Monday 28 July 2014

Fun picture - Street Art on a Grand Scale

This is brilliant. Amazing what folk can achieve

Sunday 27 July 2014

Recommended Fantasy Book - The Flame Priest

The Flame Priest (The Silk & Steel Saga, #2)The Flame Priest by Karen Azinger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very impressive read. I really enjoyed this. A clear conflict between good and evil with baddies aplenty. The Mordent is a great creation, a being born with the memory of other souls gone before him; evil personified. To liven things up, he has competition from other souls, equally prepared to be reborn and in the favour of the Dark Lord.

There's also good folk as well, but the Mordent manages to be one step ahead, turning brother against brother as he seeks his minions in the North. Kath is a great creation and has to balance between being a princess and a sword maiden. Nothing is ever simple and her father, the King, pulls some of her strings whilst the Light pulls on others. Overall, very good read. I felt it was better than book 1, The Steel Queen.

View all my reviews

Saturday 26 July 2014

The Battle of the Five Armies - Fan Posters

There is some great artwork at this site -- check it out New-hobbit-fan-posters

Writing a Book - Should you Pay for a Review: Yes or no?

This is a difficult question and some folk will benefit from paying for a review. Like all my articles this one is based on my experiences and I would therefore offer a strong word of caution. I have many good reviews which are always incredibly humbling. I also have a Gold Award from a competition I entered and so my work has some provenance. OK, I have had some negative reviews and this something an author definitely has to come to terms with; that not everyone will like your book. I have only paid for one review (it cost me about £250) and so my experience is limited, but I am in a position to give you my thoughts.

On the positive side -- there are lots of free book reviewers out there, so I would suggest not paying for a review. Many of these free book reviewers are incredibly dedicated and spend a lot of time reading books. The ones I have met are a boon to the industry and I hope that they continue doing what they love doing. reading and reviewing books. Long may they continue. Some of these wonderful reviewers can be found at

However, hypothetically, a reviewer might skim read a book, picking odd pages at random. I do this at work, reading papers and I can get a sense of a paper within a few minutes of reading. A paid reviewer might then post a review based on reading a few pages and a few minutes of effort. If this is the case, a reviewer could get through lots of books a day and make a lot of money. A further thought is, a positive review, that is incorrect, will attract a lot of criticism and so it would be far safer to give a negative review. A good tip is to look at the reviews from some of the top review sites that charge. Often the meat of the review is only one or two lines. Mine was and, frankly, those few lines were very little proof that someone had actually read my book. I was £250 out of pocket and not even certain I had been given a fair deal!

Book reviews can be expensive, so it is not something undertaken lightly. You would be surprised how many of the big review companies simply farm the book out to a reviewer who might actually be new to the business. I'm not sure how much of my £250 went to the reviewer and how much went to the company. You can probably work that out for yourself. There is also a risk that you may not get your book to the person interested in your genre. Again, the reviewers are seeking to make money and if reviewers are in short supply or busy, there might be a temptation to farm your book out to anyone, regardless of genre. This is a risk you might have to accept when paying for a review.

My suggestion, therefore, is to seek free book reviews rather  than paying, but if you do pay, heed my advice and check what other authors are saying about the reviewer. In any event -- good luck and best wishes.

Saturday 19 July 2014

Writing a Book - Advice on Types of Book Editing

Book editing is the most difficult aspect of writing a book. My advice is not to use an editing service until you have the book to a high standard, otherwise you may have to pay for several edits. There are many types of editor, author editor, copy editor and beta reader. (the last one is not an editor, but is a useful part of the process).

If you go to a copy editor they will mainly be interested in spelling, grammar and the correct word usage. This is why it is important that this is the last stage of the process, otherwise you may have to repeat this stage.  A copy editor will typically charge about 1$ (or £1) per page. That seems reasonably cheap HOWEVER...

A copy editor is not really interested in making your story read well, nor that it's exciting and has potential to grab a reader. If you are confident that your story does all that then you might consider a copy editor. If you do -- you are missing an important step.

A book editor will advise on how well you are writing, whether there are inconsistencies in the tale, your characterisation and whether it is examples. This stage may require you to rewrite or reorder chapters. You may be told that a chapter isn't working. As you can see, if you have had a copy edit and then have a book edit you may have to have another copy edit. 

A book editor can cost from a few hundred dollars to a thousand. 

The more that you can get your book to a reasonable level, the lower your costs.Do not be tempted to think that you have written a great book and now all you have to do is "get it edited". If you are very lucky, friends and family may offer, but they will lack the expertise to get to a high standard. They will help (usually) so do not dismiss their advice. It is a large undertaking though and it may be wrong to ask a friend or family member to do this.

If you are lucky to get a publisher interested in your work then they will arrange much of the above. However, the catch is that a publisher will only be interested in your book if it is already at a high standard. I will cover getting published in a later article, but it is well worth considering the editing process prior to this stage.

A beta reader is someone who accepts free copies of a book at an early stage. They will expect a high standard. They will tell you if the book is riddled with mistakes but they will not offer advice on where mistakes are (unless they are few in number and they are feeling generous.) 

So my final comment is to get your book to a high standard prior to considering any other stage, editing or publishing. My earlier advice  Writing a book - How to Start was to write short stories. That should get you in the right frame of mind for the editing stage as people will offer advice on your work, if it is a short story. 

Tops for Writing a Book - How to Self Publish
Should You Pay for a Review -- yes or no?
Making Your Writing Interesting
My top tips
Choosing a genre
How to Start writing a Book?
Creating a Plot for Your Book

Stardust - Amazing Fantasy

Incredible film and a must for fantasy fans.

Luminous Jelly Fish

What a gorgeous view and all created by nature. Incredible that a creature can be luminous. 

Thursday 17 July 2014

The Steel Queen - Karen Azinger

The Steel Queen (The Silk & Steel Saga, #1)The Steel Queen by Karen Azinger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book. It definitely has an appeal and I will be reading book 2. A good read with some excellent characterisation and well crafted plot. This book has a nice feel to it. The heroes develop nicely and there's a multitude of possibilities developing. Very well honed fantasy with a good potential for more to come. Some interesting developments especially over the "enemy" with one individual developing and one being reborn. The scene is set for a conflict between them which should be interesting.

View all my reviews

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Monday 14 July 2014

Fantasy Dreams - Castles

This is a gorgeous castle. Bodium. Unfortunately it's a hollow shell inside with little remaining. It was also built quite late on - more of a stately home than a castle. Still -- it is magnificent

Sunday 13 July 2014

Gorgeous Place to Live

Verona italy

Fantasy Creatures -- Siren

I love the eyes on this Siren, and the murky green water. Looks cold and a little scary. Great artwork Caroline Gariba

Writing a Book - Writers Block, Inspiration from Artwork

This picture is great inspiration for writing a tale. I love the frown on the statue. It's as if the stone knows it is submerged.

What is the story here? Dragons skimming a submerged statue -- a lost civilisation? Dragons now ruling over a dead planet? That's a little like the tale of my dragons in Prophecy of the Kings. Are the dragons forlorn? The lead one seems to be calling out. Is there a significance of the dragons being red? Are there blue dragons nearby and what would that lead to?? Why the flood water?

Pictures are a great way of inspiring a writer. So too is real life. Look out for events around you or clips from a newspaper. Inspiration is all around. Great way to break writer's block as well. Artists have truly amazing imagination.

The above is an example. Check out other artwork for example - here fantasy artwork and let your imagination run free. This can also be true for many other genres. Artwork can be a great source of inspiration for an author.

Tops for Writing a Book - How to Self Publish
Should You Pay for a Review -- yes or no?
My top tips
Choosing a genre
How to Start writing a Book?
Creating a Plot for Your Book

Saturday 5 July 2014

Fantasy Garden Ideas

This site has lots of good ideas

Great Review - Drachar's Demons :)

Goodread's Review for Drachar's Demons from Alegna

If you like fantasy, magic, demons and the epic battle of good versus evil with an impending sense of doom, then this is the book for you!!!

When one of the Eldric makes contact with the demon world, Drachar is immediately banished and stripped from this powers so he will not do this evil deed again. Alas, it goes wrong and Drachar grows ever more powerful and darker. It is then up to the Eldric to fight Drachar and stop him before he goes too far.

Written with much detail into the vivid world of the Eldric, David Burrows engages the reader into a plot very few have written about and yet the concept is well known, selling your soul to the devil (or in this case demons).

Great book, David!

Friday 4 July 2014

Gold Award - Prophecy of the Kings

Book Review 

Readers\' Favorite Book Contest Award WinnerReviewed by Anne B. for Readers' Favorite

David Burrows brings readers an adventure of epic proportions in The Prophecy of the kings Trilogy. The plot quickly draws the reader into the action of this novel. Burrows created a mystical world with equally mystical creatures, dragons, wizards, prophecies, demons, sorcery, and princes. The creatures come to life on the pages of The Prophecy of the Kings. The action in this book keeps readers eagerly turning the pages. Burrows successfully gave each character a distinct voice. The threads of three worlds are woven together to create an adventure filled with battles, journeys, allies, and enemies. The reader will go deep into the bowels of the earth haunted by the dead. They will accompany Kaplyn into a nightmare tower.

Book 1 Legend of Eldric sets the foundation for this trilogy. Prince Kaplyn is low on the line for the throne, and he is bored. He sets out to find adventure. Lars is bound for death when Kaplyn comes to his rescue. The pair assists a wizard in retrieving a pendant. They set in motion a prophecy that could destroy their world.

Burrows words are like magic. He paints a portrait on each page. Fans of fantasy know his name well. They know they can depend on an escape into another world when they read one of his books. Burrows never fails to please.

Happy 4th July to US Fans

Now can we have our back taxes please for French/Indian wars!! Make cheques payable to D Burrows. I'll make sure the money gets to the UK government :)


Writing a Book - Making Your Plot Interesting. Hooks and Lines!

An author has a lot of power. People's imagination are incredibly vivid. Tolkien famously created a balrog and yet the description was fairly vague; fire and ash or something similar. Yet the balrog's actions were enough to define it and imagination did the rest. Writing a book needs to engage a reader and there is a fine line between telling them too much and letting their own imagination fill in the gaps.

How do you make a story interesting? Imagine writing about a football game. There's enough interest in football that some people would enjoy that, but it would be incredibly dull writing about the entire game. A way to make it interesting is to give the game meaning. This is where imagination comes in. For example, one of the player's or spectator's lives could depend upon the outcome. There might be a huge gambling debt riding on the outcome. A player may have been told to throw the game. There are endless possibilities and finding something interesting is quite difficult, but not impossible.

You also want to write more at length and more strongly about the more interesting parts. In an earlier blog creating a plot I said parts of my story were like islands. The islands were very vivid scenes and I had to link the islands in some way. Sometimes the journey to the islands can be less exciting, but you still need to engage the reader. However, you shouldn't take an age exploring every step a journey might take. Let the reader use their imagination.

There are short cuts and for example the film and TV series Star Gate is a prime example. Science Fiction is a very fertile area for writers, but the huge interstellar distances would make writing very dull. Star Gate created worm holes to transport people quickly between worlds. That's fine for some genres but less so for other genres.

Remember, if you are bored writing it then the reader will be bored reading it.

There are many hooks to engage a reader. A clever way is something about the character that makes you want to read more. Michael Sullivan created two characters of complete opposites and forced them to work together, or die in the attempt. That was very engaging and made you want to read more.

Another way is something about the plot that is compelling and makes you want to read more. My suggestion to write short stories may help you to identify something particularly engaging. writing a book - how to start I remember a radio presenter making up the first lines of a book - it was someone waking up, stretching and their hand caressing the clammy, bloodstained corpse of a complete stranger. Who wouldn't want to know more! The hook here is incredibly strong and there's almost a sense that this could happen to anyone. The reader is instantly engaged as they immediately want to know more. Their imagination is fired up and the adrenalin pumping, after all -- this could have been me.

Finally, you need to write in a style that is engaging.

Joe killed the vampire

or Joe, tried to press himself deeper into the shadows, but the thing before him simply kept coming as though darkness was a friend rather than a hindrance. Joe's hand clenched on his only weapon; a broken broom handle that looked pitifully frail in his hands... you can feel the fight looking, and clearly that builds the suspense.

There's a good article here for further information Making Your Writing Interesting

Best wishes, David

My top tips
Choosing a genre
How to Start writing a Book?
Creating a Plot for Your Book