Saturday, 21 April 2012

English language: Personal pronouns

When personal pronouns "I" and "me" are used along with other pronouns, it can be easy to use the wrong form. For example, should it be "Jack is going to the fair with Karen and I" or "Jack is going to the fair with Karen and me"?

There are rigorous rules that can be applied; however these can sometimes be confusing. The simplest and easiest way to intuitively check is to simply remove the other pronoun and then see whether the phrase makes sense and sounds right.

From the above, it's clear that "Jack is going to the fair with I" is incorrect.

As another example, should it be "Has John seen Andy and I?" or "Has John seen Andy and me"? Again we take out the other pronoun. Clearly "Has John seen I?" is incorrect.

And finally, is it "Henry and I are well" or "Henry and me are well"? Again we take out the other pronoun and in this case we change the plural "are" to "am". Clearly "Me am well" is incorrect. It should be "I am well".

• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+

English language: The indefinite article

I recently received an email complaining about my use of the indefinite articles, "a" and "an"; reminding me that "If a word starts with a vowel, use 'an'. If it starts with a consonant, use 'a'"; and going on to point out that I should also have written "an hotel".

The rule I use is this: "If a word starts with a vowel sound, use "an". If it starts with a consonant sound, use "a". Therefore I would write "a hotel" and "an honest man", and also "a unicorn" and "an umbrella".

However, some other writers and especially older and historical writers do prefer to use "an" with a sounded "h" if the first syllable is unstressed, as in "hilarious"; or for words like "hotel" that have been relatively recently co-opted from the French language and where in the French the "h" was silent.

Of course, when our fictional characters speak, it may be that they do not use "correct grammar".

I'd say go with what feels right to you -- bearing in mind that your editor or publisher may hold contrary views. Be sure to read the house guidelines.

• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+

Friday, 20 April 2012

The indie author's marketing blues

There's only one thing that disturbs me more than the initial stages of a book, when the ideas are there wriggling and squirming inside me, wanting to be let out, but the book as yet has no form; and that is the period after writing a book and having just been through a first wave of marketing. Coming in a close third would be when faced with a fallow period between two books, though experience may teach us that this is quite natural and nothing to be unduly concerned about.

It's gone midday here in England and I still don't feel like I've quite woken up today. I figure it's maybe withdrawal symptoms after the adrenaline rush of the last two days' free Kindle promotion, and yet it's more than that. Much more. It feels a bit like the morning after the night before, when yet again you didn't get to meet the woman of your dreams and are also left worrying in case you became a little too drunk and made an ass of yourself.

I actually find the marketing process mentally and emotionally challenging, which is great at the time; but also eventually quite draining.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Trailer for The Dissidents by H.M. Forester

Here's a very quick trailer we knocked up for The Dissidents: A novella, by H.M. Forester:




• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Dissidents: A novella, H.M. Forester

Enforcement Officer Kingsley is pretty sure of himself and the Greater Good that the Hive stands for, and he shows no compunction when rooting out the dissidents and having them banged to rights.

But all that changes when he meets Holly Potter, a dissident informant, and he is assigned to work undercover with her, in order to penetrate to the very heart of the dissident movement. What they experience and learn comes at a terrible personal price.

The Dissidents is a dystopian, soft sci-fi novella of approximately 46,000 words, written by H.M. Forester. There are no bug-eyed monsters, and the story more about people than technology, so you don't need a degree in quantum physics to read it.

If you like George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four or the NSA's Prism surveillance story grabs you, you might like The Dissidents. Ever fearful of being discovered or "outed" for dissident tendencies, these people work secretly to preserve simple human pleasures and traditions in a dystopian world.

☆☆☆☆☆ "Excellent work describing a truly frightening dystopia."

Reviews

Dystopia revealed
Amazon.com, 23 January 2013
By Zenizen
☆☆☆☆☆

"The Dissidents by H.M. Forester is an excellent work describing a truly frightening dystopia. The details that fill the harrowing story are of immense value to every person who is a free thinker. Indeed, knowing some of these details could save your life if ever you find yourself in a similar situation. Now that is something to think about."



The book is now available for the Kindle at Amazon US, UK and European web sites. ASIN: B007UJZV2Q. If you don't have a Kindle, simply google "free kindle reading apps".

The Dissidents is now here at Goodreads. If you've read the book, please add it to your bookshelf and rate it.

If you want to try before you buy, you can read chapter 1 of The Dissidents here. Alternatively, you can download a preview in mobi/kindle format here. The preview contains the first 10% of the book.

• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+

Friday, 6 April 2012

A day in the life: Nicotine and lucid dreams

Forgot to take off my twenty four hour nicotine patch the other night and, as you may well know, they can give you weird and vivid or even lucid dreams.

I suddenly realized that I should be working in a certain college department that I'd left several years ago, instead of whatever it was I was doing, most likely fiddling around with one of my own projects, so I dashed across campus to that department to get back to work before my absence was noted.

Then one of the computing lecturers asked if I'd help them out. A piece of equipment was badly in need of repair. My task completed, the guy kindly offered to take me to the pub for lunch in appreciation. At this point I found myself in the back seat of a car with him in the passenger seat and his wife at the wheel. I squeezed in the back seat, beside another charming lady. The man's wife appeared to be an expert driver, but I was slightly unnerved to find her hurtling down a long, steep, twisting hill in reverse! Heck, she was looking over her shoulder to see where she was going; and at one and the same time, I was both enjoying the exhilaration of the ride, yet also mentally bracing myself for an almighty rear end shunt. Fortunately we survived the journey with our bodies and our sanity intact.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Wikipedia author biographies and books

A great way to help new authors is to write a Wikipedia article about them or their individual books. However, this is not a trivial task, so be sure to check out the five pillars of Wikipedia first. There's a steep initial learning curve, though in the end you'll find the climb well worth the effort.

First of all, search Wikipedia directly and via google to make sure that the article you want to write doesn't already exist. Duplicated content is likely to be merged or deleted.

The subject of a biography or a book must be notable and you need to provide proof of this. That means that they must have received significant coverage in reliable, independent, third party sources. A book may be notable and yet the author may not, and vice versa, so you may have to just add a minor "About the author" section to an article about a notable book.

Any significant facts in the Wikipedia article, such as those that may be disputed or critical acclaim, must be verifiable by other editors and readers. That is, the source of the facts must be cited in in-line footnotes or global references; and again those sources must be reliable.