Revolution Inspiration

I’m delighted to welcome my friend, TE Taylor, author of two brilliant books, Zeus of Ithome and T E TaylorRevolution Day.

Hi Kimm, it’s a great pleasure to visit your blog today. I thought I would take the opportunity to talk about what inspired me to write my latest novel, Revolution Day.

I’d had in my head for some time a vague idea of writing a novel about an old man who has had great power but is starting to lose his grip. Originally I envisaged him as a king, with flowing robes and long white hair, but the idea never really got any further and I thought that, like most ideas, it would never come to anything.

Muammar_al-Gaddafi_at_the_AU_summitThen, in 2011 and 2012 a string of autocratic leaders fell one after the other during the ‘Arab Spring’, beginning with Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and including such notorious figures as Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi, who had once seemed unassailable. It occurred to me that my old man losing his grip on power could be a dictator instead of a king, giving my vague idea a context and making it relevant to the present day.

Augusto_Pinochet  Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional.

Augusto_Pinochet Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional.

One idea quickly led to another, and another. I was interested not so much in the specific context of the Arab Spring, but in the timeless issues it raises about the effects of power and its ultimate fragility. Other dictators, such as Pinochet and Ceaucescu, also came to mind. My dictator would not be based upon any particular individual. I would avoid the stereotypes: he would not be a monster or brutal strongman but an ordinary person, initially idealistic and genuinely wanting to do good, but forced by circumstances to compromise on his ideals and gradually desensitised to repression as he clings on to power in the delusion that he alone can be trusted to wield it.

As the ideas started to coalesce, I realised I needed a way to give the long view of my dictator’s rise to power and his descent into autocracy as well as telling a real-time story in the present day. I decided that his estranged wife would be writing a memoir, which could be interleaved with the main narrative. Perhaps she could be a former colleague too, with an insider’s understanding of the regime? That suggested Latin America (with its long history of dictators) rather than the middle east. And I needed an antagonist – someone with a more straightforward desire for power unencumbered by idealism. Another colleague, who resents the dictator’s pre-eminence and is eager to exploit his weakness. Not strong enough simply to seize power by force, he will have to pursue it by more devious means, manipulating the perceptions of the dictator and those around him to undermine his position. Thus my central characters, Carlos, Juanita and Manuel, were born.
Revolution DayOne day, during a writing exercise at Holmfirth Writers Group, I wrote what would become the opening scene of Revolution Day, and simply carried on from there. The rest is – well, not history, exactly, but undoubtedly inspired by it, however indirectly.

Revolution Day can be purchased from Amazon by following this link : Revolution Day 

Or from Smashwords via this link: Revolution Day smash words

Crooked Cat Book Sale!

Pop over to Amazon to see all the Crooked Cat Books on sale for this week only. They have a brilliant selection across a wide range of genres ~ something for everyone, including Once Removed. Just follow this link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Once-Removed-ebook/dp/B007YUZXC4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379158439&sr=8-1&keywords=Once+Removed ORcoverpb

Fishcake Publications ~ the story

Fishcakes Logo copyI’ll let my guest, Martin Rothery, tell us his story.

The Birth of Fishcake Publications.

It all started when I was made redundant in December 2011 and I thought ‘Oh no, what am I going to do now?’

Firstly, I didn’t panic.

Secondly, I was relieved, as I’d been miserable in that job anyway.

Thirdly, I took stock of my life, looked at my skills and ambitions and made the big decision – I was going to work for myself. But doing what?

Publishing.

A big leap, I know. So how did I come up with this fantastic plan?

Well, I’d been laying the foundations for a few years. I’d started writing in 2008, attending creative writing classes through adult education. I’d attended various workshops over the years to get a feel for all types of writing. I’d joined the Holmfirth Writers’ Group which provided a great support network, and where I was lucky enough to spend some time as treasurer. As a group, we’d also launched two anthologies. This provided some great experience.

But most importantly, I’d written a book that was ready for publishing and so I had something to act as the launch vehicle for my business. However, I found writing was the easy part. Starting a business is scary when you’re unsure what you’re doing. Luckily, I found plenty of free business courses and the most useful ones were run by Her Majesties Revenue & Customs, which was quite handy since these were the people I feared the most.

Cows! Front Cover

So, in February 2012, Fishcake Publications was launched with my first book, COWS!. Initially launched as an eBook, a printed copy soon followed. This has now sold over 110 copies in the UK and the USA, which I’m quite pleased with (although I’m striving to sell more!)

I have also released a book called Nonagenarians in memory of my grandparents and containing poetry written by them. This is currently free on Smashwords, as I wanted to share this with as many people as possible. It was also produced in a small booklet which raised over £140 for the Parkwood Methodist Old Folks Luncheon Club, a cause close to their hearts.

Souls_Of_Darkness_1400 (Cover_b)Fishcake’s latest release was a book called Souls of Darkness and was a collaboration between three authors (me being one of them).  I am currently marketing and promoting this and, hopefully, there will be a printed copy available soon.

At the end of last year, I was also very pleased to launch my own website www.fishcakepublications.com (of which, I am proud to say, I did all the work myself). I now offer my services to the public in general. I am especially keen to help new unpublished writers, as I believe every new writer needs a step up the ladder and if someone’s taken the time to write something, it deserves to be read. I have received a few submissions over the last few months that I’m very excited about, and I hope I will be able to bring to the world in the near future.

After doing all this, my advice to anyone nowadays is, if you believe in your ideas, don’t be afraid to give them a go.

Amazon Kindle links:

Cows! http://www.amazon.co.uk/COWS-ebook/dp/B0075L8DM4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359042480&sr=8-1

Souls of Darkness  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Souls-of-Darkness-ebook/dp/B0088DCG4Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1359042495&sr=1-1

Nonagenarians http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nonagenarians-ebook/dp/B0078MXHQM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359043823&sr=8-1

Smashwords links:

Cows! http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/129478

Souls of Darkness http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/168150

Nonagenarians http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/237120

Smashwords ~ Friend to Readers and Writers

Publishing is a very competitive business.

HMV

Businesses have to make money in order to pay their staff, rent and other bills. You only have to watch the news to see how many big established businesses, like HMV & Jessops, are failing in these difficult financial times, to realise that the pressure to  make money never lets up.

Busy readers tend to buy authors they know or a quick bargain from the supermarket or a well-publicised ebook from Amazon. Fierce competition to sell books to these readers drives publishing houses to “play safe”. Playing safe makes it extremely difficult for unknown authors or unusual stories to find a place with these companies.

Image representing Smashwords as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

Enter Smashwords. Owner and visionary, Mark Coker has provided free tools and an easy to access platform for self-publishers and independent publishers to get these new writers and fresh stories out into the market.

For readers this is an opportunity to access exciting new books and, because they are inexpensive to produce, at very low prices. Sometimes they’re even free.

Writers are able to generate coupons on their books to provide incentives to readers, free copies for review and other promotional purposes.

And this competition encourages the big houses to keep their prices reasonable. So three cheers for Smashwords!

cover LLLToday I was generating a coupon for my memoir, A Life Less Lost, and thought I’d share it with you all. It’s had great reviews but my favourite bit of feedback came from a friend of my son. She told me, “I couldn’t put it down and was up until 3am reading. At one point I was gripping the book so tightly my knuckles were white. I was thinking please be alright, please be alright, until I stopped and remembered that I knew what was going to happen.”

As a New Year’s treat, I’m offering the coupon to anyone who’d like to download a free copy before the 16th February. If you’d like to know more about the book, please point your cursor over My Books (above) and click on the A Life Less Lost page from the drop down menu.

Promotional price: $0.00  Coupon Code: XY74F   Expires: February 16, 2013

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