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Here at AUTHORSdB we've formed the only database of authors, including social media, book listings and much more, for today's mine-field of thousands of aspiring and established writers.

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Meet author AA Abbott.


First a few words from the author herself: It’s my second visit to the Writing and Breathing Blog. Since I last dropped by in 2015, a lot has happened. I’m now very settled in the English city of Bristol, although I worked in buzzy Birmingham until the pandemic. This year, it felt like the world tilted on its axis when both my parents died. I channelled much of my darkness into writing Bright Lies, my latest book. In a nutshell what is Bright Lies about? Like moths to a flame, David and Emily are drawn to each other when she’s taken to an exhibition of his paintings. A would-be artist herself, she’s delighted to have a stepfather and mentor. His motives are far more sinister. When 15-year-ol...
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Some Tips From a Sitcom Guru


The other day I caught part of an online workshop on writing sitcoms, given by the TV writer, Graham Linehan, (he of Father Ted fame, among many other things), I missed the opening section and had to stop before the end, but what I did hear was helpful and encouraging. You don’t need to be in the throes of writing sitcoms to use some of the suggestions to improve your own working methods. So, in no particular order, here are a few tips to be getting on with: Never mind about a character’s eye colour etc. Knowing how they speak is more important in bringing them to life for the reader / viewer.Accept you are going to hit snags, but don’t stop. Mark where the snag is and get on with the next b...
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Second Journey into Self-publishing.


If you read my recent blog on self-publishing you will remember that, after much reading of on-line guides, downloading a book on self-publishing, and head scratching I came to a momentous decision: give up the idea completely, or just go to the Amazon self-publishing site and plunge in. I decided on the latter. I had the publishing rights of a book recently returned from a publisher – A young adult novel, And Alex Still has Acne, first published in 2014. It had already been proof read, and formatted, and the cover art was also returned. It had sold well in its time (been an Amazon best seller several times) so didn’t owe me anything if I messed up. I would just follow the self-publishing in...
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Taking the biscuit.


‘My daughter has borrowed my watch before without asking, but to take my bracelet too really takes the biscuit.’ ‘Taking the biscuit’ (taking the cake in the US) is a UK idiom meaning to be particularly bad or cheeky act. But where did the word biscuit come from? The daily consumption of sweet biscuits is a largely British phenomenon – we eat more than any other nation, and their popularity increased in particular during the Second World War when sugar was severely rationed, but biscuits less so. As a result, biscuits were bought to go with the now unsweetened tea. The first recorded use of the term biscuit is in the Latin panis biscotus – the twice baked bread that originated in the third m...
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Meet Author Diana Rubino


A big welcome back on this blog to the American author, Diana Rubino, who is going to talk today about DARK BREW, her time travel romance: Learn from the past or forever be doomed to repeat it. Accused of her husband’s murder, Kylah McKinley, a practicing Druid, travels back through time to her past life in 1324 Ireland and brings the true killer to justice. Two months of hell change Kylah’s life forever. On her many past life regressions, she returns to 14th century Ireland as Alice Kyteler, a druid moneylender falsely accused of murdering her husband. Kylah’s life mirrors Alice’s in one tragic event after another—she finds her husband sprawled on the floor, cold, blue, with no pulse. Evide...
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A Word about Avocados


Avocados are often promoted as a wonder food. An avocado is technically a fruit (a single seeded berry), but is often listed as a vegetable because of its savoury taste – like tomatoes, they may be fruits, but they are unlikely to make their way into a fruit salad. Pick the right one, and there are few delicacies more delicious and nutritious. Avocados are reportedly good for all those real and imagined ailments that afflict the middle classes and they are advertised by growers and super-markets as an essential part of the healthy ‘Mediterranean’ diet. In fact they don’t come from the Mediterranean shores at all, but from Mexico and many that are bought these days are grown in California. Bu...
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My Journey into Self-Publishing


Earlier this year my American publisher returned the copyright on the three books I had with them. I was disappointed at first, not least because one of the books still had several months to run on a renewed contract. Then I became more philosophical: the books had been getting virtually no promotion via the publisher so, not surprisingly, weren’t selling well. Perhaps I could do better on my own? Self-publishing, for a not very technologically minded person whose early writing experience had been with a scratchy pen and inkwell built into the school desk, proved to be quite a daunting prospect. And the more guidance I read on the Internet, the more confused and daunted I became. Nowhere, fo...
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Rethinking Verbs and Nouns.


Those of us of a certain age reckon we know what nouns, verbs and adjectives are because we went to school at a time when ‘proper’ grammar was taught. Nouns, we were instructed, are naming words – like cake, or cherry; verbs are doing words – like cook, or bake; and adjectives are describing words – like big (cake / cherry). So far so good. But what about a cherry cake? Here we seem to have a noun working as an adjective, or, rather, as an ‘attributive modifier.’ Likewise, not all verbs denote action. For example, in I need to bake a cake this morning if I want something tasty to eat this afternoon, need and want are verbs. They are essential in this sentence. But they aren’t actually denoti...
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Top Tips from Ruth Rendell’s Masterclass on Writing.


In 2013, the crime writer Ruth Rendell held a masterclass on writing at the invitation of the Royal Society of Literature and the Booker Prize Foundation. Sunjida O’Connell, author, journalist and Ruth Rendell admirer, described the main lessons from the masterclass as follows: “Rendell’s guide to being an excellent writer is simple: read a lot, read well, walk to keep fit and strong – for writing is demanding, and write.”  The masterclass would have been very short, if that was all she had said! Here, in slightly more detail, are her main tips. They can be applied to all forms of fiction, not just the crime genre. The writer of fiction writes or longs to write. The writer of fiction needs t...
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Judging a Book by its Spine.


It seems a shame that, after all the sweat and tears that go into writing a book, so much of its appeal to potential readers rides on the attractiveness, or otherwise, of its cover. They say you can’t tell a book by its cover, but the reader won’t ever get to confirm that if they never actually fancy looking inside. I have been thinking about this since my publisher returned the rights of two books that weren’t selling well. They had some good reviews and I think the content was great (naturally!) Maybe the covers did not have sufficient ‘kerb appeal’? Rather than look for another publisher, I am having a go at self–publishing one of them, I have got as far as trying to design a cover, to be...
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Death of ‘Covid’ Poet


David Mahon was born in Belfast, educated in Dublin, and travelled extensively in the UK, America and France, before finally settling back in Ireland in 2013. A gifted poet, he shunned popularity, preferring to describe himself as ‘a consummate member of the awkward squad.’ To make enough money to get by and still have time to write poetry, he took on a variety of teaching posts wherever he happened to be living. He was far from a recluse however; he had a number of wives and girlfriends, several children, and a prodigious capacity for drink. He died of liver cancer on October 1st. Whilst he had a considerable reputation among literary poets and poetry readers, and counted Seamus Heaney as a...
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The Email as Prose Poem?


My writing mojo took a hike just at the time when the Corvid-19 lockdown compelled us to stay in and spend more time with our laptops. It’s still out there somewhere, wandering about in the in the mist. Just hope it’s back before Christmas because, at the moment, it looks as if we’ll be a bit thin around the festive table, and the distraction of some extra company would be welcome. Not that I don’t still spend a lot of time with my laptop: ‘researching’ on Twitter and Facebook; reviewing unpublished scripts and moving the commas and full stops around, even – occasionally -changing a word, only to change it back again; Zoom meetings; and sending emails. There is an art to sending effective em...
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Meet Author Susanne Leist


Here is Susanne in her own words: A career in writing has been a giant leap for me. Accustomed to the number-crunching field of budgeting and the hectic commodity markets, I left my first career and M.B.A. in Finance behind to pursue my dream. I do not regret my foray into literature for one moment. Fellow authors helped me make my way through the competitive field. I write every day and even tried my hand at poetry. If someone tells you it’s too late in life to try something different, they are wrong. It is never too late to follow your heart. Welcome on the blog, Susanne. What is the title of your latest book? THE DEAD AT HEART. It is the final book in THE DEAD GAME SERIES. As vampires and...
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A Kace for Inglish Spelin Refawm?


The argumentative and somewhat loquacious dramatist, Bernard Shaw, was an ardent advocate of spelling reform. “It may interest you to know,” he once wrote to The Times, “that your leading article contains 1,761 letters. As these letters represent only 2.311 sounds, 450 of them are superfluous and could have been saved had we a British alphabet.”  He was an early supporter of the English Spelling Society (EPS), a pressure group for spelling reform. One only needs look at the variations in pronunciation for the words spelt with an ‘ough’ ending to see the idiosyncrasies: Bough, cough, dough, enough, thorough, though … And to see that he might have a point. The EPS argues that it takes longer f...
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The Monstrous Regiment of Women (2)


In my last blog I referred to the Protestant reformer John Knox’s objections to Queen Mary’s rule over Tudor England. In his opinion she was unfit to rule, simply because she was a woman. Sovereignty by a female monarch was  ‘monstrous regiment’ – unnatural rule – because women, in his opinion, lacked the god – given masculine capacity to rule. Misogyny apart, Knox was no doubt also in a froth about her Catholicism and her marriage to the Catholic king of Spain, Philip, who was entitled to share her rule over England for as long as the marriage lasted (i.e. until her death four years later in 1558). Queen Elizabeth 1 was careful not to make the same mistake and remained resolutely unmarried....
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The Monstrous Regiment of Women


The Latinate phrase ‘monstruous regiment’ means ‘unnatural rule’, and in a highly misogynistic pamphlet in 1558 the Scottish Protestant reformer, John Knox, argued that the idea of women ruling (he was thinking specifically of the Catholic queen, Mary Tudor, at the time) goes against the laws of God and nature. He argued that female rule challenged the God-given authority of men over women, and that women are incompetent to rule, being weak, foolish and cruel by nature, and lacking the masculine capacities necessary to govern. He clearly had very decided opinions about women – albeit not very high ones. Did you, like I once did, think that the word woman came from Old English wo(from)man? Li...
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What’s a Palaver?


If I talk about something being a palaver, I mean it is an unnecessarily troublesome, tiresome, or tedious activity. Filling in most application forms these days is usually a bit of a palaver, or queuing at the Post Office counter, Airport check-in etc. (This was before Covid-19 hit, since when patient queuing has become a civic and patriotic duty). Palaver also means noise and hubbub. Granville Sharp I hadn’t heard anyone else use the word in any different ways, until reading David Olusoga’s Black and British – a Forgotten History. In the chapter about the efforts, mostly well intentioned if somewhat misguided, of Granville Sharp and some fellow abolitionists, to set up a free state on the ...
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The Power of the Story teller


Michael Morpurgo is a celebrated children’s writer. He is also, not surprisingly, a champion for the art of storytelling. As a small boy he remembers listening to stories and poems that his mother read to him daily. She was an actress, and told stories rather well, but it is a skill almost any parent, teacher and older child can acquire. Or so you would have thought. In fact the writer was dismayed when he actually started school, aged five, to find that his class teacher viewed a story as a means of teaching grammar and punctuation (tested via a dictation test) and nothing more. I think maybe he had an exceptionally bad teacher. I remember being read to at home and at school and, as an olde...
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Have you been threatened by a full stop recently?


That language is a live entity and constantly evolving has been a recurring topic on this blog. In some contexts it moves at a giddying speed that only the groups in the know can keep up with. Text speech, for example. I think I may be outing myself as a ‘boomer’ here, but there was a time when I believed ‘lol’ meant ‘lots of love,’ then I was told it meant ‘laughing out loud’   Later I started seeing comments on Facebook or Twitter (OK, I know, only those of us over a certain age still use these platforms) where ‘lol’ was interspersed, not quite at random, but as if to soften the message just conveyed. Apparently it is indeed used now as a means of indicating irony, or softening an otherwis...
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Was Hippocrates the Father of Greek Literature?


Hippocrates is known as the ‘father of medicine’ and many new doctors still sign the Hippocratic Oath. Basically a code of ethics, the oath has been modified in various ways to suit more modern mores and different cultures. Contrary to popular belief it does not contain the phrase first do no harm, but this can be seen as implicit in the text. Hippocrates’s famous book, Epidemics, which is full of medical case studies that give insight into the lives and health of contemporary ancient Greeks, has traditionally been dated to around 410BC. However, an Oxford scholar, Robin Lane Fox, is now suggesting that it was written about sixty years earlier. His evidence being that the impact of several w...
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