Twitter Backgrounds for Writers

Twitter is one of the power-houses of social media and a popular site for writers. Whether you're using it to connect with other writers, build relationships with your fans or for book promotion, a writer-themed background will add some flair to your profile.

How to change your twitter background:

  • Log into Twitter.
  • Go to "Edit profile" on the top right side of your page
  • Click on "Design"
  • Scroll down to the section "customise your own" and upload your background image from your computer.
  • Click "Save changes"
  • Your new background will now show on your profile.

Free Writer-themed backgrounds:

Wine Press of Words have put together an excellent post with a selection of writer-themed backgrounds that you can download and use free of charge on your Twitter profiles. A bit of everything from desktops to typewriters to books and paper and pens.

Make your own:

You can of course make your own background using a graphics program and personalise it completely. I used Adobe Illustrator to create my background image so that it fitted with the rest of my online branding.

This is a screenshot of my personal account @JoLinsdell

Have you personalised your twitter background? Did you make it yourself or use a template?
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The skill of writing

Writing is both an art and a skill.  Most writers consider themselves storytellers, emphasizing the art of writing rather than the skill.  As the author of a single published novel, Away from the Spotlight, I do not profess to be an expert in the “art” of writing.  However, as an attorney and business consultant for a number of years, I do profess to be an expert in the “skill” of writing.

Voice of the Narrator

In the business context, a writer communicates more than content alone.  The writer is communicating additional subtext that includes his or her level of intelligence, education, personality and style, and how much attention to detail he or she has.  This also is true of fiction writing in that the narrator of a story, whether the author or a character, is communicating these same things.

I wrote Away from the Spotlight in first-person narrative style from the point of view of a twenty-four year-old law student from California.  Consequently, the voice of the narrator needed to sound relatively young; use idioms appropriate for the narrator’s sex, age, nationality and location; and sound as articulate as would be expected of a law student.


As a writer, research is almost always necessary.  If a writer uses real people, places and/or things, enough research is necessary to ensure accuracy.  This also includes research to ensure that the voice of the narrator is correct if he or she is someone other than the author.  If a writer uses strictly fictional people, places and/or things, research still may be necessary to ensure a realistic portrayal, particularly when based upon a real person, place and/or thing.


If a writer details a complex series of events or often references past events, an outline or timeline is helpful to prevent mistakes.  This outline or timeline can be prepared beforehand, while writing, or afterward to check for consistency.

Form – Grammar, Punctuation and E-Publishing Format

The appropriate amount of time and attention should be given to the form of the novel.  In the business context, sloppy grammar and editing can cause  a reader to lose the message while focusing on the errors in form or fail to trust the message due to a perceived lack of attention to detail.  In the context of fiction writing, obvious mistakes pull the reader out of the story while he or she considers the issue in the writing itself.  If the mistakes are too frequent, the writer runs the risk that the reader may stop reading the story entirely. 

All writers should reacquaint themselves with the rules of grammar and punctuation.  Improper grammar is fine when it comes to internal thoughts and dialogue because people don’t necessarily think or speak in complete, grammatically-correct English.  However, the grammar should be correct in the narrative.  As an example, the phrase, “between you and I,” is not correct; the correct phrase is “between you and me.”  Whether or not to use the incorrect version of that phrase depends upon whether using incorrect grammar is appropriate for the speaker.  With respect to punctuation, a common issue is the use of commas.  For example, commas are required when a sentence is commenced with “also,” “however,” and “nevertheless.”  As another example, commas belong on the inside of quotes (see the previous sentence for examples). 

On a final note regarding form, even if the writer does not personally format the novel for e-publishing, the writer should check to ensure it is properly formatted to the extent possible.  Note, however, that some issues are difficult, if not impossible, to fix.  In some versions of Away from the Spotlight, such as on the Kindle app on my iPad, my copyright page is perfectly centered.  On my Kindle Fire, however, the first line is left-justified.  It drives me crazy, but I can’t seem to fix it.

Avoid Unnecessary Criticism

While the advice noted above is common-sense, a writer often can become so focused on the story itself that considerations of form and structure are not given their due.  If the advice is taken to heart, however, a writer may never have to suffer the critique, “It’s a good story, but . . .”

Tamara Carlisle
Guest post by Tamara Carlisle. Tamara Carlisle is a former attorney and business consultant.  Away from the Spotlight is her first published work of fiction.  She currently is working on two additional novels:  one is about love in the music industry and the other is a work of paranormal fiction.  Tamara currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her British husband and daughter.  For further information, go to 

Tamara will be awarding two $25 Amazon GCs to randomly drawn commenters during the tour, so I encourage you to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

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Book feature: Field of Screams by J.D. Gordon

J.D. Gordon


While baseball is the game of the day for Andy Biggs, an evil force lurks beneath the old Maryknoll Stadium. A ghostly witch doctor is turning teens into zombies to help summon the demon Jumlin into humanity. It’s up to Andy and his band of paranormal sidekicks to save the world and thwart the witch doctor and even Jumlin himself! 


"The perfect follow-up to Kritterkreep, Field of Screams is the book you'll find your child reading under the bedcovers with a flashlight. And if truth be known, you'll be reading it when they're done."
— Kerry Frey, author of Buried Lie: A Young Ace Roberts Adventure

"Jimmy has taken every boy's baseball fantasy of being in the big game and taken it to an entirely different world!"
— Dan Griffin, president, Glen Ellyn Little League

"Andy Biggs and his best friend, Juan, are at it again, fighting off a triple play of zombies, ghosts and evil spirits. But will they be able to save the girl, save the day and still save the game?"
— Lisa Motola Hudon, author of Watch Your Step At The Wishing Well and Just Another Day In Paradise

Firefighter and paramedic-turned-author Jimmy (J.D.) Gordon was born and raised in Chicago where he developed a taste for the finer things that the Windy City has to offer - pan pizza, live blues and the Cubs. 

Jimmy dropped into the world of literature, literally. After falling off a train and breaking his knee Jimmy had to spend quite a bit of time recuperating. While visiting the firehouse his peers asked what he planned to with all that time away. This when Jimmy said the words that he now claims to have changed his life. "I should write a book."

Despite some skepticism from his peers ("You don't even use punctuation on your run reports!"), he completed a novel, Island Bound, and made it a point to use punctuation throughout.

Another injury, sustained on the job, ended his career in the fire service. Aside from writing Gordon spends his Spring and Summer as an umpire for high school and youth baseball. He now lives with his wife and children in Glen Ellyn IL, a suburb of Chicago.


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What happens after you've written a book

So you’ve written a book and want to know what to do with it… as an author let me tell you there is more than one way to go to the next step.

The first thing you have to be aware of is this, a harsh lesson but one we all have to learn… Not everyone is going to fall in love with your work! What you may think is brilliant is in all actuality the first draft of your work. Now you need to reread it, tighten up the story and edit, edit, edit. Then when your think it can’t get any better, you need to go back through and edit some more.
What, all that editing sounds boring you say? Well, that is truly the next step. When you think you are ready to submit it to a publisher, you first need to go to the publisher’s site and read their guidelines for submission. Read them over and over again until you understand exactly what they want. Each publisher is basically the same but they all have their little quirks too. One word of advice, follow the guidelines to the T. If you don’t, your story will go directly into the trash, there will be no passing go or collecting a contract.

Before you submit, look over your manuscript one more time. Make sure everything is ready and there are no gaps in the spacing and you have the right font. All of this may seem redundant but believe me it will help.

Next comes the hardest part of your submission. The cover or query letter. You need to grab the editors attention but do it with professionalism not garish bad taste.  There are a number of samples available, please look them over before you send your submission in.

A special note here, most publishers want a synopsis to go along with the first three chapters. Look into what your publisher is looking for in the synopsis. If you go the extra mile to do this both you and the publisher will be happier. The synopsis should be short and to the point. I have one publisher that wants it done like a high school book report. I haven’t done one of those in too many years but that’s what she wanted so that’s what I did. My first synopsis was eight pages long, way too long. I had to reduce it to no more than three pages.  Not fun!

Then you begin the dreaded waiting game. Day after day, week after week, sometimes month after month you wait for an answer. At times you will wonder what’s taking so long? Then after waiting for up to six months you get an email or a letter in the mail. Your hands are shaking and your heart is pounding in your chest, you are almost afraid to open it. Then you get the courage to click on it… the anticipation is hell but you find the courage to look, will you be crushed or thrilled?

It could go either way, this is the part when the powers that be will test you. There is something you need to remember at this point, even if you get the dreaded rejection slip you can learn something. Yes it’s going to hurt that the publisher didn’t want your story but don’t let it ruin what could be a great start. If you are lucky enough to get a reason why the publisher didn’t grab your work up take a hint, go over the reason they gave you and think it over. Did they make suggestions at what would make your story stronger and better? If they did it could mean they were interested, just not so enthused about it. Take a day or so to think about what they said then try to work their suggestions into your story.  They know the market and what’s selling or not selling. At least give it a try. You can always resubmit.

If you got the letter every writer waits for you can always do what I did when I got my first acceptance letter, I screamed from the top of my lungs, HOT DIGGITY DAM.  My husband came running in from the other room to find out what all the commotion was about.

Word of advice: NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS!  If you want to be a writer, then go for it. The only one holding you back is you.

Guest post by Kim Dahlen. Kim lives in a small town (population495) in Wisconsin. From her deck she can see the Mississippi River on one side and the bluffs, where eagles live and nest on the other side. She lives with her husband Dave and dog Sammy. Her two children are grown and she has two grandchildren. She loves to watch people and that has helped her with her writing. She loves to create characters and put them in a troubling situation then sit back and let them do all the work. Her characters surprise even her at times. At some point in the book they take on a life of their own and the twists and turns become the story. Of all the stories she could write she found she liked mystery/thrillers the best. She likes to keep her readers guessing until the very end of the book.

Web site:
I am on facebook and twitter as kjdahlen
My blog is on facebook at K.J.’s blog

The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so I encourage you to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

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Interview with Valerie Laws

When did you know you wanted to be a writer? 
I've been writing since childhood. I keep getting ideas that just insist on being written down in some form or other! I’ve done many other things in my time, but I’ve been a full-time professional writer for about twelve years now. 

What genre do you write and why? 
The new book LYDIA BENNET’S BLOG is comedy, which I love to write. I also write crime fiction, stage and BBC radio plays, and poetry which is sometimes performance poetry, often science-themed; funny poems about sex, moving poems about death, recently! I also create poetry installations for exhibitions or media projects which are ‘sci-art’, that is, interpreting scientific themes through poetry which moves and changes in a public artwork. I spray-painted poetry on live sheep in my Quantum Sheep project, using the principles of quantum physics. That project got a lot of media attention and still does! I like to make people laugh and cry with my poetry, novels and plays. But also my ideas come to me with a genre attached, they seem arrive ready to be a poem, a play, a novel. I’ve had ten previous books published, twelve plays produced, and many commissions and Writer in Residence posts. At present, I’m Writer in Residence at a Pathology Museum of human specimens, at a university brain institute, and at a physic garden growing mind-altering plants! 

Tell us about your latest book. 
LYDIA BENNET’S BLOG - THE REAL STORY OF PRIDE & PREJUDICE is my 11th book, my first indie e-book. It’s a comedy, telling the story of Jane Austen’s novel in the voice of Lydia Bennet, the outrageous, sexy, shameless youngest Bennet sister. She’s just like a modern teenager, so I’ve written her ‘blog’ in modern teen language, but with 19th Century explanations for her slang. Lydia knows a lot of what went on unknown to Lizzy and Darcy and the others, as she was manipulating the action behind the scenes to get her way and get her man, the ultimate bad boy Wickham! I thought she deserved to tell her tale, and to triumph! It’s available from Amazon kindle store at (98p) and in US at ($1.55) and from Smashwords It’s collected some ace five star reviews, from respected writers too. 

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 
This is my first indie e-book so it’s all new territory for me, though my crime novel THE ROTTING SPOT is also on kindle as well as paperback. I’m using facebook and Twitter and guest spots on blogs, also with the generous help of wonderful writers like best-seller Linda Gillard, award-winning Catherine Czerkawska, Paul Magrs and others who have written fabulous five star reviews about how much they enjoyed it. It’s taking a while to identify the target audience. The book can be seen as a crossover for young adults as well as adults, but the ‘post-chick-lit’ audience seem to love it.  Though some obsessive Austen fans might find Lydia’s dissing of Darcy hard to take! Lydia has an actual blog where she’s blogging the novel in instalments on I’m working on my next crime novel though so time for marketing is limited!

What formats is the book available in?
It’s on Amazon Kindle and on Smashwords in their premium catalogue for other e-formats. 

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I’m an obsessive swimmer. I swim five miles a week and love snorkelling on my travels. I love to socialise and spend time with my boyfriend, my friends and my grown-up children, going to films, plays, literary events, readings, galleries... I enjoy travelling, touring and performing my work. And reading! I love books and I love my kindle with a late-flowering but intense passion.
Who are your favourite authors?
I have many favourites but to give a few stand-outs: Novelists, Barbara Pym, Anne Tyler, Patrick O’Brian. I also re-read Jane Austen and E F Benson often. Crime novelists, Dorothy L Sayers, Ann Cleeves, Raymond Chandler. Poets, Shakespeare, William Blake, Sharon Olds, Gillian Clarke. I love many poets’ work, but many of them are friends so naming some and missing others out is risky! 

What advice do you have for other writers? 
Write what needs to be said. Write what you want to say. Tell the story but use powerful language to bring it alive for your readers. Be open to editing but don’t write to please imaginary reviewers or publishers. I’ve seen people on facebook talk about changing their new book because of a single critical Amazon review comment about their previous one. That way lies madness.

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers? 
Peter Mortimer said a poem (or any piece of creative work) ‘needs an imperative of some kind.’ In other words, it’s something that needs to be said, and you have to try and say it in the best way possible. That’s the challenge!
Valerie Laws
What's the best thing about being a writer?
Moving and engaging people - making them see things in a new way. Learning, researching and creating for a living. In my new poetry book ALL THAT LIVES is a prize-winning poem about malformed foetuses in jars in the pathology museum. It always has a powerful effect on audiences because it celebrates the babies in an unexpected way. 

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
My website, Some of my published books are available through Amazon as mentioned above, or in paperback through Or google me! Come to one of my readings or performances, or invite me to perform where you are!

Anything else you'd like to add?
I keep writing in many genres and in all my work I celebrate the world, speak for the voiceless to tell their stories. I’m a mathematician and physicist as well as being interested in biomedical science, and I believe in embracing change and the randomness of the universe. My spray-painted poetry on sheep celebrated that, as did my random haiku on inflatable beach balls in a swimming pool, featured in a BBC TV documentary. I love to perform my work or take on the challenge of inventing new ways to use language using modern technology or unusual media. I welcome commissions or invitations to create site specific pieces. I hope LYDIA BENNET’S BLOG finds a wider audience and makes a lot of people laugh. Some say it would make a great sit-com. Who knows, perhaps it will!
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I never intended to be an author

At times life leads us down roads we never intended to travel. For some this becomes a pattern, leaving us in unfamiliar territory time after time, struggling to learn as we go. Writing and publishing Tears Water the Seeds of Hope was as much an unexpected adventure as the journey that inspired the book.  

Tears Water the Seeds of Hope is the true story of an ordinary couple that is drawn into heartbreaking situations that ultimately compel them to establish a non-profit organization to save the lives of children in the end-stages of starvation in eastern Guatemala. My husband and I are the clueless and ill-equipped protagonists who unwittingly experience an Indiana Jones caliber adventure that crosses three continents and draws hundreds of volunteers and supporters to join the charge on behalf of the families of drought and famine stricken Chiquimula, Guatemala. The difficulty of the conditions described in the book and the sadness of the situations we encounter are often lightened with humor and joy as tragic losses are balanced with triumphant victories.

It was never my intention to write a book, but as others heard the true accounts of the harrowing encounters we experienced, they declared that we had lived a novel that many would enjoy reading. So one day I sat down at my computer and began to type. The writing and publishing process has been as challenging and perplexing as the daunting task of beginning mission work in a foreign country with no pertinent skills or training. I share what I have learned in hopes that it will help other new authors to succeed. 

Most major traditional publishers require that book submissions reach them via literary agents who often reject requests for representation by new authors based on a one page query letter. So unless your name is Danielle Steele, it is nearly impossible to attract the attention of the major traditional publishers. After researching several publishing options including smaller independent traditional publishers and co-publishers, I eventually decided on self-publishing as the best option for me.

I contacted the self-publishing imprints of several major publishers as well as a few independent self-publishers. Each offered vastly different options and publishing packages. I found that I liked various features of the contracts of each of three different publishers, but none encompassed everything I was hoping for. I began to negotiate with the self-publishing companies in an attempt to combine the best features of each contract into the arrangement I wanted. I eventually arrived at CrossHouse as my publisher and have thoroughly enjoyed my experience with them. CrossHouse publisher Katie Welch was happy to work with me to establish the contract I wanted and was available for consultation and advice throughout the process. The following are contract features that self-publishing authors should insist on.

1. The publisher must provide a publishing date commitment.
2. Final editorial control must stay with the author.
3. Book size, number of pages and price specifications must be set according to the author’s wishes.
4. The publisher must make a commitment to produce the book in formats desired by the author such as paperback, hard cover and various electronic formats.
5. The publisher should offer deep author discounts on an increasing scale based on number of books purchased.
6. The publisher should waive any publishing fees at a specified pre-order volume.
7. The author must have the right to terminate the contract and pursue other publishing options at any time.

Self-publishing companies often mimic traditional publishers by assuming responsibilities such as selling and distributing books and paying royalties. The contract must specify the royalty percentage to be paid and it should be clear whether the royalty percentage is based on net sales or net sales less production and shipping costs. The author should retain the right to order and reorder books at the agreed upon discount and to market and sell them anywhere and at any price desired. 

Self-publishing is the fastest way to get a book from the author’s pen to the public as traditional publishing can as long as two years. The process with CrossHouse, from signing a contract to publication, was only three months.  If self-publishing is not for you, it is wise submit query letters to many literary agents and traditional publishers who handle your genre, and be prepared to be patient. Each receives thousands of queries each year and large reading backlogs are the norm. Believe in your work and don’t be afraid to follow up. I eventually received several offers from publishers, one of which I had followed up with twice. But by the time they each got around to reading my material, I was well on my way to publication with CrossHouse. 

Guest post by Kim Tews. Kim Tews was raised in Madison, Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in Economics. She and husband, Randy, pursued careers in real estate before beginning mission work together in Ecuador, South America in 2001. In 2005 they established the 501 (c) 3 non-profit Outreach for World Hope to save the lives of starving children in eastern Guatemala. The couple lives in Verona, Wisconsin with their three children, traveling back and forth to Guatemala frequently to facilitate the ongoing programs of Outreach for World Hope.

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Quick Tips for Writers and Authors

On 1st September this year Writers and Author TV was launched bringing a video element to the Writers and Authors project. Although the full show only goes LIVE once a month, the Quick Tips program is published to the channel every Wednesday and Friday.

Quick Tips is exactly what the name implies. Short video's of around 1 minute that offer quick tips related to writing, marketing and publishing. To make sure you don't miss out on new updates to the channel you can subscribe at and have them show automatically in your YouTube news feed.

Topics so far have included:
  • How to optimise your YouTube video description
  • Beat bloggers block
  • Create a media kit
  • Make sharing easy
  • How to be the perfect guest blogger
If you find a video useful please click the like button and feel free to share it. Comments are welcome on all video's either as a written comment posted below the video or as a video response.
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What to do after a Virtual Book Tour

Virtual book tours are a great way to help spread the word about your book and create a buzz either for its release or to put new life into an older publication. If you've been touring for weeks or months you might be relieved that it's over so you can relax a bit. Now is not the time though. To get maximum value from your virtual book tour here's a few things you can do after the tour:
What to do after a virtual book tour

  1. Evaluate how your tour went. When your tour is over you'll want to take a look at how successful your tour was. This is important as it allows you to share that success with your fans which continues the buzz your tour created. It also lets you see what worked best and who your best hosts were which will be useful for future tours and other marketing projects.
  2. Build relationships. Nurture the relationships that formed as part of your tour. Think of ways you can give back to them and help them promote their blogs through your sites.
  3. Recycle content. You can use any guest posts you did for the tour and turn them into other forms of content like slideshows or video's. You might even want to group them together to make an e-book that you can give-away to subscribers to your blog or website. Radio interviews and webinars can be transcribed and used as blog posts or take just the audio part from video's and submit it as a podcast. By being creative you can get a lot of extra mileage from your tour content.
What do you do after a virtual book tour? How are you maximising your tour success?

Image by Jo Linsdell.
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The DNA of a Successful Book

As writers we all want to know the magic recipe for creating a successful book. Whilst there is no hard and fast rules for what makes a best seller this infographic from HipType gives a good break-down and some interesting statistics:

How does you book measure up with this information? Does your book have the DNA of a successful book? blogsignatureWA
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Interview with Jason Downes

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I never really know how to answer this question. I suppose in many ways I always wanted to be one. I imagine the desire to do it began at school in English class when we would be given assignments to write a short story or essay. I loved that. It gave you the freedom to stretch your imagination and put it on paper.
It was the first real experience of creating characters, even if they were just your friends and you putting them in strange situations, it was all about telling the story and making it fun.
Then as I got older I left it behind in a way but I was always eager to try it again but not being in school anymore there didn’t really seem to be a point in it. Even though I was reading books until my eyes saw letters when they were closed, it was almost like that desire to write was quieted in the books I read.
Then one day I sat down and wrote a short story and it just felt right. I tried another and then another and really it all flowed from there.
What genre do you write and why?
Well for the most part I write horror or something that has supernatural tinges but over the last few years I have been writing in other areas. My first novel, Pony Fleming is a comedy drama set in Dublin and follows the title character through a nine month period where in he finds a job on the railway, breaks up with his on and off girlfriend and faces the proposition of fatherhood when she tells him she’s pregnant. Now some may say this fate is a horror story in itself but in the traditional sense, there isn’t a ghost in sight.
Of the other work I’ve had published all of it has been horror/ghost stories. I was very lucky to find a publisher who A: liked them and B: sells them. Postmortem Press and their owner Eric Beebe have done a lot to keep me ticking over in this genre and they too will publish my next novel which is a horror called The Barn.
I like writing horror for the same reason I like to read it, scary is fun. We all like it, that moment where you don’t really want to see what’s coming next because you know it’s not anything good but yet you cannot stop from looking, reading, watching or whatever.  It may get a kicking from certain circles but I love it, it’s great fun and you know if all of the horrible things in the world only happened between the covers of a book, things would be much better.
Jason Downes
Tell us about your latest book
The Barn is a horror set in Bergen County NJ. It begins with the town of Aldwood in the 1700’s as it is putting the finishing touches to a barn they have built in order to store food for the winter in the event of an emergency and to have somewhere to gather in the summer.
However before the barn even has a chance to open it becomes the focal point of violence when a young business man, Carl Moran who is in debt to the local loan shark and has borrowed from another family friend also, is working late when his less patient debtor catches up with him. Things unfold and murder stains the barn before it even opens.
The murder stirs and feeds an ancient evil that is chained to the land. An evil which is centuries old has been disturbed by the building of the barn having been confined there by the local native tribe many years before. Upon its awakening the demon is weak and needs to grow stronger in order to gain vengeance. It does this by influencing weak or vulnerable minds that come onto the land which it is bound to.
As the years go by the violence grows and feeds the demon. Throughout the book we see the many evils of the world utilized to feed the monster, racism, rape, child abuse, murder and greed, many of the unsavory elements to human nature become food for the evil that now resides within the barn.
As each act of murder ends and the spirit of the victim left behind, they begin to band together and join forces with the descendants of the native tribe who originally captured and trapped the demon.
Once the demon finds a host in which to leave the land through it then falls on the small group of spirits and humans to recapture it before it wreaks havoc on the tribe and the town.
What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
This is an area of the business where I am still very much finding my feet. I suppose this interview is a prime example of what will be done. As I do this interview the book has not been released, by the time people are reading it the book will be available most likely. It is scheduled for a late summer launch.
I will target as many media outlets as possible, radio probably being a great way to reach readers. For my first novel I did a reading and interview on Edin Road radio that gave me a good half hours exposure. Working along with the publisher we will no doubt press ahead in print media also and of course the social outlets such as facebook and twitter.
This really is an area where when you begin your career or hobby of writing and are looking for sales or exposure, it can be a little confusing or overwhelming. Even those big publishers won’t do too much to push a book unless you’re a heavyweight. It really is up to the author to think of creative ways to push the novel out there and into the eyes and hands of the book buying public.
What formats is the book available in?
Pony Fleming is available in paperback and e-book. The Barn will be the same. Postmortem-press have recently ventured into the audio book market and it would be very exciting to hear someone read the book in such a way, so who knows? Maybe audio too. For now, both will be paper back and e-book.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
There’s always so much going on here. With a fulltime job and two little girls the question should be when do you get to write! However, when I’m not writing or working I like to play with the girls, or strum a little on the guitar. My interests are a lot similar to most peoples. During the year I’ll watch Liverpool FC and the NJ Devils, or just hang out with family and friends and knock back a beer or three.
This last year has been hectic what with doctors for our oldest but in general it’s low key here. Not something most people think of when they imagine what a horror writer does when not writing. It’s the one genre which probably has the biggest misconceptions from the reading public toward the authors than any other.
Alas I don’t have any coffins or black curtains in the house, there are no skulls on the wall, and we don’t stay up very late…we do however have cobwebs at times.
Who are your favorite authors?
There are a few authors whom I return to again and again, not all are horror but here we go in no particular order, Stephen King, James Herbert, John Connolly, Ken Bruen, Roddy Doyle, Tana French, and Brendan Behan. Having had my work published with PMP I also became exposed to some great new talent such as Joe Williams, Jessica McHugh, Ken Cain and Brad Carter among others. There really are few joys like finding a new author you can really like, the only similar experience for me is finding a band that until you hear them for the first time had never been on your radar and then….BOOM! You’re hooked.
What advice do you have for other writers?
I’m smiling here to myself because just last night my cousin back home in Ireland sent me a message and told me he had just written a novel, the first in a saga which has been in his mind for years, and he wanted some advice.
Well, the usual advice is very much one of the truest, read. The more you read the more you’re exposing your mind to other styles and ideas. Read it all, fiction, biographies, history, you name it read it.
Then don’t give up. Keep going. Even if you get 40,000 words in and you know where it’s going but you can’t finish that story, try again. Trust me on this, I know. My first attempt at a novel ended up that way. I left it alone, wrote some shorts and then Pony Fleming. That first draft of my first attempted novel was never finished but the idea stuck and after some rejigging it became The Barn.
Keep going, no matter what. Even if as you write the first draft you know it needs a ton of work, keep going. That’s what the editing process is for. You can fix it; you just need to get that idea that’s burning your brain cells out down. Once it’s done then step away. Have a drink, eat a steak and leave it be for a few weeks then go back after you have had time to let the excitement settle and you can look at it honestly and see the parts that won’t work, then fix them.
At this point find someone you can trust and let them see it; it will help to have another pair of eyes for errors but also to give you some clear and constructive criticism. Stephen King said write the first draft with the door closed and the second with it open, sound advice because that first draft is about getting your story down without interruption, when it’s done it’s done, let it breathe and don’t be afraid to share it, after all, you just wrote a book right? And what is the purpose, the existence of a book for but to be read.
What’s your favorite quote about writing/ for writers?
If at first you cannot see it, let your imagination be it.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
The freedom. Without a doubt. The freedom to create anything from your imagination and mold characters into a world that is your own making. Being able to create an escape from real world issues for readers and maybe take them to a better place even for that short amount of time that they have your story in their hands.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
My author facebook page is a start. Or go to to see the books my work is in and then you have
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just to thank everyone and anyone who has purchased books with my work in it. Also my wife Jess for her support, Lord knows it isn’t easy and Eric Beebe for being brave enough to champion my work and that of others. Support your small presses they are vital, and also this site for the interview. Thanks.
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Anything Good Takes Time

I’ve seen a lot of posts from other authors about writing fast. Telling others that if they want to succeed as an Indie author, they must “hurry up and write.” Write. Write. Write. Somewhere in the post they might mention quality, but then the focus returns to writing fast so the author can get more books published, which helps to sell the other books that they also wrote fast.
The desperate Indie authors are often lured into following this advice because… well, they’re desperate. Desperate for recognition. Desperate for justification that going “Indie” was the right choice, and desperate for the book sales that this “strategy” of writing fast promises to deliver. Unfortunately, I see too many writers heeding this advice despite the consequences.
What’s Wrong With Fast?
Unless you’re in a race, “fast” is usually a problem. Think about your favorite restaurants. (Once you get to know me, you’ll realize that food and coffee are high on my list of passions, so all thoughts usually go back to one of those.)
I don’t know about you, but I keep returning to the same restaurants because they always serve me great food. The calamari is done to perfection, the seafood ravioli I have no words to describe, and the tiramisu…fahgettaboutit!
I’m a picky individual. My wife would add four or five adjectives prior to the word “picky,” and a few of those adjectives I wouldn’t put in print, but that’s neither here nor there. Yes, I am picky, and if that restaurant didn’t serve me absolutely magnificent food, I wouldn’t go back. I don’t really care how fast they serve my food. If the meal is a little late, I’ll have another cappuccino, or another glass of wine while I chat with my wife. In any case, anticipation makes the meal taste better, doesn’t it?
Quality Counts
Think about this—if you’re looking for referrals on an electrician or a carpenter, do you ask how fast they did the job, or how good a job they did?
You don’t build successful businesses on going “fast.” You build them on quality. Even Fed-Ex didn’t build their business on speed. It might seem like it at first, but think of their motto: “When it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight.”
Fed-Ex didn’t say, “we’ll get there faster than UPS, or faster than the Postal Service.” What they did was guarantee that their package would be there the next day. And then they delivered on that promise. 
Laying Bricks
My wife and I got married young, and the only job I could get was construction. I became a bricklayer. One day I was up on the scaffold laying brick and the owner of the company came by. I was full of youthful zeal and wanted to make an impression, so I laid bricks as fast as I could. After a few minutes, he called me down from the scaffold.
“You were going mighty fast up there, young man.”
I beamed with pride, dreaming of a raise even as he spoke. “Yes, sir.”
He placed his arm on my shoulder and started walking along the scaffold at the bottom of the wall. About halfway down he stopped and pointed to a spot maybe ten feet up. “You do all this work?”
“Yes, sir.” Now I knew the raise was coming.
He nodded, then he said, “You see those two bricks up there? The ones sittin’ crooked in the wall.”
I gulped, and quickly realized there would be no raise. “Yes, sir.”
“The crazy thing about bricks, is that a hundred years from now, after we’re long gone, they’re still gonna be there. And maybe somebody will be standing right where we are and looking up at that pretty wall. And then one of them is gonna say, ‘look at those crooked bricks.’ When they see those bricks, they’re not going to wonder how fast you laid them, they’ll just know they’re crooked.”
Crooked bricks

I nodded my head. And I knew what I had to do. I went back up the scaffold, took the bricks off the wall, and started relaying them—straight.
Back to the Books
Straight! That’s the way I like my books. I don’t want someone picking up one of my books five, or ten, or fifty years from now and wondering how fast I wrote them. I want them to sit down and enjoy them.
Maybe over a good cup of coffee. Maybe over a chat with their spouse.
One last thought
…which do you prefer—instant coffee, or coffee where the beans have been hand picked, roasted to perfection, and then brewed for exactly four minutes in a French Press?
Yeah, me too. I don’t like instant coffee, and I don’t like fast books. 

Guest post by Giacomo Giammatteo, author of Murder Takes Time, and A Bullet For Carlos. He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 41 loving “friends.”

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