Month: September 2020

Much Dithering in Little Botheringham – 1

Much Dithering in Little Botheringham – 1

Working Title Blogspot

The new Sunday Serial, ‘Much Dithering in Little Botheringham’ is an everyday tale of village life and vampires, from Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook.

Ginny sat back and read over the list one more time.

The Menopause

hot flushes
weight gain
dry skin
dry hair
hair loss in the places that should have hair
hair gain in the places that shouldn’t
vaginal dryness
men don’t notice you in the same way anymore
you can’t have children

no more periods (!!)
no more PMS (!!!)
warm in winter
hair less greasy
skin less greasy
fuller figure
female bonding
men don’t notice you in the same way anymore
you can’t have children
becoming a vampire

She smiled and deleted the last line. Yes, it was an advantage, if not the advantage but she couldn’t put that in this piece. 
The title was buoyantly cheerful:

Virginia Creeper is Back! 


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The Future of Barnes and Nobles

Nicholas C. Rossis

Barnes and Noble | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book

The Passive Guy recently shared a post by Jane Friedman on the future of Barnes & Noble; a topic you may remember from my earlier post, “How Amazon Destroyed Barnes & Noble.”

Quite frankly, Jane’s post made me sad. The latest chairman, James Daunt, is credited with saving UK’s famous bookstore, Waterstons. However, all you got to do is read the following quotes to understand that he really doesn’t get B&N – or books.

Early on, when Daunt was asked what he thought of Barnes & Noble on his last store visit, he said, “There were too many books,” by which he meant that featuring the right inventory is more important that stocking a big blur of titles. Back in 2015, he commented to Slate, “My faculties just shut down when I go in there.”

So… the big problem with a bookstore is that it has too…

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What Happened to Latin After the Fall of Rome?

Nicholas C. Rossis

Readers of this blog will be aware of my fascination with all things linguistic. So, I just had to share Susanna Viljanen’s and Dan Toler’s answers on Quora on what happened to Latin once Rome was no more.

It may surprise many to realize that Latin is alive and well over fifteen centuries later. Latin never disappeared. It simply evolved. But it evolved differently in different places, and that’s how we ended up with the diverse set of modern Romance languages.

What Happened to Latin After the Fall of Rome (476 AD)?

After the Western Empire’s collapse, Latin continued to exist just as ever. People from Lusitania to Dacia continued to speak Vulgar Latin as their everyday language and to write Classical Latin in their letters.

But languages are living things. While many modern people think of Latin as a single, standard language, that wasn’t the case. Ecclesiastical…

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Ancient Travels

Nicholas C. Rossis

I came across an interesting question on Quora the other day: What was the approximate travel time between London and Rome in the 13th century?

As Frank Melling, author of “A Sixpence in the Settee,” points out, this is not a simple question to answer, as it depends on the circumstances. Are you a merchant, a peasant on pilgrimage, a priest, or a courier? Will you be walking, riding, or taking a Cog?

Read on to find out the answer – and check out Stanford’s Orbis, the great link in the end!

What a difference 900 years make

At the peak of the Roman Empire, an Imperial Messenger would cover 50 miles a day – and from all over the Empire. There are tales of Roman riders covering hundreds of miles in 24 hours when there was a desperate need. However, that was with as many…

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The Problems with Publishing

Nicholas C. Rossis

Author Kristine Kathryn Rusch recently shared a must-read post about today’s state of publishing, aptly titled Trainwreck, Fall Edition.

As she explains, she tried in June to order a copy of a book she liked for her sister. However, she wouldn’t get the book until September. Understandably, her reaction was: How odd. The book had released in February, so she should have been able to get her hands on a copy quickly. But she couldn’t.

Then she remembered that the same thing had happened with a couple of other books she had ordered for her sister back in May. They were backlist for an author her sister hadn’t tried and it took six weeks for her to get the books, with the shipment getting delayed more than once.

Putting two and two together, Kristine realized the ugly truth: traditional publishing is headed for a trainwreck.

The trainwreck

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Free Online Character Name Generators

Nicholas C. Rossis

I have an unusual relationship with character names, probably because I have such a poor memory (as Electra likes to point out). Quite frankly, I don’t particularly like the process of coming up with names. As the saying goes, you don’t know how many people you dislike until it’s time to name your child. Or character. Plus, once I finish the book I forget the characters’ names within a few days at most (which makes reading Game of Thrones exhausting).

My way out is to name people after their role in the book. For example, in Runaway Smile we meet the boy and his mother. Neither has a name beyond that. Similarly, many characters in A Heaven for Toasters are called “The Professor,” “The Captain,” etc. Easy to remember, if not so easy to write, as I always struggle with capitalization.

When I do need to come up…

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Please don’t read my book!


Reposting this article again. Several authors have used reverse psychology in humorous approaches to marketing their books.


Stephanie Barr made a meme for Beast Within, The Bete Book 1, that highlights aspects of the book that some people might possibly find irritating.

Reverse psychology involves advocating ideas or behaviors that are in opposition to one’s desired goals according to Wikipedia. Above is a reverse mention of my book, Asante’s Gullah Journey.

Some authors have taken the humorous approach of producing meme posters about why you, a potential reader, should not pick up and read their books. The reasons can include potential shortcomings in their books, or critiques of reading generally, or the particular genre, or perhaps larger criticisms of the world in general.  Usually, the desired outcome derives from the hope of the author that you will be so intrigued that you will rush out and buy the book.


In K. M. Herkes’ example above for her book, Controlled Descent, we see negatives and tongue in cheek comments.

The hoped for psychological outcome seems similar to me to that in Goodreads reviews where controversy around a book results in more sales. When readers have contentious disagreements about the content, style, or meaning of a book, new readers can become curious to try for themselves. They want to see what side of the controversy they will land after giving the book a try.

dontread_470511166462959_1441979994374461108_oM. A. Ray, in the example above, disses aspects of her book, Hard Luck.

Reverse psychology is a time honored mind control approach. We use it with our friends, enemies, and family members to gain compliance. We hope that if we seem to offer a position that is opposite of our true position we will find common ground with the other person, or get those others to lower their barriers and let in our message.

One approach to marketing is to offer benefit for the customer. Writers who employ reverse psychology memes are hoping to secretly show how their book will offer value to the reader. The self-criticism of the book may be intended to be false, or may be intended to warn the reader what to be careful of.


For Crimson Fire, Mirren Hogan lists possible off-putting facts about her book. Sometimes the very features we highlight as being of concern to the reader might be selling points.

For The Korpes File, J.I. Rogers explains why some readers might not want to read her book. There is some method to this madness, in the overt downplaying of one’s own brand or poking fun in the advertisements. One goal is differentiation, to separating one’s books from others in the maketplace.

Don’t be afraid of reading a book, just because the author tells you scary things. Likely an author puts the energy into critiquing their book because they hold their own works in high regard. Give them a try. Judge for yourself whether there is validity in the reverse-hype!

Author links:

J. I. Rogers: and

K. M. Herkes: and

M. A. Ray: and

Mirren Hogan at: and

S. A. Gibson: and

Stephanie Barr: and

Top Tips on Writing a Book Blurb That Really Sells

Nicholas C. Rossis

Ashley Halsey | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksThis is a guest post by Ashley Halsey. Ashely is a professional writer at and and is also involved in several nation-wide projects. A mother of two, she enjoys reading, traveling, and attending business training courses!

Today, she tackles one of the most annoying things about being an author: writing the blurbs to your books! I have shared some nice tips on writing blurbs in the past, but the whole subject still seems to be a nightmare for most authors, so I hope you’ll get inspired by her tips.

Top Tips on Writing a Book Blurb That Really Sells

They say not to judge a book by its cover – but let’s be honest, we all do exactly that. The cover and blurb are crucial in drawing in potential readers, sparking their interest and, in many cases, can be the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity…

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How Fiction Can Inspire Business Writing

Nicholas C. Rossis

Business writing includes memos, reports, proposals, emails, and a variety of other business-related written materials. It usually gets pretty bad press among both readers and writers. It is seen as boring and tedious, making for dreary reading – and even worse writing!  This guest post by Shaheryar Sadiq contradicts the stereotype by explaining how fiction can actually inspire business writing… and no, he’s not talking about dodgy statistics and fake news.

Shaheryar provides ghostwriting and copywriting services. His educational background in the technical field and business studies helps him in tackling topics ranging from career and business productivity to web development and digital marketing. He occasionally writes articles for Carpet Cleaning Hertfordshire.

How Fiction Can Inspire Great Business Writing

Creative writing and AI | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

There is a huge misconception about fiction and business writing and that they both cannot go together very well. But that’s not true at all! You can use fiction…

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