Year of the Jackdaw

Snowdon Strategies

Welcome to 2020, the Year of the Jackdaw – in my world of North Wales crime.

That’s the plan and I’m serious – if I can stick to one, health willing.

Anyway, the Jackdaw is Negesydd, the trickster-messenger who adopts Sparkle Anwyl and her lover Kama in my Snowdon Shadows series. He first appears in Book 1, ‘Fevered Fuel’. Yes, my aim/dream is to get at least that novel ready to be published this year.

However, there are numerous hurdles ahead and I’m hesitating over what order I must tackle them.

What comes first? Beta readers, diversity readers, or assessment? It must be some willing soul.

Then do I turn to a development editor or a line editor? Without checking, I think development comes first.

When I think about all the steps, I stress – not helped by having barking dogs and screaming step-great-grandkids invading my head. At least, the kids have gone for the weekend leaving the dogs to bark at cars, squirrels, cats, other dogs, and probably ghosts.

Okay back to the scheduled strategy and some helpful links:

For suggestions on editing and self-publishing, I’m following an invaluable series on Bookbaby:

https://blog.bookbaby.com/2019/07/book-editing-part-3-self-publishing-experience/?utm_campaign=BB1933&utm_source=BBeNews&utm_medium=Email#li=MA1-bf7b27fd64a1abc79ed61c4bc4aacae0&cs=MA1-c15c4b0e8c6baca9cb05251f40ac5d45

I’ve also approached a couple of the editors who have done work for me in the past. One suggested it might be worth approaching the Literary Consultancy people. This proved helpful and added to my knowledge:

https://literaryconsultancy.co.uk/editorial/manuscript-assessment/

But maybe, I need to revise the manuscript again – not the MS as that means my health MonSter, Multiple Sclerosis. That alone derails my progress much of the time. So, when anyone says MS, I react confused.

Anyhow, one stage in my editing/revision process has been using Fictionary – an invaluable tool which might save an editor from unnecessary work. Here’s a glimpse of what Fictionary can do to help:

https://fictionary.co/what-is-a-story-coach/?fbclid=IwAR2dXIDQbWTGpjk4RkoGzApIaAN0diYsZ0BuHN4gVQbuwqRmN7C5ngF4z9A

So, where does that leave me? How can my supporters help? Where first?

I’d love to hear from anyone feeling brave enough to be a beta reader. Bear in mind ‘Fevered Fuel’ is a police procedural set in North Wales, and features a MC facing prejudice issues – some of you have even read shorts about her on this blog. Hopefully, it’s clear why I need diversity readers to correct potential errors. Do you fit The Bill?

As for my next step, one editor has asked to see the opening scenes and a synopsis, so she knows how much work is entailed if I want her to edit the document. I’m budgeting on any editor clearing out my writing budget. First, then that synopsis.

But at least, after a professional editor tackles the novel, I’ll be a step nearer the finish line of another marathon – once I’ve absorbed the suggestions.

In The Spotlight: Sherry Ellis

Another of my fellow Anthology author’s is In the Spotlight today. Meet Sherry Ellis and learn about travelling to Pompeii at the IWSG Anthology blog.

https://iwsganthologies.blogspot.com/2020/02/in-spotlight-sherry-ellis-author-of.html?showComment=1581524159955#c7449097755935706217

#IWSG – Inspiring Artwork

Today brings us closer to the release of the new IWSG anthology, Voyagers: The Third Ghost on May 5, 2020. I can’t wait to see what other contributors have penned.

Review copies have been ordered and the eBooks uploaded. These are the purchase links:

Amazon – Print https://www.amazon.com/dp/193984472X/ Kindle https://www.amazon.com/Voyagers-Third-Ghost-Yvonne-Ventresca-ebook/dp/B083C4WPR5/

Barnes & Noblehttps://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/voyagers-yvonne-ventresca/1135912991?ean=2940163430857

ITuneshttps://books.apple.com/ca/book/voyagers-the-third-ghost/id1493413956

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/voyagers-the-third-ghost

Today also sees ‘Flying Fur’, my post about the emergence of my tale. Read the post on the IWSG Anthology blog at https://iwsganthologies.blogspot.com/2020/02/in-spotlight-roland-clarke-author-of.html?showComment=1580912370761#c7777400888558189756

Posts from the other authors will appear in forthcomings weeks and months – as will other news on Voyagers: The Third Ghost.

I’m grateful the Ninja Captain himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh who created the Insecure Writer’s Support Group as they do such amazing things for writers, from the annual Anthology to the IWSG monthly blog post. Many thanks, Captain Alex.

And that IWSG day is here again – and so am I, less insecure after jumping that first Anthology hurdle.

Anyway, on to the monthly question which creates so many fascinating posts – apologies in advance for the slow visits on my part – I’m wading through January’s email backlog still.

February 5 question – Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

Although, inspiration comes from various directions including dreams, I’ll have to admit that photos and works of art do trigger my mind to create.

First off, I was a photographer so trained my eye to frame a picture and learnt to appreciate other photographers’ work.

Borde Hill Horse Trials publicity shot – Photo: Roland Clarke

While editing my debut novel, Spiral of Hooves, I thought about the sequel, provisionally called ‘Tortuous Terrain’, and again about crime in the horse world. But not the sport of eventing where I worked as a journalist and photographer.

I had considered Endurance but never photographed it, although there is a short scene in ‘Spiral of Hooves‘ foreshadowing the sequel’s sport. But it was this photo from the 100-mile Tevis Cup that inspired the main plot-line. However, another equestrian sport, Barrel Racing is also featured – and I have taken some photos of my step nieces competing in that.

My wife’s photo of Snowdon on this website’s header and above my desk is one of the inspirations behind my series Snowdon Shadows, police procedural stories featuring Sparkle Anwyl.

Which brings us to art and a decades-long appreciation for Dutch masterpieces. Although my initial appreciation was for 17th century works as my family owned a few, it was Van Gogh that capped the passion. So, Café Terrace at Night (1888) is special and will be the inspiration for the WEP/IWSG Challenge flash creation in two weeks. But I need to work on the new case for Sparkle and Kama, ‘Custody Chain’, even if Skadi wanted to meet Vincent at a Stadacona café in 1892.

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The awesome co-hosts for the The awesome co-hosts for the February 5 posting of the IWSG are Lee Lowery, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Jennifer Hawes, Cathrina Constantine, and Tyrean Martinson!

(Once again, you must agree these guys are the best. They all have commitments too – but they volunteer. Ticker-tape applause for all of them – plus toasts too.)

Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.