New review for Through the Gloaming.

Posted in New Authors section with tags , , , on April 30, 2014 by Kate Jack

gloaming cover

Had a really long, dreary day at work, but soon bucked up when I saw this review on Goodreads, for book II in The Silver Flute Trilogy.

The second book in Katrina Jack’s ‘Silver Flute Trilogy’ finds Jeremiah Tully thrust back in a world he doesn’t want to return to, one where he has no voice and the truth of his past is catching up with him.

When he enters the Gloaming, a space between his world and his mother’s, the secrets start unraveling fast. Among them, what happened to his father and the truth behind his muteness.

The author did a fantastic job creating multi-layered worlds and characters that bend and stretch as they travel through them. Character-types that we’ve encountered in other types of fantasy have been given makeovers, reimagined and renamed, with faint echoes of their predecessors.

Jeremiah’s muteness is handled so well, it blends in with the rest of the story, making you forget anything is wrong with him until he encounters a new character. The mention of finger motions are a quick reminder without fixating on his disability.

There is a book prior to this one, which I read quite some time ago and did not have all the details fresh in my mind. It didn’t matter as this works as a standalone and can be enjoyed without having read the previous one.

So thanks to Emily McKeon for this sterling review of my book, and the four stars she awarded it. 😀

gloaming cover

https://goo.gl/IdfXVD AMZN UK KATE

https://goo.gl/MweUOt AMZN US

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Land of Midnight Days – YA Urban fantasy

Posted in General with tags , , , , , on March 27, 2013 by Kate Jack

 http://askdavid.com/reviews/book/urban-fantasy/4787

midnightdayscover

How do you learn to write?

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , on October 11, 2017 by Kate Jack

I started writing when I was about fourteen. I’d always been good at writing essays at school and very much enjoyed it. I made stories up in my head too and this graduated into putting my day dreams down on paper, to feed my ever growing imagination.

However, apart from the essays, I had no formal education in writing fiction. Yes, I read, and even gleaned bits of other writers’ techniques, as a result, but I was mostly self-taught when it came to composing my own work. As a result I had no writing style, but a mish-mash of words, which resulted in some pretty bizarre results. My writing was, and still is, to a certain extent, instinctual. 

Now with some writers, instinct is enough, but most of us need a guiding hand. With that in mind, I joined a writers’ workshop. As a means of meeting other writers and gaining new friends, it was great. However, most of its members were hobbyists, which is okay, but for someone who wanted genuine feedback on how to improve their technique, or fresh ideas, instead of a mutual appreciation society, it was somewhat disappointing.

I then moved onto a writing group, which was much smaller and consisted of serious writers, and fared much better. The feedback was ruthless, the praise hard earned, but genuine. I learned about the overuse of adverbs, gerunds, and the use of naturalistic dialogue. This encouraged me to do an MA course in writing at John Moores University, in Liverpool, which enabled me to obtain a more “formal” education in the techniques of writing.

Even after that, I still had an awful lot to learn and assimilated more writing knowledge as I wrote my books, learning as I went along. I’m still learning and suspect, as far as writing is concerned, will continue to accrue knowledge as trends, genres and techniques continue to develop and evolve. 

http://katejack9.wixsite.com/kate

 

Creating your own world view

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2017 by Kate Jack

As writers, we’re all aware of the need to build believable backdrops to our stories. In the case of speculative fiction, ie: science fiction or fantasy, they don’t necessarily need to be based on real places, but they do need to constructed in a way that aids the reader to suspend their disbelief. 

Personally, when I get an idea for a story, I have to decide where I want to place it before I start the plotting process. As I write YA urban fantasy, it’s obvious that the main setting has to be in a city; but what type of city: futuristic, realistic, or pure fantasy? In the case of my YA urban fantasy trilogy, The Silver Flute Trilogy, I decided to garner locations from my home town, Liverpool. The city is a fascinating mixture of the old and new, sometimes jarring, as the new stands cheek by jowl with the old, but always interesting. This jumble of architecture ignites the flames of the imagination in a way that can lead the observer along the paths of creativity, be it writing, photography, or any other creative process you care to think of.

That said, the contrast can be amazing. The more traditional parts of Liverpool take you back into the past, with cobbled streets, old terraced houses and Victorian buildings of such beauty, they take your breath away. The more modern architecture is also amazing, transposing their brilliance on their older brethren in a way that can be absolutely stunning, or annoying, depending on your point of view. Traversing the streets is a journey through time, with a rich contrast between the futuristic and the past. It’s a veritable treasure chest for a writer, pouring ideas for stories and books into the brain and creating a palette of creativity.

For me it’s a great place to seek out diverse locations for my work and is an endless source of inspiration. So, let’s all, as writers, stride out and seek new places and faces to fuel our work, and never look back.

The Silver Flute Trilogy

When Your Dream is Bigger than your Budget

Posted in Uncategorized on September 20, 2017 by Kate Jack

A great article on a very important issue.

Tricia Drammeh

I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “It takes money to make money.” This is true even in publishing – maybe especially in publishing. This post isn’t going to harp on the recent scandal involving the YA author who bulk-purchased her book in order to inflate sales numbers. Nope. This is about the cost of marketing and the never-ending pressure on authors to spend more and do more.

Any author out there will tell you marketing is one of the most challenging aspects of being an author. It’s hard to get your book in front of readers, and in most cases, word of mouth is not enough. I once had a book hit #98 (paid!!!) in a very competitive Amazon category. It was an amazing day! And, I hadn’t spent a single penny in advertising! But, in most cases, rising to the top of a any list, especially a bestseller…

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To Self publish or not?

Posted in General with tags , , , , , on September 17, 2017 by Kate Jack

Free to download from:

Amazon UK

Amazon.US

kobo

itunes

Smashwords

 

A lot of today’s writers seem to gravitate towards self publishing, rather than going the traditional route. Why is this? Well apart from the hassle of finding a traditional publisher to take you on, there’s also the freedom involved in owning the rights to your work. This means a writer has total control over how, where and when they publish. But what about marketing? Well most writers, self or traditionally published, have to do their own marketing anyway. Unless you’re in the top echelon of writers, publishers seem unwilling to spend any money on getting the word out there on your behalf.

I’ve just tried my hand at self publishing, using Smashwords guide to formatting a manuscript. It was hard work, but I found it satisfying; at last I’d achieved something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Once the manuscript was formatted, I then browsed the internet for a cover, which I achieved at a good price, for an excellent product. Also, now I know how to do it, it should be relatively straightforward the next time round. 

So, if you haven’t already done so, why not give it a go? 🙂

 

 

What is your word count?

Posted in General with tags , , , , , on September 11, 2017 by Kate Jack

As a writer, how many words a day do you churn out? Some authors can create whole chapters each day, others go long periods without producing anything at all. So why is this? Well, it could be due to lack of time, especially if you have to work full time, or run a household, or maybe even both. Another reason, and it’s a common one, is procrastination. You promise yourself that you’ll write something tomorrow – for sure; and what happens? tomorrow never comes.

So how to get round this? Well, for me, the solution is to write at least a few paragraphs a day, whether I want to or not. Far better than leaving half completed work to gather dust and lose the will to go through it again, in order to pick up where I left off. I might end up writing rubbish, but that can be amended or edited later on. As long as I stick to the planned story, how it ends up on the page doesn’t matter, until the whole book is written. After that the fun part starts. I love editing my work, tweaking here and there, tightening up, even rewriting whole chapters. Why is this? It’s because the end is in sight. 

The benefit of forcing myself to write each days, even if it’s only for a few minutes, is that my work progresses, albeit it by short spurts, but I’ve also found that more often than not, the length of time I write is gradually increasing. Another benefit is that if I attempt avoiding it, my conscience won’t let me rest until I’ve done some writing. Then of course the great sense of achievement I get when I do add to my latest wip, is fantastic 😀

So even a few paragraphs a day will, little by little, help you climb that seemingly impossible writing mountain, until you reach the top and reign supreme. 🙂

http://katejack9.wixsite.com/kate

Votes for writers!

Posted in General with tags , , , , on September 8, 2017 by Kate Jack

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so they say. Well I think the cover of my latest book, A Pocketful of Stories, is fabulous; but then I would, wouldn’t I? 😀 If you agree, please consider casting your vote, in Authorsdb 2017 book cover competition in my favour. I’m not afraid to say that the competition is stiff, there’re are some fantastic covers on offer, so even if you don’t wish to vote for mine, do yourself a favour and go take a look. You never know, you just might find your next favourite read. 🙂

 

Authorsdb 2017 book cover contest

https://goo.gl/sgeWZ8

The art of weaving a website.

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , on September 3, 2017 by Kate Jack

They’re all kinds of websites for all kinds of things. If you run a business, no matter what it is, it’s essential to have a website so that people can see what you’re all about. This applies to writers, as well. I built my first website when I was working for my MA in creative writing, at Liverpool John Moore’s university. Talk about blood, sweat and tears! It wasn’t so easy, back then, to create a website. I used a web development tool called Dreamweaver. It was like trying to scrub a huge stone floor with a toothbrush!

Of course it’s not so complex now and if, like me, you’re not able to pay for a domain at the moment, there are plenty of free websites you can use for the time being. These are much better now, than they used to be. With the site I use, Wix.com, there’s a surprising amount you can do. They supply quite a large quantity of images and backgrounds for free, or you have the option of uploading your own, which gives you greater freedom to create the look you want for your site.

But how do you decide on a look? Well, it’s usually trial and error, until you arrive at a style you like. For me it’s easier to make a mock up, like above, until I can decide on what I want. Because I write dystopian urban fantasy, I wanted something dark, but not dull, so I elected for a black and white, but brightly lit, city background. 

So what not to do? Being of a colourful nature, despite my chosen genre, I had to restrain myself from giving every page of my website a different background or colour theme. Why? Well too  much of the above distracts viewers and they tend to shy away from a confusing kaleidoscope. They’re there for a specific reason and distractions in the form of too much content will put them off. It’s fine to try and make a website that’s attractive and even colourful, but as the old saying goes, “less is  more.” Unfussy images, sharp backgrounds and a concise navigation menu are essential, as is a certain amount of uniformity.

So if you’re thinking of creating a website, go for it. Study the websites of your favourite authors to get ideas, then forge ahead and get your name out there.

katejackurbanfantasyworld

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