Tag Archives: The Birthday Dragon

Something Horrible

So i found out a really awful thing. My first book, Polo Shawcross: The Birthday Dragon (Book 1 of the Dragon Quartet), has been out since 2011. Since then it’s sat happily on the top of the Top Rated Sci Fi and Fantasy lists in its categories. By end of January it was TOP of entire site. Yep, non-fiction/fiction, any length. Highest rated Free book.

One of the others got a 4 star review, which was disappointing, but i just got on with life.

But something happened to Book 1. Someone gave it a 4 star review in February. Oh well, i thought, has to happen sometimes. And some people don’t ever give 5 star reviews. I’m never going to please everyone. I was a bit upset, but managed to tell myself a few platitudes like those above and get over it.

I kept promoting my books on Twitter, and did notice my only sales and most of my downloads were when i did so. No Smashwords traffic to speak of.

That’s when i noticed something. Something horrible. Book 1 had disappeared from the Top Rated listings. Just gone. I looked and looked, and was about to contact Smashwords to ask what had happened, when i found it. On Page 22 of the Top Rated listings, where literally nobody would ever see it.

I also realised there were others like me. 14 or more 5 star reviews, but one 4 star – and suddenly we were rated lower than anyone with only ONE 1-star review. I contacted Smashwords, politely. Yes, they said, they were aware of the issue, but they had no plans to do anything about it, other than ‘We’re working on a way to make it more fair. However, unfortunately there’s no date on when it will be implemented.

Meanwhile, as i said to Smashwords, my entire marketing plan – based on my books being high rated and 1’s across the site, just got harpooned. Fortunately, the two most recently released were charting on the Bestseller lists but only on the front page if you narrowed the field (by selecting a length or division of the genre like Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Fantasy » General). Most people don’t get that far.

The first two (free so not on the “best seller” lists) were coming up the Most Downloads charts, but thanks to not showing on the Highest Rated charts, they were not getting the same exposure and dropped off the first two pages of those (again, unless you narrow the field to over 100k, Free).

I was miffed over the 4 star reviews, but then i thought about it. There are people there with many more 5 star reviews than me, and thanks to one 4-star review they’re also suddenly invisible. So i wrote again to Smashwords, and the CEO got back to me – yep, Mark Coker at Smashwords. He knows it’s a problem, along with the gaming of reviews (aka ‘fake reviews’).

Basically, it’s unfair that books with more than one 5-star review are behind books with only one. Sure, if i have fourteen 5 stars, you do too, we’re equal, until i get rated lower, that one 4-star? I get to be behind you in the listings, fair enough. But not if i have 20 5-star ones. Especially not if you only have one 5-star review and i have 20.

It’s also too easy to mess up a rival author’s ratings. During my investigations of some of the authors who should be on the front page (with 20+ 5-star reviews and 1 4-star one) it was one reviewer who’d knocked them off the front page. As reviewers are anonymous, it’s a system made to be corrupted. Especially when the one reviewer is possibly not a reviewer, but an author out to make themselves number 1.

There are signs of this on several of the books that are only being held off the top spots by one bad review. Or two of their books knocked down by the same ‘reviewer’.

I’ve written before about fake reviews on Smashwords, and how Smashwords (when alerted, and after their own investigations, which admittedly can take OVER a year) removed sometimes a hundred of them from authors who proved to be faking their glowing 5 star reviews.

I won’t be number 1 if they change this, by the way – there are several books ahead of mine (currently showing on page 33 of highest rated Sci fi) which will take over the 1 spot. Which i’ll be fine with, because it’s FAIR.

Anyway, currently waiting for action from Smashwords – which won’t be in 2018 but is on their list of Things We Want To Change. So if you think it should be changed, and SOON – vote in the poll, leave a comment, and i’ll make sure Mark Coker gets to hear about it. Smashwords, like all good companies, has excellent communication between the people on the front lines and the boss.

See what i did there? Yep, deliberately being nice, after a bunch of critique. Why? Because deep down, i love Smashwords, i love what they’re trying to do, i love that i get to play publisher without massive personal investment.

I don’t think the review system works – but the rest of the site is  getting better all the time.

My books are available on Smashwords (see below for individual links)  

Polo Shawcross: The Birthday Dragon is 34 on the Most Downloaded Free Epic General Sci Fi (not bad seeing it’s only been free for less than 6 months and there’s books that have been free for 8 or more years in the listings). #38 on the matching Fantasy list.

It would be top of the Highest Rated (aside from the others above me with more 5-star reviews) except for that one 4-star review. It makes it to 18 if i narrow the field to just free epic general sci fi – just a reminder, before that one 4 star review, it was top rated free book on the whole site, all genres.

Mind you, there’s a writer there with 34 reviews, 32 of them 5 star ones, then someone decided to harpoon them, and the last two reviews were 4 star, knocking them even lower down the listings than me. (The more 4 star reviews you get, no matter how many 5 star ones you have, the worse your score gets – yep, that’s REALLY unfair.)

The others are suffering from similar problems – without the good reviews giving them front page exposure, they’re simply invisible. So i have to keep pushing my books here and on Twitter.

Seriously, this is not how i thought being a writer would be.

So – *drumroll*

For your reading delectation – rollicking sexy adventures, laugh-out-loud funny right to the end, and more schemers than you’ve seen since the last ep of Game of Thrones…

Book 1 – Polo Shawcross: The Birthday Dragon (free since December 2017)

Introducing  Polo Shawcross, the wannabe Dragon and stoner, the man to whom omnisexual isn’t just a label. And what did he get up to in the vegetable garden with that diplomat’s wife? Polo just wants a quiet life, one with wild women, some men, good weed and food. Something interesting to read. His family however have other ideas, and keep trying to kill him. Genetic engineering was always going to be flawed when you started with humans.

Book 2 – Polo Shawcross: Dragon Soldier (free: released in December 2017)

After a drunken binge across a kingdom or two, Polo is in trouble. With a capital A that stands for Army. Weed will keep him sane, but staying alive is trickier. He can save himself, he just has to remember, he’s Dragon, deep down. Dragon were made for fighting. He’ll be fine. Won’t he?

Book 3 – Polo Shawcross: Dragon Skin ($2.99 released Dec 2017)

Still alive! Free! Polo gets his perfect life back. Although there’s that king with the crush and the queen who’s off limits. Polo’s trying out diplomacy as a career path, failing to keep secrets or his trousers on, and his family are still trying to kill him. Finally finding the way to change shape is the key to survival.

Book 4 – Polo Shawcross: Dragon Outlaw ($2.99 released Dec 2017)

Polo can escape, but he’ll lose his perfect life as one of the privileged few close to the King. Choices, choices. And despite finally figuring out the shape-changing, he can’t get the people part of life right. People are Dragon and human, and Dragon were made from humans, and that was always going to be a bad idea. Kill or be killed, the law of the jungle comes out of the warzone and to Court. Polo surrenders. Last book in this series, but gives the kick-off for the new Polo Shawcross books to come.

Oh – and the best joke of all? I’ve issued DCMA takedown notices to about 15 people in the last 2 months – yep, people pirating my work and selling it – or giving it away for ‘site dollars’ on various ‘let’s pretend we’re not pirating but we are’ sites. (I found them via Blasty – every writer should belong – and if you’ve made some money, you can invest in their premium version to do the DCMA Takedown notices for you.)

The joke is (and it’s on me), if the people too cheap to spend $2.99 on a book – or those too lazy to realise that the guy getting site dollars for providing my books ‘free’ was simply downloading already free books – had all gone to Smashwords (or Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, etc – everywhere except Amazon), i’d be top of all the sales and download charts. Some of my books are free, but they ARE NOT Creative Commons – nobody except Smashwords and affiliates are allowed to distribute them.

The pirates boasted of 100’s of downloads. Hundreds. I haven’t sold that many in 5 months. I did get that many downloads over the period, but the lost revenue and lost downloads in the first few months of publication can never be recovered. The guy getting site dollars literally put my books up for free download from his site within a week of publication.

However, it’s part of the internet. And even big authors with loads of DRM protection on their books are getting pirated. I know because i saw their books on the same sites that were pirating mine.

So of course, being a good net citizen and a fellow-writer, i made sure i contacted at least one or two major authors (or their publishers) whose work was being illegally sold/given away. I figured even if the pirates didn’t give a shit about me, someone like Simon & Schuster would make them sit up and pay attention. It worked. Those who didn’t immediately remove my books did so once i put the big guys on them.

copyright 2018 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

Advertisements

I’m going to kill my computer

Well, i don’t think i’ll have to, the bastard is dying by itself. I can’t use it for more than a few minutes without it overheating. The motherboard, power supply, and dvd drive have all decided to conk out to varying degrees. It is 8 yrs old, so i should probably be amazed it lasted this long.

It all started with Mr’s (also 8 yrs old) computer, i was busy trying to get it working, and its power supply started making weird noises, the screen refused to work, and eventually i realised the main prob was the motherboard (though the power supply did die too). A friend sent me a new motherboard (an oldie he had hanging around), which also turned out to be stuffed. *sigh*

Not to worry, someone gave me an old laptop. Turned out they stopped using it after it had coffee spilled inside it. So it’s not the most reliable computer in the world and it is possibly the slowest. It’s ok for non-net work, if you make sure you save stuff separately.

So i couldn’t put out Books 2 and 3, though i thought i was ready, because i can’t promote them without being able to be on the web rather a lot. I’ve stuck my head up on Twitter a couple of times, cursing the IT revolution, but i don’t have a comp that works for any length of time, or that i can risk using for long, so can’t stay to chat.

To top things off, i’ve been so sick i didn’t really notice it was 2015. Turned out my liver was trying to tell me something (stop eating cream, the gist of it) so on top of my usual health probs i had some wonderful new ones.

That’s where i’m at. Waiting until i have the $ to buy a new motherboard, (plus chips and RAM), power supply, and DVD drive and trying to restore some level of personal health. The personal health bit is going fine, (exercise, reducing fats a lot and carbs a bit, the logical stuff), but the computer stuff not so much.

Of course, the car has to take precedence as it needs a major service and without it i really can’t function. Whereas i only think i can’t function without a comp.

So the really unreliable laptop is being pulled into use, (aided by memory sticks as i can’t trust the hard disk) for another edit of Books 2 and 3, which i haven’t touched for 6 months while i tried to figure out first what was wrong with the various comps, waited for parts, tried the parts, was stymied, cried, screamed, and then did it several times over. I even tried to get credit, but as i’ve never had credit (except from the phone co, the electricity co and Mum), they won’t give me any.

I’m hoping to be back online properly within 3 months. Yep, a fixed and limited income with an ability to budget means i can pinpoint the moment i should able to fix my desktop and restore my virtual life. And it gives me time to do a nice polish of the remainder of the trilogy.

All things for a reason? If anyone sees God, please ask her wtf. Ta.

copyright 2015 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 


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


Sorry, Forgot You Were There…

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

The time while i waited gave me thinking space.

****

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

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

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

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

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

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

Polo Shawcross wishes for a new life, but the Birthday Dragon brings a ghost who says he’s not one, a best friend who thinks he’s gay, and a very bad reputation. Polo’s crazy extended family keep trying to kill him, and he becomes an unwilling party to treason. Nanny Black says he’s like the goddess of death with testicles. Despite this, he’s considered a fine companion for the heir to the throne.

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

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

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

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

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

****

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

Thanks for your patience.

copyright 2012 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Competition time oh yes

I should probably write something here.

SOMETHING.

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

*sounds of screaming*

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

****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

****

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

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

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

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

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

WINNERS OF ECOPY OF THE BIRTHDAY DRAGON

@jolantru @FaineBlackadder @cravenheart @Nyx2701

copyright 2012 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Bikkies of Doom

It’s time i posted something, and recipes just don’t fit Twitter…

My Bikkies of Doom (US people read Cookies for Bikkies) are legendary. They’re also illegal. But here is the base recipe. This is for @auntie_abc who asked.

Choc Chip Bikkies (Sweet Biscuits or Cookies)

Note: Australian cup measurements

  • 1 egg
  • 125 g butter
  • 160g (1 AU cup) brown sugar
  • 218g (3C) plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder (or just use 218g SR flour, no baking powder)
  • pinch salt
  • your choice white/dark/milk choc bits  – total 75g  – i use mix of dark and white chips.
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Before you start ‘cooking’ – some prep

  • Put baking paper on a baking sheet.
  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Melt butter.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, salt.  Mix with fork again just before adding, get some air in there.
  1. Beat sugar and egg until frothy. Add vanilla, stir.
  2. Add melted butter to egg mix. Will possibly go into clotted horrible mess. Don’t panic. Keep stirring.
  3. When smooth, add flour mix and chocolate.  Again, the clotted mess thing. Don’t panic. Keep stirring.
  4. Take two spoons and use to drop walnut sized balls onto baking tray. Allow spread-space. I can fit a dozen on my cookie slide.
  5. 10-12 minutes or so in my  (crap) oven. If yours is fan-forced, be careful.
  6. Take out when just cracking on top, leave on tray to cool (will still be soft in middle) for five minutes. (Will be just darkening at edges, don’t brown all over, too dry.)
  7. Cool on wire rack. Or just eat them raw.
  8. They crisp up if you’re not in Sydney humidity. Will keep for up to a week in a airtight container, better in first 4 days.

Very forgiving recipe – i have on occasion completely mixed it up and added butter after flour – it still works if you just keep mixing.

For rich chocolatey variant, add tablespoon of cocoa to flour.

****

Consider this the obligatory New Year Post because otherwise you’re not getting one.

Chinese New Year is later in the month, and i’ll be paying attention again, with some giveaways of Book 1 to mark the beginning of the Year of the Dragon.

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

Book Two is coming along, nearly ready for beta reading – hoorah!

copyright 2012 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Forty Days and Forty Nights….

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

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

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

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

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

****

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

****

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

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

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

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

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

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