your second life starts to sound very like your first real-world life and you’re taking out a lease on a neat little $2 million pied a terre, handy for the main strip in Vegas after meeting ‘love of your life’ #4 on the slots – or whatever your alternative reality has to offer you in the way of surreal kicks, to take you out of said first life!

This is why fantasy genres are so great for roleplay because, if you like reading fantasy or watching movies like Avatar or The Lord of the Rings Trilogy et al, you automatically up your game and have far more alternatives to have fun with. And so finally we come to the ‘how’ to roleplay and this is often where fantasy can become ‘just a silly game’, or something extraordinarily rewarding. And it all comes back to how imaginative you’re prepared to be. So what are the ways to RP? You may already be doing it without knowing you do! Here’s a ‘short’ list –

  • cosplay ~ dressing up essentially, but as authentically as you can to the point of it being performance art
  • live action ~ situational or historical re-enactments; or  romping around a park ‘acting out’ your group’s choreographed roleplay game; or more organised events played on surprisingly well-conceived ‘sets’
  • console/video etc ranging over a number of platforms ~ Half Life; Heroes of Might and Magic; Pokemon blah, blah blah
  • tabletop games  ~ modelling-oriented and played like traditional battlefield games Warhammer Fantasy Battle; Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle
  • community online RPGs ~ notably, amongst others World of Warcraft; Lord of the Rings Online
  • pen and paper and/or dice ~  most famous of all, Dungeons & Dragons

and finally

  • freeform/textual RP ~ whatever you want, because you write it yourself with friends

Something for just about anyone there and not just using a keyboard, mouse or stick!  Being a message board/forum on DreamWorlds we use dice for some of our RP games, but mostly we play a textual game in different venues to maximise the experience with as little regulation as possible. For people who like interacting  we have 2 types of RP forum structure –

Single worlds (The Dream Worlds): These are our ‘immersive’ arenas where you can play in a specific single genre forum. These are naturally intended for group activity and so we basically set these up when we know that there’s a reasonable number of people interested in playing a particular world or genre. At present we have 3 themed single worlds –

Tolkien’s Arda ~ Middle Earth and maybe Valinor too. Arda’s a huge place so we’ve got themed sub-fora for Hobbits; Men; Elves; Dwarves and Dark Creatures and the Wild Lands and Ancient Realms to cover the ‘wilderness’ areas and earlier centres of civilisation such as Beleriand and Westernesse open to RPGs, discussion, fan-fiction and themed games.

Celtic Myths & Legends ~ what it says on the tin really!  The Sacred Grove is our discussion and hub area with a sub-forum The Word of the Bard for fan-fiction and art etc and for RPGs Celtica ~ Realms of Myth and Legend which covers the mystic world of the Celtic gods, Fair Folk, druids and legendary heroes and incorporates 2 sub-fora for classic/romantic and historical/warrior takes on the Merlin and King Arthur myths.

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld ~ which is currently being reorganised but again has house room for fan-fiction and art, themed games discussion and of course wacky RPG around the Discworld’s hilarious and unlikely magical topography and cosmopoli…

AND

The Multi-Fandom Insanity Arena (The DreamGalaxies): Ermmm… Yes. well it might be a good idea to use the link here as it’s sort of hard to explain but easier to just jump into it!  Basically we have helpdesks to explain how you can cross the fandom frontiers and boldly go to places where no Wookie, Elf Queen or Vampire has gone before…

It’s really all about any genre you care to name really and it’s here that our future single worlds may start to take shape if we get enough people clamouring for a permanent home. Until then it’s basically up to you what you want to play and who you want to play with as you can simply open a thread and start playing with one or two people ‘privately’ or by invitation only, or join in an ‘open for all’ thread where it might be a mix and match affair with a horror/goth theme, but played in Narnia – or somewhere that takes your fancy with a whole mixture of oddly assorted characters from DC Comics, Disneyland, Westerns, the Roman empire and dump them all on Dune…

Which gets us back to imagination land again. This is my kind of roleplay you see! The sort where I’m in the driver’s seat, make the rules and solely dictate what my character does and where he/she does it. My warrior elf can go to Arda and play to strict canon demands in Beleriand in one game on Tolkien’s Arda and, in another over in the DreamGalaxies insanity arena, she could be off with Sgt. Angua to the Mended Drum (on Discworld), for a pint with Herne the Hunter (Celtica) and then into another Galaxy game on a road trip to Tatooine afterwards, with Batman, in Flash Gordon’s rocket ship. It’s ‘silly’ games as much as you want it to be, see?