War and writing tips

I was going to blog today about book promotion. I read somewhere that the lead up to Christmas is a very good time to do promotion because people are buying things, seems a logical argument and one that is hard to argue with. So I did a bit yesterday and found another site to apply to and wait for acceptance and then load information about my books.

There are people who will do the promotion for you, but it costs and there are so many sites available, it isn’t hard to find them. The downside is it takes time.

During my promotional blast I found that I could load a sample of my book onto a site called Your Books, so I did. It’s actually the same sample that is on the ‘Excerpt from my Book” page here.


It got me thinking about “The Secret Keeper”. It took a long time to write and research and I read many books, articles and journals. I watched a film called “The Red Violin” and people have remarked that it reminds them of that movie, in that the movie traced the history of a violin from 18th century Italy to the present day. If you love the violin, it’s a lovely movie.

In tandem with this I’ve recently discovered a site that posts tweets about WWII in real-time on the day that these things happened. Yesterday was the anniversary of Pearl Harbour, 70 years ago, and we watched an excellent documentary on it last night. My book of my father’s war letters has reached 2500 Amazon downloads and is still #1 in the Kindle list of non-fiction, bio & memoir, military.

So as I garden and shop and knit and write, I think about war. I think about the stupidity of mankind and how we never seem to learn from our mistakes. And I think about racism and intolerance. I have no time for people who judge others by anything other than their actions and their beliefs and their words. I hate generalisations about race. These are the prejudices that led to the Holocaust and genocide in places like Rwanda and Bosnia.  I believe passionately that all human beings are the same and we all deserve to be treated the same, with fairness and justice. It pains me a great deal when I read about how women are treated in some parts of the world. Ignorance and religious intolerance and arrogance. Yes, I respect cultural differences, but you have a responsibility to treat everyone in your culture with decency and kindness.

So I digress, as usual, and come a long way from book promotion. But the subject matter of “The Secret Keeper” is of the kind that brings pause for thought.

It’s a glorious day here, Mum has gone to watch some young horses being schooled in starting gates, called a ‘jump out’ I believe. I am about to go and do some more gardening. Tomorrow we have visitors. My niece who lives in Amsterdam is coming for dinner, with her Estonian partner and her brother, my gorgeous nephew. We are cooking a lovely roast lamb dinner, followed by huge fresh strawberries, vanilla ice-cream and hot chocolate sauce.  Life goes on, life is wonderful….we never forget.

Today’s tips come from the wonderful Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin. He believes in being succinct:

1 Read lots.

2 Write lots.

3 Learn to be self-critical.

4 Learn what criticism to accept.

5 Be persistent.

6 Have a story worth telling.

7 Don’t give up.

8 Know the market.

9 Get lucky.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. M. C. V. Egan (@M_C_V_Egan)
    Dec 08, 2011 @ 09:31:38

    I love the red Violin! It is brilliant how the lady goes to get her fortune told, her husbands strange decision to keep her alive always and the journey of the object itself! I too often wonder if we as a group learn and grow! That is my cause, I like to belong to peace groups! Thanks again for sharing and enjoy the Lamb, one of my favorite meats!


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