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Judith Rook  (with Alison Dere)

Author Archive: JudithRook

A NEW PAGE FOR CHARACTERS

CHARACTERS – from Different Places

I HAVE OPENED A NEW PAGE, featuring characters from independently published books.   They introduce themselves and tell us about themselves, but they are not being interviewed.  They reflect and comment, each in their own way.  If they intrigue us, then we can go to the book(s) they appear in and discover more.

The first featured character is one of mine – of course.  My favourite villain, Darland Courvenier.

During the next few weeks, more characters will appear on the page, coming from a variety of genres.

There are some very fine characters out there.  And there’s no doubt about it.   They make the book.

 

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HOW PEOPLE WRITE

INSIDE WRITING

In my local writing group, we explore the science and art of writing.   We examine how other people write, and we take a close and honest look at our own work.

Here are a few lists we drew up to help us better understand ourselves as writers.  There was some hilarity when we compared them around the group, but we found the exercise interesting and enlightening.

Here is my own list.  It is not finished, but it was what I came up with in one writing session.

CHALLENGE TO MY WRITER FRIENDS:  Do the same exercise, post the result on your blog/website/Facebook Page, and let us know.

What adjectives/Adjective groups would you use to describe your writing “voice”?

Thought-provoking

Amusing/whimsical

Exploratory/speculative

Tolerant

Atmospheric

 

Identify Recurring Motifs which appear in your work

Following the unknown

The cosmos

Relationships between people (especially man/shadow; woman/light)

Female strength/power

Positive personal and social values

 

 

Identify Recurring Locations

Planets (whole planet awareness, with individual countries on a secondary level)

Centres of technical enterprise

Centres of political/social power

Centres holding mysteries

 

Identify Recurring Figures

The Wise Woman

The Hero

The Warrior

The Likeable Adversary

The Powerful Leader

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THE GREAT RETURN

Over a period of two-and-a-half years, my local shopping centre is being transformed into something almost unbelievable in variety, novelty and pro-customer competition.   I went to have a look at the latest opening of thirty or forty new shops, and found, to my absolute delight, a NEW BOOK SHOP!

Our small Western Australian city lost its last book shop nearly three years ago.  At the time, no-one seemed to care very much.  People were buying their reading books cheaply on line, and other books could be purchased the same way.  It was the natural process of social change which, while regretted, just had to be accepted.

However, this totally unexpected reappearance of a local book shop is delightful and to be celebrated.  I will no longer live in a city which lacks a single dedicated source of books of all descriptions.

I will not have to go into a supermarket to find piles of the same ‘best-seller’ I have never heard of.  I will be able to see a variety of dictionaries and books on grammar, I will be able to find Science Fiction classics and check out the physical ‘feel’ of the books on the children’s shelves.  I will even be able to check what the biographers of the world are up to without having to decide who I am looking for.

This is such a hopeful improvement.  I bought two books to mark the day.  They cost me a great deal more than two books published through the electronic platforms, but I spent a hugely enjoyable time in the shop, chatted with staff and other customers, found a book I had thought was out of print, and I don’t regret a single cent.

I told the lady who dealt with my purchases I hoped the shop would not close again for lack of custom.  She gave me a little wink and told me most of her customers had said much the same thing.

What do you think?  Is it a genuine turn-round?

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TO SAY OR NOT TO SAY

Why Say Anything? 

 

I saw yet another Facebook post declaring that a person would not read a certain book with a particular content.

I am the first to respect opinions, beliefs and tastes held by someone else.  I don’t even forgive those of my family and close acquaintance who say my books are not their cup of tea and why don’t I write a good thriller?  I don’t need to forgive, nor even to excuse, them.  I like and love those people, although I know I will never meet them at a SciFi convention.

I used to visit book shops frequently, when they still existed in the small city where I live.  I would browse the shelves with enjoyment, following the sequence: random page skim (for writing style); cover inspection (for visual hooks); blurb read (for content hooks).

The browsing could take me to twenty or thirty books, but I would leave with only one, perhaps two.

A book that did not survive the selection process was quietly returned to the shelves, rejected by me, but perhaps bought the next day by someone else.

It never occurred to me, or to other people in the shop to throw a book to the floor and loudly announce to all and sundry we would not read it.

Why do people on Facebook, in effect, do exactly that when they post they will not read a particular book?  I have seen this type of comment a number of times.

Would it not be better simply to pass on the book and to say nothing?

A Very Short Story about my Brand

A PERSISTENCE OF OWLS

 

I wrote this short story because I had been given another owl figurine as a present, and I realised that I had begun a collection, without intending to do so.  I have twenty-eight owls in various mediums and sizes.  Two are large enough to stand on the floor and others live on the walls as pictures.  Owls are generally given to me.  People say “I know you like owls”.  I think it may be the other way round, and it is that owls like me.

The story has been posted on a blog run by Karen J. Mossman.  It has many other stories, some of them very good indeed.

http://magicofstories.net/2017/07/01/a-persistence-of-owls

A Special Campaign

THE MAGNIFICENT THIRTY

ALMOST READY TO RIDE FOR THE FIRST TIME

Earlier in June I joined a limited membership Facebook group created by Lucinda Hawks Moebius.   She set it up almost, I think, as an experiment.   An experiment to see how a small group of writers may be able to really help each other in the hard and demanding world of ebook development and marketing, given a system and schedule for such support.

The group is titled:  30 Authors 30 Days Promotion and Writing Challenge.  Its major aims are:

(1)   To create interactive posts across social media platforms;

(2)   To cross promote each other;

(3)   To work in small groups to develop effective promotions.

(4)   To keep in good health.

(5)   While doing all the above, to keep writing – most important.

Preparation posts are flowing fast from the desk of our respected leader, but one strong theme runs through them all:  we must leave our accustomed zones of comfort and embrace the new and, possibly, the scary.

In fact, I think the first Lucinda post I spotted was of the lady herself, with a video message posted on Facebook.  I did not realise that one can do that, but now I do, and it is a group requirement that we should all post at least one personal video message on Facebook during the thirty days of the Challenge.  So our Facebook friends can expect a stream of interesting faces on their respective timelines, hopefully exploring interesting ideas.

There are other requirements expected of us during the campaign, and my impression is, that through organisation and system, we will become thirty authors able to make their way effectively in the world of electronic publishing.

For me, this will be something of a paradigm shift, and increasingly I realise the necessity and deep value of good leadership.   We’re already getting that.  Before the main campaign begins, our leader set us going on individual HeadTalker campaigns, promoting the books which will be the focus of our activities during July.  I had joined HeadTalker at the beginning of this year but had never run a promotion campaign, which just about sums me up.

However, things are changing, and even at this early stage, I would like to thank Lucinda for motivating thirty writers to get up off their fundaments and stir themselves into activity.  Yee-Haw!  Nearly ready to move out!

 

A very short Story

30.5.17.

A VERY SHORT STORY

It’s a strange thing.  Although my large-scale writing is in the SciFi genre, my short stories tend to be set in contemporary Australian life.

On July 1st, one of them (‘A Persistence of Owls’) will appear on the website “The Magic of Stories”:  http://magicofstories.net/2017/07/01/a-persistence-of-owls

Here is the Twitter post for the great event.

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A slightly unusual Facebook Event

20.2.17.

A TAKEOVER WITH A DIFFERENCE – MARCH 15TH 2017

“Planet Woman” – Book 1 in the “Circe” Series   http://geni.us/p1w2

I don’t feature much now on author takeovers because I’m hopeless at making up games and other activities, and I feel that offering give-aways reduces the worth of what I want to promote.  However, I do attend such events and find a lot of interest in the conversations, although I rarely play any of the games.

However, I am taking part in the “Ides of March – Essentia” event on March 15th, because it is based around characters – not authors.   Here is the link to where it will be happening:    https://www.facebook.com/events/1842866815961224/1856439211270651

Each participant has to select a character from one of their books to be the focus for the hour-long slot, with the author becoming the character.  I like the idea, probably because my writing tends to be character driven.

The event organiser, Tom Fallwell, writes:

“The essentia of any good fantasy or science-fiction story requires a believable character that the reader can relate to. It is our intent to bring to life, for you, the characters from such stories created by Indie Authors, so you can get to know them. If you find a character you love, then read the book and you may just have a new favorite author.”

MY CHARACTER

The character who will be appearing on my slot is the villain (see the pic.) of my “Circe” series – a story arc based on a sentient planet and the humans who live with her.   But I’m not at all sure how well I’ll be able to step into his shoes and represent him, although I’m the one who has brought him out.  Anyway, it’s an intriguing situation.

INTRODUCTIONS

All the authors who will feature their characters are introducing them briefly on the site.  We have two introductions already up, and mine will appear on February 25th, so please go and have a look.

I hope that the introductions will be interesting enough for you to put your name onto the “Going” list and then set some time aside on March 15th to have a look at what’s happening on the character takeover.

On March 15th, my character will be appearing at 6.00 pm EST, which is 8.00 am Western Australian time.

 

A Little Light Reflection

24.1.2017

From the Other Side

Unwittingly, innocently, and probably likely to be distressed should I be unkind enough to point out the fact, my young neighbour has become the spectre at my personal and private feast.   I am very glad indeed that he has a job as a junior accountant in a bank, because it takes him out of his house for the working week, and I have hours at a time when I can occupy my back yard without seeing his head rising above the fence, like a balloon with a smiley face.

But when he detects my presence around the flower beds, he pays me an al fresco visit, because he told me that his Nan said that he should take an interest in people.  I think she means young people of the other gender, but he has taken it into his mind to be interested in me.  He is unfailingly cheerful and sometimes comic; he looks at my garden and tells me that his weeds are better than mine, then giggles as he goes off, leaving me to it, as he says.

Sometimes he makes the early mornings hideous as he exercises on his back patio, singing along, enthusiastically and out-of-tunefully, with whatever popular song may be pouring into him through small black devices stuffed into his ears.  He solemnly persists in this completely unnecessary regime of exercise, for he is fit and healthy beyond belief.  He thinks that life is a wonderful adventure.  For my neighbour, grumpiness is an infinitesimal cloud on his horizon.

The other week, he became almost hysterical with excitement when he met one of the great financial gurus from television land, who visited his place of work to deliver a kindly and motivational pep-talk to the up and coming juniors.  I asked what colour tie did the pundit wear.  My neighbour didn’t even know if the visitor wore a tie at all.  What did he talk about?  “Macroeconomics,” breathed the young idiot, and I’d swear that, hidden behind the fence, his hands were clasped against his chest.

My neighbour doesn’t know anything.  When I told him about 1848, the year of revolutions, he looked at me in amazement.  The next day he called over the fence: “I told my Nan about you.  I said that you’re cool.”

What are you going to do?

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