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Monday 31 January 2011

Weekly Round-up

A day late, but the best laid plans e.t.c..

Monday & Tuesday - worked in London; so got a bit of reading on the Kindle.The kindle is a dangerous wee beastie - and the fact that so many really good books are available for a really price - both indie & traditional - means I now have a lot of new reads to get through - and I keep finding more all the time. Got home around 7 and worked on book trailer - definitely need to go back to scratch on this. Maybe I'm too picky?
Wednesday - did the early morning zombie shuffle out of town again. The sad thing is it takes longer to get from my side of town to Paddington station, than it does for the train from Paddington to reach my destination. I'm starting to theorise that London Underground operates some sort of reverse time tunnel, powered by strikes and signal failures, and operated by aliens who haven't quite figured out that humans don't operate public announcement systems by gargling into the microphone. Got home to find my new passport. Did happy dance (O.K., happy shuffle - I was tired - give a girl a break) and Skyped folks with the news.
Thursday - a strange blur of meetings, conference calls, meetings and coffee.
Friday - Had the truly awesome experience of watching a working guide dog in front of me on the way to work. I know it takes a great deal of time and money to train one of these brilliant animals - but I bet if every teenager in London had one, we wouldn't be seeing the pedestrian death toll we currently have. Worked on new short story.
Saturday - started paper mache project. I've never done this before; but desperately need a side table. No money = do it yourself. Let's just say that accident prone + wallpaper paste + getting paper stuck to everything EXCEPT the box = one grumpy little writer. Note to self: When wearing gloves coated with wall paper paste, brushing hair out of face is a a bad idea. On the bright side, I may never need eyebrow definer again, and LSH runs faster than me, even while sniggering.
Sunday - hit the kindle forum boards; finally found the first course posted on line for university course (Finance - gark!) . Short story seems to be dying - put it to one side for the moment. Am contemplating a blatant steal from one the authors at kindle boards and interviewing one of the characters from WolfSong weekly, but am not sure which one to start with.. Play with paper mache. Not quite as therapeutic as painting, and have no idea if the table will remotely resemble a table,  but fun.

Sunday 30 January 2011

Have Passport, will travel!

Got my passport despite all my fears. Although I really wish they didn't want you to look like you're on the verge of homicide in your picture..
Plan on hitting Australia in April - always wanted to visit & have family and a load of friends out there, so it should be a good trip.
I applied for an e-visa - time taken to receive said visa - approximately 1 minute 30 seconds. That includes completing the form and getting the confirmation text. That's pretty impressive by any standards.

It looks like Air Brunei have the best deals, so that will be next stop once pay day gets here - right now I'm so broke I can't pay attention.

Books I've read this week:

Geist - Philippa Ballantine - definite 5 star book; will be hunting more from her.
The Hanging Shed - Gordon Ferris - based on the first 5 chapters I ended up buying everything I could find from him on kindle. Seriously impressive, and the book just got better.
Travellers Rest - short by James Enge - brilliant, but his books are priced out of my league. If they ever come down in price, I'll be getting them.

Book I'm reading now:

Elfhunter - C S Marks - enjoying this, although it's a slow start. The writing style sends me right back to childhood and the old style Brothers Grimm fairy tales; also reminds me of the stories retold by Credo Mutwa in Songs of the Stars. It's like climbing into a warm blanket on a chilly night - comforting and entertaining.

Sunday 23 January 2011

Weekly Round-up

Fairly crazy week, time & travel-wise, and a lot of it's blurred together.
Up early since travelling for work. I am not a morning person. I am also paranoid about not hearing alarm, so start waking up at 4 a.m  to check the time. As a result I reach my destination feeling like I got bitch-slapped by the stupid fairy. Thankfully it's a nice bunch I'm going to see - I won't post work details on a public blog, but I am lucky with the people I work with and deal with. 'Nuff said. Get home around 19:15. Long-suffering House mate (LSH) is on the Tony Ferguson diet, so I'm getting healthy (surprisingly tasty) meals in the evening without having to do a thing. Starting to contemplate the full (bloody expensive) package to lose some weight - LSH looking good & bouncing around like the Duracell Bunny; while I zombie shuffle around snarling over coffee and my bed.
Working in London this morning, so up at normal time of 6 a.m. Loving my new electric fire-place first thing in the morning. Afternoon - off to the Home Office at E&C for my British Passport interview. The woman who takes my interview looks like she could be on the cover of Cosmo and is very pleasant to deal with. I promptly forget all the dates of birth I KNOW and leave feeling remarkably stupid. I am a muppet. Go home and sulk.. and hope to hell I still get the passport. LSH feeds me and I hit the sack.
Working in London again, but heading up to Glasgow tomorrow so stay late. Delays on trains and tube mean I get home around 19:15. LSH feeds me; I zombie shuffle to bath and experience the joys of an ingrown hair exploding to sudden, painful life when it hits the hot water. After yodelling, disinfecting, yodelling some more, I crawl into bed and whimper gently until I fall asleep.
Up earlier than Monday (aak!) and end up at Stansted airport clutching coffee and waiting for colleague. She misses the flight thanks to a taxi driver with a bad sense of direction and the little darlings at easy jet not letting her book in. Since the flight only started boarding 20 minutes after she reached the airport, colleague is not happy. Land in Glasgow with an inch of ice on the passenger guardrail of the stair case. Get snowed on, re-affirming my belief that humans should hibernate until late March in the U.K. Delays coming back thanks to a really impressive fog and an easy jet staff member having hysterics over getting her passenger line board up. Reach Stansted around 7:15 with one of the hardest landings I've had in a while (we bounced. We really, really bounced) and launch myself at Burger King, then feel incredibly guilty all the way home. Through the front door at around 9. Bath, yodel at ingrown hair (still nasty) and crawl into bed.
Travelling again - pretty much Monday. Rinse, repeat. Friday night hits me like a small freight train; zombie shuffle in at around 6:45. LSH feeds me. Bath. To tired to make noise at ingrown hair. Pass out by around 8..
Wide-awake & up around 9. Start sending vouchers for operation e-drop books for troops. Check kindle boards. Have a few more sales at Smashwords, so quite happy, and a couple at Kindle (Yay!). Check  personal accounts, note that the university course still has no assignment up, which is making me grumpy. I don't have a lot of time during the week, so I want to get as much done over the weekend as possible.
Skype the folks and end up on a conference call with them and my brother (he has a tan. Bugger.) Work on story board for you-tube trailer. Decide I hate the one I was happy with last week - looks like a bad reject from an early Doom screen-shot.
LSH feeds me while we watch an old episode of Supernatural, and the latest True Blood. Write for a couple of hours, look up and realise its late (or early). On the bright side, no chirping outside my bedroom window this week - maybe it went on holiday?
Up late - around 11. More e-mailed vouchers to troops - had my first reply from one and it made my day. This is such a good idea, so glad I'm part of it.  Skype folks - mom still reading the book, which I am seriously still stunned over. I love my mom, but she will never be a fan of fantasy/horror, and this has both. The fact that she has bravely waded through 80% of it so far really means a lot to me, even though I'm sure a lot of it has her grimacing.
For tonight - review a couple of short stories that might work together as a give-away book - they both need a bit of work, although Pushing Janey was published in a magazine a few years ago. Work a bit more on the storyboard - Musical Genius friend (MG) came through and actually promised new stuff, so truly excited on that side.

Mood: Tired, satisfied, life is good.

Saturday 22 January 2011

WolfSong now on Barnes & Noble Nook

It's been a crazy week - weekly round up to come later - but the book is now up on Nook here so I'm quite happy.
I've just had another couple of sales on the U.K. Kindle store; still hoping for sales on the main site.
Smashwords, strangely enough is the biggest seller at the moment. I say strangely because most authors report the opposite. Whatever the reason, I'm not complaining - the more it gets out there the better.

I'm currently revamping a number of short stories (all more in the nature of horror rather than fantasy), so if that goes well I'll get it up over the next month or so.

Thursday 13 January 2011

Premier Club

Got accepted into the premier membership club at Smashwords, and got the ISBN, which means WolfSong is now available at Apple & Barnes & Noble stores. Slow & steady progress - couple more sales on Smashwords, couple on Kindle. I'm still surprised at the glow I get every time I see that - it might wear off in time, but at the moment it just keeps sparking away.

Will I get rich through Kindle, or e-books in general? Unlikely; maybe - maybe - after publishing a few more & hopefully getting a following I'd earn enough money to reach my current (liveable, barely) salary. Hopefully before I actually hit retirement age, if not it'll be a bit of good seed money for then.
There are literally thousands of writers who will work a day job for the rest of their lives. You don't write for money; superstars like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, J.A Konrath and John Grisham et. al. are the rock stars of our world. The rest of us are like the session musicians and pub bands, hoping and praying for a break - and knowing that even if it never comes they will never stop playing. They play because they don't know how to stop, because not playing would be unthinkable.

They play because they love it.

Not everyone will like my writing or my stories; some will inevitably hate the stuff. Some people will hopefully enjoy it enough to come back for more. The thing is, if I never sold another book or story,  it would hurt. No getting away from the fact that when you publish something you put a bit of your soul on a plate - if someone scrapes it off into the garbage heap you are going to feel it.

Would I stop writing?
I wouldn't know how to stop.

Wednesday 5 January 2011

The Kindle experience (or; this formatting will kill me)

The last few days have been a bit of a frantic blur. Thanks to the Kindle Boards, (seriously recommended to both readers and writers) I found out that as I'm sticking strictly to e-readers, I don't need to wait for an ISBN.
So to summarise ...

Up at 11. Final read through of book.
Final touches to cover.
Upload to Smashwords - issue with formatting.
Head meet desk.
Go to bed (4 a.m.)
Fantasise about finding bird chirping outside window and gagging it.

Up at 11:30. Double-check guidelines and entire book, figure out formatting issue is on front page. Fix, while muttering to self.
Tweak cover.
Upload again.
Skype folks to help mom download to kindle.
Skype brother, who tortures me by sitting in front of laptop wearing shorts & t-shirt and telling me about business class flights to Australia and how good they are.
Accepted to Smashwords. Weehee! No issues.
Start working on book trailer.

Woke up to 16 partial downloads. Was stunned and very, very happy.
Worked on story boards for book trailer.
Went to Kindle boards and joined up; I've been lurking there for some time to get a feel of the place.
Skyped folks, did happy dance.
Skyped brother, did happy dance. Brother sulkily claimed weather in Melbourne only in mid-twenties. Turned up heating.
Decided first story boards were awful & removed. Started new ones.
Went to bed around 3. Read on kindle until 4, when the same evil little bird started up outside my window.

Re-formatted WolfSong to Kindle guidelines.
Discovered that technophobes, HTML pages and the google chrome dashboard are not a good mix.
Had hysterics, a nice hot bath, and coffee. And several cigarettes.
Discovered some help some kindly soul had posted on a) how to format to HTML without your computer exploding and (b) how to open to bloody thing on your browser.
Uploaded to Amazon, along with cover, description and low, low price of $1.99. The UK price is linked to the US price, so currently selling at £1.48.
Completed another story board for book trailer.
Went to bed and stayed awake until about 3 a.m. wondering if that second chapter could have done with more work.
The bird sounded like it had hiccups.

Alarm at 6 a.m. - first day back at work. Make whimpering noise and push  snooze button.
Alarm at 06:15. Lurch  out of bed feeling homicidal. Zombie shuffle  to kitchen for coffee.
Spend entire at day at work feeling like jet-lagged, until I check Kindle store at 3pm (during lunch). The book is up. Make hysterical squealing noise through mouthful of coke (caffeine is my friend) and wiggle excitedly on bench. Guy sitting next me raises eyebrows and snorts.
Go home and Skype parents. Download copy for mom, who smiles indulgently and makes soothing noises over several thousand miles.
Post news to kindle boards and fall flat on face.
Wake up at three worrying about chapter 2 again.

Alarm at 6 - second day back at work.
Get a P.M. from one of the writers saying formatting on ipad not right and there is no product description.
Have mild hysterics, but can't do anything until I get in tonight.
Delays on train. Doubly insulting after recent price hike; I'm still sulking over forking at £1700 for ticket, despite getting subsidised by work.
Get in too late to Skype folks. Take a bath, jump onto kindle author page.
No product description on, but UK version is fine. Growl at computer.
Takes a while to figure out, but re-submit description and e-mail support team just in case brain melted & I did something stupid the first time.
Re-check formatting and can't find issue. Kindle copy looks fine. No access to ipad so no idea what it looks like on one - eventually, give up and P.M back asking for more info, hoping the poor guy doesn't think he has a stalker.
Check university e-mails - course due to start again this week (& somebody tell me why I thought it was a good idea to do a 3 year degree? Now?) - nothing about course yet. Nervous as hell.
Check Smashwords - currently up to 29 downloads and one sale.

Mood - happy, tired and mildly confused over the ipad issue..

Sunday 2 January 2011

WolfSong Book cover & Description

Three species. One country. A vicious murder and a village of the dead. A soldier desperate for vengeance at any price.
Amber is sworn to uphold justice on the Crescent. But as grief and rage drive  her to the edge of  insanity, she may no longer be capable of choosing between justice and personal vengeance - and may every god help any being that stands in her way.
If you plan to join this ride, bring your sword.  Sanity is optional.

And of course the Book Cover itself:


WolfSong has just gone up on Smashwords.

 After reading JAKonrath's  A Newbie's  Guide to Publishing until my eyeballs bled, I've opted for the self publishing route.
If I get accepted into the Premier Club on Smashwords (picture me praying vociferously to which ever gods look out for wanna-be writers) I get an ISBN number - which means Kindle is the next step.
 Bearing in mind I'm one of the technologically-challenged as well as horribly under-funded, this will be a very, very good thing.
Next step is a you-tube book trailer; so I'm hoping I can twist the arm of a very talented and good friend to use his music for it. (Hint, hint, Alex, if you ever read this. In other words - Dude - check your e-mail.)

Will the book sell? No idea.
 I put it up 24 hours ago and so far 19 samples have been downloaded; so hopefully they translate to full book sales at some point. But right now, that's 19 people who never knew about me or my writing, unless they stumbled over one of my short stories in the small press magazines, so I'll take it as a good thing.

Mood - optimistic, hopeful, and mildly terrified. (Either that or I have indigestion).