THE BLOG TOUR – starring Author Gordon Bickerstaff

Blog 6 The Best and Simplest Advice for New Aspiring Writers

If you aspired to be an electrician or a plumber then you would spend a few years learning your craft. If you aspire to be a writer then it is important to learn your craft, and to learn the writing craft you need to take off your reading for enjoyment hat, and put on your apprentice writer hat.

Learn from the experts. Read a book for enjoyment then read it again as an apprentice writer with a critical reviewer hat on. Discover how the writer held your interest. Learn the writer’s techniques in unfolding the story. Examine how the writer has revealed and described characters, and places. When I’ve read a good book, I may read it three times (not in succession) to understand the writer’s techniques. If I learn something, I make a note – maybe a paragraph, maybe a page to remind me of good technique/style/exposition etc.

If you want to learn the writing craft; you should make notes. What worked in the book? Equally, what didn’t you like? No book can satisfy all readers, and experienced writers do make mistakes in storytelling. You will come across different writing styles and voices. Find one that you like so that you can define your own style and voice.

Compare books by the same author, and compare books by different authors. More than likely you will read in the genre that you like, but also dabble in other genres, and look at the different writing techniques used in different genres. Now, your notebook of the writing craft is building up, and you are gaining a good understanding of what writing techniques you like, and which ones you don’t like. Maybe you will come up with your own hybrid style that people like to read. More important, when you come to write, you will employ established writing techniques that will bring your story and its characters to life.

Agatha Christie read 200 books every year. President Theodore Roosevelt read a book every day. Harriet Klausner had posted 31,014 books reviews on Amazon before she died. Though some critics believe she couldn’t have read them all.

The time it takes to read a book depends on how quickly you read. If you read at an average 250 words per minute it might take one and a half minutes to read a page. So a 300 page novel will take 420 minutes or 7 hours. If you read for an hour a day then it will take a week to finish.

Some people read more books by speed reading – taking in a line at a time. I found that if I take in the words too quickly, I sometimes miss the significance, and reading is less enjoyable. When I’m not writing, I can read and enjoy a 300 page book in a week. If it is well written, I’ll read it again with my apprentice hat on, and learn something from the writer. Good writers write good stories, and use good techniques to tell their stories.


Buy Gordon Bickerstaff’s Books

GFB author bio pic

Amazon-UK – The Black Fox (Gavin Shawlens Thriller #3)

Amazon-USA – The Black Fox (Gavin Shawlens Thriller #3)

The Black Fox cover

Follow Gordon Bickerstaff here:


Twitter handle: @ADPase

Deadly Secrets (Gavin Shawlens Thriller #1)

book 1

Everything To Lose (Gavin Shawlens Thriller #2)
book 2

HELP!!!! How do #authors with kids EVER write ANYTHING?

I have four kids, I commute to NYC for work five hours a day, (2.5 hours each way – door to door), I am involved civically in my hometown (I serve on the Wallingford Town Council), and I am blessed with 36 hours in each day.

My deadlines slip too 🙂

Set goals for yourself in anything you do, but blow them for the important things… like sitting in a chair with your kids and “wasting time”.

Angela and Adam

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT RaffleCopter Giveaway – Grand Prize – FIVE DAY / FOUR NIGHT stay over Valentine’s Day weekend

Straight from LAST DAY – RaffleCopter Giveaway from Author Jason Zandri, here are the prizes and the winners:

All covers new second edition no Phases

GRAND PRIZE – FIVE DAY / FOUR NIGHT stay over Valentine’s Day weekend – Tamie Dearen

ALL 6 KINDLE EDITIONS OF MY BOOKS (winner gets all six) – Sherri Maughan 

KINDLE VERSION OF Before Another Sunset – Second Edition Beth Minton

KINDLE VERSION OF Another Sunset – Cynthia Dawson

KINDLE VERSION OF I, Hero: The Beginning – Alan Saxon

KINDLE VERSION OF I, Hero: Nathan Returns – Anita Duvall

KINDLE VERSION OF As Life Goes: Elementary Faye Gates

KINDLE VERSION OF As Life Goes: The End of the Innocence – Melynda Bailey

Congratulations to all the winners! I will be emailing you individually to let you know you have won with the email addresses that I have from your contest entries.

I will also send out an update via my mailing list.

Keep you eye on the blog for my future book release announcements as well as future giveaways!


#AuthorReview – #TopAuthors2016 -10 Indie Chick-Lit Authors You Should be Reading in 2016

Source: #AuthorReview – #TopAuthors2016 -10 Indie Chick-Lit Authors You Should be Reading in 2016
#AuthorReview – #TopAuthors2016

10 Indie Chick-Lit Authors You Should be Reading in 2016


WOO HOO! I made #10!

10 – Jason Zandri – This is the surprise dark horse of the race! Jason Zandri writes what I’ve dubbed “guy-lit,” (chick-lit with male characters as main characters and/or written by male authors). He has two main good genres that I’ve read: women’s fiction/romance/chick-lit and sci-fi/fantasy/romance. It’s hard to describe. His women’s fiction/romance/chick-lit has darker, more serious themes (the As Life Goes series: As Life Goes-Elementary, As Life Goes – The End of Innocence (which is on my #TBR), and a third book in the works) and his sci-fi/fantasy/romance (the I Hero series: I Hero – The Beginning, I Hero – Nathan Returns, which also has a third book in the works, again) also has darker themes, but is eminently readable. If you love comic books, you should check out the I Hero series. Although not quite chick-lit (too “serious”), not quite not (has romantic relationship interactions that are the focus of the books (i.e., As Life Goes series)), Jason Zandri’s “romance”/guy-lit books are thought-provoking and high-quality.

Goodbye Traditional, Hello Indie (Part II)

Myths of the Mirror


Part I of this blog summary focused on my personal experience contracting with a small press. On the whole, it was a valuable learning experience, especially for a new author who knew nothing about anything. My publisher treated me fairly and respectfully, I improved my craft and happily published 6 books. For many authors, this approach may be the perfect publishing route.

Yet, publishing through a small press has significant challenges that are worth considering. As I gained knowledge and skills, it became clear to me that the obstacles outpaced the advantages. In 2015, I experimented and self-published 2 books. The results drove home the stark differences in the two approaches.

In December, I decided to go all indie. I began the process of canceling contracts with my publisher and reclaiming my books with the intention of republishing them myself.

Below, I explain my reasons.

So what were my small press…

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Goodbye Traditional, Hello Indie (Part I)

Myths of the Mirror

I’ve begun the process of reclaiming my 6 traditionally published books and republishing them myself. I thought it might be useful to document my reasons, particularly for those writers dawdling at this fork in the publishing road, trying to decide which way to go.

I published through a small press, and I don’t want to give the impression that this was a bad deal or that the publisher did anything wrong. It was, in fact, a valuable learning experience, especially for a new author and one as clueless as I. A small press may be the perfect publishing solution for many authors, especially if the words “traditionally published” carry personal weight.

Before I dig in, it’s important to state that – with a few exceptions – this was my experience. It reflects my personality, expectations, and quirks. What worked for me might not work for you and visa-versa. In…

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5 things I couldn’t (make myself) do before joining RRBC…

Jan Hawke INKorporated

Anniversary Badge Year 1… there must be more than 5, but we’ll leave it there for now! 😉

I can’t remember when I joined RRBC exactly but it was around 18 months ago. My first novel had been ‘out there’ for six months or so and I only had a handful of reviews on Amazon. These had come from most of the other writers and friends I already knew, or had met on LinkedIn, so I was out looking for other avenues to find potential reviewers for my book Milele SafariA connection on LinkedIn posted in a group I’d joined about this fantastic community – theRave Reviews Book Club– I went and had a look, liked what I saw and dulyjoined up!
I got off to a slow start, because at first it was all about the reviews for me – I got stuck into reading the Book of…

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Rave Reviews Book Club Wants You – #RRBC

Fiction Favorites

a book-club-badge-suggestion-copy-1Anniversary Badge Year 1

As you may know, I am a member of the Rave Reviews Book Club. What you may not know is the reason I joined and what the Club has meant to me. Let me clear these last points up.

I joined Rave Reviews Book Club to become associated with like-minded writers who were interested in promoting each other’s work. At the time, I looked at some organizations and had made the decision not to associate myself with them due to what I considered unusual quid pro quo requirements.

By quid pro quo, I’m referring to the practice of following each other if followed, reviewing each others books if reviewed and other scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours kind of programs. At the time, these practices seemed a little shady to me and so I passed.

Then I had a chance to read a blog by an RRBC member and…

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Good Morning, Nonnie Jules! It’s Your Day!

The Long and Short Stories of Life

Hi friends and fellow Rave Reviewers! Thank you so much for this day of wonderful surprise(Jan. 18th 2016)! All this fuss is making me a little self-conscious and I just have to ‘Pay It Forward’. So, if you will indulge me, I’d like to send it back to Ms. Nonnie Jules!  THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING RAVE REVIEWS!!!

Reprinted from BOOMACIOUS June, 2015

How do you say “good morning” to a woman who single-handedly lassoed together a group of vigilante writers who were already bold enough and obstinate enough to say to the establishment, “Hell no, we won’t go”? Nonnie Jules coaxed them into a force to be reckoned with all in one place called Rave Reviews Book Club (RRBC)!

As the President of RRBC, Nonnie has made it her mission to get her club members the attention, the reviews, and the respect they deserve. She guides the membership to tweet…

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LAST DAY – RaffleCopter Giveaway from Author Jason Zandri

We are coming up on the last few hours of this Rafflecopter giveaway; it ends on Monday January 18, 2016

This time I am upping the ante on the grand prize over my last giveaway with a

FIVE DAY / FOUR NIGHT stay over Valentine’s Day weekend.

Here is the summary information on the prize (and the full details are at the end of the blog post).

Wyndham Ocean Boulevard
410 South Ocean Boulevard
North Myrtle Beach SC 29582

CHECK IN – Feb 11, 2016 after 4PM
CHECK OUT – Feb 15, 2016 before 10AM

FIVE DAY / FOUR NIGHT stay over Valentine’s Day weekend.
Room Type: 3 Bedroom Deluxe with 2 Bathrooms
Unit sleeps 8 in the rooms with 10 total within the unit (based on the unit).
Beds are – KING, Two doubles, KING, and Queen Sleeper Sofa
Units are between 1,200 and 1,400 SF in size (based on the unit).

There is no cost for the stay – the prize is the unit on the given days; you simply have to arrange to get yourself there.


In addition to this grand prize, I am also offering the following prizes:
ALL 6 KINDLE EDITIONS OF MY BOOKS (one winner will get all six)
KINDLE VERSION OF Before Another Sunset – Second Edition
KINDLE VERSION OF I, Hero: The Beginning
KINDLE VERSION OF I, Hero: Nathan Returns
KINDLE VERSION OF As Life Goes: Elementary
KINDLE VERSION OF As Life Goes: The End of the Innocence

All you have to do is enter the giveaway at Rafflecopter.

Some of the entry choices are worth more than others AND you can return each day to TWEET the giveaway for additional entries.




(Here are all the extended details on the stay at my timeshare Wyndham Ocean Boulevard)

Wyndham Ocean BLVD

Here are the details on the unit and the resort:

Beachside Paradise with Award-Winning Flair. Wyndham Ocean Boulevard, located in North Myrtle Beach, blends stylish retro art deco design with modern beachside amenities and activities. This award-winning resort is close to many of Myrtle Beach’s most popular attractions, and has a big variety of on-site pleasures to make your beach side vacation complete.

Helpful Hints:
— Tower IV is across the street from the beach; all other towers are ocean side
— Vehicle recommended to fully enjoy area; parking is limited to one vehicle per unit
— This resort offers 24-hour secured and covered parking for motorcycles; however we are unable to provide parking for trailers. There are a number of locations nearby that offer trailer parking (fee).
— This resort is smoke free. Smoking is only permitted in designated areas. Not complying with these policy may result in the assessment of a fee.
— Wireless Internet is free for up to 4 devices, ideal for emails and basic web browsing. For more streaming and surfing options on unlimited devices, Enhanced High-Speed Wireless Internet is available for $9.95 per day, $49.95 for 6-10 days, and $59.95 for 11-30 days.

— Check-in time is after 4:00 p.m. The front desk is open 24 hours per day.
— Check-out time is 10:00 a.m.
— This resort offers 24-hour secured and covered parking for motorcycles; however we are unable to provide parking for trailers. There are a number of locations nearby that offer trailer parking for a nominal fee. Please call the resort for more information.
— As a courtesy to our non-smoking guests, smoking is not permitted at the resort. Thank you for your consideration.
— There are a limited amount of oceanfront units and views can not be guaranteed.
— Most resorts enforce a late check-out fee for any guests checking out past the check-out time.
— The resort reserves the right to assign a different unit of the same type and occupancy as confirmed with this confirmation.
— All guests are required to provide a Credit Card authorization for $150.00 or cash is required at time of check-in for a security deposit.

Mileage Between Wyndham Ocean Boulevard and…

— Charleston, S.C.: 112 miles
— Columbia, S.C.: 160 miles
— Edisto Beach, S.C.: 158 miles
— Charlotte, N.C.: 236 miles
Nearest Airport

— Myrtle Beach International Airport: 25 miles

Other Notes:
— Minimum Check-In Age for the CLUB WYNDHAM® Plus Program: The Member or Guest checking in must be at least 21 years of age with a valid ID.
— A credit card pre-authorization or cash deposit will be required upon check-in.
— The resort reserves the right to assign a different unit of the same type and occupancy as confirmed with this confirmation.
— Your safety is very important to us, so we closely follow local regulations for maximum occupancy per unit.
— A fee may be associated with some of the resorts amenities and activities. Please contact the resort for more details.
— Out of respect for all our guests, pets are not permitted. Please feel free to contact the resort prior to your arrival so that we may assist you in locating a local boarding facility.
— Service animals that are trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability are welcome at all affiliated locations.