A Salt Splashed Cradle by Chris Longmuir

A Salt Splashed Cradle by Chris Longmuir
***** stars

In addition to her crime and horror writing, Chris Longmuir has put her ‘pen to paper’ and come up with a romantic fishing saga set in 1830s North East Scotland. In reality, this book was written first but it wasn’t until this summer that Chris decided to publish it on Amazon and Smashwords. She’s far better known for her crime writing and her novel, Dead Wood, won the prestigious Dundee Book Prize in 2009.

The fisher folk of the village of Craigden are a proud people and don’t take kindly to outsiders. Belle Watts turns the village on its ear when she arrives as the bride of James and Annie Watt’s eldest son, Jimmie.

Belle wants a better life than that of a fishwife whose husband works on his father’s boat. Her husband wants to get a boat of his own. To that end, Jimmie is persuaded by Belle to sign on with one of the whaling vessels. When he leaves on his first voyage, things on the home front become far more complicated.

Chris’s descriptive narrative brings the setting to life with ease making you feel like you’re actually there experiencing things first hand. From the moment Belle arrives and is forced to share a small stone cottage with Jimmie’s parents and siblings, there is no privacy – eight people living in this one-room building with a net loft. In addition to the aromas this conjures up, you can smell the salt air, the fresh farmland above the cliffs and envision a tiny village clinging to the base of the cliff.

Her characters have their strengths and weaknesses and she portrays them so that we empathize with them and like them. Belle is strong yet vulnerable. She has a past that isn’t totally revealed but implied. Other characters play off these characteristics for the good and the bad and the results… well, I’m not saying anything else because it will spoil the story.

A Salt Splashed Cradle is an excellent read. At 280 pages (about 83,000 words), it can be read in a day because once you start, you won’t want to put it down.

The trailer for A Salt Splashed Cradle can be viewed on You Tube here. If you watch and listen to this first, I guarantee you’ll hear Chris reading the book while you read it. I know I do.

A Salt Splashed Cradle is available for the Kindle at amazon.co.uk for £2.85 or at amazon.com for $3.99 US.

If you don’t have a Kindle or the Kindle app for other devices, you can download it for the Sony, Nook, Kobo etc., from Smashwords for $3.99 US.



Self-Publishing workshop

It was my intention to blog about this long before now but things kept getting in the way. And since next weekend, I’ll be off attending a full-day workshop, I thought I should get the one from August written up first.

On August 7, Ottawa Romance Writers Association member, Teresa Wilde, conducted an excellent workshop (If the Self-Pub Shoe Fits…) on her experience publishing for the Kindle on amazon and other devices on Smashwords.

Pros of self-publishing:

You never have to write another synopsis.
You’re in charge of your own destiny.
You write all your own marketing material.

Cons of self-publishing:

You’re in charge of your own destiny.
You write all your own marketing material.
There are no guarantees.

There are probably more pros and cons that I’ve not listed here but I think these are the biggies.

Amazon’s terms and conditions are long and detailed and what you have to remember is that they WILL change and you have no control over it.

DRM (Digital Rights Management) is a one-time option and if you inadvertently turn it on, you can’t change it after. Make sure you don’t do that!

Something that you might take for granted is the headers/footers and page #s in your original documents. Since the Kindle, Nook, Sony and Kobo are electronic devices, they work in screens not pages which can be zoomed in or out depending on the preferences of the person reading on the device. I’m certain, too, it was mentioned to take out page breaks because the device will automatically deal with that, with the exception of breaks for Chapters. This bit is a bit murky now because I didn’t write the post right away and some of my notes aren’t the easiest to read. If anyone can confirm this last bit for me, it would be most appreciated.

Amazon has put together an excellent video which is available on You tube here. At the end of the video, there are some other related ones that are worth checking out, too.

Before you take the plunge and decide to self-publish, make sure your novel/novella/anthology is in the best shape it can be in. After all, you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot.

Teresa Wilde writes as Teresa Morgan.