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.

Christmas is on it’s way…

No matter how you celebrate the midwinter feast (there are so many different festivals and names for it) you have to admit that it’s more fun than any of the other festivals during the year…

…Well, it is for me – you might prefer a summer festival to the winter ones…

Anyway, I have more than one reason to celebrate this year. Of course there’s the usual ones – being home with family, having fun baking, crafting and watching my favourite Xmas movies… we watched Muppet’s Christmas Carol last night, and it’s one that I watch every year, with or without the kids!

I love the story and I really think this version is the best one…

This year’s big reason to celebrate is the anticipation of a new member of the family. Assuming that the baby doesn’t decide it wants a Christmas present and stays put, Sprog will be born around 31st December, so this Christmas is going to have to be alcohol free, but at least I can have some fun!

* * * * *

If you fancy picking up one of my books this Midwinter- no matter if it’s for yourself or as a gift, I’ve decided to drop my e-book prices by 50% until 31st January 2014.

On Amazon, that literally means the prices have been cut in half. If you prefer to read your e-books on a non-kindle reader, then you’ll need to head over to Smashwords and input the following codes into the checkout:

The Tower and The Eye: A Beginning                                     ES36F

The Tower and The Eye: Party at Castle Grof                       WQ59Y

The Tower and The Eye: Freya’s Freedom                             BU38A

The Angel’s Crown                                                                       YD66F

The Necklace of Harmony                                                          CJ32X

Darkness in Mind                                                                          CA46A

* * * * *

So, I hope that you have a great midwinter festival and enjoy yourself immensely. I know that’s what I’m going to try to do!

A Writer’s Christmas…

flake

No snow where I am – lots of rain and cold though! I was kind of hoping that Hugh Jackman would be under my chrimbo tree this year (just to keep me warm when TOH isn’t around), but TOH refused to let me have him…

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…or David Tennant. Most unsporting of him; all because I said he couldn’t have Angelina Jolie… *giggles* Sorry, I spend a lot of time watching films and Hugh Jackman is one of my heart throbs.

Ahem.

Where was I?

Oh yes. Christmas.

A writer is one of those people who get avoided at christmas parties. We tend to be a little obsessive over our latest project / published book and anyone asking “So what do you do?” will get an earful which is either boastful / full of pride at getting published (even if you’re an indie author, you still feel proud of publishing yourself – don’t ask) or it’s depressed and whiny because the writing / sales aren’t going very well.

We also don’t get office parties – it’s very difficult to have one when you’re the only person in the office!

So what do we get to do at christmas?

Well, virtual parties are fun – everyone attending usually has a damn good imagination and between google images and You tube, we can get things going in such a way that if the party was a face to face one, we’d probably get thrown out of the pub for being too loud…

mandy xmas

Virtual parties are also great because there’s no chance of a hangover.

I’ve been pretty busy attending things for the kids – christmas shows, carol concerts, parents evenings… the usual parent things – of course there’s also cards to be written and posted (all done), presents to buy and wrap (almost finished buying) and food to pick up (that’s tonight / christmas eve). Of course, the kids are completely hyper, even NOS who is trying his hardest to be the cool teenage boy…

My christmas never includes writing – although this year I will be reading my christmas book – Father Christmas and Quinza the Linzer  – to my kids on Christmas eve. Fancy a peek? Here you go!

* * *

Look under your bed and what do you see,

A place full of dust or a magical tree?

Crawl under your bed and continue the tale,

There’s a ship by the tree and it’s about to set sail.

 

* * * *

 

Once upon a time in a land far away,

Everyone was preparing for one special day.

They put up decorations and sent special cards,

Wrote special letters that they sent very far.

 

The Greeger trees leaves turned silvery-white,

The Angrithens flowers dropped petals overnight.

The Candy Canes grew large in SnafflewichValley,

And snow started to fall in Huggibuck Alley.

 

* * * *

 

They checked they had food and drink for that day,

That wouldn’t be long in coming their way.

Their bestest behaviour was all they could do,

To make sure Father Christmas would visit them too.

 

The Linzers of the north were especially glad.

They knew none of them had ever been bad.

So they built little snow houses with chimneys so tall,

Father Christmas wouldn’t be able to forget them at all.

 

* * * *

 

One young white Linzer was very prepared,

Quinza had built a chimney taller than anyone dared.

She’d decorated her snow house with millions of lights,

Because Father Christmas would visit that night.

 

The Land Far Away got ready to sleep,

Even the Fligaphluphs tried to count sheep.

The Virgrinters snuggled into their warm beds,

And the Linzers curled up in fleecy lined sleds.

 

* * * *

 

“On Dancer, On Prancer.” Father Christmas said,

“We have many houses to visit before bed.

We have lots of stockings to fill with chocolate and toys

And hundreds of presents deliver to the girls and boys.

 

He visited the Angrithens and left presents beneath flowers,

He visited Grungegogglers and was there for hours,

Fulfilling their wishes from his big present sack,

That he carried around in the sled’s massive back.

 

* * * *

 

He visited Sparkfinkle Wood and Fligaphluph Heights

He dropped in on Phowlerphluph and gave him a fright!

He had tea with Angvin and borrowed his loo,

He even left the Gribblebid a present or two.

 

The Linzers were last on his whirlwind stop tour,

The chimneys were tall and they made his bottom sore!

Mrs. Christmas had padded out his trousers so red,

“You’ll be fine this year, dear. Just don’t fall on your head!”

* * *

Now if you’ll excuse me, I really should try to get some work done…