Tag: Kurt Chambers.

TTFree4 copyLooking at your various social media I’ve counted five books you’ve published. Is that correct? What are your published titles so far?

Sadly, I only have two books published so far. Book one and two in a middle grade fantasy trilogy, Truth Teller and The Wrath of Siren. Book three, Favian’s Law, is currently in the hands of my editor being proofread. I also have sci-fi/fantasy children’s novel called Unknown Reality that is also waiting to be proofread. I can’t wait to put the finishing touches to these two novels and get them published.

I have a poem that is being published by Kendall Hunt Publishers this month. They produce educational books for schools and colleges in America. The poem is called Our Solar System and was written to teach children a little bit about each planet in our solar system.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Blog: http://geniusborderinginsanity.blogspot.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kurt-Chambers/296957780317055

Twitter: https://twitter.com/emailmanROCKS

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kurt-Chambers/e/B00IFFYLAW/Review

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/13740

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/truth-teller-kurt-chambers/1108337633

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5444439.Kurt_Chambers

Are you working on anything right now? Can you tell us about it?

I’m about a third of the way through a children’s story called The World in Johnny’s Back Garden. I wanted to write a story that gave kids an alternative view of living things. I started writing this many years ago and it has changed so many times, but now I finally have a whole new plot for the story, and I hope to actually finish it one day. Here is a sample of the first chapter. http://geniusborderinginsanity.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/childrens-story-world-in-johnnys-back.html

You’re very generous with sharing your marketing tips and tricks. What book marketing strategies have worked well for you?

Marketing is so very difficult for a children’s author. It’s the only genre where you don’t really have direct access to your target audience. So when you market, the best you can hope for is to persuade a parent or teacher to recognize that your book is something their children would like to read. I’ve tried to overcome this by donating my novel to places like school libraries where they will be read by the kids I wrote them for.TruthTeller_MED

My most successful marketing strategy so far has been to make my first book perma-free once I covered what it cost me to publish the novel. Then I used some of the many companies out there that do free book promotions. There are plenty to choose from. Some are better than others, but if you find a good one, you can get anything up to two hundred downloads in one day. Hopefully some customers will like my story enough to buy the other books in the series.

How did you come up with the idea for your book? You’ve published a few,  just pick one.

When I was a child, I always struggled to read some of the classic fantasy novels. I fell in love with fantasy but was never very good at reading. So tackling such classic books like Lord of the Rings was hard for me. I remember thinking back then that someone should write fantasy books like this especially for people like me who were not so strong at reading. When I decided to write children’s novels, I already had an idea of what I wanted to write: a fantasy novel just as I imagined from a child. That is how my Truth Teller trilogy was born.

Do you have a favorite author? What strikes you about their work?

I would have to say Terry Brooks is my favorite author. I have read most of what he has written. The Shannara series was an absolute classic. I think there are about sixteen books all together. I admire Terry because he is such a master at the way he writes. He is my biggest inspiration when it comes to writing.

Tell us a bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image?

WrathofSiren_MEDI SO love my covers! Truth Teller won an award for best artwork on the Preditors & Editors Reader’s Poll 2012. They are designed by a very dear friend of mine, Dawne Dominique. We met many years ago in the Young Adult Novel Workshop on writing,com. As I knew absolutely nothing about writing, she took me under her wing, encouraged and supported me, and helped mould me into the author I am today, along with many other amazing people I met on this journey. Dawne is such a great cover artist as well as a brilliant author, not to mention an amazing person. You can find her here: http://geniusborderinginsanity.blogspot.co.uk/

Give us an interesting fun fact about one of your books?

Every character I have ever created has been fictional, all except one. One of my characters is actually a real person. I wonder if you can guess which one it is.

 

Give us a short summary or snippet from one of your books meant to intrigue your audience.

I love this bit from The Wrath of Siren where the human child, Charlotte, is traveling with a young elf called Elderfield.

Charlotte began to tire of their adventure and longed to sleep in a soft, comfortable bed once again. “What do you think we will find when we come to the end of the river?” she asked, trying to strike up a conversation to relieve her boredom.

Elderfield shrugged. “To be honest, I have absolutely no idea.”

“I reckon we’re going to find a massive lost city, probably made of gold or something like that, and nobody’s ever been there apart from us for thousands of years.” She grinned at the image she created.

Elderfield laughed. “I doubt that very much.”

“You never know, this place is well weird. You don’t know what’s going to happen next.” Charlotte was serious for a moment then continued, smiling. “And when we get there, because we’re the first people to visit this place for thousands of years, they think we are some kind of gods or something, and they treat us like kings and queens. They tell us we can have anything we want.”

“Do you not think that you are getting a little carried away?”

“No,” Charlotte replied bluntly. “If you could have anything you want, what would it be?”

“If I had the choice, I think I would have to choose … going home right now.” He grinned.

“No, that’s boring.”

She noticed Elderfield watching her with amused interest as she tried to think of something herself. “I would definitely have to wish for a chocolate river.” She licked her lips. “That would be amazing.”

“What in heaven’s name is a choclit river?”

Charlotte burst out laughing. She tried to reply but laughed too much to get the words out. “No, a chocolate river, not a choclit river,” she finally managed to say.

“Whatever it is, it sounds ghastly to me. Why would you want a river made out of … whatever it is?”

“Elderfield! You don’t know what chocolate is, do you? Wow, that’s just wrong. You have never lived, trust.” She giggled behind her hand.

“What is this stuff?”

“It’s like angels dancing on your tongue.” She paused to judge his reaction. “Apart from my family, it’s the one thing I miss the most. That and telly.”

“And you say that we are weird.” He shook his head.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you so very much, Katherine, for featuring me on your awesome site and letting me show off my books. Like so many other authors in the writing community, you have been very supportive. You’ve gotta love the writing community!

And thank you to all the readers out there who have come to view this post. If you’re a fan of fantasy, go and grab a free copy of my book. Happy reading.

The Rules of Creative Writing by author Kurt Chambers

The indie publishing scene has grown so massive over the last few years that writing and publishing your own book has become possible for anyone who wishes to do so. This has caused a lot of mixed feelings. The main criticism is the quality of writing. In order to become published mainstream, you usually need a fundamental understanding of the ‘creative writing rules’ in order to be taken seriously. Unless you’re a celebrity, of course. Self-published authors can publish anything they want without having to know anything.

When I first set out as an author, I didn’t care much for these rules. I believed you should write however you want. What’s wrong with some originality? I spent many years in a novel workshop, writing and reviewing, learning and slowly honing the skills that were taught to me. Now I can see why learning these rules was so important. It does make you a much stronger writer. When I questioned these rules, the advice I was given was, ‘You have to first learn these rules in order to know when it is okay to break them.’

In this post today, I want to share with you just a few basic things that will help make your writing stronger. You can use this as a guide when it comes to editing your first draft. Try it for yourself. Edit one chapter of your manuscript applying these few rules, and see what you think of the difference. Read it aloud in order to hear how your story sounds to the ear as well as in your mind.

Some Basic Creative Writing Rules

Show, don’t tell:

I was taught never to ‘tell’ the reader anything. This is a great rule that will add so much more depth to your writing if done well. To try and ‘show’ everything isn’t always practical. For example, you don’t need to go into pages of description about a particular uniform with a brass helmet and matching buttons just to inform the reader that this character is a fireman. But as a general rule, especially when it comes to emotions, it is better to ‘show’ as much as you can.

Example…

Johnny entered the dark room and came to a standstill. Something was wrong. The door slammed closed, making him jump. He was terrified.

Johnny entered the dark room and came to a standstill. His heart beat faster. The slamming door sent a jolt through his body. He gripped his chest, fighting for gasps of breath.

Both these sentences are describing the same scene. In the second sentence, I replaced the ‘telling’ statements with character action. It’s clear to see the difference between the two. Read through your manuscript one paragraph at a time and see how many ‘telling’ statements you could replace in a similar way.

I had a terrible ‘telling’ habit when I first started out, so I made a list of character actions to help me ‘show’ emotions. Telling is fine in a first draft, but when it comes to editing, you may find this list useful.

http://geniusborderinginsanity.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/writing-advice-how-to-show-emotions-in.html

POV (point of view):

This is a very important aspect that all authors need to get to grips with. I never had an understanding of this when I wrote some of my first novels and had to spend many hours editing at least two complete novels to correct all the POV mistakes. Instead of explaining POV in great detail to you, I am going to take the easy way out and share an article by Pam McCutcheon, who explains it so wonderfully. It was this article that taught me what POV actually was, and I am only too happy to share it with you.

http://www.foremostpress.com/authors/articles/p_o_v.html

POV is something of a personal preference. The growing trend these days is to write in first person perspective, especially in young adult genres. It is said you can get a deep POV that really gets into the head of the character. I only write in third person limited myself and like to think I can get a deep POV using this method. I think it is the most popular POV for middle grade readers. We are all different. I guess it comes down to whatever you are used to reading.

Adverb abuse:

Adverbs (words ending in ‘ly’) are wonderful things but do fall into the ‘telling’ category. Using too many is viewed as lazy writing. It is quite easy to rely on them as a shortcut to describing a character’s feelings, actions and facial expression in just one word.

“I think she passed away,” he said sadly.

What you should be doing is describing the actions of the character in more detail to paint a better image for the reader.

“I think she passed away.” He held a palm to his forehead, releasing a long sigh.

It is a worthwhile exercise to skim through your manuscript looking for adverbs you could eliminate to make your writing much stronger. You will be surprised at how many authors use them wastefully, pardon the pun. Here is an example of how they can sometimes be placed in a sentence for no reason.

He crept into the darkened room quietly.

The verb ‘crept’ is strong enough to give the reader enough information on the actions of the character without having to use the adverb ‘quietly’.

We used to use a ball-park figure of no more than three adverbs per chapter. How many have you used?

Passive voice:

This is not the easiest thing to explain. There are certain trigger words that cause passive voice. Words like ‘was’ and ‘were’, for example. I am no expert in this field, so I will post a link that will explain it in all its glorious technical details, using examples to show the difference between active and passive sentences.

http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar/passive

Although passive voice is difficult to explain, it is something that will become more and more obvious to you once you have a general idea of what to look for.

Repeated and unneeded words:

This may seem like something trivial to worry about, but by simply finding and changing words that are repeated often, you can improve the ‘flow’ of writing by quite a bit. Also, when you read your manuscript out loud to yourself, you may find there are some unneeded words that just choke up the writing. Use as few words as needed, well-chosen words.

These are some of the basic rules that I was taught in my novel workshop that I sometimes see lacking in the growing trend of indie authors. For those authors out there who are still submitting manuscripts to publishers and editors, these are some of the things that could lead to your MS being rejected. For those authors who are publishing themselves, I hope you find this helpful in bringing your books to a higher literary standard that will make them shine above the rest. Good luck to you all and happy writing (and editing).

Some other useful writing posts:

Hooks and Cliffhangers:

http://geniusborderinginsanity.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/hooks-cliffhangers-kurt-chambers.html

Best Social Networking Sites For Writers:

http://geniusborderinginsanity.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/best-social-networking-sites-for.html

The Pitfalls of Self-Publishing:

http://geniusborderinginsanity.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/the-pitfalls-of-self-publishing-kurt.html?spref=tw

Getting Published – Writer Beware:

http://geniusborderinginsanity.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/getting-published-kurt-chambers.html?spref=tw

Shameless plug:

Kurt Chambers

If you are interested in seeing the results of a finished novel putting into practice the above set of rules then you can download a free copy of my award winning fantasy novel, Truth Teller. It is a heart-warming tale of true friendship in an action packed adventure. It is free to all readers in any format.

Truth Teller

How could ten-year-old Charlotte ever envisage that magic really existed. For her, the world of other realms belonged in children’s fairy tales—or so she thought—until she discovers a strange shopkeeper, which begins an adventure that will change her life forever.

 

When she finds herself lost and alone in a far away forest, she must embark on a journey where heart-stopping danger and real life monsters are real. However, a far greater threat shadows her every move. Even with the strengths and skills of her new companions, they cannot protect her against a ruthless druid assassin.

 

But in this realm, Charlotte is not the vulnerable little girl she thought she was.

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006TI8JLY

Smashwords:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/119775

Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/truth-teller-kurt-chambers/1108337633