Category Archives: ebooks

Rumours of my demise are greatly exaggerated

Just discovered 2 unpublished posts from last year, put aside to edit later – what can i say, 2013 was a complete bitch of a year.

Among other financial disasters, the washing machine died then the “new” (read 16 yr old, but new to us) Tank blew an engine, so we went into debt to pay for a new one. The landlord decided fixing the house wasn’t worth their while and kicked us out because we kept asking them to fix the leaks. Nice thing to happen to two broke disabled people in the middle of a NSW winter.

On the bright side, i’m now in Queensland. Only took me from 2009 to now. Bit like my novels, my Invasion of Queensland was delayed. Some other sucker is renting our old mould-ridden House of Doom and Mr Whatsit and I are on the sunny Gold Coast.

I would like at this point to thank friends (ones i had no clue i had – S you are a star and a half) and family (Mum of course and oh Ruby) for loaning $ and subsidising the move – without your help we would not have made it. Or we might have, but probably hitch-hiking and without any of our worldly goods.

Even the Mother in Claw helped, and gave us a spare bedroom when we first moved. That she then tried to kill both of us via inhaled cigarette smoke, well, Mr is off the asthma inhaler since we got out of her place, so let’s just try to forget the horror.

Being warm without having to pay for it with a 15 degree temperature drop the next day is the best bit. It is 28 C (82F) today, 28 tomorrow, unlike NSW’s 24 C (75F) today, 45 (113F) tomorrow, 21 (69F) the next.

Anyhoo, so i’m here, not really queer, and back in the groove, after a few months where i was so sick (various reasons including stress, actual illness, and being crippled in the first place, as moving did my back in) so i didn’t even log onto Twitter much.

The poor Thing, my trilogy only part-published, is much-neglected, but i’m back working on it. Publication date? Oh, don’t mock me. Soon. Presuming soon can be “before the end of 2014″?

Meanwhile, I figured if i don’t post something, people might think i’m dead, and there are some i don’t want to give that satisfaction to.

So, much love to everyone, and if you want me, ping me on here or Twitter – i’ll be neck-deep in The Thing parts 2 and 3. I was very pleased to see that Part 1 The Birthday Dragon is still at number 5 on the Smashwords best rated Sci Fi listings (number 7 on the Fantasy list) – and at number 16 on the whole site, which is a freaking achievement.

You don’t need to even have read Sci Fi or Fantasy, some of the people who’ve most enjoyed the book had never read the genres before. There are Reviews and you can read 20% of the book for free. Then it’s only $2.99 to buy the rest.

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copyright 2014 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Bad timing

The last month has been busy, rewriting the beginning then doing an edit of Book 1 on the computer. I was going to rerelease Bk 1 in June with the new Books 2 and 3. I had a vague notion June was getting closer, but not that it was nearly May already.

Life’s been a bit busy, and working through that and illness/injury hasn’t been going so well, or at least not speedily.

With only about 40 days to what was going to be publication date there’s book 3 still wanting a proper edit. And a title. Though i do have two frontrunners for Book 3′s title, so better than before when nothing came to mind.

I was finishing book 3, then rewriting Bk 1 in part, and hadn’t realised Book 2 needed quite so much work or that the edits to Book 1 would take a month to complete. Once edits are done, the books need reprinting for a last edit to check for typos i did when i edited.

So I will use up all the time i have left, quite easily. Argh.

And that’s before the prep required for actual publication.

Yeah, so not June. I’ve decided to simply postpone release rather than estimate a date. I don’t know how long this will take.

This is me sliding back under my rock.
Hopefully i’ll see you before Christmas. Or Easter 2014.

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copyright 2013 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Insert Something Funny Here

Huh? What? Um. *looks on desk for something to stall the Beloved Reader with. Wonders about waving paper clips on the Shiny Thing Principle*

Wait! I know what i was going to do. After not being able to publish Book 2 in April, and deciding it might be best to publish it with Book 3, I did do the new (Fourth) edition, minus every damn typo i could root out.

But i forgot something – I was going to  discount Book 1 when i published the next 2. I didn’t publish, so never discounted.

And someone just said it’s AUGUST. Yeah, it’s called focus, and it’s something i learned to do in a large noisy family. The large noisy world can often be tuned out.

On the down side, sometimes i forget that other people or even that the world is there.

So, as my penance, because i’m a very bad renegade Catholic, I decided to discount the book now.

*drumroll*

Wait, you don’t have an e-reader? Free ones for Windows or for Mac are available. I have tried a few, and frankly the Kindle for PC does very well, so those links are to free Kindle software. Yep, you can test-run an e-reader on your computer – Adobe do one but their copyright protection is so intrusive it was a joke, so i won’t link to it.

It’s one of the reasons i publish with Smashwords. No DRM protection means it’s easy for the reader to replace the book if they accidentally wipe it, or want it on their work computer or phone too.

Ahem, without further ado.

Price discount from $4.99 down to $2.99. That’s a cut of… um… well, i wanted to do half, but to make sure the Apple iStores sell for the price i fix, it has to be $x.99.

I’m celebrating over a year of people reading my work, and so far no abusive messages.

Polo Shawcross is currently romping through Book 3, trousers down as usual. I just chopped 20,ooo words so you know it’s going well. I once killed Book 1 completely, and rewrote from another point of view. Which is how “The Birthday Dragon” came into being.

Thanks again to everyone who bought Book 1, the Birthday Dragon, and especially to those who did reviews. If you’d like to do one, if you’d like to see their witty reviews or read a free sample (20%, which is enough for the average commute as the book itself is over 120,000 words), it’s all on the same link.

Polo Shawcross wishes for a new life, but the Birthday Dragon brings a ghost who says he’s not one, a best friend who thinks he’s gay, and a very bad reputation. Polo’s crazy extended family keep trying to kill him, and he becomes an unwilling party to treason. Adventure with more than one twist, set in a vivid new world where Men might be Dragons.

Or as David Willanski put it in his Smashwords review…

If JRR Tolkien, Douglas Adams, Jane Austen and Phillip K Dick were to collaborate on a book, they might write something like this.

Someone asked me this week how many people have read the book. Quite honestly I’m not sure.

  • People who’ve downloaded the sample/the book: over 200. (But some people have had several downloads due to tokens running out and me giving new ones, so cut about 5 off.)
  • Freebies downloaded from competitions and various giveaways: about 40.
  • People who’ve said they’ve read it: about 20.
  • People out of those 20 who did reviews: 11
  • Anyone who hated it didn’t bother saying so.
  • Two people said they were feeling guilty cos they hadn’t read it. [Update: and a week later, another person told me they were too. I said it was probably going to work out well if they procrastinated until i finished Book 3, because it's always nicer to read a trilogy when you have the set.]
  • People who said they’ve re-read it: a surprising number of the 20 readers.

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So how do you choose an ebook? Well, you wouldn’t buy a paper book without looking at first page at least (unless you knew the writer very well). So never buy an ebook without doing the same. I’m quoting an edited version of a previous blog of mine here…

A word to the wise: never buy an ebook without reading a sample. You wouldn’t buy a paper novel without opening it up and looking at the first few pages.  If you like the sample, go ahead, but NEVER rely on reviews.

I’ve had a good look at my e-published competition on the web, and frankly a lot of it’s a joke. On you, if you buy it without reading some of it first.

People fake reviews (and reviewers).  The same writers are faking reviews all over the net – Goodreads act very promptly if you can prove the reviews are fake, but nobody bothers banning the writer from their sites…..

Of course, people get suckered by this, and you’ll see occasional reviews by those who’ve made the mistake of not reading samples, saying the other reviewers are lying, but it’s up to you to spot that one.

You see, the moment the ‘author’ sees a negative (real) review, they’ll add a bunch of fake reviews, 5 star ones, to bump that nasty review down – or just republish their book as a slightly different name. I’ve seen the same book under three different names. [Editor's note: up to 5 at last count]

However, it’s easy not to get suckered – read the sample, and only buy if if grabs you.

If there’s no sample, shut the page. Either the writer is a newbie who will learn to let people open their bo0k, or they’re trying to rip you off.

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Meanwhile, I’ll be working on the next two. Book 2 is finished, Book 3 is underway, and i’m planning release in the next six to eight months, say early 2013. If i can do it sooner, i will.

Oh – and though i said reviews mean nothing? I’m really proud to be top of the Highest Rated Epic Scifi Charts (at least i was as of 17 August, 2012, it may have moved since then).

copyright 2012 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Competition time oh yes

I should probably write something here.

SOMETHING.

There, now go away, i’m busy. No really, BUSY. Wait, what do you mean, nearly February?

*sounds of screaming*

So, to recoup. I am writing Book 2 of The Polo Shawcross Journals. Book 1 – The Birthday Dragon – is selling the odd copy. (Not very often, i’ve been too busy to punt it about the place, seeing i’m trying to get the next one done. Yes, you see the trap i fell into?)

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A word to the wise: never buy an ebook without reading a sample. You wouldn’t buy a novel without opening it up and looking at the first few pages.  If you like the sample, go ahead, but NEVER rely on reviews. I’ve had a good look at my e-published competition on the web, and frankly a lot of it’s a joke. On you, if you buy it without reading some of it first.

People fake reviews (and reviewers).  The same writers are faking reviews all over the net – Goodreads act very promptly if you can prove the reviews are fake, but nobody bothers banning the writer from their sites.

Smashwords  sometimes take action if you complain at least twice. They did remove one guy’s over 200 fake reviews and his 20 fake reviewers, but he just came back with more fake reviewers and reissued his old books as new ones, so Smashwords gave up.

I did too, because jeez, there’s a man with time on his hands. Me, i’m not getting paid to find these tossers, and if you buy his book from Smashwords or Amazon (yes, there too, plus his own author web page) on the strength of all those fake reviews, they get a cut, so why should they worry?

Of course, people get suckered by this, and you’ll see occasional reviews by those who’ve made the mistake of not reading samples, saying the other reviewers are lying, but it’s up to you to spot that one.

You see, the moment the ‘author’ sees a negative (real) review, they’ll add a bunch of fake reviews, 5 star ones, to bump that nasty review down – or just republish their book as a slightly different name. I’ve seen the same book under three different names.

However, it’s easy not to get suckered – read the sample, and only buy if if grabs you.

If there’s no sample, shut the page. Either the writer is a newbie who will learn to let people open their bo0k, or they’re trying to rip you off.

****

My book has a sample – and there’s a competition! [edit: competition over, see below]

So if you like the sample, you can enter to win it free.

To WIN
Just leave a comment here, @ me on Twitter, or Direct Message me on Twitter – say you’d like to win a copy.

Competition closes in about 18 hours – midnight Monday night Eastern Australian Time – that’s 7:00 am Monday morning (approximately) in the mid-US or 1pm in UK.

Winners will be notified by DM or Email, and i will also announce their names on Twitter.

WINNERS OF ECOPY OF THE BIRTHDAY DRAGON

@jolantru @FaineBlackadder @cravenheart @Nyx2701

copyright 2012 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Forty Days and Forty Nights….

Well, i cracked the Self-Imposed Social Media Exile after 40 days in the Desert and started dropping into Twitter. I missed Twitter. Facebook i missed so little it’s brought me to a decision.

Naturally, it was something i already knew but had buried under deluded ideas of book promotion.

I hate Facebook. There, it’s said. Hate. Hate. Hate. Well, dislike intensely, at the least. Anyone i like on Facebook, i already like on Twitter and their blogs. If we need more contact we have email and can talk on the phone.

My Facebook Account as Polo Shawcross (my writing alias) is Deactivated and this is now a Facebook-free zone. I’m going back to Twitter - where a person can be free.

Of course there's such a place as West Arsecrack - Google Earth doesn't know everything.

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In other news, i was stuck on Book 2 #TheThing and couldn’t get past the first two chapters – then about 6am i woke up, and thought “That’s it!” Suddenly figured out there is a character missing from the first two chapters, (one who can easily be picked up) and now i can get on with writing.

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Obligatory Bit Where I Try to Turn You On to E-Books
Mine In Particular

As one reader put it – “If JRR Tolkien, Douglas Adams, Jane Austen and Phillip K Dick were to collaborate on a book, they might write something like this.” It’s also been compared to Terry Pratchett, Connie Willis, and “like Carry On Blackadder meets The Graduate – with added stimulants.” So obviously i drugged everyone because they thought it was very funny too. If it would get me reviews, i would totally do it.

Polo Shawcross wishes for a new life, but the Birthday Dragon brings a ghost who says he’s not one, a best friend who thinks he’s gay, and a very bad reputation. Polo’s crazy extended family keep trying to kill him, and he becomes an unwilling party to treason. Adventure with more than one twist, set in a vivid new world where Men might be Dragons.

Book One of the Polo Shawcross Journals – “The Birthday Dragon” is currently Top 10 on the Smashwords Highest Rated Sci Fi & Fantasy charts and available in various formats including those to suit the Kindle or any other e-reader. You can read 20% free to see if you like it before you buy, and read the reviews in full. It’s not on Amazon, but it is on Smashwords, the Apple iBookstore (for iPads and other Apple devices), Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and the Diesel eBook Store.

If you don’t have an e-reader but have a computer, there’s a free Amazon download that gives you the look and feel of an e-reader on a computer screen. (PC version is here and there’s a Mac version over here. PC version is very good, don’t know about the Mac one.)

copyright 2011 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com/


Some light reading…

Short Excerpt from

The Birthday Dragon

Book One of the Polo Shawcross Journals

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Smashwords Edition

ISBN 978-1-4580-8526-9

Copyright Polo Shawcross 2011-12

Cover Design and Artwork By Derek Armsden Design

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Chapter 1 – Somewhere, Somewhen

It was a while before I realised that I wasn’t like the commoners. They were human. Father was human. Grandmama, Mother, and I were only descended from humans. I was also descended from Mother, something that even before I went to school was a worry. Continue reading


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