Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘Tasting the Wind

Well I  just had to do it. On Thursday I looked on Amazon and the ranking of  ‘Tasting the Wind’ had soared to 17,000 and something. People were buying it.

My order from Legend Press still hadn’t arrived and it occurred to me that other people would see the book before I had.

So I ordered an Express Delivery. It was 11a.m., and I was assured that I would receive a copy by 1p.m. the next day. So I went for it.

The following day it arrived. It had been ordered, printed and posted within twenty- four hours.

I opened the package, and as I did the horror stories started to go through my mind: Some people have received POD books which have fallen apart in their hands. One person who used YouWriteOn received copies of their book with a blue line across the cover…

Then there it was, in my hand. It was a sturdy, solid tome- all  408 pages of it.

I flicked through it- it looked like any book from the shelves at Smiths or Waterstones. But 408 pages?  Surely Tasting the Wind is 364 pages.

Well it was. Originally I had just run one chapter on from another to keep the length and the price down. Tom Chalmers of Legend Press had worked on the manuscript to make every chapter start on a new page. And you know what- it looks far more professional for it. And the price is still comparable with any other 408 page book, at £8.99.

So I have a hard copy novel. Now I have to sell it. Last night I set up a group on FaceBook, and I have been receiving enquiries from all corners of the globe. Now I will be learning  just how effective are the marketing strategies that I have been learning about over the last few months. 

The real fun is just beginning…

       ‘Tasting the Wind’ is now available!



                       Christmas Eve, 1976: a man dies, tied to his bed in a Victorian Mental Institution…Andrew saw what happened. Eddie saw what happened. But their severe learning disabilities prevent them from communicating what they have seen.

 Ten years later, the hospital is destined for closure and Andrew and Eddie move to a bungalow in the community.

  Enter Martin Peach, who has come into care work for all the wrong reasons. And as if the challenge of helping six severely disabled people settle into a sometimes hostile community is not enough, his new manager, ex-nurse Della Belk, has a deadly secret which links her to the new residents…


 Can Martin and his colleagues put together the fragmented clues about Andrew and Eddie’s  pasts before one of them becomes the next victim?



 Praise for Tasting the Wind


 I immediately cared. I will be reading more…!     Ruth Estevez

compelling reading – couldn’t put it down.     Janet Thompson

 Superb …a real achievement   Lee Morris

Couldn’t put the book down! Hope you sell loads!  Linda Jackson

WOW!! This has got to be a winner… brilliant.  Jane Dunnett


Tasting The Wind is a truly gripping read.  Darren Houghton 
  (You can read these comments and more in my guest book)



               You can buy Tasting the Wind now at:  (free delivery available)  or at over twenty online booksellers. Compare prices here:   Bookbutler  or for free delivery anywhere in the world go to book depository

 Or order from your Local W.H. Smiths or Waterstones bookshops, quoting :   ISBN-10: 1849233802   or   ISBN-13: 978-1849233804


50% of my royalties will  be going to Derian House Children’s Hospice



  Well nothing else has been simple about the process…

 I had been hoping by now to be announcing that ‘Tasting the Wind’ had appeared on Amazon. Well it has… sort of. I went on to the site today, searched, and there it was

”Tasting the Wind, Author : Allan Mayer.’

But the cover and details belong to a different book. You can see it  here.

I had heard that other books had appeared like that, so I would imagine that it is something to do with Amazon’s process- the title appears, and the cover and details follow. It’s a bit like watching someone beaming aboard the Starship Enterprise- slowly.

But it’s getting there. Watch this space!

So, you’ve got something which looks like a novel. Well it’s a big bulky wad of paper with words on it

(should be no less than 80,000 of those.)

Once you’ve worked out that what you’re waving around isn’t a phonebook, chances are you’ve got the first draft of your novel. But is it literature? And… will it sell?

Although you will be itching to get your masterpiece into the hands of a publisher, it can pay to put your work away in a drawer for a while before you commence revision. This way you can come to it with fresh eyes.

Approach it like it’s someone else’s work and be brutal.

This scene which took you months to write, does it move the story on, or develop your characters? If it wasn’t there would anyone notice? You may just need to ditch it and not look back.

Is a passage economical?

Sometimes it helps to slow down the pace, to have a brief meditation or ‘set piece.’ Sometimes the information imparted could be passed on in a line of dialogue.

Does your prose flow? Does it have a natural rhythm? When characters speak,

is it believable that someone would talk like that?

Read your work out aloud. If you find you get tongue tied over a phrase, maybe it needs changing, shortening, or to have the order of words altered. Any sections about which you have doubts, try recording them, or get someone else to look. (Not that I could do that- I can never show my work to anyone until it’s as good as I can get it.)

How many times do you revise? I’m with Hemingway on that one-

you revise until the day you go through it and you can find nothing else to change.

I think that this is a common trait of all successful writers, but how they approach this can vary from one to another. Rather than writing a novel then going through it and through it, Dean Koontz writes one page at a time. He will then revise that page thirty or forty times, before he is happy to move on.

I found a real difficulty with my revisions in that some chapters just didn’t work in the person in which I had written them. I once turned the entire book from a first to a third person narrative. It didn’t work, because my aim in having a first person was for him to be an everyman with whom the reader could identify in an unfamiliar world. I eventually decided to mix the voices. A common criticism of this is that it ‘jars.’ But several people have now read my text and not one of them- even the most critical readers- has even mentioned this.

A good example of the use of multiple voices is ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.’ There the change of voice is well indicated by section headings. If you are not going to do this you need to

make sure that the voices are sufficiently distinct,

so that from the first line of the new passage or chapter the reader is left in no doubt as to who is speaking.

In ‘Tasting the Wind’ I have attempted to do this by making Martin’s narration a little more colloquial, and having him always speak in the present tense. Have a listen to the Prologue, which I added to the first posting on this blog, followed by the opening of Chapter One (below) and judge for yourself whether or not it works.

At the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence not only can you see ‘David’ but also several of Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures.

An assumption I had always held about sculpture was shattered the day I visited that gallery: I had always assumed that a sculptor would chip away at the front of his slab of marble, then gradually move round it, whittling it down to a figure. Not so Michelangelo- He worked from front to back- and the unfinished pieces look as if all you have to do is to break the remainder of the ‘cocoon’ from aroud them to reveal a complete statue.

Some writers work that way. Stephen King, for instance, starts at the beginning and writes until he gets to the end, developing characters and situations naturally as they emerge.

I don’t think that I could write that way as long as I’d got a hole in my **** (or, for any American readers, ***.) I’m more of a potterer around the marble with my chisel sort of writer- I may start at the beginning, but in my mind I have scenes from the end or half way, and I need some sort of structure- loose as it may be- to hang the story on- a plan, an idea of major themes and significant scenes.

I don’t mean anything too complicated, and it doesn’t even have to be written- especially not on stone, so that once the characters start to find their feet they can run if they want to.

Having a structure can help when you hit the block- you might be getting bogged down with an earlier part of the story, but feel inspired by a theme which has flashed into your mind from further on. I would recommend that you go for that, write it (In these days of Word Processing it will hang around for you below the earlier pages until you catch up with it) then return to where you got stuck, refreshed with a dip into your creativity. Usually I go back to the sticking point after this and find that it is so below the level of what I’ve just been writing that I just delete it and start again.

And what about chapters and where to end them? Remember: each chapter MUST add something to the story- either in moving the story on or revealing something new about a character. If it doesn’t, you might as well get rid of it. And try to end your chapters with ‘page turners.’ Although my last posting was partly a bit of fun, there is something to be learned from an aspect of Dan Brown’s writing which is shamelessly parodied there. You get to the end of a Dan Brown chapter and there is always something there you didn’t expect, or which makes you ask ‘what happens next?’ or ‘how do they get out of that?’

To my mind, a lot of Brown’s page turners draw too much attention to themselves for what they are, and I think that he produces tiny chapters in order to do this (Look at chapters 53-59 of ‘Deception Point’ for example.) But who am I to knock this? I have read and enjoyed all of Dan Brown’s novels (with reservations about the DaVinci Code because I am a qualified theologian and know just how much he twisted the ‘evidence’- but hey, this is entertainment, and his sales figures speak for themselves.)

The point is, if you want to know what a page turner is, just go through a Dan Brown novel and simply read the last line of every chapter.

And when you’ve done that, if you are a writer, go through the last lines of each chapter of your novel. Do they just fizzle out, or do they make the reader want to read on?

This is your homework until next time.

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