Tuesday, 28 August 2012

"Word Intoxication" by Ruth Johnston First Review

The book is here, the printed copy and I have to admit I am delighted with the result.  Personally I prefer the soft cover version, it is easier to handle and the finish is much classier.  
The hardback in my honest opinion, is a little too shiny, so not worth the extra cash. 

I would love to share with you my first review, written by someone who’s work I greatly admire.  The wonderful poet and author Wayne Tolbert.  Please take a look at his work, you will understand how humbling his words are for me. http://www.chubbypenny.com

Review of Word Intoxication by Wayne Tolbert 

"From the beginning, Ruth Johnston catches the reader pleasantly off guard with her cutting edge poem First Blood and immediately shifts gears with the emotional words dedicated to her father in "The Man in the Moon", a touching tribute to her late father.  The heart of this little girl is revealed with her words:

Even in death you showed me, 

there’s nothing to fear.”

…while the soul of the woman is exposed in "High Heels":

“I love to wear high heels 

I am addicted to them.”

 In "Today", Ruth says, “Today I want to be twenty-three” and sometimes in this wonderful book, she is. 

 …and again she shifts and honestly reminds us of how we all feel from time to time in Invisible Indeed:

I am invisible 

Camouflaged in the corner” 

 The photography is all Ruth and her creative juices flow with the shot of her dogs positioned so their legs form the shape of a heart and the nature shots (is Absolut Citron natural?) are exquisite, sometimes golden with reflection and other times white with the silence of snow. 

Ruth’s book, Word Intoxication, is one I am proud to own…and you will 
be too!"

My own coffee table book

I am overwhelmed that so many of you, want to buy my book.
I previously posted that I can offer you a better price using my author discount.  What I had  taken into account was postage, within the UK P&P is £2, international orders obviously will be more expensive.  

I have spoken to the publisher this morning and the book is available now on line direct from them and should be available through Amazon within the next few weeks.  As it is a print on demand service please allow ten days for delivery.

I am still ordering a number of books for friends Monday. 
Please let me know if you still wish me to buy one for you.  
If you would prefer to order through Xlibris or Amazon, the links to the Xlibris sites (UK and USA) are below and I will add Amazon as soon becomes available.

Thank you again for your support 
Love Ruth xx

There are now a few more reviews showing on the .com website (second link below) click on customer reviews, if you would like to read them.  Once again a huge thank you for taking the time.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

An Interview With Helena Halme

My last post about publishing Exciting Times proved to be so popular, I thought it may be interesting to continue the theme.  I intend talking to a few fellow writers about their experiences, asking them, how and why they write, if they had been published and whether they would consider self publishing.  

Helena Halme 

Today we are starting with one of my blogging pals, now turned published author, Helena Halme.  I have always been a fan of Helena’s blog and I am delighted that she has published “The Englishman”.

Tell me a little about yourself

I was born in Finland and came to the UK nearly 30 years ago. Because my husband served in the navy, we moved about a lot, finally settling down in Wiltshire where we lived for 15 years in a very rural setting. Two years ago we decided we’d had enough of country life, upped sticks and moved to the city. And haven’t looked back.
When did you realise you wanted to write?
I began writing when growing up in Finland, but it took me years to gain the confidence to write fiction in English. It wasn’t until my early forties that I enrolled on a MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Since then I’ve been writing non-stop (try stopping me!). 
What do you write?
I write fiction, mainly novels set in Finland and Sweden. Since my MA I’ve written three novels. The Englishman is a romantic tale of love across oceans. I also write blog, Helena’s London Life, about my escapades in the city.  
The Englishman is published digitally by Kindle and Smashwords. How did that come about?

The Englishman started out as a series of posts on my blog, Helena’s London Life, and became so popular with my readers that I decided to make it into a fully fledged novel. The Englishman, is set in Finland in the 1980’s and was inspired by my own story of how I met my husband and moved to the UK. It’s my third novel, but the one which is most closely based on my own life. 

Over the years I’ve had a few close calls with agents, but they always ended with, ‘You write well, but I’m not sure where I’d place this novel.’ I know exactly where to ‘place’ my novel - on Kindle and Smashwords!

Was it easy to publish a book?

Ah, well, on paper it’s easy. But, there are several issues which you only find out once you start the process. I was determined to publish a professional product and decided to employ an editor, even after The Englishman had been read and edited several times by friends, journalists and family members. It was amazing how even after all these corrections, Dorothy Stannard, my brilliant editor found spelling mistakes and inconsistencies in the story. 

I also decided to go to a professional cover designer, Simon Wilder. He took my ideas, and matched them with the words of the book. I think it’s really important that you get these two major things right before you start to do battle with formats and legal issues.

Formats and legal issues? You’re scaring me now… 

Yes, well…I worked very hard on making the Englishman sound and look professional. But when I looked more closely at the actual publishing process,  I realised I needed to read a whole lot of bumph to make sure the original word document was suitable for Kindle and Smashwords. It was all a bit daunting, but in the end, Dorothy, my long suffering editor just cleaned the document of all funny spaces, paragraphs and formats. It seemed the the golden rule in e-publishing is, the simpler the format, the better. 

The legal issues involved a US tax code. I am quite used to dealing with the tax authorities (I’m an accountant by profession here in the UK), but even for me it was a definite first to have to phone the IRS to apply for a tax ID! The Kindle site has very good instructions on all of this, so it really isn’t as bad as it sounds at first. All I’d say is, that if you have a publication date in mind, put it back by a few weeks. This way you can deal with the last minute, ‘bloody hell, I didn’t know I had to do that too!’ moments.

So what’s next after The Englishman?  

I’m doing final edits on my next novel to be published. Pappa’s Girl is a story about a Finnish immigrant family who move to Stockholm in the early 1970’s. Lisa, the youngest of two daughters, is a teacher in Stockholm. She’s been estranged from her father since the violent break-up of her parent’s marriage. One day she receives a phone call from him with news that her grandmother is dying, and decides to make the journey back to her home town in Finland. 

Pappa’s Girl will be available on Amazon later this autumn.

If you would like to read Helena’s book you can download it here direct from Smashwords or Amazon, you can also follow her on Twitter and she has a Facebook page.  All links are below 

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Exciting Times

“So, who are you and what do you do?”...

How many times I have been asked this question in life.  Somehow, judgements, whether they are right or wrong in their presumption, are often made on my answer.  

I do many things and have been many things to many people, but, the true description of what I now feel I am, is an artist.  I have always appreciated style and beauty.  For years I have enjoyed making people look pretty, by styling them.  Their hair, makeup, clothing even their homes.  I thrive on a quest for the perfect french chandelier or an art deco evening bag and will spend hours trawling junk shops, attic sales and Ebay, for that perfect something.  In a local gift store, people have been known to rummage through my trolley, mistaking it for display. It has been said that I possess an eye.

There is nothing I love more than enhancing that natural beauty within and unconsciously search for it in daily life.  The way a shadow falls, or the light filtering through boarding on an abandoned building.  There is beauty and emotion everywhere, now I love to capture it either by sketching, photographing, or writing about it.  

After much persuasion, from people who’s opinions I hold with tremendous respect.  I decided to publish a book of my poems. The artist in me wanted to create something a little different.  I thought if I used a few of my images, it would make it more visually appealing and compliment the words.  It was never about the money, it rarely is with me, I am always motivated by the heart first.  

Of course what I hadn’t considered in this quest, was the cost of publishing, so when the publisher gave me the price the completed book would eventually retail at, I nearly wept.  I felt that I had created a very beautiful thing, that would never sell.  Personally I would love to gift you all a copy, but my husband would kill me.  So back to the drawing board. 

Had this book been in black and white, it would be a whole different story, yet so would the book.  I began to experiment with black and white, but after seeing the full colour book, well, it felt disappointing.  So, working closely with the production team, we have reformatted the book reducing the page count, which then reduced the price a little.

I have also made the decision to forgo my royalties.
I repeat, it has never been about the money.

I just want to produce a book that I am proud of, that I would enjoy reading myself and as it is dedicated to my dad, I wanted it to be perfect.  Poetry is never going to set the world on fire, unlike “Fifty Shades,” but sometimes a poem can really touch a part of your soul as you identify with the writer. 

"One of the things a poem can do
Is remind us of what
We forgot we knew"
Brian Patten

So many people have been so supportive and lovely about wanting to buy my book and I am delighted and humbled by their support.  I know it will be a lovely “Coffee Table Book” containing, I hope, a poem and images for everyone. It will be available to order online at £17.99 SB and £24.99 HB from Amazon, Xlibris and Barnes and Noble. I am not yet sure of which UK stores will be stocking it.

What I intend to do for all my followers and Facebook page friends, who wish to purchase my book, is to take pre orders.  Where I can buy the book using my author discount and be able to provide everyone copy at a more reasonable price of £12.99 for the soft cover and £17.99 for hard back.  I will even sign it for you if you like ... Giggle.  

So please if you would like a copy please email me at wildernesschic@gmail.com  I do not want any money now,  I only wish to know how many books I need to order.

So now when the next person asks me, what do I do, I could answer, with a huge smile, that I am a published poet.  
Even though I won’t have changed, I am still a full time housewife and mother,  I do have to admit to owning a sense of accomplishment.