Another hectic month has flown by, and in a few days hence, I'm off to Wyntercon in Eastbourne for my first Comicon in three years. How I've missed it! If you love anything to do with Sci-Fi, fantasy, paranormal, or Anime this is the place to go. Personally, I'd love to get one going in Thanet. Imagine Thanet Comicon so awesome. Contact me about it if you're interested in helping organising one.
Meanwhile at home, Quest for Courage is out at my printers and should arrive shortly. I'm fixing dates for the launch locally in Thanet at the moment, and my discovery of a local children's bookshop, Tales on Moon Lane in Addington Street, Ramsgate, has delighted me. I'm only hoping they will be as delighted to host it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed on that one.
I undertook two further book signing and selling events during the month. One at the lovely Alexander Centre in Faversham, run by the very able Eventissima Events company, and another at the Burlington Hotel, Folkestone, a new venue for the Carano events company. Was very excited to have someone come up and say they'd read Aquasapien and loved it, and another person who later purchased a copy was discovered in the lobby of the hotel—apparently unable to put it down. Its tiny snippets like this that keep me writing.
I was in London yesterday for some much-needed family time, and whilst sitting on yet another underground Tube journey I watched folk either on their phones or reading paperback fiction books. I realised then, that if I ever got on a train and someone was sitting there reading a copy of any of my novels I'd know I'd arrived—and not just on the train!
Also this month, I attended my first yoga and meditation retreat in many years. A five-hour event set in the most beautiful grounds of the Crescent Turner hotel Whitstable, inside their amazing clamping style wedding reception venue complete with dance floor, fairy lights, and bar. The far side is clear polythene and provides totally uninterrupted views across Graveney, The Swale, to the Isle of Sheppey and beyond. We had an extensive meditation and yoga session followed by a sumptuous Vegan Afternoon tea. I phoned the hotel beforehand to check they did have cake—I don't do vegan.
The cakes were all amazing, though the cream for the scones wasn't pleasant and the sandwiches, though works of art, were mixed up, a variety of colours and textures. I couldn't tell what any of them were, so I stayed well away. Following this, I did my first Yin Yoga class. It’s a style where you hold each position for several minutes motionless at a time, with a starfish pose in between each one. Takes some doing. I was expecting aches, pains and general struggling to move the next day, but thankfully came out unscathed.
And so to Wynter, I have purchased a variety of interesting clothing and jewels to adorn myself with, as you do for these events. If you’ve ever purchased something a bit zany and off the wall and then wondered “Where on earth am I going to wear it?” Comicon is the answer, you fit right in and look reassuringly normal amongst the party-goers dressed as Deadpool, Venom and Jedi warriors.
Since my last sojourn to Eastbourne, I’ve had two further books published; Gristle’s Revenge and What If? This time I'm taking my new assistant—yes you've guessed it my son—and we're booked into a classy hotel on the seafront. You'll be able to read about that element on my next Trip Adviser review. Don't forget you can follow me on Trip Adviser. I do oodles of reviews, just about to reach my 300th, with 95,000 readers, but I'd love more followers. Likewise on Twitter and my business page on Face book, Carol M. Salter. Seems other folk get trillions of followers not sure how much people pay them. LOL Was that a hint of bitterness I detected?
So, next month be sure to check in, you'll get to see all the amazing photos I've taken of the wonderful and bizarre things I'll see this weekend. MIMO.
Still recovering from winning the Faversham Eye Competition in 2020, for my short story Life After Covid, imagine my surprise when I receive an email to say the writing group I run, Inspirations, has just received a national award from the National Association of Writers Groups no less. Not only am I an award-winning author, so are all my friends and members who submitted work for our Green Anthology. Amazing. Already, the group had managed to secure a Finalist place in the Kent Creative Awards, with our first ever anthology Red, in 2017, but to win the Denise Robertson National Award for a group Anthology is astounding.
We met today to celebrate our success at Pierremont hall Broadstairs. The place has had a complete refit and looks perfect for anyone wishing to celebrate a special occasion and ours was no exception. I brought luxury Belgian chocolate cake and prosecco. We had photos, lots of them, and lots of ohhhs and ahhhs admiring the silver platter which is ours permanently - engraved and everything. Did Covid put us off, stop us writing? Did it hell. Take a lot more than a measly old virus to stop IWG members writing and that's a fact. We are currently considering our next anthology Indigo and there's still time to become a member and submit work for this publication due out in 2022.
Also this month, I had the good fortune to be a speaker at the Indie Author Café during the Canterbury Arts Conference (CArtsCon). I'd like to thank Julian and Brenden and their colleagues for making my time there such an enjoyable one. Warnborough College has a fantastic group of people running its activities and courses and I'm hoping to get invited back next year.
I between this I've travelled to Reeth in North Yorkshire to support a Charity Route march. I've never been to Yorkshire before, except passing through, and to visit the Swaledale moors was a revelation. I used to draw in the past, and the scenery had me re-visiting a long over-due skill that I had forgotten I had. Its something I shall start doing again because it feels more personal than a photo somehow.
And so to bed, especially now I have manged to purchase some diesel this evening after three days of looking. What is wrong with people?
It seems ages since I last wrote my blog, several weeks at least. The fated football match has passed into history. The Para-Olympics have begun, another set of people to inspire us and make me feel pathetic when I complain about my petty injuries.
On the family front, I've been sorting out the family crypt this month and its history. Yes, the Salter's have a mausoleum locally and another in Highgate cemetery in London. I'm sure there's a story waiting to happen there. It appears one of my husband's ancestors designed the Globe theatre in London.
My husband and I finally went to Scotland for our long awaited wedding anniversary trip. I forget how many times it had to be cancelled and re-booked. You can read my reviews of all the hotels and restaurants on Trip Adviser. I can thoroughly recommend Edinburgh, an amazing city packed with awesome architecture. The trip provided me with yet more scenes and images for Aquasapien Four. Don't be surprised if Edinburgh features! Home now, with another charity trip to Yorkshire planned shortly.
Writing wise, Quest for Courage is almost there. Back from the formatters, I'm at page 305 of 339. Its surprising how long reviewing work takes. It is so much quicker to write a book than polish it. I love the new cover and have included a sneak preview here, for those of you who actually stop and read my words.
Although it should be printed by September, I'm not planning to launch until Halloween - 31st October. Considering my venue at the moment. I decided on Halloween because its the third, and probably final, story in the Witch on the Warpath series so publishing the 1st and 3rd on Halloween seems to feel right. Do you think Waterstones will be interested?
On a different note, I saw in the Isle of Thanet News on-line, that one of our well-known local authors died this month. I can't believe it, Jane Wenham-Jones wasn't someone I knew personally, but I knew of her work and how well she was respected. I was surprised to see I'm not the only author who includes local Thanet landmarks in their work. Its hard to believe I won't read Jane's column any more. She did so much for our community locally too. I can only hope to be a paler version of her. My condolences go to her family and friends.
This weekend see's me busy at the big Sandwich Festival. This is a three day event covering life music and various events around the town as well as craft stalls. Its expected to be quite an affair. You can find me inside the church on Market Street so if you come over please pop in and say Hi! I might even sign your book if you bring it, or buy one.
I was going to regale you with the latest episode of my efforts to make a name as an author, but tonight, for the first time in my long life I watched a game of football. England played Italy in the European Cup 2021. I realised that this would be an event recorded in British history, no matter what the outcome. I had heard my father and others talk about the 1966 World cup win, and later sometime in the nineties heard others bemoan about a close win, but I never actually witnessed a game.
Although football isn't a game I'm interested in, it felt important to see it, to have been there along with the millions of others, who are no doubt going to remember the match minute by minute. What did I make of it? What did I see? A group of men tackling something huge, not just a football, but their country's pride and belief in them. A belief I saw shining through the eyes of their fans. A belief so strong it carried their emotions along with it.
Then I watched, with the concern of a mother, as a nineteen old young man had the expectations of the entire nation placed on his shoulders. What a hard place to be. What a huge responsibility. Did he shrug it off? - No. Did he beg to be replaced with someone else? No. He concentrated, focused and gave it literally, his best shot. Was it good enough? Yes it was. He should feel proud for it was perfectly placed to score. The fact England didn't win, wasn't because of it. They could have won at any time in the long, and to my mind, drawn out match. They could have scored at any time. They could have stopped the other goals. They didn't manage to do so, but they represented their country well. Continuing when injured, supporting each other, caring about the players on both sides and providing a positive image of England to the rest of the world.
They may not have scored a winning goal, but in my world that doesn't matter because I'm not interested in games people play. I'm interested in people who have commitment, focus, drive and passion for they are the people who children aspire to be. They are representatives of our nation and should be proud of the game they played, on English soil for English citizens.
Thank you our England Squad.
Things have been moving forward apace in my writing world. Waterstones have now requested and received two orders of What If? and I've received invoice requests from them also. Great news they are going to pay me! This means you CAN now order your books with ease at any branch of Waterstones, or on-line. And if you ever see me, I'll sign them too. If by chance anyone from Waterstones happens to see this blog, I am available for signings at most stores.
Writing wise, Quest for Courage is coming along nicely. I'm halfway through the final read through and have added several thousand more words to the story. It takes me roughly an hour to complete two pages to where I'm satisfied. I use Read Aloud, which is in Word in the Review tab at the top. Its brilliant and I thoroughly reccommend it to budding authors. The times it has picked up silly oversights, where I have read the sentence and believed it to be perfect, and haven't noticed the extra/missing word, or the incorrect punctuation is amazing. It's also great if you write an important letter, or in my case a Trip Adviser review and you want to get it spot-on. Write it in word first then put it in your email etc. Nothing says sloppy writer more than basic errors.
I'm trialling a different illustrator for this story too. I started out giving Ellie some chapter headings to do and she did such a good job, I'm giving her a stab at the cover design - her first. Initial drawings are looking promising. This time rather than use a photo then overlaying the characters, Ellie is building the scene from scratch. Its slightly nerve-racking, but her work on it so far has been good, so I'm hoping it'll be awesome.
I've numerous events and fairs booked for the remainder of the year and the Canterbury Arts Conference have just asked if I'd like to run a session on creative writing during their event. I am already attending their opening event and the author chat evening. I've also applied to the Kent Creative Xmas event at the Turner - we'll see how that goes next.
On a different front, I'm extremely pleased to say that Inspiration Writers Group, of which I'm chair, has had one of their anthologies, Green, shortlisted at the National Associations of Writers Groups Awards. I'd very much like to go to represent the group, but 460 miles is a long way to drive on my own over a weekend. Plus, there's the price of the NAWG WordFest 2021 and Gala meal. If anyone reading this fancy's accompanying me to attend the event, please make contact to discuss it further. Or maybe you have relatives living in Staffordshire and fancy a weekend home. That's fine too. Its at Yarnfield Park, near Stone.
Lastly, I 'm hoping get another short story out on my YouTube channel tomorrow, so watch this space, or rather YouTube. Carol M. Salter.
Can't believe six weeks have flown by since I last posted a blog. So much has happened during that time. I signed up for Eventissima Events and have already done three signing and selling fairs in Faversham. People attending my stall, appeared genuinely pleased to meet the author who won the Faversham Eye Writing Competition in 2020. I was buzzing with good feelings from that feedback.
Two days ago, saw the successful launch of my fourth full-length novel What If? at the Boating Pool Café, Royal Esplanade, Ramsgate. I would like to formally thank Katie and her team for supporting the launch, or should I say launches, as not only was my novel out, but Inspirations Writers Group (IWG) also launched their fifth anthology Blue. Well done to them outselling my copies by miles.
I was very surprised to discover how many folk, living in Thanet, had never heard, let alone visited Ramsgate's gorgeous Royal Esplanade and specifically the Café there. Seriously folks, you need to get out more. You have no excuse with Covid being slowly exterminated (Well, some of you might have!). The Boating Pool Café doesn't just boast good food at great prices, but for those of you who like a tipple in the sunshine, there's now a full bar The Ravensgate Arms opposite the café. They purport to offer cocktails as well as the increasingly popular microbrewery delights.
It was such a good venue that members commented on how nice it would be to have our meetings there. So, with Katie's support, the Inspirations Writers group is holding its next meeting at 10.30am on the 26th June outside at this venue - weather permitting - otherwise on Zoom as usual. Anyone is welcome to attend our meetings to discover if this is for you, you only need to bring paper and a pen - and a sense of humour. This is a disability friendly premises.
On the writing front, Aquasapien three Prodigy and Quest for Courage are now both complete. I'm prioritizing Q4C and doing a final read through, which so far has added an extra 3,000 words! At the same time, I'm overseeing the production of the drawings which have become a feature as chapter headings and working on the design for the Q4C cover. My plan is to launch this fifth novel, the third in the Witch on the Warpath series, later in the year. Remember you can purchase hard copies of all my novels, including the new What If? via my Estore and I deliver worldwide. Sadly, it appears that though Waterstones is advertising my work - which is very nice of them - feedback from customers across the UK tells me that though they have paid, no one has received a single copy yet! Come on Waterstones! My work is also avialable via Kindle.
Amongst all this, I've started reviewing places I've visited, eaten in or stayed at with the reduction of lockdown. You can join my readership on Trip Adviser.
Another podcast will be on the cards soon as I read from the Inspirations Writers Group next anthology Yellow. Sadly no members have given me permission/or offered to read their work, for inclusion into future podcasts so you'll have to settle for my work for now.
Also had no contacts from creatives who I've offered to complete a podcast for too. Never mind, my own work and sales continues apace.
Honestly, I'd forgotten how hard and complicated writing an Aquasapien novel was! Why did I ever decide to write something so in-depth and interwoven is beyond me. It must have been a good idea at the time. I can see why people love reading it now. The reviews I get back are amazing. So full of plot twists and action. I don't know about reading it, but writing it is certainly keeping me entertained.
Much of those first two books are coming back to me, and I'm having to learn how to fly an Agusta Tiltrotor aircraft all over again. I've left it too long to just wing it (pun intended.) Last time, I remember learning how to operate a dockside crane in Vietnam, understand the terminology and engineering aspects of deep sea submersibles and the flora and fauna of the Amazon tributaries amongst other things.
This time I'm re-learning gun velocities, flight distances and re-fuelling stations, shipping routes. Did you know you can track all shipping in real time? I can see, via my pal Google, why the UK is known for the busiest shipping routes in the world.
Currently Book three is two-thirds of the way along and I've got so many more missions to complete and the overall story to conclude in such a short period of time word count wise. I'm wondering whether there might end up being a Book Four too. This is a story that I go along for the ride, it flows out of me unstoppable and sometimes a little scary in its magnitude. Because I have to sleep in between, I leave pages of notes strewn across the dining table so I can pick it up where I left off the day before. Along with the inevitable questions; Is it faster to refuel the Agusta in King Saka International airport or risk travelling to Cape town? Fortunately, it has two external fuel tanks, but they lower its cruising speed velocity to 288 miles per hour. Have I lost you? Welcome to my world for the next few weeks. If you happen to see me, be advised I may be speaking gobbledy-gook until this story is over.
On the bright side, I got permission from the Faversham Eye to reproduce and read my winning competition entry LIFE AFTER CORONAVIRUS on my YouTube channel. Find it here. I think its one of the best pieces I've written so far, despite the demoralising subject matter. I've had many requests to turn it into a novel, but I have about seven novels in front of it. Publishers and agents are you listening?
Quest for Courage is finished too, apart from proof editing and I always like to leave it a while before I do that aspect. I'm currently working with illustrators to produce the chapter headings etc.
My next novel What If? launches on Saturday 29th May 10 to 3pm outside the Boating Pool Cafe, Ramsgate. Social distancing measures naturally. All 1 metre apart persons welcome.
As usual a lot has happened in the last few weeks. Aquasapien Book Two arrived safely, with much grumbling from my son as he had to load and unpack his car. Following that, What If was proofed, printed and delivered yesterday with much more complaining from my son has he unpacked another 100 books from his car. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank his place of employment for allowing me to have my books delivered there. Now the sun lounge looks more like a literary warehouse than somewhere to rest and relax in the sun. Who am I kidding, the only time I get to use the room is doing my one-to-one Kyokushin karate sessions in there with my 4th Dan sensei twice a week.
Book sales are slow, hardcopy wise with nowhere to sell, though Amazon is doing well with sales rising and Waterstones have finally taken my work and are selling them on their website. I have heard of sales around the UK, but of course retailers only send your money quarterly so I'll update you on that at a later date. And, Quex Barn Birchington still keeps several copies of my work on sale if you're nearby.
In addition to the usual local fairs, when they re-commence, I am booking at Eastbourne Wyntercon on 30th & 31st October. This year its at the Winter Gardens. Also booked is Reading Comicon on 27th and 28th November. Both events are brilliant and well worth attending for the day if like me, you are a Sci-Fi Fantasy weird geek.
I was hoping to launch What IF? at Quex Barn in May, however they are being responsible and not taking any bookings until Covid is confirmed as leaving us. Naturally, it leaves me frustrated, because I need to sell books to produce more. I have already started taking -pre-orders for copies. I'm not sure whether to look elsewhere or wait. Covid Bah! If you can offer a space, let me know.
I eventually plucked up the courage (pun intended) and opened Quest for Courage and I'm now on page eight-four of the second draft with visions of the cover flicking through my head, a view of the Air realm. Not sure if I've mentioned in a previous blog, A Sackful of Dragons, another novel I've started keeps calling. I get whiffs of scenes, but I'm trying to stay focused because there's two other novels to complete before that.
I say two, but...
Some of you may know of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing month) this is an organisation which promotes a month (November) every year where writers undertake to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I've taken part three times and completed it each time. Well, they contacted to say they have moved their server and would I go on my account to check my details etc. And there it was....
A whole novel I'd forgotten I'd written! Between Worlds. I still can't figure out how I forgot a whole book! I checked in my laptop, its 88,000 words! The story is about a woman who discovers that somebody from one of the seven levels of Hell is trying to kill her. With help, she goes into Hell to investigate. There are similarities with What If? but the storyline is completely different. Though it would be great to finish it, but I have Aqua Three and Q4C to complete and I'm trying to stay focused. Gosh I wish my head weren't so full of stories.
Inspirations Writers Group are bringing out their next anthology - Blue on 31st May. Remember you can join our meetings from anywhere in the world on zoom, and its free to do so. All you need to do is contact us via the contact form here ,or on their own website, inspirationswritersgroup.weebly.com
Quite often I don't realise the things I've accomplished in the previous four weeks, until I sit down and write my blog. This month is no exception. I've finished the final read through of What If? finding errors and altering numerous sentences since the final proof edit and adding another four thousand words to the end novel. Its gone now to my lovely formatter for the typeset and layout etc to be finalised. Already he's discovered another spelling mistake I missed. Its not the first time I've been grateful to have such a marvellous team of professionals around me.
This in turns leads me on to my latest activity this month, the innovation of a website to go with my Wayside Publication business. Originally invented, because as an independantly published author, none of the industry representatives would speak to me without the backing of a company name, WP provides me with the authenticity I require to interact with distributors, wholesalers and retail book companies not to mention Nielsen who are key to any publication becoming recognised as bonefide.
I'd like to thank Stella, from Stone Designs for her review of my brand and her idea for the introduction of a graphic to lift the simple WP logo. You've probably guessed I love cats, all animals in fact, but cats sit a teeny bit higher than most, so I decided to add one to the logo after Stella's comment. I began by trying to use a photo of one of my cats sitting up.
Using the drawing tab in jpeg I attempted, several times, to use a 'pen' to create a silhouette. I'd reccommend you try it, its extremely hard to make clear straight lines, at least it was for me. I gave up after my sixth attempt and moved over to my favourite person on the internet, Google. I searched for free silhouettes, but couldn't find the specific one until I happened upon my old friend clipart. The perfect kitty-cat stared out at me and extending the white diamond backup, he sat beautifully on the bottom of the logo. It wasn't until he was settled into the frame that I realised how clever he was. If you look, his head and back and rising tail create a letter W, and his curled tip and falling tail created the letter P. Couldn't have worked out better if I tried.
I've also finished the second amendment of my short story Figures, for the next Inspirations Writers Group Anthology, Blue. That has gone off for proof editing etc now. Elsewhere in the Wayside kingdom, Aquasapien Part 1, Book 1 has arrived and Part 2, Book is on its way through production. Yesterday I opened and stared at Quest for Courage - got cold feet and closed it again! I know I need to begin the re-write on the first draft to take it to the next level, but I know that includes thirty plus illustrations to find and create. Another book cover to design and yet more editing. I will get to it, but... reading for a while is calling more. I need to find the shove or more likely motivation to get stuck in. Hopefully by my next blog I'll be reporting back regards my progress on Q4C.
Also this month I've identified future plans for my own bookshop. Its still in the concept stage with both a gold and brass option. It will likely have to wait until I retire - again in five years as I'll need my pension to fall back on while I rise like a phoenix into the retail world. Sneak preview, it will only be selling Anime, Sci-Fi, fantasy and Paranormal. Covid go away. I can't wait for us to be able to interact again. I want to get out there selling books and have a book launch for What If?. I'm banking on May - fingers crossed.
Well, we got through 2020, some of us. Sadly, several people I know lost their lives to Covid during the Xmas period. My heart aches for their loves ones and I can't imagine the pain they are feeling. Sometimes I think why am I bothering, what's the point? Especially when sorrow hits like this. Then I feel guilty for thinking this way when others have physically lost their family members. Then I think, you selfish woman! Get off your bottom and do something positive! Something to make your life worthwhile and more importantly occupy your thoughts and time during this horrible pandemic.
So, here it is as promised, the cover for my next contemporary fantasy novel What IF? and here's the Blurb too, in a larger easier to read layout.
What if you discover everything you ever knew is untrue?
Twenty-four-year-old, Katie Wadlow, is forced to re-think her world when she learns her life is a complete lie. Hauling a semi-conscious person inside her apartment, she discovers her last living relative is someone hired to keep her hidden. Others are hunting her too. Feeling betrayed, Katie is forced to hiding once more, this time alone and homeless.
Can she stay one step ahead of those trying to capture or kill her?
Or will she die trying?