Thursday, December 30, 2010

This Is The End. My Only Friend, The End

Nearly there now.  Almost over.  Crazy year indeed.  I feel like I've wasted a lot of time this year but when I think about it - a lot happened.  I can't talk about everything but here's a summary.

Things that changed in 2010:

DTP finally welcomed the world outside the U.S. with open arms.  Back in January, I had no idea I would publish ebooks.  Absolutely none.  I'm not entirely sure where the idea sprang from, only that it began as an experiment.  In March, I published a collection of dark flash fiction and have been astounded at the reactions to it.  Most of the reviews are either 5 or 1 star and the collection has sold way more than I ever expected (mostly because of some cool people on Kindleboards and the Amazon forums who decided to take a chance on a newbie and even recommend her to a friend).  Some wondered what kind of evil person could write such stories but today, those stories were mentioned on Red Adept's Annual Indie Awards.  Not bad for an unknown Irish girl who went into this not having a plan - or a clue. 

I've learned a lot.  More than I could have ever imagined.  More than I would have if I decided 2010 would be the year of the query rather than the year of the indie.  It has been worth it just for the learning process.  I has new skillz.  This year was an experiment but it's been so much fun, so encouraging, that I'm not stopping yet. I'll never be the kind of writer who gets fan mail and earns frequent cheques but I'll be a crazy happy one and that's good enough for me. 

I've made friends and enemies.  This makes me laugh, actually.  When I say I've made friends, it's more of the distant kind - I'm not exactly chummy by nature.  Sadly, some of the people I've liked the best have disappeared for a while.  I hope they (PW/B, I'm looking you) return soon because they made me feel . . . welcome, even when some fellow writers were a bit shitty.  They made me feel like I wasn't going mad when it seemed like I was the only one going against the tide.  They were lovely to me despite me being a new indie in a place indies behaved badly.  I've made (and this sound ridiculous) enemies because I've been open about my opinions on certain behaviours that I think are, well, fuckwittery.  I still do but I'm less likely to go on about it.  I'll just look down from my high moral ground and watch people take all the rope they need.  :P *Bad Claire, Bad!*

I had a baby.  Again.  Last baby.  Sad times.  She's five months now and humongous.  She never seemed like a newborn.  Keeping a writing routine going has been hard this year but it's been worth trying.  The biggest change is that my family feels complete.  I'm sad I won't have another newborn but, for many reasons, we're done.  Really hope I'm not jinxing myself here.  :D  My older daughter started playschool, my eldest no longer needs speech therapy & physio and the twins started walking, talking and causing mayhem this year.  The baby seems to have brought something new out of my other children - they all love her and are getting along pretty well.  Harmony is difficult for a family of seven but in 2010, we seem to have cracked it.  So, family hasn't suffered this year, despite my writing insanity.

Things that haven't changed in 2010:

I still love books, music and writing.  Obsessively so, sometimes.  Purple is still my favourite shade of nail varnish but this year I favoured a purple grey so maybe I'm maturing.  ;)  Still obsessed with eyeliner.  Lush still make my favourite bubbles and shampoo.  Inis is still my favourite perfume.  I'm still broke.  I still can't walk in heels.  I'm still phobic and anxious and have a great hatred/fear of clowns and bellybuttons.

People still take me too seriously, especially when I'm joking, which makes it all the funnier.  I'm still a wind-up merchant, still childish - I live in a house where farting is side-splittingly funny so give me a break, they all think I'm a dry shite.  I still swear like a . . . Dub.  :D

Family is still the most important thing to me.  Always will be.  The End.

2010 hasn't been a good year for most people I know so I'm hoping that, next year, they find the same level of optimism and excitement I'm barely containing right now.  Seriously, 2010 was pretty rocking, all things considered.  Here's to 2011 - go on, top 2010, I double-dog-dare ya.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

ROW80 - Round One Writing Goals

It's time to list my goals for A Round of Words in 80 Days.  I've been thinking a lot about what needs to be done next year and what I'm capable of producing.  NaNoWriMo was a bit of a struggle this year and I've had some new ideas for the rough (oh, so rough) draft I wrote.  I need to get my y/a novel out of my way this year - seriously, it's been hanging around for way too long, I have to get it working or dump it.  I'd like to fully plot the third book in my Ava Delaney series.  Short stories are a minor priority.  To follow are my ROW80 goals:

Major Goals

  • Write 500 words a day, Monday to Friday (at least)
  • Write 2,500 words a week (at least)
  • Edit the y/a novel (without clawing my eyes out)
  • Write one short story a month
  • Replot Taunt
  • Rewrite first draft of Taunt

Minor Goals (if major goals are completed)

  • Plot Tempt
  • Plot sequel to y/a
  • Begin first draft of Tempt
  • Finish first draft of fae novel
It's the first round, I'm not sure what I can do in that time but I like having a plan.  My priority for 2011 is to write as much as possible.  I would love to complete a number of first drafts before I go into the editing stages of Taunt.  I'm not aiming to publish anything until the end of the year but if I can manage it, I will have something out there sooner.  At the very least, by the end of Round One, I'll have a better idea of what I'm capable of.

If you would like to check out other people's (less waffley) goals then please click here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reading Resolutions 2011

I like hearing about other people's reading resolutions and, because next year is a busy one and might involve forgetting to read, I thought I would establish a few reading resolutions for myself.

I need to pare down my TBR list because it is freaking me out.  I need to stop flitting from one device to another (sony ereader, kindle to pc, android) because I'm leaving a trail of half-read books in my wake.  I keep forgetting what book I'm on and starting another.  I'd like to read some classics because I haven't looked at one (aside from Jane Eyre of course) this year.  Most of all, I want to make sure writing, and all the crap that comes with it, doesn't take up all of my reading time.  Also, I need to chill out on the spending.  I don't really need to buy ten books a week when I already have hundreds that I haven't read yet. 

Reading Resolutions 2011

  • I must read five books (of any length) before I'm allowed to buy one.  (Eek!)
  • I must read at least five classics throughout the year.  (Tolstoy totally counts as a double).
  • I must not have more than three books on the go at once.  (Maybe I should change that to five to fit the theme that seems to have popped up here).
  • I must read for at least five minutes every day.  (Possibly).
  • I must read at least fifty (novel length) books next year.  (I can see a lot of nice, short y/a novels being crammed into next December).

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Short Story Collection - Free Copy

I have uploaded a new short story collection.  It isn't live on Amazon yet so (once again) here is a coupon code for a free Smashwords copy.

The book is called Sixty Seconds and the free code is QS89W.

Thirteen pieces of dark flash fiction - some are dark urban fantasy but most are loosely related dark urban fiction stories. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Publetariat - Spare a Dollar

April Hamilton runs Publetariat - a website pretty much dedicated to helping those who wish to self-publish.  There is a lot of useful information on that site and almost everyone who considers going indie finds themselves there.  April's had a tough year, first she was diagnosed with breast cancer, her husband left her (which led to the end of their family run business) and now, the bank is about to foreclose on her mortgage which could leave her and her children homeless.  April posted a plea on Publetariat - if anyone can spare even a dollar, it could help keep her afloat for a bit.

The thing is, if April loses her home then Publetariat will be no more but it is and has been a great resource for us.  If anyone has ever found information, help or advice on Publetariat then please consider pitching in - be it donations or spreading the word.  April Hamilton has made my life easier more than once, that deserves more than a dollar. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Two for One Ebook Special & a Ramble

Well, um, my Indie Picks 2010 received quite a bit of unexpected interest.  I made an Amazon list too, if anyone is interested.

Christmas Deals!  Naomi Kramer (author of Dead(ish) and Maisy May series) organised a wee indie sale.  For more info on the two for one ebook special offer, check out the link to the Amazon forums.  She's also setting up a new indie website called Indie Writes so she is a busy lady right now.

A lot of people are talking about Amazon censorship (again) because erotica titles are slowly being removed from Amazon.  More importantly, the books are being deleted from the archives of customers who have bought them.  Bad move, Amazon.  Didn't we hear this record before?  Not sure why they're taking this road but it doesn't look like it's going to have a happy ending.  FYI, I couldn't give a crap what the content is - deleting books from archives without prior warning is idiotic, particularly because it's been done before so Amazon should know better.  I would like to think it's a big misunderstanding - particularly because it's a drastic difference to their recent line of no censorship - but if they're weeding out titles then every writer has something to worry about.  *Waits for the next bombshell.*

In better news, on Friday, my youngest daughter turns five months (woohoo, my lickle-ist chubster) and my first Kindleboards Book of the Day ad will run.  I'm strangely scared.  Also, I've started writing short stories again (picture angelic choirs singing Hallelujah), so that's a huge relief.  It's a nice balance to the fluffy stuff - for my brain, at least.

Ten days to Christmas Eve!  *Feels sick*

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Indie Picks 2010

Inspired by Stacey Benefiel Wallace's post about buying indie as gifts for the holidays, I decided to write about the books I've read this year that have stood out to me.  Now that Amazon are allowing the gifting of ebooks, it's even easier to pass on the gift of indie this holiday season.  ;)  They're all priced between 99c and $2.99 so great value reads.

I'm sure I've forgotten some, and I've enjoyed more than those listed here but, for whatever reason, these are the memorable ones to me.  I haven't read every book I've bought this year yet but I have read a lot.  I don't review and I don't recommend books very often so I think people can be sure that when I say I like something, I mean it.  I'm not nice enough to exaggerate.  LOL. 

Just because a book isn't on the list doesn't mean I disliked it and you may have the opposite opinion to me but these are my standout picks for this year (so far and in no particular order).  I have varied tastes so I hope there might be something for everyone here. 

Sojourner - This is a y/a paranormal series with angels.  I think Sojourner might have been one of the first indie books I read.  I inhaled this book, I really wanted to know what happened next.  To put it into perspective, it's written in first present tense.  I hate first present tense but it did not deter me from this book for a second.  I loved the ending and part of me wishes I hadn't read the other books so I could keep that as the ending.  It has a lot of comparisons to Twilight but there's no creepy stalker vibe so I was fine with any other similarities.  If I had to read either Sojourner or Twilight again, I'd choose Sojourner. 

Burial to Follow - Anyone who knows me at all, knows I'm a big fan of Scott Nicholson.  Burial to Follow may have been my first Nicholson book and I loved it.  It's a supernatural novella but it's completely fresh.  I sat there thinking about it afterwards and going through the storyline with a different eye, once I knew the ending.  Scott's writing is quite lyrical and passionate at times, he brings atmosphere to life.  He gives you a character's whole life and motivations with just a couple of words.  I still think about this one.

Cameo - Cameo is a quirky wee book with more paranormal aspects.  I'm seeing a theme here.  LOL.  I enjoyed Cameo because it isn't something you will find every day. Cameo is an assassin but that isn't all.  She's thrown together with other characters who are similarly not what they first appear to be.  I have no idea how to classify this book and that's why it stands out for me.  I loved that the characters aren't all beautiful creatures who don't make mistakes and do what is best all the time.  I feel like the whole series will lead to a lot of natural growth that I'm keen to see.

Waiting for Spring - This one is about a woman who makes a fresh start after a broken marriage.  There's sex, bad language and a true feeling that the characters are people who could be living next door to you.  When I first heard about this book, I thought, meh, boring.  I got a copy of it anyway and it stayed on my ereader for a while then I randomly selected it while having a bath and OMG, I couldn't stop reading it, the water went cold and I didn't notice.  It's a looooong book and I tried my best to read it all in the one go but I think I had to save some for a second go.  Excellent book.

The Merry-Go-Round - I have to be honest and say I'm not a big of romance novels.  I read this one purely because Donna Fasano is so lovely.  I am glad I did, this book is so sweet.  It begins with a divorce and follows the MC while she tries to figure out dating again, her feelings for her ex and what to do with the Merry-Go-Round she receives in the divorce settlement.  On a deeper level, it's about her emotions and the realisation that she has been angry and bitter to spite herself.  I think maybe I could relate to her motivations and that's why I liked it.

The Second Coming - This is a post-apocalyptic type of fantasy.  It's interesting because it throws an epic fantasy into a modern, yet destroyed setting.  I enjoyed the lore, the twists and was interested to read what happened next - I felt like it was the tip of the iceberg.  There are quite a few gay characters which is refreshing, particularly in this type of genre.

Origin - This was the first Konrath book I read, I downloaded it for free after reading his blog.  A man is brought to an underground facility to try and interpret the speech by a demon who has been held there for many years.  It was asleep and finally woke up.  I loved the premise of this one.  I believe I read a sample and had to know what happened next.  It was pretty exciting and would probably make a great film.

Glimpse - This is a y/a PnR.  I saw this book a number of times before I bought it.  I remember thinking the storyline sounded great and I kept wondering how it could possibly turn out okay then eventually I remembered it while I was on a book buying spree and got my grimey hands on it.  I loved it.  At first, because the teenage couple were just adorable - I mean really, you cannot help thinking how sweet they are.   Then, because the paranormal element was so unpredictable that it was genuinely original.  Lots of kickass female characters too.

Hush Money - I saw this beautiful cover on Smashwords then saw the book being bigged up so bought it.  It's another y/a novel.  It's basically about a bunch of kids who have hidden talents.  Hidden because they will be taken from their families if they're found out.  Okay, teen superheroes - I have a huge thing for comicbookesque superheroish powers.  :D  I really enjoyed the characters and the big scene in the middle where all of the kids help one talent who is about to be taken away.  That's my kind of action scene.

Forsaken by Shadow - The author of this PnR began posting chapters of this book on her blog so I bought it because I have no patience and when a MC has no memory, I really need to know why.  This one is a novella, uses some really interesting powers and has plenty of action.  I remember thinking how well-written it was when I read it. 

Dating my Vibrator - This is a collection of short stories - I bought it after writers tested out their samples on Kindleboards, I happened to read this one and loved it.  Most of them are about the writer's bad/crazy experiences dating after her divorce.  The thing about these stories is how personal they are.  While they are funny, they are also tragic, her pain and experiences really come through the humour.  I really enjoyed this collection - it's very well-written - but sometimes I felt bad for laughing.  I can't wait to read this author's novel.

Lessons & Other Morbid Drabbles - I bought this when it was Kindleboards book of the day.  It's a series of drabbles, pieces of flash fiction amounting to exactly 100 words.  I was curious but I didn't expect much, I'm in awe of anyone who can write so many drabbles but I've also read a lot of, well, crap ones.  Not in this collection!  I thoroughly enjoyed the stories, the genre is horror which I also love.  The stories weren't repetitive, they had great twists and it's just a brilliant form of quick entertainment.  You'll read them quickly, probably want more, but still feel satisfied.  Will definitely be reading Lessons II when it's released.

Waiter, There's a Clue in my Soup! - I read this collection after reading another book by this writer.  I could easily have put that other book on this list but I wanted to stick to one per author.  This is a collection of short mystery stories.  Most are shorts about two main characters in the writer's western mystery novel.  I didn't expect to like these but I really enjoyed them.  Well-written, entertaining and you can tell the writer has put a lot of work into, not only the characters, but the mysteries themselves.  I have no problem recommending this.

Die Already - I bought this because Kipp wrote it.  LOL.  I read his work before and it was deliciously mind-bending, plus ,Kipp does a lot for other indie writers.  This is a short story.  The cover freaks me out and the storyline is twisted.  It is absolutely awesome.  It's about a person who realises that nothing dies around them, no matter how injured they are.  The tragic consequences troubled me, in a good way.  I'm still thinking about what happened and what could possibly happen next.  I didn't expect the end either, great idea and story.

Jenny Pox - I read this one the other day but it definitely belongs in my top picks.  It's (yet another) y/a urban fantasy type novel.  I was comparing formatting on a number of Kindle books and completely forgot all about that when I read the first paragraph of this one.  It begins with Jenny as a child, she kills a snake and her father dons a cuddle suit to comfort her.  My heart pretty much broke here.  Teenage Jenny covers up as much as skin as possible in case she touches someone and accidentally kills them.  This book was incredible.  Well-written, original, shocking in places (and I mean, my jaw dropped at one particular scene), well drawn and complex characters and just such an engaging tone that I couldn't stop reading.  There's sex and violence so it's for the more mature crowd but this one will stay with me.  It probably crosses a line for a lot of people but I really enjoyed it. 

Let me know if you have a list of recommends!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Riding on the Coattails of Fame

One of my very favourite things to do is think about what I would do if I won the lotto - more specifically, how many people's lives I could change.  I'm not particularly charitable, but an Irish woman once won the Euromillions lotto which was over 100million euro and it's kind of fun to imagine sharing that amongst family members and lesser known charities.  Probably sad but it provides imaginary warm and fuzzies. 

Writing success can be similar.  You can carry people up with you.  It always makes me smile when someone has a bit of success and all of a sudden everyone wants a piece of them when before, they might have been ignored.  My new imaginary warm and fuzzies are stemming from imagining what I would do if I became hugely successful as a writer (what can I say, extremely unlikely things appeal to me), who I could help, who I could promote.  I'm totally making a list - just in case.  ;)

Seriously though, people have been making comments a lot about where indies will be when all of the large publishing houses get a grip and price their ebooks competitively.  I happen to think indies will be okay, even if big names start seeing $2.99 as the ideal price point.  Self-publishing is not what it once was, there is so much information out there that nobody has a good enough excuse to do it badly enough to embarrass themselves.  I'm talking about extreme levels of poor formatting, spelling, grammar and writing, not  a bad story because there is a market for pretty much anything.  There are more people who are working on a professional level, more readers willing to give indies a fair chance and the Internet has provided a unique opportunity for indies to come together, compare notes and learn from each other's mistakes.

There are some who market better than others, some who are more business savvy, some who have the charisma to easily attract fans and some who happen to write the right book at the right time.  Word of mouth and a million other things come together in perfect harmony at the right moment and we have a winner.  Who knows other indies, who is connected to other indies in their genre, who is accurately grouped with other indies by Amazon, tags and lists.  They all suck a little bit of the win juice and the luck (and sales) spreads around a little. 

Maybe some of the people who are riding on the coattails of winner number one gain their own buzz, maybe they eventually sell even more than number one, maybe even more indies ride on their coattails.  And maybe, just maybe, if/when the prices level out, the level of writing and editing will be so comparable that people won't have a clue if they're reading indie or trad.

Maybe.  :)

Times, they are a-different.  I've now read indie books that were better edited than some trad published ones.  I'm being serious.  The lack of time spent on editing by some publishers is very apparent.  Quite a few indies now hire professional editors who happen to freelance.  Thanks to the amazing talent out there, a huge number of indie covers are beautiful, eye-catching or a perfect fit for their genre.

Indies will always be judged differently to trad authors.  But that's okay.  So is a little competition.  I think indies will be fine, no matter what happens.  Many have fans for life already.  The future is more exciting than scary and already we're seeing some agents and publishers using the Amazon bestseller lists as their own personal slush-pile.  It's a brand new day but there's room for everyone.  Pinky swear.  Of course, I could be wrong, but I truly believe the big publishers have given indies enough time to establish themselves properly.

In other news that makes Claire happy, Thirst received its first review.  Thank you so much, Joseph, that was very kind of you.  :D  There have been a few other random incidents that made my weekend so I'm out of the winter slump and back on form again.  Cheers world.  ;)

Last thing, I swear!  Yay for Stacey Solomon, Queen of the Jungle.  Good luck Mary & Rebecca.  *Is sucker for reality tv*

Friday, December 3, 2010

White December

I tried to write this post already but it turned into a desperately miserable piece so I'm trying again.  :)

Last month of the year and I'm already trying to plan next year.  I'm not great with plans.  Hopefully ROW80 will help me focus a little - I'm still trying to figure out what my plans are for Round One.  I know what I should do but that's never fun.  :) 

I'm working on a best of 2010 post, my indie picks of the year.  It's hard because I can't mention everyone (not sure I still have everything I read) and there are lots that stood out to me even if there are technically better written books.  It's all personal opinion and I rarely recommend books so take what you want out of it.   Some writers don't get enough credit and deserve a mention so I might make an Amazon list.  I read a lot of different genres so right now, it's looking like an extreme mish-mash.  I kind of want to wait to include my December reads - if there's any.

Amazon's novel contest is almost upon us.  January 24th, I think.  I had plans on entering but now I'm not so sure.  I was thinking about working on a y/a novel I have - not that I expect to win but it's nice to be part of the contest - but looking at my newest release . . . let's just say, I'm doubting myself.  For good reason.  I love ABNA, last year I lurked on the discussion board and it was fun to see so many writers take risks and come up with new ideas.  A couple of Irish writers made it past a round or two so I had people to root for.  :)  This year, there will probably be more writers I kinda sorta know entering which is cool.

Indie sales in November were fantastic for a lot of people by the way.  More indies made it into Amazon's bestsellers list.  I wasn't around this time last year but I know people think fondly of January '10 because of record sales, it will be interesting to see how the next few months compare, especially with the new gifting feature.  Ha, now I know what I'm getting everyone for Christmas - sorry, family.  ;)

It's snowing still and that means the schools are closed, there isn't enough grit for the roads, people have a better excuse than normal not to go to work, and the wait for the next Budget isn't as bad as it should be because we're all so busy worrying about the cold.  Heating bills are going to be a killer and the Budget is going to screw most of us.  But sure, at least we're all fecked together.  :)

I got a cheque from Amazon but they taxed half of it and my bank will probably charge the same amount for cashing it but at least it looks pretty.  LOL.  Looking for upsides in everything right now.  *Cheesy grin*  Really need to sort out the tax thing.  Next year.  *Nods*

I need to move somewhere warm and nice, oh, and cheap.  Any suggestions?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Free Paranormal Novella

Quick post.  I've uploaded my paranormal / urban fantasy novella to Amazon and Smashwords.  *So nervous right now*  While it's still going through the publishing process for Kindle, I thought I would generate a code for a free Smashwords copy. 

If you would like a free copy of Thirst then click on the link, add to cart and use the code: CT22B.

Reviews are not required but, of course, honest ones are always appreciated.  This particular code is valid until the 7th of December and anyone can use it, pass it around if you like.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hell to the Yeah

I beat NaNo - oh, yeah, uh-huh.  I know, who cares?  Me, that's who!  I spend my days in a house full with seven people, two dogs and a cat.  Yours truly is bottom of the pile so when I get online I'm all about me.  ;)

I is well chuffed.  I didn't think I'd manage 50k this year.  Partly because I've been dying of a chest infection.  Okay, maybe not dying but it's definitely worse than man-flu.  But something happened this week - I stopped hating my WIP, stopped eyeing up my delicious little novella and just got to work.  I didn't just get past the wall, I kicked it down, ninja styl-ee.

I am beyond relieved that it's over.  I still have a bit of tidying up to do ending wise but the pressure is off and I can get to work on my December release.  I was feeling really confident about it thanks to the critiquing services of the lurvely T.L. Haddix but now I'm doubting myself again for no other reason than that's just what I do. Once it gets out there and somebody mocks it, I'll be fine - it's the anticipation that kills me.  :D

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Round of Words in 80 Days

PnR writer Kait Nolan is organising a new (and quite sensible) writing challenge called A Round of Words in 80 Days.  Sick of NaNoWriMo styled events that require total dedication for a short amount of time, Kait thought it would be better to have long term goals that fit into real life and could be based on your individual goals. 

You can work on an already partly-written manuscript, start a new one, plot, edit, etc.  You can basically customise it in any way to suit yourself but still be part of a community of writers encouraging each other to keep on keeping on.  All you have to do is state your goals, keep track and stay in touch.  On the blogs and even on Twitter if you have an account.  There are four rounds of 80 days with breaks in between so pretty much everyone can get involved in some way. 

Kait is still looking for authors to help out and is encouraging people to sign up their interest - although you have a while to start thinking of your goals.  First round starts on Jan 3rd 2011 so check it out and gear up.  :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Calling All Dog Lovers

There is an author on Kindleboards who rescued a Saint Bernard who now needs a major operation on his front legs.  It's pretty expensive and if he doesn't get it, he won't be able to walk.  Not good.  The reason she's selling her book is to raise funds for this operation so why not purchase Cries in the Dark and help a puppy out.  It's definitely written about a subject close to an animal-lover's heart.  It's also available on Smashwords but right now it's cheaper on Amazon.

Here is the product description:

Two prostitutes vanish.

Chimps are mysteriously missing from a primate sign lab. Is there a possible link to a biomedical research facility?
While premed student Alex Buchanan confronts her new-found ability to communicate telepathically with animals, the body toll mounts.
When her boyfriend disappears with a dangerous secret, Alex knows a serial killer is stalking her.
Can she solve this dilemma before becoming the next victim?

Another author offered to donate proceeds from their own book sales (how nice is that?) if a fund was set  up.  If that happens, I'll update this post and link to the information in case anyone else wants to donate something. 

My pets were all unwanted and I know it can be expensive to take them on but a $12,000 operation is huge, a lot of people would rather put the dog down than pay that so it would be great if people could tweet/facebook/blog about the book and maybe give it a wee boost.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

NaNo Day 5: Sleep-Writing

Total Word Count: 16,165

My OH has this incredibly annoying habit of falling asleep during conversations.  Can sit up all night playing WoW but talk?  ZZzzzz.  Even more annoying is his ability to carry on these conversations . . . while asleep.  We'll be chatting and he'll say something completely off the wall and I'll know that's it, I've lost him.  He's no Sleep Talkin' Man but it is amusing to watch him wake up wondering what the hell he was saying - he always looks so guilty.  :D

I've been known to answer phones and reply to text messages while asleep.  I was really tired, okay?  I've a tendency to sleep-walk so it makes sense that I'll answer a phone ringing by my ear, right?  Luckily, nobody rings me anymore and I rarely use a mobile anyway.  But recently, I've been finding myself working on my WIP in my sleep.  I'm writing away, then my eyes close but my fingers keep moving.  Then I wake up with a start, see I've written an extra paragraph and spend the next ten minutes trying  to work out -

a) what the hell I was trying to say
b) where the hell I left off
c) when the hell it stopped making sense

Sometimes it isn't half bad.  LOL.  I can see where I was going with it and it makes sense, I just don't remember where I got the idea from. 

So if I ever post a weird ass (weirder than usual) item on my blog, chances are I was asleep doing it.

That's my excuse sorted.  ;)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNo Day 4: Konrath Helping Indie Authors

Total Word Count to date: 12,013 (Oh, yeah, uh-huh)

Recently, JA Konrath and Blake Crouch asked for help.  They came to Kindleboards (the place to be-ee) and asked us to buy their book, Draculas.  In return, Blake would buy one of our books and Konrath would link to us on his blog.  Did they do it?

Yes, and uh, hell yes.  In his latest blog post (there's even detailed descriptions), Konrath links to all of the indies who took up the offer.  This isn't the first time Konrath's done this and it's always cool to see a community effort.  The great thing about Kindleboards is the way people help it each other, we may be independent but we can move mountains together.  ;)

NaNo Day 3: To Tweak or Not to Tweak

Total Word Count:  6887
Results of procrastination efforts today:  6 ginormous scones and one mildly (okay, maybe not mildly) burned loaf of fruit bread.

Yesterday, I finished a round of edits, converted the file to a pdf, copied it to my ereader and took a quick look.  I found a mistake on the first page.  *Bangs head on keyboard*  Worst part is I'm almost certain I red-flagged that mistake two edits ago. 

Aside from that, and even though I still detest editing, I think I've learned a lot about self-editing this year.  I've always written short stories in as few words as possible but my novels tend to end up bloated and repetitive.  I can see this a lot more clearly than I used to so yeah, learning.  The problem is the temptation to go back to old work and see what I can do with it. 

Many writers have mentioned this, particularly with how insanely quick it is to alter an ebook, but when do you stop?  You put your heart and soul into a book - then you edit it right back out.  Done.  But no matter how many times you look at it again, there's going to be something you'd change for the better.  I could edit stuff I've shelved, no problem, but then in a year, I could probably improve on it again.  In five years, ten years.  Time brings more skills, we could improve on a novel until the end of time.

I'm not good at telling when something is ready, hence the mildly/not so mildly burned loaf.  Hopefully that's another skill one learns, somehow.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 2: Any Beta Readers Out There?

End of Day 2 and current word count is . . . over 5k.  I've actually gotten a lot done today but not all that much in the way of NaNo writing.  I'm still doing okay time wise but I'm starting to think the story won't make it to 50,000 words.  It seems to be sprinting along.  

By the way, if anyone can beta read a (paranormal) novella for me this month *looks hopeful* then send me an email.  I'm kind of in a hurry on it, it is still rough, 40k words and there are (so not sexy) vampires in it. 

I'm not going to get much reading done this month.  I should have kept all of the short stories I read in October for NaNo breaks.

Recent reads include:

Space Junque
Dating my Vibrator
Day of Sacrifice
Lessons (& Other Morbid Drabbles)
Down the Drain
Not What She Seems
Closing My Eyes Helps Me See Clearly

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo - Day One

It's just midnight here, marking the end of day one of NaNoWriMo.  I started late but managed to hit the daily target and then some.  I had hoped to hit at least 4k but I slacked off.  I got some editing done though.  I've already started spending less time online which is good because I've been wasting so much time lately.  But that's what NaNo is great for, getting you focused and into a writing routine - something I've been seriously lacking.

In Other News:

My two eldest kids went trick or treating last night and brought home two full bags of goodies each.  Pink Witch is not sharing with anyone.  Darth Vader lost a tooth while making the rounds (Awwww) - it's only the second tooth loss in our little family so still a big deal.

Lots of people are having success on PubIt (what were they thinking with that name!) but they still aren't allowing us poor peoples with no US bank account and credit card.  >:(

I've applied for a letter on headed paper from Smashwords which will allow me to take the first step on the long arse road towards getting a US tax number.  It might not be worth it, the process is actually longer and more costly than I previously thought.  Still doing it though.  :/

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Yay, Halloween!  Darth Vader and Pink Witch have already gone out with a relative to scab food from total strangers so I'm left with two Dragons and a beautiful baby Buddha (who isn't dressed up, she's always this chubby).

Counting down to Nanowrimo - why yes, yes I am going to talk about it until the end of time - and I've changed my mind again.  I received the proof copy I was waiting for so decided to do a round of edits instead of working on a first draft this week.  I couldn't help it, the shinies were too pretty for me to keep ignoring.  Besides, if I'm writing the sequel for Nano then I need a quick refreshment course in the world.  I could read notes but . . . nah.

It's funny because when I started thinking of writing the first novella, I wasn't serious about it but then I went overboard on the world building and backstories and now I can't leave it alone.  I've put everything else on the backburner and any new ideas I get all involve this one little novella.  If I hadn't been slacking so much this year, I'd probably have a series of five going on by now.  Next year I'm going to learn to live on a lot less sleep.  :)

I'm going to watch some spooky family films (then a scary grownup one when Darth Vader, Pink Witch, the Dragon Duo and Baby Buddha are asleep), eat lots of popcorn and sugary goodness then try and get a good start on Nano once midnight hits.  *Is excited.*

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Do You Really Want The World To Know What You're Thinking?

Over the last month, there's been more than a couple of occasions when I've thought - WTF were they thinking?  Today alone, there's been at least three.  One of which was Maura Kelly's blog post - pretty much about finding obese people on television disgusting to watch.  *Shakes head - WTF was she thinking?*  It's a long post but I walked away with that singular impression.  Then, the awesomeness of the backlash caused her to edit her post and add an apology.  She basically crawls for forgiveness - which, for the most part, isn't given.  She isn't the first, won't be the last.

Apart from the above blog post, I've seen people pretty much destroy their fan base with a single (horrendous) comment.  Even I, a self confessed book freak, have been put off authors by one idiotic outspoken moment.  Others, because of a few moments.  Being rude and patronising is offputting to watch.  Sympathy towards dangerous/law-breaking acts don't generally go down so good.  Scoffing differing opinions because you always know best is mildly irritating on a 13 year old - adults don't wear it half as well.  There's a way to say things, if you're alienating (or worse, intimidating) people you come into contact with then you aren't getting your point across so well.

Do you really want the world to know what you're thinking?  Because it isn't always pretty.  And there will always be someone who disagrees.  And even if you apologise, it's not really enough because the impression is probably already in there too deep to fill in with something else. 

It bothers me when people burst out with a controversial comment or blog post and then retract it all once they get aggro from it.  If you're going to say something (like Maura Kelly who basically insulted a significant percentage of people) that is controversial, you've either spoken without a second thought (not good online because someone always remembers) or else did it on purpose to get a reaction.  If it's what you truly believe and you want to share it then at least have the back bone to stand by it and the common sense to not make it any worse.

Lots of people want that reaction, that one comment/statement/blog post/idea that sets them apart and gets them remembered.  But it's scary.  Especially when there's a big kneejerk reaction.  Backing off at the last moment doesn't work.  Trying to carve a different statement for yourself takes a long time.  Getting attention might be good but do you really want to be remembered for being a *insert appropriate term here*

If you want to make a name for yourself, make sure it's one you're willing to wear for a looooong time.

Vroom Vroom

I'm trying to get an old draft finished before Nanowrimo begins but I've been busy getting pissed off at random things so it hasn't really been getting anywhere fast.  I've learned my lesson the hard way about going back to a cold first draft so I think I should finish this one and then start on my Nanowrimo project later in November.  Possibly.  Maybe.  We'll see. 

I tend to work hard when I've something to be competitive about which is why I've signed up for the All Ireland Word War during Nanowrimo.  (It's the best way to make sure I keep up even though I might start late.)  I'm writing for Dublin as always.  Anyway, if anyone would like to buddy up then feel free.

Also, is anyone else an ebook addict?  I've bought over 20 books this week, all those 99c and $3 things add up.  I think I may have a problem.  :)  Seriously, I'm one-clicking like crazy.  My excuse is research, I'm learning more about writing and editing by actually reading than anything else.  *Loves excuses*

Friday, October 22, 2010

Smokin' Me Out

In ten days time I will be (hopefully) getting stuck into some Nanowrimo goodness (or crappiness). I've an outline kinda sorta written out so I'm waiting until November to get cracking, mostly because I want to think through the conflict a little more. I've been playing around with a first draft I left alone earlier this year (it's so cold, I'm finding it hard to get into even though I still know exactly where it's going) and trying desperately not to edit something I need some space from. I'm hoping Nano will distract me enough to get quite a bit of space. I'm waiting for a couple of responses to something that needs a final edit but they don't seem like they're going to happen anytime soon so at least I won't be as close to it this time. I find it hard to focus completely on more than one world at a time so I'm a bit edgy on an inbetweener right now. :)

I've been reading a bit lately too. Recent reads include:

The Red Church
A Very Hairy Adventure
Waiter,There's a Clue in my Soup!
Monster in the Mirror
On Writing (and some other non-fiction)
Out of Time
The Scrubs

Am still pondering what's next . . . .

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Migraine Inducing Covers

I've spent the best part of the last four/five days working on a book cover. Ebook cover was quick but I wanted to get a proof from Createspace to help with editing. I find it so much easier to edit if I use a different format each time and I figured waiting for a proof would give me a little distance from the story. It's just a novella so the proof would cost less than five dollars. Not complicated, apparently, unless you're me. Every single time I thought I had it figured out, something else would go wrong so finally I used the Cover Designer (template Palm which allows you to upload your own front and back cover complete with Title, author name and blurb in your own font) and settled for having a woeful spine.

I know it was just a personal proof but I figured I might as well learn something about the Createspace cover process. Besides, I didn't want the thing to beat me. Which it kind of did but let's not go there. The problems I ran into included completely misunderstanding the cover template, ballsing up layers, using a program that doesn't convert into PDF, using a program which did convert but the file wasn't accepted by Createspace and finally, using a program which converted the file perfectly . . . into the wrong size. My headache finally stopped last night at 2am after a well deserved glass of wine.

I've learned a fair bit, including not to go near Createspace's community or help sections because it will only confuse me more. When my head's in a better place, I'm going to post about the things that can go wrong in the hopes it might save someone else a week's migraine. If I decide not to send this novella to the recycle bin, this is (along the lines of because I'm not on the pc that I worked on) what the ebook cover might look like - image courtesy of © Inga Marchuk |

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Am Reading . . . & Being Easily Pleased

Haven't mentioned what I'm reading for a while because I haven't been reading much. I've started at least ten books that I dropped after the first chapter. Not because they're bad, I'm just having trouble concentrating. Anyway, recently finished:

Forsaken by Shadow
The Wild's Call
Shadowbound  (Still a freebie)

(Think I'm forgetting something)

and am currently reading The Red Church. I thought I'd already read it but obviously not. Probably going to start something else today, something short to get through during my editing breaks - probably A Very Hairy Adventure.

Totally stole this from Walking on the Line of Crazy but it cracked me up so much I had to use my own kid's photos. I showed it to my OH and his first comment was: Who owns those kids? *Snicker* Recently I told him about some random film or something and he said:  So, is that for kids or just for humans? Should my babies be worried? :D

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New Book Covers

A reviewer on Amazon complained they found my horror collection in the children's section. Of course this sparked off a mini freak out by me so I went running to Kindleboards for advice.  Peoples over there reassured me I hadn't somehow messed up the categories (Amazon confirmed it today) but it was mentioned that my cover didn't match the content. Also, the description wasn't very, well, descriptive.

So I went looking for a new cover. While I was at it, I had an eye out for a new cover for my fae stories too. Finding a cover that matches the content of the flash fiction is hard so I went with something I thought was creepy enough and am hoping for the best on the description.

The new stuff is still uploading to Amazon but the covers are already showing. Thought I'd show them here. Mostly to give me a new post. ;)  I know I'm not exactly . . . half way to good at book covers but I bought some images (from people on Dreamstime who actually have talent - credited on the title page btw) and hopefully the whole thing isn't entirely awful.  I'm going to pay someone to create a cover for my novel.  One day.  If it ever makes it out of my laptop alive.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

In the News

Barnes & Noble are now allowing authors/publishers to upload their ebooks directly through their website so using a distributor is no longer necessary.  It's invitation only but isn't as superior as it sounds because all you do is request an invite.  I received mine at the weekend, maybe a day after I signed up.  I was interested in finding out how it works but they require a U.S. bank account amongst other things.  When they finally get into the right decade, I'll take a look at it but for now, I'm all meh about it.

In relation to Barnes & Noble. They, along with Kobo, have a habit of discounting people's ebooks.  Then Amazon either price match or delist.  (The free indie books are no longer free and authors are still waiting to see if Amazon issue some sort of statement about it.)  I don't want to be delisted so highered my prices on Smashwords which in turn will raise the prices on all of the distributed sites.  Eventually.  I feel guilty about this so issued more free discount codes for Smashwords.  I've always had free discount codes flying around but these ones are valid for another year in case I forget.  They can be found along with links to Smashwords and other sites in the tabbed pages under the blog title.

Also, good news for those who are actually selling ebooks on  They are rolling out the 70% royalty rate over there too.  I'm not sure how much of an impact it will make right now but at least it will already be in place when sales pick up in the UK.  I reckon this time next year will have seen substantial growth, especially if ereaders go down in price again.

It's almost Nanowrimo time and as usual I have no idea what I'm going to do.  It's thrilling, I tells ya.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Twenty Free Kindles

1.   People really need to stop taking everything I say so seriously.

2.   Why yes, yes I did change my blog template again.  It is not my fault.  The right one hasn't been made yet.

3.   ZOMG!  Scott Nicholson's giving away 20 Kindles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay.  I've mentioned Scott's epic blog tour at least seventeen times now but as he's upped the stakes again, I have to mention it one more teeny tiny time.  He's already committed to giving away a Kindle DX, a Kindle 3 and over 100 ebooks to three lucky people.  And he said he'd throw in another Kindle if one of his books broke the top 100 on the Amazon bestseller list.  Now, he's talking about giving away a Kindle for any of his books that break the top 100 during the blog tour.  That's up to 20 Kindles  if all 20 books make it to the top.  I don't know how likely it is but The Red Church is in the top 300 on Kindle and it's only 99c right now.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bizarrest Dream of all Time

It's around 5am, I just woke up from the longest, most vivid freakiest dream of all time so naturally I came online to share it on my blog.  As you do.

It featured some great lines by me such as:

Me, delicately stepping over the remains of a bear strewn all over the footpath (what kind of wtfery is that?):  I just know it would be better for the whole family if he (my mother's husband) died already.  (I think we might have been on hitman territory here.)

My mother:  Oh, I know everyone would be better off but still, I sort of love him, you know?

(She then goes on to passive-aggressively cite my twins repeatedly pooing on her sofa - that did NOT happen - as the main cause of her problems.  But aren't they so cute when they do it, she coos).


Me, after being hastled by a crowd of religious (it's a non-descript generic religion of no name, it seems) nuts who then follow me down the street screaming in my face:  They're (the Irish Government, seriously, don't ask) already laughing at us!  It isn't because of our religion, it's because they're wankers!  (A passerby who looks remarkably like Dracula snorts with laughter.)

Right after this, a weirdo man comes running straight over to me, all stalkerish and intense, and tries to square up to me. Little old ladies crowd around me as if to protect (the weak?) me.  Then a red-haired man runs up and screams, get away from her, you vampire!  Um, okay.  Even my dream religious nuts get weirded out and back away slowly from the red-headed drama queen (yet not from the possible vampire).

I attended an anti-Fianna Fail (Oh, I forgot a fada?  Really? Silly me.) rally which turned out to be organised by the same religious freaks who were now trying to organise a sit in (does this remind anyone of True Blood?) and guilt tripped me and my mother into attending.  Then a puking girl guilt tripped us into opening doors for her and letting her follow us home.  (We escaped, three cheers!)  At this rally, we were given name tags so  of course I wrote my name as the word, downloads.  I was then referred to as Downloads for the rest of the meeting.  (Maybe a deed poll is in order?)

I also watched a lot of television in my dream.  I watched a "funny" reality show where Brian Dowling was mocked and wore four shirts at the same time to hide his shame.  Yeah.   I watched a Disney film about a Dora lookalike who lived under the sea and branded it the best Disney film of our time.

I also watched a video of earth, from start to finish.  (It was a true story.)  It begins with a small, white, flaming ball type object flying through space which then grows into what looks a little more like earth and ends with a smug looking man being claimed Universal Ruler of our Country.  (Rocking title that makes lots of sense.)  So creationists and big bang theorists, fight no longer.  It actually all began with a tiny white pebble and will end with a Universal Ruler.

Then I became a man.  A very stressed out man.  Who sneaks out of work to buy the latest game and is followed by his wife who he then lies to and pretends he left work to organise the best dinner surprise ever.  She's all, squee, the best husband eva!  So he (I) goes on a quest and ends up walking down the street with a plate of hot dinner (there's chicken and broccoli and other some such stuff) and is constantly followed by passersby who tell him (in awe) he's holding the most delicious dinner ever.

Also, (in between the religious freaks bit and while we were trying to dodge the annoying puking girl) randomers kept coming up to me to say hello, saying they recognised me from my tattoos.  Say what?  I look down and on my hand are some rings.  Underneath the rings (how clever) are the rings again, except inked onto my fingers.  Hard core.

*Laughs*  Some little tidbits (it was seriously long) in the hopes I'll stop lying in bed thinking about them and actually go back to sleep.  I woke up to hear my shithead cat trying to open my son's bedroom door (noisily) and got so annoyed at his arseholiness that I became too wide awake.  Right, sleeptime.  Night.  :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Indie Freebies on Amazon

Quick post while the kids are (momentarily) playing nicely together.  First - Happy birthday to my wee ones.  Can't really believe this time two years ago I had no idea I would give birth to my boys in a few hours! 

Okay, over the last few days, a number of indies have found their books on Amazon for free resulting in a lot of downloads.  I had already read a couple from Smashwords but downloaded them from Amazon anyway.  They aren't sure why they are free (aside from the fact they are free on Smashwords) and this morning some have noticed they might actually be getting paid their share of the original price despite the books being downloaded for free. 

Whether this works out or not, the exposure is unreal so I'm listing a few here from authors that are on Kindleboards in case anyone would like to download. I'll update it with any others if I get the chance, I'm low on time today.  You can view the entire list of freebies on Books on the Knob.

Weight of Blood
A Hairy Adventure
The First Completely Electronic Robot and Science Fiction Limerick Book
Monster in the Mirror

Saturday, October 2, 2010

KB Book of the Day

Kindleboards are now selling adspace on their forum.  One book is listed each day in the banner at the top of the page.  It costs $35 to hire out the space for one day, $65 for 2 days, $95 for 3 days and $195 for a full week of advertising.  In addition, if you have a promotional thread for that particular book in the Book Bazaar, they will sticky it to the top of the page for the entire day.  It's not expensive compared to other advertisements and they get a lot of visitors. 

As far as I know, they are (or just about) fully booked up for the rest of the year.  People were inhaling those spots.  It was a KB author frenzy.  I was going to wait until next week to book a couple of days together but I decided to get one in the meantime - I'm glad I did now.  My date is in December, I'm aiming to have something new up by then that I'll use it for but if it all goes pear-shaped, I'll use it for my short stories instead.  I don't usually buy into things like this but I like Kindleboards so even if I don't get one sale from it, at least I've supported a forum I enjoy.  My time there has been well worth $35.

By the way, my twins are two tomorrow.  The other night, they both had all of their curls chopped off (which was unexpectedly sad because it kind of marked the end of them being my little babies) and tomorrow, I am absolutely certain they will destroy our house on the major sugar rush that ensues on a family birthday.  Last year I got lots of chocolate face photos so I'm hoping I get some good 'uns this year too. 

Last Christmas, the kids broke my Nikon camera (that broke my heart, I was seriously attached to that thing) so we've been sticking with small, cheaper digitals ever since.  Of course, so many of them have been broken, it would have been cheaper to buy another decent one.  (My kids can break anything.)  The other day somebody (nobody's talkin') broke my semi-decent camera so I'm stuck with an old crappy backup but hopefully I'll get at least one decent piccy of my very own Wild Pride.  So be warned, ('cos I'm a photo freak) if I end up posting photos, there's bound to be a few gross ones in there.  :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Back . . . Sort Of

I said I had to take a break so I did, except it wasn't really a break.  September was kind of horrible in a lot of ways.  Lots of personal stuff, more than our fair share of "accidents" involving the kids, even a trip to the emergency room.  Combine that with all of the crap online especially surrounding publishing and it became clear I needed to take a step back before I flipped out.  Aside from the personal stuff, all of the online stuff was beginning to really suck the fun out of writing.  The same arguments are overdone, the same complaints about reviews are tiring.  The freaky sock puppetry scares me, quite frankly.  I started this out of a love of writing, not money or sales or a legitimate reputation and definitely not other people's drama, so why am I getting involved in other crap that I don't even truly care about? 

Worse, I was putting "other crap" before my responsibilities at home and that resulted in a chaotic month so I need to straighten my priorities again.  Aside from that, I haven't heeded warnings about  looking after my own health and payback is overdue but that's my own fault and I'm trying to remember to take care of myself properly. LOL  During my time off, I dealt with a number of ongoing things and am working on others so life in general is settling down. Writing wise, I finished the  first draft of Thirst and started on the sequel because I didn't want it to end.  Then, I realised that story wasn't really the second story after all and left that on the backburner and began a brand new sequel which right now fits much better in my long-term plan for that world.  I'm writing for me right now and it's making me happy again.  I've gotten way too sucked into the business side of things (which I'm no good at) so it's been nice to go back to what it's all really about for me.  I even read an entire book last night, something I've been having a lot of trouble with.

Not everything is back to normal.  There are still some major things that need to be sorted so I'm not committing to throwing myself back into the midst of everything.  But hopefully October will be a lot less problematic and a lot more fun.  The month begins well (my twins are 2 on Sunday) and ends with Halloween, what's not to like?

Now I'm off to do some edits while I feed the baby (multi-tasking or what) and hopefully quit moaning on my blog.  ;)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Taking A Breather

Very quick post. 

I have to take a break for a few days.  I'll try to check my email some and hopefully will be back around during the week. 


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Indie Fantasy Review Blog

Derek Prior set up a new review blog solely for fantasy books by Indie authors.  I'm recommending a look at  Indie Fantasy Review because I like the reviewing style.  I'm the kind of person who believes it if someone tells me they just read the best book EVA!!   Inevitably, I'm disappointed quite a lot because I expect too much.  (Which is why I get so excited when I read books like Glimpse - I hadn't heard anyone rave about it at the time so I was pleasantly surprised by its awesomeness.)

I like detailed reviews such as those by Red Adept because they give me enough information on things that matter to me.  Some things bother other people but don't affect me in any way.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to find lots of new fantasy books to read if Prior keeps going with Indie Fantasy Review.  So far, the reviews are well thought out, unbiased and detailed without spoilering (or boring me).  Sometimes it can be hard for people to trust indie book reviews that have been written by other indies.  That's understandable so it's nice when someone writes thoughtful reviews that come across as honest and trustworthy.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Elitist Jerks

Be prepared, this is a ramble/rant/whine/meandering thought process.  I've been lurking a lot this past week or two and as so often happens, I've come across a lot of the same arguments and discussions.  I'm not going to link to anything but there is something in the air this month that has almost everyone ready to offend and be offended.  Lets just say the Internetz has made Claire sad.

Spite and vitriol abound.  I've lost count of how many replies I've written and then deleted without pressing send.  Life's too short to get dragged into debates that are going nowhere, particularly ones arguing over who is better/smarter/more successful/funnier/etc.  Greatness is subjective and to follow Darwin's thinking, ignorance can boost confidence more than knowledge or true skill will.  Maybe, maybe not (it's something to think about but apparently the less talented are more confident than the most talented.  X-Factor/Idol type singing contests are an excellent example of this, I wonder how well this applies to creative writing).  But what makes a good book is subjective - I stand by that.

It's bad enough constantly seeing traditionally published writers (or those aspiring to this) slamming indies/self publishers/whatever label you want to use this week.  It's bad enough when indies mock trads (I need better labels when I pigeon hole people) for their choices. (I'm pointing out here that the ebook thing might be working in our favour but we're riding a wave, all good things come to an end and it's plain rude to mock those left on the shore in the meantime.)  It's bad enough when talent (of whatever degree) is insulted by people who have not even given said talent a chance.  (You can't say a writer is crap if you haven't read their work.  Just . . . no.)  It's bad enough when spiteful reviews are left solely to harm a person's career (and it's equally bad when false flattering reviews are left too).

But I'm starting to think the people who are hurting indies the most are indies themselves.  Some of the spiteful reviews are left by indies who see everyone else as a threat.  Yes, this and more can exist in traditional publishing - the elitism that exists there seems to be extending to indie publishing too.  There's the typical genre bashing but worse is the attitude of many indies.  This notion that there is plenty of crap in self publishing but not me.  And if anyone doesn't agree with me then I don't give a shit about their opinion.

I'm better than them, ask my beta readers/critique partners/reviewers is the new ask my mother/father/brother/sister.  It isn't any more professional, it just sounds better.  My new pet peeve is arrogance in the ranks.  I'm guilty of it myself sometimes (feel free to slap some sense into me if I am).  The thing is, we can be confident and humble at the same time.  We can accept that we have lots to learn while still being proud of what we already know. 

Just because someone doesn't like your work doesn't mean you are bad at what you do.  On the other hand, just because someone does like your work doesn't mean you are great at what you do.  Don't get cocky and assume you're better than someone else because you didn't enjoy their work.  (Guilty.)  Definitely don't do it if you haven't even read their work.  We can't complain about the way most people perceive and judge self publishers if we, the self publishers are guilty of doing the exact same things.  (This happens so often, it's almost funny.  But not quite.)

Let your story do the talking, you don't need to prove yourself by boasting how much money you paid for editing/cover art or how long you worked.  And you absolutely don't need to put anyone else down to look better.  (And remember how offputting a bad attitude is, be bloody grateful when someone at least gives you a chance.)  All this arguing and insulting and bragging only serves to make us all look bad, don't blame it on the "crap" self publishers.  Maybe someone else out there is doing the same to you. 

*Steps off soapbox and leaves, forgetting to edit the million and one uses of the word just (and brackets).*

Friday, September 10, 2010

Authors: Add Your Books

I mentioned Scott Nicholson's Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour already.  Aside from the free Kindle, there is a bumper pack of ebooks up for grabs.  There are over 70 books on the list already so if you want to donate yours, click on the link and send Scott an email with your manuscript or a Smashwords coupon.  The more people involved, the bigger the whole promotion will be.  Scott is periodically twitting about the authors involved and all of the names are on the site already. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Contest: Free MS Edit

CA Marshall (freelance editor and literary agent intern) is currently running a contest.  The winner receives a free manuscript edit.  The manuscript has to be 100k or under, but doesn't need to be finished by the contest end date which is the 20th September.  The edit itself is a biggie and includes plot development so worth entering if you would like another pair of eyes over your baby before you self publish or query - whatever your flavour is.

Entering is easy, follow the link above to fill in the entry form.  You can gain points by following her blog, her twitter profile or by posting a blog about the contest - but you have to put the links on the entry form as proof. 

Now I'm off to try and get my wordcount up because I slept forever instead of writing last night or this morning.  The novella is running away with itself and turning into a novel so I have to catch up.  :)  (It's the most fun thing I've ever written so I don't mind.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Word Count Progress

I've added a word count progress meter thingy in the sidebar.  Mostly to shame myself into writing, I've been using the #amwriting tag on Twitter to do the same thing.  It's an ugly wee widget but it does the job.  I looked at roughly five thousand similar looking widgets before finally deciding on the basic one from Writertopia.

The 50k target is a bit random.  I've no idea how long this first draft will be but it is a novella so 50k seemed like a nice fit, considering I'm almost halfway there.  I might add another counter for Nanowrimo (not long to go,squee!) or if I fail on my plans and end up working on two first drafts at once.

I was extremely proud of myself when I began this particular WIP because I wrote out a huge outline and even made an excel sheet with scene lists.  I forgot all about it in the first chapter and ran wild.  I took a look at the "plan" earlier and it is a completely different story to the one I've actually been writing.  I'm hopeless.  I've already got far too many subplots going on.  It's in my nature to overdo everything.  I've come to the conclusion I need a highly organised writing partner.

I'm writing this post at 5am because I've a persistant 7week old stuck under my chin.  (Seriously, she has her face squashed right into my throat, I don't know how she can breathe like that.)  I can't work quick enough on first drafts while holding a child so I'm blogging instead to make me feel like I've accomplished something.  I'm going to try and put the baby down so I can work a little on my WIP - no point sleeping  as the rest of the family will be up in two hours.  Three more years and the whole gang will be in school, that's my reward for a few sleepless years.  :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Six Months On

I'm extremely unorganised right now.  I keep saying I'm going to do things (like fix my blog feed, post to wattpad, take a look at ebooks, the list keeps growing) and then completely forgetting all about them.  I've about a million and one late appointments to make too.  I need help so it was funny to see this post on Author Assistants in my feedreader today.  How cool would that be?  Being able to afford an assistant is totally going onto my imaginary sign of success list.  Imagine how different the lives of useless people like me would be if having an assistant was mandatory.  :)

On to the point of this post.  It's been almost six months since I started with Kindle.  I'm focusing on Kindle because that's where most of the action is.  August was a peak month for me.  It's supposed to be the worst month but my sales (on one book) pretty much doubled last month.  Ebook sales (so far) have seen a steady growth.  I've been thinking about why this happens.

For most indies, there isn't a huge market boost when the book is first released.  Usually, the debut is a quiet release because the author name is unknown.  (Of course, when they have a few books out, building up a buzz around a new release is more viable.)  Most of us newbies don't have a clue what we're doing when we start out (I still don't) so it takes a while to figure out what to do next.  Some people take a chance on an unknown but sales usually start trickling in when the writer becomes involved in forums where people are open to the idea of self published books.  There are lots of genre threads and indie author threads all over the place, there's no shortage of ways to "sell" your book. Recommendations boost sales and quite a few authors report steadily increasing sales rather than an initial flurry.

For me, I place responsibility of the majority of my sales to two sources.  Now I'm not in any way saying my sales are good, especially in comparison to so many others so I'm merely sharing my own experiences.  Your mileage may vary.  Anyway, I credit the people who have reviewed my books and Kindleboards on most of the sales I've gotten.  I'm not good at selling and if it wasn't for either those reviewers or Kindleboards, I doubt I'd have sold a thing. 

Good reviews are self explanatory.  The Kindleboards thing is a little more complicated because it leads onto my book being linked to other books - people who bought this book also bought . . . .  I'm pretty sure people at Kindleboards bought my books after seeing me around.  They also bought from other indies.  This is what gets the ball rolling.  The more sales we all get, the closer we're linked in Amazon's magical mystical numbers & advertising game.  People stumble onto a book then see similar titles and might buy a couple of them.  This takes time.  It's taken me six months to really notice this making a difference.

But this is an example of why you need patience to do this.  Little seeds get planted all the time but it takes a long time before they start to bear fruit and even longer before you can benefit from the harvest.  It takes some longer than others, there are no overnight successes in self publishing.  (Before anyone says it, Amanda is the exception. (: )  I regularly see new ebook sellers getting impatient and feeling frustrated because they're comparing themselves to people who have been doing it a while.  Time is your friend, ebook sales work differently from the traditional publishing model.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


September, this year has flown by.  I'm sick of hearing about Christmas already.  The word should be banned until December, I'm panicking already.  :)

Interesting week here.  The local school let my 6 year old leave the school alone.  He walked home alone. Alone.  Okay we live, like, three minutes away from the school but not the point.  He's six.  He doesn't play outside unsupervised never mind cross roads alone.

I won't even go into the ridiculous bomb scare we had.  I vented my little freaker out of my system on Kindleboards so won't bore you further.  Let's just say I'm glad August is done!

Some links that might be of interest.

Two blogs willing to review indie authors.  Smashwords Books Reviewed and E-Finds.  Another interesting blog is Kindle Cheap Reads.  They feature bargain books so a good place to check if you want to make the most of your book budget.

Monday, August 30, 2010

MOAR Kindle Giveaways

Check out Zoe Winters Kindle giveaway and details on how to enter on her blog. 

To promote the release of Blood Lust (a compilation of her three novellas), Zoe's giving away a Kindle.  Not only that, for the first day it goes live, Blood Lust will be priced at 99c so get it while its hot.  If it gets really hot, like breaks the top 25 bestseller list kind of hot, then Zoe will be giving away a second Kindle.

As of this writing, Blood Lust is still not available to purchase but it'll be up soon.

I would LOVE to see another indie reach the top 25 so get buying, it's only 99c.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I'm Reading . . .

First go check out Amanda Hocking's epic post on how she got to this point.  Worth reading.  I hope there are more of these success stories to come.

Moving on.  I've been having a lot of trouble enjoying books lately so it was a huge relief to actually manage to finish one or two.  I've had lots of books waiting to be read but I couldn't get into anything so haven't posted what I've been reading for ages.  This has not helped my TBR pile.

Anyway, this week I am reading . . .

My Blood Approves

Glimpse - I enjoyed this one.  Not at all what I expected and by that I mean I couldn't predict what was going to happen.

Next up on my e-reader are:

Hush Money
Forsaken by Shadow

As always, recommendations are welcome.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Three words.  Hangover.  From.  Hell.

Considering the above, this is probably going to be somewhat incoherant but as everyone else is talking about it, I'm going to be a sheep and do it too.

Publisher's Weekly:  aka the numpties who are making what seems like a thinly veiled attempt at scamming self publishers out of $149.  They've never exactly been advocates of indies but this is a brand new level of low.  It genuinely pisses me off that they're charging people $149 to be featured in a crappy supplement.  They can do what they like but what's bothering me is the carrot on the stick.  Oh, you might get a review.  Oh, you might be seen by an agent.

It's pretty crappy to take advantage of people's hopes and dreams and mostly, their desperation.  When you first publish something yourself, there's a process that requires patience.  Firstly, nobody knows it exists, it doesn't sell, it has no reviews and even the best writers can get panicky and feel like it's a total disaster.  So this reputable name comes along and offers you what sounds like a great opportunity and you grab it with both hands.  It's an investment, you tell yourself.  You hand over your cash, your book gets a little ad and then . . . nothing happens. 

The majority of the people you're marketing to probably won't ever see it.  The possible review disappears from the equation.  Talk of agents takes on a dream like quality because you start to believe you imagined it.  Eventually, you sell some copies, get reviews and recommendations and are a happy camper but that probably would have happened even if you didn't pay $149.  Your mileage may vary but the above is the typical story for so many  people.  I know plenty will go for PW's offer but I sincerely hope they have their eyes wide open and see it for what it is. They're charging $149 for a possibility of a review.

Shame on you, PW.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First Blog Interview & Congrats

Colour me excited.  Quick post -  Kipp Poe Speicher (who wrote Closing My Eyes Helps Me To See Clearly) just posted my first blog interview.  Take a look, lots of writers have been interviewed and there is even a review or two.

Also, congratulations to Amanda Hocking.  Her latest book, Wisdom, has only recently gone live and it's already in the top 25 paid bestsellers on Amazon.  Cracking news.  Let's hope it keeps on climbing!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Milestones and Madness

So the blog carnival was good craic but one of the participants let me know my blog looks bogey in their feedreader.  It looks fine in mine so I had no idea, sorry if it looks strange.  I didn't want to post again until I sorted it but I'm having a serious case of stupidity right now, nothing makes sense to me.  I'm going to keep trying to fix it, hopefully I'll figure things out when I'm less distracted.  It's a lovely sunny day and school starts back up on Thursday.  Between getting ready for that, trying to sort out a birth certificate disaster and staying up til four every night (writing/editing/poncing about online) my brain isn't running at top speed.  :)

In other news, my horror short story collection almost hit a minor sales milestone this month.  With a week to go, I doubt it's going to quite make it but I'm happy anyway.  I'm pretty sure it reached its highest sales rank too but I haven't been paying a close eye on that.  For an experiment (in a market that isn't supposed to exist), it's gone much better than I expected but that's absolutely thanks to the kind people who took the time to read and review/recommend it so cheers.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

To Be An Indie - Blog Carnival

This post is for the Indie Author Blog Carnival run by Dun Scaith. Check out the host here and of course check out the other participants below my own post.

The subject for this particular blog carnival is basically why we chose to go down an Indie route.

Looking back, I feel like I fell into it but in reality, I put a lot of time and research into my decision.  I wasn't sure if it was possible, how it worked, if I could do it all alone.  I spent more than a few hours trying to figure it all out before I finally said feck it and jumped right in.

I've always written with the vague notion that some day I'd make a living doing it.  But I've never really done anything about it.  I haven't written query letters or sent manuscripts to agents and/or publishers.  I also didn't have a realistic idea of what it is like to be a traditionally published author. 

This year I basically decided I wanted to take creative writing seriously.  I have a few years of being at home left.  I now have five small children.  One is at school, one is in playschool and next year two more will be starting playschool leaving only one at home.  When last but definitely not least mini-Farrell goes to playschool, it'll be time for me to either go back to work or find a job I can do at home.  So this time period is my chance to prove to myself one way or another whether writing is right for me - as a source of income anyway.

So I had a time limit.  And the misfortune to write things that aren't particularly marketable.  At least by trad publishing standards.  I could tone things down and try to fit into one particular genre but I really can't face that.  I write dark fiction to take a break from the fluffier stuff.  I write tame y/a fiction to take a break from the morbid stuff.  I switch genres, I go into taboo areas and I never get bored.  I have fun.

I did quite a bit of research into publishing, ebooks, contracts, etc.  I discovered that most published writers don't live on their earnings.  Many books fail to earn out their royalties, many get remaindered or aren't marketed very well and the publishing industry seems to be in an awkward place.  If I went down that road, it would be highly unlikely my manuscript would be read.  If I was successful in signing a contract, it would take years for anything to happen and after that I'd pretty much be on my own.  I might be tied into a contract.  Maybe even forced to churn out never-ending series of books, one after the other.  Success is relative but for me, trad publishing just didn't seem like a sign of success anymore.  I didn't want to hang about for years on a dream that might never happen.

Then there was the ebook issue.  Being independent and self publishing seemed like a viable option all of  a sudden.  After a lot of thought, I decided to experiment with ebooks, particularly using Amazon DTP and Smashwords.  I could do things rightnowstraightaway and receive almost immediate feedback.  I would know how people responded to my work and better yet see how my promotional efforts affected sales insanely quickly.  The excitement from other indies has always been infectious and I had realised something.  I had nothing to lose.

I tested it out with some short stories and loved every second of it.  Odd little pieces of flash fiction I never expected to sell now sell every day.  Not many copies but it is a lot more than I expected.  I had such low expectations that every day seems to bring a new high.  It's been such a learning curve but at the same time it all feels so freeing.  We can do things our own way and that rocks.

Even better is how much I've learned in so many aspects of publishing, editing and marketing.  There is such a helpful Indie community out there (Kindleboards I'm looking at you), more than happy to share what they've learned to us newbies mixed in with all of those readers who are dying to tell us what they think.  The consumers are the important ones, they're dictating how we are adapting and dealing with change in publishing.  And we're able to listen and react - something traditionally published writers can't do because they don't have as much control over what happens to their books.

Purely down to my initial introduction to self publishing these past five months or so, I am more than happy to continue.  I'm concentrating on a novella and a novel that I hope to release (after some editing and cover art help) - I don't see myself having any regrets.  I don't have the personality (or time) to wait around for somebody else to publish my book.  I have no problems editing to make a book more readable but I can't change a book to fit a certain market.  Becoming an indie will not work for everyone but if you feel like traditional publishing isn't a good fit then maybe give my way a try.  Lots of people manage to use both methods of publishing and this often works out well too.  Never say never but for me, I'm happy with what I'm doing.

If I fail, I fail on my own terms and if it all works out . . . bonus.  :)


Jess C. Scott

Ty Johnson

Levi Montgomery

Moses Siregar III

Kait Nolan

Zoe Winters

Camille LaGuire


Luna Lindsey

M.T. Murphy

Susan Bischoff

Stacey Wallace Benefiel

J.A. Marlow

Chris Kelly