Friday, 26 July 2013

What every writer needs to remember

Any writer with internet access, or a library card, knows that there is a wealth of advice out there. Hundreds of people, experts or not, have something to say on the topic of writing. It’s easy to become obsessed with ‘doing it right’.

Writing the first draft can go one of two ways: you either spend very little time worrying about quality and focus on finishing, or you fixate on the million and one things you should apparently be doing in order to be a ‘great writer’. Some of us are fortunate enough to have found a way to do things that works for them.
But I want to strip it all back to basics. Because, in the end, the real judges are our readers. They are the ones that decide whether you are worthy of 5-stars. So shouldn’t we be focussing on giving them what they want?

Monday, 15 July 2013

Guest post: Go West, Young Crankshaft...


Hello, readers of Zoe’s Corner.  My name is Richard Ellis Preston, Jr. and I have written a steampunk adventure novel called Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders which released from 47North on July 2nd, 2013.  City of the Founders is the first installment in the post-apocalyptic Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin book series, to be followed by book 2: Romulus Buckle and the Engines of War on November 19th, 2013.  The Romulus Buckle series is set over 300 years in the future and follows a war zeppelin captain and his crew as they mount expeditions across the icebound surface of the earth in an area once known as Southern California.  A race of zebra-striped alien beings (known as ‘Martians’ though they came from some unknown place much further away than that) have invaded and nearly annihilated Earth, and have left behind a handful of rebel descendants and a menagerie of alien monsters known collectively as ‘beasties.’ The aliens also suppressed all electrical power and cast the world into a new ice age, so humans now rely on steam power and fantastic steam-driven machines, and have modeled their new civilization on their fragmentary memories on the old Victorian age (there are reasons for this, to be explained as the series progresses).

[Read an extract of Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders and enter the giveaway at 'this link']

I’d like to take a moment and thank Zoe for having me here to guest on her blog and also running a signed book giveaway (just make a comment on this post, or the giveaway/extract post to enter) as part of the book promotion.  I appeared here before to do an author interview (link here) on February 12th and Zoe has always been enthusiastic, kind and professional.  I have had a great experience with her and the other online book bloggers I have met and they should be proud of their contribution (and hard work) to make the internet such an informative and vibrant place for new novels, authors, and book discussions to thrive and find an audience.  I’d like to thank everyone in the UK as well, for Romulus Buckle has held the #1 spot in the Amazon UK Kindle Store science-fiction/steampunk category for nearly a week now.

So, back to the story of Romulus Buckle—I wanted to write the tale of the crew of a ship at war, an epic,

Extract and Giveaway: Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders (CLOSED)


The Pneumatic Zeppelin descended into the heart of the sprawling valley once known as the San Fernando. Low, brown foothills loomed to the south and east, their rough backs striped with rivers of snow and ice. Buckle sniffed. Despite hundreds of years, the place still stank of ash. He did not like this—going to ground when a cunning enemy like the Founders might be on the move. There was no easier target than an earthbound zeppelin. It was little more than a bounce, yes—Buckle would have his feet in the snow for only a minute or two—and the likelihood of the reclusive Founders being anywhere near the Boneyard was almost nonexistent, but a little needle of anxiety stabbed him nonetheless.

Pluteus and his grunts had better be on time, on target, and ready for evacuation.

Buckle clamped his teeth. Once Pluteus and his soldiers were aboard, they would be on their way to the City of the Founders, the most powerful clan’s fortified citadel, considered impenetrable to attack, on a desperate expedition to save their leader, Admiral Balthazar Crankshaft, from the clutches of the Founders, who had abducted him.

It was also of no small matter that Balthazar was Buckle’s father by adoption, and really the only father Buckle had ever known.

“Airship sighted!” the aft lookout’s voice rattled down the chattertube. “North northwest, five miles off the stern!”

Friday, 5 July 2013

Don't be afraid to be brutally honest

Before I go any further I’d just like to clarify that this post doesn’t encourage negative behaviour of any sort. It is about being honest with yourself and embracing change. There will be complete transparency on my part in the hope that you can learn from my mistakes.

The story starts in 2010: I was fourteen and had just decided that the rest of my life would be dedicated to writing. It was around this time that I had begun to explore the internet, discovering things that I hadn’t known existed before. Blogging was one of those things.

Naturally, I set up a blog. It had no structure, no set schedule, no definite future. In basic terms, I had jumped into it with little consideration. At around the same time I started on Twitter and for some reason I had a fairly large following. One or two were writers and that, ladies and gentlemen, sparked my next idea.
I began to consider interviewing writers. I contacted the few that had followed me, they agreed. I posted the interviews. Then I realised that if I was going to do this, I was going to do it properly.