'Calandra's Spring' released for Kindle on amazon.com.

Monday, August 12, 2013

What are your favourite and least favourite genres?

OK, so I have just finished (and reviewed, somewhat nervously) yet another apparently unplanned and rambling novel and posted my analysis on amazon.com.  I am hoping that I haven't killed it off.  What I would like to 'kill off' is the legacy of Kerouac, writers thinking they can still write something off the top of the edit, neither plan nor edit and then upload to amazon to sell it.  I am offended by the typos, the crappy grammar and the sloppy workmanship.  Writing is a JOB (if you're good), a PASSION if you were born/raised like that and a DISCIPLINE (if you really know what is involved). 

Today, there is so much written material to wade through each day.  Forms, supermarket labels, subtitles on foreign films, surtitles on opera, supers & tickers on television news programmes, street signs and so it goes.  Do we really now need stories?  Do we need them to be books?  Is the daily newscast and its analysis enough?  Nup, it ain't quite enough.  There are still gaps in the reading market.  Books that capture our societies and pluralistic world are welcome.  However, I am so darn tired of crappy dystopian, post-apocalyptic tales of woe that even the works of Douglas Adams and Philip K. Dick are putting my teeth on edge.

I am longing to settle in to a beautifully-crafted book that creates its own world, nailing its sense of place and introducing us to well-rounded characters.

Bring 'em on!!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Life's too short to read all the good books so don't waste time reading rubbish ...

Well, that's the theory.  I have been reading a number of books lately (through lists on Goodreads) and darn it, I want those hours back!  So many books are just not worthy of the time it takes to read one.  That's why I return over and over to the writers I KNOW can write.  Yet this is doing a disservice to the new, contemporary writers out there who have a style as well as a story, who take the care to write something that lingers.   The late Barrie Unsworth is such a writer.  For me, the tales that have their roots in some kind of reality, an accurate portrayal of time and place, far surpass those truly awful apocalyptic/zombie/Dystopian ramblings that litter Amazon/Kindle today.

My two cents' ......

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Just curious ...

But does anyone actually read these blogs?  Let me know if you do.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Goodreads 'good' or 'bad' for authors?

I've been a member of Goodreads for a while but lately, I am thinking of unsubscribing.  There are so many petty squabbles among the members and nastiness seems to have broken out in the ranks that it is becoming a chore to wade through the material.  Generally, I just dump the emails before reading now - the good with the bad.  What do you all think?  I don't really care about sharing my latest reading book with readers; it was more about the marketing for my own books.  I can't see that the discussions of books are in any way illuminating and am quite staggered by their sale to yet another octopus of a parent site.

Opinions?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Getting through a hot summer

This summer promises to be a real scorcher.  Already, temperatures of over the century are seen on the weather map daily.  It's probably too hot (and certainly too dangerous for your skin - melanoma alert!) to lie on a beach and read.  I still haven't designed the cover for my next book and am thinking I may need to call for help again.  I have searched in vain for a cover design app that is inexpensive.  At present, I am not in the position to spend a lot on a cover.  But it is such an important selling tool!  I have a concept but no pictures to go with it.

So in the next few weeks I will be hanging around cemeteries looking for a great gravestone.

It is at the heart of the story so it is a vital ingredient.

Wait and see!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Time to write

I always thought that in retirement I would have hours of free time on my hands, all to be spent writing.  Then how come I just don't have that time any more? Top priority at present is our newish grand-daughter.  She is 8 months old now and I seem to spend a minimum of 3 days a week making sill noises, building towers for her to smash down, teaching her to 'drum' in time and working out novel ways to keep my glasses on my face.  Just as well the last glasses I bought are heavy duty, though I must admit, she takes them off with such grace and a glint in her eyes that it now is a routine each time we get together. 

Some writers use the current phases of their lives for inspiration.  When they have small children, they write for them.  That certainly worked for J.K. Rowling.

I am nearly finished my latest book.  Still being edited and I am tossing around ideas for the cover.  So far, I haven't launched into getting a professional cover made.

Nor have I offered any printed books, restricting them to digital versions.

This holds back sales and its potential.  Some people still love having a shelf of books.  I am thinking of printing just one of each for the family record. Just one.  But I do think that Kindle needs a button that potential buyers can hit to send a request to the writer to create a printed book.  If there is demand, I will certainly provide it in print but so far I haven't been down the smashwords/createspace route.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sad to report the sudden death of writer Captain Doug Danielson

When I first moved to Puerto Vallarta, I joined the Writers' Group. I'd heard good things about this small and jolly group of people who just wanted to write, be it memoirs, poems or novels, many based on the locale.

The first person to hold out his hand in welcome was Captain Doug Danielson, the moderator and 'show-runner' and he was always a positive presence in our landscape!  He encouraged and helped many people down there, wrote some fun books based loosely on his job as a boat delivery expert and shared his experiences in marketing the printed or digital word.

Yesterday, quite suddenly, Doug died, shocking everyone that, in fact, he was mortal. His vibrant spirit had us all believing he would be around forever.

We wish Karen and his family peace in the knowledge that they 'had a good one there' and that he was much-loved in whichever community he dropped anchor. 

Vale Doug!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tornado Alley and sadness

Hearts of the world are with the people of Moore Oklahoma as they now try to dust off and start all over again.  Loss and mess are everywhere.  But also the news reports are showing so much courage in the light of what seems an impossible clean-up.

The death of the children in the school is very poignant.  Books litter what is now their grave-site.

I would like to see FEMA and Mr. Obama putting some real effort and thought into designing some tornado proof buildings, some below-ground, water-proof emergency shelters and also having a massive tree-planting campaign.  Can't help thinking that the dust bowl, tornado alley and this disaster could be avoided with the re-planting of trees removed by farmers a hundred or more years ago.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Completed two weeks in Puerto Vallarta without one day of swimming in the sea

Arrrrghhh! How hard we just worked!  Tenants are gone.  We spent many an exciting day (!) sanding down doors that had been damaged by gel nails (ladies, please be more careful) then painting and felt that the place was looking fine.  Then we discovered (niftily camouflaged in that way that renters feel justified in doing) and a comparatively new kitchen cupboard shelf was hidden underneath a tray and was rotted by some acid or something spilled by them or their maid.  OK, that was only built in late 2010.  So we are somewhat gritting our teeth. We also completely re-planted all the major garden beds and hope they bush up nicely in the wet season.

The place is looking very nice now and will be in the care of Manuel, Margo and Dominique until it is sold or rented.

We will miss its lovely mountain and farmland views (ahhhh bananas!) and the little town next door, not to mention our good friends down there but I am sure they will visit.

Now back to L.A. and back to some serious writing.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Anyone want to rent (or buy) a writer's retreat in paradise?

We are at present down in Puerto Vallarta cleaning up after tenants (tenants really are from a different planet and never quite 'get' where their hands have left greasy cosmetic marks) and re-planting the garden which has all buy died.  Disheartening.  However, now we are moving on and have a charming, large house with a lap pool for sale (or rent).  The house for rent will come with a cleaner, pool carer and gardener and these costs will be included in the rent.  We do not have the wifi account activated so bring your international account and wifi dongle or access your emails from local cafe. 

If you are interested, please contact me and I can send you photos.

Basic information is:
3 bedroom
4 bathroom
Lap pool
Solar power

Pretty garden

Close to many attractions - golf courses etc. (even a zoo).

Very safe in a secure neighbourhood with 24 hour security guard.

Email me through the blog!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Something interesting for the summer

Here's an interesting tour that is about to start all across the USA.  If you want to learn about the best way to tell a story visually, perhaps you may like to book in for this:

visualstorytellingtour.com

Alex Buono, cinematographer for SNL, will be featured explaining this concept and teaching the skills needed to make your film or production narrative and beautiful.

Check out the site!

Monday, April 22, 2013

3D TV at home?

We bought a 3D TV a couple of years back - you know how it is, Black Friday sales, great price and a desire to (for once in our lives) buy technology when it was still sparkling.  So travel through the time machine till the present day.  At last, this weekend, we co-ordinated the glasses with the home theatre setup, gathered the cushions, got out the instruction books with that 'old person's feeling of dread' and then realised that all we needed to do was put the DVD in the machine.  It worked!  We watched 'Avatar' and found the whole experience pretty amazing. After all, we both worked in TV when
B & W were all that were offered and thought that was quite grand for the time.  Watched colour come in and were even more impressed, then widescreen, HD and now 3D.  Oh, if only the programmes were better! Sadly, as the quality of the technology has skyrocketed, the programme quality sank below sea-level.  Mind you, 'Mad Men' and 'Breaking Bad' are exceptional.

Instead of staying home last Saturday evening, we went to see the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, preceded by the pre-concert talk.  The entire experience (at the fabulous Dorothy Chandler Pavilion which is now bounded by the stunning Grand Avenue Park) was exhilarating.  We had great seats and the dancing was phenomenal.  Brought back memories of when my godmother took me to one of their performances in 1962 and you won't believe it, the show we saw on Saturday evening featured 'Revelations' the Ailey choreographed Spirituals ballet.  Moving, wonderful dancing and music.  And the audience was also to be commended by the sheer joy they radiated throughout the night.

So now back to work perhaps!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Doug Danielson's latest book looks interesting

If you are a yachtie,you will love this series of 'Jake Mortensen' adventures.

Read about them here:
http://bethgroundwater.blogspot.com/2013/04/todays-mystery-author-guest-doug.html

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Explosions mourned worldwide.

The tragedy of the Boston explosions and the loss of life, injuries and ghastly feeling of insecurity that has ended what should have been a day of joy are far more frightening than any horror story or film I have recently read.  Sadly, we live in the true cliché of 'troubled times'.  It is interesting to listen to the newscasts and how quickly the reporters dip into their bag of phrases that paint the scene.  There's a sort of shorthand and I remember that my Executive Producer was a master of this.  It was simply dreadful to listen to - clunky, bad speech, descriptions as worn as a homeless person's tennis shoes.  Words used such as 'redolent' when really, it was just plain inappropriate, linguistically.  But perhaps audiences have grown to expect this 'reporter-speak'.  Lazy audiences breed lazy writing.  This is why the world has willingly allowed itself to be swamped by badly written books!

Just count the clichés over the next few days!  (Yes, there are many 'questions unanswered' and only 'time will tell' ....arghhhh!)

Music, food and writing ...

What have these three got in common?  For me, they go hand in hand.  When I write, I MUST have music playing in the background.  When I procrastinate from the writing, I cook.  So it came about that I wrote my little book about ice-cream: Fabulicious! Ice-cream sandwiches home-made.

I hope that people will put this book on their Kindles and have a go at making this pricey dessert at home instead of paying a heap for them in boutiques, trucks and restaurants.  They are easy!  My book outlines the method. You can use your own recipes, but I have included some of my favourites and also cookie recipes to get you started.

The book is at:
'Fabulicious!' http://tinyurl.com/cqlg4au

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Check out my new book!

http://tinyurl.com/cqlg4au

Don't throw out those fresh radishes!

I often have a dilemma where radishes are concerned.  A bunch is way too much to eat.  So I decided to try pickling the leftovers the way they do in Paris.  Mmmmmmm.  That worked a treat.  All I did was this:
a bunch of radishes
1 cup of water (OR olive brine leftover from your olive jar)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar (I actually used coconut sugar)
1 cup mirin - rice vinegar 
a few cloves of garlic
All spice/peppercorns/ a few slices of fresh ginger or whatever you like
Sterilised jars and lids. (around 1 1/2 Ball screw top jars, small Fowlers Vacola jars or 4 of the size pictured).


No need to peel. Just slice thinly and trim off the tops and pointy bits and neatly pack into jars.
Boil the other liquid ingredients together, dissolve the sugar and salt in that mixture.  Add the rest to the mixture at the end.  Pour that over each jar of radishes, put the lid on and when it cools down, put in the fridge for 3 days. The liquid will go pink and pretty.  It tastes something like the ginger you get on sushi.  Yummm!
Eat with cheese or fish or add to your hors d'oeuvres platter. 


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ice-cream sandwich book released at last!

Want to know how to make this?

Buy: http://tinyurl.com/d85hjqn

It is CHEAP and will tell you my method of churning these wonderful ice-creams out in your own kitchen!
Send me some feedback.

 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Kindle formatting problem

So I published my third book and forgot my own rule.  Formatting went to pot.  So I have taken it down and re-edited it.

Remember folks, save your file as an HTML.

ie.  Go to 'File'.  Choose 'Save as webpage'.  Save to somewhere easy to find such as in your book's component folder.  Then go to the kdp page and your bookshelf.  Select your book by ticking in the box next to it.  Choose edit from the drop down menu.  Replace the all-over-the-place file with your nicely formatted book (html you just created).  Save and continue. Select the 'yes, I agree to hand over my first born child' on the KDP agreement.  Save and there you are!

Hope this is clearer than my first explanation!

New books by Wendy Rawady on amazon.com

I've been busy over the last year or so.  We have moved house and also become grandparents.  Hosted numerous friends coming to say hello or staying.  Been involved with our local community.  Even spent a couple of amazing weeks in Mexico City.  But then it was imperative to get back to work.  I now have three books on amazon - 'Calandra's Spring', available at
www.amazon.com/dp/B007IX4NI2#reader_B007IX4NI2
'The Other Side of Nowhere' http://tinyurl.com/d7kt9wn  

and now - 'Fabulicious! Ice-Cream Sandwiches Home-Made'

which is a complete departure from my novels, being a 'how to'.  You can find it at:
http://tinyurl.com/cqlg4au

All are Kindle books as I would like future generations to have some large trees in the world.  And a Kindle is a great way to read recipes!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My favourite swimming gadget







It's important for writers to get exercise and mine is swimming.  I have paddles, flippers and a board and use them all to speed up my exercise.  I alternate and then use them altogether swimming a mile or so and the last 10 laps are without the gear.  Love it and I can think while I swim!




Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Free uploads of 'Calandra's Spring'.

The 'sale' of my book on Kindle for free today continues and is a steady trickle of downloads.  This has lifted my amazon.com rating considerably but I wonder how quickly that will drop after I am again charging (a small amount) for my months of work!?

It seems that writers rarely hit the big time or even the middling-small time enough to make a living unless the book is sponsored from the start as some kind of 'corporate' undertaking. Of course, the sacrifice then is that, to some degree, you have to toe the company line and your writing becomes a mouthpiece for some robber baron (at worst).  I've been in those shoes for many a long year as I have worked as a writer, technical writer and corporate and enjoyed the discipline of it, but felt it most gut-wrenching when matters I wrote about involved retrenchments and sackings.

However, it paid for my kids to go to school, learn a musical instrument and travel.  And I always tried to make the message optimistic with some direction towards a remedy.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Formatting solution for Kindle

If you have uploaded a book and then been disappointed when you have checked it on your Kindle (or had feedback from readers criticising your format)  this may be a solution:

For those of you who asked, this is what I noted. 

I have a Macbook Pro (2009)  and initially used Microsoft Word to write my books.  I thought that saving as a PDF would do it for a Kindle upload, but no, the formatting went out the window but looked OK in the preview.  So, what I did was go to my bookshelf, choose the book for reformatting and choose edit from the actions menu.  Previously, I had re-saved my beautifully formatted file as an html file.   Then I re-uploaded it.  This kept the format (with hard page breaks and indents).

Hope this helps you!

FREE book! Today and tomorrow only!

My book, 'Calandra's Spring' is on FREE promo listing at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007IX4NI2
Please feel very welcome to download and any reviews or feedback  are gratefully  received!

Incidentally, Kindle reformatted the book so that it was a disaster but I worked long and hard on it and now it is fine. If you bought the old version, re-upload this one as it is formatted correctly.

Enjoy the read!  It is an adult book but some older YA readers will enjoy it.  There is some racy sex in it but probably nothing that our young adult kids haven't seen in Twilight.