28 May 2012


Think about it.  By the time you start writing your second book in a series you know your reappearing characters very well and so do your readers.  That’s why it’s important to be consistent with your characters appearances, habits, body language and idiosyncrasies, not to mention what has happened in their lives previously.

It’s a lot to remember, isn’t there?  The colour of their eyes, hair, settings they inhabit, people they love, grieve for, dislike.  The list goes on.  When you think about it there’s so much that I, at least, need help.  That’s why I keep a detailed record of each of my characters.  Two records, in fact.  One for my returning characters which I update from time to time, depending on what is happening in their lives, and another for characters who have appeared in a particular book in the series.  (You never know when you might want to bring one back!)

There are many ways you can do this.  Having an index card system, keeping their details in a journal or, as I have done, creating a table in Word where character details can be listed in their own particular columns.  It’s a quick reference point and easy to add things to.

What are your methods for keeping track of your characters?

21 May 2012


by Leah Fleming
This is a big story.  By that I mean it starts in 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic and finishes in 1959.  Spanning three generations, the reader is taken to New York, the historic English cathedral town of Litchfield and the hills of Tuscany.  It has a fast pace, short chapters and, while it will keep you on the edge of your seat in parts you might also be moved to tears.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

The characters are many and varied starting with Celeste Parkes and May Smith, two people from different worlds, their lives forever locked together after they survive the sinking of the Titanic.  Not only does their experience have far reaching effects for those close to them, but also for people Celeste and May are not aware of!

With a sprinkling of love, sadness, happiness, mystery and, of course, history, Leah Fleming has created a wonderful story.

13 May 2012

KDP SELECT - Have you tried it?

There are differing opinions about Amazon’s KDP Select program.  Some authors report a boost in sales after their free promotional days while others don’t experience the same success.  Whether this is to do with genre or the days of the week one chooses for their promotions, it’s hard to say.

Even so, during your 5 free days you will see your book move up the Amazon ranking making it more visible to readers.  And, in my experience, it doesn’t slip back to pre-KDP Select days.  Not yet anyway.

For many authors, however, the exclusivity clause is a deterrent in joining the program.  This clause means you agree to make your book solely available for sale through Amazon.  And, as I mentioned in an earlier post, taking your book down from other sales sites can’t be accomplished overnight.  It can take weeks with a lot of persistence on your part.

So, is it worth the trouble you have to go to?  I think it depends on how well your book is selling elsewhere.  If you’re happy with your sales then why change.  However, if your sales have been less than pleasing for some time, I’d say you have nothing to lose by giving it a try for 90 days.  At least then you can make a comparison.

For myself, (in my first 90 days) I’ve been more than pleased.  Sales are steady each day and my Amazon ranking is much improved.  Whether this trend will continue remains to be seen.  I’m experimenting!

What is your KDP Select experience?

7 May 2012


Today, we’re visiting, author, Anneli Purchase, in her beautiful home province of British Columbia, and the setting for her latest release, The Wind Weeps.  Anneli also publishes articles on coastal life for Canadian magazines and works as a freelance copy-editor.  Besides all this, she still finds time to enjoy mushroom picking, gardening, fishing and bird watching.  Anneli, welcome to The Perfect Plot.


Please, tell us about The Wind Weeps.

ANNELI: It's the story of Andrea, a naive city girl from Ontario who comes to BC looking for love and adventure.  She enjoys the remote coastal life and her new friends but finds that three relationships are more than she bargained for. And the choices she finds herself making land her in a situation that becomes life-threatening.

Sounds intriging with both romance and adventure. What attracted you to this genre?
ANNELI: As a young woman I always enjoyed an adventurous life. And who doesn’t like a good love story? To me, it seems like the perfect combination—a life of love and adventure—as long as nothing goes wrong.

But it's thrilling when things go wrong in a book, and The Wind Weeps does not disappoint.
 Do you have a favourite character and if so, why?

ANNELI:  Andrea is a good, kind person who seems to need protection, so I empathize with her, but I also began to like Monique much more than I first intended. Monique’s character grew on me to the point where I often found myself talking in her dialect without realizing it.

Yes, I found Monique's French accent catchy.
The backdrop for The Wind Weeps is set around the commercial salmon fishing industry in British Columbia.  How did you go about researching this?

ANNELI: My husband has been a fisherman for over thirty years and I’ve sometimes fished with him. He was my main source of information on all things related to fishing and boating.

And that familiarity does come through with the detail in your story.
 What's your favourite scene?

ANNELI: I love the suspense in the scene where Andrea tries to make a run for her life.

It definitely kept me on the edge of my seat, and your knowledge of the topography came through to make it very real.
 How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?

ANNELI: I’ve worked on The Wind Weeps for about three years. Many rewrites and tweaks.

And what do you have in store next for your readers?

ANNELI: I’m finishing up another love/adventure story set in Baja California. I also have a third novel written, ready for a final rewrite before publishing. After that, I want to write a sequel to The Wind Weeps.

So, there's a lot for your readers to look forward to.
What is your writing process?  Do you plan your manuscripts before you start writing or do you start writing and see where it takes you?

ANNELI: I have an idea of my characters and their dilemmas and then I plan the storyline from start to finish. But sometimes, by the time I get near the end of writing the first draft, I feel that I want to change the ending. I rewrote the ending of The Wind Weeps about eight times, but I’m happy with the way it turned out. It’s important to know when to stop revising.

That's a good point.  Knowing when to stop.
Do you have a favourite place and time to write?

ANNELI: Early morning works best for me. The house is quiet and I have uninterrupted thinking time. When I’m on holiday I enjoy sitting on a quiet beach with a notebook. I’ve written many scenes like that, in a school exercise book. Then I take the notebook back to the holiday “home,” revising as I transfer the notes to my laptop.

Sounds idyllic sitting on a quiet beach to write.  But if you're at home with all the bells and whistles going on around you, how do you unwind after a long writing session?

ANNELI: I have a large garden full of weeds that call to me. As I dig in my garden I’m usually plotting what to write next. So maybe that’s not really unwinding. To be honest, I find that I’m constantly thinking about my characters and what they might be doing next.

I like that your weeds call to you.  Mine have given up on me.
What do you find is the hardest part of writing?

ANNELI: Getting started is the hardest part for me, but I’ve found that writing one sentence fixes that problem. I try to start where the action is and then work around that. One sentence leads to another and another. At the end of the writing time that first sentence has long been rewritten and changed.

You're right.  It doesn't work if you just sit waiting for ideas.
Of all the characters you’ve created, does one hold a special place in your heart?  Why?

ANNELI: In my third novel that I hope to publish soon, I tell the story of Julia, a woman who lost her husband and her home after WWII. She remarries and during the struggle to rebuild her life, she is contacted by her first boyfriend from her late teen years. Her gentle character and her love triangle dilemma touched me deeply.

How much research do you do for your books?

ANNELI: I do as much research as it takes to get the facts right. There is nothing worse for losing credibility than to make stupid mistakes that could easily have been avoided with a bit more research. Much of my research comes from personal experience, but the rest is from the Internet and from interviews with people who have firsthand knowledge of my subject matter. If I’m unsure, I always try to find out the facts before I write.

So much time and energy goes into every book, doesn't it?  Do you have any words of advice for aspiring writers?

ANNELI: Join a writing group and a critiquing group, and take the advice of experienced writers when they critique your work. Never assume you know it better than they do. We all have a lot to learn and our writing skills can always improve. Workshops at writers’ conferences are also very helpful.

Wise words.  Is there anything else you would like to share with us, Anneli?

ANNELI: In these days of self-publishing it is especially important to have a copy-editor go through your work before publishing. I’m always so disappointed when I begin to read a book that appeals to me and I find errors in the first pages already. Then I dread what the rest of the book holds and I wonder why, so close to achieving his goal, the author didn’t get a copy-editor. I am a copy-editor, but I get someone else to check my own writing too.

Anneli, it's been great visiting with you today and hearing about The Wind Weeps.  Where can readers learn more about you and find your books on the web?

Amazon.com (paperback or Kindle): http://amzn.to/KpAB7G
Smashwords  (other e-book formats): http://bit.ly/yPQvEP
Twitter: @anneli33

4 May 2012

eBOOK GIVEWAY 5th-6th May

by John Henderson
Australian Crime Satire
Confict between Inspector Simon Webster and Chief Inspector Damien Rose is the catalyst in this crime satire.  With events spinning out of control, Webster, with the help of associate Sergeant Elliott, endeavours to prevent bloodshed and mayhem.