Sunday, 23 November 2014

Writing is like learning a trade

Writing is like learning a trade 

Over the years I have found writing is like learning a trade. When I was an apprentice mechanic I remember staring into the workings of a stripped down gearbox and thinking, how am I ever going to learn how that works?

Writing as it turns out is very similar to fixing cars. It is so much more about repetition and by doing the work learning the tricks of the trade. You can read as many car manuals as you can but there is no better experience than getting your hands dirty and doing the practical work.

It’s the same with writing. You can read as many books as you like on how to write but until you sit down in a quiet room and record your ideas in words you will never progress. Failure in writing is just learning. A first draft will never ever be as good as the final rewritten and polished manuscript. And you will never get a final polished manuscript until you have started your novel and finished your first draft.
The saying, ‘Your worst work will always be better than the best work you never did.’ is applicable to writing. The book you have written in your head is a waste of space in your brain if you don’t write it.

My publisher Christine edits my work and she can be quite critical. Taking criticism is how you learn to write. This works for me because readers of books are in my opinion more intelligent than your average non-reader. A reader will find your mistakes, your bad grammar, holes in your plot, the weakness of your characters. 
No book is perfect; almost every novel will have the odd typo or a ‘the’ instead of ‘there’ but I try to have the finished manuscript as near to correct as humanly possible.
I had only two years in high school, so writing has been a long and difficult road. Fortunately I have received support from my wife Jackie and my family who are not afraid to critique my work. 
Christine has also inspired me to keep writing when sometimes I doubted I could do it.
My books may never be bestsellers but that is not why I write. I enjoy the challenge: from starting from a clean sheet of paper to holding a published book in my hand. It is the same sort of thrill I enjoyed from breaking in a wild colt and turning him into a well-mannered racehorse.

I hope you enjoy reading Seeking Angel my NYC serial murder mystery in Kiwi Liaison.

Here are links to Comedy Candy  and The Secret Empire on Amazon.
Here is a link to my books on Google Play Comedy Candy  and The Secret Empire.

NZ Paranormal Comedy The Hoodle will be published very soon
A J Burton.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Werewolf Confessions Christmas Comedy Launch Preview

'Werewolf Confessions' 

Here is a sneak peek into the paranormal comedy novel AJ Burton has been writing for the past 18 months.

We aim to launch Werewolf Confessions for Christmas to give you some true Christmas Cheeriness.

We hope you enjoy reading it half as much as we have enjoyed writing and editing it.

NB this work is sprinkled with malapropisms and is in NZ English. 

Werewolf: A confession

Sometime after midnight tonight, I need to grow a pair. I must become a Gladiator, a Jedi Knight and Batman, all rolled into one. The Lycanthrope we face is immortal or even older and he is cunning, immensely strong and so, so deadly.
My name is Jake Fangle and I’m twenty three years old. Somewhere inside me there lurks a hero. Maybe he could cease lurking for just one night. This night!
The only glimmer of hope is that I too am a lycanthrope, of sorts. Sounds like some sort of parasitic tapeworm, doesn’t it? According to folklore, it is the correct terminology for a werewolf.
I swear upon my mother’s gin soaked corpse this story is completely true. Sorry mum, I didn’t really mean that. Guess there are some residual feelings which I haven’t dealt with yet.
This brief account is a confession of my failings, so you will understand what I have gone through and won’t judge me too harshly whatever the outcome. So here we go; I’ll try to be honest. There is no point in lying about where this all took place, except about the country, the town and the people in it. Remember this is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, except for the parts which are a complete and utter fabrication.
I’m no writer, I’ll get things in the wrong order sometimes; say the wrong word, put it in the wrong context. This syndrome is real and is referred to as a malapropism or bushism so it’s not all my fault. If you are a grammar nazi now is the time to put down your marker pen, take off your jackboots and learn that even those of us with the grammar retard gene have a right to tell our stories.
My mother didn’t trust the New Zealand Education Department so she home schooled her only child. No blackboard and chalk for me, instead she put her faith in a bottle of gin and a carpet slipper. Sometimes mum rang the school bell for assembly at three in the morning. Try to remember your fourteen times tables then, I dare you! Many a lesson ended in a thump as mum hit the floor after a few lunch break gins. So I’m afraid my education is somewhat lacking.
Mum left me the house when she died, so I do okay. I’m single so I don’t need to earn much to make ends meet. I never knew my father. According to my mother he was a lazy, thick-headed arsehole; hopeless with money and he didn’t have a romantic bone in his body. I wonder under what circumstances they managed to conceive me.
But to get back to the present, the last 28 days have dictated that tonight my friends and I stand and fight. My survival depends on confronting and vanquishing a beast who intends to devour me. The werewolf will never give up until I am deceased or even dead.
Thank goodness I won’t have to face The Dog No One Ever Speaks About alone. But what chance do two cowardly dogs, a brave but clumsy idiot, the WWWC, and a Hu-oodle have to destroy a real Lycanthrope?
 Unless we can kill this hideous beast there is no hope for us. One by one he will track us down, each of our deaths too horrible to contemplate. My friends are precious to me and I don’t want any of them to die. Sometimes to my shame, I thought if the idiot got it, I could live with that. But even after all his screw-ups and systematic destruction of my home I wouldn’t wish that on him.
Should I fail, I shall be torn apart, ripped to pieces, eaten and once you are dead brother, life ain’t worth living. In the unlikely event I should be the victor I’ll become the local werewolf, so I must keep the real location of where this is all happening a secret. My home town could be a sleepy village in Hertfordshire, England, or an out the way town in the mid-west of the America’s or in the village of Sanyo in Japan. Or maybe it’s a country town called Wekawaka in the Wairarapa district of New Zealand.
Wekawaka is situated off State Highway Two but it also could be off Route 66 in California or the M1 motorway in England, or even the Hitachi yellow brick road in Japan.
It is a sleepy town with street lighting and shady trees lining the sidewalks. Generally everyone knows everyone else and their business. Think of Wekawaka as your everyday imaginary country town.
Wekawaka’s only distinction is that with alarming regularity tourists and trampers disappear in the rugged bush covered hills beyond the town. The rumour was that there was a sort of Bermuda Triangle effect going on and the local constable always seemed to be looking for someone. It didn’t bother us locals much; if the dopey tourists were too stupid to use a local guide that was their problem.
 One out of towner, an Australian no less, once said.
“If New Zealand was a constipated person you would insert the enema hose up the main street of Wekawaka to give him relief.” It’s a pity he never went missing.
We have a post office, a main street with hardware store, supermarket, garages, assorted small shops, cafes and two burger bars, one at either end of the town. There is one police constable, or sheriff, or ninja, or whatever they call cops in Japan but I shall refer to him as Constable Knowsley.
Knowsley considers himself a talented super-cop with a one hundred percent clearance of burglaries. Knowsley’s crime busting abilities must be taken with a grain of salt. We only had two burglaries in town last year, and criminal offender turned out to be the constable’s twelve year old son Sheldon.
Whenever our policeman spoke to you it was usually to ask “Have you seen this person?” and you would be shown a picture of a tourist standing smiling beside a hired camper van. Funny thing was he never seemed to find any of the missing persons, not that we heard about anyway. Once you disappear in the Wekawaka triangle you never return.
Ken Wilson my neighbour across the street was a keen tramper. He was middle aged and owned a miniature poodle. Yancy-boy was his name, I used to tease him and called him Nancy-boy, but he never got the joke. Why Ken would want a tramping companion who was no bigger than an obese albino rat, totally escapes me. He certainly wouldn’t have been much use as a hunting dog and was about as scary as a brightly coloured tea-cosy.
Suppose he was kind of cute, he’d see you coming and yap around your heels like a wind up squeaky toy. Yancy-boy must have done something real bad last month on that fateful full moon night

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Five Star review - The Secret Empire

From Jane Hamann... "I read your book. I loved it. The Secret Empire is a rollicking royal page turning read. Challenging sea battles, acid adversaries and tender heroic characters fill this epic story with humour and vitality. An archipelago brought to life. A J Burton and Christine Leov Lealand are talented authors to watch - I predict they are set to take the literary world by storm.
Looking forward to the next book." 

Friday, 2 August 2013

Non Digital Review of The Secret Empire

A review on real paper from our neighbour who had never read a book like our Steam Punk novel before. Thank You Cynthia
This review is for the Createspace version available in print HERE
We enjoyed writing it and we are having fun working on Escape from The Secret Empire - part two in the series.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Published: The Secret Empire

A fast-moving gripping tale of romance and adventure in the Steam Punk Empire of Atlantea.

Reviews: "Excellent. A real page-turner and very interesting historical/fantasy perspective. Really enjoyed it and highly recommended." Denise Dalziel on Smashwords.

Thoroughly enjoyable” Colleen Pearson.

The Secret Empire - why is it secret? - Yes the people of Atlantis have good reasons to defend their archipelago from any and all foreigners.
A mysterious and scientifically advanced society lives a sequestered and pampered life in the brutal bronze age on a hidden archipelago of islands in the central Mediterranean Sea. 
Atlantea is a xenophobic Steam Punk empire, where science rules and steam and electricity are in ascendance. Their navy are equipped with steamships and cannon, charged to protect the technology and racial purity of their empire with homicidal ferocity.
Klaus Meinbach is one of their proudest scions, captain of the battleship Hieglund and the most eligible bachelor of the fabled city of Atlantis.
A late summer storm brings the Hieglund to a foundering Greek merchant ship and the surviving crew are taken prisoner. 
Among them is Helena of Delphi, a proud and beautiful young priestess of Apollo. She is horrified to discover they are to be enslaved or murdered by these uniformed men unless she can persuade the handsome stern captain of the ship to spare her and her crew.
When Captain Meinbach discovers that the bewitching captive foreigner may be of Atlantean blood his mind is made up. He will request the Atlantean genetic purity courts grant his petition to grant Helena citizenship.
Klaus and Helena share danger and adventures on land and at sea as they fight to save Helena's life. 

Klaus is forced to make a terrible choice between duty to his country and love for his woman in the courts of Atlantis. Which will he choose?

“Oh.... I so love your new book. Started reading this afternoon and almost swore when a friend interrupted me. As soon as he was gone, I was back reading and didn't stop till finished. Haven't eaten tea yet. (9.30pm) Enjoyable reading. Loved the descriptiveness of everything. Gave my imagination clear views of the ship, characters, mountains etc, and I'm sure I've met the male judge before. Laughed out loud when the scheming mother was thinking of the hero, while screwing him. Your knowledge of sailing really enhanced the story for me, as well. I really enjoyed reading it. So thanks again.” Review by Jeanette Currie.

Contains mild sexual references, no cursing and little bloodshed.

Available soon as a print book from

Friday, 24 August 2012

Map of Atlantis 1

Now published - The Secret Empire - Atlantea Discovered is now available from this link:- The Secret Empire in all formats.
Below is a draft of Christine's hand-drawn map of the main island of Atlantea, showing the Port of Atlantis and the industrial city of Reinhart.
Please comment on the map - do you like it? Is a map the kind of thing you would like to have with your ebook on your Kobo or Kindle or iPad?

A second map of the whole archipelago of Atlantea is being drawn now. Of course it includes some active volcanos and many islands.
AJ Burton and Christine are also working on book two: Escape from Atlantis -the adventures of Klaus Meinbach and Helena of Delphi as they try to elude their enemies from Atlantis.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Seeking Angel - thriller and murder mystery by AJ

  • Detective Bull Protettore seeks Angel, missing; believed to be in the company of a secretive bi-sexual Dominatrix.
  • Discover how she is the clue which leads Bull and his partner Tommy to the serial killer who is terrorizing NYC.
  • Bull and Tommy are in a race against time to unravel the twisted ropes of the truth to exact justice and revenge.

'I truly enjoyed reading this book mainly because the characters weren't perfect. They all had their own little quirks and issues that made them seem so real. It actually felt like they could walk off the page and shake your hand. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends.' Amazon 5* Review

'I started to read, figuring that I'd read for about half an hour and found that I couldn't put this book down. The words come alive on the page.' Amazon 5* Review

'This was a great read! It proceeded at a good clip, had a twisty plot and an interesting cast of characters.'Amazon 5* Review

Hello everyone, above the new blurb and Front and Back covers for Seeking Angel, formerly Demon's Coven. 
Thank you so much to everyone who gave feedback on the former cover, we have listened to you and this is the result.
Thanks also to Nils Danemann, our new cover designer - who has made us this awesome new cover - featuring Angel, the Spike and looking most mysterious and interesting.
Read Seeking Angel and you will enjoy a well paced read, a devious plot with lots of characters all woven together in a masterful way. Best of all your heart will be pounding and your mouth laughing at some of the antics that A J's characters get up to. 
Excellent summer reading for your e reader on the beach - and a winter awaken-er for the southern hemisphere.