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.  ;)