Tag Archives: books

The Word Jug: Perfunctory

From the Jug today I poured out : Perfunctory (I like this word!)

Definition

  1. Characterised by routine or superficiality: Mechanical – a perfunctory smile.
  2. Lacking in interest or enthusiasm

Origins:

Perfunctory is a word whose origins are found entirely in Latin. It first appeared in English in the late 16th century and is derived from the Late Latin perfunctorius, meaning “done in a careless or superficial manner.”

I wonder if you ever use today’s word?

 

 

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Guest Post: Author Jack Probyn

Hello fellow authors and writers! I’ve wanted to start doing some guest posts for a while and Jack Probyn from over at https://jackprobynbooks.com has kindly volunteered to be my guinea-pig. (Thank you Jack!). He’s agreed to an interview by way of some serious, and some fun questions (below). Jack has completed a thriller manuscript, and is currently working on the completion of a fantasy novel. He also has a blog with some great content – ideas, thoughts, information, and quirky short stories. A recent short story with a scary twist at the end was ‘Short Story: Bad Pooch’ https://jackprobynbooks.com/2017/05/18/bad-pooch/

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Jack has been an excellent first guest! Here are his questions and answers …

1. What is the working title of your next book?

The next book, or rather my first that I plan to publish before my fantasy novel, is going to be called The Next Destination. It’s a thriller novel set in London, with a detective as the protagonist who is thrown into a deadly situation regarding terrorists and a mode of public transportation… I do not want to disclose too much at this stage!

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?

As cliché as it may sound, the inspiration came to me while I was on my commute to my placement job. Hence, probably why trains feature so heavily in it. I just thought “what if…” and then it came to me.

3. Do you have cover-art planned, and will you do it yourself or hire an artist?

I do not have cover-art planned at this moment. As much as I like to think I’m creative, I somewhat lack the artistic capabilities to do anything as important as create a book cover, despite having worked with graphic designers at my job. However, I feel it best to leave it up to the professionals. After all, they’d ask us to write a novel for them rather than do it themselves (I hope!).

4. What, for you, is the single most important quality in a novel; what must an author do to win you over?

I think that the most important quality in a novel is that it needs to have a gripping plot, something that’s going to excite me all the way through, leave me guessing, making me want to read more. It’s like going to the cinema, in a way. I will watch a film because I think it looks good, not because of how well it is done, because at a first glance all we get is the trailer (or in the case of a novel, the blurb). Only after we’ve begun watching – and reading – do we appreciate the talent and skill that has gone into it.

5. Your three favourite books?

My three favourite books are probably The Shining, by Stephen King (I was – and still am – a massive fan); 1984, by George Orwell (difficult choice between that or Animal Farm); and A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess. The reasons for them being that I read The Shining when I was younger, after having been repeatedly told not to by parents because it was “too scary”, and I loved the complexity of the plot and the way it was written. It was the first proper, full length book I had read, and I loved it. The reasons why 1984 is one of my favourites, is because the political undertones fascinated me. To think, that he was able to get away with saying such things! And also, how pertinent the themes in that novel are nowadays is crazy. Finally, my reason for choosing A Clockwork Orange is because I enjoyed the plot, but not only this, the way it was written and the language that Burgess created intrigued me. I believe it could be an influence on why I enjoy “world-building” so much! As you can see, all of my favourite books have nothing to do with which genres I want to write in – but I think that’s okay, because I do not think it necessary to limit myself to only liking certain books from the fantasy and thriller genres. Reading is about having a particular favourite genre(s), but it’s also about enjoying a broad range of genres, too.

6. What strengths of character do you particularly admire?

I quite like writing about strong willed women, who are quite intimidating. I’m not too sure why, but both have appeared in my thriller and fantasy manuscript. I also enjoy an underdog, a shy boy/girl who is quite reserved and underestimated – they always come out on top!

7. Which author, dead or alive, would you love to have lunch with?

This is a tough one. Very tough, indeed. I think it would have to be Tolkien. Just to simply get inside his head for a few hours, see what’s really going on in there – how he came up with The Lord of the Rings and the legacy it has created.

8. What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Quirky. Sarcastic. Pedantic.

9. You’re writing a fantasy novel, do you plan to try the traditional publishing route, or go straight to Indie?

I have thought about this for quite some time now, and have weighed up both options. But personally, I think I will go down the self-publishing route, because I believe in the long run it is more beneficial for me as an author. I mean, it is essentially creating a brand for yourself, on your own, without the help of a publishing house to do that for you – what can be more rewarding than that?

10. Do you have any significant scars?

Perhaps significant isn’t the right word. Stupid, yes. Significant, no. On my arm I have a small scar where I “chicken scratched” it. For those of whom that don’t know, a chicken scratch is where you furiously scratch at your skin until it bleeds and creates a scar. Stupid, I know. But I was young, and didn’t know what I was doing. Other than, I’m pretty scar-free. *Touches wood*.

11. If reincarnation exists what do you want to come back as?

A Killer Whale. Hands down. They’re the predators of the sea, and they’re beautiful, majestic animals. Often-times I would only watch a documentary on the sea if a Killer Whale features in it, otherwise they’re just not worth watching. The way they work in teams and come up with creative ways to catch their prey is just ingenious. Usually, I’m sat there, face glued to the screen watching a Killer Whale scene in a documentary while my girlfriend can’t bear to look because of the poor seal/penguin/prey gets killed.

12. If you could have one magical power what would it be?

Another interesting one. I don’t want something mainstream like flying, or invisibility. While they would be cool, they wouldn’t serve much of a purpose. Neither would immortality, because no one wants to outlive the earth and everyone else on the planet. My magical power would have to be something to do with time or the brain. The ability to control others’ thoughts… possibly, but no. The ability to move things with my mind… also interesting, but still no. I think the power to alter time, pause it, stop it, reverse it, fast forward it – everything would be fun. All I’d need is a pen and paper so I can write some brilliant novel ideas down from all of the amazing things I’ve seen.

13. A famous lady you’d be happy to get stuck in a lift with?

Emma Watson. She was great in Harry Potter.

14. At the fairground – Roller coaster or galloping horses carousel?

Roller coasters, every day of the week. Until I feel nauseous, of course, and then I have to come off. But I have been to many theme parks in my life and I love the adrenaline. Every boy’s dream: going fast, something dangerous, and having no fear of your own safety!

A Note From Jack – Thanks for reading!

 

Ferns made me think of ideas!

Have you ever walked in the woods in spring and noticed the ferns? They’re coiled, so tight that their new offspring leaves look like tiny fists.

Little hands gripping secrets.

And then, slowly, warmed by the sun they gradually, oh so gradually, unfurl.

The tight little fists of the ferns unfurl into leaves.

Until the creation is complete.

Just as our minds unfurl their ideas into creations and some of us create books!

One Down Three to Go!

I’m excited. After many weeks of labouring and puzzling over document set-up for printing in book form – all new word-processing stuff for me – I was ready to send (electronically) my manuscript and book cover for The Mouse and the Microlight to Createspace. They check it and make sure all requirements are correct and let you know within twenty-four hours. I heaved a huge sigh when mine was accepted.

I had a choice as to whether to proof read it online, or order a proof copy, or both. I did both. Proof reading online with Createspace’s reader really only showed me what it will look like as a book, you turn the pages as with a book, and because there were at least three illustrations per chapter I was keen to see how the layout looked. But I also wanted a hard-copy proof to see what the book actually feels like. And of course to put on my bookshelf!

The downside is that the proof comes from the U.S and takes a month to get here! It would seem everything gets faster in life except the mail service! An image immediately formed in my mind of an overworked, corpulent carrier pigeon with no GPS.

When the proof arrives, and if I’m happy with it, then I press the big red button and tell Createspace it can go live. This should happen about May 2nd. It will then be available on Amazon. In the meantime I’ve started the same process for The Stowaways, the sequel to The Mouse and the Microlight. I must say it’s a darned sight easier the second time around – although I still had a problem with page-numbering in LibreOffice! Next in line will be A Red Waterproof Jacket, my own story about following a dream, and lastly The Sleighriders.

If you have the time and the patience self-publishing your own book is a hugely rewarding journey!

The Sleighriders

Back in 2011 I published a fantasy novel called The Elf Girl’s Dream and at the time for some reason I liked the idea of using a pen-name; I’m really not sure now why I did that. As was my way I published on Amazon Kindle and then did absolutely no promotion, so just a few friends bought the book, and since then it’s grown cobwebs in the annals of the Amazon’s Kindle store.

With my new surge of enthusiasm and determination to do something about my work I decided Elf Girl needed a real facelift. First I did a complete edit, not to the story, just punctuation and a bit of tweaking here and there. Next I had to create a Table of Content which for some reason hadn’t worked on the first publishing. I don’t know why I didn’t fix that at the time. This turned into a nightmare and it took three attempts to get it all working, each time checking it in Amazon’s previewer which lets you see how your book will be seen on Kindle.

I wanted my own name on my book this time too so the pen name was binned. The next thing was the title which I’d never been entirely happy with. It kept coming across as possibly a gentle, dreamy book, which it definitely isn’t. I wanted a title that spoke of ‘movement’, of adventure, and danger, and so I eventually decided on The Sleighriders. With that in mind I created a brand new cover. It’s been quite a few weeks of work to bring the book back to life, but it’s been worth it. It also makes me realize yet again that what I love so much about writing is the creation process.

*If you’d like to leave a comment or a ‘like’ you need to click on the post title and the comments box will come up at the end of the post. 

final-e

The Sleighriders can be found on Amazon under Kindle Books.

Hello and Welcome!

The day before yesterday I published my third eBook on Amazon Kindle, and decided that I really must put some effort into promoting my work. I get so much fun out of writing, and equally as much out of creating illustrations.

My chance to write happened when I retired to France in 2004 with my boyfriend, Bob, who became my husband in 2005. What more of an idyllic spot could a budding writer have dreamed of than this isolated spot on a wooded hillside in the Dordogne, and on top of that I had suddenly become a time-millionaire! I can’t remember which year I started my first book ‘A Red Waterproof Jacket’ but looking back at records I was attempting to go the traditional publishing route with it in May 2010. It never happened and like probably many authors, sick of the long waiting game and rejections, I gave up and published on Amazon Kindle. That first book was a memoir, the next was a fantasy novel (which I’m currently making some minor changes to) which was huge fun to write.

Two days ago ‘The Mouse and the Microlight’ also zoomed off to Amazon Kindle. I said to myself, Jude, you have to do something about promotion this time. It’s not my bag, leaping into the limelight and shouting ‘Buy this book, it’s great!‘ But if I don’t then my wonderful works of art that I spent hours and hours writing and editing, and re-editing, and pouring over, and creating illustrations for, will languish quietly, gathering dust in the immeasurable ‘cloud’ that is Amazon’s ebook archive. I think I owe it to myself to make an effort.

So the first step is to create this author blog where I can show off my work, and then I’m told I should link it to Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and every other social media site possible (groan) and oh yes, start using some of Amazon’s options, like doing promotions. So here goes with step one – the blog.

Why do people want to become authors? Probably for lots of different reasons. For me, well I love reading, I love being taken out of this world and transported into mystery and murder, journeys into strange lands, romance and longing, and laughter. That’s what authors have given me. They’ve taken me with them into another time and place and filled me with all sorts of emotions and inspirations. I’ve been right there, woven into the thread of their story like a skein of wool in a sweater. I would love to achieve that and give it to my readers. That’s what I want out of writing.

*If you’d like to leave a comment or a ‘like’ you need to click on the post title and the comments box will come up at the end of the post.