Category Archives: A-Z Challenge 2015

C for Cozy and Clue


I love cozy mysteries and find them totally addictive.  So, following the write-what-you-know maxim, I knew that’s what II wanted to create.

Cast of characters: write down a small bio for each. Plot: plan according to a composite of screenwriting and novel advice.  (Shall look for links and update later,) Motivation: Lots of murderous motivations to call upon. Don’t we all have them ? 🙂

And conflict–perhaps this should have been C for Conflict. Conflict is not people having cantankerous quarrels. Conflict is created through internal and external character goals which seem irreconcilable but must be reconciled before story end.

But when it came to clues, I was clueless. The deceptive facility of the genre caught me out.  The solution: read from back to front, noting what clues might be needed, what clues are missed. They can then be inserted and hidden as appropriate earlier in the novella.

The Importance of Clues

Readers love puzzles, like looking for motivations and wondering how conflicts can be resolved.  Without this reader involvement, without reader identification with the main character or characters, novels fail.

Whatever we’re reading, we are always, consciously or not, on the lookout for clues to know what we’re supposed to be understanding from a book.

Today’s Tips: Author Resources

Canva: a great photo design site which makes it easy to create your own images. Free photos and design tutorials.

Calibre:  wonderful free software for converting a book into the reading format you need for various platforms and devices. Invaluable for reader re views as you can convert files into pdf. mobi. epub. Extra tip: I still find it best to convert a word file into pdf. before uploading. So pleased with it, I even donated…and I’m a Scot. We’re very canny with our money. 🙂

Images courtesy of Simon Howden at

Chicken fdpnetI could say I used C for Chicken as I am such a coward when it comes to sending manuscripts for editing. But it’s here because I like chickens.

B for Backstory

booksfreedigitalphotosnetBet you thought I’d go for B for Book, or B for Blogging. No. it’s B for backstory because when I’m editing fiction, the back stories drive me nuts.

I blame all these free giveaways that include pages of fill-in charts about the main characters. Colour of their hair, colour of their eyes, height, weight, birth sign, birthday,  school,  food likes and dislikes, hobbies, traumatic events….down to grandfather’s favourite toothpaste. It goes on and on until you have more info than even the main character’s mother could know.

I agree an author might find it helpful to know these things. It’s useful as an aide-memoire when writing series.

But I,  the reader, only want these facts on a need-to-know basis. I don’t want an infodump at the start that stops the story dead in its tracks.

How much do you need to know about the main characters to enjoy a book?

Today’s Tips: Author Review and Promotion Sites

Book Blogger List: There are instructions for authors and also for bloggers. Add your site if you do book reviews. Find a reviewer who accepts your genre of book if you want a review. Free.

The Book Breeze: Free listing in the newsletter for new releases.

Book Goodies: likes free and bargain books but does list all books regardless. Have a look. See what you think. Has lots of links to related sites and,of course, advertising options.

image books courtesy of  jscreationzs  at –letter b by Theeradech Sanin again at

 alphabet b


A for Author Services


We authors , and I’m including all writers and bloggers, are big business. We may never be best sellers or make much money. But a multitude of businesses make money from us.

Author Beware

Marketers sell reports and how-to courses for promoting book and article sales. Educators teach  how to write a book that sells. Illustrators design the irresistible cover.

Free webinars always have an upsell. That gift report always has a must-have offer you need to buy to make it really useful. Author services come at a cost. The costs ratchet up.


In the good old days, writers just wrote or didn’t. Some went on the rampage instead.

Publishers bore the  costs and the publicity–even lent them money.

The great editor Maxwell Perkins nannied  authors as varied as F.Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway. He persuaded them through the bad times, celebrated the good.

Now, whether we are traditionally published, small press published or Indies, sales are up to us.

Author Services–Do You Need Them?

I was dead against it. I couldn’t afford extra costs. I wanted my book to pay for me, not me to pay for my book.

I started with the intention of Indie publishing but decided that trad was the best way to kick off my writing career. Many associations like the CWA, the MWA, and the equivalent Romance organizations  still do not accept self-published books. It also meant I had access to a great editor and cover artist for free. I did not have to prepare and format my own manuscript. I did not have to upload it and hawk it round various distributors.

I have help and advice on promotion and a network of fellow writers for support. All I have to do is collect reviews and sell my book…

All I have to do…

It takes so much time, I can hardly get my work done, far less write the next book.  So, I’m voting for Author Services. Do you agree?

P.S. If you’re going the same route,  just  don’t spend money you don’t have.

Today’s Tips: Author Review Sites

Awesome Gang: free and low-cost book promotion options.

Author Marketing Club: free options but has a well-reviewed premium option. Pricey but if you hunt around, you can find a lot of free help and advice too.

Al today’s images free from Pixabay. My heartfelt thanks.

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