14 Days to go

I spent all morning today at Rye Market. Sales at venues has declined this past year especially at craft fairs and localised small events. Everybody is feeling the pinch I guess, nobody seems to get a decent pay rise anymore. Markets continue to hold their own though but I have to say that in this heat I was exhausted by 2 o'clock. It was a sweltering 32 degrees when i left and no amount of fluids seemed to help in keeping cool. As usual the customers who bought were dedicated readers or had dedicated readers in their families and it's lovely to talk about books and stories outside the schools I work in. Some of my customers today were second time purchasers and gave feedback on my work which is so important for development both as a writer and a story-teller. They'll be some more markets during the summer months, I'm sure.

I finished writing my first definitive adult book this week. 102,000 words of non-stop action and adventure. It's been a long journey with this one because i've written it mainly on the road between the schools I visit on tour. As usual with a finished first draft I will leave it for a few months before I re-read it. It is something I like to do with every book as it allows me a chance to read it afresh. To date this is the only book i've written in the present, everything else, all 59 of them are set in different time periods, mostly in the past but also some in the future. There's a lot going on at the moment in my world of books, with potentially six more being published before thee end of year, including two for younger readers that also feature artwork from a new artist Laura Wilde who I have the pleasure of working with. Two more adult books are underway, about half way through the first drafts, but some would argue that they are young adult books. In truth they will sell in both age groups.

happy reading

Steve 

15 Days to Launch

I wandered around Dungeness today for a while before the heat became too much. I followed the route of the old railway line that heads towards Lydd. The route is marked by the vertical planting of the old line sleepers and is easy to follow. Along the old track lies the remnants of the old school, which doubled as a church in the past. It's nothing more than foundations to be seen but its surprising how far away from the rest of dungeness it is. Continuing further you pass the back of the lakes and the shingle seems to change, it lies in swathes and undulates in rows similar to waves. To continue further and I could have reached Lydd. The shingle is relentless, tough going underfoot, and it's hard to believe that less than a hundred years ago most of it would have been vegetation free and completely barren. It's status as a desert would have been more appropriate then and more obvious than it is today.

Coming back, I stopped to have a cup of tea close to the fishing boats. The newer boats were just to the right of my position but remnants of worn out skeletons of boats from the past litter the beach along with ruined old shacks and windlass' isolated, rusty and unused. When you look at the boats of today, less than a handful, and compare it to the amount of disused windlass' it highlights how big the fleet must have been once and how the industry has declined. Like so much of our heritage its disappearing fast and soon very few people will be around to explain what some of the old reliks are and to pass on their knowledge. Every step mankind takes forward is at the cost of something from our past. The way forward is necessary, our country, our world is changing fast but lets keep our heritage alive for the future too. 

happy reading 

Steve

17 Days to go

I wonder how many of you out there engage in people watching. It's crucial to my work with the invention of characters and for visual descriptions, but there is so much more that can be gleaned from just observing. The way people move, their body language and their facial expressions that complete a real rainbow of moods and demeanours. After that there is their choice of language and how they communicate with those around them. I've witnessed more than my fair share of people arguing in front of their children without a single consideration for what they are going through. and what and how they are saying. By the same token I have witnessed younger children using anger and behavioural tactics in order to get what they want and control their parents effortlessly. I've also watched those who believe they can discuss any issue with children even if society suggests that it's a subject to mature for children. I've seen adult pick on adult, retaliation in a physical and sometimes verbal onslaught and also those who try to impose their will on others by not letting anybody else speak. Then of course is the communication that doesn't emit a single sound. Facial expressions can often tell a story better than words, convey emotions, good and bad and forewarn the approaching inevitability that the confrontation is going to move to another level. 

So what am I saying really about all this? Well it's simply that there is no right or wrong way despite what professionals might say. Relationships between people exist and are managed on all sorts of levels and just because sometimes what we see it isn't our preferred style, it works for them. As a study it is fascinating on every level and great for a writer to look at, to borrow and learn from. Everyone is different and it is important to make our characters stand out in some way, and in a book, crucial to give them a personality that is different from the others. keep them interesting and make them a combination of good and bad, after all nobody is perfect and readers don't want the perfect character. Next time you people watch, look at them in a different way. Ask yourself, as you look at them, what's your story? It's amazing what you can work out from an appearence, a demeanour or a voice. Try it.

Happy Reading

Steve 

16 Days to go

I've been asked many times if I'm selling enough books to make a living and the answer is yes I do, but the truth of the matter is that it's extremely hard and sometimes the rewards are small. When asked if it is all worth it and I would also answer yes. Everything that I do with all sides of the business I'm in contribute to the improvement of what I want to achieve. Despite managing to survive their are times when it is extra hard to make ends meet and for me that is the summer months when I cannot go in to schools and promote writing and my books. I'm pleased to say that I am now ticking over a few books on Kindle, which as far as my children's books go, is a nice surprise. There's a long way to go with these to gain a more substantial gain into the electronic market place but at least it's underway.

I have other skills that I am able to offer as a service to other writers those of a editor, proof reader, and publisher and I am reasonably priced in a market that seems to be set up to drain every last penny from a would be author. I set up files for printers and also convert to kindle formats too. Each of the services is thorough and guaranteed to get a new author off the ground and up and running. I offer free advice to anybody that contacts me for any sort of help and always make sure that they are informed in no uncertain terms about the difficulties of our industry. If anybody out there needs help or advice don't hesitate to contact me, I'm free to talk too and already have a wealth of experience to share.

Happy reading

Steve

19 Days to go

One of the hardest things to do, as a self-employed person, is to find a way to balance work, rest and play. Most of the demands on me are purely mental and there is no doubt that if you want to be successful to any degree then you have to be driven and single-minded. I have those in abundance so I guess that's half the battle. Fortunately, being a creative person allows me to view the writing, and even the editing, side of my work as pleasure rather than work. Sleep can be problematic sometimes. I don't turn the creativity on and off by choice, it's there or not there, and that can be at any time of the day or night. The trick is to work around it as best as possible.

Touring is a mixture of pleasure and pain. My time in schools is exciting, exhilarating and very creative and I have the benefit of working with some of the most creative minds in the country - the children. Year's five and six are my personal favourites; as they learn that there is a grey area between the black and the white for a brief while they open their minds to the seemingly impossible and it is fantastic to share that with them. The pain is more concerned with getting to the schools in far off counties and often I spend more time in a day driving than I do with the children teaching. It is the most tiring thing I do.

keeping yourself physically fit requires a little discipline too. Most of what I do involves either sitting down or just standing. Little in the way of physical exercise. I swim as often as I can during the week and enjoy walking the countryside at the weekends. Both physical activities have the feel good factor about them for me and ensure that I am in the best physical shape I can be in for the demands of my work. As you get older, its natural for your body to tire and you have to be sensible and not push it beyond what it is capable of doing. I can't afford to be ill or suffer from injuries caused by sport despite still having the need for competition. These days I compete against myself in different ways, challenges and goals I want to achieve present a different form of competition but help towards achieving my goals.

In truth, the simple way of saying all of this is that you need to look after yourself, both physically and mentally and if you do it right it should provide a balance that can help you work at the top of your game.

Happy Reading

Steve

C.S. Clifford

Author writing for all ages
Copyright © 2018 C.S. Clifford - Author writing for all ages. All Rights Reserved.