Category Archives: not ranting

Few words

Well, Donald Trump is about to be president of the USA – yeah, we might as well all go home, eh? I am trying to find the bright side – the Trans Pacific Partnership will now not be ratified by the US, which pretty much harpoons the TPP and Australia’s politicians’ lily-livered signing away of our nation to rich non-taxpaying corps.

Thankfully we should be spared most of the negative effects of politicians giving international corporations the power to sue local governments if they dare interfere with profit (by having laws against pollution, say), and the TPP’s power to give longer patents to drug companies so drugs would stay high priced longer.

However that’s about all i can think of when it comes to positive aspects to Trump winning the electoral college raffle and a bunch of gerrymandered electorates across America. It’s depressing that a racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic misogynist is now in charge, especially if you’re not an orange puffball who talks like he’s in the middle of an eighties coke inferno at a KKK rally.

So instead, go see First Dog on The Moon – he’s reliably funny and there is always the possibility of the Interpretative Dance Bandicoots, or the Wallaby Laser Death Festival. He even predicted, by accident (it was a joke!) Trump winning.

I feel better after some First Dog – i hope you do too.

copyright 2016 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Stasis or Redirection…

Well, i’ve mentioned before plans are ill-advised, which considering my spreadsheet addiction is kinda funny.  Still, spreadsheets have that snazzy built-in elasticity provided by formulae, which is handy, because yet again, my plans have changed. Continue reading


Phew… wait, omigod, noooo!

I just finished what should have been the final edit. Yeah, you detected the ‘should’ bit. It’s so long since i even looked at most of the trilogy i have no idea if it’s even slightly ready for publication. However, with it having been now nearly 5 years since i published the first book, i’m way over time.

What I’d really like to do is print out and run through it red-pencil. Well, if we’re talking about ‘likes’ i’d like to pay someone else to edit it but that’s not going to happen. I am my own editor and luckily, unlike most, it’s something i have done professionally and was trained to do. One’s own work can be tricky, but leave enough time between writing and savagely cutting the dribble editing, and it’s possible to get enough distance.

So, i’ve reached a compromise. I’ll read through each book, with the view simply to reduce length, (and i read over a thousand words a minute, so it won’t take as long as that sounds). Then i’ll publish. It will give me time to sort out my tax status with Smashwords and the Australian government, and to figure out wtf i’m going to do about marketing.

I’m thinking perhaps I should try semaphore, as waving flags would at least give me exercise, or perhaps morse code with a torch – which has the advantage that it could be done after hours and from a great distance in case someone takes offence.

There’s the problem with marketing, i don’t really want me to be part of it. I don’t want to write under my real name and especially, I don’t want to be a celebrity. For me, the books are what’s important. I’m not in the books, at least not completely, so why I need to get my tits out for the cause, figuratively speaking, i don’t know.

A voracious reader, I can consume an average novel in a day, and don’t care who the author is fucking. Celebritydom is inclined to put me off a person’s work, not bring me to pick the book up and read. So marketing will be much the same as before – i’ll blog, tweet, beg, give away copies in competitions. If i’m ever invited, i’ll happily meet people at a convention but until i get to publishing paper copies, i don’t think that’s something to even consider.

At least this time, i’ll know not to mark it “adult” – which made Book 1 completely invisible to everyone except porn-hunters for the first 10 weeks after publication.

Which reminds me, part of my exile from Twitter involved reading a lot. If you haven’t read these people already, do. I haven’t named genres, simply because i think good books cross genres, and can be read by anyone, all you have to do is like a good read. Or if you love good writing. I can actually just read these people, i don’t have the omnipresent Editor Inside saying, “oh dear, look at all the typos!” and distracting me from the plot.

  • Daniel Polansky. Fabulous. Simply fabulous. Buy his books, then lose yourself in the worlds he creates. I’ve read his Low Town series, and have two from the Empty Throne series ready to read – i am looking forward to them so much.  http://www.danielpolansky.com/
  • John Sandford. Funny, intriguing, smart. And sexy. Not bad for books usually set in Minnesota. (A much under-rated state, i loved it when i visited, in case any Minnesotans are reading this.) Sandford’s Prey series are uniformly very good, his characters Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers are likeable multifaceted guys who feel like old friends, and showing he’s not a one-trick pony, his co-authorship (with Ctein) Saturn Run is brilliant. http://www.johnsandford.org/
  • J.D. Robb. (also writes as Norah Roberts) Her Of Death series is a fascinating dip into the not-so-distant future, with interesting characters, deft humour and sizzling sex. Oh, and bad guys and girls of all kinds. I didn’t enjoy her Norah Roberts books, (too much romance for me, it’s one genre i’m not happy to wallow in), but you might. http://www.jdrobb.com/
  • James Lee Burke. He’s always good, but i’m besotted with his Dave Robicheaux series.  Flawed heroes as intensely painted as the sometimes skin-crawling villains, in a vision of America’s Deep South so vivid and beautiful you can see the bayou and smell the barbecuing shrimp, with the leavening of inequality and corruption a bitter aftertaste on the back of your tongue. http://jamesleeburke.com/
  • Jeffrey Deaver. The best til last? This is stellar company, but Mr Deaver can stand tall here. A master storyteller, he can scare you, move you, and always, make you turn the page. http://www.jefferydeaver.com/

I don’t care what these people are doing in their lives, their work is what attracts me. I’m hopeful my work will stand alone too. However, i’d love the kind of PR machine they get from having a paper publication deal, don’t get me wrong. (I’m not nuts!)

copyright 2016 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 


It’s a Brand New Day

The next line of that song is something like ‘packing my bags and getting away’ – which i’m actually not, not yet. Moving has been derailed, or perhaps deranged.

I have some health issues which need addressing before i can move, and fortunately am able to take a little time. Life’s actually just getting to the sweet stage again, which it hasn’t been for a while – yes, that is my depression you can see lifting! As Blue Mink put it later in the same song, “a bee bow bow buppa bow bow bow“. Which to me, just means a warbling noise to signify unexpected happiness. Continue reading


Something Freaky Going On

At last, Smashwords has removed the people faking reviews. I wrote about that before. So i’m pleased the charts now reflect a bit of reality – and flabbergasted that after releasing the book back in 2011 i’m still top 10 on the Highest Rated charts. (Which means I have more 5/5 star reviews than most people.)

Yeah, The Birthday Dragon is Number 2 on the Highest Rated Sci Fi and Number 3 on the Fantasy chart. Woo. In fact, it’s Number 6 on the Smashwords Highest Rated Books! That’s right, not just in my genre, but sitewide, fiction or non-fiction. Bit weird, seeing it’s been out since 2011. (That’s highest rated books under $2.99 and over 100k.)

Statistics, you see, can be twisted, for fun and hopefully attention. If i take off the “under $2.99 and over 100k” filters it drops down a bit, but still top 10 in Sci Fi and Fantasy which is pretty cool – 6 on the Highest Rated Sci Fi and 9 on the Highest Rated Fantasy chart. *looks happy* On the sitewide ratings… it’s on page 4… which i think is Number 30-something. Still, not bad for a book that’s been out for 3 years.

Of course, more sales would be welcome, *looks poor* then i can be on the Best Sellers list too. At the moment, no matter how many filters i put on the results, i can’t even get on the first 9 pages.

Meanwhile, work on Books 2 and 3 was going well, then i realised i have to move (again) in the next month, so everything’s on hold. However i did get a new version of Book 1 and the new cover done along with covers for the other 2, and am just doing last edits on those. But with moving house in the next few weeks, i can’t hazard a guess on when i’ll be able to finish.

I’ve just released the new (updated and edited) version of The Birthday Dragon with the new cover – if you have the old one, you can download it free, if you’d like to read it, it’s only $2.99. As always, the story hasn’t changed and there is 20% free to read to see if you like it.

Here’s the current cover for Book 2, which is going to be out as soon as i can manage it. I did it myself (from a photo i messed with a lot), and i’m quite pleased with the result.

Image

 See, i really am nearly ready to publish Books 2 and 3. And The Thing will at last be complete. At least until i start another trilogy.

copyright 2014 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


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.

****

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.

****

copyright 2013 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Writing Myself To Death

I finished Book 3, about a week late, first week of March. No, it still doesn’t have a name. Book 1 was The Birthday Dragon, Book 2 is Dragonskin. So something dragony. It’s so recently written I can’t remember what happens, so no worries about spoilers.

Book 2? Well, other than he survives the army, which you might have figured, seeing there’s a Book 3, he’s growing up. This often means doing stupid things. In Polo’s case this usually involves sex. He had unprotected sex, and this caused him all kinds of problems. One of them’s a queen married to someone else.

At the end of Book 3, as I was checking my list of plot bits that need resolution, I realised I’d left one of the problems, a pregnant one, not the queen, outside a party. So Book 3 is finished, aside from going back and filling in holes in the plot.

I’m getting on with editing those plot holes into sanity. Or perhaps my own version of it. Then I’ll edit Books 1-3 and hope they make sense. Shove in more jokes. Take out the waffle. The story in Book 1 will be the same, but i think i’ll revert to an earlier version i liked more.

I’ve found out my readers aren’t as fragile as i thought they were. Apparently frank sexual discussion and being attacked by dragons are both cool.

I’ll publish all three books (Book 1 will a new edition, of course, which anyone who’s already bought it on Smashwords will be able to download for free) at the same time. Once I’ve done some covers. But I have a graphics pen again, so it’s just a matter of time. And Photoshop. The geeks are getting thinned out in the corral, i’ve had to sacrifice so many of them to the various internet gods to get to this stage.

Estimated Time of Publication. June. Yes, 2013. It will be two years since I published The Birthday Dragon. It’s still (at 22 Mar 2013) Number 1 in the Epic Sci Fi Charts.

Until June, shush, please. Or maybe later, because now i think of it, June is only 10 weeks away so seriously, it seems unlikely. The Delta Reader’s only just got going. I don’t want to make promises as to when but am ranting on Twitter most days so you can always just ask.

At the least you will provide me with useful impetus to get off Twitter and back to editing. Yes, in this case, “useful impetus” means “you will shame me into going back to work”.

Someone remind me, never ever promise to do a trilogy, ever again. Ta. And remind me too, that whenever i say never i’m always made into a liar, so i really should know better.

(I will do single volumes from this world/universe
which will continue various stories or start new ones.)

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.

****

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.

****

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


Sorry, Forgot You Were There…

I did mutter something on Twitter about delaying publication, but it’s not really enough. So, here’s the thing. Due to circumstances beyond my control, Book 2 was delayed. I was ready to publish, edits done.

The time while i waited gave me thinking space.

****

Book 2 is now not going to be released until i finish Book 3. Book 2 is complete, the Beta Readers loved it. No doubt I’ll do another edit, but due to those circumstances i couldn’t control, I was going to have to delay the release.

Book 2 took longer than I thought, about nine months, and I had a lot written to start with. It’s really good though, I’m glad I took the time. I hadn’t announced a publication date, wary of possibly having to change it, but was planning to release the book mid-April, and people did know I was close to publication, so figure I need to let them know I’m now finishing the trilogy first.

I’m learning from experience, at least in places. Book 1 suffered from a lack of promotion. The sales figures speak for themselves. It has only sold when I had time to promote it, despite being in the 10 top-rated books on Smashwords for nearly 12 months, and with a free sample (20% of the book) for anyone to look at.

I didn’t have time for promotions, being busy writing Book 2. Something for those self-publishing to remember, you really are doing everything yourself. I’ve decided I need time to promote the trilogy properly. I had already said to a number of people that I was glad that I self-published, but that it would have been easier if I’d resisted the pressure to put Book 1 out, and instead got the trilogy done first.

In my defence, I was planning a paper edition only a month before publication, which would have been easier, as being epublished (with no paper version) meant being in the forefront of a new publishing paradigm. Because i’d been planning for paper publication, being shafted that time (the person who was going to invest in me was just messing with my head for fun) meant when it all blew up, i was actually adrift without a plan at all.

For a while there I wasn’t sure epublishing would catch on, but fortunately for me, the Kindle and other ereaders have become commonplace. In the meantime, I’ll be re-releasing Book 1 – The Birthday Dragon – after a last run-through to remove stubborn typo’s. It will be Edition 4. Am sure I’ll get it right eventually.

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. Nanny Black says he’s like the goddess of death with testicles. Despite this, he’s considered a fine companion for the heir to the throne.

Nobody has noticed that the Crown Prince is in love with Polo or that the half-brother with the eating disorder is trying to kill him, and Mother’s still in denial over Father’s alcoholism. Polo doesn’t know where he fits in, but discovers that shapechanging is harder than it looks.

Adventure with more than one twist, set in a vivid new world where Men might be Dragons.

The story hasn’t changed, the editing is just a little more coherent, and there are fewer typos. The sheep are still suicidal and Polo Shawcross still has the kind of appeal he’s quite happy to take full advantage of. He still ends up escaping the farm, getting tangled in the machinations around the throne, and learning about the sexual possibilities of vegetables from the wife of the Kavar ambassador.

Thanks to all the people who encouraged and assisted me in getting The Thing this far. It’s called The Thing because it’s part of this Thing. It’s huge, I’ve been writing in this universe for over a decade, learning about it.

Always, at the birth of the Dragon Kingdom, there was a hero.  I couldn’t help wondering, what was he really like? The man from the songs and the legends, the man who united Theus. And so, I sat down with Polo Shawcross and his journals, and began to take notes.

****

My sincere apologies to those lovely people waiting. I have no new publication date other than I’m hoping to get it done this year. I’m not starting from scratch with Book 3, but I may not make it inside 2012.

Thanks for your patience.

copyright 2012 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com