A New Blog?

… or just an archive for the serial stories that I write?

I’m not actually all that sure…

What on earth are you talking about, woman? Please make sense or I shall have to slap you up upside of the face with a haddock.

All right, no need to get violent.

A while back I attempted to start a serial story blog. It was called Confessions of an Unintentional Bar Tender and was sort of autobiographical in that I was writing about things that had happened to me, but basing them in a third person story way.

It petered out after four posts, never got any views and was a bit of a disappointment.

However, I didn’t want to get rid of it and I still like the concept.  Of a serial story blog I mean.

So I did a bit of tweaking and turned the blog into “The Serial Story Teller”

The original story for Confessions of an Unintentional Bar Tender is still there.  It has its own page and you can read the posts that tell it; but it’s no longer the focus of the blog. I will at some point, add more to it, but at the moment I have so much to do that the back burner I put it on has gone out.

Tales of Cassius  has gone the same way. The short story had sold no copies on any of the sites I’d published it on and I was getting fed up with it being there, jeering at me. So I’ve unpublished it and added it to “The Serial Story Teller”. When I have enough words written, I will take it down and publish it as a book, but until then, it will only be available to read through the blog.

I had a story concept idea that was too strong to ignore, but I am too busy to write at the moment. The concept is called The Chronicles of Pentagon City.

Inspired by my friend and one of my favourite authors, Paul Trembling,  as well as the fantasy comedy that is the Discworld, by Sir Terry Pratchett, Pentagon City is a place that I want to explore… once Quargard has released it’s death grip on my fantasy mind…

So if you want to read some of my work and decide if you want to buy my books, feel free to take a look at the stories I’m writing over there. All comments are welcome (believe it or not, I even welcome the negative ones… I’m that odd!) as they will help me to refine my works.

If you get hooked into a particular character or story over there, feel free to tell me and prod me to write more about them, I work much better when I know I’m actually entertaining someone… and should anything disappear over there then it’s probably being prepped for release as a book, so keep an eye on the blog page there for the latest news on the stories.

Well that’s enough of that – I have some work to do, and a webzine to get out.

See you later!

 

Grey and Grumpy day today – Help!

It’s Wednesday. Normally I’d be introducing you to a new writer or one that I really enjoy reading and there are several books that I’ve read recently that are worthy of the attention.

“Enchanted Glass” by Diane Wynn Jones for example. Her last published book , it is everything you expect from her and more. Or maybe Kristin Cashore’s “Graceling” or “Fire”; beautifully written and superbly built fantasy worlds that draw you away from the hum drum of this reality.

There are so many books on my “To Be Read” list. I’m in the middle of M Cid d’Angelo’s “Dark Running” and enjoying it immensely. I’m eagerly anticipating Terry Pratchett’s “Dodger”…

…but to be honest, today I can’t be bothered.

It’s halfway through the second week of September. The kids are back at school and the autumn weather is starting to appear. I’ve been writing and enjoying it, even though I’ve had a few bouts of vertigo and headaches.

Maybe it’s the rain? We’ve had some lovely weather over the last few weeks and now we’re starting to get the chilly winds and wet weather of a welsh autumn. The colours don’t seem as bright under the grey cloudy skies and I can feel myself drifting on that downward spiral.

I’m tired from having to get up earlier than I’m used to, now that NOS is going to high school and needs to be checked before he heads out to the bus. Maybe this is the beginning of the SAD season? It’s possible; I do have more problems with my depression in the winter than I do in the spring and summer. It’s the whole reason my desk is next to a window, so I can get natural light.

It could be my finances. I’m juggling the family’s needs against the little that we get coming in at the moment and finding that there is very little leeway. That’s enough to depress anyone, I suppose…

I want to write and help to support the family, but I’m so scared of mucking it up that I can’t concentrate on the writing enough to make it good!

*sighs*

It feels very much like I’m on a treadmill, running to try and stay in one place instead of dropping backward or moving forward. I know I should be pushing myself to go forward, but it feels like I am on a bungee cord, pulling against me.

So there is only one thing for me to do. Start pushing myself and pull hard enough on the bungee cord to make it snap and free me.
How am I going to do that? Well for a start, I am going to publish a few more things:

“The Heir of The Dragon” is currently in Beta Reading Stage. I’ve drafted and redrafted it enough to be happy with it, but I need to make sure it’s perfect before I put it out there. So hopefully that will be out in the next three months.

I have a collection of Horror Stories that I hope to get out by Hallowe’en, I just need to format and get a cover done for them. That will be under A.E. Churchyard. Watch this Space

I have moved into the last stages of editing for “The Angel’s Crown”, so that should be available in the New Year.

I’ve started writing the next story in the “Tales of Cassius” series. I’ve got my characters all built up, so that will be out there in January as well, or sooner if I can manage it.

I would like some help please though…

I currently have two books out on the kindle shelves:

The Necklace of Harmony

My first story collection… a gentle introduction to my mind.

One of the fun things about being a writer is responding to a challenge. This book is full of the results of such challenges…

From the wedding celebrations of Greek Deities, to mermaids, ghosts and superheroes, a whole gamut of creatures await your eager eyes.

Do you remember this? Well it is currently languishing at #393,998 on the bestsellers listing. I’d like to get it up the ranks a little and for that I will need help. How? Well here’s how:

  •  Have you bought and read it? No? Well please do so! I shall be doing a promotion to aid sales soon, but until then, please buy and read!!!

 

  • Did you answer yes to the above question? Have you written a review of the book on Amazon? No? Why not? It only takes a couple of lines to say if you enjoyed it or not, and if you’d recommend it or not. I’m not asking for an essay (unless you like writing them) just a tip of the hat to tell me if I’m getting it right.

 

  • Have you got friends with kindles? Have you loaned them your copy? You can do that you know… and once they’ve read it, asked them to tell me what they thought of it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Necklace-Harmony-Collection-ebook/dp/B0079HL2FE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1343998081&sr=8-2

The other book I published was this:

Tales of Cassius: Statues of Justice

Cassius Longinus has a long memory. He can remember over three thousand years and in all those memories, he cannot recall an atrocity like this.

New Texas was supposed to be a peaceful place where Reiskinn and Human could live side by side. That peace is shattered by the greed of a few and Cassius must put things right.

Brought back to society by a slave raid on a nearby village, Cassius is sent on a quest to retrieve the tribe’s women and children by the Tribal Shaman.

What he discovers when he finds them is beyond anything he has yet encountered…

Poor Cassius hasn’t even made it onto the seller list… he has however garnered a 4 star review:

“Justice must be served even if you’re three-thousand years old. Having witnessed humanity’s atrocities for that long time the hero, Cassius, puts an end to horrible wrongs inflicted by Earth colonists on the new planet’s natives. Can he bring overcome his thirst for vengeance and build a lasting peace? Can he validate the faith of the one who so touched his heart three-thousand years ago? Be prepared to want to read more.”
– Paul De Lancey, Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Cassius-Statues-Justice-ebook/dp/B008BKGPRS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344120397&sr=8-1

What can you do to help Cassius gain a foot hold? Exactly the same as the list for Necklace of Harmony:

  • Have you bought and read it? No? Well please do so!
  • Did you answer yes to the above question? Have you written a review of the book on Amazon? No? Why not? It only takes a couple of lines to say if you enjoyed it or not, and if you’d recommend it or not. I’m not asking for an essay (unless you like writing them) just a tip of the hat to tell me if I’m getting it right.
  • Have you got friends with kindles? Have you loaned them your copy? You can do that you know… and once they’ve read it, asked them to tell me what they thought of it.

I shall be sorting things out from my end, but please, if you enjoy my work or even if you only like my blog, then can you please go to the Amazon pages for both books and like them? Like the helpful reviews as well, and agree with the tags… It’s only a small thing, but if enough people do it, then I might actually be able to start pulling on the bungee cord, instead of fighting against the pull back.

The thing about the reviews is that we authors like getting them. I suppose that for us small independent authors, it’s a way of keeping score, of knowing how well you are doing and if it’s worth going to the trouble of publishing a new book. We write all the time – we can’t stop, but publishing, now that’s a different matter. As I said in my last post, there are hundred of words on my PC that will never see the light of day as a published book; I don’t feel they’re good enough, so they don’t make it out into the world.

Publishing something yourself, if you’re determined to make a good job of it, requires about ten times the effort of writing the story in the first place… so we keep score. We check our ratings and reviews and make daily decisions about our future as writers on them. It can get very depressing if you don’t have many readers…

*sighs*

The sun has come back out and I’m feeling slightly better than I did when I started this post. I’m going to go getAngel’s Crown” finished and ready for formatting…

Is Technology the Enemy of the Writer?

This morning, after dropping PT at primary school and seeing NOS off to his first day of high school, I found myself with one of those rare things…

Peace.

TOH is in college, doing his arty thing and with both kids at school I don’t have to worry about anything until I go down to pick up PT at 2.30.

I came in, turned the PC on, started my favourite inspiring playlist going and looked at my to do list:

  1. Choose or Die Chapter 4.
  2.  Finish The Second Door.
  3.  Design an IIAAC logo.
  4.  Change my book tweets and spend some time interacting with people.
  5. Check Email / Facebook.
  6. Research for New Arkingham Book.

Now, #1 is the most important – it has a deadline of Sunday and it’s already Thursday… but my treacherous subconscious sent me straight to #5 and before I knew it, I was on Facebook, scrolling through the Newsfeed and commenting on Cat Pictures!

Then I came across a post from another Writer, someone who I feel is very much a role model for me. M.M. Bennetts is a Historical Fiction Author, who loves horses and has a particularly intelligent sense of humour.

The latest thing she’d posted was a link to an article in the Telegraph Online.

I am a sucker for interesting sounding news stories. It’s the reason that I enjoy watching “The Wright Stuff” with TOH when he is home, and why I often find myself reading Huffpost or the BBC website.

This article however struck me as particularly apt for my particular brand of To-Do List:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/9522845/Shutting-out-a-world-of-digital-distraction.html

This was the question that hit me smack in the face:

“As we immerse ourselves in the internet more and more, how we balance its distractions with its benefits will become increasingly important. So just how widespread is the use of tools such as Freedom and SelfControl among novelists trying to carve out the space in which to think and write, and what does it say about our ability to concentrate in the digital age?”

– Carl Wilkinson, WWW.Telegraph.co.uk

I agree with Ned Beauman, in that the Internet is an incredibly useful tool, for researching, for publishing and for connecting with other writers. Writing can be an incredibly lonely profession and the social network sites provide us with ways of connecting with our readers and each other.

However.

The Internet is also a majorly addictive thing…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9511611/Addicted-to-the-internet-It-could-be-all-in-your-genes.html

I am addicted to the Internet – when I can’t get on, I get withdrawal symptoms and although my writing productivity goes up, my mood drops and I start eating a lot of stuff which is bad for me… I also neglect my family,unless I’m forced away from the PC and the house is an utter tip, something which I am trying to deal with.

I know my family has problems with addiction; my dad is unable to give up smoking and my mum almost became an alchoholic and has a *smoking* issue.

So I have to control how much distraction I have when I want to write. I write best when there is no one around and I can minimise the distraction. If I am working on something (like today) I’ll have music on, and I’ll only check in on facebook occasionally. If I have other distractions like the kids around, then I am on facebook a lot… which isn’t good for my family or my writing.

I know I have to get a handle on this. If I don’t then I will never reach my dream of being a “proper” author (i.e: that I can support my family from my writing) and being able to write full time without worrying about the finances.

To do that, I have to be as prolific as possible.

I’ve made a good start; two children’s books in Print, a Story Collection and a story series in E-book. However, that isn’t enough. I have so many books lying unread in my hard drive, the characters crying because they’re not being read by people other than me. True, I need to edit a few of them and there are more unfinished projects than finished ones… it’s sad really.

And this is where the Internet gets in the way. Unless I am using it in a specific way (writing blog posts, researching or publishing a book), having Facebook up is a constant drain on my time. For example, it was 10 am when I read that article… now it’s nearly 11 am and even though I’ve written this post, I know from past experience that I’ll end up wasting more time on Facebook after I’ve posted it!

Time to stop procrastinating, ban the internet between 10 am and 2pm and get on with my career!