Posts Tagged ‘being an author’

The Shadow of the Swarm: Book 2 in The Morrow Secrets Trilogy

July 6th, 2014
The Shadow of the Swarm

The Shadow of the Swarm

5 Stars! Another cracking story from Susan, (Amazon)

I loved the first book and couldn’t wait for this one, I was not disappointed. It is just as intriguing, sinister and riveting as it’s predecessor. The characters are excellent. I like the way Tallitha is plucky but can also feel nervous…it’s much more real than a hero who is all gung-ho and brave. The shroves repulse me….can’t imagine why anyone would have them in the same house…I can smell them from the description….yuck! It is well written and holds ones interest all the time.

As with the prequel Susan leaves us with a cliff hanger of an ending…now we have a year to wait for the final book….that is my only criticism!


Caedryl, Lapis & Muprid5 Stars! A brilliant sequel! (Amazon)

…This is the second of Susan McNally’s Morrow Secrets books – the first one came out last year – and it’s just as good as the first one. It’s centred around the same main character and she’s joined not only by lots of the other characters from the first book but by new ones too. They’re all brought brilliantly to life and have more fantastic adventures. I don’t want to give anything anyway but there are some new locations which are unlike anything I’ve encountered before – spooky gothic indeed. Read it!..

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Fantasy Trilogy, Paranormal, The Morrow Secrets, The Shadow of the Swarm, Witches | Comments (0)

The Morrow Secrets Trilogy has a Three- Book Deal!

February 13th, 2013

It’s such fantastic news! I have a three-book deal for The Morrow Secrets Trilogy! It’s been quite a journey and I have learned so much about the highs and lows of self publishing and have met (virtually) other authors who have shared their experiences and helped me along the way.

So from putting ‘pen to paper’ it’s been almost 2 years! At times I thought that writing the first book was the easy part after the endless social networking and promotion ( which didn’t come easily)

Watch this space!

The spooky house of Winderling Spires

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Being An Author, Best Children's Fiction, books for 9-14 year olds, Dark Gothic Fantasy, New Children's Adventure Story, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

How to Write a Novel: Magical Gothic Adventure Story

August 18th, 2012

I wish someone had told me some of these writing tips before I started to write my trilogy. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way and maybe they can help you in your writing adventure!

* If you think you have a book inside you, just begin, it doesn’t matter if you change it later, at least you’ve started.

* There are no rules about when to write…. only the ones that suit you.

The Old Dark House of Secrets at Winderling Spires

* Write the book you want to write, anything else is too much like hard work – Writing must be fun!

* There are many books on how to write fiction but two that helped me are :

Sol Stein “Stein on Writing”    Strategies/dp/0312254210/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345134804&sr=8-1

Celia Brayfield “Bestseller: Secrets of Successful Writing”

* Always stop when you have more ideas in the “creative pot”, then coming back to the work will be easier.

* Keep reading lots and lots of books! Look at how writers write their books, their use of dialogue and plotting. Watching movies is an excellent way to learn your craft. Screen writers have to get an idea over very quickly, they may only have 90 minutes to tell the whole story so observe their techniques – their spare use of words, how the actors communicate with one another, how tension is built. This “intense watching” of a movie will make you more critical and you will begin to see when a plot line works and when it doesn’t. It’s the same with writing, once you lose the reader they’re gone, they’ve stopped believing in your make-believe. So keep it real, reduce the number of words you use and imagine yourself as the reader… would you be hooked on this character or this scene? If not change it or cut it.

* Don’t give up, even when you’ve had a bad day, remember how good you feel when the writing just flows… you and only you have created that!

* Never be satisfied with the first draft!

* If something jars with you then it will jar with your readers. Listen to your gut instincts and cut it out!

* When you get an idea, sit with it and let it brew inside you like a delicious potion, until it is time to experiment and write it down.

Finally, enjoy the writing process, it’s the best fun ever!

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Being An Author, books for 9-14 year olds, Creative Writing Process, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing | Comments (0)

How To Write A Children’s Novel

August 7th, 2012

Listen to my radio interview with Viv Oyolu on the Dream Corner Radio Show about

the creative process of writing the fantasy children’s story, The Morrow Secrets.

The rambling house of Winderling Spires

The interview includes ideas and tips on how to write children’s fiction, the new e-book phenomenon,

the ups and downs of self-publishing and how to develop your approach to characterisation.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Being An Author, Best Children's Fiction, Gothic Fiction, How to Write a Children's Novel, New Children's Adventure Story, Self Publishing Tips, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

How to Create Great Characters in Your Book

August 7th, 2012

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. You have to write the book you want to read otherwise it won’t be fun and will feel like very hard work. So choose the subject you’re really interested in, that grabs you each morning and makes you want to get at that computer and begin typing. For me it was writing an exciting children’s fantasy adventure story, with strong female characters and a wealth of strange creatures. I had to create my own mythical world where some very odd things happen. A beguiling mystery with secrets to be unearthed. It’s only when you find your genre, the one you want to inhabit and have to inhabit that your characters come alive.

The Morrow Sisters, Edwina & Sybilla experimenting with their perfumes.
The Weird Morrow Sisters, Edwina & Sybilla

These characters begin to inhabit your mind… You can imagine them and their reactions in many different circumstances and how they will react. I know what Marlin, the sly old shrove will do in any situation and I know how Ruker the brave Skink will react.

I believe once you really know these characters, the dialogue flows easily between them. That’s not to say that you don’t need to re-read your scenes time after time, because you do. I can always improve a passage by re-reading it, often speaking aloud and listening to how the dialogue sounds. Is it natural? Is it too verbose? If it is then cut it.
Character continuity is very important. If Neeps (one of the Skinks) has blond hair when he is first introduced into the story… he can’t have brown hair later on ( unless he’s dyed it!) Keep cards with all your characters idiosyncracies, then you don’t have to keep going back to find them in your book. The colour of their eyes, the way they walk and their mannerisms are all recorded on your index cards. ( XYBS5SCSVMWU)

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Being An Author, Best Children's Fiction, How to Write a Children's Novel, Supernatural | Comments (0)

How to Improve Your Search Engine Optimisation: Getting Your Book Blog Out There

August 7th, 2012

When I started writing my book I just thought I’d write it, polish it and edit it a few times then post it on Amazon and that would be it!

How wrong I was. Writing the book was fun and easy compared to the marketing and PR needed so that people ( beyond your friends and family) find it. Even then that’s not enough.

The Black Hound from Ragging Brows Forest

So you’ve uploaded your fabulous book on to Amazon, you’ve had some sales then you realise that your book is a tiny little needle in the huge Amazon haystack. How will anyone ever find the book I have written? That’s the BIG, BIG question. This is what some of what I’ve learned so far:

You’ll need a website and it must have interesting content; you’ll need to blog on a regular basis to attract people to your site. You’ll need a blogging plan that covers all the things you want to say to your readers.

How will anyone find your website… you’ll have to increase your SEO (search engine optimisation) How will the google spiders find you? How will you increase your presence? By adding your site to blog directories. I have just started doing this so I’ll see if it makes a difference. This takes a lot of time working out which URL they want in the format they want it.

You must reply to the people who take the time to comment on your blog. You then need to understand google analytics and feedburner, to see what sort of website traffic you’re attracting. Then experiment with different posts. What do your readers like? How much traffic have you got? Which countries are they from? Do they stay on your pages? Which pages? Do they blounce off again…

So you see I didn’t know I had to be a marketing, IT, social networking, analyst. I thought I’d just write my children’s fanatsy adventure and the rest would be history….. how wrong I was!



Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Being An Author, Better Blogging, Creative Writing Process, Improving your SEO, The Morrow Secrets, Writing | Comments (0)

Radio Interview with Susan McNally Author of The Morrow Secrets

August 5th, 2012

This is the link to the radio interview where I talk about the writing process, the ups and downs

of self-publishing and how to sustain creativity.

Winderling Spires

 If you know someone who is interested in writing fiction please share the link with them.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Being An Author, Best Children's Fiction, books for 9-14 year olds, Creative Writing Process, Gothic Fiction, How to Write a Children's Novel, Improving your SEO, New Children's Adventure Story, Self Publishing Tips, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

How to Write Fiction: Radio Interview with Susan McNally author of The Morrow Secrets

August 5th, 2012
Winderling Spires
Listen to this radio interview about how I began writing fiction, my top tips on sustaining
the creative writing process and the ups and downs of self-publishing.
Tell me what you think!
Please share with anyone you know who is interested in becoming a writer.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Being An Author, How to Write a Children's Novel, Self Publishing, Self Publishing Tips, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

How to Self Publish

August 4th, 2012

The first thing is you have to get over the embarrassment of publicising your work. You have to network; talk about it and enthuse people

Use Facebook; twitter; and all social media. This is something I am still learning about.

Winderling Spires

The great thing is that you’re in charge of everything. No one can make you change anything in your book, a character’s name or a plot line.

But the kindle is still in it’s infancy … it will grow bigger and bigger. Many people don’t own a kindle so they need to download one of the many kindle apps

You will need help. Invest in marketing, a decent website with a blog. You may also need help loading the book on the amazon self-publishing site. It isn’t straightforward as the book needs formatting in the kindle format.


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Being An Author, Self Publishing Tips, Teen Fiction, The Morrow Secrets, Writing | Comments (0)

Ten Rules for Writing Fiction!

August 1st, 2012

I had a gap between finishing The Morrow Secrets and starting the second book in my trilogy… about a week! Then I got caught up in my website, how to do a blog, self -publishing and all the other things you have to do by yourself to be an indie-writer! I didn’t know there was so much stuff to do apart from write my books. Now of course I know differently and try to divide my time between actually writing book two in the series and publicising book one… and that’s hard.

So now book two is underway, which tips would I like to remind myself of? Here are some of my favourite ones.

* Sometimes you have to kill off your favourite children… that means at times you may have to write a character out of the story because he/she doesn’t work anymore.

* Don’t give up writing, even when you’ve had a bad day just keep going and it will come right… write more, not less!

* Read books all the time in your genre and outside of it. Observe what writers do – how they write dialogue; build tension and create great characters that leap off the page

* Good dialogue flows from knowing your characters inside out, how they will react in any situation. You don’t really know them until they begin to inhabit your head space !

* Continuity is key. You don’t have to remember every one of your character’s idiosyncracies … keep note cards on each character, different themes, any activity that is repeated ( for me it was Tallitha’s trances) and key events that you refer to in the plot.

* This is a good one. Take no notice of the criticism people you don’t respect. But take notice of the criticism from people you do respect. Have a thick skin, you’ll need it.

* Defend your work. You know best how it was meant to be. It’s your story, your characters, just love them! That’s why self publishing is so good – no one can tell you to change a character’s name.

* Most importantly – write the book you want to read. If you don’t love the story, no one else will.

* Writing is never a quick win. It takes a lot of time and patience. If patience doesn’t come easily …try and acquire some.

* Characters will grow and evolve as you write the book.. be prepared to change them!

Most of all, enjoy yourself! When the writing really flows being an author is the best ever.. it transports you to a magical world all of your own creation. Treasure it…


Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Being An Author, books for 9-14 year olds, Fantasy Trilogy, How to Write a Children's Novel, Magical Adventure, Self Publishing Tips, Writing | Comments (0)