‎How I came to write Thursday’s Child

January 29, 2018 at 7:30 am | Posted in Australia, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, historical fiction, Promotion, Writing | 2 Comments
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Many people who liked my first Young Adult novel, Ben’s Challenge, requested that I write a follow-up to it. They wanted to know what happened to the characters after the book ended. So, when I finally got around to writing a second novel, I began it as a sequel to my first, expecting Ben to carry the story along.

I was a couple of months and fifteen chapters into the story when I realized it wasn’t working. The situation, theme, characters, plot couldn’t be played out with Ben there. I’d had a strong new character called Jessie in that aborted manuscript and she made me very aware that she had her own story to tell. I had to completely start over so it could be told.

I didn’t know much about Jessie at first, or what her story was. I just knew that she was a bright, ambitious girl from a large but poor Irish Catholic family. I knew what the opening chapter would be about, but even as the new chapters grew in number, I didn’t really know where it was heading. I also discovered I had given my character the wrong name. She wasn’t Jessie; she was Victoria – Tori Delaney.

From that point, Tori quickly showed me that she was quite happy to let my fingers be the instruments to tell her story, but that she would be telling it herself. And that is how I ended up with Thursday’s Child.

 

© Linda Visman

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Thursday’s Child – Picnic at the Waterfall

January 22, 2018 at 7:30 am | Posted in Australia, Birds, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, household chores, Nature, Promotion, Reading, Writing | 6 Comments
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I am writing a few blog posts to introduce the main character in Thursday’s Child, my new Young Adult novel, which is set in 1960-61 Australia. Victoria Delaney (Tori) is fourteen, in her second year of high school. She wants to become a teacher one day, but events conspire against her.

*         *         *

From Tori’s Diary

Thursday, 8th September 1960

We had such a lovely day today. I am so tired I can hardly write. It’s only a few days until we go back to school for the last term before Christmas, so we wanted to do something special. We got Mam to let us go to the falls for a picnic! The four of us – me, Carol, Mickey & Frankie set off after we’d done our morning chores. Danny’s only a baby, so he stayed home with Mam.

We followed the road, then a track, and after about four miles, we came to the creek. It wasn’t hot, but it was sunny, even through the trees and we were glad to get there. The water was so clear and cold to drink, wash our faces and bathe our bare feet in. Mam had made us promise not to go in swimming, so I had to watch Mickey so he didn’t.

We played around on the rocks and paddled where the water was shallow just out from the falls. How lovely the rock wall is where the water flows over into the waterhole! I’m no good at geology, but I could tell that lots of different layers sat on top of each other. The water had made them smooth and dark, and where the sun shone, the rock glistened and the water sparkled.

Mickey kept his eyes and ears open for birds all the time, and told us each time he heard or saw a different one. There are so many! Honeyeaters, red wattlebirds and a couple of different finches are the ones I remember. Frankie followed Mickey everywhere, as he usually does, and one time he slipped off a rock into the water. Thank goodness it wasn’t deep. He grazed his leg & got wet, but he was dry by the time we got home.

Carol and I wandered around, sometimes together and sometimes in different directions, but we all stayed close to the waterhole. I was hoping to see a platypus, but we must have scared them away. We did see a water dragon, and when we were walking back home, we saw a couple of wallabies – I think its wallabies in the mountains, not kangaroos, as they live in flatter country. Some of the wildflowers were out too and the golden wattles along the roadsides were still in flower.

We ate our jam sandwiches and boiled eggs for lunch and drank from the creek. We loved it so much that we didn’t want to leave, but we’d also promised Mam we’d be back in time to do our evening chores. I have to help with making dinner, and there are the chooks to feed, eggs to collect, Danny to look after, wood to chop for the stove. We got home in time, so Mam was happy, and even with the five-mile walk back, we were too.

 

If you wish to purchase Thursday’s Child on Kindle, click here to pre-order. It will be available for download on the 1st of February.

© Linda Visman

Local Writers Showcase

August 30, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Posted in Australia, Promotion, Reading, Writing, Writing and Life | 2 Comments
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I have been very busy lately helping to organise a showcase of local writers in the Lake Macquarie area. That has means I’ve been unable to do much in the way of writing myself.
The Showcase is on tomorrow, and goes for five hours – a mini Writers Festival. I am looking forward to it. Should be a great day – and the weather is fabulous too, even though it is the last day of winter tomorrow.

Here are the details:

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Showcase Programme FINAL.2

Promoting your book online

November 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Posted in Promotion, Publishing, Writing | 5 Comments
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The internet, with its abundance of social networking sites, makes it easier than ever before to get your name in front of prospective readers. However, you must remember that you are competing against millions of other writers to get your name and your work noticed. It takes time, effort and commitment to create and expand your on-line connections. Here are some suggestions on what you can do to establish an on-line presence.

Set up an author website:

–         this must be as professional and easy to navigate as possible;

–         create a page for each of your books, as well as an About page;

–         include book reviews and any recommendations about them;

–         add links to where the book/s can be purchased;

–         you can set up a blog on your website that will help you to get noticed;

–         if you are technologically savvy, upload video promos, readings, interviews, etc.

–         include links on your page to those of other websites or blogs that you find helpful.

Set up a blog:

–         as a stand-alone site, or as part of your author webpage;

–         make your blog posts interesting and relevant:

     o       about your book – the characters, setting, theme, anything that is relevant and interesting; include items about place, any related special interest, eg historical era, a medical condition, a war, poverty, travel, etc.

     o       why you wrote it; the writing process, the frustrations, your research, etc;

–         let people know when you have been interviewed, and provide links if possible;

–         include a Comments option for feedback (and hopefully praise) and to create interest in what you write; always answer all comments;

–         have Share buttons to social media sites you are a member of – Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Goodreads, etc;

–         host guest bloggers on your site, so you can then be a guest on theirs;

Become part of an online community:

–         read and comment on others’ blogs;

–         sign up as an author (apart from any personal membership) on social network sites and get as many Likes and Shares as you can;

–         register as an author on Amazon, Goodreads, etc;

–         mentor other writers – online or offline.

Go on a virtual book tour:

–         this is aimed at getting your name out in the virtual world; you want to be involved in as many other blogs, websites, radio and TV interviews, social network events, contests, giveaways, etc as possible;

–         these virtual tours take a lot of preparation, commitment and good organization;

–         you will find information online that will tell you how to set up a virtual book tour.

*                      *                      *                      *                      *                      *

Linda Visman is a member of Lake Macquarie Fellowship of Australian Writers, and loves to help other writers improve their skills. She writes fiction and non-fiction, and has a go at poetry too – with varied results. Linda has been published in several magazines and anthologies and is the author of Ben’s Challenge, a novel for Young Adults, set in the 1950s, that Baby Boomers love.

Promoting your book using traditional methods

November 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Posted in Promotion, Publishing, Writing | 5 Comments
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Having written a couple of items for my writing group on promoting your book, I thought it would be good to share them here. This is the first one. The second, Promoting your book using electronic methods, will appear in a few days.

Here are some suggestions on how to use traditional methods of creating an author presence.

Face-to-face:

–         book launch, book signings, book readings;

–         Attend book fairs and writing festivals;

–         Give author talks at schools, libraries, special interest groups, U3A, service clubs, youth groups, retirement villages, etc;

–         Make donations of your books to libraries, hospitals, retirement homes, prisons.

Writing:

–         send articles about your book, its background, reasons for writing your book, yourself (if you are interesting), the writing process,

–         write opinion pieces and submit them to the press;

–         always include a brief ‘signature’ at the end of a piece, saying you are an author, of (whatever) book, and where it can be found.

Promotion materials:

–         create bookmarks, business cards, mugs, T-shirts, pens, etc to promote your book;

–         run a competition, with the book and other promo material as prizes.

Book reviews:

–         get local newspapers and magazines to review your book – provide a review copy, a synopsis and details of the genre and intended audience.

Special Interest groups:

–         tap into any interest group that relates to your book. If you write a memoir about your experiences with cancer, find cancer support groups; other groups could relate to horses, motor bikes, the history of an area, genealogy, etc.

Become an expert:

–         on your topic, on the background of your novel – setting, history, theme, etc. You can then follow through with articles and talks on that/those topic/s.

Use local media:

–         push the personal interest – you as a local author or a person who grew up there;

–         send press release on your book launch- where you live now; where you grew up;

–         pitch to local radio and TV for an interview;

–         tie in your book to a relevant local event, celebration, historical commemoration, holiday, etc

Do book readings and book signings:

–         wherever you can: coffee shops, book shops, retirement community, library, school, etc

Prepare a 2-3 minute pitch for your book so you can use it at an appropriate time; take copies of your book wherever you go.

Linda Visman is a member of Lake Macquarie Fellowship of Australian Writers, and loves to help other writers improve their skills. She writes fiction and non-fiction, and has a go at poetry too – with varied results. Linda has been published in several magazines and anthologies and is the author of Ben’s Challenge, a novel for Young Adults, set in the 1950s, that Baby Boomers love.

 

Book Promotion Downsides

October 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Posted in Mental Health, Promotion, Psychology, Writing | Leave a comment
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Creativity-Logic conflict

I wish there were not so much time and energy involved in promoting my book. I am not someone who enjoys this type of activity and would rather get back to what I want to do.

I use up the energy I should be using for my writing in trying to get noticed, both locally and on-line. Having to do that distracts me from my writing too. Instead of allowing my creative left brain to come to the fore, my practical right brain has to dominate. Ideas bog down, words have to be forced out, and frustration overcomes me.

Then, frustration leads to a loss of drive and apathy takes over – if apathy can actually DO anything. I suppose it is rather I allow myself to fall into apathy. Then nothing gets done; not the writing and not the promotion activities.

I find myself in this roller-coaster ride of enthusiasm-activity / apathy-inaction much too frequently. Being a sufferer from depression is no fun when there are so many things you want to do. The things that I don’t want to do drive me onto a downward slope that I hope won’t go too deep before I can pull out of it.

It is actually my writing that has helped to get me back on the level many times over the years. Before I began writing stories, poems and novels, I kept a journal. In there, I poured out my feelings, and often worked out how to climb from the pit. Those pits were deep, very deep at times.

I am grateful that the lows are nowhere near what they used to be, and that I can come out of them quite quickly. I use positive action to overcome the apathy, and I have a husband who is very supportive in this, getting me to act when all I feel is negativity.

I still keep a journal, and it still helps. However, the focus is on what I am doing in my writing life now instead of mainly on feelings. I actually wrote this entry in my journal before making it into a blog entry.

I just wish I didn’t have to do all the distracting, energy-sapping work that goes into producing and promoting what was an idea, but is now a physical entity: my book.

Help! How do I ….?

October 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Posted in Promotion, Writing | 2 Comments
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I have been wondering how to make my wordpress blog into something more than ‘just a blog’.

I am a writer. I write articles for our local writing group magazine. My short stories and poems have been published in several anthologies and periodicals. I have self-published my novel, “Ben’s Challenge” (with a link on this page).

I need to get out there – wherever ‘out there’ is, in order to make my work better known and available to prospective readers. But how do I do that, beyond Facebook, this blog (which has few readers) and my old-fashioned website that doesn’t even allow pictures to be displayed on my main page? And, how do I do it without spending all my time on it? After all, I want to continue writing my next book.

I am not a techno whiz, though I use computers for many things. I have only just learned how to use widgets, and was very proud of myself when Iworked out how to put up my novel’s front cover, as well as a click link to Amazon, on this page.

However, I don’t understand what a lot of the options are, or what they are supposed to do, and I don’t have much time to get in and play around with them. Besides, I am also afraid of this stuff, and I don’t want to destroy what I already have. There is nobody around who I can call on either; especially, there is nobody who can show me what to do in a way that I will understand, and then be able to carry on doing what I need to do.

So, what do others out there do when you are stuck? How do you learn ‘stuff’ to help you promote your writing – or any other product? And how do you do it when your income is small and you cannot afford to call on experts? I hope someone can help me.

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