Great Historical Fiction @Conn_Igggulden

So,

 

for those of you not already familiar with him, Conn  is a writer of mainly historical fiction. If you like historical fiction, then I can’t advise you strongly enough to go find and read his books.

I began ten years or so ago, when I kept seeing a book in WHSmiths, Emperor: The Gates of Rome. It had the tag line, ‘If you liked Gladiator, you’ll love this’. In my opinion, that was a heady claim, as I loved Gladiator. So each time I went in, I picked it up, and put it back. Then, finally, I picked it up and bravely bought it. Great decision on my behalf, even if I do say so myself. I was hooked immediately and have never looked back.

Like the dope that I am, it took me until the final pages to really work things out (If you’ve read it you’ll understand, if not I won’t spoil it for you!), and by then I was bitten. I read the following three books in the series as soon as they came out, and just couldn’t get enough. When the Emperor series was done, I was gutted, and had no idea what would come next. Then the Conqueror series arrived. I must admit, and my Dad felt the same, to feeling a little disappointed that it was a total change of direction. We wanted more from the Emperor series, but after reading around two or three pages, I very quickly changed tack.

The Conqueror series is fantastic. I’ve read a fair amount of Historical Fiction, but have to say Conn leaves it all in his wake. His writing style and prose, are so easy to read, that you’re hooked before you even know. I’ve just spent some time convincing my boss to give them a go, he is no fan o historical fiction. he has read the first three, and is waiting for the fourth to arrive. He is utterly ensnared.

And what a bonanza we have right now, the fifth in the Emperor series has just come out (which I demolished in a week, and will post a review for) , and it was just as good as the previous four. And, War of the Roses has also just come out, and I am most of the way through it, and am loving it also.

 

Please, if you have any interest in the genre, give Conn a go, you won’t regret it.

 

Dave.

And finally…

So,

 

after much writing, re-writing, cursing, tears and so on, I can see the finish line. Big lesson here, don’t try to do two things at once. There will no doubt be a great many women out there who will nod sagely, at a man’s admission of this.

 

But trying to write two books, or re-write two books at the same time, and trying to squeeze in a couple of short stories to boot, is just plain silly. You don’t give any of them your full focus, and that only makes it a more laborious process. So I stopped everything else, and have devoted my attention back onto Occupation, which is part 2 of The Auslander Series. Some tough notes from my editor have focused the mind at times, but I’m sure it will all be worth it in the end.

And, even though I say so myself, an inspired bit of memory work, led me to get in contact with a guy I used to work with. He is a designer, so i asked him to come up with a cover design for the book, rather than asking the Amazon team. And i love it. You’ll see it in a few weeks. If anybody is looking to commission some cover design, drop me an email or leave a comment and I’ll pass your details on. It really is very good.

And finally, I have just yesterday published a short story (yes I know what I just said a few sentences ago, but there you have it) on Amazon, it is called The Good Father. It’s only 6,500 words long, but was a little scene I had in my head, that may well lead to a full story.

Speak next week, Dave.

Book Two of The Auslander Series

At last,

I have finished part two of The Auslander Series. It feels as though this has taken forever, but I think that’s mainly because I wrote another book from a different series in between. Not a good idea.

So the painful process of publishing now begins. First, the edit. Then the re-write. Then more notes to absorb, and use to refine. Then another re-write. In between these various rounds, there is the cover design and interior layout. I’m getting Create Space, one of Amazon’s service arms, to do this. Its a one stop service, and takes around five to six weeks to complete.

Then, finally, the proof read. And it’s away we go. This time round, I’m going to try to enlist the help of those I know and cherish, to help me through the whole process. And maybe some strangers too. And I shall do this, via Kickstarter.

Kick-starter will allow me, I hope, to raise the finds required to publish the book to the best it can be. The costs for publishing, will come to something like £1000 – £1200, if not slightly more. This makes it as good as possible. Lots of people have asked me when will it be out, when can we get it? And the truth is, every time you publish, it costs a lot of money. So, if I can neutralize, or get close to neutralizing the costs, it makes it much easier to publish.

I’m not sure I can raise that much, but its definitely worth a try.

So, wish me well, and I’ll let you know how I get on in the future.

Thanks, Dave.

 

 

Gluten free Brioche/Croissant recipe

If anybody has checked out the second to last post, the one regarding Helens Brilliant Bread mix, then here is a bit of an update.

I wondered if you could adapt the recipe, and make brioche buns out of the mix. Well, you can. And its just as easy as the original mix. Here’s the recipe.

(This makes two decent sized buns, if you use half the mix)

Put your oven on, at 200 degrees Celsius.

Weight out half of the mix (150g)

Take 60g of softened butter, and add it to the bowl.

Instead of 150mls of tepid water, take 70mls milk and add it to 80mls of hot water. Add to the bowl.

Add 12gms icing sugar.

Mix with a mixing attachment on a food mixing machine, for a few minutes, until everything is combined and you can no longer see lumps of butter. It should have a paste like texture.

This is the only tricky bit now. You need to take a small roasting tin, line it with baking parchment, and dollop the thick batter mix in two bun shapes. Shape them using the back of a wet spoon, so that they become smooth.

Then, this tin needs to sit inside another larger tin, with hot water coming up the sides. So effectively like a bain marie. cover the whole thing, then I place it on top of the cooker, so that the rising heat keeps the water reasonably hot.

Leave for 40 mins. Check, and they should have risen by almost double. If not, empty the water, and refill it with more hot, then leave again for around 20 mins. When you’re happy with your rise, pop them in the oven for 25 – 30 mins.

Let them cool, and then try them. They are a cross between brioche and croissant. They have a lovely soft texture inside, and buttery crunch outside.

As I’ve said before, I’m pretty picky with regard to GF products, and breads and stuff that others have raved over, I’ve found unsatisfactory. But this little gem, is fantastic.

I even used the second bun, to make a bread and butter pudding afterwards. For anyone who is still hungry, try this website for some incredible looking recipes, http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/

 

Cheers, Dave.

 

Trying to get published?

I was trawling the Internet a few days ago, looking for advice on PR companies that might be able to help promote writers work.

I ended up reading a thread on Goodreads, which was quite interesting in itself.

However, one of the posters advised reading an article posted by a writer, giving advice on what to do now that the publishing world was going through a period of dramatic change.

Kris Writes is the website, and I ended up reading the article on promotions first off. It was really fascinating, and gave me a bit of a lift in terms of direction.

Its hard at the moment, the world of publishing, but I guess in many ways it is also exciting and different. Being able to publish your own work is fantastic, and very freeing.

Any budding authors, or indeed anyone who is already on that path, should take a look at the site, its hugely informative.

Cheers, Dave.

The most amazing gluten free bread!

I know this is a bit off piste, but I thought i just had to let anybody who happens by the site, about the most amazing gluten free bread mix I’ve been buying.

It really is amazing, and I’m very fussy when it comes to gluten free breads. I’ve pretty much tried them all, and most are very hard to stomach.

But, Helen’s Brilliant Bread mix is fantastic, particularly if you eat it the day you bake it. It forms a lovely crust, and is so soft and spongy that you’ll find it hard to imagine that its GF.

You cab buy it in Sainsbury’s, and I guess you can also order from the website.

P.S. the scone mix is also fantastic.

 

 

 

 

Kindle Direct Publishing 2

Well,

its been a couple of months since i posted, but i have not been idle. I’ve been editing my second book (The first from a different series to The Auslander Series) The Golden Path, ready to send it off to some agents.

I’ve also been busy writing the second from The Auslander Series, as I’ve vowed to publish it in spring of next year. That’s coming along quite nicely now too.

On the subject of publishing, I have to say, after initial reservations about publishing with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, it is turning out to be the outstanding way of getting your book out there. Its not just KDP, its all the sites that allow you to publicize free periods when you have them. Without KDP and these sites, plus the Face-book pages dedicated to free books and Kindle lovers, it would be hard to make people aware your book even exists. I will, next week, post a link to a document that outlines which sites to approach re promoting your books free period, plus the Face-book pages that allow you to post when your book is free.

I'm a featured author at Freebooksy

FreeBooksy is just one of these sites. I was lucky enough to be one of their featured authors when my book was free last. This site, and many like it, are just amazing for getting your book out there, in front of the public.

As I’ve said before, it was slow starting when i first published, but as you go along, you pick up more and more little tips, tricks and free means of promoting. And promoting is everything. Its a snowball effect with writing. You self publish, you get a few sales. Then it probably drops off. Then you use free days, and you get quite a few downloads and your pretty elated. Then not much happens. Then you do a bit of research into how to increase sales, and you come across some interesting information.

Each little bit that you add, increases visibility, and increased visibility means only good things for you and your book. I had to explain to my Dad a few days ago, when he thought people were tight fisted for waiting until my book was free before buying it. That’s not what happens though. When you are listed at, I dunno, 100,000 in kindle paid list, how can anybody ever find your book, without wading through hundreds if not thousands of pages?

They download your book when its free, because they get notified when its free. If its good enough, it will feed out slowly from there. When you release your next book, you might then get a few thousand people who liked the first book enough to go buy the second. If your lucky, that will get you into one of the charts at a decent position. Then you stand a chance of people finding your book without having to make it free. Then they might even pick up the first book, and then your audience has the potential to grow.

If you’re not bored already, Ill be back next week with further posts!!

Ta ta, D.

 

Update

The good news is, I have finished my latest book.

The bad news? It’s re-write time. Just when you think you can’t think about a subject any longer, it is time to go back to the beginning and start again.

Its not so bad i guess, but it feels like the incredible journey. So the best thing to do is get some distance from it first. I will do this by beginning the follow up to The End.

I’m really looking forward to doing that now, so when i get back from Holiday, i will be starting. As I said in an earlier post, setting your working pattern is the difficult bit to start with. Once you’ve done that, it’s much easier. I know that If I write a thousand words a day, it will take me somewhere between 6 and 9 months to complete, depending on how long the book is, obviously.

But the one i have just finished is a book for teens. I really like the concept, and I’ve fleshed out the rest of the series (this one will be 4 or 5 books long). Currently, it’s with my editor, and then i will give it a couple of months before beginning the re-write.

I have another series in mind, for kids, which i would love to get started on. But currently, i am writing two different series at the same time. In the next few weeks, i will be putting some additional content around The End and its characters on the site. So if you’re interested, keep checking.

Its looks like book 2 of The Auslander Series is going to be out in around May or June. So the sooner i get it finished the better.