The new edition of the book is on sale now, exclusive to Amazon. This blog post describes the writing process behind it.

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Humans are not from Earth (2nd Edition) by Dr. Ellis Silver and more...

Humans are not from Earth (2nd Edition) by Dr. Ellis Silver

hanfe2coverI’ve lost track of how long I’ve spent working on this book. I spent 11 days brainstorming and mind mapping it with the author, Dr. Ellis Silver (an American ecologist and environmentalist), and ended up with a Mind Map the size of a wall (on my iPad), a comprehensive outline, and 900 pages of very rough notes Ellis had already compiled, based on feedback I’d been sending him from the first edition.

It’s taken me a good year since then to knock it all into shape, write it all out neatly, fill in the gaps, find supporting evidence where it was missing, edit it, lay it out for publishing, and design a cover.

On top of that, throughout this process, new discoveries were announced in the media pretty much every week – sometimes daily – and many of them not only needed to be included in the book, but had a profound effect on what had already been written. That, of course, led to lots of emails back and forth, and we went back to the drawing board again and again.

One reviewer who commented on the first edition on Amazon said writing this second edition would be impossible. And to be honest, she wasn’t far wrong. But I’m actually quite good at the impossible. It just takes me a while sometimes.

But at last, it’s finished, it’s all done, and it’s on sale!

I was aiming for around 350 pages but it’s so comprehensive and wide-ranging that it came out closer to 500. On top of that, there’s over 100 pages of references, as every major point is backed up with evidence – we felt that was extremely important when dealing with a subject of this kind. Plus there’s an expanded table of contents and a detailed index, bringing the whole thing up to 646 pages.

It’s a fascinating read, debunks many common misconceptions, and covers much more than the title implies. If you click on the cover image over on Amazon you’ll be able to see the expanded table of contents (and the first 50 pages of the actual text) and get a good idea of what it’s all about.

I hope you like the cover. I had to take a 3-month advanced Photoshop course to be able to do that. The course runs for another 2 weeks, and then I’m taking a 3-month graphic design and typography course.

If you’re interested in buying a copy of the book, it’s exclusive to Amazon and available on Kindle (£4.99/$4.99) and in paperback (£18.99/$24.99).

If you don’t have a Kindle ereader device, there’s a free Kindle app that you can install on any computer, tablet or smartphone. You can download it from the book’s Kindle page – see below.

The following links should take you to your nearest Amazon website, wherever you are in the world:

Kindle version:


[UPDATE] There’s now a Facebook page for Humans are not from Earth, where we’ll be discussing the book – and the topics it covers – in more detail, and hopefully having some fun and interesting debates. Come and join us, even if you haven’t bought the book yet. And if you have bought it, there’s a Very Special Offer there for you!



Guest post: E. Rachael Hardcastle (Author of Finding Pandora)

6016f2_1e64bbd333624e3da9900739929e2dbc-mv2_d_1280_1214_s_2.pngToday we’re delighted to welcome supernatural fantasy novelist and West Yorkshire lass E. Rachael Hardcastle to the ideas4writers blog. Her box set Finding Pandora – The Complete Collection (Books 1 – 4) is out this week.

Naturally, we wanted to know all about her, her ideas, and her writing and publishing experiences, and to see if she had any useful tips to share. Here’s what she had to say:

How do you find and evaluate ideas for characters, plots, dialogue, etc?

It’s an overused response but ideas just come to me. Sometimes after watching TV or reading a book I wonder what new swing I could put on that premise, so I’ll write it down and explore it later on. I never base characters on real people – I like to let the characters develop into who they need to be and usually fill in a profile sheet (as seen on my blog) to make sure I cover everything.

How did you get your latest idea? What made it good enough to write about?

My latest idea came to me after watching Jurassic Park and reading a book called The Great Zoo of China. I wanted to explore the theme park idea further, where the guests have to escape for some reason. I know the idea is popular because the movies do well, and to the best of my knowledge the books have done well too, so I thought I’d note it down and brainstorm some ideas. I haven’t started writing yet, but I know it’s a golden nugget because it crosses my mind every day.

How did you expand the idea?

  • Use brainstorming and mind mapping ideas

  • Use story beats to note everything down and build a story/characters

  • Note down the cliches I wanted to avoid and why

  • Watched the movies, read the books etc for research and to see how I can make my story unique

How do you do your research?

I prefer to use reference books rather than the internet, though I do often mix the two. I write fantasy, so some of my research is on myth, legends, signs and symbols, etc, which is fun, so I don’t actually mind this part of the process. I then keep notes in a ‘story beats’ outline document in OpenOffice, which I refer to whenever it is needed. I tried Scrivener but haven’t yet made friends with it.

Would you be willing to share with us some of the ideas you’ve rejected?

I very rarely reject ideas, I just note them down for use in a future project. I think my advice would be not to reject anything because even if it has been used before, there’s always a new way to approach it. They say there are no new ideas and I believe this is true to some extent – it’s what you do with them that counts.

Which book marketing ideas would you recommend?

I offer free content to prove I am trustworthy and helpful. I think marketing can be creepy when you’re posting ‘buy my book’ on social media. Your posts will be ignored and you might lose followers by doing this. Post free content on your blog, helpful notes and resources, and then offer your book at the end. For example, you could advertise your book at the end of a YouTube video that is free and offers the viewer a solution to a problem.

How did you get published?

I self-published my work after coming close to traditional publishing and turning down two offers. I decided I wanted to be in control and give it a shot myself. That way, I could learn the ins and outs and possibly turn hybrid later.

Have you had any really bad/bizarre rejections or reviews?

I once received a postal rejection (with my manuscript enclosed) and on the title page was the comment ‘We don’t publish poetry’. I had submitted my 50,000+ word high fantasy novel…

How do you find the time to write?

I think I steal the time to write after work and between chores at home. If you want to be a writer, you should write, and those who are serious will make the time.

Where do you write?

I have a home office. I keep all my reference books, tools and notes in that room so I can access anything I need quickly and easily.

Can you recommend any software or apps that help with your writing?

And finally, where can we find out more about you and your books?

My website is at

Thank you! Good luck with the box set and for your future writing success.

Thank you!


We now edit books!

We have officially launched our new editing and proofreading service!

We can offer proofreading, copy editing, line editing and developmental work at very reasonable prices. (There’s an explanation of what we do for each of those on our website, and you’ll find the price list there too.)

We have nearly 30 years’ writing and editing experience, and we’re friendly, flexible and full of ideas! The last time we offered this service (to ideas4writers lifetime members only) at least five of the books we worked on won international awards. We expect that to continue. The only difference is that this time the service is open to everyone!

But we’re more than just editors! If you don’t have a finished book yet, or even if you haven’t started it yet, we can help you turn your idea into an outline, then help you create your book around it, scene by scene or chapter by chapter, suggesting improvements as you go and editing each part as it’s completed.

And if English isn’t your first language we can make your book read as if it was written by a native English speaker.

We’re keeping our prices deliberately low while we get the service up and running again and work on the first ten or so books. Sign up soon if you want a genuine bargain!

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Next Year’s News: 50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in September 2017

Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in September 2017 for you to write about and make money from. The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time to find markets, and research and write your articles.

We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.

The Date-A-Base Book 2017The listing below is a small sample of the entries for September from The Date-A-Base Book 2017
There are 328 anniversaries for September in the book (more than six times more than listed here). The book covers the whole of 2017 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.

If you need to work further ahead, Next Year’s News 2018 (the new name for the Date-A-Base Book series) is also available!

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over – and the book also explains how to get your anniversary articles and features published in newspapers and magazines, on radio and TV, and on paid sites online.

400 years ago (25 Sep 1617)
Death of Go-Yozei, Emperor of Japan (1586-1611).

300 years ago (24 Sep 1717)
Birth of Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford, British novelist and politician. Son of Prime Minister Robert Walpole. Known for The Castle of Otranto – regarded as the first Gothic novel. He built Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham, London, which initiated the revival of the Gothic style in British architecture. He was also a prolific letter writer, and they are of significant political and social interest.

250 years ago (4 Sep 1767)
Death of Charles Townshend, British politician. Chancellor of the Exchequer (1766-67) whose taxation of imports into the British colonies in North America eventually led to the American Revolution.

200 years ago (5 Sep 1817)
Birth of Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy, Count Tolstoy, important Russian poet, novelist and playwright. (Not to be confused with Leo Tolstoy – his second cousin.)

150 years ago (4 Sep 1867)
Sheffield Wednesday Football Club was founded in the UK.

150 years ago (21 Sep 1867)
Scottish surgeon Joseph Lister’s ground-breaking paper On the Antiseptic Principle in the Practice of Surgery was published in the medical journal The Lancet. It documented his successful use of carbolic acid (phenol) to sterilise operating theatres, dressings, wounds, surgeons’ gloves and surgical instruments, significantly reducing the rate of infection.

150 years ago (21 Sep 1867)
Birth of Henry L. Stimson, U.S. Secretary of War (1911-13, 1940-45), Governor-General of the Philippines (1927-29), Secretary of State (1929-33).

125 years ago (6 Sep 1892)
Birth of Sir Edward Appleton, British physicist and educator. Winner of the 1947 Nobel Prize for Physics for discovering the Appleton layer of the ionosphere, which reflects radio waves and is useful in communication.

125 years ago (8 Sep 1892)
The original version of the USA’s Pledge of Allegiance was first published in the children’s magazine The Youth’s Companion. It was written by Baptist minister Francis Bellamy. (The current version dates from 1954.)

100 years ago (11 Sep 1917)
Birth of Ferdinand Marcos, President of the Philippines (1965-86). Known for his authoritarian regime which was criticised for its corruption and the suppression of democracy.

100 years ago (27 Sep 1917)
Death of Edgar Degas, French Impressionist artist and sculptor.

100 years ago (30 Sep or 30 Jun 1917)
Birth of Buddy Rich, American jazz drum virtuoso and big band leader. Billed as ‘the world’s greatest drummer’.

90 years ago (7 Sep 1927)
American inventor Philo Farnsworth, aged 21, demonstrated the world’s first fully electronic television system in San Francisco, California. (He worked on a farm as a boy – the idea of scanning an image as a series of lines came from ploughing fields.)

90 years ago (18 Sep 1927)
The birth of CBS. The United Independent Broadcasters radio network (established in January 1927) was rescued by the Columbia Phonograph Company and renamed Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System. The name was soon shortened to Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS).

80 years ago (21 Sep 1937)
J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit was published.

75 years ago (3 Sep 1942)
World War II: Jewish uprising in the Lakhva Ghetto, Belarus. Thought to be the first ghetto uprising of the war.

75 years ago (4 Sep 1942)
World War II: Compulsory Work Service was introduced in France. All able-bodied men aged 18 – 50 and single women aged 21 – 35 were required to make themselves available to work in Germany. The Germans would release 1 French prisoner-of-war for every 3 French workers who went to Germany.

75 years ago (9 Sep 1942)
World War II: a Japanese seaplane dropped incendiaries on Wheeler Ridge, Oregon, USA in a (failed) attempt to start forest fires. This was the first time an enemy aircraft bombed the U.S. mainland.

75 years ago (12 Sep 1942)
World War II: the Laconia Incident. The British troopship Laconia was hit by a German torpedo and sank off the coast of West Africa, killing around 1,400 men. This had far-reaching consequences as the ship was carrying 1,500 Italian prisoners-of-war. When the Germans realised this they launched a rescue mission, but were then bombed by the Americans, despite displaying the Red Cross flag.

75 years ago (19 Sep 1942)
Death of Condé Montrose Nast, American magazine publisher (Vogue, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and more).

70 years ago (18 Sep 1947)
The U.S. National Security Council and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were established, the Department of Defense began operating, and the U.S. Air Force was established as a separate branch of the military.

65 years ago (6 Sep 1952)
Farnborough Air Show crash, Hampshire, UK. A de Havilland fighter jet broke apart and fell into the crowd, killing 31 people. Stringent safety measures were introduced to ensure this could never happen again.

65 years ago (6 Sep 1952)
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) launched its first television broadcasts, in Montreal.

60 years ago (4 Sep 1957)
Little Rock Crisis, Arkansas, USA. Nine black students enrolled at Little Rock Central High School. On 23rd September they were forced to withdraw because white mobs prevented them from entering. On 25th September U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent 300 National Guards to the school to enforce desegregation, which allowed the students to return. (In September 1958 the four high schools in the district closed for a year, preventing both black and white students from attending. The intention was that the buildings would be leased to private schools, side-stepping the ruling that public schools must be integrated. However, the schools remained closed for the full year – known as the ‘lost year’.)

60 years ago (9 Sep 1957)
The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was enacted in the USA. It was the first civil rights bill to pass Congress since the Reconstruction era in 1875. The Act aimed to remove discrimination against non-white voters and to integrate public schools, but it proved difficult to enforce. (This led to the Civil Rights Act of 1960, which aimed to address the 1957 Act’s shortcomings.)

60 years ago (12 Sep 1957)
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) was established.

50 years ago (1 Sep 1967)
Death of Siegfried Sassoon, British poet, writer and soldier. One of the leading poets of WWI. Particularly known for his anti-war poetry and autobiographical works.

50 years ago (20 Sep 1967)
The British ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2 (better known as the QE2) was launched. (It was retired from active service in November 2008. There are plans to turn it into a luxury hotel.)

50 years ago (29 Sep 1967)
The first episode of the science fiction TV series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons was broadcast on ITV in the UK. Created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, it used the same Supermarionation system of puppetry and scale models as their earlier series Thunderbirds.

50 years ago (30 Sep 1967)
The BBC reorganised its radio network: BBC Radio 1 was launched. The BBC Light Programme became BBC Radio 2. The BBC Third Programme and BBC Music Programme were merged and became BBC Radio 3. The BBC Home Service became BBC Radio 4.

40 years ago (5 Sep 1977)
NASA launched its Voyager 1 spacecraft (2 weeks after Voyager 2) on a mission to study the outer Solar System. On 18th September it sent back the first-ever photograph of the Earth and Moon together in a single image. In August 2012 it became the first spacecraft to enter interstellar space (disputed). It is still operating and in communication with Earth.

40 years ago (12 Sep 1977)
Death of Steve Biko, South African anti-apartheid activist. Founder of the Black Consciousness Movement. (He was arrested at a police roadblock on 18th August and died from injuries received while in police custody, leading to an international outcry. He became a martyr for South African black nationalism.)

30 years ago (26 Sep 1987)
The first episode of the science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation was broadcast in the USA. (UK: 26th September 1990.)

25 years ago (7 Sep 1992)
The radio station Classic FM began broadcasting in the UK.

25 years ago (12 Sep 1992)
Death of Anthony Perkins, American stage and film actor and singer. Best known for his role as Norman Bates in the Hitchcock thriller Psycho.

25 years ago (16 Sep 1992)
Black Wednesday sterling crisis. Britain crashed out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), raised interest rates from 10% to 15%, and spent billions of pounds buying up sterling that was being frantically disposed of on international financial markets.

25 years ago (24 Sep 1992)
The Sci-Fi Channel (now SyFy) launched in the USA.

20 years ago (5 Sep 1997)
Death of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Macedonian-born/Albanian Indian nun and humanitarian. Founder of the Missionaries of Charity. Winner of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. Beatified October 2003.

20 years ago (5 Sep 1997)
Death of Georg Solti, Hungarian-born British conductor.

20 years ago (9 Sep 1997)
Sinn Fein formally renounced violence and committed itself to resolving the troubles in Northern Ireland through peaceful means.

20 years ago (11 Sep 1997)
In a referendum the people of Scotland voted to establish their own Parliament. (Opened 1st July 1999).

20 years ago (18 Sep 1997)
In a referendum the people of Wales voted to create the National Assembly for Wales, with devolved powers from Westminster. (Opened May 1999.)

20 years ago (19 Sep 1997)
Southall train disaster, west London, UK. An Intercity 125 passenger train crashed into a freight train that was being shunted across the line, after the driver missed 2 signals to stop. A warning system on the train was broken and an automatic braking system had been disabled as the driver was not trained to use it. 6 people were killed and more than 150 injured.

20 years ago (29 Sep 1997)
BSE (mad cow disease): British scientists announced that they had established a link between BSE and the human brain disease vCJD.

20 years ago (29 Sep 1997)
Death of Roy Lichtenstein, American artist. One of the founders of the Pop Art movement.

10 years ago (3 Sep 2007)
Death of Jane Tomlinson, British charity campaigner who undertook a series of athletic fundraising challenges after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

10 years ago (6 Sep 2007)
Death of Luciano Pavarotti, Italian tenor.

10 years ago (10 Sep 2007)
Death of Dame Anita Roddick, British cosmetics manufacturer and retailer, and social, environmental and animal rights activist. Founder of The Body Shop chain. (Hepatitis C.)

10 years ago (22 Sep 2007)
Death of Marcel Marceau, French mime artist and actor (Bip the clown).

10 years ago (29 Sep 2007)
The world’s first commercial nuclear power station, Calder Hall in Cumbria, UK, was demolished. It operated from 1956 to 2003.

Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers
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What If? 31 Creative Writing Prompts for March

Here’s this month’s selection of What Ifs to help stimulate your writer’s brain. Let’s see what can you do with these! Some are deliberately vague or ambiguous so you can interpret them in different ways.

There’s one for each day of the month. If you need more, you might like our book
The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

dave_small** NEW for 2017 ** We’ll be discussing these What Ifs in our Facebook group each day!
We’ll post each day’s What If in the group first thing in the morning (UK time) and we’ll post our thoughts (i.e. Dave’s thoughts) in the early evening, including how we think you could best turn it a story. We hope you’ll join in too – just leave a comment under that day’s entry.
Our Facebook group is open to everyone. Just go to the group and click on the Join button.

The What Ifs for January and February, including Dave’s thoughts about them, are already in the group. Here are the ones we’ll be discussing during March:

1. you saw your name spelled out in the sky?

2. you had the magic touch?

3. you didn’t have any favourites?

4. you could only taste one flavour?

5. ghosts definitely existed and lived among us?

6. everyone owned at least one bomb?

7. you could only see the colour blue?

8. you owned your own museum?

9. you woke up to find you had a tattoo on your face?

10. your experience was not the same as everyone else’s?

11. your mileage varied?

12. you signed a petition but it had unforeseen consequences?

13. your local undertaker was a notorious crook?

14. you stuck rigidly to your principles?

15. your teaching methods were ridiculed?

16. your grandfather took you to a secret shed and revealed something astonishing to you? (He may be dead, which makes the story more interesting!)

17. you were regarded as an easy target?

18. you were determined to make the list of the top ten most famous people of this century?

19. you witnessed a crime that didn’t happen?

20. you advertised a service you had no ability to do?

21. humans had nine lives?

22. all advertising was banned?

23. you could only write well when you were in pain?

24. you knocked a cyclist off his bike but didn’t hang around to see if he was okay?

25. you were given a second chance?

26. people started dying and the only connection was that they had been reading one of your books when it happened?

27. your home was haunted by a ghost that could see into the future?

28. your child kept inventing things?

29. you felt compelled to investigate an unsolved crime – and then discovered that you had committed it?

30. you could have prevented or avoided the problem but you let it happen anyway?

31. you made more money from failing at things than you did from succeeding?

If you’d like to send in a What If for us to discuss in the Facebook group please email it to: or leave a comment in the group.

If you’ve come up with a really great What If that you’re planning to use in a story and you’d like our thoughts on it, but without anyone else seeing it, we can do that too! (There’s a small charge to cover our time – and a 50% discount for lifetime members – see below.) Email us at the address above for more details.

Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers
and get all 40+ of our ebooks for just £49.95

(Other currencies also accepted)

Price if purchased individually: £214.56
Save: £164.61

Click here to find out more or email us to ask a question

ideas4writers: inspiring you since 2002


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