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Scary Music from Rachel’s Video Producer Trevor Jenkins

Part of the joy of being a self-published author is the variety of people I get to meet. This month let me introduce Trevor Jenkins, the music producer behind my last three video trailers. In conversation, it became clear that he’d had a couple of spooky experiences so I asked him to share them for Halloween. If you do nothing else this Halloween, listen to the audio track at the end of this article and tell us what you make of it. It made my blood run cold! Having made some original music inspired by three of Rachel’s superb novels, we started to talk about the creative DNA of music and drama and it’s emotional impact. It’s a powerful alchemy. Imagine Hitchcock without Herrmann or the opening scenes from Jaws without the strings? The virgin listener to Tubular Bells will hear not a note of menace within the music but

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Dying to Write – paragraph 3

If you read last month’s newsletter, you will know that we are running a writing competition – and it’s a bit like a game of consequences! I wrote the opening paragraph of a story, and asked you lovely readers to put flesh on its bones. This month’s winner is Karen Turner who has taken our character down a very dark path – congratulations Karen – your signed book is on its way. Here’s the story so far: Opening paragraph Friday the 13th was the day that my world fell apart. I hadn’t been expecting it. I was happily splashing a lovely stone coloured emulsion onto the rough plastered walls of my tiny cottage, singing along to an old Take That tune on the radio, thinking how lucky I was to have found this wonderful home in the middle of nowhere, when the old bell hanging in the tiny front porch

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A Writer Reads – October 2016

Take one dead cat and add a few dark secrets involving an ancient Indian burial ground and the result is terrifying. Note that Stephen King is the author and you’ll soon wish you’d stayed in the safety of the basement! I love this book as I love all of Stephen King’s books because he can place a perfect American family in an idyllic setting, in this case the Creeds who move to a house in the woods in Maine, and just let us watch them unravel! This is definitely one to savour over Halloween, a season dedicated to the (hopefully) faithfully departed. Just make sure the cat pretending to purr beside you on the sofa has your best interests at heart as you lurch towards the final chapters.       Do not be fooled by the gentle tone of this book, it lures the reader in like a spider

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A Writer Writes – October 2016

The Highs and Lows of Being a Writer This month has seen the completion of the first draft of my new novel, and it’s an exciting – but nerve-wracking – time. Now I have to wait for feedback from my agent and editor. Do they like the story? Do they like the characters? Is the pace consistent? Do I give away too much too soon? Do we feel that the narrator is intentionally withholding information from the reader? Before I started writing, I had no idea what an editor does. I thought that they read a book and made some corrections, perhaps rewrite paragraphs that are badly written. I was so very wrong. They read it, of course, with great attention to detail. Then they add comments: ‘this bit is too slow’ or ‘this character sounds wooden’ or ‘this exposition it too complicated’. And then the rewrites begin, until the

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Interesting Links – October 2016

Meet the author of the Worst Witch series of children’s books, Jill Murphy. She sensibly advocates the need to read to children rather than just turning them loose with an iPad. Click here to read more. Shirley Jackson – featured as one my spooky reads this month – comes under the spotlight in this review of her biography by Ruth Franklin. This is a writer who deserves much more attention than she got in her lifetime, both from a literary and personal perspective. Click here to learn more. Two powerful and simple antidotes to the vices of our digital media culture: read old books and have good friends. Click here to learn more. Feast of horror! Thirty reads from An American Psycho to Dracula via The Exorcist and on until The Silence of the Lambs – delicious! Click here for more about these scary reads.

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Featured Spooktail

This month, I thought I would give you a featured cocktail instead of a featured reader, although any of you keen to appear next month holding up any one of my books with a few words on why you enjoyed it can write to me at newsletter@rachel-abbott.com – the chosen reader will get a signed copy. Now on to more liquid delights… ‘Tis the season to drink in the ghoulish! Enjoy this grisly cocktail – just the thing for Hallowe’en. There are hundreds of devilish cocktails out there, a Bloody Mary, Death in the Afternoon (yes, it does contain both Absinthe and Champagne!) or even a Zombie? But this one is a winner in the sinner stakes – but please remember to imbibe responsibly! Satan’s Whiskers Ingredients Cracked ice 1 ounce gin 1 ounce dry vermouth 1 ounce sweet vermouth 1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice 4 teaspoons orange curaçao or Grand Marnier

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How To Get Away With Murder

This article was originally published at NovelKicks. In the very first of my novels, Only the Innocent, I wanted a man to be murdered and I wanted his killer to get away with it. I didn’t mind that people might guess who the killer was – the book wasn’t really about that. It was about why he had to die. The most important part for me, though, was creating an unbreakable alibi for his murderer, and that took some thinking about. If you want to be credible, it takes a lot of research – checking out train timetables, flight routes, maybe even tide tables. You might also want to check details like the time of sunset according to the month and location of your murder, if that’s relevant. Every detail has to be considered, or readers will see straight through it. So, alibi is top of my list of techniques

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Dying to Write

In my monthly newsletter we are running a writing competition – and it’s a bit like a game of consequences. I wrote the first paragraph of the story, and then asked newsletter readers (or blog readers!) to submit the next paragraph. I am so pleased that so many of you took the time to turn in your rogue paragraph! I am also delighted that so many of them were so good. It has been difficult to choose just one for you all to carry on with but the writer at the front of the field on this occasion is Ryan Kaminski. Close runners up were Karen Turner and Jess Perry. We’re now waiting for your inspiration for the next part of the story – so do send us your idea of how the story might continue, but please only use Ryan’s entry to take your story forward! Good luck! I’m

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News and Events

Jersey Festival of Words: This is the second JFOW, a five-day literary festival featuring visiting and local writers, poets and events, writing workshops, competitions and more. This year’s festival will take place between September 28th and October 2nd, and will see us welcoming internationally renowned writers including Michael Morpurgo, Victoria Hislop, Louis de Bernières, Louise Doughty and Alison Weir to the island. My presentation is on October 1 – Crime Fiction and Publishing versus Self-Publishing and for once I won’t have to travel very far – Jersey is only 30 minutes from my home on Alderney. Learn more at www.JerseyFestivalofWords.org Good Housekeeping Self-publishing Masterclass: Always dreamed of publishing your book but don’t know where to start? Come and meet three of who have made a success of self-publishing and learn how we did it. On the panel with me are Tracy Bloom, author of No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday, an ebook number 1 best-seller in the UK in

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A Writer Reads

This month I have, as always, read voraciously and three of the books absolutely stand out in my mind. I wish it was more, but I can only recommend the best books to you! This book isn’t available until next February, but it’s already up for pre-order on Amazon and I was lucky enough to get a pre-publication copy. It is SO good – and it’s impossible to believe that this is a debut author. My quote on Amazon says it all, and I mean every word of it. It’s a brilliant thriller, tense, exciting, but also with masterly strokes of humour in the writing. I think it’s going to be the thriller of the year. Click here to learn more.       Paul Finch never fails to deliver a good book. This was just released earlier this week (22 September 2016). I loved his Heck character in previous