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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Ghoulies and Ghosties and things that go bump in the night

Over the last few weeks my new releases have centred on ghosts. The books are all for early teenage and possibly 9 to 12 year olds.

The first book is
Spirit Stealer: Ghosts in the Library
In 1908, Fader, a street urchin, takes shelter in the newly opened library to escape the cold winter. Months pass and the book characters emerge as playful phantoms in the nighttime library – all except for the green Spirit Stealer. This evil phantom steals the spirits of children who are accidentally locked in the library at night. Fader has to dodge the Spirit Stealer or his spirit will be taken.
A century later, Tyler is trapped by accident and tries to help a wraith called Amelia who still has half her spirit. Will they succeed in getting rid of the Spirit Stealer? If they do what will happen to the girl with half a spirit?

Available in ebook from Amazon and various other online outlets
Available in paperback from Copy Press, Nelson

The next two are books one and two of a series and both are set in New Zealand:

Fury's Ghost
Fury's family leave the city for a six month visit to rural New Zealand. They stay in an old house belonging to her mother's family, but who is the ghostly figure in a hidden attic room and why is Fury the only one who can see her? She learns the ghost is the spirit of the original owner who has been trapped in the room for one hundred years.
Fury promises to help the spirit lady to end her earthly existence. Problems arise when Fury delves into the past to find the answers she needs.
Available in ebook from Amazon and various other online outlets
Available in paperback from Copy Press, Nelson

Fury's Island
On holiday in Nelson, New Zealand, Fury meets Eion who offers to teach her to paddle board. Immediately attracted to him, she agrees. After basic instruction, he takes her out to Skull Island, a creepy looking rock some distance from the beach. No one has ever discovered a way up to the caves which look like eyes, but Fury finds a secret entrance and convinces Eion they should investigate. Their excitement rises as they discover tunnels and caves hidden beneath the ground, but neither is prepared for the arrival of ghostly pirates bringing their treasure chests to bury in one of the underground caves.
Available in ebook from Amazon and various other online outlets
Available in paperback from Copy Press, Nelson

As a special celebration of these releases
Ghost Bus: Mystery of the Phantom Bus
is available free for an unlimited time.
Jack's family has a new home, a converted bus depot. The original owners of the depot disappeared and the ghost of their last bus appears to take Jack and his sister on a journey to several different places to solve the mystery.
Available in ebook from Amazon
However some readers in some countries may find they are unable to download free from Amazon and if this is the case I suggest downloading from Prolific Works.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Friday Focus

Proofreading is the final stage in presenting your manuscript (MS) for publication. Don’t skip it. Proofreading should happen after all other editing processes – and don’t skip them either.

For the purposes of this article I’m assuming that you have written a full-length novel, but the same principles apply to shorter forms. Do get your MS properly edited; you will probably have to pay for this service, but it is worthwhile. Editing looks at a piece of writing in its broadest sense, covering things like structure, plot, characterisation, and so on. An editor will point out such things as where the plot could be strengthened, when characters’ motivation is unclear, and how dialogue can be made more effective.

While editing looks at the big picture, proofreading looks at the detail – every single word and mark. Proofreading picks up typos, i.e. typographical errors, or accidental typing mistakes. These can be simple spelling mistakes, for example writing ‘though’ instead of ‘through’ or ‘hop’ instead of ‘hope’. It also picks up things like grammatical errors, inconsistencies, and incorrect punctuation, e.g. missing question marks.

It can be as difficult to proofread your own MS as it is to edit it. You are too close to the story, too involved with the characters and what they are doing, to be objective. When you look at the page, you can’t help seeing what you meant to write, not what is actually there. So the best advice is to get someone else to edit your story, make all the changes they suggest, and then get someone different to proofread it.

If for some reason you can’t get a professional proofreader, here are some tips for doing it yourself.

Give yourself some time. Put your MS aside for a while; perhaps work on another project. You need to get that piece of writing out of your head so you come to it from a fresh perspective.

Print out your work. Proofreading requires focussing on one word at a time. You must stop your eyes from running ahead, as they do when reading for pleasure. This is much easier when working from a printed copy than on screen.

Place a ruler under each line to hide the following text, and work your way down the page line by line. Use a pencil to point to one word at a time.

Read your work out loud. This forces you to read each word individually, and is also a good way to pick up things like repetitions, e.g. using your favourite word six times in one paragraph.

You will probably be amazed by how many little errors you will pick up!

Chrissie Ward


Thursday, November 29, 2018

Friday Focus

Today we thank Holly Dunn for this article. Holly is the author of Moth Picture Book

What makes a successful book?

A successful book has three pillars: content, design and marketing. Each of these will be covered in detail, and it is useful to keep the three pillars in mind as you go through the process of preparing your manuscript for commercial distribution.


The content of your book doesn’t refer only to the words you’ve written. It includes the topic you’re writing on and how popular it might be, the way you’ve written the book, and how well you’ve had it edited. Since it can be difficult to see the value in your own work objectively, it is essential to hire people to help you, such as editors, and get feedback from others, such as beta readers and other authors, before publishing. You can present the book in the best possible way with beautiful typesetting and design, and you can tell the entire world about it, but if the book is poorly written or about a subject no one is interested in, then it simply won’t do very well. Even if it does sell, customers may feel as though they have been short-changed if the quality of the content doesn’t match the presentation.


Your book needs to be presented at the highest standard if you want it to succeed. Design includes the cover, interior (typesetting and layout), back and spine, the physical paper and card stock it is printed on, and any additional finishing techniques like foiling, embossing or laminating. The blurb (back cover copy) also falls under this section, as it is one of the first opportunities that many readers will have to form an impression of your book, and the second feature they encounter after the cover. Design is all about attracting the right audience to your book. Knowing your audience and what they like is important information to bring to your designer.


Marketing is how people find out about your book, and how you communicate its value to them. There are many different ways to do this. A well-written and useful book that has been beautifully designed is no good unless it gets in front of the right people. The recipe for success is a well-written and valuable book with a great design that gets seen and read by the right people. If your book isn’t succeeding, you can be certain it is because one or more of these three elements is missing. To achieve the best result, you should begin marketing your book, or at least start to establish an online presence as an author, while you’re still writing it. This is why the marketing chapter of this book comes before those on editing and design.

With these principles in mind, you’ll need to evaluate whether or not you’re ready to self-publish. First, you’ll need a great book. This is the hardest part, but fortunately it is the part you have the most control over. This book assumes you already have a manuscript. Your manuscript’s success is very much reliant upon its quality. Remember the first point:
You can present the book in the best possible way, and tell the entire world about it, but if the book is poorly written or about a subject no one is interested in, then it simply won’t sell.
So how do you determine if your book is any good? Well first of all, you read. You read other authors’ books. You read all sorts of different genres. You read great books and poorly written ones, and you analyse what the great ones have that the poor ones don’t. You get others to read your book and you listen to their feedback. Treat it as an ever-changing piece of work, and adapt where necessary. Hire a professional editor, listen to what they have to say, and take it on board.
If your book needs improvement and you’re not quite ready to hire an editor, try joining a writing group. Being around other writers, especially those who are better than you, can help to improve your writing. Reading your work out loud to an audience allows you to identify which sections you’re happy with and which sound awkward. If you don’t have any local writing groups, try looking online. You might be able to find a group more specific to your genre. Another constructive step you could take to improve your writing is doing a course, either in your local area or online. Subscription sites like Skillshare have hundreds of classes on writing as well as other skills, such as social media marketing, that will be useful on your self-publishing journey. Bookshops and libraries are common places to find local writing workshops.

This is an extract from Independent Publishing in New Zealand (978-0-9951155-0-7) by HL Kennedy, scheduled for release early 2019.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

50,000 words on NaNoWriMo

50,000 words and counting (actually 62,000 at time of certificate being issued.