It’s A-Live!!!

Cage Dunn: Writer, Author, Teller-of-tall-tales

The moment has come. Picquet is published. The e-book is out there.

And Smashwords has it half-price for the July Summer-Winter Sale.swlogo

A new world, a dangerous place mistakenly assessed as suitable for human colonisation.
An inexperienced corporal must lead a motley group of civilians to the only possible point of extraction. Mistake, or exile?

Corporal Kopa Redding becomes a senior member of the rapidly diminishing group of colonists to a new planet. A horde of monsters pursues them and kills off more every night. If not for the lights …
And then it happens, there are no lights, and Corporal Kopa Redding is on night picquet. Alone. They come …

An exciting, fast-paced run through an alien world where nothing is familiar.

Want an excerpt? Here it is:

Everywhere he looked was unsuitable. He’d be as visible as a single star in a galaxy.

“I’m afraid,” he said to the…

View original post 382 more words

It’s That Time – SmashWords Summer-Winter Sale July 1-31

If you like an Australian feel, this is an author to try…

Cage Dunn: Writer, Author, Teller-of-tall-tales


1-31 July 2018


And these are the books I’ll have in it:


Fantasy, battle


Fantasy, red desert


Fantasy Allegory, Australian fauna


Soft sci-fi, urban fantasy, tarot cards

A new book will be published in July:


A new world, a dangerous place mistakenly assessed as suitable for human colonisation, and an inexperienced corporal who must lead a motley group of civilians
to the only possible point of extraction.

Mistake, or exile?

[pic from Pixabay]

View original post

Delayed Gratification

When is the last time you really dissected a favourite book?

For the readers among you, let’s be naked honest… not ever. Honestly, why bother? Readers want to enjoy a damned good story, and how it works doesn’t matter. Not a whit.

Yet, for any writers, we’re constantly trying to decipher what makes a good book, a GOOD BOOK or a good show, A GOOD SHOW or a good movie, A GOOD MOVIE. Aren’t we? Go on, authors, raise a sheepish hand… *GRIN*

Something I’ve noticed in my dissection of different media – a secret withheld leads to delayed gratification for the reader/viewer.

Therefore, I find it is useful to remember the kind of experience I want for a reader. And I want them to experience delayed gratification.

To do this, I withhold a secret and use hints/foreshadowing sprinkled throughout the book, with a revelation (a few) at the climax.

So, the secrets will hopefully arouse audience curiosity. Hints/foreshadowing should feed that curiosity. My readers will hopefully be guessing the book’s secrets as they read. I predict they’ll guess some secrets, but not all of them.

What are books with a similar ability to deliver delayed gratification? Big Little Lies springs to mind. Read it or seen it? If not, then do.

And I’m not suggesting my book will be as good as my examples, but these are close to what I’m trying to achieve – in YA fantasy.

All the way through Big Little Lies we wonder, ‘who got murdered?’ But when we learn the secret, we are hit with not one secret (or twist), but two. And each “twist” has it’s own trail of breadcrumbs throughout the story, so the reader/viewer is satisfied at the end because the trail of breadcrumbs has made the ending inevitable. And the “twists” make the revelation of the secret, i.e. who got murdered, oh so satisfying.

If we’d known the secret ahead of time, the “twists” would have lost their impact. There would be no tension. What reader enjoys no tension?

What about in Great Expectations? *SPOILERS* don’t read the following paragraph if you haven’t read this book.

Pip meets a frightful man in the first chapter. Later we learn Pip has a mysterious benefactor. It’s only around the 70% mark, we learn this secret i.e. who is this mysterious benefactor?… and he is the frightful man of the first chapter. If the reader knew that at the outset, then how could’ve Dickens built such a mystery around it?

That’s the art of delayed gratification at play.

If it suits your story, try to achieve the experience of delayed gratification in your own work.

Can you name a book using delayed gratification?

A New Role, Perhaps?

Are you a brave author after honesty?

Cage Dunn: Writer, Author, Teller-of-tall-tales

As a writer, I do a lot of reading. Lots and lots and lots – usually about seven to ten books each week. I get these books from a variety of locations (deceased estates – sort through, read, distribute to regional libraries, etc.; libraries (and the debit pile); garage sales; e-books; my own two rooms of stacked bookshelves; anywhere else books go or turn up or try to escape to); I love to hold the world of those words within me for a moment (or two). I also re-read the very good ones, but with limits (if you do the same thing too often, it loses the energy).

More often than not, I don’t put up reviews or write about the books I’ve read. Most of them (probably >65%) are non-fiction, and I tend to keep notes or clipbooks (sometimes the whole book) on what I need/want from it.


View original post 295 more words

Cross genres for authors: Same name or different name?

This is a question a lot of authors agonise over and it ultimately boils down to what you want.

However, first, I urge you to make an informed choice.

If you write cross genre, it’s recently come to my attention, whether you traditionally publish or you’re an Indie, you need to consider the impact of Amazon’s algorithms and how they affect your sales.

Most authors loathe marketing. It’s a fact. Learning how Amazon works and promotes your work, is a ticket to minimal marketing. So make Amazon work for you and don’t confuse it. Using the same name if you write cross genres is guaranteed to confuse Amazon.

Take me for example, I currently have a memoir and I’ll release fantasy in the future. Now, my fantasy will most likely be the stronger seller (fiction is more popular than memoirs, so it stands to reason) then it may appear in my memoir’s ‘Also boughts’ (on Amazon) if I used the same name.

Amazon algorithm’s can’t differentiate between a fantasy and a memoir. A browsing memoir reader will be confused to see a fantasy on a memoir page. What do you think happens next?

What happens is not Amazon’s fault. The reason it happens? An author uses the same name.

Just throwing another initial into your name on a book in one of your genres (different to other genres), can help the loathed marketing chore. Different names is something Amazon algorithms can differentiate between. ‘Also boughts’ are a free form of Amazon marketing, so it’s worth making them work for you.

When deciding one name or a different name consider the impact of Amazon’s algorithm for your ‘Also boughts’ if you write cross genre.

If you want to see what inspired me to write this post, watch this (starting around the 15 minute mark, although the entire video is time well spent).  Many thanks to Joanna Penn and David Gaughran for educating me.


Why trust me?

There is a plethora of writing advice out there. So much to choose from you virtually get lost in a sea of advice. And who do you trust? Why even trust me?

Let me give you some background and let you decide.

I’ve been writing since eleven. Those first years were more plotting than writing. For the first decade after school, I paused writing in order to study law. After passing and being admitted as a lawyer, I started writing again. My first book. A romance. Written without a clue. Afterwards, I wanted to try my hand at fantasy. So, I began to learn the craft. I’ve followed blogs like Nathan Bransford’s blog since way back then. All the while writing that fantasy. This time I wrote I following the three Act structure. I even received a place in a writing contest.

And I finished my fantasy.

But, by gosh, it was rubbish. So I scrapped half, and tried again. I finished again. Still crap. Scrapped the new half again. I finished again. I told the story from three points of view. I wasn’t up to that challenge yet. I paused to have three kids.

A stroke only 10% of people survive derailed my legal career. Not my hopes of writing. After 15 months in hospital, I wrote my memoir which was signed by an agent in a week. Unfortunately, although publishers loved it, they felt it was for too much of a niche market to make them enough money. So, it’s now self published upon my agent’s recommendation.

Back to my fantasy, typing with three fingers on my non-dominant hand. I realised, I needed to concentrate on one main character. I’d bit off more than I could chew. I wrote a main character and discovered, it wasn’t his story! So I scrapped another 60,000 words. I needed to learn how to tackle one character first, before I tried more than one. I needed to learn so much: character arc, show don’t tell, recognising passive voice, dialogue, subtext, character motivation, character goals, foreshadowing, writing the antagonist and the list goes on. And I needed to twist any tropes to make my story interesting.

I think I ended up deleting those 20,000 words I’d kept too.

The last two years I’ve spent reading books on the craft, reading blogs, critiquing manuscripts, watching YouTube videos on the craft and writing. And seeing as I can’t walk, that’s two years 9-12am, bum in seat. Plus, the first half of this year I’ve also been involved in a weekly critique group.

As a side, the most recent books to transform my writing? Dazzling Dialogue and How to Write a Dynamite Scene.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned on this journey, it’s when I begin to type, “Harry killed the zombies to clear the path.” I stop and consider the “to clear the path” (anything that follows ‘to’). Do I need it? Am I telling too much (chances are, it’s a yes)? Shouldn’t I let a reader infer what’s happening (chances are that’s a yes too)? ‘To’ and what follows can be justified, but it’s a question of judgement. Unless this is a first book (and it’s not), I’ll stop myself. It helps I’m forced to type slow. I can’t speak for all the able bodied writers out there.

So I ask, can you trust me? There will those who think ‘yes’ and there will be those who think ‘no’. And that’s fine. Either way, happy writing!



Are you looking for your writing voice?

Serendipity - Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

I was out in Arizona talking to a Blue Corn Navajo lady who made jewelry. She had carefully given me her tribal affiliations and all I had to say was “Eastern European Jewish,” which lacked panache. I don’t seem to have much of an ability to show a lot of dash in casual conversation. Whatever talent I have, it’s more introverted.

Nonetheless, it was a good conversation. I casually said I was ” … waiting for my ship to come in and hoped it had a fortune on board for me.”

She asked me, seriously, whether I’d been out on the docks looking for my ship.

Looking for my ship?

She said “Yes, you have to watch for them. Otherwise, they can pass you by and you’ll never know you missed it.”

Navajo … the sky really does seem bigger.

I’m sure I forget for years at a time…

View original post 750 more words