Category Archives: Uncategorized

All the leaves are green

Oops. So this year so far that’s three blog posts. Well, three counting this one. Yes, as usual, there have been distractions. Nazis? Well, of course, they’ve all slid out from under their rocks, now Trump has made them out to be nice guys, mostly, with the fact that they are in favour of killing Jews, Muslims, women who have abortions, women who vote, People of any Colour, and anyone who says “whoa!” not enough to stop him promoting them from the Oval Office.

Then there were the distractions that distracted me from the distractions and then…. yes, more distractions. I ended up banning myself from Twitter most of the time. Thanks to LeechBlock (simple and free, stops you wasting time on sites like Facebook or Twitter except in allowed times/days) i only visit about 1-2 times a day, no more than 30 minutes in any 6 hour block. It’s freeing, I enjoy my time more, and i no longer ‘come to’ four hours after i logged onto Twitter ‘just to say hello’. Most of the time, i only pop in every few days.

So here we are. Nearly October. Which is Spring in the Southern hemisphere, for the climatically-challenged among you.

Another year in Queensland. I know, i wanted to come back here, anything to get away from New South Wales and 9 months a year of crucifying humidity.

Turns out Queensland and 6 months a year of crucifying humidity with a much higher average temperature is about as hard to deal with. When i first lived here nearly 20 years ago, i had a pool.

Now i have an un-insulated house in an area so prone to mosquitoes, sandflies and midgies, i can’t go outside without spraying myself every few hours with insecticide. Especially hard to deal with are overnight highs of 25-30 (80’s to 90’s F) with 100% humidity – not just once, but for months on end.

I’m thinking of the South Pole next. Penguins, no mosquitoes, and less humidity? I’m in.

****

Meanwhile, my books are selling. Not a lot, but just. I phone Centrelink, report my monthly income, they laugh, so at least someone’s getting a kick out of my sales.

I’m working on other books – mostly stuff i’ve already written that i’m taking the bones from, rewriting and once-filleted, hopefully ready for publication. I’m also working on a follow up to the first set of four (first 2 are free, here) because i’m fond of Polo and want to see what happens to him now. Guilt, i’m guessing.

I’ve also dug out all my writing from the early 80’s on, filed it and scanned a lot of it, and finally have all my poetry (most of it) on the computer. Yes, that’s how long i’ve been writing, i have lots of stuff that was TYPEWRITTEN!

Some was even *drumroll* hand-written. In script. Which these days, would be as safe as a spy’s code, because nobody under 50 can read it. Of course, nobody under fifty (and a fair number of those over it) can write script any more, so my communication options would be limited.

The depression i’ve been struggling with this year/last year/most of my life is still biting, but i’m fighting. The main trick with depression? Remember, it lies. You’re not really hopeless, useless, or better off dead. Even if your family don’t understand you, that’s not a reason for suicide. If it was, the entire world would be looking for a cliff to jump off.

Anthony Bourdain’s ungraceful exit saddened me. If someone like him, with all that money, can’t be happy, what hope do i have? And i was reminded. Happiness is. It is not external. It is not money. It’s inside, and achievable simply by relaxing and focusing our gaze inwards. Sometimes, sure, we don’t like what we see, but that’s normal.

We can change. That’s what humans do well. Change, mutate, adapt. It’s how we got here.

I for one, intend to keep going. Hope you do too. The calm centre is right there. Right now. I know it. Just because today i am filled with bitterness and tears, it doesn’t make it disappear, or be a fraud. Depression is the fraud. It twists life, even the most beautiful, into an unrecognisable vale of tears.

So, love to you if you need it. Love to me too.

copyright 2018 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 

 

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Not Waving But Frowning

Nearly end of January? Gawd. Ok, so finally have all the Quartet up and published, despite starting the process back in November – yeah, right on Thanksgiving, which meant they didn’t appear on the site for a week. The first two are free, so if you’re bored already, go enjoy some escapism.

I also have my Patreon page sorted for the moment. I told Mr Whatsit to unPatronise me, because for a while there i was ready to give up everything, disappear back into my garret, and screw trying to maintain several sites/pages/accounts AND somehow create. It was all too tiring. And i was sliding into depression with the constant demands of self-publicising stopping me from doing what i need to do, write the next book.

Maintaining my net presence is still too tiring, to be honest (I have Chronic Fatigue, so i’m not exaggerating – it’s actually exhausting). I’m better on Twitter. On Twitter, you can collapse and nobody notices, quite handy.

Then i discovered some new reviews of the just-released books (2,3, and 4) and read one (yeah, i know, never read reviews) that complained the series was ended. And only gave it 4 stars – though there was no reason given other than they were sad over it being over. They should have looked me up online, because i’ve tried to make it clear i’m working on the next book, which is like a prequel to Polo’s story.

Another review was very critical of my grammar (it’s not me, it’s Polo!) and gave examples, then said they weren’t actually examples from the text. Tricky to fix. He did suggest Word’s Grammar checker. Um. Yeah, i did use that, lol. Here’s a thought, write to me, help me fix errors and I’ll happily gift you a copy of the next book.

However, while we’re being honest, i can’t do this on my own. I need both affirmation and assistance. Humans are part of that. I’m not completely human. I was raised by Siamese cats, so don’t fit in well.

Fitting in, and being human, that’s something i explore in the books. People do seem to be liking them. Book 1 is the top rated free sci fi or fantasy book on Smashwords, out of thousands (it was top rated in its price range since it was published in 2011).

It’s only been free since the other 3 books made it to ‘published’ on Smashwords, which was only early December, and it’s moving up the ‘Most Downloads’ Chart too. (35, up three points, on the Most Downloaded General Epic Free Scifi.)

I’m trying not to despair. Can you tell?

copyright 2018 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Excellence

I haz it. As i look down from the smuggery after finally finishing and publishing the Dragon Quartet…. oh – heh – oops.

Forgot to tell you.

Nah, marketing STILL isn’t my strongest suit. Plus i joined Patreon, and immediately (literally in the last hour before i was going to launch) they changed the pricing structure.

So $1 wasn’t a good bottom tier for patrons. Cost too much cos fees. Yep, so i’m like, okay, change pricing, move all tiers up, change rewards, done, and lowest price Rewards? $2. In Australia it ended up over $3 so i figured that was a reasonable monthly sub.

So i launched, got a patron. Yes, it’s Mr Whatsit, but you can’t say i don’t listen to fans. I have to. He might be permanently plugged into Netflix at the moment, but he has to run out of Red Vs Blue episodes eventually and then he’s going to start making demands. I’ve already had to get him to cancel his first subscription.

Yeah, Patreon changed the fee system back. So now i have no idea what cut i get of monthly subs, and i had to change all my Reward levels around again. Then Mr had to resubscribe at $1. If they change it again, i reckon maybe a PayPal link would be less traumatic.

So, about my Patreon. Not as good as it sounds – or perhaps it is. It means i’m asking you to crowdfund me. Instead of a once-off, it’s monthly. Whoa. Before you rush off, let me wheedle you a little.

So, i write books. You read books. If you don’t i probably don’t have something you’re going to be into – on the other hand, maybe you should start? It’s easy.

The first two books are free – yes, the second pair are $2.99 each. However. Of course there’s a however.

However – if you join my patrons on my Patreon there’s a Reward. You get the two books that aren’t free, free. Well, for you promising $1 a month.

Promise more than $1, you get other Rewards, starting with asking me questions (i was thinking this would be ‘about writing’ questions, but now i’m worried. I did put in a clause about me having right of refusal). There are acknowledgements in future books, appearing in my books, and poetry. Yes, darn fine poetry. Though i do not guarantee rhyme.

If you already like my writing and are thinking sure, i can spare a buck, before you change your mind here’s the link to me on Patreon. If you’d rather type it in, it’s https://patreon.com/lee_abrey

So, not into being patronising? C’mon, you know you want to. You need enticing. Well, perhaps calming down? The poetry is higher level stuff, you’re not going to get it for a buck. You’re quite safe.

What’s it all about? I want people who enjoy my work to get more involved. You see, i have a problem.

I’m trying to remember to blog here, to go on Twitter, rant a little, create when i have a spare minute. (Currently involves looking through old work to see which version warrants re-writing, edit that writing, and give Jules her head. She’s fun. If you like Polo, i think you’ll like Jules.)

Important task – I have to self-publish the paper books, because to all the people who said ‘i’d buy it if it was paper, i prefer paper books” – then i can say good, here’s the link. (i don’t have a link yet, but if you sponsored me, i COULD HAVE.)

Any spare money goes first there. Which leaves me with a problem. I can’t afford advertising. And printing the books is going to take about $1,000 to set up. Yeah – it’s not good.

Without your help, i can’t make the first steps to get my work out to more readers. It’s that simple. I’m trying to get funding to first do some advertising, second get the books ready for print instead of just ebooks. Meanwhile, i’m working on the next book, because i know you’re fickle. More words required.

Plus, as you know (if you’ve read back a bit) i’m disabled. So i simply don’t have the strength to work at anything approaching full speed any more. I need to cut the time it takes both to get income faster to pay for advertising and format options that should get the books really selling, along with raising awareness of my work to raise sales.

So think about it. You could help me break free with just $1 a month.

PatreonHeader2_2 smlr

Something to read, in the meantime? Yes, two full length books. Free.

No catch. It’s because it took so long, i ended up with 4 books. Book 2 starts with what was the end of Book 1 (which is still over 100k). Wouldn’t be fair to charge people for something they’d recognise as already having paid for. If they read The Birthday Dragon before, it was $5.99 – a fair price back in 2011. Ebook prices have dropped, especially unknown writers. Yeah, I’m unknown – i used to be notorious, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

So, the Dragon Quartet Series page is here

links to the free books:

If you’d rather start with Book 1….

Free Download of Polo Shawcross: The Birthday Dragon
Polo Shawcross wishes for a new life. The Birthday Dragon brings a ghost who says he’s not one, a best friend who thinks he’s gay, relations who want him dead, and a very bad reputation. Twisted adventure in a vivid new world where genesplicing accidentally creates real magic and Men (or Women) might be Dragon.

Free Download of Polo Shawcross: Dragon Soldier
Polo is still getting into trouble, still in danger from his crazy family trying to kill him, or worse, be his parents again. The Crown Prince is still in love with him, and Polo’s reputation is shocking. There’s even a book out about his sexual adventures. One thing he knows, the army’s not for him. So becoming a soldier is a shock. Surviving the Army of the North won’t be easy, especially when he ends up in the stockade before basic training.

Links to the newest books ($2.99 each or free if you join my Patreon)
You can also read 20% of the books below for free, to see if you want more:

Polo Shawcross: Dragon Skin
Polo Shawcross comes back from war both notorious and a hero, ready for bad women, good food, and a lot of sleep. His enemies have other plans, as do his friends. Soon he’s fighting for his life and for parts of his body someone wants as a souvenir.
Can Polo learn to shape-change in time?

Polo Shawcross: Dragon Outlaw
The notorious Polo Shawcross is desperate for a quiet life, but his family are still out to kill him. Back at Court in Sendren, Polo isn’t the man you want to leave alone with the queen, but the king still loves him. On the bright side, he’s out of the army. Polo’s sure he won’t fight again, but the war’s coming to Sendren. Is changing shape enough?
Can Polo survive?

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Ending the Beginning…

At last, i’m putting the quartet up on Smashwords. Can’t quite believe it. The covers are done, edits are done, i’m just doing blurbs and making sure they upload okay.

They came out pretty….

The Birthday Dragon‘s been out for years, that’s going to be free, once the new version is okayed. As the first quarter of Dragon Soldier used to be in the previous book, it’s free too.

Books 3 and 4 are not free. Like Books 1 and 2 they’re over 100,000 words. I’m thinking $2.99 each.

I’ve been putting final touches on my Smashwords pages, adding a interview. I came to do this blog and realised “i’ve forgotten everything i ever learned about HTML” which was a nice match for when i started doing the covers and realised i’d forgotten everything i ever knew about Photoshop.

So i uploaded the new version of Polo Shawcross: The Birthday Dragon and waited for it to be okayed. Found a mistake in the stuff beyond the ending. Re-uploaded. Found something else, re-re-uploaded. And thankful it was finally okay, so i started work on the blurbs for the other books.

Every time i checked back, the book wasn’t okayed yet. Smashwords never takes long, so i began to wonder if i’d jammed something up, re-re-uploading. It was never a problem before. And i waited.

While i waited, I started a Patreon page. This is a rather nice notion that artists find patrons who sling them a few dollars a month, every month, and the artist (that’s me) in exchange gives them access to unpublished stuff or first drafts, perhaps completely never-to-be-published stories.

Anything that helps my income is worth a go. (It’s not quite up yet, i’m still getting it sorted out.)

I checked Smashwords. Something occurred to me. It was Thanksgiving in the USA when i did the first upload. Bugger. By the end of the week it was Black Friday. I’d literally picked one of the worst weeks in the US year to upload the books.

Double bugger. And then i realised. Now i’ve begun my Patreon page, i’ll have to change the books again to include the Patreon link.

I do believe the word i’m looking for is “AAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH”.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 


In Defence of the Indefensible

I’ve done nothing on transcribing the edits for the last two weeks. Mr Whatsit went into hospital then (thankfully) came out again, but is on crutches, so i’ve been busy carrying everything for him. Coffee, pills, and icepacks being the main requirements. (Two big bags of supermarket own-brand frozen peas wrapped in a towel – recommended by the physio – working very well so far.)

Thanks to the pills Mr Whatsit’s been in a bad way, not quite hallucinating but only ‘not quite’, so sleep here at Casa Cripple’s been in short supply.

Before he went into hospital i was managing to keep up the edits despite the chaos involved when they changed his painkilling meds three times in as many weeks, resulting in over- and under-doses so severe it nearly killed him, and in 3 visits by paramedics and 2 trips to hospital for the day.

Since, a combo of exhaustion on my part and the need to sleep with one eye open in case he comes to grief staggering about the house in the middle of the night, has meant i’m not fit for much.

Though i’ve managed to go in and shout on Twitter enough to lose some steam, then i’ve pretty much zombied out in front of the tv, thankful i don’t have to watch terrestrial (free-to-air) tv because if that was all i had, i would have been staring at the walls.

I’ve had a few people (on Twitter) lately say they’re giving up Murdoch television by dumping their pay-tv or shouting that everyone should stop their pay TV because it’s funding the Antichrist.

Now, i get that. But. They don’t realise that Endemol Shine (to name just one) is a Murdoch company. There’re variations on the name – Endemol Shine North America, Endemol, Endemol Shine Australia, and so on.

The name may not mean much to you, but if you list their programs you soon realise, to avoid Murdoch, you need to stop watching TV. Free TV’s biggest shows are all theirs.

Shows like Home and Away, Big Brother, The Biggest Loser, Deal or No Deal, The Face, One Born Every Minute, The Office, Ugly Betty, and The Tudors. Like The Fall, Peaky Blinders, Hell on Wheels, Benidorm, Ripper Street, Black Mirror, Bad Education, My Mad Fat Diary, Hot in Cleveland, Kirstie, Leverage, Death Comes to Pemberley and The Crimson Field. Yes, there’s unmitigated crap there, but many of the dramas/comedies are ones i watched and thought were excellent.

Perhaps you watched the Masterchef, Gladiator, Wifeswap or Dancing with the Stars franchises, ‘Australian’ shows like Masterchef Australia, The Voice Australia, The Biggest Loser Australia, and yes, even that much-loved Australian hit, Kath and Kim – all Murdoch at the core. Even Little Britain USA! Some of the shows were originally not Murdoch – but then their company or parent company was sold, and they were.

In fact, without Murdoch-owned companies’ productions, we wouldn’t have much to watch on television at all. There’s a lot of good drama, along with the crappy (and sometimes fun) ‘game’ and ‘reality’ shows.

Now don’t get me wrong. I detest Rupert Murdoch with a passion. I don’t like that just by watching television i’m contributing to his global dominance of the media. However, maybe you can live without television. I don’t want to. I did for a few years about a decade ago, when i moved into a house with no outside tv aerial, with reception so bad i couldn’t get any channels well, and most not at all. I’d never had pay tv and didn’t even consider it. At first.

I got by with lots of library books, and online interests. Then after the landlord again refused to even half-pay for an aerial, I decided to treat myself to television with pay-tv. Being able to watch drama series in order was a revelation after years of terrestrial television stations showing them out of sequence or even taking them off for a month while they run some stupid sports event. And so few ads! Though this has got less wonderful – the ads are more and thicker, but still don’t come NEAR to ‘free’ Tv’s saturation.

Murdoch’s a prick, yep, no argument. But have you seen the twats running terrestrial tv? Pretty soon, Murdoch will own his own terrestrial Australian station. Thanks to the current government, who changed the law to help him out. Am looking forward to seeing what the “dump Foxtel” people do. For the record, I don’t watch Fox or Sky News. I do watch BBC World News, Al Jazeera, and various Asian channels which you don’t even get a hint of on terrrestrial tv. (I’m not including SBS or the ABC in this, though even they show Murdoch companies’ products at times.)

Funnily, i can find more non-Murdoch content to watch on Murdoch’s Foxtel than i can on free TV. And let’s remember, ads on Foxtel are fewer and more widely spaced than on free TV, and on some channels (movies and the ones that have Game of Thrones) there are no ads during programs or movies.

You also get the option to record, which works flawlessly as a rule, because series are shown at the same time every week AND IN SEQUENCE, something terrestrial television can’t manage. Terrestrial telly is usually running over 20 minutes behind just on a normal night.

I don’t watch sport, so the notion that people who want to are ‘forced’ to buy Foxtel doesn’t really bother me. And when it comes down to it  – who sold Rupert the sports rights? The sports industry is a money-grubbing bunch. When the same sports are shown on terrestrial channels, they’re stuffed full of ads, and the commentators are busy promoting betting DURING their to-camera moments.

If you don’t want to watch TV, sure, ditch your Foxtel/pay TV. In fact, wtf were you doing with it? Running on autopilot?

If you, like me, actually enjoy good drama, interesting architecture/archaeology/reno shows, or (shamefully) stuff like Botched (plastic surgery) and even occasional storage auction binges, then you’re not well-served by terrestrial television. In fact, i can’t understand why anyone would settle for what makes up most of the pap served by terrestrial tv.

After spending a large part of my adult life in the UK, where general programming was pretty good thanks to the BBC and Channel Four (this was pre-2002), coming back to Australia and the awfulness of ‘free to air’ was sobering. I used to watch television maybe twice a week. For thirty/sixty minutes at a time.

Keeping myself in books was a problem at the best of times (i read too fast), and there’s times i don’t want to read. Or i want something non-intrusive while i read? Hmm, i’ve never listened to opera, maybe i’ll try some on the Foxtel Arts Channel?  I get a lot of music channels as part of my package. Let’s see, how much arts programming does terrestrial television show? (Not counting SBS and ABC, remember?)

Finally – if you really want to avoid Murdoch? You can’t read anything by Harper-Collins – also Murdoch owned. Local papers are usually out.

Me, i look at it differently – it was suggested I stop shopping at supermarkets to show my contempt for them. I figured better to harass them as a customer, rather than someone who proudly says ‘i won’t buy from you’. (I also can’t afford to pay tiny company prices – i do shop at a local butcher, because that IS cheaper, along with the meat being better quality.)

Big companies don’t give a stuff about people who aren’t their customers (yeah, i know, debatable they give a stuff about anything, but it’s levels of influence).

I’ve looked at the other options (Netflix et al) and frankly, it’s fine if you don’t watch tv much, or only when you have something special you want to see, or only via your phone. Because i pay half the monthly sub in a shared house, it’s affordable, and i get a really amazing range of programs, movies, and series for no extra charge.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy ‘supporting’ Murdoch. But for now at least, i’m going to live with it.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 


To Insanity and Beyond

I’m getting there – with there in this case being defined as ‘losing my mind’ or ‘ready for publication’ – Books 1-4 paper edits all done. The edits get transcribed (sounds like someone else is going to, but nah, it’s just me), then i print out paper copy for the Delta Reader (he’s ahead of the Beta Readers, and Alpha is ‘book as published’, so Delta he is) who gets to read it and give the nod.

The nod will lead to uploads and a divergence – as paper publication will have accents and squiggly bits – like in the words façade, fiancée and déjà vu. You can’t leave squiggles and accents in ebooks because ereaders have hysterics over them. Ampersands (&) likewise.

So i will be running versions for publication (paper) and on for ebook. Then i can publish, once they’re ready. I think. Have i forgotten something? Oh fk, the covers. And covers is the operative word. 4 different ebooks, and then 4 DIFFERENT covers for 4 paper books. Argh is the word i’m looking for.

I just keep telling myself, it’s going to be ok, i can do this. Though i’m not at all sure. Which reminds me, i haven’t figured out pricing yet (for either version). I said Argh in the last para, so let’s add an Aiee! Cos it’s all doing my head in.

The sound you can hear is just me gibbering. Does anyone have a spare strait-jacket?

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 


Crowdfunding or Not…

Oh don’t ask me – just don’t. I put stuff on my blog, and almost before i’ve had a chance to post it twice on Twitter, it gets superseded.

So i was posting about turning into a pony – that’s still on the cards. The superseded one is about possibly crowdfunding and stuff. I decided i don’t need to. Yep. Advances in printing technology mean printing one book at a time is almost as cheap as printing 100. Though true, once you get into thousands, traditional printing becomes cheaper.

Of course, it means i won’t have a budget for marketing. So consider yourself “the marketing department” because if the people who follow this blog and me on Twitter don’t help, there’s not going to be any promotion, bar what i shout about myself.

This is a very short blog, but during it i’ve baked bread, including waited for 2 rises, i prepped roast chook (chicken) and peeled veg. Now i’m about to be summoned by the kitchen timer. And i still have shouting to do on Twitter.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 


Mostly human, probably NSFW

The blog’s Not Safe For Work. I, I will be partly pony. Yep, I’ve decided i’m not a real girl. Not a sex pony, you know, that’s not me. The ones you see on those bizarro reality TV documentaries acting out their childhood or teen angst by dragging leather/lycra-clad people around in carts.

“Of course,” they say to camera, while ‘owner’ cinches them into a corset, cos sure, that’s what ponies wear, “it’s a secret, my adult pony playing. That’s why i’m appearing on a sensationalist show that will be shown all around the world for the next 100 years.”

*Pony-play person neighs and tries to get lycra pony-suit out of her butt-crack with one of her plastic hooves. Eventually ‘owner’ takes pity on her and undoes the velcro holding the hoof on.*

Nope, that is so not me. I’m the bolshy kind of pony. The pony who crushes you against the fence, who stands on your foot, the one who bites you as you try to get into the saddle. Who, when you finally make it into the saddle, takes off at a gallop before suddenly dropping my head between my fetlocks and kicking up my back hooves. And smirks as you fly off into the nearest tree/mud/water/fence/brick wall.

And seriously – saddles are for the tamed. I won’t wear that kind of thing. I would like a new leather coat if someone’s offering, mine was eaten by mould when i lived in New South Wales.

Why am i a pony? Or Part-Pony? Being human’s not working for me. I’d be better off with hooves. Fully opposable ones, of course. My hair’s in my eyes, let’s call it a forelock and be done with it. I don’t have a tail, but we could put that down to a Terrible Accident. The alternative is one of these, and i am SO not going there.

Tasha-Reignbow-Pony-Tail-Plug-4-colors-326x326

Of course someone has made girly pony tails as sex toys. Everything else is also available, why not pony tails? And yes, that link is so NSFW you probably shouldn’t click it.
Some things you can’t unsee.

I’m not really a My Little Pony kind of pony. I will roll in mud, get brambles in my mane, and children will find me scary.

“Mummy! The pony’s looking at me funny!”
“Don’t be silly, darling, ponies don’t do that.”
“Mummy? The pony just said if i tell tales someone will cut my tongue out.”
“Jacinta!” Mummy tries not to shout. “We’ve had this discussion before, darling, we don’t pretend animals talk, do we?”

*Mummy decides it’s way past time for an afternoon white wine. Just out of her sightline, pony mimes cutting motion with one hoof across its throat.

Jacinta begins to hyperventilate.*

Why a pony? As i said, human’s getting harder. If i could survive on grass, lucerne, pony nuts, and the occasional apple i’d be much better off.

I’d be hyper-cute and Social Security wouldn’t be something to be afraid of any more.

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My Little Ponies aren’t as nice as they pretend to be…

So, if i shift species i’ll be free of worry. All i have to do is keep Jacinta in line. How hard can that be?

Compared to dealing with government departments, coping with hate from idiots who think disabled people are all bludging fakes because MSM (Mainstream Media) and their own government tell them so?

I reckon ponyness poniness pony-ness will be a doddle in comparison.

devilpony

Do you feel lucky, Jacinta?
Well do ya?

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


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


I Was Thinking…

The thinking took some time. Basically i had three books. They were somehow unbalanced. The more i tried to balance them, the longer they got. And the more out of balance.

I took some time out. Some more time out. I spent a lot of time on twitter. Getting retweeted is affirming, no doubt about it, and i enjoyed catching up with people i adore and had forgotten existed.

My head’s like that. Involved in a book, i can forget my own family. Even myself. Reading a good book should be like that, writing them possibly more so.

I did quite a lot of research while i tweeted, figuring out the intricacies of crowd-funding, on demand publishing, and deciding whether the previously only e-publishing model was worth sticking to. Quite simply, it wasn’t.

When i first published The Birthday Dragon, i accidentally took it off public display, not realising Adult (it was adult fiction, not ‘young adult’ or ‘children’s’) meant the same as X rated on the prim US site i was on, and my book was literally only available to those looking for porn. So sales were, to put it mildly, minimal.

It took me nearly 3 months to realise what was going on, and by then it was too late. I’d missed what booksellers call the golden window for sales. The book never sold. People agreed it was wonderful, reviewed it glowingly. Still no sales.

Even today, it’s one of the highest rated books on Smashwords. Out of all books on the site over 100,000 words, it’s still on the front page, admittedly at No 20, but it was published back in 2011. Put in ‘under $2.99’ and it’s number 8.

Currently, if you look at Sci Fi over 100,000 words, it’s number 1. Fantasy over 100k it rates highly, but if ‘under $2.99’ it’s number 1 again. But it isn’t selling. At all. It’s one of those questions – is it me? Or is it Smashwords?

I tried competitions, blogs, tweeting, sacrificing small geeks, edits, and still, no sales. So i gave up. It would be alright when i did Book 2.

Right before publication of Book 2, the person doing the cover art decided not to. Two weeks before publication. It rocked me more than a little. Doing it for free doesn’t mean to me that it’s ok to be unprofessional. I didn’t pillory him on Twitter, which shows control i didn’t think i had. I tried to do some artwork myself, and my graphics tablet blew up.

Mr Whatsit (and some articles i read confirmed the notion) suggested i leave Book 2, do Book 3, and put them both out at once. Maximise sales, give me time to do some artwork myself. Then my landlord at the time served notice.

A new graphics tablet dropped into my lap (via the post, a friend upgraded and sent me theirs), i completed the books, the interstate move (2013) plus three more (1 more in 2013, 2 in 2014) .

Finally settled, i finished off Book 3 and organised the artwork. I did take the nutso artist’s cover off Book 1. For all i knew he was about to demand i did and the cover didn’t match the book, so what the hell.

I had other real life problems. Mr couldn’t manage even the few stairs here. We were supposed to move. Again. Scheduling a book release when i couldn’t promote it seemed nuts, so i put it off. Again.

The move, late 2015, didn’t happen. My car needed a sudden injection of funds, all the moving money, and fortunately the landlord didn’t mind us begging to stay. Never mind, we’ll move in 2016.

Cancer clawed at me, thankfully caught by signs my doctor paid attention to. Not just one cancer scare, but possible tumours in breasts, back, uterus, and brain had my whole attention.

Not just moving was cancelled. My life was. Then it wasn’t. Thankfully they caught everything early, or it was benign, or it wasn’t cancer. I did go through major abdominal surgery, and ended up minus womb and ovaries, which seems a small price to pay for life, but did put paid to moving.

I was off Twitter. It seemed i had nothing to say, or at least nothing i felt like sharing. “My life is fucked, how’s yours?” I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like discussing depression with others. My depression that is, i’ll happily discuss other people’s. (I will go to a psyche, and endure the tears and laughter that make up a talking cure.)

I hit Twitter again. It was lovely, and i cursed myself for a fool for not enjoying my friends. Or for not giving them credit for being whole humans who might actually care about other people. I carefully avoided thinking about the books.

Suddenly, it came to me. The books needed to be a … wtf do you call a four book set? I pretended not to hear the thought for weeks. I did surreptitiously do that research on crowdfunding and print on demand. Under my own radar, while shouting about goddamn fascists on Twitter.

After some Googling and more thought, i decided a quartet was the right name. We were supposed to be moving mid year, so i was thinking seriously about how to schedule moving and books. Then Mr got some good news, the operation he’s been waiting years for is happening this year. So we’re not moving. Again.

And i have no more excuses. Unless the landlord springs the kind of unpleasant surprise every tenant dreads (Guess what? I’ve decided to double the rent/knock down the house and build an apartment block/evict you cos it’s a Leap Year) and i have to move.

My health isn’t good, but it never is. I wrote the books despite that.

So i’ve started splitting them into 4. Gives me 4 books of about 100,000 words. I’m hammering out the chapter summaries, which as the books changed, stupid me had not kept up. Without them, editing the books further is tricky, i can’t see the flow.

Looking at the price of self-publishing books this size, i may have to cut them further, either with editing or cutting them into more books. I’m not sure. Depends on what i want to crowd-fund. My education in that and Print on Demand is cursory, and to be honest, it’s more than a little scary.

Not as scary as real life with the continued demonisation of anyone on welfare – what we in Australia called ‘benefit’ up until the current right wing government decided we were all probably criminals and as ‘welfare’  was already a dirty word thanks to US hatespeech, it worked for them.

Freedom of speech as the USA calls it, and now our government’s borrowing that notion too – they want the right to call anyone non-pinkish coloured a n________. The right to discriminate against brown or black people, against non-Christians and anyone who dares dissent.

Yes, the same LNP government that when Trump declared his ‘Muslim Ban’, crowed, delighted that in their words, someone was copying their policies.

You know the disabled people of Germany were the first to the gas chambers? As the sick, disabled, and aged are called non-profit-making drains on society, as the government (of rich white men and their sycophant women) say they’re going to cut ‘welfare’ to ‘bludgers’, well, real life is a place i really don’t want to be.

As i said on Twitter….

 Time’s a wasting.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com