Category Archives: not ranting

The Best Things in Life

The next bit of that quote is “are free”. Which is where i’m about to head with my books. That’s right  – the ebooks will be free. Not yet, so don’t go buying one. I don’t get the money anyway. I put a stop on any payments while i got myself sorted out, and (as i explained in the last blog) there’s never been enough sales to warrant taking the stop off.

[EDIT So much has changed since i wrote this, that as of 28 May 2017 i’m doing a whole new blog post which will be pretty much contradicting everything below. So yeah, everything below this point is possibly no longer current. I’m not even sure i’ll try crowdfunding. The e-reader stuff is useful and current.]

So, the ebooks will be free. I’m tired of struggling with online US-based publishing, and with trying to explain  my tax situation to the US tax office at a distance of tens of thousands of miles. Every time i’ve figured out which form to send in, they change the rules! All for the sake of literally cents.

Most of all, i’m going nuts with my books not being read. Book 1 came out in 2011. It’s been SIX years.

So when i finish this edit (of three books into four) the quartet will go up on Smashwords. EDIT After some thought, the first 2 will go up – the other two will be available (with 1 & 2) as free ebook gifts for people who support the crowdfunding.

For all my frustration with e-publishing, I do like having my Smashwords books available in any format, not just for Kindle. You may not be aware, but Amazon’s MOBI format is exclusive to them. Most other e-readers use EPUB format.

Amazon (& other formats) also lock the book (via Digital Rights Management or DRM) so you can’t move the book you own from your ereader to your laptop. I’ve always been against that so Smashwords suits me. I  like people to be able to read my book when they want, on whatever platform they want. If you accidentally delete a book from Smashwords, you can just go back to the site and re-download it.

If you don’t have a Kindle or other e-reader, you can download various free e-readers for smartphones, tablets, desktops or laptops. Kindle’s one is good (and free) available here.

If you’d rather go with a non-Amazon reader (Kindle can’t read anything except Amazon MOBI format books, and it’s better on very small screens because of its display limitations), there are more. I have a desktop and have used the Kindle one, but i tried others, as i have to make sure my books look okay whatever format they’re in.

Here’s an article on TechRadar explaining the current top free e-readers and with links to get them. They also have a link to a converter for when your e-reader can’t deal with a downloaded file type. There are a lots of free books online. Many, admittedly, are free for a reason. But there are gems – Project Gutenberg, for free e-books now out of copyright, is fantastic. There is now an Australian Gutenberg, for books pre-1955 – scroll down that page for links to wonderful Australian publications.

However, for me, giving away the e-books is a taster (EDIT and a reward) for raising money via crowdfunding. Many e-reader users still love books and will buy a paper book, and those who won’t buy e-books will buy paper.

So many would-be readers have asked me over the years, when is the print version coming out? When i said so far it wasn’t, they explained they don’t like reading anything long off a screen. Two of my sisters haven’t read Book 1 (they even got it free!) for just that reason.

So that’s where i’m at. Doing a quick edit to check balance, arc, strange spelling mistakes that have crept in, then it’s a quick paper edit. (Well, as quick as paper can be. Because once you’ve red pencilled your way through all that paper, you then have to transfer the edits into the computer.)

During that time, i have to sort out the crowdfunding page. I haven’t decided which site to use, other than having learned from my mistakes, i will be using an Aussie-friendly one. I’ll also be figuring out my legal standing on crowdfunding as income, who it needs to be declared to and how soon, because i want to make sure i don’t do anything wrong as far as the Authorities are concerned. (EDIT making progress, but omigod it’s so complicated! Not the crowdfunding, but how i have to organise everything before i go live)

Not much work, lol. And Mr Whatsit will be in hospital soon, then out with a 6+ week recovery period, so it’s not like i have anything else to do, like caring for someone. Yep, in a matter of weeks i should be getting all this on the road. When i say weeks, I mean 12. And when i say 12, i probably mean 16. Or maybe more. Especially as i don’t know yet if i have to move house this year.

Yes, if you care about me at all, pray to your deity of choice (or Siamese Cat of choice) that i get a lease renewal, cos if i don’t, everything is going to be extremely stuffed. And when i say stuffed, i mean fkd.

Because Mr won’t be able to walk, i have my physical limits, and moving at short notice is never fun, even for the able-bodied. On the bright side, i still haven’t unpacked everything from last year’s aborted move, so most of the knick-knack’s and a lot of the crockery is still boxed up.

I thought i’d leave you with some recent witticism from Twitter, but instead figured this was probably what you need to hear…

 

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Asking for help

It’s not something you expect to have to do in modern Australia. After all, medicine is free for the poor, right?

Not right. Every cheap PBS script is between $5.30 and $6.30 depending on the chemist. Many drugs aren’t on the PBS cheap list. I’ve known people having to pay $70/month or more just for one drug.

Specialists usually charge much more than Medicare will pay, and we poor people have to find the entire fee, pay it, then get fraction back from Medicare, because specialist won’t usually let us pay just the bit Medicare won’t pay.

When it comes to nursing, it can get harder. A friend on twitter pays $24-28 every time they change the plate on his nephrostomy (allows urine to be drained direct from the kidney). It’s not covered by Medicare.

And i’m asking for assistance for him. Simple really. If you’re doing ok, and can afford to sling Shane something, please do. If you can’t help with money, maybe RT him on Twitter, or post this on your own blog/feed. Thanks.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


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