When I was a child, Christmas was the smell of oranges and cigars and the Christmas tree, resinous and strange. Put any two of them together and it still bounces me right back into the past, bringing with it firelight, the bustle of friendly company, a sense of holding my breath in excitement. Smell is the first route by which I recall emotion.
Why smell evokes memory : the science bit
There is a reason for this, I find. Olfactory neurones in the upper part of the nose generate an impulse which signals the limbic system, that part of the brain which controls not only memory but also emotion, mood and behaviour. Supposedly, this is one of the most primitive parts of the brain.
Smell — the fallen angel of senses?
Apparently, Helen Keller called smell “the fallen angel of the human senses” because we don’t use it any more to tell us there’s a tiger in the area. And I agree that we live in an intensely visual age, with more communication illustrated than ever before.
But we do still smell food that has gone off.
And, even more important to the romantic novelist, smell is an important part of sexual attraction. Continue reading →
Libertà’s very first guest blog comes from much-loved Australian author Anne Gracie whose captivating stories have won her fans all over the world.
Anne Gracie started her first novel while backpacking solo around the world, writing by hand in notebooks. Now published by Berkley USA and Penguin Australia, her Regency-era romances have been translated into more than eighteen languages — including Japanese manga (which she thinks is very cool).
A life-long advocate of universal literacy, Anne also writes books for adults just learning to read.
Move over TK, the Writer’s Cat. Make room for…
Anne Gracie and Milly, the Writer’s Dog
I grew up with animals, all kinds of animals, and a house without at least one animal seems empty to me. I’ve had a variety of pets, including cats, but the one animal that’s a constant in my life is a dog, and my current companion is Milly.
She’s a rescue dog and came to me half grown, after I saw her on a dog rescue website, and brought her home, all gangly and uncoordinated. She’s a little kelpie/cross (about 55cm, almost 2 ft.)
I sometimes tell people who ask about breeds that she’s a Baluchistan Hound. (And if you don’t know what a Baluchistan Hound is, you need to read Georgette Heyer’s Frederica.) Continue reading →
When potential readers look at your book on Amazon, does the blurb have impact?
Or do they ignore it because it looks boring?
If so, this is the blog for you — how to fill out that description box on KDP to give your blurb visual impact.
Your Blurb Text
This guide is not about how to write your blurb text. You’re a writer. It’s what you do, isn’t it?
“True,” you reply, grimacing, “but I write novels, not 80-word blurbs. Blurb-writing is hell on wheels.” Most writers would sympathise, so here’s a link to an excellent blog about writing back cover blurb by K J Charles who is both an accomplished writer and a professional editor.
For this blog, I’m concentrating on how to give your wonderful blurb visual impact.
Among other advice in the K J Charles blog is: “keep it short”. When potential buyers see your book on Amazon, they normally see only the start of your blurb. Unless your opening lines have visual impact, readers may not click to read the rest. And if they don’t read your blurb, they probably won’t buy your book, either.
Catching the reader’s eye matters
Adding Visual Impact with HTML Codes : A Worked Example
If the Libertà hive ever needs a household god, we may well plump for the Roman Janus, god of beginnings and transitions. Janus usually appears with two heads. That means he not only tells you where you are, he can tell you where you’ve been, too.
Janus is also the god of gates, doorways, passages and endings, the sort of god who is useful for showing you, and us, the way.
So here we have a god of beginnings, middles, endings. Readers like all of those, and they’re pretty useful for writers as well. At Libertà, we’ve come to think that Janus is probably our guy. Continue reading →