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Friday, 27 December 2013

Merry Christmas from Evan G Andrew and the Whole Gang!

It's that time of the year again!

Suddenly Christmas is upon us, and life becomes a hectic rush with lots of happenings! The social whirl of catching up with family,  friends, and neighbours begins. The shopping for presents, and stocking up with extra goodies, and little luxuries for lunch or dinner during that very special day, plus preparing for holidays, if you are going away.

There is also time to pause, and reflect, for all those you may have loved or lost, during the past year. While the good times, and the not so good, come more clearly into focus.

Within our writing group, it has been a busy year with several new books published during the year, and many more ready for publication in the New Year; so lots to look forward to.

I don't know whether there are many of you out there, who at this particular time of the year, unfailingly bring out books that you have loved and enjoyed in the past. Those that have a Christmas theme, or a poignant Christmas scene, which draws you back, year after year.

Charles Dickens of course had 'A Christmas Carol,' and 'Mr Pickwick', plus many Christmas scenes in his books, as did Louisa May Alcott in 'Little Women',  and many others, who used the theme in their stories.

Two favourites of mine that I always re-read, are Winston Graham's excellent Cornish novel, 'The Grove of Eagles', and Jean Stubbs, 'Kit's Hill', which are pure nostalgia for me. They also get me re-motivated, at this rather slothful time for writers.

For all writers, I hope that the muse is with you, and you strike success in the near future with your endeavours.

On behalf of all the other 'blog' writers throughout the year, may I wish everyone, a very Merry Christmas, and a safe, happy, and prosperous New Year.


Evan G Andrew

Friday, 20 December 2013

Jean Allen decries gaps in The Listener's NZ book coverage.

I read with interest The 100 Best Books of 2013 in the New Zealand Listener November 30th to December 6th this year. The sentence underneath the heading read – 'Books & Culture editor GUY SOMERSET' and listed the magazine’s team of reviewers on the year’s reading highlights. This article took up sixteen pages.     Admittedly the heading alone took up two thirds of the first page and from there on pictures of five book covers topped and bottomed each page.

This is a New Zealand magazine, to which I have subscribed for years and being a writer, the article interested me. Having read most of it I counted the numbers of books listed under the genres.

FICTION – featured 45 titles, of which I counted only 3 New Zealand authors.
They were The Fall of Light by Sarah Laing; The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton and Wake by Elizabeth Knox. Not being an expert on the top writers of this country I apologize if I have overlooked anyone.
I found this far greater number of overseas books sad.

In our own country, in a New Zealand magazine, I would have thought our authors would have been better represented. Yes, we are a small country – but had Eleanor Catton not won the Man Booker Prize I suppose there would have only been two New Zealand books in that list.
Other categories, Poetry, Art and Natural History, were much the same.
Perhaps the Listener might counterbalance this very long article with an equally long one featuring our own authors, including Indie published authors.

This is Jean ‘Angel’ Allen wishing a Happy Reading Holiday to all NZ writers and readers.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Barbara Algie reflects on the people passing by

I hope you haven’t been making rash promises about writing x-number of words per day in the coming year.  My literary inspiration has gone down the gurgler, for I’ve found something much less energetic to be doing which is dodging pouring rain one minute and slapping on 30+ sunscreen the next.  Some would declare I was ‘wasting time’ whilst others, of a more sympathetic frame of mind, call it ‘gathering valuable information about men, women, kids and their best friends’ as I sit on a coastal walkway seat, where a heavy cloud arrives, gives up all hope of finding a mate and sends down a swift reminder that it pays to adopt the Boy Scouts’ Motto, even in summer.  

One or two hungry seagulls stamp their feet, demanding a share of my cold stew sandwich (yum) and the  high tide whispers ‘ssh’ as it gently laps the shore before slipping away with a soft sigh and returning to repeat itself.  I am very aware that a long distance from this shangri la there are people who, through no fault of their own, are in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Come to think of it that fellow Newton was one of ‘em but he was luckier than most and ended up with a  mere bump on the head. 

Watching the passing parade on the boardwalk I couldn’t help noticing the extraordinary resemblance which pets share with their owners – for instance -
There were fellas with jowls like snuffly bulldogs, large ladies resembling fat pooches
Dogs that were pantin’ and rantin on leads and others reluctant wee moochers
A tough guy in black with ferocious Rottweiler,  a fat Labrador’s dad the same gut
and some feline owners, when viewed from behind, had exactly the same shaped butt.

Maybe I’ll toddle off home after the next shower and file this invaluable information away somewhere but right now here comes the sun again and I’d rather not be disturbed thanks.  
Have a great 2014.

Big Al

Friday, 6 December 2013

Boost your blog traffic: Six keys to writing great headlines, by Vicky Adin

As authors, we are constantly bombarded with promotions, advice and advertising (predominantly American) telling us the Umpteen Best ways to … get known / sell more books / get more followers / write the best blogs / write better/quicker/smarter / avoid writers block / design the best covers / … and the list goes on.

 If every author blogged on a website, wrote guest blogs on every blogging site suited to their genre, wrote reviews on the millions of books available worldwide in their genre on Amazon, Goodreads, Smashwords, and… and I won’t mention any others because there are too many, and daily updated their activity on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube et al, there would never be any books to read. Authors just wouldn’t have the time to write their story while they are so busy ‘getting known’.

 So what do we do? Not to do any marketing and promotion is a self-fulfilling recipe for obscurity. So, despite the overload of information and advice, which usually comes with a price tag, I came across this site on how to Boost your Blog Traffic.

 I have signed up to receive A Cheat Sheet for Writing Blog Posts That Go Viral.

I may regret it if they then bombard me with more advice, but there were some good tips on how to write headlines and how to reach the numbers of people out there that could make a difference to your sales figures. (You can download it free).

 There’s plenty of sound reading worth a look… and some good hints for writing headlines. Not only blog headlines, but also media releases, and even log lines (shout lines) anywhere you need a headline. After all, our aim is to attract attention, so any advice on how to do that must be worth a look. Right?

If you have read this far, what did you think of the headline? Did it grab your attention?

 Threat Headlines - What Keeps Your Readers up at Night?

Zen Headlines - Promising Your Readers a Simpler Life

Piggyback Headlines - Riding on the Back of a Famous Brand

Mistake Headlines - Irresistible Teasers from the Masters

How to Headlines - The Oldie but Goodie That Never Fails

List Headlines - Bite-Sized Content That Readers Adore
Best of luck with your blogging
Vicky Adin
Ed: A reminder that Mairangi Writers and Let's Buy Books will be at the Browns Bay Christmas market TOMORROW from 11 - 5. If you see it raining, please come and buy up all our stock!