Is Writing Like Lawn Bowls? It is in the Author’s House

Lawn Bowls at The Author's House

A stereotypical image of lawn bowls

I used to play a lot of lawn bowls, to a fairly decent standard. There has been a lot going on recently in the lawn bowls world.

The World Championships were held in Australia last November. Australia took five of the eight titles on offer, with Scotland claiming the other three.

The Author's House Watches the 2012 World Bowls Championships

The Author’s House Watches the 2012 World Bowls Championships

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The World Indoor Championships are going on as I type.

The Author's House Watches the World Indoor Bowls Championships

The Author’s House Watches the World Indoor Bowls Championships

 

All this lawn bowls activity reminded me of an article I wrote for AuthorHouse a little while back. I thought I would share it today.

The AuthorHouse Lawn Bowls Literary Championships 

 

I don’t know if you are familiar with the sport of lawn bowls? If you have heard of it, you probably associate it with elderly people who gather on Sundays in their whites and have a sedate afternoon’s roll-up around afternoon tea.

I have played a fair bit of bowls in my time. I was a reluctant beginner, however. I started bowling at the age of 21 and I was one of those who considered it a sport for old people. I had to play though because it was a part of my job. I had no choice in the matter.

 

And for that I am grateful.

 

So what does rolling a bowl down a grass lawn have to do with writing, I hear you say? Well, since I started working at AuthorHouse, I have been thinking about how a game of bowls is similar to the craft of writing. So here are a few of those similarities for you.

 

Anyone Can Do It
It’s true that lawn bowls has a reputation for being played by the elderly. Most people do not start playing until they have already retired from work and have time on their hands or have become too old for the physical demands of their chosen sport, but still crave some competition. This still remains true to a large extent, but the beauty of lawn bowls is that it is a sport for all.

 

Because bowls is about 20% physical and 80% mental, it means that anyone can take part. It is one of those sports where the ladies can take on the men and kids and senior citizens compete on a level playing field. I have actually played in a tournament where a lady’s pairs team comprised a 12 year-old girl and a 72 year-old lady. And they were representing their country! Lawn bowls is also played by people in wheelchairs against each other and against able-bodied athletes, as well as by blind athletes.

Writing is the same. Anyone can write and now, thanks to the endeavours of self-publishers like AuthorHouse, anyone can become a published author. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you are from, if you are fit or disabled, if you have a story to tell, you can share it with the world as a self-published author.

 

This bodes well for the futures of both lawn bowls and literature. Bowl’s initiatives to draw a younger crowd have revived what was for a while a wilting pastime. This is similar to the ways in which self-publishers such as AuthorHouse are revolutionizing the literary world by allowing younger writers with fresh, new ideas to become AuthorHouse published authors.

 

There is a Beginning, a Middle and an End
Just like a book, a bowls match can be divided into a beginning, a middle and an end. The beginning of a bowls match is where the teams meet one another and toss a coin to see who will jack off to commence the game.

 

The middle part of the game is where all the tactics and strategy come in to play as the teams vie for a lead. The skip will dictate where his teammates will bowl to try and either capitalize on scoring opportunities or to nullify the opponent’s attempts to snatch shots. It is very important that all the players remain focused throughout because a typical game of bowls can take anywhere from two to four hours or more.

 

The end game is similar to a chess match, where the teams in the lead tries to consolidate their position and secure the win and the trailing team looks to convert their position into a winning one. Shot selection and bowl placement will vary greatly from the mid game, as dictated by the situation the team with possession of the rink finds themselves in. There is then of course the hand shakes, congratulations, commiserations and the confirmation of the final score.

 

This is just the same as a book. You set your story up with the introduction, develop the characters and progress your story line in the middle while setting yourself up for the finale that will make your story memorable to your readers.

 

The Better You Get, the Better the Rewards
My friend writes a blog called Author’s Houses. His premise is the grander the house, the more successful the author who lives in it. Basically he is saying, the more popular the author, the more money they make and so the bigger the house they can buy.

 

This is the same in lawn bowls, where there are the haves and the have nots. This is quite apparent, not just in terms of winning prize money and receiving a salary. It is the way in which the top bowlers are treated by officials and the public.

 

I have played in international tournaments in Australia where the Australian national team players are regarded as icons and national heroes with celebrity status by the press and the public. Smaller nations are hardly even noticed.

 

It may seem a small thing, but it was something I noticed at that same tournament and I think it highlights my point quite well. Each morning teams would gather in the clubhouse or breakfast and coffee before the games would commence. Each team would have to find their own seats and purchase their own breakfast and coffee. Not so for the Australian team. They had a reserved table cordoned off for them and they were provided free coffee and toast with vegemite. Nice for them and they won virtually all the gold medals on offer at that tournament, so they deserved it (I think it was the free vegemite that did it!).

 

This bodes well for the futures of both lawn bowls and literature. Bowls’ initiatives to draw a younger crowd have revived what was for a while a wilting pastime. This is similar to the ways in which self-publishers such as AuthorHouse are revolutionizing the literary world by allowing younger writers with fresh, new ideas to become AuthorHouse published authors.

 

The Best Ones Travel
A common theme I have noticed in my recent studies of great authors is that they all seek to expand their own horizons and experiences by travelling. Whether it is an author from hundreds of years ago or one of our contemporaries, they all look to improve their writing by becoming more knowledgeable and worldly wise.

 

The same is true for lawn bowls. The more places you visit and the more different styles and tactics of play you come up against, the more complete a bowler you become yourself. I have been fortunate to have bowled in Australia, Hong Kong, Kenya, Malaysia, the Philippines, Scotland and Thailand. I have also bowled against the national teams of 26 countries. Every time I bowled in or against those teams, I became a more knowledgeable, more experience, a more skillful craftsman on the lawn bowls green.

 

The Participants are Getting Younger
AuthorHouse recently published the “profile” of an AuthorHouse published author. That is the common traits to a writer who published with us. This profile put our average author in their mid forties to early fifties. This trend is definitely changing. This month I wrote an author feature for the AuthorHouse newsletter about a young girl called Victoria Nolan. She has just written, illustrated and published her first book at just nine years-old.

 

The trend for younger people getting into lawn bowls is also apparent. This is especially true at the elite level. More and more bowls champions are in their teens and early twenties, whereas not long ago the podium was reserved for retirees and the blue-rinse brigade. Looking at the national teams of many countries, it is now unusual to see anyone playing who is over the age of forty. Less than two decades ago a forty year-old would have been the junior player.

 

All of this bodes well for the futures of both lawn bowls and literature. Bowl’s initiatives to draw a younger crowd have revived what was for a while a wilting pastime. This is similar to the ways in which self-publishers such as AuthorHouse are revolutionizing the literary world by allowing younger writers with fresh, new ideas to become AuthorHouse published authors.

When Will I Submit My Manuscript to AuthorHouse

The Author's House 5,000m

Will The Author’s House achieving similar success in his 5,000m bid this year?

So, if you’ve read my blog before, you will most likely know that I am writing a book. As I work for AuthorHouse, naturally I am going to publish it with them. The only question is when am I actually going to finish it and submit it?

I started writing in mid 2011. I thought I would be finished by the end of the year. Then it was by my birthday in March. Then it was by mid 2012. My last blog post about my writing goal was to be finished by the end of 2012.

Well, here we are on January 18th, 2013 and my manuscript has still to be completed. So, once again I set my writing goals.

Last year I combined my writing goals with my running goals. I am going to do that again, as I will start my running once more after a long lay off during the holiday season. I will be running 5kms this time, instead of 3kms though.

So, here goes:

5kms Personal Best:19 minutes 30 seconds
Date to Beat it by = Date to Submit Manuscript to AuthorHouse = 15th June, 2013.

The Author's House chained to his computer

I will need to chain myself to my computer to make sure my manuscript gets to AuthorHouse on time

Why did I choose that date? Well, first I set my 5kms personal best 8 years ago, so I will need some time to get back to that point. And second, because I think that is a realistic time frame to complete my manuscript. I think my previous goals were too optimistic.

At least I am learning as I go.

But the one thing I am determined to achieve this year is to submit my manuscript to AuthorHouse!

 

 

 

2 AuthorHouse Books Named Kirkus Books of 2012

I write a lot of AuthorHouse author spotlights. A lot of them come to my attention in the first place because their book has received a glowing review from Kirkus. And this is a big thing because Kirkus are regarded as the toughest critics in the business.

So it was with great pleasure that I saw two AuthorHouse titles on the list when Kirkus released their Best Book for 2012. These were M. M. Silva’s Two out of Three and Nora Nita Bates’ Looking in the Mirror Out.

What was even more pleasing was I had actually featured M. M. Silva in the AuthorHouse Author’s Digest blog earlier in the year. It is always nice when somebody you have met wins an award.

I wanted to congratulate both authors in The Author’s House. Here are their books:

See M. M. Silva’s AuthorHouse Author’s Digest guest blog here.

AuthorHouse: Two Out of Three

Two Out of Three by AuthorHouse author M. M. Silva

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AuthorHouse: Looking in the Mirror Out

Looking in the Mirror Out by AuthorHouse author Nora Nina Bates

AuthorHouse Author’s Digest 2012 Review

As you probably know, I work for AuthorHouse Publishing. It is the authors and writers I meet and have the chance to talk to through my work that have inspired and encouraged me to take the plunge and become a published author myself. That was supposed to happen last year, but hopefully will become a reality in 2013.

My favorite job is writing the corporate blog, the AuthorHouse Author’s Digest. This really gives me the chance to meet authors and find out their personal stories. It is absolutely fascinating and educational.

So, I would like to dedicate this post to all the AuthorHouse authors I have had the privilege of meeting and working with through the blog in 2012.

AUTHORHOUSE AUTHOR’S DIGEST CONTRIBUTORS IN 2012

Bruce Kimmel, author of the Benjamin Kritzer trilogy, the Adriana Hoftstetter Murder Mysteries and many more. AuthorHouse’s most published author.

AuthorHouse Author Bruce Kimmel

AuthorHouse Author Bruce Kimmel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rima Jbara, author of Hope and many more. One of the Middle East’s most respected female artists.

AuthorHouse Author Rima Jbara

AuthorHouse Author Rima Jbara

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Borgstedt, author of I Love You Mom and others. A prominent child advocate whose story has been featured on national television.

AuthorHouse Author John Borgstedt

AuthorHouse Author John Borgstedt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alter Wiener, author of From A Name to a Number. An inspirational Holocaust survivor who has literally saved the lives of others through his own story of strength and survival.

AuthorHouse Author Alter Wiener

AuthorHouse Author Alter Wiener

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yemi Elegunde, author of Time Will Tell. Has become an adviser on parental kidnapping through sharing his personal experiences.

AuthorHouse Author Yemi Elegunde

AuthorHouse Author Yemi Elegunde

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patricia Colton, author of The Window Blind. Her captivating debut novel met with rave reviews.

AuthorHouse Author Patricia Colton

AuthorHouse Author Patricia Colton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tracy Kinne, author of On Sale: Employers Get Good Workers Dirt Cheap. An award-winning author who has been both tireless and ingenious in her book marketing strategies.

AuthorHouse Author Tracy Kinne

AuthorHouse Author Tracy Kinne

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Neil Schulman, author of Doc Hollywood. Shares his experience of turning your book into a movie as Hollywood superstar Michael J. Fox starred in the big screen version of his story.

AuthorHouse Author Neil  Shulman

AuthorHouse Author Neil Shulman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Asim K. Dasgupta, author of Disasters and others. Disasters was named one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Indie Books of 2011.

Authorhouse Author Asim Dasgupta

Authorhouse Author Asim Dasgupta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tariq Rana, author of Five Baby Blackbirds. He is using his book to help educate underprivileged children in Pakistan.

AuthorHouse Author Tariq Rana

AuthorHouse Author Tariq Rana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jon Magee, author of From Barren Rocks to Living Stones and its sequel Paradise Island, Heavenly Journey. Writes a fascinating series about his travels, inspirations and every aspect of his life as a writer and self-published author.

AuthorHouse Author Jon Magee

AuthorHouse Author Jon Magee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blake Sebring, author of The Biggest Mistake I Never Made and many more. Provides his 5 keys to writing a celebrity’s memoir.

AuthorHouse Author Blake Sebring

AuthorHouse Author Blake Sebring

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ernesto Zollo, author of Secrets of Colours. This Colour Psychic explains how the universal power of colours can positively influence your life.

AuthorHouse Author Ernesto Zollo

AuthorHouse Author Ernesto Zollo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul J. Binns, author of Paul and the Porch Gnome. Tells us how his real life childhood experiences inspired him to write a story to entertain the children he works with now.

AuthorHouse Author Paul J. Binns

AuthorHouse Author Paul J. Binns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gloria D. Gonsalves, author of The Wisdom Huntress and many more. The AuthorHouse Author’s Digest most prolific contributor and the first of 2013.

AuthorHouse Author Gloria D. Gonsalves

AuthorHouse Author Gloria D. Gonsalves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M. M. Silva, author of Two Out of Three. Received glowing reviews for her debut crime thriller, which was recently named a KirKus Reviews’ Best Indie Book of 2012.

AuthorHouse Author M. M. Silva

AuthorHouse Author M. M. Silva

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth Marimo, author of Freedom of an Illegal Immigrant. Has become a leading human rights activist and will be addressing an Ivy League Conference of students this February.

AuthorHouse Author Ruth Marimo

AuthorHouse Author Ruth Marimo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johnny O’Gradney, author of Fragments of Imagination. This rocker’s debut book of poetry has garnered numerous awards since its release about a year ago.

AuthorHouse Author Johnny O'Gradney

AuthorHouse Author Johnny O’Gradney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bryan Crawford, author of Letters My Grandfather Sent Me. Can trace his family back over 2,000 years and shares invaluable advice about research for any writer of non fiction.

AuthorHouse Published Bryan Crawford

AuthorHouse Author Bryan Crawford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philip L. Retew, author of The Fresno Incident. Shares how he created the characters in his book that so impressed critics.

AuthorHouse Author Phil Retew

AuthorHouse Author Phil Retew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elaine Mellon, author of unREAL Education: Beyond Report Cards. A child advocate who encourages all parents to make sure their children receive the proper education they need.

AuthorHouse Author Elaine Mellon

AuthorHouse Author Elaine Mellon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eugene D. Redman, author of Traveling America. Shares the touching story of how he was inspired to take a journey across America.

AuthorHouse Author Eugene D. Redman

AuthorHouse Author Eugene D. Redman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P. M. Sabin Moore, author of Storm Frost and others. Her authenticity and ability to transport her readers back in time to ancient Britain has been praised by critics.

AuthorHouse Author P. M. Sabin Moore

AuthorHouse Author P. M. Sabin Moore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Righten, author of The Benevolence of Rogues. A lesson in how to tell a story with a good measure of dark humor.

AuthorHouse Author John Righten

AuthorHouse Author John Righten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Rose Scinto, author of Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye and more. Imagine contacting the singer of your favorite song and convincing them to let you write their biography. Mary Rose Scinto did just that.

AuthorHouse Author Mary Rose Scinto

AuthorHouse Author Mary Rose Scinto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Hanley, author of Screemplays. Most writers dream of their books being turned into a screenplay. This screenwriter turned his screenplays into a book.

AuthorHouse Author Mark Hanley

AuthorHouse Author Mark Hanley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tia DeShay, author of The Color of My Aunt’s Coffee and more. An inspirational account of how a poet works.

AuthorHouse Author Tia DeShay

AuthorHouse Author Tia DeShay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judith de Wilde, author of Even After That and others. Explains how the power of poetry can help one come to terms with their grief.

AuthorHouse Author Judith de Wilde

AuthorHouse Author Judith de Wilde

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Haisman, author of Titanic, the Edith Brown Story. The Titanic is one of the world’s most famous maritime disaster stories. Now hear it told from the oldest living survivor’s son.

AuthorHouse Author David Haisman

AuthorHouse Author David Haisman

 

 

 

 

 

 

M. West, author of Solace. A fascinating series about her participation in PitchFest Los Angeles. A must read for any author who want to see their book turned into a movie.

AuthorHouse Author M. West

AuthorHouse Author M. West

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fred G. Dickenson, author of Hard Knocks and Consequences. Good, honest, tell-it-like-it-is advice for any writer considering self-publishing.

AuthorHouse Author Fred G. Dickenson

AuthorHouse Author Fred G. Dickenson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Dubois, author of The Pond. How a vivid dream became the inspiration for a novel.

AuthorHouse Author Michelle Dubois

AuthorHouse Author Michelle Dubois

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Robert Allen, author of The House of Many Windows. Ingenuity, imagination and originality are all words that spring to mind about John Robert Allen’s story and book marketing ideas.

AuthorHouse Author John Robert Allen

AuthorHouse Author John Robert Allen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oliver Deehan, author of To Find the Way of Love. A critically acclaimed work that was a USA Best Book Award Finalist.

AuthorHouse Author Oliver Deehan

AuthorHouse Author Oliver Deehan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deborah St.Hilaire, author of Divalution. Reveals the nature of all the divas out there to educate young children how not to behave and to lead a healthy, fulfilling life.

AuthorHouse Author Deborah St.Hilaire

AuthorHouse Author Deborah St.Hilaire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theresa Roemer, author of Nude. This beauty queen and fitness guru turned bestselling author helps women feel sexy again.

AuthorHouse Author Theresa Roemer

AuthorHouse Author Theresa Roemer

 

What Has a Violinist in a Subway got to do with AuthorHouse?

I don’t often share pictures or stories from Facebook, but this one really got me thinking. It is about a social experiment conducted by the Washington Post that measures people’s perception, taste and priorities.

I got to thinking about this in relation to book marketing. It really does show that you need to find and target the right audience to maximize your book sales through your  promotions.

Read on and you will see what I mean.

Subway Station Violinist

A musician shares his passion and talent by playing in the subway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people.

The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?”

Joshua Bell Plays for AuthorHouse

This is what Joshua Bell is more used to.

I think this story draws great parallels with the book publishing industry. If you imagine Joshua as an author rather than a violinist, we can consider the reactions of his audience in a more familiar context.

Let’s say his $3.5 million violin is his manuscript and it was handed out to the commuters to read while they were in transit on the train. I think we could reclassify them as follows:

  • The middle aged man who stopped for a few seconds and then hurried on: A literary agent who has never heard of you.
  • The woman who threw Joshua his first tip without bothering to stop and listen: A reader who thought your title sounded interesting enough to download your e-book to read at an indeterminate date in the future (possibly).
  • The man who leaned against the wall to listen for a few moments and then carried on as he was late for work: A reader interested in hearing what your story is about, but decides it is not for him.
  • The children who actually stopped to listen: Your potential audience/readership
  • The parents who pushed their children on when they stopped to listen: Anti self-publishing campaigners
  • The 6 people who stopped to listen: Self-publishers, AuthorHouse for example.
  • The 20 people who gave a tip: Your target audience / readership
  • The 1,000+ people who didn’t stop to listen in the subway: The people who would never buy your book anyway
  • The sell out crowd at the Boston theater two days prior: Your loyal fans

So if we interpret this scenario within those parameters, it just goes to show how hard it is to get your story heard and that most people won’t hear it anyway because, despite all your best efforts, your story doesn’t reach them, it doesn’t resonate with them or they are simply uninterested or don’t like it.

So what do you do about these people? And those that are looking to put you down for choosing self-publishing?

Forget them. There will always be people who say no, or who don’t share your opinions or style or taste.

Instead, focus on the people who are open to you. The people who are there to listen, the kids and adults who stopped, the people who gave money (whether they listened or not) and the people who already know you and respect you.

All you have to do is find out who is who. But remember, you can always share your story with the world through self-publishing. Even if only one person is touched by your work, that is one more than would have been if you never shared your story in the first place.

 

Carl Reiner’s AuthorHouse Novel Beginnings Writing Contest

Carl Reiner Judges AuthorHouse Writing Contest

Carl Reiner will personally judge his his AuthorHouse novel Beginnings Writing Contest

A Happy New Year to everyone. I return today after rather a long lay off. But I am reinvigorated and ready to get writing in 2013.

Unfortunately I did not achieve my goal of completing my manuscript and having it published by AuthorHouse by the end of 2012. I could list a number of excuses, but they all basically boil down to a loss of focus on my part.

So, I am trying to get that focus back.

One way is to pick up my blogging again to get back into the habit of writing. I mean, I’m always writing for my job with AuthorHouse, but what I’m really talking about is doing my own writing and writing in different styles and about varying subjects.

Another thing that I am thinking of doing is entering writing contests to sharpen my skills and enforce writing as a habit.

It just so happens that comedy icon, Carl Reiner, has just published a book with AuthorHouse. I am not sure if I can, as an employee, but I am thinking of entering it myself.

Carl Reiner’s Novel Beginnings Writing Contest
Reiner has set the scene and what you have to do is write the story. He will chose his favorite and the writer will receive a free AuthorHouse Publishing Package. Carl Reiner will also write the foreword to your book. A pretty nice incentive!

If you are interested in entering, follow this link and the best of luck!

 

 

 

The Author’s House: Learning From Dick Francis

Dick Francis visits The Author's House

Dick Francis drops by The Author's House to give some tips on how to write a book in the sports fiction genre

I was at my book store last week. Normally I enjoy one of the perks of working at AuthorHouse - I get to read the great books that our AuthorHouse authors publish with us. However, there was a sale on when I was in the shop this particular day, so I was looking for something new to read.

I came across a Dick Francis novel on sale for $1. I am not a horse racing fan, but I do love sports fiction. Well, that is the genre I am trying to establish myself in with the book I am writing, after all. I had also heard a lot of good things about Francis’ books as well, so I thought I would give it a shot.

The book I bought was Under Orders starring one of Francis’ more popular characters, Sid Halley. I have just finished reading it and have been thinking how I can incorporate his style of conveying authentic description of a particular sport and creating a realistic, plausible story within that sport’s environment and confines.

Interestingly I came across this article in Megan Smith’s blog, Megan’s Minute, entitled What I Learned About Writing from Bestselling Mystery Writer Dick Francis. I thought it would be interesting to compare what she learned to what I learned from Dick Francis.

Below are selected excerpts from Megan’s Minute along with my own thoughts. You can read Megan’s complete, fascinating article here  

1. “Francis’ sparse, yet descriptive, first-person style.”

This is certainly something Megan and I can agree on. Under Orders is a very easy read, but Francis keeps you engage with focus on the characters. There is very little clutter in terms of sub plots or intricate detail. He gives you just enough information to keep you informed and to follow the story, but does not go off on a tangent.

I also found his first-person narrative effectively drew me to Sid Halley, the lead character. I am sure the next Dick Francis novel I read will be another Sid Halley murder mystery.

2. “All of his novels were set in the world of racing and after reading them all, I learned more about how to fix a horse race than I ever thought possible. I also learned that fashion models have nothing on jockeys when it comes to compulsive weight control. And the Kentucky Derby? That’s nothing compared to riding a steeplechase in a raging downpour.”

Here again, I have never been a horse racing fan. One of the things I enjoyed most about the sport is the new knowledge I gained about the sport, thanks to Francis’ detailed, yet simple to follow descriptions of events and the intricacies of the sport.

This is something that makes Michael Crichton one of my favorite storytellers. I always feel I have learned something new at the end of a enjoyable reading experience.

3. “His protagonists, though often similar, were always different characters. And they always had some kind of important personal issue or decision they had to deal with while tracking down the bad guys.”

Sid Halley is a very interesting character. A former champion jockey whose career was cut short after an horrific accident in a race. That accident cost him one of his hands as he uses a prosthetic arm in every day life. This makes for an extremely interesting dynamic within the story line.

4. “After reading Reflex, every year when a new Dick Francis book came out, I would make a pilgrimage to the Murder Ink bookstore on the upper west side of Manhattan for his book signing.

“And there he’d be, a small, bright-eyed man, signing my book with a smile and a handshake. As the years passed, the arthritis in his hands became more pronounced and the signing events became shorter and shorter.”

Megan wrote her article as a tribute to Mr. Francis upon his passing. Unfortunately I will never have the opportunity to meet him myself, but I do hope I can attain his level of personal interaction with readers when my book is finally published (if I have any readers in the first place!)

5. “You know how you connect with some writers because of the point in your life when you discover them? It was like that for me with Dick Francis.”

Megan credits Dick Francis as contributing massively to giving her confidence in her own writing. This is similar to my experiences with AuthorHouse authors inspiring me with my own book.

I think where Dick Francis has helped me most with my writing is through his ability to entertain a non horseman with a story that centers around the horse racing world. I hope i can do this with my sports fiction writing.

The Author’s House Hails Ronnie Barker’s Linguistic Dexterity

I have written a number of articles for AuthorHouse wherein I have referred to using humor in your writing to keep your readers engaged. That is all well and good in theory, but the tricky part is trying to come up with some funny examples. I have to admit that I am not a writer of comedy, so this is not as easily done as it is said.

Anyway, I was chatting to a friend of mine about our favorite comedians, when it hit me. I had one of those Eurika! moments. One of my favorite comedians is an Englishman named Ronnie Barker. Sadly he has now passed, but you make know him from an extremely popular British TV comedy program called The Two Ronnies. (If you are a Brit, you will definitely know who I am talking about)

Anyway, the reason I like Ronnie Barker so much is because of the way he is able to play with the English language to hysterical effect. He truly was a wordsmith as well as a comedian.

So, I am writing this blog post as a tribute to Ronnie Barker and also so that I can reference it anytime I am talking about injecting humor into your writing in an AuthorHouse writing tips article.

Here are a few videos that display Ronnie Barker’s linguistic dexterity. These are the games he plays with his scripts:

1: Mispronunciation
2: Misinterpretation
3: Spoonerisms
4: Cockney Rhyming Slang

Sit back and prepare to laugh your socks off!

 

The Author’s House AuthorHouse Authors Digest Review

As I have said many times before in The Author’s House, the greatest part of my job is talking to AuthorHouse published authors. The advice and encouragement they give is great. It is a real inspiration for me in trying to get my own book finished.

A great place where you can find some really great advice is on the AuthorHouse corporate blog, the AuthorHouse Author’s Digest. There are loads of guest posts written by the authors talking about their own experiences.

I wanted to help share these tip with everyone, so here is a review of who has posted on the AuthorHouse Author’s Digest since my last update:

Bryan Crawford, author Letters My Grandfather Sent Me

Elaine Mellon, author of unREAL Education: Beyond Report Cards

Eugene D. Redman, author of Traveling America

Gloria D. Gondalves, author of I am Tausi

John Righten, author of The Benevolence of Rogues

Johnny O’Gradney, author of Fragments of Imagination

Mark Hanley, author of Sreemplays

Mary Rose Scinto, author of Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye

M.M. Silva, author of Two Out of Three

Paul J. Binns, author of Paul and the Porch Gnome

Philip L. Rettew, author of The Fresno Incident

PM Sabin Moore, author of Storm Frost

Ernesto Zollo, author of Secrets of Colours

Ruth Marimo, author of Freedom of an Illegal Immigrant

The Author’s House’s Literary and Athletic Goals

In writing about my book’s progress I have talked a lot about goal setting. I set up my writing goals to coincide with my running goals. I thought that I could go to the gym and run and then work on my book.

I recently posted about how it was my privilege to interview Olympic 100m and 110m Hurdles champion Harrison Dillard for AuthorHouse. I was recently reading about Aries Merritt’s world record breaking run in the 110 meter hurdles at a recent meet.

Well, today I thought I would review my running and writing goals. So here goes.

Writing Goal: to have my manuscript complete and submitted to AuthorHouse for self-publishing by September 30th, 2012.

Running Goal: to break 12 minutes for 3kms (no time constraints here)

Well, I truly thought the running goal would be the hardest, but I am happy to say I achieved it a couple of days ago. I was able to run 3kms on the treadmill in 11 minutes and 58 seconds. My splits were:

0-1km @ 14.5kph
1km-2km @ 15kph
2km-2.6km @16kph
2.6km-2.8km @ 17kph
2.8km-2.9km @ 18kph
2.9km-3km @ 20kph

So that goal is avhieved. How about my book? Well, September 30th is fast approaching. Sadly I don’t think I will achieve this goal. Here are my book splits:

Oct 2011-June 2012: first draft written in long hand
June 2012-?: typing first draft
?-?: editing
?: submit manuscript to AuthorHouse for self-publishing

And so my stickingpoint is typing up my long hand version of my book. It is proving a much longer task than I originally thought.

I will maintain my September 30th goal to have it all typed up and edited. Just need a few days to dedicate to my book.

Ok, Damien, stop talking about it and do it!