Return Of The Mack!

March 5th, 2014
by E J Mack

1399688_10201820180002435_1130879946_oMay 2013?  Has it really been that long since I felt I had anything constructive to say?  And yet there’s been so much going on….. so let that be my excuse – just not enough hours in the day.

First and foremost, there have been exciting developments on the screenwriting front, as anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook will know.  My feature length coming-of-age dramedy, Festival, has been picked up for production this year – yes, this year! – by The British Youth Film Academy, an initiative run by The Co-operative whereby film students get hands-on experience working with professionals on a proper film set.  Filming will take place this July/Aug and I hope to see it on the big screen in the new year.  If you’d like to keep up with production developments there is a Facebook page and Twitter feed, I believe hosted by the directors/producer.   Needless to say, I’ll be posting any exciting announcements here as well.  Please do like and follow!

Alongside this I was also privileged enough to be asked to work on another, completely separate project as script developer – so at long last I now feel truly worthy of the title ‘Screenwriter’.  All those hours slogging away are beginning to finally pay off.  The trick is to keep the momentum going now…and with that in mind I am currently knee-deep in a TV pilot which I’m co-writing with a very talented writer friend of mine.  More news on that as it comes.

On the book front, work continues on my third novel.  The first draft is finally completed after roughly 15 months, so now it’s time for the tricky re-write; no doubt the first of many.  I was pleased I at least managed to get to the end in time to pitch it at the very first London Author Fair as it was extremely well received.   An insightful and inspiring day of seminars and workshops hosted by specialists in their fields, it was held at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden just last week.  A great opportunity to hear from agents, writers, marketing professionals – the works – including Patrick Brown from Goodreads who gave us some great tips on how to use the site to its full potential and really reach a bigger audience.  So with that in mind, I’ve just this morning launched another Goodreads Giveaway for a few copies of ’25 Random Facts’ I had stashed away.  The first time I gave this book away, back in 2011, I had over 1100 requests however competition in the market has grown enormously since then so I’m not expecting quite those figures!  Although saying that, I did learn that Goodreads membership has doubled since last year, with around 20 MILLION readers on there now.  Mind-blowing stuff!  If you love books and you’re not on there you really should be.

And how could I forget to mention the most exciting news of all?  At the end of last year we welcomed a new member to the family – Pablo the miniature dachshund.  He really has turned out to be a girl’s best friend – and greatest distraction.

So that’s it for now I guess and I’m feeling a little less guilty for neglecting this page for so long – first draft of a book, a TV pilot, a film in production and a script developer credit in nine months?  I don’t think that’s toooo shabby… 😀

x

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Goodreads Giveaway! – Coming soon to a screen near you…

March 5th, 2014
by E J Mack

Goodreads Book Giveaway

25 Random Facts by E.J. Mack

25 Random Facts

by E.J. Mack

Giveaway ends April 04, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

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So I Made A Little Film….

May 7th, 2013
by E J Mack

Photo on 18-09-2011 at 00.22 #4…..and about time too, I heard some people say – after all, this is where my two creative worlds meet.  You may not be aware but not only do I write and publish my own fiction but I have also been quietly nurturing the screenwriter in me for the last few years.  I am proud to say I now have three screenplays under my belt, all of them just waiting for the right opportunity to take them from the page to the big screen.

But for now, let me introduce you to my little film for the little screen – a teaser trailer I made for my book ’25 Random Facts’.

Take a look by clicking on the image below.  It’s only a minute long but if afterwards you’d like to know more you can find my take on the creative process below.  Anyway, enjoy…and yes, it is me (no laughing in the back there).

random factslink

Welcome back!  I hope it provoked a reaction in you – so far it’s been described as ‘mysterious’, ‘menacing’, ‘scary’ and ‘alluring’ – all adjectives I can definitely live with!

So I guess I should explain what set me off in the first place – why on earth I suddenly chose to go from faceless author to screen ‘performer’.  It was quite by accident really. I was aware of other authors and their publishing houses making trailers and had long harboured the idea that it might be another tool to add to the promo box should the need arise. But the jury on whether they actually brought results was still very much out at the time and so I left it on the shelf to fester a while.

Then for some reason, which for the life of me I cannot remember but probably had much to do with idling, I entered the words ’25 Random Facts’ into YouTube.  To my surprise, up popped page after page of people who had all filmed themselves listing their very own random facts.  What had begun as a game on Facebook had made the digital leap into video.  Most of them were posted recently and some in particular were proving extremely popular.  The seed was sown, it was time to jump on the wagon (which makes a change from constantly falling off it).  A quick mention of the idea on Twitter brought out a couple of cheerleaders and so off I went.

It was simple, it was quick and it cost nothing other than my time – my main concern being that I wasn’t prepared to invest heavily in something that might not bring any rewards.  It was really no more than a fleeting idea to have some fun with a camera and see what came out of it.  I should explain here that when I originally thought of making a trailer it involved stills, music and text, much like all the others doing the rounds at the time, and nothing more.  Now however, I wanted Sophia from the book to make her very own video of her 25 facts.  However without an actor to hand there was nothing else for it – it would have to be me.

A day and a half of self-indulgence later, it was finished.  I shot it on my iPhone, in my local environment, through an App called 8mm to give it that vintage atmosphere. The last thing I wanted was my face in the cold light of day simply reading out the facts – I wanted it to feel more like an interview or confessional, a secret diary perhaps.  In the end I chose around eight of the facts from the book to film, though half of them would be slashed in the edit.  Most of the shots are the first take as filming yourself is hard enough without watching it over and over again. I then put the film through its paces on iMovie, cutting scenes, tweaking colour saturation and adding sound effects and transitions.  And that was it.

It may not be the best bit of filmmaking in the world, but it was fun and a fantastic learning experience.   And if it leads just one more reader to my books it will have been worth all the blushes.  If you enjoyed it, please do remember to share.

Next up, A Silent Shore – just have to work out how to get to Umbria in 1954…

x

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SALE NOW ON!!

March 4th, 2013
by E J Mack

To celebrate the end of Winter I have slashed the price on both ’25 Random Facts’ and ‘A Silent Shore’ ebooks at Amazon for a limited period.  Follow the links below… 😀

scalpel2

Obsessed by a betrayal and in pursuit of the truth, a vengeful woman perpetrates the ultimate deception 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

cover image © Alexandr Blinov (Dreamstime.com)

cover image © Alexandr Blinov (Dreamstime.com)

An unflinching Italian patriarch gathers his family at the ancestral home to reveal a devastating legacy

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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From The Archives Pt.2: Bang 2 Write Post

February 23rd, 2013
by E J Mack

This is a post I wrote for Bang2Write.com, the go-to site for writers run by Lucy V Hay.  It was posted September 28th 2011, a few months after the release of my first book, ’25 Random Facts’…

The End Is Just The Beginning: Adventures In Self Publishing by EJ Mack

“Why?” Surely the most common question of them all. We ask it constantly as a child and continue to do so right throughout our adult life. As humans we are constantly asking why things are as they are and why people do what they do. But little did I know that I’d be asked this question myself time and time again when people discovered I’d made the choice to self-publish.

I’m not sure it was a conscious decision as such, more one of those organic, grows-on-its-own, kind of things. One minute I was happily taking my first baby steps as a screenwriter, the next I’d dug up an old, unpublished novel called ’25 Random Facts’ and thought, “I know, I’ll blog it and see if people actually think I can write.” It was a no-brainer; the thing was already written so demanded no effort from me. I could carry on with my screenplays whilst also finally finding out whether or not I was barking up the right tree when it came to my new career post babies. I’d been writing since I was 20 but always lacked enough self-belief to do anything with it; pursuing agents and publishers was simply too daunting for me. Yet finally, here I was, brave enough to put myself out there and see what came of it. For once I was serious about something.

There were two things I didn’t expect however:

1. That pride would force me to re-edit and in some cases re-write each chapter before I released it onto the blog, one chapter a week.

2. That people would actually like it and tell me so. Some of them even got frustrated when I was a day or two late posting the next chapter.

And that’s all it took to plant the seed. Oh, and I guess the fact that the media was full of stories of self-published authors making a tonne of money on Amazon might have had some small bearing on it…
Getting it published online took a little patience – it is actually a very simple process once you understand the formatting issues but these can be enough to send you to an early grave. To date I have now published to Amazon (Kindle), Smashwords (all readers) and Lulu and each time I’ve had to reformat my files and scan them religiously for formatting issues (and there are ALWAYS some hiding in there somewhere). Then of course I had to find a cover image. At this stage I was not aware that you could purchase licenses for images online so I merely doctored a personal photograph. I was just desperate to get it out there and selling as fast as possible.

So finally it was up, out there in the marketplace, ready to be snapped up by all those discerning readers. Except no one was snapping. No one even knew it existed and I was fighting for attention alongside hundreds of thousands of other authors. Suddenly I realised the true benefits of having an agent and publisher on side. Marketing and publicising the book has got to be the hardest, most soul-destroying part of all. The writing was a breeze in comparison to the brick walls I’ve come up against. I’ve sent it out to online reviewers, those that I could find, with successful results – the reviews have been fantastic – however I still need to rustle up even more if my book is to have that ‘must read’ air about it. I’ve tweeted (what feels like endlessly) about it, I’ve driven everyone mad on facebook about it. I have a Facebook ‘page’ and have joined Goodreads. I’ve even blogged about it whenever I can find the time and have something to report.

But even after all that I began to feel like I was stalling and so decided in the end that what I needed was paperbacks. Once again I went through the formatting process and had promo copies printed. Then I trawled through every publication I could think of that might review it only to discover the same adage – they will not review self-published books. And contrary to popular belief, I don’t believe it’s anything to do with snobbery about us ‘Indie Authors’ (sounds so much nicer than ‘self-published’ don’t you think?). Now that I know just how many of us there are out there, I quite appreciate that reviewers need some kind of quality filter to avoid being absolutely inundated with books that they would never find the time to read.

From my experience, what it all amounts to is that the act of self-publishing does not signify the end. Rather it is the beginning of a whole new chapter of roller-coaster highs and lows. The fantastic reviews, the sudden, unexpected sales followed by days, sometimes weeks of nothing. My time now is filled with scouring the web for promotional ideas, playing around with cover art and rewriting blurb to see if it sparks further interest. But most of all I’m back to writing the next book as the more and more I read, the more I understand that in self-publishing, to sell your book the first thing you need to do is write another.

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From The Archives Pt 1 : Kindle Author Interview

February 13th, 2013
by E J Mack

This was an interview conducted by David Wisehart for his Kindle Author blog back in 2011….

Kindle Author – DISCOVER NEW WRITERS

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15, 2011

Kindle Author Interview: EJ Mack

EJ Mack, author of 25 Random Facts, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about 25 Random Facts?

EJ MACK: It’s difficult to explain the plot without giving too much away as it really relies on all the secrets and revelations to give it its momentum. But I can tell you that it was born from a quiz I was asked to do whereby you revealed a number of unknown facts about yourself to a select group of friends. Almost like group-therapy on paper. I was so intrigued by people’s revelations and candidness that it struck me how little we really know about the people we are closest to. From there came the idea of a woman who is not quite the person everyone thinks she is. In the book we learn not only who she really is, but also how and why she became the way she is now and ultimately, when her secret is discovered, what her future will be. To give you a sense of the general tone of the book, it’s a psychological thriller that hinges on the themes of betrayal, deceit, jealousy, murder and self-sacrifice.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

EJ MACK: I tend to start with one protagonist and then look at what characters are needed to bring out his/her traits. We cannot learn about a character’s innermost feelings or what drives them purely by watching what they do day to day. We also need to see how they respond to those around them in order to understand their viewpoint on the world. It is important therefore to add both conflicting personalities as well as nurturing ones. A person can be faultless in their job, it’s how they behave at home with their family that shows their true personality.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

EJ MACK: I’m split on this. My protagonists always tend to be female which obviously lends me to a female audience, however some of my best feedback has been from male readers. I think the fact that my characters are predominantly flawed and in some ways emotionally twisted makes for a story that can appeal to both sexes. Age-wise I’d imagine anything from late teens upwards.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

EJ MACK: 25 Random Facts was unusual for me because I never really expected it to see the light of day. I wrote the first draft about 18 months ago and then let it sit, gathering dust, whilst I launched myself onto the unsuspecting screenwriting industry. Quite by chance and on a whim I decided to blog it, a chapter a week, to see what reaction it garnered. This was also a great way of forcing me to edit each chapter before it came out. The upshot was, the reaction was good enough for me to begin to believe it was worth publishing. A few more rewrites, some proof-reading and here I am.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

EJ MACK: It’s changed dramatically over the years. As a twenty-something I was very much a late-night writer, a cigarette burning in the ashtray and copious amounts of wine to oil the cogs. I tended to come up with the general idea and then just let it flow; let the characters dictate what happened. But what came out, whilst at times really pleased me, tended to be lacking in structure which is so crucial to the telling of a good story. These days I’m proud to be a member of the daytime club and I also make sure I outline my story fully before I launch into it. I want to make sure I really know my characters and what drives them and ultimately where this journey is taking them. Above all though I try and remind myself always to just get it written in the first place—there’s plenty of time for edits and rewrites afterwards; getting the story out and to its natural conclusion is the biggest battle.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

EJ MACK: Anyone who’s not afraid to stick to their guns and use a different style of writing. I think we’re always on the look out for originality in our authors; for someone who will challenge us. That’s not to say the story has to be complex or intellectual but rather just makes us look at life from a different perspective. I’ve recently really enjoyed James Frey but am also a bit of a die hard Thomas Hardy fan.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?

EJ MACK: The Bone People by Keri Hulme. I first read it when I was about 15 and it took me three goes to get into it but once I was in I loved every second. It was dark and emotive, full of complex characters, but yet so positive and life-affirming. And her descriptions of the New Zealand landscape and climate were incredibly vivid.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

EJ MACK: Early days still for me but am targeting online reviewers to start with. I am currently organising a print run for a mail out to local papers and book clubs and perhaps even some local stores, though indies can be hard to find these days. From the word go I have Facebooked and Tweeted unreservedly about my progress and will continue to do so as well as maintaining a blog about the journey.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

EJ MACK: To be honest, for me it was a lack of self-confidence firstly. Having had a few knockbacks from agents in my twenties, the chance to publish without having to secure an agent and publisher was invaluable. Then came the realisation that it would save me all those fretful weeks and months of waiting for responses or, if I was lucky, publishing dates to come around. Of course now I also know that the financial return is that much better for each book sold, although it has yet to be seen whether I have any chance of selling as many copies as I might were I traditionally published.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

EJ MACK: Do as much pre-planning as you can before publication. Get all your promotional opportunities and reviews sorted out as early as possible. I am only just discovering how busy reviewers are so it’s likely any reviews will be sporadic rather than close to release date. I am also beginning to see a need to have some print copies ready—there are still a number of reviewers who will turn down ebooks. The list of Kindle authors is huge now so to have any chance of your book being seen and bought you need to exhaust all promotional opportunities.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.

25 Random Facts

E J Mack

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Now That Was A Blast!!

November 2nd, 2012
by E J Mack

I absolutely love writing books, don’t get me wrong, but there’s still a little screenwriter in me just screaming to get out, and with that in mind I attended my third consecutive London Screenwriter’s Festival last weekend.  And it was a blast!  Somehow the experience is fresh every year and whilst I sat in on some fantastic sessions – Mike Leigh, Gareth Unwin, David Yates, to name drop a few of the biggies – this year it was really all about the social for me.  Script consultants, established TV writers, directors, fellow struggling screenwriters  – I met some really fantastic people over the weekend and am still thrilled by the ever INCREASING circle of friends and connections that continually develops year after year.  It was also a great opportunity to sit down with my co-writer and thrash out the first few scenes of our new TV serial which I can’t wait to dive into – exciting times!

Behind the scenes, family life goes on and we’ve had a great half-term break which included a trip to ‘The Making Of Harry Potter’, which is really well organised and definitely worth a visit.  With pre-booking a rule, crowds are minimal and the whole experience was a pleasure; I even found myself welling up during the introductory film – that’s the power of the movies for you!

Just in case you missed it, there’s a new page on here dedicated to all the lovely reviews I have had for both ‘A Silent Shore’ and ’25 Random Facts’ – words that are absolutely vital to a writer as they are the lifeblood that pushes us onto the next project.  I already have ideas for book number 3 (the ‘difficult third book’?) and hope to get started before the year is out.  Would love to publish a book a year if I can manage it…

So with Halloween already gone and Firework night this weekend I guess it’s time to bite the bullet and face up to the fact that Christmas is most definitely looming.  Time to start making some tentative plans I guess….just as soon as I’ve written this script…. 😀

x

 

 

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What they’re saying about ‘A Silent Shore’…

August 1st, 2012
by E J Mack

cover image © Alexandr Blinov (Dreamstime.com)

 

“I couldn’t put it down and regretted having kindle on my phone as its a bit risky in the bath! Brilliant – thank you”

“my fav new author…am only 100 pages in and wish i could get some kind of illness that would allow me to stay in bed and read all day – you know those books that you can’t put down even though with each page you know you are 1 page closer to the end and want it to go on forever…beautifully written and for 3 quid a complete bargain…a MUST read!!”

“I absolutely loved “A Silent Shore”. Beautifully written and I honestly could not put it down. More please.”

“a really gripping read….characteristic of Mack’s writing style”

“The secret tragedy at the heart of the story is very movingly written..”

“Absolutely loved this book – once I had started it I didn’t want to put it down until I had found out what had happened…wonderful characters brought to life beautifully by the writing..”

“gagging for the next one! Why can’t authors write more quickly! I highly recommend you buy this book!”

“If you like stories about secrets, about deceit and betrayal, about family rivalries, about hedonism and lust and love and the damage that can be caused by the careless use of power and sex, strongly written with genuinely touching moments, then this might be right up your street.”

‘A Silent Shore’ is now available in all ebook formats including Kindle and iBooks .  Also available as a paperback.

Lake Trasimeno – the setting for ‘A Silent Shore’

Haunted by a lifetime of regret and on the eve of his 80th birthday, Francesco Corbelli reassembles his family at the ancestral home, ‘Il Rifugio’, on the shores of Lake Trasimeno. His intention is to put right all the mistakes of the past and secure a future for his family.

His children expect a celebration. They are not prepared for the litany of lies and deceits that their father is about to reveal. This is a family already in pieces – will the truth finally bring them together or tear them apart forever?

Set in Umbria, ‘A Silent Shore’ spans three generations of the Corbelli family and warns of what can happen when pride and expectation come before love.

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Goodreads Giveaway!

July 16th, 2012
by E J Mack

To celebrate the launch of ‘A Silent Shore’ we’re giving away 5 copies of the paperback on Goodreads.com  Competition closes August 15th.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Silent Shore by E.J. Mack

A Silent Shore

by E.J. Mack

Giveaway ends August 15, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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Welcome To Il Rifugio…

July 13th, 2012
by E J Mack

Let me introduce you to Lake Trasimeno, Umbria, the setting for “A Silent Shore”…..

The view across Lake Trasimeno from Izzy’s bedroom

Stone Pines and Cypress Trees outside Gina’s window

The walk down to the lake through olive groves

 

The road to Isabella’s house…

Stefano’s chair..

The blood-red lake at sunset

Let your imagination take you there….

‘A Silent Shore’ is out now on Kindle https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B008JF8KQO

and in Paperback http://www.lulu.com/shop/ej-mack/a-silent-shore/paperback/product-20253442.html

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