Friday, 14 June 2019

A Day to Remember #writerslife

On 13 June Accent Press published the third in the D.I. Sterling Series, Injections of Insanity. This coincided with the first day of a book tour and I’m delighted to say the initial response from reviewers has been overwhelmingly positive.

See below what the first readers had to say:

Hooked From Page One: Injections of Insanity is a book that will keep you asking questions and keep you gripped. I would definitely recommend it to fans of police procedurals. Read more ...

Jessica Belmont: I love The D.I. Stirling Series and Lorraine Mace! Every book I’ve read in the series has been fantastic, and Injections of Insanity is no different. Read more … 

Booksandemma-The Twist and Turn book blog: If you’re looking for a real gritty police procedural than look no further than this book ( well the whole series really!) Read more … 

Radzy Writes and Reviews: Injections of Insanity is a powerful third novel to the DI Sterling series, and my favourite so far. Read more … 

Read an excerpt from Injections of Insanity on the Ellesea Loves Reading site.

Find out more about me by reading the Splashes Into Books interview 

The book tour continues with stops at the following excellent locations:

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Thursday, 23 May 2019

Sharing @WendyClarke99 Good News

It was October 2017 when I sent the email that would change my life. This email was my entry to the Flash 500 Novel Opening and Synopsis competition and attached to it were the opening chapters of my novel. It was an impulse decision, as I don’t usually enter competitions, but there was something about this particular one that sounded tempting: it was open to all genres, there wasn’t a long wait for results and the entry fee was reasonable. I’d be foolish not to enter the psychological thriller which was failing to tempt an agent.

I pressed ‘send’ and then forgot about it, only remembering when I received an email, in December, to say that the short list was up on the website. I was so sure my novel hadn’t made it, that it was the end of the day before I looked. Running my finger down the list, I was surprised and delighted to see that my novel was there. This was starting to get exciting! I loved what I’d written but hadn’t had the confidence to think that someone else might too. Maybe I had a chance after all.

This time, as I waited for the final results, I was nervous. Excited. What if I made the top three? But why would I? There were so many great novels out there, competition was bound to be stiff. Anyway, I’d made the shortlist and should be happy with that.

On the day of the results, it was my grandson’s school Christmas concert. I was late. I was stressed. I remember muttering under my breath as my phone pinged a message while I was trying to find a parking space. I didn’t have time for this! As I ran into the school, I checked the message. It was from a writing friend: Wendy! Have you seen? You’ve won! I hadn’t seen. I hadn’t had time to check the website. Could it really be true? But the concert was starting. I couldn’t take it in properly. My novel had actually won a competition!

The success of my novel in the Flash 500 competition made me reconsider my options. The process of finding an agent had been a slow and demoralising experience but the competition was proof that it wasn’t just my mother who liked my novel. What if I submitted it directly to one of the publishers who took un-agented submissions?

I sat down and made a list of who I could send to and the publisher, Bookouture (who I’d heard good things about) was at the top. With racing heart, I wrote my submission (my Flash 500 win having pride of place in the opening paragraph) and sent the novel off. 

When I received an email from one of the editors just a few days later, saying she loved it, I could hardly believe it. I was offered a two-book deal which I accepted and, in May, my novel What She Saw was published.

It’s a dream come true and I have Flash 500 to thank for it. My advice, if you’re not sure whether to enter or not, is do it! You never know… you might just win.

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Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Passive Aggression #writetip

David from Vancouver sent in the following question. I belong to a writers’ group and keep hearing that writers shouldn’t use the passive voice, but no one can tell me why. What’s wrong with the passive voice and why is it such a taboo?

Because new writers tend to overuse the passive voice, many writing teachers advise their students not to use it. This has resulted in lots of confusion, with people condemning usage of the passive voice without really even knowing what it is – or recognising it when it’s used. However, there is definitely a place for it in modern writing, so it seems a shame that it has become such a taboo.

The passive voice differs from the active voice because it places the emphasis on the result of an action or on the receiver of an action, rather than on the action itself. This is appropriate in cases where the person carrying out the action is unknown, unimportant or anonymous.

A knife was thrown into the room and it hit Jane. This is passive voice. A knife was thrown into the room by John and it hit Jane, is also passive voice, even though we now know that John is the knife-throwing nutter who Jane should most probably have ditched years before.

However, John threw a knife into the room and it hit Jane, is active voice. 

Active voice is more immediate and makes it easier to visualise the action. Too many sentences in the passive voice make a written passage wordy and dull and you should limit your use of it, but that doesn’t mean it should never be used. It is particularly useful when you don’t want to let on who has said or done something.

Jane was told John was dangerous. This is passive voice because we have no idea who told Jane she should duck when John turned up with sharp objects. Jane was told by George that John was dangerous, is also passive voice. On the other hand, George told Jane John was dangerous, is active voice.

Either way, Jane should run and John needs to get help with his anger issues.

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Wednesday, 15 May 2019

#kindlebooks #kindledeal #bargain #99p

Buy now on Amazon

The second gripping installment in the D.I. Paolo Sterling crime series. 

Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling is determined to shut down the syndicate flooding Bradchester’s streets with young prostitutes. 

When a child is murdered, Paolo becomes aware of a sinister network of abusers spread across Europe, and spanning all levels of society. But Joey, the shadowy leader of the gang, always seems to be one step ahead in the chase. 

Has Paolo come up against a criminal he cannot defeat?

'D.I. Paolo Sterling is instantly engaging – Children in Chains is a dark, gripping and unflinching read' - Louise Phillips, winner of the Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year, longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award.

'A visceral, no-punches-pulled, gut-wrenching thriller. A disturbing and gripping tale of child prostitution, and the tragic detective Paolo Sterling dealing with the heartache of his own daughter’s sexual assault. Crime Noir at its darkest' - Caroline Dunford, A Death in the Family 

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Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Writing Questions #writetip

Jessica from Southport asked: If someone has read my book or a piece of my writing, and given me a written quotation, can I use it on publicity material?

Yes, you can use quotes from a review on your website, blog or any other promotional material. If you have received a written review prior to publication, then you could include excerpts from it on the book cover when it is published.

Liza from Brighton sent in this plea for help: No matter how hard I try, I just cannot get to grips with when I should use passed and when I should use past. Is there an easy way to remember?

This is something that many writers have difficulty getting right. The way I deal with it is to determine whether the context requires a verb or another part of speech. If you decide the sentence needs a verb, then you can only use ‘passed’ (apart from this exception, to be past it, which is colloquial usage, meaning old or no longer of use).

They passed the time by sleeping.
The ball passed over their heads.
I passed the house on my way to the bank.

Remember this: if you use any form of the verb ‘to have’ then it will always be followed by ‘passed’ and NEVER by ‘past’.

I have passed my exams.
He has passed his driving test.

For all other parts of speech you should use past.

As an adjective: I’ve been waiting for news for the past week. (‘Week’ is a noun and ‘past’ is an adjective modifying the noun.)
As a noun: It happened in the past. (‘The past’ is a noun.)
As an adverb: He hurried past. (The verb is ‘hurried’ and ‘past’ in this sentence is an adverb.)
As a preposition: He hurried past the house. (Because there is an object [the house] after ‘past’, it is a preposition and not an adverb, but the effect is the same and knowing the parts of speech doesn’t change the fact that you use ‘past’.)

If you have a writing-related question, please feel free to ask. Obviously, some things I won't know, but I will always try to find the answer for you.

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Monday, 13 May 2019

Feed the Crime review

Many thanks to Blair for this wonderful review on her blog: Feed the Crime

"So, here is my stop on the Retriever of Souls which is the beginning of the D.I. Sterling Series. I’m actually really excited to share this with you! I finished it about 2 weeks ago and it’s been so hard not being able to post it until now!
(Spoiler Alert: This is seriously making it’s way up to being in my top 5 book series)

I could not put my kindle down while reading this! I’m a massive fan of a police procedural especially when it is part of a series, which you probably already know if you have been following my blog for a little while. One of the main things I love about this genre is the protagonist, which in this case is D.I. Paolo Sterling, not having their life together. Struggling with a work life balance, which pulls their life into a downward spiral."

Read more of Blair's review

If you'd like to find out why Blair fell in love with the book, click on the book cover to buy it for just 99p.

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Friday, 10 May 2019

Flash Fiction Winners

Flash Fiction Winners - First Quarter 2019
The winning entries for the first quarter 2019, as judged by Kevlin Henney, can now be read on the website: Winning Entries
Well done to everyone who made it to the final judging.
Novel Opening and Synopsis Category
This category is open until 31 October, but we are already receiving entries, in particular from a number of authors wishing for a critique of their work. Full details of this optional service and instructions on how to enter can be found on the websiteNovel Opening and Synopsis Category
For information on all three of our categories, including the second quarter flash fiction and the now reopened Short Story sections, visit the Flash 500 Homepage
Kind regards,

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