Sunday, August 31, 2014

Writing Historical Fiction - Online Course at Mount Royal University in September and October

Writing Historical Fiction is an online course at Mount Royal University in Calgary running from September 22 to November 3. 

Learn how to write authentic and appealing historical fiction and turn your ideas into compelling stories. Understand how research plays a crucial role. This course involves online assignments, discussions, and writing exercises. 

Registration is available here at the Mount Royal University website.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

An Excerpt from The Doomsday Mask

The two boys stopped to rest by a small creek. Looking around, Paul noticed an opening, partially concealed with some tree branches and pieces of rough wood, in the slope just above them.

“I think that’s some kind of mine,” he said. “Let’s see what’s inside.”

They quickly climbed through the underbrush and pulled aside the branches. It was the entrance of an old mine. Without a moment’s hesitation, Paul and Jonas clambered in, and Jonas turned on the flashlight. The passageway snaked deeper into the mine and looked as if it would collapse at any moment. Some of the wooden supports had buckled. Small pebbles and pieces of crumbled rock covered the ground. The walls were damp and water trickled down them every few feet. The boys hurried down the passage, which eventually opened out into an enormous cavern. Jonas waved the flashlight around, and both he and Paul were astonished at what they saw.

Scores of paintings were stacked against the mine walls, along with rolled-up carpets, tapestries and Greek and Roman statues. Wooden boxes and crates were piled everywhere—their half-open lids revealed sparkling necklaces, bracelets, gold and silver figurines and finely crafted clocks. Jonas picked out a blue crystal the size of his thumb. He held it up in the air and shone the flashlight directly at it.

“This is unusual,” he remarked. “It must be worth a lot.”

“Are you kidding? All this stuff is worth a fortune,” said Paul, turning around to look at another box of treasure.

As he stepped back, however, there was an ominous solitary click, which echoed throughout the cavern.

“Oh, my God,” Paul cried, as a thin wisp of smoke drifted up beside the paintings. “I must have tripped a wire!”

“What?” said Jonas.

“Booby trap! Run!” Paul shouted.

The boys sprinted along the passageway and had just reached the entrance when the mine exploded behind them.

You can learn more about The Doomsday Mask and the historical background and inspiration behind the novel on my website.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Working for Free: Part Nine - Everyone's Doing It

Clients always seem to have plenty of reasons why your working for free is a great idea. They don’t have a budget, they can trade you something, it’s for a worthy cause, and so on. People may still be resentful even if you have a valid reason for refusing to give anything away. They may tell you that there are lots of other people who will do the work for nothing or for a lower price than you. If the client really does know these types of people, you can always politely recommend that the client contact them. The chances are that these so-called experts are nothing like you. If they did have the same expertise, they couldn’t be offering to work for free.

After following your recommendation, the client may instead come back to you with a budget that didn’t seem to exist earlier. Either that or they hired the lower-price alternative only to be disappointed with the final result.

If you do decide to waive your fee, make sure the client knows exactly what you’re giving away. Clearly indicate your normal fee on the invoice or other official paperwork and state that your fee has been voluntarily waved. This firmly established the value of your services. It also makes sure that the client, or indeed other companies that they work with, are fully aware that you don’t always work for nothing.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Coaching and Workshops for Writers

I offer workshops and presentations for both adults and children for community associations,home schooled students and summer camps, as well as services for writers including coachingmanuscript editing and evaluation, plus online workshops for children and for adults. 

I conduct creative writing workshops with community associations and have run workshops and made presentations as part of summer camp programs in Calgary and the surrounding area. I also work as an instructor at the University of Calgary and at Mount Royal University, conducting one day classes and evening sessions for adults who are interested in writing for children and young adults. I’ve also conducted similar workshops for adults for community associations, professional writer’s groups, public libraries and am available as a speaker for keynote addresses, conferences and other events.

Contact me directly for further details about coaching and workshops.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Sphere of Septimus - October 2014

My latest novel, The Sphere of Septimus, is due to be published this October. Here's a brief synopsis of the story.

'Eric isn’t too happy when he has to spend the summer with his eccentric father, Septimus Trinket, in the backwater village of Middle Wogglehole, deep in the heart of rural Derbyshire.

In the isolated village, however, things are not quite what they seem. Eric meets Jessica, who tells him of the legends and mysterious stories that have surrounded Middle Wogglehole for centuries. When they discover Septimus’ shocking secret, Eric and Jessica are soon fighting for their lives against the forces of evil, in a world very different to their own.'



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hear Here - Author Readings Online

People are always interested in hearing an author read from their own work. Children in particular, especially those who have read and enjoyed the novels, are usually captivated when an author reads from their own book during a personal appearance at a school, library, literary festival or other event.

Here on my website, you can listen to interviews and readings from The Alchemist's PortraitThe Clone ConspiracyThe Emerald Curse and The Heretic's Tomb, recorded on Calgary's CKUA radio network, plus a reading from The Sorcerer's Letterbox, recorded during my appearance at the Winnipeg International Writers Festival.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Copywriting Services for Business

The way in which you communicate with your customers is a vital component  of your business and well written content can be the difference between success and failure. 

I have extensive experience in writing for a wide range of industries and market segments and offer a variety of copywriting services including website content, blogs and newsletters, social media including Facebook and Twitter, brochures, direct mail, sales letters, press releases, newspaper and magazine advertising and more. 
Contact me for details regarding copywriting services and my portfolio of completed projects.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction: Volume One - First Contact


Interested in writing science fiction? Check out The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction: Volume One - First Contact, one of the most comprehensive writer's guide to creating science fiction. My own chapter in the anthology is entitled Science Fiction for Younger Readers Aged Eight to Twelve, but there's something in this book for everyone. 

The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction leads the writer from the pitfalls and clich├ęs of a first story to selling and promoting a novel, and the writing life beyond. Topics range from the history of SF to alien creation, world building, space travel, and future medicine ­a perfect reference and writing guide for someone wishing to write science fiction. In addition to my own contribution to the anthology, chapters are written by other established professionals as well as up-and-coming talents, including Jeanne Allen, Bud Sparhawk, Piers Anthony, Michele Acker, Milena Benini, Bob Nailor, Orson Scott Card, Michael McRae, Ian Irvine, Tina Morgan, Will McCarthy, Darin Park, Kim Richards, and Carol Hightshoe.

Here are just a few of the reviews:


“The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy is a broad compendium of advice and resource material developed and compiled by writers who understand the struggle involved in mastering the craft.”

“In short, if you were going to look up ‘experts’ to talk to about some aspect of the world you are building, these are the people you’d ask.”

“All aspiring and newly established science fiction writers should read The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction before sending out their manuscripts.”



Saturday, August 23, 2014

Working for Free: Part Eight - Fair Trades?

A common theme in the working for free saga is the offer of a trade. In many walks of life this might actually be worthwhile. Your profession and that of the client might be complimentary. Or they may just be offering to trade your time and talent for something that you’d like to have, whether or not its related to what you do for a living. However, this might also be an item that you either don’t want or simply don’t need. It could even be something that you don’t consider as having the same value as your own products or services.

At some events, I’ve exchanged books with fellow authors, since they’re the same type product to my own and often sold a similar price. There are other occasions when a trade isn’t possible. If I’m composing text for a website for a company that manufactures and sells auto parts or some other industrial product, a trade isn’t really feasible. There are also occasions when someone offers a trade when the value of the items isn’t the same. My own books are priced at $10 each and sometimes someone might offer to trade their own item selling at the same price. However, I might consider their product to be substandard and something that I’ll throw in the garbage as soon as you get home. This kind of situation can be complicated and a little uncomfortable, but in the end the wisest policy is to politely decline.

If you do decide to do a trade, make it official. Create something in writing that states exactly what it is you’re both exchanging, complete with the normal price of each item. This not only places a specific value on your services or products but also prevents any embarrassing incidents later on if things have been left a little vague. Trades can certainly work, but need to be carefully considered each time. If you’re thinking of trading your services for a song, you’d be well advised to make sure that both sides in the arrangement are in tune.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Writing Historical Fiction - Online Course at Mount Royal University in September and October

Writing Historical Fiction is an online course at Mount Royal University in Calgary running from September 22 to November 3. 

Learn how to write authentic and appealing historical fiction and turn your ideas into compelling stories. Understand how research plays a crucial role. This course involves online assignments, discussions, and writing exercises. 

Registration is available here at the Mount Royal University website.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Writing Services for Website Content

A good first impression is still very important and your website is often the first place people will encounter your company and it’s products and services.

Your on line copy reflects your professionalism or lack of it. You need to take pride in what you have on the web. If it appears you don’t really care what your site looks like, the customer will assume your products may be similarly slipshod. 
I offer both hourly rates and flat fees for website content writing, based on the requirements of the project. Please contact me directly for rates and fees for copywriting for website content.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Great Review of The Children's Writer's Guide

 
Check out this great review of The Children's Writer's Guide.

"I illustrate children’s books occasionally and I know many of you have ideas for children’s books or you may have written a few stories yourself (and a wonderful number of you have commissioned illustrations of your writing from me). Simon Rose’s The Children’s Writer’s Guide is the perfect handbook to take you from finding a unique, untold story of your own, to launching your published work in bookstores.



The author has taught classes at the local university and this book comes out of his experience teaching in person, making the benefits available to many more!

My first impression was of a very straightforward guide which covered each topic necessary to the author, without getting bogged down by in-depth over explaining. After all, the person most likely to pick up this book “knows” about books and topics, and simply needs the direction and clear path provided by this guide. 

This book is also an excellent resource for accomplished authors who wish to become more prolific, using a system of efficacy to create more books in a shorter amount of time."

Katana Leigh 
Artist and Illustrator

The Children's Writer's Guide is available as a paperback and as an ebook at Amazon and Kobo.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

An Excerpt from The Heretic's Tomb

Just then, two men on horseback galloped up to the house.  Isabella recognized the lead figure as Sir Roger de Walsingham, who was closely followed by Fitzwalter, Sir Roger’s overseer. A powerful man, Sir Roger owned vast estates in neighbouring counties and was master of the formidable Alversham Castle. He was a seasoned warrior and had fought bravely at King Edward’s side during the wars in France, receiving a number of serious wounds. His left hand was missing two fingers and he had a long deep scar running down the right side of his face. As well as being notorious for the barbaric cruelty he showed to his enemies, it was also rumoured that he poisoned his first wife in order to inherit her considerable land holdings.

Almost immediately after Isabella’s husband died, Sir Roger had offered to marry her. But Isabella suspected his motives were far from romantic. She was certain that it was the Devereaux estate that he desired.  Although Isabella politely turned down his proposal, Sir Roger would not give up, believing that once her grief had subsided Isabella would change her mind.

Sir Roger approached Isabella’s loaded wagon, dressed in his customary black chain mail under a black surcoat, which had a white stag embroidered on the chest, the de Walsingham family emblem. His dark hair, beard and black eyes complemented his grim apparel.

Fitzwalter kept his distance. As Isabella examined him from the corner of her eye, she could see why Sir Roger had chosen him as his henchman. Fitzwalter’s stocky frame was made of pure muscle, and his pale blond hair, icy blue eyes and squat nose made him a frightening presence.He was extremely loyal and had been in Sir Roger’s service for many years, dealing mercilessly with every one of his master’s enemies.

“So, my lady,” Sir Roger began, “have you reconsidered my proposal?”

As he spoke, his smile accentuated the gruesome scar on his face.

“My lord,” Isabella replied, “My answer remains the same. My mind is quite made up.”

“But what of your estates and your retainers?”

“My people will be well looked after,” Isabella replied, “and Sir Edmund has agreed to administer my estate.”

“So it remains your intention to leave?” asked Sir Roger.

“Yes, my lord,” Isabella replied. “I have decided to live out my remaining days at the abbey.”

A sly grin crept across Sir Roger’s face as he removed his chain mail gloves, exposing his deformed hand.

“Surely, it is not your plan to become a nun? A woman of your grace and beauty would be sorely wasted in the service of God.”

“As opposed to becoming your wife?” Isabella shot back. “Thereby giving you title to my estate the moment we exchange wedding vows?”

“My lady, consider your situation,” he said, calmly stroking his beard with the remaining fingers of his left hand. “Your husband is dead and you need to remarry. My offer is more than generous. Imagine what your life would be like as Lady Isabella de Walsingham?”

“A match with you, my lord, would be a match with the devil himself!” Isabella replied fiercely. “I would rather die!”

Sir Roger’s eyes narrowed. He grabbed the whip from his saddle and raised it high in the air.

“You are exceedingly bold,” he sneered, “but also most foolish. Mark my words; no one defies Sir Roger de Walsingham! I swear that you will pay dearly for this humiliation!”

Sir Roger turned his horse and galloped away, followed by Fitzwalter. Once she was sure they had gone, Isabella quickly made her way to the safety of her new home at Thornbury Abbey.

You can learn more about The Heretic's Tomb and the historical background to the novel on my website.

Monday, August 18, 2014

What is Substantive Editing?

You’ve finished your first novel after years of painstaking work. You’re sure it could be a best seller and everyone you know is very enthusiastic. Yet your manuscript is returned by publishers, with a form letter providing no clues as to why they didn’t like it. Having your work independently evaluated gives you an unbiased opinion, helping you to tighten your manuscript and fix problems you may have overlooked.
substantive edit involves detailed content assessment. This may include comments on characterization, setting, dialogue, believability, structure, plot, language, research and references. It also includes a summary of the strengths and weaknesses (if any) of your writing, along with comments on writing technique, format, technical ability and market potential. 
A substantive edit is different to copy editing, which is performed by an experienced professional. Copy editing covers grammar, spelling, punctuation and many other details that writers are sometimes unaware of but publishers care deeply about. Substantive editing also differs from proof reading, which checks the final details before a book or article is printed or published. Following an in-depth substantive edit, both copy editing and proof reading are still needed before publication.
I offer substantive editing services for most genres. You can visit my website for further information or contact me directly for an estimate. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Working for Free: Part Seven - There's No Budget

Some potential clients will be very honest right at the outset regarding their inability to pay you. They might state very clearly in their first email that they have little or no budget for the proposed project.

Every situation is different, but it’s wise to mention money very early in any email exchange. This applies even if the client is initially only inquiring about your experience and availability. You’ll simply be wasting each other’s time if you don’t inform the client at an early stage about the costs of your time and expertise. Some clients might tell you that they don’t currently have a budget, implying that there will be money later. On some occasions this will be an outright lie, but if the client is aware of your fees this can save a lot of time, especially if they’re asking a lot of questions regarding how you’d work on their project. If the client genuinely has money right now, ask when the next fiscal year starts or when a budget might be available. If they provide a time frame and appear honest, make arrangements to stay in touch and contact them in a few months or whenever they indicated that funds might be available.

Perhaps they’re a start-up operation and really don’t have any additional funding right now. This is similar to you taking a gamble by quoting a lower price in the hope that they’ll be more work in the future. If the client is satisfied with your work, they may contact you again when there’s money. On the other hand, they may just take advantage of you and you never hear from them again. There’s no guarantee you won’t get burned, but you have to judge each case on its merits.

You can of course also just put them off if you think they’ve got potential but also have a sneaking suspicion that they’re bad news. Tell them that you can’t fit the work in at the moment, but arrange to remain in contact. If the company’s genuinely interested in having you on board they’re more likely to stay in touch with you as well.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Coaching and Workshops for Writers

I offer workshops and presentations for both adults and children for community associations,home schooled students and summer camps, as well as services for writers including coachingmanuscript editing and evaluation, plus online workshops for children and for adults. 

I conduct creative writing workshops with community associations and have run workshops and made presentations as part of summer camp programs in Calgary and the surrounding area. I also work as an instructor at the University of Calgary and at Mount Royal University, conducting one day classes and evening sessions for adults who are interested in writing for children and young adults. I’ve also conducted similar workshops for adults for community associations, professional writer’s groups, public libraries and am available as a speaker for keynote addresses, conferences and other events.

Contact me directly for further details about coaching and workshops.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Children's Writer's Guide on Pinterest


The Children’s Writer’s Guide examines how to get started as a writer. Topics covered include where ideas come from, editing and revision, choosing character names, research, magic in stories for children, marketing and promotion and more.

The Children's Writer's Guide is available as a paperback and as an ebook at Amazon and Kobo.

Flashback - Coming Soon

Flashback, my ninth novel, will be published by Tyche Books  in early 2015. Here's a brief synopsis.

Flashback

Lots of kids have an imaginary friend. Max certainly did. His friend was a little boy who liked all the things Max did, enjoyed the same games, and who even looked a little like him. Then one day, Max’s friend said something that scared him. Max never saw his friend again.

Several years later, Max’s imaginary childhood friend returns – older, wiser, and disturbingly real. Max learns that his friend is actually the ghost of David Dexter, who lost his life when he stumbled upon a deadly conspiracy involving secret mind-control experiments, rogue scientists, government cover-ups, and murder. David tells Max of events concealed for over twenty years, events that someone will go to deadly lengths to keep that way.

Max must journey into his friend’s past, actually reliving the final weeks of David’s life. Max faces danger at every turn, not knowing how his actions will affect what he knows as reality.

Tyche Books is a Canadian small-press specializing in science-fiction and fantasy anthologies, novels, and non-fiction, all available as ebooks and trade paperbacks. They crave innovative stories that push the boundaries of our imaginations. Tyche want to discover new voices and propel established authors further along their journey. Based out of Alberta, Canada, Tyche is the new home of BOLD Science Fiction, Fantasy and related Non-Fiction.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Writing Historical Fiction - Online Course at Mount Royal University in September and October

Writing Historical Fiction is an online course at Mount Royal University in Calgary running from September 22 to November 3. 

Learn how to write authentic and appealing historical fiction and turn your ideas into compelling stories. Understand how research plays a crucial role. This course involves online assignments, discussions, and writing exercises. 

Registration is available here at the Mount Royal University website.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ghostwriting Services

Is there a book you desperately want to write? Maybe you’re an expert in your field, well respected by colleagues, who are all convinced that you should become an author. Yet there’s no time in your busy schedule to actually sit down and write.
Perhaps you’re a performer or artist, eager to commit your experiences to paper? Or you have a great idea for a self-help book, a how-to manual, a cookery book, a tourism or restaurant guide? Or are you wanting to write your autobiography or the biography of someone else in your family?
I'm available for ghostwriting in a wide range of genres, including the arts, biographies, business, children/YA/ teen fiction and non-fiction, food, history, historical fiction, fantasy, health, how-to/self-help, humor, inspirational, memoir, military, multicultural, music, mystery, nature, parenting, pets, picture books, culture, romance, science fiction, sports, travel and more.
Whatever the subject, fiction or non-fiction, for adults or for children, I'm available for collaboration on your next project.
I offer both hourly rates and flat fees, based on the requirements of the project. Please contact me directly for rates and fees for ghostwriting.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Copywriting Services for Business

The way in which you communicate with your customers is a vital component  of your business and well written content can be the difference between success and failure. 

I have extensive experience in writing for a wide range of industries and market segments and offer a variety of copywriting services including website content, blogs and newsletters, social media including Facebook and Twitter, brochures, direct mail, sales letters, press releases, newspaper and magazine advertising and more. 
Contact me for details regarding copywriting services and my portfolio of completed projects.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Working for Free: Part Six - It's Great Exposure

Sometimes a potential client might explain that although there’s no money to pay you, you’ll get great exposure and that there’s a high probability of future paid work? Should you consider doing this for free?

As tempting as it is, it’s wise to ask for further information about this offer that’s supposedly going to put you on the map. Ask for more details about what kind of exposure you’re going to get. You can then assess for yourself if this is something for which you should waive you usual fee. For example, how is your name or product going to be used for your benefit? Will there be a link your website or blog? If your work involves an event, what’s the anticipated attendance and will you be able to display promotional materials, such as brochures and business cards? Will you be able to use your work for the company to promote your own work later on?

If none of this seems beneficial, or if you’re just not comfortable with the whole situation, you can always say no. It might even be good to point out to the client that you don’t really need any better exposure. After all, you must already be reasonably visible since they contacted you in the first place.    

The Sphere of Septimus - October 2014

My latest novel, The Sphere of Septimus, is due to be published this October. Here's a brief synopsis of the story.

'Eric isn’t too happy when he has to spend the summer with his eccentric father, Septimus Trinket, in the backwater village of Middle Wogglehole, deep in the heart of rural Derbyshire.

In the isolated village, however, things are not quite what they seem. Eric meets Jessica, who tells him of the legends and mysterious stories that have surrounded Middle Wogglehole for centuries. When they discover Septimus’ shocking secret, Eric and Jessica are soon fighting for their lives against the forces of evil, in a world very different to their own.'


Friday, August 8, 2014

An Excerpt from The Emerald Curse

Charles Kelly’s sixtieth birthday came and went. He felt relieved that Karakor had not returned as he had promised, and was convinced that the demon had forgotten their contract. One morning, he sat down at his easel beside the attic window, briefly glancing at the sailboats in the distance. He picked up the antique pen and began to sketch the figure of the Speck, one of his many superhero characters. But when Kelly looked down at his drawing, the hideous face of Karakor stared back at him.

Kelly abruptly stood up, stepping away from the easel. For a moment, the attic was deathly quiet. Then Kelly heard the ominous voice of the demon rattling in his head.

“The time has come,” said Karakor. “You have failed to honour our agreement.”

“No, I haven’t,” Kelly insisted. “I created the story you wanted.”

“Then where is it?” Karakor demanded.

“Right here,” said Kelly, picking up an oversized pad of paper. “I finished it last month. It’s an extra-long story called Eclipse of the Superheroes.”

“What good is it to me sitting here in your studio?” snapped Karakor. “I want the whole world to read it. When will it be published?”

“Never!” said Kelly defiantly. “It doesn’t have to be published. That wasn’t the deal. All I had to do was to create the story, and I did.”

Karakor flew into a rage. “I gave you everything!” he roared. “You would have nothing without me. Nothing! Your artwork, your success, your acclaim are all my doing! I’ll tear you apart!”

“I’m not afraid of you,” said Kelly, his voice shaking. “You can’t kill me. I’ve fulfilled our pact.” Karakor glared coldly.

“Perhaps I won’t kill you,” he declared, “but, as I promised, you will wish that you had never been born!”

Kelly tried to back away but found to his horror that he couldn’t move his legs. “What are you doing?” he exclaimed, as he was steadily pulled toward his easel. He tried to shout for help, but no sound came from his lips.

Charles Kelly vanished.

You can learn more about The Emerald Curse and the superheroes that inspired the novel on my website.