24 April 2012

News about blogs

As of today I now have 4 blogs with blogger, while they do all stand individually I have managed to link them all as separate pages however if you wish to subscribe via email to any of them feedburner with whom you subscribe to my blogs through only does this individually. So by being linked as pages you can either subscribe to just one and check in regularly or subscribe to each.

These blogs are (as listed in the above tabs):

The Good, The Bad and The Downright Disturbing
-A blog for pretty much anything from life, art, articles and updates

Something Inspirational This Way Comes
-Inspirational Images found on the web every Sunday.

Literally Busy
-Writing based aimed at being informative and helpful to other writers. If you have something you'd like to post here let me know and we'll take a look. I'd like other writers to get involved in this one writing articles, posting tips/suggestions etc if possible. Hopefully on a Tuesday as I have a little more time but we'll see how that goes, if I need to change days I will let you all know.

Book Reviews
-self explanatory now with an added request a review page.


Rachel x

17 April 2012

My Rules/Methods of Reviewing

With communcation at a high and almost every home having a computer, online sales are growing so too with this is the requests for reviews be it for a book, cd, ipad or lawnmower. With everyone having the ability to post reviews to hand and with the introduction of social networks, one would think that people would grasp the intelligence to understand the importance of being careful about how they not only portray themselves but also what they say about others and objects. Of course objects don't have feeling or do they? we arent entirely sure, but the people behind the products do have feelings. A poor review is not only damaging for the products sales but also the company/people behind it and in turn you the reviewer. If you are incapable of giving an honest review then your opinion has no place in being heard and you should simply keep your mouth shut!
As the saying goes "honesty is the best policy" and it truly is, not only are you doing good for the product and its creators but by giving an honest review you are painting yourself in a good light that more people will in fact be willing to listen to you.
Lets not forget here however that an honest review does not neccessarily mean a good product. An honest review takes time and effort.

Having read a blog an hour ago also about reviewing where a poor review was given simply on book length, I felt myself compelled to reveal my own rules and methods for writing reviews.

1. When you first recieve a request, do not reply at least not yet.

2. Research the author then the book. Never do I accept a review without learning of the author first, one can't be too careful online these days especially with files to download, once happy someone is legit I'll read what I can about the book itself then decide.

3. Decide if the book is enough to your liking that you feel you can read it and review it. Do not accept unless you have read a description.

4. Request relevant information regarding number of chapters and pages, publisher and any other info you feel you want to include.

5. Put together a bio of the author, everyone likes to know something about authors that they can relate to.

6. Maintain an open mind, this cannot be stressed enough.

7. I am never without an open word doc on my laptop or a notepad close to hand whilst reading, you can never tell when something will spark a thought or emotion. As much as the saying "always carry a pad and pen" refers to authors and reporters, it is also just as relevant for reviwers.

8. Whatever comes to mind, always write it down. Whether these notes are used or not, translated or not is down to you when you finish the review.

9. When you have all your notes put together your description of the book.

10. Write your opinion of the book in as much detail as possible, you dont have to be perfect but a good opinion will give other potential readers something to bounce off.

11. Summarise. Age recommendation and grading be it stars, hearts or whatever symbol you choose.

12. Have fun and enjoy.

13. One of the most important rules is never give up. While a book can start off extremely bad, it doesn't mean the end will be. Perhaps something interesting will happen or there will be an unusual twist. If you aren't willing to find out, you have absolutely no right what-so-EVER to write a review for it.

14. If by some chance you get stuck on something, talk to the author, especially if it is about a subject you do not understand.

15. Be polite and professional and give reasonable deadlines.

16. When publishing the review, offer the author a digital copy and produce links to your blog and, let the author know where else you have published and when it is likely to become available (e.g. amazon = upto 48 hours)

17. Thank the author for the opportunity - not only are you doing something for them but they have done something for you.

18. Sometimes on occasion you may stumble upon a book which lacks a certain something, whilst this can be damaging, do not solely give a damning review for it, know your grading and let the author know why they lost the points.

19. As an added bonus I spell check as I read however I do not let this influence my reviewing but it is up to you whether you do or not. In my case I include this in the email sending the returned review, I understand how writing blends together when writing a novel and after many passes the writers mind fills in the missing words so some are missed; I also understand that those that manage to use an outsourced editor cannot afford a top notch one first time and so items are missed, of course this is down to the author to check but then I am sure they again have their minds fill the missing words. It happens more often than not.

Anyone can write but not everyone can produce an immaculate book and some reviewers tend to forget this and let it influence the outcome of their review.
One thing to remember is while you are a reviewer, so too are you being reviewed by your readers.

14 April 2012

Whats in a pen name?

There are a number of reasons for a writer to have a pen name be it protection for themselves or their family, a way of simply keeping the outside world out of their everyday life perhaps even to give a name to a separate voice used to write with, to escape a past or change who they are. There are a number of reasons and usually each writer will have a different reason for choosing one.

So how do you go about choosing a pen name? do you simply choose the name of something you like or that represents you? or do you pain-stakingly sit down and figure out every single word that you can make of the letters of your name?

In my case when I was in college I made the discovery that there were two of me.
As the story goes everyone has a doppleganger and well I guess the same can be said for names as well.
Turns out this girl lived less than a mile from where I grew up as well.

So in part because of this reason and because every time I search for RNHadley I get Radley which is some accessories designer in London and the name of a village here in the UK, I have looked into pen names a few times over the years. And while a few times I did think I had found a good name it turned out someone already had it and that person was a writer.

Although my method was to use the letters of my own name, none of them felt quite right. However with a slight adjustment I think that quite possibly I have found the perfect name one of which states that there are several layers to who I am and that I have red hair. Obviously for the moment I will keep looking researching each individual name but for the moment I really like this one, and from what I can see no-one else has used it.

So will you use a pen name? what will your method be? and what does your pen name say about you?

12 April 2012

For Authors Seeking Cover Art

As writers I am sure many of you can agree that when our lives aren't the one thing taking up all our time, it is also our writing and in this sometimes there are slip-ups be it editing, not creating an online presence, websites, or perhaps even our own cover art. Sometimes we are so focussed on actually writing the story we forget that the first thing to catch a readers eye before the title of a book is the cover art, and it is the cover art that gets overlooked until last minute and sometimes, just sometimes, we settle for something that is not quite right or befitting to our work because we were in such a rush to publish. But this doesn't have to be the case!

For some of us we accept that publishers provide for us covers for our work through their own artists, photographers etc. For others we just don't know where to start looking, artists, illustrators, photographers, graphic artists, the list is long but not as long as the list of names of the artists themselves.
So to clear the fog so to speak, let me introduce you to one man and his art.

Lampros Kalfuntzos aka 3ddream is a 3D graphic artist, and web designer born in Athens Greece and living in the UK. Self taught in photoshop and with a Master of Arts in 3D Digital Design and a BA (hons) Design: Multimedia Graphics, Lampros has made a name for himself across the United Kingdom with clients from IBM, Sage, Fujitsu, and Microsoft as well as actresses, models, individual businesses and yes, even writers! His work is fantasy based and is inspired by the likes of Final Fantasy and mythology and have featured in a number of online magazines (see personal website for complete resume).

Lampros is currently accepting freelance work whilst working on his own art projects for sale through a number of galleries including deviant art and zazzle. Please see the above youtube video with a selection of his work and below for links to a number of Lampros' online haunts.

If you would like Lampros to work with you on cover art for an upcoming book then please drop him an email through his website or one of his social networks.

Dreams really can come true
and you can have the cover
your book deserves!

Personal Website : http://www.3ddream.net/home.htm
Interview : http://www.creativeboom.co.uk/south-east/features/five-minutes-with-lampros-kalfuntzos/
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lampros-Kalfuntzos/16247260039
LinkedIn : http://uk.linkedin.com/in/3ddream
Youtube : http://www.youtube.com/3ddream
Zazzle : http://www.zazzle.co.uk/3ddream

10 April 2012

Short Cuts, I Think Not!

Ok tv is starting to annoy me. Or more specifically premiering movies here in the UK once they reach tv.
What is it with the need to cut things out?

This Friday just gone Thor premiered on sky for the first time. Now I saw Thor back last year when I was in the states and I saw it at least 3 maybe 4 times so I know there are at least two scenes missing from the movie.
1. Being Thor and Erik singing
2. Thor replacing a mug in the cafe

Sure these scenes aren't entirely important, but they are part of the whole story, one ties up a loose end with Thor's own character but it completely throws out the beginning of the scene that they left in there of him making breakfast, and the other is bonding/acceptance between characters.

So what if this were a book? This reminds me of the whole "it was Dobby not Neville!" instance in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire book and movie, when Dobby was completely dropped as a character in the movies before returning at the very end of the series, what was the point in that other than to simply please the fans after annoying them for what 3 movies and then still have Dobby die. Was it to please fans? or simply to put Dobby to rest? Or because no-one else could get Harry out of that house? if it was the latter then I hope the makers were kicking themselves afterwards because Dobby was a mass loved character and should have been in those previous movies.

I hate these instances, they're annoying! If it is in the book and it is part of the story then it dont need changing! If we all took shortcuts nothing would be done properly. If we took shortcuts in writing, the stories would never be complete.
Is it really so difficult to just leave things be!?

2 April 2012

A Girls Gotta Do, What A Girls Gotta Do.

Today glancing at a few things on my computer I made a most shocking discovery, if you take into account that my series is planned to be nine books in length and add all the other stories I've thought up over the last few years, my total story count is 25 not all are full length novels though, at least 3 are short stories.
Also, this does not include much from my notebooks or anything from the box in the corner.
Some of these stories are simply a paragraph idea, others are a page long and some are a chapter or two started. Oh and yes thats including the couple I've completed.

Lets face it, I'm screwed! If I write one story a year its going to take 25 years, even if I write 2 a year its going to take me 12 and a half years and who knows how many other story idea's I'll gather over those years to add on top of the list. However long it is going to take I am screwed.

To get these written I'm going to have to up my game or at least treat every month or every other month like its Nanowrimo. Not only this but I think I may have to decrease my output of book reviews to at least one a month. I've loved doing my book reviews but if I am going to get my own writing in some sort of order I need to put it ahead of the reviews. Somewhere along the line it slipped to second place, I'm not sure where or when but it has and its taken an injury and me sitting back and looking at things to realise this and actually acknowledge it instead of pushing that idea to the side.

I currently have several book reviews taking me right up until the end of June/ beginning of July. I will continue to accept them but it will only be 12 a year so slots will need to be requested. So if you know your book is coming out in say April and its only November then you can let me know and if that months free you can have it.

This is a tough decision to make since I have read so many books I have loved and met some very nice authors but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do and this girl needs to silence the many voices in her head by actually getting these stories written and making room for many many more.

I will continue with my current reviews but from August the new plan starts.
I'm taking May as a break, I was going to do some writing while I have my holiday, probably still will but now with the new plan I think I'll work on some outlines in a bit more depth in prep for July.
I'll update my reviews blog and website this week with the new plan as soon as I can.