SMD Proofing & Editing Services – Nick Wale Introduces Siobhan Day

SMD Proofing & Editing Services – Ms Siobhan Day

So how did you become a proofreader?

I studied a degree in English, originally with a view to teaching. I’ve always found proofreading quite exciting and I get a real satisfaction from spotting those spelling, grammar and punctuation errors that others sometimes miss. Having spent years working for others as a proofreader, I decided it was time to go it alone and set up my own proofreading service.

What services do you offer?

What can I say, if it needs proofreading we’ll do it! We offer a wide range of services such as;

  • Academic Proofreading
  • Corporate Editing and Proofreading
  • Blog Writing
  • Proofreading and Editing for Authors
  • English as second language Proofreading and Editing
  • Application and CV writing and proofreading
  • Media and Journalism Proofreading and Editing
  • Marketing Material Editing and Proofreading
  • Copywriting
  • Website content writing and or proofreading
  • Translation from or in to English, French, Italian and Polish

What can writers expect from you?

SMD Services has a passion for making what you write right! We offer a quality service but we also offer great prices. We like to look at each quote individually, rather than just offering a blanket price, giving us the opportunity to offer the best service to our clients. We take the time to understand exactly what it is the client wants, whether it’s just a simple proofread for grammar, punctuation and spelling or full copywriting. We aim to ensure your work is clear and correct whilst still preserving your voice and vision.

How many books have you proofread?

SMD Services has many clients who use our services, from authors to corporate business’s looking for not only proofreading but also brochure and website content. We have a proven track record in proofreading and translation with a growing client base.

What kind of books do you enjoy personally?  

My genre of books is mixes really. I love anything that makes me escape for a few hours whilst reading. Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale stands out as one of my favourites, but I also love the classics, an occasional romance and you can never beat a good thriller that has you on the edge of your seat. I love those books that leave you wanting more!

How much are your services?  

As I said before, we do not have a standard blanket rate. We have such a varied client base that we prefer to take each quote individually so that we can offer our clients not only the best quality but the most competitively priced service. We also offer a price matching service, we will beat any like for like quote that you may have and we also have special offers once a month for our clients.

How can people get in touch with you?  

People can visit us at www.smdproofing.co.uk and request a quote or they can email us direct on info@smdproofing.co.uk. We can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

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Karina Gioertz Talks Novels, Writing and Writer’s Daydreams! An Interview with Nick Wale

I had an email from a young lady the other day. I receive all kinds of emails but the ones I enjoy most, however, are when people ask me to interview them. Karina Gioertz asked me for an interview and how could I say no? I am proud to present Karina Gioertz to you!

karina

Q) Nice to meet you, Karina! So tell me– how did you get into writing?

A) Starting with the big question, I see! Well, I’ve actually been writing for as long as I can remember. Even as a child I loved making up my own little stories and filling my notebooks with them. As I got older I moved on to Poetry. My writing just sort of kept evolving, and in 2011, I finally wrote my first novel.

Q) Tell me about your early stories. What did you write about? What set your imagination on fire?

A) As a child? All of my stories revolved around animals. The first one I can remember was about a cat named Daisy. I think it’s because I always wanted a pet but my mother wouldn’t allow it, so I created my own, so to speak.

Q) What have you been up to lately? Any new book releases?

A) I released two books back-to-back last month. One is a Thriller called Blood Bound and the other is a YA Romance called This Christmas.

Q) Tell me about Blood Bound! Where can people get it? What’s it about?

A) Blood Bound is the story of three cousins who have been estranged for over a decade but who must come together as they seek justice for one of their own. It’s about greed and corruption as well as redemption and strength of a family bond. It is currently only available as an E-book on Amazon, but will also be out as a paperback in the coming weeks.

Q) It sounds interesting to me! Do you believe self publishing is the future of publishing?

A) I’m not sure I know the answer to that. I definitely still have a lot to learn about this business, but I do feel that self-publishing is creating huge possibilities for authors who might not be able to share their work otherwise.

Q) Do you write to satisfy your own creative need? Do you write to make money? Why does Karina Gioertz write?

A) I write because if I didn’t my head would explode! My brain never seems to shut down. Creating characters and making up stories is just what I do. It’s what I’ve always done. There isn’t a moment of my day when I’m not lost in some crazy thought or another. When I write, I feel like I’m directing those thoughts a bit more and using them more productively than if they just drifted off, turning into just another random daydream.

Q) So how do you write? Do you like music in the background? Do you like silence? What do you need to write?

A) I usually write late at night. I can’t have any background chatter, real or TV, because I automatically tune into what I’m hearing. However, I do love to play my music. I have a special writing mix I turn on before I get started and it helps me disconnect a bit from the real world so I can get sucked in by whatever story it is I’m working on.

Q) Many writers tell of getting lost in their work and “waking up” hours later wondering where the time went. Do you ever get lost in your writing?

A) All the time. There are those times when the story just flows and you lose track of everything else. I love those moments. That’s when I do my best work.

Q) Can you tell non-writer readers what it feels like to finish a manuscript?

A) Are there words to describe it?! It’s incredible! There is nothing better than writing that final sentence and following it up with ‘The End’. To know that you were able to take those first few sentences, those random first notes and ideas and turn them into an entire world, filled with characters who feel more like friends and events you didn’t even see coming until you wrote them in, is exciting. There’s nothing else like it. The second I finish, I want to turn around and do it all over again!

Q) So, going back– what’s This Christmas about? Where can people find it?

A) This Christmas is also available on Amazon. It’s about a young woman who realizes she’s in love with her best friend after her college roommate shows interest in him. Naturally there are complications that lead to awkward moments, misunderstandings and surprise encounters under the mistletoe.

Q) I think it sounds like an interesting and romantic tale! Are you working on a current project?

A) Yes, I am. This time, I’m giving fantasy a try.

Q) Can we have a few sneaky secrets about your new project for our readers, please?

A) Oh, all right, I can’t tell you much, but I will say that there will be an array of recognizable characters guiding a brand new generation no one has ever met of or heard of before. There will be magic, mystery and adventure…and perhaps even a touch of love.
Q) Love’s alright isn’t it! So which of your books do you consider your favourites?

A) My first is still my baby. I love Blood Bound, but Country Girls will always be closest to my heart.

Q) Which writers do you personally enjoy?

A) My mother got me hooked on Sydney Sheldon many years ago. He is my all time favorite!

Q) If you could have written any book by any author, which would it have been?

A) Harry Potter. To have been able to create that world and those characters with such detail…that had to have been incredible.

Q) I agree with you there! So Karina, why should readers choose your books to read with so many on the market?

A) It is my hope that I have created loveable characters and put them in entertaining predicaments; that I have been able to address serious issues while still finding the humor and that no matter how low I may go, I always end on a high note.

Q) What do you like doing outside of writing? Any hobbies?

A) When I’m not writing, I do a lot of painting. I like to refurbish old furniture and turn worn and battered pieces other people are throwing out into beautiful pieces of art.

We wrapped up there and Karina went back to writing her latest work. I enjoyed my time with her and I hope you enjoy this interview. Karina is a driven girl and I am sure there will be many, many books to come!

gieortz-bloodbound-finalcover175x260country girls

Check out Karina’s other books as well!

luckyinlovethischristmas

halforphandrabfab

Follow Karina on her wonderful blog, FriedGatorTail, here!

Stuart Yates is Back! Nick Wale Heralds the Return of Stuart Yates

This will be my third interview with Stuart Yates–a writer’s writer and a man who seems to have endless ideas for books. I was impressed with our last interview. Stuart is a writer and he writes almost every day. It matters not if he has sales, and over our conversations I have realised how wonderful it must be to just write for the joy of writing. When you see a guy like Stuart who has sometimes sold only one or two copies of a book, you wonder why he keeps doing it? He has his fans and he has a deep love for his work. He might be writing for a select audience, but those people sit up and love his work. That is the best part of anything– knowing that your work is appreciated by someone. I present to you my third outing with Stuart Yates.

Stuart Yates

Q) Tell me, have you enjoyed our interviews so far?

A) Yes, very much so.

Q) How many interviews have you done over your writing career?

A) About writing? Quite a few, but yours have been my favourites.

Q) You had an accident on your bike recently, right? Tell me what happened!

A) Ah…well…it was raining, very hard, and it hadn’t rained for a while, so the road was very slippery. I just lost control. Simple as that.

Q) How long till you recover?

A) Well…not sure. Perhaps a week. I’ve torn the ligaments in my arm, busted up both knees. Very painful, but I’m okay. Nothing is broken! My arm is in a sling, so it is hard to do very much at all, really.

Q) Have you managed to fit some writing time in?

A) Well, funnily enough, I had a sudden spurt of inspiration! So, yes, I’ve managed it, but very slowly with one finger of my right hand. My left one is incapacitated. I’m working on a new thriller, which is coming along very nicely. Once I start thinking of scenarios, it is difficult to stop.

Q) You’re a creative powerhouse!

A) A creative powerhouse? Well…when an idea takes hold, it does tend to take over.

Q) Tell me more about your latest thriller.

A) This one is set in the near future, when the world is massively over-populated. The sea-levels are rising and the politicians decide to take somewhat drastic action.

Q) What do they do?

A) They create a smoke screen– they get a real duffer of a policeman to investigate a murder, so that the world will focus in on that. Meanwhile, they put together an elaborate plan to end everybody’s problems. It’s a simple fact that in a generation the population of the planet will be 10 billion people and we cannot sustain those numbers! That’s the thread of the story. It’s not nice, and it has no happy ending– but it is good fun!

Q) How has the world changed since you started writing?

A) In so many ways! I used to type on an old Olivetti portable, using masses of correction fluid and carbon paper. I longed to be like Dashiel Hammett, writing well into the night! Then, of course, you send it away with return postage and wait for half a lifetime for it to be returned. Not like today, of course! Everything is so much faster! [The writing process is] still tinged with frustration and disappointment though. That much hasn’t changed! The rejection slips still mount up, only this time they are in the form of e-mails.

Q) How often do you get rejected?

A) A lot! I have written what I think is a wonderful story, and it has gone to maybe thirty agents, all of whom have rejected it. A publisher liked it, read it all, but decided not to go ahead because my hero was too weak. Poor man. So now my latest manuscript is with Harper Collins and some agents in the States. We will see.

Q) Have you been rejected by Harper Collins before?

A) Yes!!! Years and years ago, when you could submit directly to them. Nowadays, they won’t look at you without an agent, but late last year they threw open their doors to ‘open submissions’. They received 4500 of them!!! Mine hasn’t been rejected YET…

Q) What is so important about a signing with Harper Collins?

A) Because they are HUGE!!! They assign an editor to you, do the marketing, publicity, arrange interviews (wink wink) and press-releases. They are a major international publishing house and are fully equipped to take you forward in your career. When the opportunity came to submit, I simply had to. I had made some changes after the feedback from the publisher who had rejected me, so I feel it’s a better product. It is the first part of a trilogy. I’ve already written the second, and the third is planned.

Q) What would you deem a hit?

A) A hit? For me? Anything over ten copies sold makes me happy. I just got my royalty cheque for Burnt Offerings. I made a whopping five pounds!

Q) You’ve had a book that didn’t sell even one copy?

A) Yes!!! Of course. Death’s Dark Design has sold NIL and my trilogy of animal tales set on Alderney have sold NIL. Now I find that Interlopers From Hell, which I expected to do better, hasn’t sold a single copy. Do I care? Not really. You write for the love of it. Not for the royalty checks or the fame. I don’t worry! I am a published author and that’s what counts.

Q) How do you cope with such a lack of success?

A) How do I cope? What a question. I have a wonderful capacity to simply shut out bad vibes, bad news, setbacks, etc., unless, of course, they are personal. I simply just get on with the next one. What more can you do? They have been edited professionally, they are well produced, the covers are good… AND, the stories are good, too. So, I simply carry on.

Q) Do you ever get fan mail?

A) What is fan mail? I have had some lovely comments from people, yes. Some people have done reviews on my books, people I don’t know, and that is tremendous. I have seen people make comments about my blogs. Nobody then goes and buys a book. Well, not enough to make any kind of difference. I keep telling myself ‘this is the one’ after I have finished a book. So far, it isn’t!!! Still, what does it matter? I’ve thought about opening up a little Bed and Breakfast in northern France or working in a museum, telling visitors about the exhibits– anything to keep me going artistically. I could put some of my books on the counter.

I remember once I was at a fair here in Spain. I had a little stall with my books on and I was giving away bookmarks–really cool they were– however, they didn’t have my face on them, which is always a good selling point. I handed one to some guy and he looked at it and said, ‘No, I’m not interested.’ I smiled, ‘But you do read, don’t you, sir? You could use that, it’s absolutely free.’ ‘No’, he said, and gave it me back. I was so downhearted. I haven’t been there since– I’ve even tried to give my books away at work! Nobody wants them. Maybe three or four of the forty-odd staff have read my books, and they have all liked them. Two of them wrote stonking (that means “good” for the American readers) reviews on Amazon.

One girl loved the book I gave to her, and she wanted to read more, so she has. Another good friend has helped me with editing. She’s a brilliant teacher, and literacy is her strong point. But another I had to virtually beg to read it. It was FREE for crying out loud. She just looked at me and shook her head.

Q) Tell me Stuart, do you know that your work is good?

A) Yes, I know my work is good, even though I rarely admit to that. I’m naturally very modest. I hate putting myself forward, that is why I find all this marketing and promotion business so difficult!

People find that extraordinary when they find out about my background in acting. But, like I try to tell them, that was not ME up there on that stage. That was a character. Being ME is extremely difficult.

Q) Tell me about your acting career.

A) Well, I sort of stumbled into it really. I was unemployed – AGAIN – and went on a government sponsored scheme as a youth-worker in a local rep theatre. Wow, the people I met there. So talented! Outstanding musicians and actors. I had a great time. We used to go around local special schools and put on plays for the kids. It was brilliant. I used to help out in the theatre in the evenings and got into acting properly that way. I went down to London for an audition and I got in !!!

I’ve always wanted to be an actor, perhaps for longer than I’ve wanted to be a writer. I started up my own theatre group with some friends. We won lots of competitions. I was voted best actor twice in one of the most prestigious acting competitions on Merseyside. Then I went to university, and did Drama as part of my degree. All of that taught me a lot about good dialogue pacing, tension, all of that. It was a great time in my life and I still keep in touch with some of my old friends.

Q) So your acting indirectly shaped your writing?

A) Definitely! I was always very intuitive as an actor, and I am as a writer. I just go with it, I don’t think about it too much. Sometimes, thinking gets in the way. I’m like that as a teacher, too. I can’t be doing with following plans, even though in my writing I do have a very loose plan but, it is a plan that develops as the story unfolds.

Q) How would you describe your writing?

A) Pacey, spicey, with lots of twists

Q) Do you enjoy writing sex scenes?

A) Wow!!! Dear me…er…well…Mm, what do I say to that? Yes, in short! As long as they have place in the story, why not?

Q) Has writing sex scenes made you a better lover?

A) Er…mm…they’ve certainly made me more thoughtful. The research is great !!! I don’t want you to get the wrong idea! Hey, James Bond wouldn’t be who is is without all that spice!!! I don’t write erotica…just a little sprinkling of good, wholesome fun ! And besides, writing about vicious gangsters who blow people’s legs off hasn’t made me a better killer! I deal with story-making which is fiction and fantasy. None of it is real. Although I have met some pretty gruesome characters and they populate the pages of my books quite a lot!

Q) So what was the last great book you read?

A) The last ‘great’ book I read…I re-read Of Mice and Men just before Christmas, and it blew me away as usual. That is what I would class a ‘great’ book! The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas left me feeling dazed by its brilliance. I read that a few months ago and No Country for Old Men. Now there was a book and a half. Wow. I was in awe of that. I’ve read lots of others, but none that I would term ‘great’. At the moment, I’m reading about William II as part of the research for a historical novel I’ll be getting down to in the summer

Q) What’s this new historical novel called?

A) My book has a working title of ‘Arrow From the Mist’ or something like that, but that might change.

Q) What’s the historical book about?

A) William II was killed in a hunting ‘accident’ in the New Forest in 1100. He had become separated from the main group. He was found dead, with an arrow sticking out of him. The arrow belonged to a knight called Walter Tyrel who promptly disappeared. Henry, William’s brother, quickly seized the throne…and here’s the interesting bit! He never ordered any investigation into his brother’s death; Tyrel was allowed to leave the country, and his family were awarded top jobs in the government so, was it an accident, or was he murdered on the orders of his brother? It’s a real mystery, that will never be solved. BUT, my story puts a nice little twist on it because it wasn’t Tyrel OR Henry…it was somebody else…or maybe two people… or three… who knows!!! You’ll have to read it and see! I just can’t wait to start it!

With our interview over, I left Stuart to his work. He loves his work and it shows through with every ounce of his being. I think you will discover him one day. Perhaps today? You will go and pick up a Stuart G. Yates novel and read until you are satisfied. Stuart will be satisfied, too– he will have gained another new reader. Adios till we meet again!

Stu YatesSee my other inerviews with Mr Yates here and here!

A Word With Lillian Duncan– Nick Wale interviews the author of “The Christmas Stalking”

A few weeks ago, I had an open call for interviews. I wanted fresh talent for interviews on this blog. With the new year here and the blog flourishing, I am slowly mixing these interviews in with my regular works. Sometimes, change can be a great thing and I hope you enjoy this short but sweet chat with author Lillian Duncan.

Q) Nice to meet you Lillian. Let’s start with a plug for your work. What is your latest book called?

A) My latest release is a novella—a fancy word for a shorter-than-novel length story. It’s called THE CHRISTMAS STALKING. Destiny is a country music star with a problem. Someone’s stalking her and she has no idea who. She decides to hide away in a small village in upstate New York, but the stalker follows!

Q) How are the public taking to your books?

A) Everyone seems to enjoy them from what I can tell. Great reviews so far. With so many books being published all the time, there’s a lot of competition to get noticed.

Q) Let’s talk books. What do you like to write about?

My books are Christian fiction in the romantic suspense genre, but there’s a lot more suspense than romance. My stories have a lot of action and lots of twists and turns before getting to the finale. Many men seem to think women can’t write action-filled suspense, but men like my books as much as women. The Christmas Stalking is my third release in the past two years with PURSUED and DECEPTION being released in 2011. I have one book contracted for next year—BETRAYED.

Q) How do you write? Do you like to listen to music? Do you like silence?

A) It’s sort of quiet where I write, but never completely. I work upstairs in my office, but life happens downstairs. Life for me includes two dogs, four parrots, and one husband. The combination can be quite noisy at times, but it works for me.

Q) What drives you on as a writer?

A) To create entertaining stories while showing God’s love for us.

Q) What do you personally think makes a great read?

A) Wonderful characters with a big problem! In my case, either finding a murderer or trying to stop a murder—usually their own!

Q) Who is your favourite author?

A) Terri Blackstock and Brandilynn Collins are two of my favorite authors. The first time I read either one of their books, I thought to myself—oh, they write like me. It was only when I discovered them that I actually realized there was a Christian suspense genre out there.

Q) Where can people buy your work?

A) My books are available at the major online bookstores (Amazon and Barnes & Noble) or at my publisher’s website: PelicanBookGroup.com

You can also learn more about my writing at LillianDuncan.net

Q) If you could choose to have written one book– which would it have been?

A) There are many, but one that comes to mind is Forrest Gump. I mean what an interesting book that must have been to write. A love story, most of the modern historical events of my life up to that point, and his own personal journey as a man, all wrapped up into one fun story.

Thanks for stopping by Lillian! We here at Novel Ideas would like to wish you every ounce of New Year cheer for great sales over the coming months!

If you would like an interview with me on my blog– please email me through my contact page. I want to hear from you!

Irving Unleashed… A Revealing Conversation with Terry Irving

The last time I met with Mr Terry Irving we spent a lot of time talking about his career. This time I had a lot of mail from people asking to know more about the man. Let me take you to a cold winter evening in 2012. Terry was busy– but anxious to get the interview started. The tape rolls as follows…

 

terry Irving 3I’mm Baa-aack. All ready to do an interview with you, Nick.

Q) Hey Terry–ready to start?

A) Sure– oddly enough, I have another interview scheduled with IPTV Magazine – don’t know why.

Q) Okay, so let me ask you– did you enjoy the first interview we conducted?

A) I LOVED it– oh have we started?

(I knew from this start that Terry was in a good mood– jovial and Terry Irving go well together.)

Q) Yes, but I’ll keep that in– just for my ego.

A) Well, then let’s forge on into the verbal wilderness.

Q) I loved it, too– so what should we talk about?

A) How about my effing book (to use Terry Prachett’s words)?

(I was bent over doubled up laughing by this point.)

Q) Your effing book? Fine– so what do you like about your effing book?

A) I have a new review blurb: “An action-packed, entertaining, and thought-provoking story appropriate for a wide audience.” Of course, it’s from the editor at Createspace, and I would suspect they don’t usually tell their authors that their novel is the worst thing they’ve read since Terry Southern’s last effort.

Q) You can’t trust an editor or journalist, Terry. Hasn’t working with me told you that?

A) No, but I’ve never trusted you.

Q) Why? (I said, falling for the joke.)

A) In the words of Ronald Reagan, “Trust but Verify”, or as Jimmy Carter said when he landed in Poland, “I would like to have carnal love with all of you.” That last was a translator’s error.

Q) Well, I’m glad you verify my work– if you didn’t I’d be worried! Seriously, so how many people do you have working on your book? What do they do? Do you have a team?

A) In full disclosure, in the other book I’m currently writing – The Unemployed Guy’s Guide to Unemployment – I have a long section on the depression that affects the unemployed. To test out my theories on the subject, I woke up at 3am worrying about, well, everything. Then, I was too tired to write and too awake to sleep, so I wasted a couple of hours worrying about the unfixable.

To make a long story slightly less boring, my head feels like it’s filled with bees and I have the attention span and the vocabulary of a newborneinfant. I want the reading public to know this and protest your inhumane practices. PAYING THE BILLS worries me the most. Now, this is an interesting little chat-up between old boffins, but we should get to the meat of the matter and talk about the bloody book. Is it boffins or Gaffers?

Q) I prefer broke-ass writers.

A) Mates?

Q) Mates!

A) Onwards

Q) To victory

A) Ask a question about the book.

Q) So, about your book, Courier, Terry– how do you feel about it? Would you buy it?

A) I never set out to write Great Literature. I wanted a book that would be sitting in a bookstore at an airport and you would pick it up and go, “Hmmm. Looks okay. Should get me through the flight to LA.” It became a bit more complex than that, but basically I managed to stay away from complex ideas and literary merit.

Q) Is it all about telling a tale then? All about entertaining people?

A) I think so. Or at least that’s generally the sort of book I read. Sometimes I’m amazed when I realize that I’ve read all these serious tomes about War and Politics and the War of the Roses and whatever because I never intend to.I want to be Lee Child. That guy has what appears to be an effortless ability to force the reader – not force, entice would be better – to read on and on. I know it’s not just luck but a lot of hard work, but that’s what I’d like to be able to do. Write so that the reader forgets it’s a book so that afterwards, they simply remember the scene or the action and aren’t really sure if it was a book, a tv show or a movie.

Q) Of course, you see your book as a movie too, right?

A) Yes, my background is writing for television so the pictures are always in my mind as I write. The characters are usually talking in the background as well so it can get pretty complex in there. One of the areas I see as a weakness is that I have a fairly blunt style of writing – again from the stripped language of TV news where every word has to earn its place into a script – and I don’t put in enough descriptive sentences. I had my character crash off his motorcycle and scrape along the pavement for about a paragraph. Dennis LeHane has his guy go through a windshield and the description goes on for two pages. AND it’s brilliant.

Q) How about Stephen King? Does he grab you as an author?

A) Stephen King. Does anyone like Stephen King? Stephen King and Terry Goodkind should be placed in a box and separated from the rest of the world. Oh, along with Robert Jordan.

Q) I take it you don’t share the opinion that they are literary greats?

A) No. they are fairly smart hacks who just write endless pages of endless copy with no point, no beauty and no reason for existence. Not that I’m being critical, mind you. I once bought a Stephen Kingbook on tape to keep me awake on a straight-through drive to Florida, and I ended up smashing it on the ground somewhere in mid-Georgia. Later, I read that he had based the entire 20 book series on the line “To the Black Tower, Childe Harold rode.” Sadly, King is also very smart and inventive and, I suppose, scary and lots of people like him so I’m not going to be too critical. Those who like him love him, and if they read the books then that’s great!

Q) Who would you call a great writer?

A) Great writer? Dashiel Hammett, Edgar Allen Poe, Lord Dunsany, H.P. Lovecraft who invented the Chulthu Mythos, Tolkien– writers who created entire new areas of literature. Tolkien’s world was a brilliant invention that took almost nothing from previous writers. No one has done it better since. ‘Continental Op’ is one of the best books ever. Hammett invents the entire private eye, noire, entirely American theme of the lone man with a code of honour.

Q) How about Chandler? Great writer?

A) Chandler? A good writer – not a great one. I mean, you can only have so many Great Writers or you start to debase the currency. I’m happy if I can find an OK writer to read. Alfred Bester, Philip K. Dick, Jules Verne, those are some of the better writers.

Q) (John) Steinbeck?

A) Steinbeck? Ehh. Yes, he was great but … everyone knows that already and Dos Passos was a lot more fun. Pynchon was great until he began to write in code.

Q) Who would you call the worst writer you’ve read?

A) The worst writer. You mean, besides a significant number of the authors I see online these days? I would have to say Terry Goodkind, otherwise. Derivative, uninteresting, lousy descriptions, unreal conversations – of course, I made all these decisions from reading about 20 pages of one book. My other pet hatred are the writers who sell off their worlds to other writers– usually without warning you. They should be given a sound thrashing and sent to bed with out rice pudding.

Q) So you don’t much care for the self-published author?

A) I really don’t know enough about the entire self-publishing world. That was one of my ponderings last night. I know there are some real dogs out there but that’s probably true in any field. I suspect that there are some excellent authors in the self-pub area but I also suspect that the big publishing houses are watching and picking off the ones that don’t suck. My problem is that I really don’t understand this new paradigm of publishing at all. I can’t understand “books” that run 17 pages. That’s a menu at a restaurant, not a book. I don’t understand why mass paperbacks are a minimum of 80,000 words but anything over 60,000 is considered too big in the self-pub business, and I really don’t understand how to make any money here.

Q) I think you are meant to be published by a house. I’m not sure why you aren’t, but I believe something isn’t being done right.

A) I think big publishers are terrified of the changes and are only accepting the big authors and books with vampires and zombies – preferably both. I wanted to be picked up by a major publishing house – heck, I had friends at three of them! But it hasn’t happened and I’m just egotistical enough to believe it’s not because Courier is a terrible book.

Q) Terry, you have just dared a publishing house to take your book. Calling them out!

A) First off, it was ever thus. I was reading one author – a huge seller – who said that his first book was sent to over 200 editors. JK Rowling, the same. Plus, where book editors used to have a certain leeway to pick a book that was out of the mainstream but they thought had a little something – today, any choice goes to a central publishing committee and you have to defend your choice. Gah! I’d pick vampires, too.

Q) Would I be right to say you’re angry with the lack of vision within the publishing industry then?

A) “Lack of vision”? Nah, I’ve been in television buddy. I’ve seen “lack of vision” on its home ground, where it was born and raised. It’s the realities of the market and the changes in technology. I imagine people in publishing are terrified. All the rules have changed. I mean, people do interviews with bloggers for Pete’s sake, instead of good, reliable radio shows.

Q) Does it worry you that your book might get lost in a sea of loser novels?

A) It worries me that my book could get lost in a sea of good novels. I’ve written a very personal novel – based on my own experiences – and set in a world that few people really know– Television News in the 1970’s. Young people have no clue what I’m talking about and there simply weren’t that many of us working in the industry at the time (which made it really really fun – young people could take a chance and do just about anything).

Q) Do you find it difficult to adapt to the new way of things?

A) Seriously, no. My job in television – and certainly for 8 years at Nightline – was to take a very complex subject that I knew nothing about. Research it, understand it and then break it down to its essentials so I could explain it to a mass audience. Learning about self-publishing and 99 percent e-books and i-books and whatever; is really just a version of the same thing. I left a cushy job at ABC News in 1993 and, after cold-calling a dozen people, went to Los Angeles and wrote a CD-ROM interactive History of the World. I picked up non-linear editing, was VP at a startup where we were going to have online video classes for businesses and where we did the outline, and Tada Industries in Calcutta did the programming overnight on this weird “Internet” thingie.

Q) Did it pay off?

A) Nope.

Q) You like taking chances?

A) I have consistently been far enough ahead of the technology curve that there was neither the audience nor the content to support my efforts. It was fun though. It’s not as much about taking chances as being willing to try doing something new. I’d never written a film script before I wrote one, I’d never watched streaming media before I became VP of a streaming media company.

Q) How about your successes? What would you class as your achievements?

A) My achievements? Well, if you’re honest with yourself, you really don’t do much of lasting importance in TV. However, I did have a significant role in two cases where the show I did made a difference in real life. One was the first time we went to South Africa in 1985 and Apartheid was in its last full-bore application before the whites gave up. We put (Arch) Bishop Desmond Tutu on the air side by side with Foreign MinisterPik Botha. It was literally the first time that South Africans had seen an educated, erudite black man disagree with a powerful white man in public.

The other was a show that I’d been trying to do for several years on “Heavy Urban Rescue”. That’s what you do afteranincident like the World Trade Towers, like the Mexico City earthquake, or like Katrina in New Orleans. The US government was fielding rescue teams that knew how to handle these situations, but they were being run out of the State Department and couldn’t be sent to domestic events. When a department store in a small town simply pancaked down on a couple of hundred people, I pushed the show and we pointed out that an efficient rescue and relief administration wasn’t a matter of cost but accumulated knowledge. If you’re a local mayor, you’re not going to put resources into UHR, you’re just going to hope it doesn’t happen, but it always happens several times a year in a nation. I was told that the day after the show ran, there was a high-level meeting at the White House and they proceeded to completely revamp FEMA along those lines. Sadly, eventhough that was done by the administration of the first George Bush, it was specifically dismantled by George W. Bush – with the results you saw in New Orleans.

Q) Would you say you’re in an angry mood today?

A) Nope. Just passionate. It’s just that the changes to destroy FEMA were done specifically to ensure that people did not expect any help from their government. It was ideological and stupid.

Q) So tell me, you have friends in the publishing industry– what do they think about Courier?

A) My friends in the publishing business went running like scared bunnies when I asked for the favor. My agent, Dean Krystek is a good guy. I specifically wrote him and asked that he continue as my agent even as I did the self-publishing route and we would work out some sort of arrangement. I like having professionals on my side – lawyers, accountants, agents. It enables you go up against the big guys. Nick, you’re doing well as a little guy against the big guns – talk about someone with drive and ambition.

Q) Thank you, Terry– I try my best.

A) I just want to understand this bloody new business. I can write a 17 page “book” a day – seriously. I was looking at all these e-books and i-books and they’re all 70 pages long. That would take about a week.

Q) Well. looks like we’ve come to the end of this interview. You have another to get to right? Any last words of advice?

A) You only need to speak 10 things in any language to be a journalist. Hello, Goodbye, Thank You, Yes, No, Go straight, Turn left, Turn Right, and “don’t kill me, I’m a journalist”.

With that, Terry Irving was whisked off to meet another writer and greet another new audience. I was left with one of the best interviews anyone could ask for. Courier is soon to be banging on your door and it’s only a matter of time before Mr Terry Irving is back in front of you as a fitting– not a fixture. Nick Wale needs a drink after this interview– sure as hell tired me out! All you writers who need an agent– Dean Krystek is the guy to find!

If you want to know more about Mr. Irving, find Terry’s first interview here.

“Lisa Doolittle” goes from Stripper to Writer- An Interview with Eve Littlepage

A few days ago I was looking for an interview that really interested me. I had just finished an great interview with Tom Blubaugh and needed something special to continue with. An open call on several Facebook pages brought a huge amount of material. I found myself reading some very interesting interviews with some very interesting people– then I received an email from Eve. I knew this one had to have precedence over all others. Thank you, Eve!

Eve Littlepage hamming it up as Lisa Doolittle c. 1985

Q) Nice to meet you, Eve. So tell me, what’s your latest work?

A) CELESTIAL BODIES IN ORBIT- Memoirs of the Unknown Stripper, about the ten years I worked as striptease dancer ‘Lisa Doolittle.’ I worked in that business in the mid-70s and mid-80s in the suburbs of Boston, Mass.

Q) How are the public taking to your book? I hope they are as interested as I am– the book is a “killer”.

A) I am just launching it to ‘the public,’ so I can’t really say. I had about a dozen people read my manuscript before I went over it a few times with an editor. The responses have been wonderful! Of course, they are friends, or at least acquaintances, but I would hope they weren’t giving false praise and then sending me out into the world to fall flat on my face. One of the best compliments came from my editor. One her third pass through, she said she was still enjoying it, even though she knew the story by heart at that point!

Q) Tell me about your book? What drove you to write a book about your past? You have such an interesting story to tell!

A) It’s hard for me to sum it up in a line or two, because there are many layers to it. It’s life, which doesn’t always follow the same neatly laid-out plot that you find in fiction. There is a definite story arc that develops as I examine the chain of events that lead me into the business. Thinking it a temporary measure to escape an abusive relationship, I ended up getting stuck in it for ten years. It wasn’t all bad. I actually had a love/hate relationship with stripping. I took a rather unconventional approach to exit the business, following my instincts instead of any ‘How to Forge a New Career’ manuals.

The book weaves memories of my days and nights in the clubs with events in my personal life, and illustrates how they played off of each other. So, like life, it has romance, lust, sex, violence, humor, and a few colorful expletives. Also, though metaphysics is not the main focus, my story is sprinkled with references to The I Ching, spiritual epiphanies, ghostly visitations, and my Wiccan/Pagan path.

One thing I took a big chance on was my method of telling the story. I created an author, named Stella Mars, who interviews me to help me write the book. So Stella, her house, parlor, and tape recorder are fictive elements, but the story I am telling her is the true story of the events that happened, and my reflections on them. So far, everyone who has read it says the format works. Some will like it and others may not, but it’s what I needed to do to get the story out.

Q) How do you write? Do you like to listen to music? Do you like silence?

A) I need quiet. Maybe some new-agey instrumental stuff would be okay, but if there are lyrics, I will get distracted. I’ve always been lured by the words, the poetry, in music. I like to have a good block of time, two to three hours, where I know I won’t be interrupted. The first time I sat down to write this book, I stopped after I thought twenty minutes had passed. I was shocked to find it was three hours! That’s when I knew I loved writing. I was in a zone. It’s not always like that, as you other ‘zoners’ know! 

Q) What drives you as a writer?

A) I am at my best when I can be creative. It has manifested many ways in my life, most recently through the medium of writing. I have been writing for years, but just journal entries, a poem here and there, and for business. Stephen King says never to write for the money. Not ever. (Yeah, I know, easy for him.) The need for an income stream, other than my husband’s recession-pelted business and my working-poor level jobs, was my initial boot-in-the-butt. Who knows if this book will be the magic that puts me back in the black, but at least it gives me Hope. And I love Hope. Yet, I get Mr. King’s point. If it felt as laborious and lung-choking as coal mining, I may as well get a pick-axe and start tunneling—at least it would pay right away.

Q) What do you think makes a good book?

A) One that takes me into a different world, and gives me something to reflect on in the process. It needs to have a good balance between description and action–too much or too little of either will bore me. I love when an author can use language in clever ways, turn a phrase that surprises and delights me, but doesn’t get so carried away with style that it takes me out of the story. 

Q) Who is your favourite author?

A) “Besides me?” (she replied with a wry grin). But seriously, what a hard question to answer! So many to choose from. I will name Marion Zimmer Bradley, for her wonderful, magical treatment of the Arthurian Legend. It was brilliant to tell it from the eyes of the women of Camelot, and show them as wielding power and moving events from ‘behind the scenes’. She also knows her stuff about the Old Religion, and thus adds a touch of authenticity when she writes about Magick that I find lacking in the typical portrayals. The Mists of Avalon was one of those rare books that had me aching to find more reading time.

Q) Where can people buy your work? 

A) On Amazon right now, more venues to come. The e-Book is already there. One of the things on today’s ‘to do’ list was to give the print copy one more scan before we put it up for sale. So, within a couple of days it will join the e-Book: 

CELESTIAL BODIES IN ORBIT: Memoirs of the Unknown Stripper (Paperback)

Q) If you could choose to have written one book–which would it have been?

A) Harry Potter. A far cry from Celestial Bodies in Orbit, but it would have been nice to write something the kiddies could read. Not to mention the success it has had. No, we won’t mention that.

Here’s a link to my blog: I have a page for interviews and will add this with a link to your site too!

Thank you for taking the time to interview me, Nick. I wish you great success in your writing career!

No, thank you, Eve! It has been fantastic to work with you and hear about your book. I will certainly be picking a copy up! I think Eve deserves every credit for writing a book that deals with something that so many shy away from. All those girls working in joints and clubs deserve credit. It’s a hard life and I am glad someone has written something positive about it.

You can contact Eve at the following links: eve@evelittlepage.com www.evelittlepage.com

Don’t forget to go out and buy her book right here:  CELESTIAL BODIES IN ORBIT: Memoirs of the Unknown Stripper (UK) CELESTIAL BODIES IN ORBIT: Memoirs of the Unknown Stripper (USA)

Great article from hot selling author Alex Laybourne! Check it out and enjoy it!

Official Site of Alex Laybourne - Author

When George Orwell penned his novel 1984, and created the character of Si; the man who, tells the reader about the Inner Party’s plan to reduce language further and further, issuing reduced dictionaries, eliminating words until there are only the absolute minimum of words remaining with which to communicate, I doubt even Orwell could have imagined how true that would be.

Putting aside the technology of flat screens, CCTV and webcams, all of which can be found within this wonderful work of fiction (?), it is the clear prediction of the destruction of language that strikes me as being the most accurate.

I may be biased because of my nationality, but I think that the English language is the best in the world. It is expressive and can be used to conjure images and scenes far more romantic that even the most dashing of Frenchmen could conceive, and whose poetic…

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