Sunday, September 14, 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.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Children's Writer's Guide - Available Online


The Children’s Writer’s Guide examines how you can get started as a writer, create time and space to pursue your craft and deal with lack of motivation and writers block. Topics covered include where ideas come from and how writers turn them into stories, choosing names for characters that are appropriate to the story, the importance of historical research if your novel is set in a different era, writing science fiction and fantasy, and the use of magic in stories for children.

The guide examines the role of editing and revision and how to deal with what is often the inevitable process of rejection, at least until good fortune comes your way. I also recount some of my experiences with marketing and promotion, such as book launches and in-store signings, websites, blogs, and social media, and discusses presentations, workshops and author-in-residence programs at schools and libraries.

Check out the video on YouTube, where I talk about some of the topics covered in the Guide.

Here are just a few places where you can buy The Children’s Writer’s Guide, which is available in ebook and print versions.

Amazon Canada               Amazon USA               Kobo               
Amazon UK                       Amazon Germany       Amazon France           
Amazon Japan                  Amazon USA (paperback)

You can also learn more about The Children’s Writer’s Guidealong with all my other books, on my website.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Meet Your Local Authors Book Fair in NW Calgary - Saturday, October 4

Join me at the Meet Your Local Authors Book Fair in October. The event takes place at Parkdale Community Centre in NW Calgary on Saturday, October 4 from 10 am to 4 pm. More than 30 authors will be in attendance to meet their readers, autograph books and answer questions about their work in a showcase of local talent. 

Genres include children's books, YA, teens, adult fiction and nonfiction, biographies, history, self-help, and many more.

Parkdale Community Centre is located at 3512 5 Avenue NW. Hope to see you there on October 4.

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, September 11, 2014

School Visits, Presentations and Workshops

I offer a variety of presentationsauthor in residence programs and conduct workshops for children at schools. 

I offer a variety of presentations for grades three to eight, but can work with grades one and two as well. I cover such topics as where ideas come from, story structure, editing and revision, character development, time travel stories, history and research, plus many other aspects of writing and publishing. 

I will present to around one hundred students at a time, although we can also look at workshops with smaller groups or individual classes. Each of my novels provide ideas for classroom projects and you may find some suggestions on the Study Guides page on my website. 

Contact me for details of fees and availability for school presentations.

Wednesday, September 10, 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.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Working for Free: Part Eleven - Friends and Family

Friends and family present their own unique challenges when it comes to working free. You may feel obligated to help some people because you’re friends. However, it’s important to remember that financial issues often cause the most serious disagreements between friends. It can be tricky to refuse close friends, but to avoid endangering your relationship, it might be wise to create a document, either official or not, stating exactly what your friend is paying for and exactly what is being provided free of charge. This may appear to be somewhat excessive attention to detail, but it makes sense if you and to avoid uncomfortable difficulties later on. You can also decline a project by claiming to be busy and hope that your friend finds someone else in the meantime.

With family members the situation can be more complicated. Distant family members, who only connect with you because you have something that they need, are almost in the same category as those friends who expect you to work for free. Closer family members represent the one working for free incident that you may not be able to avoid. If your sibling’s a carpenter, for example, you might realistically expect them to work for free, if you at least buy all the materials for your home renovation. Close family members are usually aware of the value of what your do since they’re familiar with your work. They may not even like to ask you to provide something at no charge, but if they do, you need to determine whether it’s worthwhile or if it might cause long-term damage to your relationship. In the end, it’s always your decision.

Monday, September 8, 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.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Writing for Children and Young Adults - Classes at Mount Royal University in November/December

Writing for Children and Young Adults. Evening classes at Mount Royal University in Calgary from November 12 to December 3, 6.30 pm to 9.30 pm. 

Explore the process of writing books for children and young adults aged 8 to 12. Focus on structure, character development and research, and their importance in your stories. Examine how to turn a creative story idea into a marketable, finished manuscript.

Registration is available here at the Mount Royal University website.

Saturday, September 6, 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.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Forming Fictional Characters - University of Calgary, Tuesday, October 28

Each year, the Continuing Education department at the University of Calgary serves over 20,000 lifelong learners and offers thousands of courses taught by more than 1,000 instructors – all experts in their fields.

Forming Fictional Characters - Tuesday, October 28, 6 pm to 9 pm 


Without people there is no plot and characters are at the heart of any story. In this workshop, we explore where writers get ideas for the people in their stories, the many methods of creating strong characters and how to use descriptive language to build them. Students invent their own unique characters and also learn how to write effective and engaging dialogue for their creations so that their characters truly come alive for the reader.

Learn more about the Forming Fictional Characters workshop and how to register here

Thursday, September 4, 2014

An Excerpt from The Time Camera

Eleanor Chamberlain frantically deleted all the computer files and tossed any important research notes and documents into the garbage can, soaked them with chemicals from the lab and set them alight. The fire spread quickly. She prayed that the flames wouldn’t trigger any alarms, and regretfully watched as all her research turned into ashes.

All that remained was the camera itself.

As she studied the device, Eleanor marvelled that something so unassuming could possess such extraordinary power. The camera was an incredible discovery, but Eleanor knew that it was far too dangerous to fall into the wrong hands. She knew what she had to do.
All the designs and blueprints had been burned beyond recognition, and Eleanor prepared to drop the camera itself into the fire.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

Eleanor spun around to see her research partner, Magnus Sinclair, standing in the doorway less than twenty feet away.

“I already told you, Magnus,” Eleanor replied, maintaining a firm grip on the camera, “this project is too dangerous.”

“What are you talking about?” he asked, edging toward her.

“You know what I mean, Magnus,” she said sternly. “You said as much yourself.”

“But think of the possibilities, Eleanor! We could both be rich beyond our wildest dreams. You know as well as I do, this isn’t about the past. It’s about the future. About the technology and all the inventions still to be discovered. It could all belong to us.”

“It’s still theft, no matter how you look at it.”

“But no one would ever know,” Magnus retorted. “How could they?”

“I can’t allow it,” insisted Eleanor, shaking her head. “I already burnt all the research notes and deleted all the computer files. We need to end this –  right now.”

She turned to drop the camera into the flames still burning in the garbage can, but Magnus lunged at her. In the struggle, Eleanor’s elbow knocked over the chemicals by the computer, spilling them onto the fire, which erupted in a tower of flame.

In the confusion, Magnus grabbed the camera, seconds before an explosion ripped through the lab. When the smoke cleared, he could see Eleanor trapped under a heavy steel filing cabinet.

“Magnus!” she cried. “Magnus, help me, I can’t move my legs!”

But he put the camera into his pocket and backed away toward the door.
“Magnus!” she screamed. “Don’t leave me!”

Suddenly there was a second larger explosion. Magnus was thrown through the laboratory doorway and landed in the hallway. He struggled to his feet, stumbled into the shattered lobby and rushed outside to safety.

You can learn more about The Time Camera on my website.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Working for Free: Part Ten - Worthy Causes

Many of us make charitable donations, whether it’s giving money to well known campaigns regarding breast cancer, diabetes or some other medical condition or contributing to sporting events, such as marathons or sponsored runs and walks, that raise money.

Professionals are also sometimes asked to donate their time and talents to a worthy cause. Authors are often asked to donate books to libraries or schools that have been damaged during after floods or other natural disasters. Personally, I offer books and services to charities, organizations, or causes related to children, especially children with disabilities. This could be defined as working for free, but many of these campaigns and events provide tax receipts or other official paperwork. The decision to donate your time in this way is of course a personal choice.

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.