The end of a dry spell?

Over Christmas 2014, I was feeling quite down; partially because of the weather and partially because it didn’t look like anyone liked my writing anymore. It set off a case of “Writer’s Doldrums” and in keeping with tradition,  I self medicated with chocolate, wine and duvet days.

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Yes, I know it says Nanobug, but I changed it to Nanobot…

Then came January 2015 and I resolved to try and pull meself out of the doldrums and get on with the business of writing. Before Christmas, I’d putThe Necklace of Harmony“*  permafree on Smashwords and 99c on Amazon (because unless you’re in their special club, you can’t do free…) so after I sobered up, I went and checked the stats…

Smashwords sales Jan 2015

This was on Smashwords…

I was pleasantly surprised by what I found on Smashwords, even more so because my Amazon sales had flat-lined.

The thought that people were actually, willingly, downloading my little collection of stories, made me feel a lot better. So I started an attempt to finish “Night of The Nanobot”** , my on/off science fiction fantasy story.
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I posted each chapter up on wattpad as I went and posted about it on Facebook, Twitter etc… and I started getting reads! I even had a couple of votes, which while it didn’t catapult me into Watty Fame, did feel rather nice. It was encouraging.

So I ploughed on and eventually on the 4th of February I typed the final full stop. That one is going to be passed into the gentle hands of my alpha-readers and I’ll get on with something else.

I popped in on my published books recently on Amazon and came across this on “The Heir of The Dragon.” – 

 

5.0 out of 5 stars A Darkness in Te Ling, 24 Oct. 2014
By
Te Ling is a city like no other. Certainly it has all the usual sights and sounds of a modern metropolis – the crowds, the tourists, the businesses, the hustle and bustle. But the real life of the city is hidden, and the real rulers of the city lurk in the shadows. Under the Treaty of Te Ling, Vampires, Werewolves and Humans live in an wary but beneficial alliance.Until two outsiders arrive. They are hunters, and their prey is The Black Dragon – Vampire Lord of Te Ling.Against this rich and exotic background, the author weaves a fast paced and absorbing tale of love, blood and intrigue. More than just another ‘Vampire / Werewolf’ story, this has serious depth, a lot of action, and a brilliant twist in the ending!

I couldn’t believe that I’d missed this one. Heir is one of those stories that doesn’t get a lot of press and lo, someone had actually written a review of it! I had a mad case of warm fuzzies, I can tell you!

I was trying to decide what to do next. I can’t do anything to “The Tower and The Eye” until my editor has read them and given me a list of what needs changing. I thought about sorting out “The Dragon’s Pendant” but my beta-reader is currently in the throes of sorting her own writing out for publication, so I doubt I’ll be doing that any time soon.

I went back to my work-in-progress folder and took a wander through the fantasy section (a change is as good as a rest, as my Nan used to say) and came across the Japanese based world of “Yumi’s Story” and “The Ballad of Pigsnout the Wanderer”  from the Quargard Realm. Both of these stories draw me, but in the end, Pigsnout won the toss and that’s what I am now working on!

This post might sound like I am rambling and boasting, but it actually has a point. At Christmas I had reached the point of Writing Suicide – that of stepping away from the keyboard and never doing it again. Then I was talked round by my partner who said, quite wisely for him, that I should give it another year and if it still didn’t pick up, then I could give up.
The encouragement I had got from the sales on Smashwords, the reads / votes on Wattpad and the review that I had obviously missed; coupled with several rather nice private messages from a new reader, pulled me the rest of the way out of the Doldrums and into the feeling of “yes, I can carry on with this…”

Reviews are important to Indie Writers; even the 1 stars, which can at first glance see nasty and vindictive. They tell us that people value our work. That we have been noticed for whatever reason and that we are affecting those who read our work in whatever way.

Of course, increasing sales are good as well, because… this might seem a little mercenary of me… we need money to be able to pay the bills and continue to do the thing that we love best – create and write stories for readers to read.

In my case, the money from my books is going straight into my moving fund to get my family into a safe, secure house with a roof and enough space for my Aspies to feel happy and calm in… but that’s a totally different story really.

Right then, I’m off to do more wordsmithery and World Creation…

Peace and health to all who pass through!

M

*This book is still permafree by the way, so if you fancy a read, feel free to boost my ego a little more and download it!

** If you decide to follow this link and read what is up on wattpad, be warned – I stopped posting before I got to the end of the book. Also, the wattpad version will only be up until the end of february.

Melt beads, Steampunk and Bladed Fans…

I’ve spent most of the day today sorting through melt beads. These are the sort of bead that you put onto a spiky tray and then heat with a hot iron through greaseproof paper to glue them together; rather neatly utilising the thermal properties of the plastic they are created from.

finished owl

The reason I am doing this, is that the Brownie Unit I work with are doing the Woodland Wonders Challenge and the owl is one of the activities. We had some melt beads and I volunteered to attempt the project so that we know what sort of pitfalls etc that the girls might come up against.

It’s a relatively easy pattern, but, due to some errors in the pattern I ended up rejigging it so that the poor creature had a beak. It also gave me a chance to count the number of beads we were going to need.
Each owl needs 254 beads. We have approximately 20 brownies so we were going to need well over 5000 beads. After a quick consultation we decided that it would be easier just to buy the colours separately.

But sadly, my favourite crafting shop let me down. They didn’t have enough black and no orange at all! So there I was this morning, sorting through one of those tubs full of multiple colours, trying to find enough beads to cover our needs.

I managed it, but my eyes were crossing by the end of the exercise – I’m pretty certain that I’ll be seeing multicoloured dots for at least a week…

 

Book 3 of The Finishing School Series

So having bagged up the beads, I turned my attention to a birthday present.

Gail Carriger is one of my favourite authors. I have all of the Parasol Protectorate books and I am avidly collecting the Finishing School series.
Due to the current Hachette / Amazon contretemps, this particular book came via Waterstones rather than Amazon. But to be honest, I don’t really care where I buy my books from, as long as I can get my grubby mitts on a print copy of my favourites!

I devoured it in 24 hours and would normally leave a review on Amazon, but again, because I couldn’t buy it from Amazon, I cannot review it on Amazon.

*sighs*

Waistcoats & Weaponry is a wonderful, highly absorbing book for ten year olds upwards. It links neatly with a particular incident in the Parasol Protectorate books (don’t worry I won’t spoil the story) and I loved every moment of it… especially the twist in the tail!

No, I haven’t misspelt that.

Now that I’ve finished it, my son is snapping at my heels to read it. I’ve delayed him somewhat by forcing him to at least finish one of the three books he is reading (a Discworld Novel) but I saw the gleam in his eye when the book arrived and I’m not going to let him have four books on the go at once… even when one of said four is actually a series of Graphic Novels.

The weapon that appears in Waistcoats & Weaponry is the bladed fan. I am assuming a little here that Ms Carriger was inspired by the Oriental War Fan.

There are different styles of Martial Art that use the Fan; it was an easily hidden weapon for Chinese Warriors and the Samurai, and I have no doubt that techniques were taught to women as a form of self defence.

It is an elegant weapon and perfectly suited to the female Intelligencier.

Camp NaNo, new pages and cutting out the middle man…

That last bit sounds painful doesn’t it? Like I’m slicing someone in half…

…ahem. Never mind. on with the show.

I was pootling along quite nicely with my Camp NaNoWriMo story this morning. As I’m re-writing a story that I’ve had hanging around since 1998, there’s a lot of jigsaw puzzling to be done as I write each new section, add in the appropriate section of the old story and stitch them together. The word count at the moment stands at…

7510 words

Not too shabby considering I’m attempting to do this around a pretty demanding baby and the other things that life throws in my way like sugar mice and mad hatter’s tea parties.

But at lunchtime, I got distracted by Chuck Wendig’s posts about pirates and donation buttons. It was fascinating and as you may have noticed, I posted it for your perusal.

However… the article got me thinking.

…Shhhh – no laughing at the back there. I do think sometimes…

I have twelve books out in the big wide world in both print and electronic format; three children’s books, four sword and sorcery novellas, a science fiction novella, a paranormal novella, a YA novel and two short story collections.

If you look up at the menu bar, there’s a tab that says “The Teigr Princess’ Bookshop”; hover over said tab and you’ll get a menu that leads to an individual page for each book / series that I have published.

Essentially, I’ve made it easy for you the reader; rather than you have to search on Amazon, the links are there to zip through to buy my book. I’ve also started turning my e-books into print books, hence the link to where you can buy the print copy.

There is also something new. Some people don’t like Amazon, but would rather not use Smashwords (for whatever reason) to buy their books. Or maybe they read electronic books through a tablet or laptop. Whatever the reason, there are a whole raft of people out there that can’t access my work.

…Shocking, I know…

So I’ve made my work available through Payhip. If you would like a PDF copy and don’t want to have to pay Smashwords for the download, you can just pay me instead.

Yes, that’s right. I’ve cut out the middle man…

 

…ew, there’s that image again… hmm – this one is much better…middle-man-150x150

Click on the payhip link and it will take you through to the page where you can buy my book by paypal. When you click the buy button, I get paid! Simple, eh?

There are currently only four of my books through Payhip – I’m working on getting the rest up there. Those books are:

Beginning 300 x 200  Prince Loric and his companions gather at a tavern in  the  village of Pleasemore, in the heart of his father’s  kingdom  of Galivor.

A castle ruin has drawn him forth and he risks his life  to  capture the Heart of the dungeon below it. With  battles  and creatures aplenty, who will return to the  light of day  alive to tell the tale?

https://payhip.com/b/JZBb

 

Grof 800 x 533

Castle Grof has claimed the lives of many already, but  Lord Harnez of Valdez is determined to clear the  menace of the dungeon underneath completely.

Drawn into the quest with a barbarian warrior, a monk  of Tyr and an old friend, Aranok and his half sister,  Ariana, begin to wonder if they will actually return to  their home in the elven realm of Alethdariel alive…

https://payhip.com/b/QpOj

 

Freya 300 x 200

Freya has many assets, the least of which is her exotic  beauty. Having been freed from the benign slavery of  the Pleasurehouse, she journeys to Jinra to meet up  with her brother Grald. Along the way she meets Sir  Vrenstalliren, Paladin of Espilieth, who insists on  becoming her guardian.

In the next town the two become five, having been  joined by Kraarz, an Orc Shaman; Vox, his Otherworld  Spirit Guide and Lin, an Elysian warrior on a quest of  her own.

It is just as well, for she is walking into a danger she is ill equipped to face alone…

https://payhip.com/b/DyHL

Harp 1200x800

Another border skirmish with the Franierens forces the  Elves to send Lady Julissa Alethdan to hunt for the  Harp of Aleth; a magical harp capable of healing the  most tormented of souls and calming the fury of battle  into peace.

This should be an easy task, after all, the dungeon she is  entering was cleansed over a hundred years ago…

 https://payhip.com/b/YHzZ

 

Book #5 is currently in the editing queue – “The Tower and The Eye: Nightbringer” – and will be out as soon as it has gone through the usual processes.

Keep your eyes peeled for more news on that one as and when it arrives!

If you fancy following along on my journey at Camp NaNo, you can read the chapters of  “The Lost Princess” on Wattpad –

http://www.wattpad.com/43349034-the-seven-towers-the-lost-princess

Or, you can wait until it’s finished, been through editing and published… I don’t mind. As long as you enjoy what you are reading.