Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The real Virginia Woolf?

Loren Kantor has completed another woodcut of a famous author: this time Virginia Woolf. (For Loren's portrait of Hemingway, click here.)

To my eye, this woodcut makes the troubled lady look more peaceful and beautiful than most photographic images of her. Nice work.





Loren's woodcuts are available for sale via his web site.

I was never a great enthusiast for Mrs Woolf's novels, but Orlando made a wonderful film.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

More Guides for Writers

You will be thrilled, indifferent, or mildly interested to know that I have now completed all seven volumes in my guides for writers series.

The previous post described number 5. Number 6 in the series is on Literary Agents:













And number 7 is on Career Planning.













More to the point, perhaps, there is now an Omnibus Edition, containing all seven of the guides, this time arranged in a more logical order (I hope) than the one in which they were written. By buying the Omnibus Edition you will save yourself half the cost of buying all seven separately.













All are available from whichever branch of Amazon you favour, and only from there, in Kindle format.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Writer's Guide to Traditional Publishing

Just a brief note to let you know that the fifth in my series of Writer's Guides is now available. Title: A Writer's Guide to Traditional Publishing.


Here's the blurb:


This is a book which will tell you all you need to know about traditional publishing.

Publishing is a business which goes back over 500 years, and if you’re going to succeed as a writer you need to know how the business has developed and changed over that time. Otherwise you can make serious mistakes, with long-lasting effects.

The aims of this book are therefore as follows:

(i) To provide you with a short history of publishing, from the beginning of the trade in the late fifteenth century to the present day;
(ii) To enable you to understand how likely – or unlikely – it is that you will be able to interest a traditional publisher in your work;
(iii) To enable you make informed and realistic decisions on what sort of books to write, and how much time and effort you might sensibly devote to that work;
(iv) And, finally, to show you that there are now more ways than one to make your work available to the reading public.

A Writer’s Guide to Traditional Publishing is the fifth in Michael Allen’s series of practical, down-to-earth guides for writers; the previous ones deal with emotion, viewpoint, style, and success. This one will be most relevant to those who write fiction, whether short stories or novels – but non-fiction writers will also find it useful.

Michael Allen’s first novel was published over fifty years ago (1963). He is the author of numerous other novels and short stories (some written under pen-names) which have variously been published in hardback, paperback, and ebook editions, in the UK, USA, France and Denmark. He has also run two small publishing companies.

Just for the record, all the Writer's Guides have now been reduced in price to 99 cents, which is about 77 pence in the UK. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mr Accident-Prone

Here is another in Loren Kantor's series of woodcuts of writers. (I mentioned other examples here.)





















I knew quite a lot of the Hemingway life story, but until I read Loren's accompanying article I hadn't realised that the old bastard had such a history of accidents. Extraordinary.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Akme another

Some time ago, specifically on 24 September 2004, I wrote a description on this blog of a web site set up by one Andrew Malcolm: it went by the name of Akme, and it took the form, mainly, of a critical (highly critical) examination of the activities of Oxford University Press and other parts of said University.

Well, if you kick the shins of a big boy, over and over again, there may well come a day when he loses patience and thumps you into the middle of next week. Which is what appears to have happened recently to Andrew. In October last, his original web site, hosted by BT, was wiped out, and all links to that site, including my own, were rendered useless. More recently, a replacement web site was somehow 'airbrushed out of all the search engines'.

What this means, in practice, is that it is difficult to find parts of the Akme site which may be of practical value to all those involved in doing business with publishers: I have in mind, for instance, the Akme Literary and Charity Law Library. This library, which is more accurately perhaps a list of highly relevant case histories and well informed discussions, contains some fascinating stuff.

However, all is not lost. Andrew Malcolm has now set up shop elsewhere, and, with fingers crossed, has tried to resume doing business as usual.

So, for the main Akme site, you should now go to www.akmedea.com/. There you can follow links to, for instance, the law library.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Writer's Guide to Success

Further to what I was saying in August, I have another book out in my series of guides for writers. This one is called A Writer's Guide to Success -- subtitled A Serious Look at a Serious Subject.

As was the case with earlier books in this series, this one is going to be available free for five days. So get your keyboard in gear and visit the appropriate Amazon. Probably the main US site or the UK one.

Free dates are 14 to 18 September 2013, inclusive.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Writer's Guide to Fame, Fortune, and Fantastic Orgasms



I seem to have been around for quite a long time now, and the world has changed while I've been watching it. But one unchanging characteristic of the world is that it always seems to be crammed full of people who want to be writers. Myself foremost among them, of course.

Occasionally, some of these people even ask me for advice. And my instinct is usually to suck my teeth and say, 'Ooh, I wouldn't go there if I were you, my lad.' Or 'young lady', as appropriate. But they never take any notice. They just assume I'm joking.

Same with most things, I suppose. Young people always want to do something that's bad for them. Witness the schoolchildren whom I observe virtually every afternoon. Not a single one of them can pass the shops in town without emerging with hands full of Coke bottles, bars of chocolate, burgers, ice creams, and all like that.

But I digress, as usual. The mind wanders as one gets older.

Given the vast numbers of ambitious young, and not-so-young, writers, I suppose the sensible thing to do would be to set up some sort of consultancy business, under the terms of which I charge substantial sums of money for assessing manuscripts. Or some such. But frankly I can't be arsed. What I do instead is write the occasional book which I hope will be of genuine assistance to those who are setting out on the road to fame, fortune, and (of course) a vastly improved sex life, through the simple art of writing fiction. It can't be all that difficult, can it?

Well, we shall see. And so will they.

I hereby announce a new series of short books, written by myself, on various aspects of the writer's art. These are intended to act as pocket guides, so to speak, on particular aspects of narrative technique and related matters.

The first three are now available. At present they are published only in Kindle ebook form, and they normally cost about the same as a cup of coffee -- depending, course, on where you buy your morning reviver.

However! As an incentive to those who don't yet know me, and as a small reward to those who follow thhis distressingly infrequent blog, for a short period each of these books will be available free! Details below.









Free offer periods as follows:

Emotion: 14-18 August
Viewpoint: 19-23 August
Style: 24-28 August

Hie thee, as ever, to your local branch of Amazon, which is probably going to be either the American one or the British one.

Friday, June 21, 2013

How to Write a Novel that Works

Just to let you know that my latest book for writers, How to Write a Novel that Works, is available FREE in Kindle format as of 22 June for 5 days.

Subtitled A Straightforward, Practical Guide this tells you everything important that I have learnt about writing fiction in the past fifty years. As I may have mentioned before, my first novel was published in England in 1963. So actually I have been collecting information about how to do the job for much longer than fifty years.

For the US Kindle version click here.

And if you buy in the UK, go here.



 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Woodcuts





















The art of the woodcut is not yet dead. Loren Cantor
does some interesting work on arts-related subjects, such as Edgar Allan Poe. Worth a look.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

The joy of Academe

I was never a university lecturer, much less a professor, but I do have two higher degrees in Education -- MEd and PhD. I even wrote a book about higher education: The Goals of Universities. I think I did once find a scanned copy of that book somewhere on the net, but a quick Google doesn't make it obvious. And it's out of print.

Anyway, point is, I have more than a passing interest in the state of the university. So I cannot let this article about the plight of the would-be professor (in America) go unremarked: Academia's indentured servants.

And you'll get a bit of a surprise when you find out where it's published.

Much of what the author says is as relevant to the position of writers as it is to would-be academics. And of course the two worlds interact in the shape of creative-writing courses.

Well, I've had my say on those sorts of thing, and the people who teach on them or pay the fees. I can think of much better ways to spend one's time and money.

PS Thanks to Books Inq for the link.