Suffer the little children

Writer's Lot

As people’s interest in family history continues to grow, many people will be shocked to see the high infant mortality rate in the United Kingdom in the 1800s.

Causes of death you may come across include typhus, whooping cough, smallpox and a condition described as Phthisis (pronounced thigh-sis) or Consumption, which is more commonly known now as tuberculosis. In the 1860s, two-fifths of all deaths in Glasgow were due to respiratory diseases and tuberculosis.

In cities, living conditions were far from healthy with overcrowding in poorly-kept tenements. In the mining communities of Scotland, the conditions were exacerbated by the ever-present dampness in the two-room dwellings that often housed ten children, and the coal dust that hung in the air and on clothes.

Families were decimated as adults and children of all ages succumbed to the highly infectious disease of tuberculosis which was characterised by the wasting away or atrophy of…

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10 Things I’ve Learned From Self-Publishing

A Writer's Path


by J.U. Scribe

It’s been three years since I self published my first book. It’s definitely been a learning experience marked by relative successes and failures. As I mark the 3rd anniversary since I self-published Before the Legend , here are the top ten things I’ve learned over the course of three years in no particular order.

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The Problem and Solution to Writing Book 2 of a Trilogy — A Writer’s Path

by Teagan Berry I don’t know why, but for some reason when writing a trilogy I find the second book the hardest. Book One is simple. Introduce the characters, establish their working relationships with one another, and tease the big, BIG conflict which will happen two books from now.

via The Problem and Solution to Writing Book 2 of a Trilogy — A Writer’s Path

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Becoming a Published Author

Condemned by Fate – Now Published! It all happened quite quickly and quietly really. After months of pulling together my short story, reworking it after the editing, making sure the formattin…

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Becoming a Published Author

Condemned by Fate – Now Published!

Condemned by Fate

A Prequel

It all happened quite quickly and quietly really. After months of pulling together my short story, reworking it after the editing, making sure the formatting was right and then navigating my way through the IRS tax exemption questionnaire on Amazon, suddenly my book was up there on Amazon, waiting to be reviewed and formally accepted.

They said it could take up to 72 hours and so, although I had the expected butterflies in my stomach when I pressed submit, in reality I was quite calm. What I didn’t expect was that approximately four hours later I would get a message back from KDP saying that my book was now published. Just when I was having a night off too!

So there it is, without any fanfare or even a celebratory glass of anything, I’m a published author!

The gloss was taken off the ‘launch’ a little, when, for some reason, the description didn’t show on my Amazon page as it should. I immediately went in to change it, but that takes time, and even when the changes were made, the text I added had been removed again. I’ve no idea why and I feel a little frustrated that you can’t preview it before you submit.

Nevertheless, it’s up there and available, now with the correct book description! I know the hard work of making it’s presence known is about to start, but this book is my trial run.

It is a short story prequel to The Ambition & Destiny Series and I am offering it as a free pdf download to email subscribers. The main reason I put it onto Amazon was to familiarise myself with the system. I’ll also use it to practice my advertising techniques and see how it goes. The main series is still to come … and that’s what I’ve given six years of my life to so far. When I get to launch that, I want to know what I’m doing.

It feels strange to have my work out in the real world for people to see and (hopefully) comment on. I just hope the comments are on the positive side.

If you’d like a free copy of the book, click here and complete the box at the bottom of the page. Alternatively, click here for a link to my Amazon page (still sounds unreal!)

The Ambition & Destiny Series is a compelling saga of love, loss and betrayal set against the backdrop of Victorian England. Part 1 is due for publication in early 2017.



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Does Every Story Need a Happy Ending? — A Writer’s Path

by Allison Maruska Every story needs certain elements to be a story. We’ve talked about characters, settings, and problems. If we’re following the mnemonic below, that leaves us with solutions to talk about. Cows = Characters See = Setting Pretty = Problem Sunflowers = Solution This works great for eight-year-olds learning the parts of […]

via Does Every Story Need a Happy Ending? — A Writer’s Path

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Copyright Infringement, 403 pirated book offers blasted.

Myths of the Mirror


“It only takes one click to copy and republish a creator’s original content without his permission.” – Blasty

Back in July, Debby of dgkayewriter and Damyanti of Damyanti-writes both mentioned a new online service called Blasty.

Blasty allows writers to sign up their books, and then continually monitors Google for infringing copies of content. Each suspect link is flagged to the writer’s dashboard, and the writer is given the opportunity to “blast” (eradicate) the link from Google with a simple click! No paperwork, no cease and desist notifications, no time-consuming and frustrating dealings with pirates.

Intrigued, I signed up. In four months, I’ve blasted 403 copyright infringements on 8 books.

Per Blasty: “Each time you click on “Blast,” a copyright removal procedure under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) is automatically initiated, resulting in the complete elimination of the infringing webpage  from Google on a worldwide basis. Since Blasty has been approved…

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When Writing Fiction Based on Real Life – Should you Change Character Names?


Naming Characters

When I started my writing journey, I used the real names of the characters. It wasn’t because I was being lazy, it was because I was writing about  my ancestors and I wanted to ‘connect’ with them and know who I was researching. I always knew that somewhere down the line, if I ever published the book, I would change at least some of the names. As time went on, however, I became attached to the names and I started to question if I really did need to change them. There are two reasons why the answer to this question was YES, at least for the surnames.

Reasons to Change Names

One is obvious (to me anyway). Some of my fictional story lines paint certain characters in a bad light, and one is incriminated in a couple of murders. I clearly don’t want the real people being associated with their fictional counterparts; I also don’t want to upset any living relatives.

The second reason was less apparent. When family members read my early drafts, most were confused by the number of characters. I thought it was because I hadn’t explained myself clearly enough, but when I had a short story prequel to the series edited (which only names about five characters), the editor made me realise that part of the problem is that some of the names sound too similar.

In real life, across the whole series, I have:

  • Mary (x2), Mary-Ann, Mary-Anne, Maria (x2)
  • Sarah, Sarah-Ann
  • Ann
  • Elizabeth (x2), Eliza
  • William (x5)
  • Charles (x3)

… plus an assortment of other names that are only used once.

After the first draft, one of the Williams had to go. Even I was confused! Part of the problem was, however, that I had to leave four of the William’s with the same name – it was part of the story to show the relationship between them. I think I’ve managed it. One of them is always referred to as Mr Weatherby (changed name), one stays as William, one is William Junior and one is William-Weatherby. I did consider using Bill, Billy or Willy, but the names didn’t fit their personas or circumstances. I specifically asked my beta readers if William and William Junior (who were actually sons of the same mother!) were confusing and I got comments to the effect that they weren’t. Hopefully it won’t confuse the wider audience.

The Charles’s were relatively easy. One died before the last one was born and the other was a father / grandfather, so that is how he is always referred to.

The women are not so easy.

I decided the best way to get authentic names was to go back to the census records and see what their neighbours were called. Do you know what I found? The majority were called Mary, Elizabeth, Ann, Sarah and Sarah-Ann. Those that weren’t were called Lucy, Emma, Martha, Rachel, Rebecca, Charlotte, Katherine … and I already had them as well!

How was I going to rename at least six different female characters from such a small pool of names?

Dickens had to make names up

As I was considering this, I came across and article on the BBC website about naming conventions through the last few centuries. It included the following:

For centuries, name giving was determined by custom, with most babies being given one of only a few names that were handed down from one generation to the next. Even in the late 18th Century, more than half of all boys in Britain were baptised William, John or Thomas, and more than half of all girls were baptised Elizabeth, Mary or Anne.

I could have told them that!

It went on to say:

[Charles] Dickens alone created a thousand named characters … for example, his characters named Daisy, Flora, Rose and Rosa probably helped foster the Victorian fashion for botanical names for girls.

So it looks like even Dickens had trouble and needed to make up names for his characters. That made me feel slightly better.  🙂

I’ve started, but not finished, my renaming process. William was such a common name of the time I decided I could leave it unchanged, but for the women I suspect in weeks to come I may be adopting some of Dickens’ names. Don’t be surprised if you see someone called Rose or Daisy crop up in any of the books!

If you want to know more about The Ambition & Destiny Series or receive my monthly newsletter, visit my website here.

Anyone signed up, will automatically receive a free copy of the short story prequel, Condemned by Fate, when it becomes available

ReferenceBBC Website

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Emotional Beats: Ways to Portray Interest

Nicholas C. Rossis

Emotional Beats | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Read for free with KU

In September, I mentioned the launch of Emotional Beats: How to Easily Convert your Writing into Palpable Feelings. As promised, I will be posting the book on my blog. So, here is the next installment, listing beats you can use to convey:


Commonly used in a romantic setting, these are some nice ways to show interest between characters.


  • She anchored her attention on…
  • For a moment, his eyes hung on the [object].
  • He shifted his gaze to the [object].
  • His eyes retraced their path to…
  • Her eyes darted toward…
  • His dark-eyed gaze tugged at her heart.

Hands & Feet

  • She spread her arms wide.
  • He held out his arms.
  • She raised a hand in greeting.
  • He snapped to attention.
  • He leaned forward, his fingers laced before him on the tabletop.
  • He gestured a little too excitedly and nearly toppled off the couch.
  • Her…

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Self-publishing and the snobbery issue

Alison Williams Writing


I work with all different types of authors, those who are hoping to secure a publishing deal, those who are chasing the self-publishing dream and even a couple who have gone on to secure a deal with one of the big five (or six, or whatever it is). Some of these writers are brilliant, some are really talented, some are steady, dependable story tellers who can spin a good yarn, some aren’t that great, some have accepted help and advice and have improved in leaps and bounds, a few I have advised to go right back to the drawing board and there have been a handful who I have had to advise that writing is perhaps not the path for them (this is at the sample edit stage – I never take a penny from authors in this situation).

You might be surprised to know that most of the authors…

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