Tag Archives: random

Headdesk Times A Million

I confess, i was getting freaked. Panicking even.

Book published, check. Sending people to Smashwords, check. Them looking at the book, some of them buying it, check. Giving it away in a few competitions, check.

And where’s the through traffic? I put it down to my book not showing up in the first pages of either Best Sellers, Most Downloads (some books are free), or Highest Rated.

So, how will they find my book? I’ll have to get it rated, i don’t have enough sales to get it on the bestseller lists, and i’m not yet desperate enough to give it away to drum up publicity for Book 2.

I worked hard, trying to get people to review it – did very well, and got some wonderful reviews. Smashwords was doing what it says on the box, sort of – i wasn’t getting sales, but the sales i did get in my first month (so in the last quarter), Smashwords promptly (quarterly) paid royalties, which are generous per book. (85% of the cover price comes to me if sold from the site.)

Still, despite sitting on front page of Smashwords Highest Rated Scifi And Fantasy for weeks, nothing. For a month, nothing. Not even someone downloading the sample?

I mean, really, is my intro that bad? I decided to rewrite (to an earlier edit) Chapter 1. Waited. I rewrote the blurbs. Waited.  I rewrote them again. I cried some.  Waited. No impact. Nothing. Nobody even looking at it, unless i went on a flurry of self-promotion. Then, to make things worse, i couldn’t always find it in the listings.

I was beginning to wonder if i’d over-estimated the pull Smashwords might have by itself. I did think they had some people wandering through. Then i found someone with a bunch of fake reviews. Was everyone fake? (I reported the fake, action is pending or being taken at various sites across the net – more later.)

My book wasn’t always visible, but i assumed they had a slightly glitchy search, and shrugged it off.  What could i do? Most of the time i showed up, and always on the Sci Fi Fantasy listings. Then i disappeared from the SFF pages. Completely. I could see where i should be, the books ahead and behind me in rankings, but i wasn’t there.

I waited. Maybe questions had been asked and my book was invisible because i reported the fake? I cleared my internet cache. Another day. I cleared cookies, cache, and discovered i was still invisible. I think i cried again then.

Now, I’ve had the year (or so) from hell. I no longer have a family, and my health’s deteriorating in scary ways. My book was the one bright shining thing i had. And now what i thought was my main marketing tool was useless.

I simply don’t have time to do what i thought Smashwords could do for me. In fact, i wouldn’t have self-published if i hadn’t investigated them and self-publishing very thoroughly, and decided their way was the only feasible option – unless i went the traditional route of finding representation and a publisher.

Now, by self-publishing without a decent market, i’d completely destroyed my career. That book is the first in a series, and if i’ve published it in the wrong place, i’m screwed. I think i cried some more. Then, i pulled myself together.

There must be a reason, it had been 4 days or so, it was now reasonable to ask wtf.  So i did, politely. And she (lovely helpful lass from Smashwords wrote almost straight back) said it’s there, page 5 or so on my comp on the main ‘Highest Rated Smashwords books’ pages.

Phew, i thought, and went to look. Several hours later, having cleared everything again, i asked Twitter friends to help out. Could anyone else see it? Five couldn’t, and i wasn’t in the index either. I thought aha! But then one could see me. Huh? Oh wait, bet she’s on a Mac. She wasn’t.

She was using exactly the same WinXP with Firefox as me. Meanwhile,  i logged back in and noticed something. A tiny something, top right of the page.  Adult Filter is ON

Bah humbug to adult filters, i said to myself, and of course I switched it off and magically, there i was. At number freaking 3 on the best rated SFF! I didn’t even know i’d made it there!

I wrote back to Smashwords, so if the nice lass had similar hysterical authors, she could sort it out in a snap. Then it hit me. I would never get any passing traffic from Smashwords. The only people who would see me were those who noticed the Filter and switched it off.

I cried some more. Mr Whatsit was getting damp. Then i said, i’m taking the Adult rating off.  He thought would be fine, i checked with others who’d read it, decided to do it.  Nice lass at Smashwords said that was okay, was up to me. (But of course, i now hope nobody is horribly shocked by suicidal sheep or permanently emotionally scarred by Polo’s mother.)

Then I noticed the “voluntary” Adult rating wasn’t even on most of the Erotica on the site!  After a fairly short time, (an hour or so) my book is now showing. To anyone. I’ve already had several people look at the sample. No sales yet, but that’s cool – you don’t have to buy it if you don’t like it. I’m fair, i keep telling you.

I’ve noticed another writer like me, with a well-reviewed book (genuine reviews, i checked) who’s also marked her book Adult. I marked mine adult thinking it wasn’t a children’s book. So, if you’re self-publishing, and thinking of using Smashwords? Don’t mark your book Adult content.

I’ve just wasted ten weeks of promotion for a book nobody could see unless i linked directly to its page. Every time i posted the Highest Rated chart – unless they knew about the Adult filter and switched it off – they looked, and assumed i was posting the wrong link, mistaken, or lying because my book wasn’t there. And get this, NOBODY SAID ANYTHING. Fortunately, i’d posted the direct link a lot, but some of my best retweeted posts were for a link that didn’t show my book.

In a few days, i’ll get it together, relaunch the book with a competition, and pretty much start from scratch. In the meantime, another sample’s been downloaded, am getting steady interest now people can actually see me.

There’s a lesson here. I’m too mangled to figure it out.

****

In the meantime, The Birthday Dragon is still at Number 3 - and anyone can see me.You can also download a free sample to see if you like it.

If you have a Kindle, Smashwords provide downloads for you, as they do for every other kind of ebook reader. If you’re like me, on a PC, you can download FREE Kindle software. If you’re on a Mac they have it too.

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


I am writing this from the Stone Age…

Yeah, net problems, expected to persist for at least a couple of weeks. (Hint to any despot trying to take over world via net – don’t do it from Australia. My marketing campaign is kinda floundering without reliable telephone or net.)

Trying to consider it a useful break to catch up on writing, but I miss Twitter and the baby hippos. Oh yeah, and don’t ask me about Rupertgate, i am totally out of the loop.

The guest post i did for MYOB went very well, by the way – thanks to all my Beloved Minions Visitors who dropped across to read and comment, it’s good for us all to go travelling every so often. And gosh, the discipline of writing short stuff. *waffles on for hours*

In the meantime, if you haven’t read my book yet, then you don’t know why it’s *drumroll please*…. Number 6 on the Smashwords Highest Rated Science Fiction Fantasy Chart.

Ha, am totally going to sell some more copies soon – come on people, we’re into double figures! Funny, i never thought i’d be critically acclaimed (at least by readers) and it wouldn’t translate into sales. I am pretending it will be fine, and writing Book 2, while finding typos in Book 1.

Mr Whatsit says patience. I say patience my arse, i’m going to kill something, it will be good publicity. The others, i tell him darkly, will fall into line. Unfortunately, without a decent internet, i can’t generate proper fear PR so the stupid woman across the road who thinks my yard is her right of way is safe… for now.

Hint – The Birthday Dragon is at Number 6 because it’s excellent. Read the reviews, they say so too.

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

I totally meant to do that.  (No, i don’t think i’ll ever get bored with that review. All of them are ravishing, but it’s also v handy for quotes.)

The cool people who do know why Polo Shawcross is so irresistible (and an idiot) are giggling at jokes, discussing his inability to keep his pants on, and demanding to know when Book 2 is out.

In time for Christmas, if i manage to finish it. Plot is fine, book half-written (Book 3 is in same state) but being fleshed out.

Why aren’t you missing Polo Shawcross already? You can read 20% free here, along with those beautiful reviews. And it’s only $4.99 – it’s available on Smashwords (in all e-reader formats), Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and in the Apple store.

If you don’t have an ereader, no excuses (you don’t want me coming round your place and crying on you, do you?) because you can get  free Kindle software for the PC or Free Kindle Software for the Mac.

I’ve downloaded the PC version – it’s really very good. Much nicer reading experience on a screen. Now, let’s see if i’m able to post this.

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


Come in Number 12, Your Time Is Up

The voices-outside-my-head, the ones i’m prepared to listen to, say it’s time we did another blog post. We’d like to say nah, and go back to writing, but apparently the voices bought a real cattle-prod on eBay, so we’re being very good.

I am still hyperventilating every time the book is downloaded, or the sample is. The book’s reached the unbelievable status of number 12 on the Smashwords charts and stayed there for most of the week (for Highest Rated Science Fiction Fantasy books).  Dropped to number 15 today, aw.

If this is at all representative of the fantasy genre, then I’ve obviously
been a fool to myself for ignoring it.
” (Smashwords review of The Birthday Dragon)

Mr Whatsit had to put up with me going round saying “Number 12!” a lot. And then reading my reviews to him, repeating the best bits over and over. He’s hiding downstairs, so you’re my next captive audience.

****

Review of The Birthday Dragon
by:
David Willanski on June 30, 2011 : star star star star star
If JRR Tolkien, Douglas Adams, Jane Austen and Phillip K Dick were to collaborate on a book, they might write something like this.

****

I’m being compared to more heavyweights (Pratchett, Willis) and am cautiously hopeful. I know the book is good, but i’m a realist – this is an ebook. A small market, but a growing one. I’m not represented, i have no publisher, i have no marketing budget. I do have reasonable distribution, through Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc, thanks to Smashwords’ reach.

To not get an agent or a publisher was a deliberate choice.
How terrifically avant-garde of me.

****

Why do you think this book’s appealing to people who aren’t that into scifi or fantasy?

People like a good story. As readers have said (Smashwords reviews),

This is a great adventure story with lots of twists, humour, wonder and, best of all, suicidal sheep.”

Most importantly – a sci fi styled book that has a lead character who is full of attitude and humour; not taking himself or the folk around him too seriously.”

Setting is secondary, science is secondary, (though it must be thought out, planned, and researched) but it’s the story of the people that’s primary. So you don’t need to be into science fiction, or fantasy, or whatever. Like to read? Like an adventure with some smiles? You’ll probably like this. (and you can read a big chunk for free to see.)

Yes there are castles, but they’re weird floaty things that I could quite clearly see were spectacular. Yes there are royals aplenty but they’re basically a bunch of drug taking sex addicts. Hardly the Windsors. More like Carry On Blackadder meets The Graduate – with added stimulants.” (Smashwords review)

I’ve been heavily influenced by science fiction writers like Jack Vance, who would put you on a world with mer-people , then take you on a detective story. I like my fiction developed, not just a few cipher characters to hang the science- or dogma-heavy plot on.

I love it when the writer takes me away.

****

I’m not a huge fan of a lot of fantasy, and completely understand people getting turned off it- i’d never have bothered again either, if the only kind I read was full of archaic language and one-dimensional characters, with the plot copied from a template.

And of course, everyone writes dragon books the same. Someone’s not allowed to have their own dragon, yawn, they’re misunderstood, yeah yeah.

This isn’t really a dragon book (a marketing department wouldn’t have let me call it The Birthday Dragon), it’s based on the premise of what if the people were the dragons?

They got that way with genetic engineering, not with waving a wand – but as the ghost-who-says-he’s-not-one tells Polo, when Man created Dragon, he accidentally created real magic.

As a reader, I’ve always tried to learn as a writer from what irritated me, what left me feeling cheated, and what left me thinking yes, i loved that book.

In my DM’s on Twitter, someone said “i love it” when talking about my book.

What can i say? My life is perfect.

****

You can read other reviews and get a free look at the book -
about 25,000 words, 20%, a decent chunk to sink into.

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


Some light reading…

Short Excerpt from

The Birthday Dragon

Book One of the Polo Shawcross Journals

****

Smashwords Edition

ISBN 978-1-4580-8526-9

Copyright Polo Shawcross 2011-12

Cover Design and Artwork By Derek Armsden Design

****

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


Welcome to the world of Emo PR

Second Competition was won by @agent_x and @bastardsheep who both get an ecopy – congratulations and enjoy.

****

Honestly, i have been trying to promote the book, but a death in the family (not my side) and a flood later, i’ve only managed a bunch of Tweets and a competition, and it’s already been 16 days since i published.

Oh yeah, and i joined Facebook, which i don’t know how to use. I’m Polo Shawcross on there, if you do know how to use it. I am good at friending back.

What i really need are reviews - i have one, now i have two! They both really liked the book, (i have the gift of making you want to turn the page – woot) and i achieved top rating – you can see reviews on the page the book’s on. Also, it’s not a kids’ book – it has sex and drugs, along with that page-turning adventure.

Humans bioengineered themselves, creating a new race, Dragon, and creating something that – quite accidentally – looked like magic.

Thousands of years later, their descendant Polo Shawcross is about to find out what it means to have a Dragon in the family.

link to my book "The Birthday Dragon"

So go see, read 20% free, or i’ll die, and it will be YOUR fault. Wait, have we done guilt already? I was going to make people read The Thing (as it’s affectionately known) by running through a gamut of manipulative emotional techniques.

Damn, i missed a trick with the floods, i could have deliberately made myself homeless and then whined about it online forever after, thereby garnering heaps of attention, probably a house from a well-meaning charity, and getting lots of pity sales. (Pity sales are like pity fucks, but the glow lasts longer.)

So, the floods: we’re alive, hasn’t reached house yet (though ran in a little at the back, with the wind), but the floods stopped a metre from the back door (a yard). We’re not doing too badly, not been declared a disaster area yet, though 30k’s north of us is. (Less than 20 miles.)

Oh wait, i’m supposed to be making a meal of this – not making out like we’re fine. If you don’t buy my book *looks pitiful* my house will fall into the lake! OMG, and it will be your fault!

We may still possibly flood later today/tonight or over the weekend – that will also be your fault, nothing to do with torrential rains, bad storms, and stupid people building houses in flood zones.

Sorry, i don’t think i can manage this emo thing – do i have to cut myself? I am not at all sure i’ll be able to keep a straight face. Maybe i could persuade some professional victim to do it, and film it, pretend it’s me? Sounds plausible.

I reckon it’s much easier to bribe you, so here it is. Buy the book or when i take over the world you will be the first to the wall. Hang on, i do think that may have been a threat, not a bribe. I’m really not good at PR.

However, if you join me in the glorious revolution – yeah, yeah, you only have to buy the book, or at least read the first few pages (you are allowed to decide not to read, we’re a despot, but we’re fair) – then you’ll be sweet.

If all goes according to plan, we’ll all be living in Queensland with our Hello Kitty Kalashnikovs, in our own private enclave. Yes, you may have to occasionally peel grapes, but you’ll be alive. Worth thinking about, eh?

In the meantime, i’ve decided on another competition – because some PR is better than none, or at least i’m assuming.

This competition, I was considering something cool like infiltrating the Vatican, but then i remembered this, and realised there’s no need.

So, for competition number 2just follow the simple instructions at the top of this post.

I personally don’t like reading on the comp – but i discovered that both Adobe and Amazon do free PC versions of their readers which make it rather pleasant.  (Amazon Kindle for Mac is here.) There are also plenty of apps for that, i believe some of those are free, but phones just aren’t my speciality – someone mentioned Stanza for the iPhone as being good (and also free, at least to try).

People are also put off ebooks by the awfully intrusive DRM copy protection – my book is on Smashwords and (like all their books) doesn’t have DRM copy-protection.

This makes their books much easier to download, and you can have them on different devices without problems. Also, if your machine loses its data, you can still get another copy of the version you bought.

I am aiming at a print version – would love to do a limited edition artwork – but until i sell rather a lot of $4.99 ebooks, that’s for later.

****

Oh dear,  i think the lake is rising again. *sighs and looks as if i might cry* Okay, so you’re feeling guilty? Excellent – do have a look at my book.  :D

****

STOP PRESS – am in the Smashwords Premium Catalogue,

(no, you don’t pay for it, you have to meet certain requirements,

and be read by their staff)

so now *drumroll*….

The Birthday Dragon by Polo Shawcross is now available

at the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and Diesel.

Even later STOP PRESS… the lake has returned its usual place, at the end of the garden, no longer touching distance from the house. For this, we are rather grateful.

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


The Dark Side Has A Like Button

I have probably had my best day ever for sales, as people were so lovely, and bought my book in droves. Well, maybe a part-drove? How many do you need for a whole drove?

It was bliss – i was number 5 on the Bestselling Scifi & Fantasy list on Smashwords (novels over 25,000 words). I just looked, i still am. This is because eight people bought my book, i didn’t suddenly sell a million – but yep, a real writer now.

Read 20% free

Leer at the lavish cover, and read 20% free (a good way to spend a commute) – go on, you know you want to – click the pic to go to Smashwords. It will open in a new window.

In my parallel role as proxy Antichrist, this kind of global reach obviously helps my case with World Domination. Soon we shall break out the Hello Kitty Kalashnikovs and the glad cries of the oppressed will ring out. Or i may just hold a quiet soiree with friends.

The Antichrist gig came my way after i coshed the real Antichrist met with an Unfortunate Accident. As i’m a much nicer person and won’t infest you with boils and perhaps frogs up your jaxie, it’s in your interests to support my interests. My interests are simple.

I had an email, you see, asking about what i was doing to promote the book. Uh, i said, suddenly remembering that part of the plan hadn’t really been executed, thanks to Elements Beyond Our Control. This was mostly that  – right up to a day or so before the publication of the The Damned Thing – due to illness and various pressures, i was ready to cancel for six months.

So in order to enhance our World Domination Experience™, we decided to join the Dark Side, irrevocably. Yeah, Polo Shawcross has a Facebook account. He doesn’t know how to work it yet, and i have no idea, so excuse us while we try to get savvy.  We are adrift on a sea of social media.

And now for something completely different, some more shameless self promotion….

Polo Shawcross has a ghost who says he’s not one, a best friend who thinks he’s gay, and a very bad reputation. Then 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 else seems to have noticed that the Crown Prince is in love with Polo, that the half-brother with the eating disorder is trying to kill him, and of course, Mother’s still  crazy and in denial over Father’s alcoholism. Polo doesn’t know where he fits in, but discovers that shapechanging is harder than it looks. A science fiction fantasy, set on the planet of Galaia in the Sigma Quadrant, where Men might be Dragons. Read more at Smashwords…

****

If you don’t want to read on your computer but don’t have an ereader, you can get a comfier reading experience with free software for the PC or Mac – it’s rather good, i tried it.

Free Kindle Software for PC

Free Kindle Software for Mac

http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/

Sting in the Tail, Polo Shawcross, and Sheila NomNomDePlume are all pen-names and net-names of one person – she secretly rules the world.

Copyright https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


The Birthday Dragon

Hold onto your pink bits, Beloved Visitors. The Birthday Dragon is published!

The Birthday Dragon  – out now, on Smashwords

In Sendren, Men might be Dragons, after long ago gene-tweaking created a new race, Dragon. Their descendant Polo contends with suicidal sheep, crazy parents, and checking every woman in the village off his ‘to be bedded’ list. Suddenly, life becomes about staying alive long enough to find out what it means to have a Dragon in the family.

The Birthday Dragon
(Opens in a new window)

You can read 20% of it for free.  (Also known as #TheThing if you follow me on Twitter.)  E-book only at this point. If you don’t have an ebook reader, you can read it in Word or in Acrobat, (or print from there) and snazzy free software readers are available.

http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/

http://www.amazon.com/
(you need to register an Amazon account – need an email address) then
download their free Kindle app’s.

And yes, you can read 20% – about 25,000 of my words. It’s quite up to you if you buy or not. As always, i’m a benevolent despot. I won’t track you down and get Biblical on you for not buying.

I won’t hang around your doorstep crying, rending my sackcloth, shedding ashes, and asking why why why i have such fickle blog readers and twitter followers.

Do  you like how i’m experimenting with the easy emotions first? We’ll try guilt to start with, move on to the kewl things like lust.

Or you could part with five bucks. ($4.99 US cos it’s on a US site.)

UPDATE -  18 months later, after many adventures now reduced to $2.99 – Book 2 & 3 due out together *crosses fingers* about mid 2013


If you can’t get the links to work, just go to

http://www.smashwords.com/

and enter book ID 63 286

****

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


Drumroll, please…

I am about to publish The Thing. It’s not called The Thing, but that’s shorter to tweet, and anyway, it’s changed name a few times.

I did try to do my own artwork – my graphics pen exploded stopped working after over a decade’s trusty service – the results were dire.

After i whined about that on Twitter, Derek (who happened to have read the book and has his own design company) said he had an idea. I told him i had no money, and he said he still had an idea. I loved it.

****

Cover of my book "The Birthday Dragon"

Briefly…

People are crazy, or they can be, Blood or peasant. Polo’s eyes say he belongs in his mother’s world, but he’s not sure. He gets the chance to find out when he’s sent to the Court of the Fourth Theodore.

The Birthday Dragon is the first book of The Polo Shawcross Journals, and is set on the isolated planet of Galaia in the Sigma Quadrant, where Men might be Dragons, in the aftermath of gene-tweaking thousands of years in their past.

Released on Smashwords in June.

(when released, there will be a decent free chunk to sample
and i will post links here)

Cover design/artwork by Derek Armsden Design

dadesign.net.au

The Birthday Dragon” Copyright 2011  Polo Shawcross

Copyright 2011 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Are We There Yet?

So, where were we? Ah yes, The Thing – well, it’s coming along – about to be published in June. Note the non-specific nature of “June”. That’s deliberate. Gives me time to stuff the launch up several times.

I had one of those moments, when we realise we can go the traditional way, or not, and decided ‘or not’ was my way. No change there. So i’m starting with an E-book version on Smashwords.

You see, The Thing has turned out rather well. And it occurred to me that if it was a piece of music, i wouldn’t be handing it over to someone else. Not unless they’re offering megabucks.

I read a lot of the experiences of writers as they wrestled with agents, publishers, and finding either one – and having worked in publishing, i already had some inkling of what lay ahead. It occurred to me that circumventing that entire loop would please me greatly.

So that’s the plan. The Thing is having its cover done. I am about to try (for the fifth time, i think) to read over the Smashwords FAQ’s and How-To’s, and see if i have the idea.

I have no idea if i’m doing this right, but i’m doing it.

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


The Dustbunnies Are Revolting…

It seems my life’s made up of waiting at the moment.

Waiting to see if:

  1. I actually die of this flu, or survive another year in NSW, the State of Unhealthiness
  2. the Hot Young Singer takes up the option to record my song, (which may, of course, never result in any real money, but it’s a nice thought)
  3. The Reader will confirm my thoughts about the edits required on The Thing, (the book i’m writing).

I’m filling my time with good work, though my back’s not good, so am working above the knee. Below there, things are getting crunchy. I’m sure one day soon i will both clean the bath, and the kitchen floor. Before anyone gets irreparably stuck to either.

In the meantime, I’ve warned Mr Whatsit (whose back is so bad he tends to keep things above the hip), to keep a spatula handy to free himself, and me, i’m pretending i can’t see the mess below knee level, and wearing slippers a lot. I have actually started spring-cleaning (it’s that time of year here), and above the knee and up the walls, have dusted, wiped, and dusted again.

Let this be a lesson to you, when they say the chimney at the local power station removes visible smoke, i think it gets visible again when it arrives on surfaces. Or in your lungs. *cough*

Patience, my arse, I'm going to kill something...

Also still waiting, on any of the several ways i have of leaving New South Wales and returning to Queensland. (Not my native home, that’s Western Australia, but Queensland is where i used to live and where i want to go back to.) Sadly, the Invasion Tour of Queensland ’09 which was made ’10, is now looking early 2011. God al-effing-mighty.

When you’re stuck somewhere, and leaving is all the time imminent, it’s so hard to get involved in anything. You feel you can’t get involved in local groups, because you’re about to leave, so what’s the point? Before you know it, that spreads into your personal life too.

You stop trying to achieve goals because you have a new life, starting tomorrow, in a new place. What you do today doesn’t matter, because tomorrow, everything’s going to change.

Fortunately, one of the things i’ve learned is that in times of waiting, it’s possible to achieve a lot, if you just use the time. I had a partner once who was always late, and i learned not to waste my time, waiting for people, or things. This period in NSW has been a hiatus of sorts, but i’ve produced an incredible amount of writing work, and thanks to the local library (reading how-to-write books and most of their novels), and the net, have learned so much more about my craft.

Of course, no guarantees in my life, other than, there will be uncertainty. I might still be here this time next year, though i hope not, another winter here in the House of Doom (it has mould) is something i’d rather not face.

I have several options regarding getting back to Queensland, but  none of them are things i can influence. They’re all reliant on other people’s actions and there’s not a damn thing i can do. The only certainty is uncertainty.

So of course, i’m chafing to throw myself back into The Thing where i can hide in a world of my own creation. It’s been read once, edited/corrected, is being read again, about to undergo 2nd edit, then it goes out to two new readers. Letting other people read your work is terribly exciting and scary, but so far other people reading it (and me taking time out) has been so good for the text, i’m hopeful that the next stage will also be positive.

Then what? Well, omg, then i think i need an agent. I have lists of websites, notes of possibilities, and the vague idea of self-publication if necessary. I’m praying the moment i say, The Thing is done, one of the nice agents i follow has secretly been nursing a desire to publish it and snaps it up. Unfortunately, i’m pretty sure all my agent tweeple (i think i have two), don’t do sci fi fantasy.

As for The Thing itself, I have the story mapped out, at least in vague terms, as it continues through the next few books. The nature of the story lends itself to a computer game, i have some notions for merchandising, and i suppose i’ll need a real website, instead of this hosted one.

Gawd, i think i’ll go hide under the bed for a while.

*****

The dustbunnies forced me out, they’d formed an army and were knitting rope out of all the shed hair.

cute but dangerous - srsly, they may contain all kinds of heavy metals

So while i waited for the insecticide to work, I had a chat with First Reader about my thoughts on where the ending should be.

Basic plot was of the hero’s adventures from 15-20: during his last year of school, at a university, in the army (for three years), and then as a kind of diplomat. I was sure i’d tried to stuff too much in, and Book 1 should end at point where, during a drunken rampage, he joins army.

Reader agrees, phew, so am now able to start some work without needing Reader to be finished his second read. (i’ve done an initial edit after printing out the original.) He’s a published writer, so a useful resource. It’s important to me that readers give me more back than just whether they liked it or not.

So now I have cut book back to where hero joins army, which as book was too long, brings it to within about 15,000 words of where it should be. (Cut bits now form outline of Books 2 & 3.) It makes a lot more sense like this, i was trying to stuff way too much in.

So the plan now:

  1. i rejig chapters
  2. do chapter summaries and note chapter lengths (will expose where there’s too much stuffed into chapter, or a thread could be expanded)
  3. with saved space, and 15k to play with, i will kick The Thing around, beat it with sticks, and then
  4. send to the next round of readers. Along with First Reader, I have a girl reader and a boy reader for round 2, both scifi fantasy fans.
  5. pray the mould in the house abates and my nose stops running

With spring having sprung here, am hopeful we will at last break the flu cycle – doctors round here say this year, a lot of people who usually have flu shots all ended up with flu so early in the season, they were never able to get well enough to get the shot.

This year, I’m going to have mine right after bloody Christmas.

*****

Oh – and after we’d been waiting for six months (you may remember we rescued a boat from the lake and were told we had salvage rights), the police finally decided to contact someone about the boat, (after Mr’s 4th phonecall).

Once we were pirates....

I’d tried to find a stolen boat register, but only came up with a site that offered to check a list for me for a sizeable fee. We were trying to return the thing to its rightful owner, why should we pay?

Turns out there was a report of a stolen boat. Which anyone in authority could have looked at six months ago. Before the boat killed the lawn.  Still, it’s nice the owner’s finally getting it back.

Us? We didn’t even get a thank you.

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