Wednesday, 31 December 2008

This is your future speaking...

No, really. I mean it literally. During the course of this day, the New Year is sweeping around the globe hour for hour. It just happened to get to us first, which means I'm writing this in 2009 and some of you will be reading it in 2008. Never mind the blogger post time, it refuses to line up with New Zealand. I assure you, it is 11 AM on the first of January.

So much for the literal future. What about the literary one? Here goes...

It is my belief that small presses, indy houses and self-publishers will take over the entire bookselling industry in good time. We've all heard the news about big publishers losing business lately and reducing their output. Many authors think this is bad news - perhaps their manuscripts will never see the light of day?

Perhaps. But only if they continue their fixation on so-called "real" publishers. Let me explain.

This is one of the reasons I love the Lost Genre Guild so much. In our ranks you will find maybe a handful of authors published by traditional methods. And more power to 'em! But the rest of us...harbour a distinct skepticism for that approach.

Many of us have stacks of rejection letters from said publishers as proof. They don't want our genre. So why bother? I skipped that stage and went straight to publishing through my own imprint - due to encouragement from the Guild, I might add, and with their firmly instilled belief that our work must attain the highest standard in order to bust the stigma of independent and self publishing, which admittedly has a bad name. BUT if our books are truly good - polished till they shine, professionally produced and marketed - then we can leave that stigma far behind.

There's no need for an author to go through the awful cycle of submission and rejection. What we must do is focused in a different direction.

The things that an author MUST do in this day and age are quite different. You must work on your craft - read how-tos, full participation in critique groups, etc. You must engage in online networking to an epic scale. Invade the blogosphere, the social sites, the forums relevant to your work. Get your name out there. Secure pre-publication reviewers. Make book trailers.

That's about all if you're going with a small publisher, because that publisher will take care of cover design, interior formatting, print and distribution.

However, if you're going the total DIY route, there is more to be done. All that stuff the publisher would otherwise do is falling now onto your shoulders. The Guild is very helpful with ideas and resources in this regard.

Also, and I cannot emphasize this enough, you should run your book through another round of thorough critiques for edits and proofreading. Typos and stylistic sloppiness will brand your book as an amateur effort, and that is the one thing we must avoid at all costs.

If you succeed with excellence in these things, then this IS your future speaking. Quality, independently published books will be aesthetically indistinguishable from their traditional counterparts. The only difference: no limits on genre as imposed by narrowmindedness in its various forms.

I long for the day when science fiction comes to resurgence. And you know what? it feels great to be doing my bit in making it happen - with the Lost Genre Guild behind me all the way. Go LGG!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Let's Buzz the Lost Genre Guild!

The CSFF blog tour is buzzing the LGG this week. If you don't know what the LGG is, then either you haven't listened to a word I've ever said, or you are the victim of an unhappy accident of fate. Want to know? Go here: Welcome to our world.

I thought I'd do my bit by telling you how you can best help to promote the genre. One of the best ways to do this is to subscribe to the blog, and also make sure you submit your news and send your readers in the same direction. There are several ways to do this.

If you go over to you'll see a Feedblitz box in the left sidebar a little way down If you enter your email here, you'll be notified regularly about a day after each post appears. Not sure why it's so slow, but better late than never, right?

Below that is a Blogger Follow box. If you have a blogger account, just click Follow This Blog and it'll be added to the feed that appears on your Blogger dashboard.

And if you are a member of Facebook, there is a subscriber page there too: - once you've added yourself to the group you can invite your friends as well. You can also add a Facebook promo widget to any website by using the code found at this link:

I've been running the born-again LGG blog for just over a month now, and I've never once run out of news. But I'd like there to be even more! Web searches usually bring me useful bits and pieces, but it would be even awesomer (is that a word??) if authors and reviewers would post their news either on the LGG mailing list or in a blog comment over there where I can find it. All kinds of news is fair game, and you can read more details of what we want at This includes new releases, websites, reviews, contests, e-zine updates, and more.

There's no shortage of news and happenings in this genre, and the fans are after it if we only point them in the right direction. Wonder where this thing'll take us?

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

My Favourite Thing About Christmas...

It's not the gifts. Forget gifts. Not the food either, though that's pretty good at times. The days off? Nope. I don't work much these days you see. Fact is, I don't like the silly season much at all...except for its stamps.

Don't laugh. I used to collect these professionally...arranged according to theme rather than country of origin. So you'll see all the stars together, the angels, the wise men. And from so many different countries many of us have never heard of.

Be warned - there's nearly 100 of them on here...but each one is a work of art to be enjoyed.

Monday, 22 December 2008

New Zealand Garden Close-Ups

Come and explore the garden with me...

Friday, 19 December 2008

Meet a star!

Last year, Deborah Clark starred in one of the book trailers I made for my book Faith Awakened...find out what she gets up to when she's not hunting treasure!

And for old time's sake, here's that original book trailer for your enjoyment!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Some nice feedback...

I got this great mention over at Shelagh's blog today:

Thank you for reading this blog entry! This is the sixteenth post on the blog tour. If you have just joined the tour, welcome! If you read all the blogs, thank you for following the tour; only three more blog posts to go! A week ago I mentioned the last section “Spiritual Friends” in the anthology Forever Friends. In the opening section “Family Friends” the first story in the book is My Hero, My Dad by D. J. Stephens. I chose this story because it was the first submission I received and in all the rearrangements I made it always stayed the
first story in the book, so it seemed to be the right place for Don Stephens’s story.

The last short story in the anthology is The Night of the Gift by Grace Bridges. I placed this last in the book because it seemed to sum up the way that friends are always in our thoughts no matter how far away and provided an ideal ending to the volume of short stories and poems about love and friendship. Just as the first story always remained first after every reshuffle, The Night of the Gift always remained last so, again, this seemed to be the right place for Grace Bridges’s story.

The Night of the Gift is set in a remote village in Southern Russia, where a young doctor is feeling homesick for Ireland. In a sleepless reverie, she imagines that a childhood friend, who is supposed to be far away in Brazil, pays an unexpected call … but is it in her imagination or is it real? Read the story to find out more about this supernatural flight of fancy. I would like to thank Grace for inviting me to her blog to give me a chance to say more about Forever Friends.

Forever Friends is available now from all major online stores, including Forever Friends
and Forever Friends
Thanks again for reading this and best wishes for the holiday season!
Shelagh Watkins

So yeah guys, you can get that story from me personally if you are a member of my readers' network, or you can always buy the book above. I haven't been able to read any of the other stories in it so I'm unable to make any kind of recommendation, sorry about that. But that cover's great, isn't it?

Monday, 15 December 2008

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Bring on the Superheroes!

This month, Christian Fiction Review Blog is touring The League of Superheroes by Stephen Leon Rice.

It's about time. In Internet circles, Stephen L. Rice has long been known for legendary blogs, non-reviews, sharp wit and limitless imagination. So I was pretty happy when I heard his first novel was on the way. Like I said, about time.

A group of teen boys encounter a peculiar entity in one little sister's chatroom. After initial skepticism the five spend more and more online time with the mysterious little girl called Genie, who promptly whips up a succession of amazing technological feats. The young men are astounded and delighted to receive fully functional super-suits based on their favourite comic-book stars. Now they can soar through the skies, perform feats of strength, go invisible, or shrink themselves. But to what purpose? Sinister forces are at work, but solid morals and faith in God help keep our heroes on the right track through hair-raising adventures while getting to the bottom of the mystery.

The story's told by Tom Reilly aka Darklight, the invisible man. I enjoyed the conversational style and witty interactions coupled with a highly inventive plotline that's bound to surprise. It's a simple narration, and fair enough, this is a children's story. Personally I would have liked a little more detail in some scenes that whipped by almost before they had a chance to begin, but that's okay. I suspect Mr. Rice will find plenty of fans aged under ten because of its easy comprehensibility. And it's still most definitely an entertaining read for an adult.

I was very impressed by the close tie-in to pro-life issues. The personhood of an unborn child is made clear as events unfold. Well done for presenting this tough topic in a novel manner and using it to underpin the plot, giving a powerful undertone to an otherwise playful story.

So who hasn't dreamed about getting a super-suit and being able to fly? This book is well able to light the imaginations of young readers everywhere, while planting good seeds of faith, responsibility and maturity. And the ending practically begs for a sequel...I sure hope there's going to be one!

GetLeague of Superheroes at Writer's Cafe Press, Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Check out these other member blogs this week for more info.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Met My Brother At A Wedding...

Hey! I'm back at last :) In this installment, meet my brother Andrew, then watch carefully as he is the first groomsman to enter the church in a ceremony for Bill, an old friend of the family. You'll also see some Maori kids singing in the service. Enjoy!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

A little New Zealand gem

I agree with Fred Dagg! He's absolutely right... enjoy this little treasure!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Oceanside: A Pelican, A Train, and a Random Author

I am talking about the Lost Genre Guild at the start. Had to cut out a part where there was no sound.