Saying Farewell to my Pseudonym

The blog-fans among you will know that I have removed my pseudonym, Melody Carter, from the Internet. She’s gone now. *RIP fictional version of myself*

melody-carter-banner

I’ve waved goodbye to her website, her Facebook page, and her Twitter. I’ve exported all her churlish attempts at Children’s Fiction or bizarre tries at Adult Writing. She isn’t working well for my writing career, so, like the proverbial rose – she had to be dead-headed.

(Although the design for that website was pretty awesome, so I may have to move the typography over to another site… we will see!)

I found Melody Carter no longer had a place or standing in my writing portfolio; she had become just an extra tab on my social media to ignore and avoid during the low moments.

Any writer can tell you that this is not a fun career choice by any means – particularly as there is no money in it. So it becomes hard to justify your meager efforts when you are spread so thin across your many pen names.

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Instead, (if rather late in the day) I have decided to solely write under my own name; no pseudonyms or pretenses. Just little me and my little words on my little books.

I hope you can all get behind me on this, and as you have all been such lovely readers; I am sure you will be.

I’ll be back soon with some news about my upcoming novel, Finding Jennifer, but for now; I’m off to drink tea and ponder over Chapter 12.

Indie Pride Day 2016 | #IndieBooksBeSeen

indiebooksbeseen logoOn July 1st 2016, Indie Authors from around the world will be covering social media with pictures of us holding up our books with the hashtags #IndiePrideDay and #IndieBooksBeSeen.

Last year thousands participated, and our Indie Pride Day trended for three days on Twitter; generating over 25,000 tweets. This year, we believe we can do even better!

We are about to make history as the biggest online showcase of Indie Authors and titles ever, and we all hope that you’ll support us on our #IndiePrideDay.

Just like last year, some authors will also be offering book discounts and giveaways – so keep an eye out for the Indie Pride hashtags; you might just end up with a new book to add to your shelf. indie pride 2016

Tell every Indie Author that you know to mark their calendars for July 1st! If you are not an Indie Author (but support us), please post a picture of some indie books that you may have on your bookshelves – or you’ve added to your To-Read list!

Remember on July 1st, when you see the Instagram posts, Facebook statuses, Tweets and #hashtags – spread the love and show your support for the Indie Authors. Every single Like and Double Tap helps the cause!

#IndiePrideDay and #IndieBooksBeSeen are about proving we’re more than just a hashtag: we’re a revolution to the publishing industry, and to readers and authors around the world. Spread the bookworm love and support for #IndieBooksBeSeen on Friday July 1st 2016.

Keep an eye out on my social media and this website, as I am doing my own giveaway! Details will be released on July 1st 2016 for 24 hours. Good luck!

A Writer’s Muse: Myth or Must-Have?

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For as long as their have been story-tellers, there has been the idea of muses. Originally, – in Greek and Roman mythology – they are the nine goddesses (daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne) who presided over the arts and sciences; helping to inspire and create. download

In the ‘good old days’ of Shakespeare, and later the Romantics; ‘muse’ was an everyday term for writers, poets and playwrights alike. It’s well known that crafty old Will would take a lover in town, leaving his doting old wife clueless in the country. (Personally, I hope she got her own back and slept with a hot gardener, but that’s another article!).

So we must assume that other Romantics, such as Byron, Keats, and other stuffy poets that Lit Professors love to chorus on about, must have had muses – or a girl who they sweet talked for a few months before moving on to the next innocent maiden (or servant boy).

However, in the age of selfies, Tinder and Instagram filters, how can we claim to have muses, when the whole social media aspect of our lives is to present a perfect, prettier version of ourselves?

We’ve all been there: you meet someone online and think they’re cute, then you meet them in person and they either look nothing like their picture – or they are a complete and utter bore!  No inspiration found there, then. social-media-marketing-image

As a writer myself, there was a time where I too considered muses to be a thing of myth, or at least only of writing history. But recently, my mind has been changed. Having said that, I would like to clarify a few things.

Muses have changed to suit the 21st century. They are no longer scantily-clad girls or gleaming muscle-men in torn white shirts. They are the everyday people. Our friends, our colleagues, the random faces we encounter everyday.

We absorb so much information through our phones, that sometimes we forget to stop and just look. Look at the dozens of faces that walk past us every single day. They are our muses. That character that appeared out of nowhere in your story? You walked past her on your way to work. That suspicious baddie on page 109 of your new novel? He’s that rude guy who served you in the supermarket.

Our brains are beautiful,  creative, chaotic entities – but they don’t create people out of thin air. Just like our dreams, they pull features, words, accents, gait, height, weight, patterns – all from the passersby you womble past every single day.

So, fellow writers, wanna-be playwrights, and hopeless romantics that name yourself poets: go and find your muse! Maybe you already know them. Maybe you saw them in the cue today. And maybe they just walked past you whilst you had your head buried in a screen. Go find your muse. Go and be inspired.

 

Expect Awesomeness in 2016

2015 was an amazing year for me as an author, but also a hard year for me personally.  So it’s safe to say it’s been a mixed 365 days.

In 2015 I:
– graduated
– got an amazing job
– made some awesome friends
– drank a lot less
– started paying off my debts
– focused more on my writing
– grew my hair
– and a lot more!

2016 is going to be my Year of Achievement. I’m not posting some bullsh*t post about fad diets or going to the gym or buying a car. My goals and little and often and all about my personal happiness / mental stability.

2016 Year of Awesome Will Include:

– completely paying off my debts
– saving for a flat
– learning to drive
– finishing and releasing FINDING JENNIFER
– finishing EVERYDAY WE LIE
– spending more time writing than watching TV
– learning to relax
– spending less on me and more on time with others
– learning new skills
– improving my soul

What are your goals and hopes for 2016?

After Us |99p Kindle Sale!

KINDLE BOOK SALE | Melissa Holden, Mark Looker, Edd Hodsdon and Lorna Holland

To celebrate the appearance of colder, shorter winter nights and crunchy autumn leaves, we’ve decided to put AFTER US on sale!

AFTER USBLURB | AFTER US

When the world ends, what comes AFTER US?

Featuring stories from Edd Hodsdon, Melissa Holden, Lorna Holland, and Mark Looker, AFTER US explores the effects of an apocalypse on the survivors.

AFTER the apocalypse the laws and rules of the old world bind US no more, and mankind’s true, savage nature takes over.

AFTER the apocalypse, none of US will ever be the same again…

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Stories Include: Behind Bars, Cure In Age, Keep Your Friends Close, Lonely In A Crowd, Strangers On The Road, Silent Screams, Sally Lin

To find the sale price in your country, use the sale links below. (Some countries may need to redirect via the US page).

After Us | Sales Links

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/After-Apocalypse-Anthology-Melissa-Holden-ebook/dp/B00QD6Y588

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/After-Apocalypse-Anthology-Melissa-Holden-ebook/dp/B00QD6Y588

Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/After-Apocalypse-Anthology-Melissa-Holden-ebook/dp/B00QD6Y588 

Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/After-Apocalypse-Anthology-Melissa-Holden-ebook/dp/B00QD6Y588 

Remember to leave a comment below or a review on the main Amazon page to let us know what you thought of the book!

Shelley&Holden: What’s It All About?

Shelley&Holden is the brand new union of two unknown authors with a few big ideas.

Shelley and Holden

Me and my best-boy Jacob Shelley have teamed up to work on some big collab projects over the next few years, from books to projects to videos and much much more!

We’re starting with a collection of short stories based around the theme of lies and secrets. I can’t tell you too much just yet (mostly because we’ve not started writing it yet…) but I can’t promise great thing (cheeky Harry Potter quote there for you!)

Jacob and I will be revealing a few more details over the next few weeks, so keep your eyes on the prize at www.facebook.com/shelleyandholden 

Shelley&Holden: A Writers Tale

Shelley and Holden

Shelley&Holden are a writing duo that have been close friends and co-writers since they met at university.

Previously, they helped each other on independent projects, but have now decided to join together to become a best-friend-book-writing team.

Since working together on Jacob Shelley’s PUT TITLE HERE, they have been working closely on other projects such as their first joint short story collection EVERYDAY WE LIE (release date tbc).

Want to know more? Go to www.facebook.com/shelleyandholden

Let’s meet the Shelley&Holden team…

Jacob Shelley

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Jacob Shelley is an undergraduate at Canterbury Christ Church University (Primary Education BA Hons).

 ‘Put Title Here’ is Jacob’s first book to be published, with several more ideas planned for the near future.

Jacob has been writing since he was fifteen years old, and now has finally decided to share his work with a wider audience of readers.

When Jacob is not studying for university or writing poetry and prose, he likes to pursue his other creative hobbies, namely making artwork and baking cakes and cookies.

Shelley and Holden one half

Melissa Holden

Melissa Holden author picture

Melissa Holden, BA is a graduate of Creative and Professional Writing BA Hons.

Melissa has been a professional writer since 2012, but has been writing creatively since a young age. As well as writing, Melissa supports self-publishing movement #IndieBooksBeSeen and helps unpublished authors learn about self-publishing and promotion.

She has self-published seven books to date and is working on several projects at the moment.

She likes tea, vintage things and cushions.

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Why It’s So Much Easier NOT To Write – And Why We Should Anyway!

I can’t be the only author that has struggled to start that next project, to fill that once blank page with an amazing formula of words designed to move and wow our imaginary reader.

No? Good.

Writing is a difficult trade, we are constantly remind by society, by friends and family – and by ourselves – that it is “a waste of time”, “it will never earn any money”, or that “books are silly” by the neanderthals among us… *we all know one….*

We face the constant pressure as writers to amaze and prove wrong the people around us. They expect the next J.K Rowling to emerge suddenly out of your office, and not just you.

Image source: cursivecontent.com

Image source: cursivecontent.com

Writers are often grouped together, admittedly often by other writers, in this assumption that we all want to be rich and famous from our work, or that we’re all geeks. Well some of that’s true, but it depends on the individual author.

Personally, I just want to earn a living doing something I enjoy. I want that home office with my comfy slippers, a mug of tea in one hand and my favourite pen in the other. I don’t need to be Stephen King famous – although that would be nice. I just want to be recognized for my work, the same as everyone else.

Even in a society where reading is coming back to the forefront of our social activities, it is still seen as weird to want to spend your time running through castles, fighting dragons, saving the damsel and challenging the dark knight to a duel. So we need to start fighting society as well as dragons and start proving why we need creative authors in the world.

Writers, poets, artists, performers – any kind of creative – play an essential part of our lives as human beings. They move and inspire people all over the world with the stories they create and help share. They distract people for hours on end and they can make them re-think their whole lives by the end of Chapter 5.

Image source: allisonldoyle.com

Image source: allisonldoyle.com

We’ve all had that haunting moment when you put down a book or switch off a film, and your heart is aching. You have been changed as a person because of that story. You feel empowered – and rightly so. Stories are a gift from one person to another saying, “here, have this – I made this story just for you. I hope it helps you.”

That’s why we can’t stop. We can’t stop writing because people don’t like it, because it’s hard, because it’s easier to do something else. We need to keep going because one day, somewhere out there, your words are going to help someone. And what’s better than helping someone?

You Should Write EVERYWHERE

Writing is a lifer consumer. It swallows you up and spits out a socially-confusing creative who can’t pick a favourite book.

Writing is a forever-thing. It’s not a hobby that you pick up in your thirties for a few years and then move on. It’s part of you. Like an arm. You will always have that arm.

Writing should be somewhere in your head all day. Whether it’s when you’re out with your friends, and you tell a great story – you should write it down in a journal. Or when you’re buying a new notebook, you imagine all of the amazing words you will feel those pages with. And what those words could turn in to. 

I write in the shower. On the shower screen with my hands. I sketch and I write and sing and have conversations. I tell stories – as a writer, that’s my job. But it’s a privilege to do so I do it whenever I can.

I am obsessed with writing (not with words, I’m not one of those writers.) You should be obsessed with the things you love, because you’d be amazed what passion can do to a piece of writing.

Interview With An Author: Steve Vernon

This week’s Interview With An Author is with Steve Vernon

Steve Vernon authorphoto

What got you into writing?

I grew up in Northern Ontario. I was raised by my grandparents and I spent a great deal of my time prowling through the woods surrounding our small railroad town. That gave me a lot of dedicated solitude and time to think. That solitude and silence was a fine brew for the growing of fiction.

What really turned the trick for me, though, was school. I hated homework – but once I figured out that all I had to do was to write a good story and hand it in then suddenly I became inspired and motivated. If the history teacher asked me for an essay on Christopher Columbus I wrote a story detailing his cruise across the Atlantic – because an essay is nothing more than a story with facts.

If an English teacher asked for a book report then I just sat down and wrote a story about why I enjoyed reading a certain book and why I figure that author wrote that certain book and what exactly were the characters thinking in that certain book when they went ahead and did whatever it was they were doing.

The key turned and the door unlocked for me the moment that I realized that MOSTLY what my teachers were going on and on about was just learning how to communicate – and storytelling is one of the basic foundations of human communication. Sooner or later we are ALL going to open up our mouths and let slip those fateful words – “This is how it happened” and before you say once-upon-a-time a story falls out.

The only thing it did not do for me was help me with math. Not all of the my-dog-ate-my-homework or my-mom-threw-my-homework-into-the-woodstove-for-kindling or my-dog-ate-my-cat-who-ate-my-homework-in-the-first-place helped me one figure out algebra.

I hate math more than any man in the entire universe.

What’s your favourite book and why?

I hate that question almost as much as I hate math. It’s a little like asking a mother to name her favourite child – and we’re not even talking about the books I have written. I have read SO many books that it would take a half a million mathematically trained monkeys armed with a thousand abaci each to calculate just the shear word-count.

Still, if I had to pick ONE book I believe I would say Hemingway’s THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA. It’s a short, strong and vivid yarn that catches me down deep, hooking me in places that I don’t even have words for.

What’s your writing routine?

I get up and I write just as soon as I can. I have ALWAYS been a morning man.

Tea, or Coffee?

Coffee in the morning. Strong, black and ugly. Tea in the afternoon and herbal in the evening.

Unless there’s beer…

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You write ghost story collections. Do you find it hard coming up with a fresh idea with an each story?

I’ve written four of them so far and the way go about writing them is to wade into the archives and come up with a couple of dozen historical yarns which I then write down in my own voice – storying them up just as much as possible to make them entertaining.

Some folks have asked me if I would consider myself a ghost hunter – because I have read and written so many ghost stories – but I always tell them that I am far too lazy to be hunting ghosts. I am that old fellow that you find hunkered down around the campfire – just waiting for an opportunity to spin one more yarn.

What’s your writing process?

I like to know where I am going and I where I am coming from. Each book and each story is like a journey to me. I need to know my destination and my departure and then I just run until I get there. Ideally, I like to finish my first draft as soon as I can. Then I sit it down and let it cool off and then I put on my editorial glasses and start working it into a decent story.

 Tell us a little bit about your latest book

The latest book I am working on is called BIG HAIRY DEAL. It is a novel involving a Bigfoot, the Native Trickster Coyote, the Raven, the Death Dog Old Shuck, and a giant flying pink Winnebago.

I can’t talk about when it might be in print. I’ve got a publisher looking at it right now but if they decide that it isn’t for them I will put it out myself in my indie line.

HOWEVER – if you want to check out one of my books I would DEFINITELY recommend TATTERDEMON – which is fat full length novel of scarecrow horror.

Tatterdemon New Cover

How long did it take you to write? Did you have any problems with the story?

I have had a LOT of trouble finishing this one – partly because I wasn’t sure who I was writing it for. That’s important to know when you are working on a novel. You want to know your audience and you want to know just exactly who you are writing it for.

Are your friends and family supportive of your writing career?

Yes.

How do you manage your time? Is it hard balancing your writing life with your working life?

Yes. There never is enough time in the day but I believe that even if I were making enough income from my writing to retire from day job I would still find that there was not enough time in the day. I could blame it on the time I spend promoting and blogging and even Twittering – yes, old farts do know how to Twitter – but in all honesty it is mostly because I have a harder time staying on track these days.

Are you self-published or with an agent?

I am self-published AND traditionally-published. I’ve got seven books out through Nimbus Publishing – a local Nova Scotia publisher – and I am working on an eighth.

I love the freedom that self-publishing gives me. I also love being able to arrange book sales and set up promotions whenever I want to. HOWEVER, the folks at Nimbus can get my regional books in bookstores right across the Maritimes as well as right across Canada and even into the states. That is something that indie writers still struggle with. Some folks will shrug and say that they don’t need bookstore sales – but I say to heck with that. I still buy an awful lot of books in local bookstores and I reach a lot of readers who still haven’t caught onto e-books. It is well and fine to posture and say that e-books are the big new thing and that everyone is reading them – but no, not everyone, not yet.

There might come a time when everyone is actually reading e-books and then I might have to make a decision about traditional versus indie publishing – but Nova Scotia has a very large population of seniors – and a lot of those folks still like to read plain old-fashioned books.

Not me, mind you. I have REALLY been converted to my Kobo and I hope to own a Kindle in a year or so. I love not having to worry about bookshelf space and I love the adjustable font that the e-reader offers.

Hey, I told you I was old.

How do you keep motivated?

Those bills keep on coming in and I don’t earn enough from my day job to pay them yet.

Thank you Steve! 

 Contact Steve: 

Steve Vernon’s Blog – http://stevevernonstoryteller.wordpress.com/
Steve Vernon’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/StephenVernon
Steve Vernon’s Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/stevevernon007
Steve Vernon’s Kindle Page – http://www.amazon.com/Steve-Vernon/e/B002BMD282/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Steve Vernon on Kobo – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/Search?Query=steve+vernon

Miss the last Interview With An Author? Don’t worry – you can catch up here. 

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