Tag Archives: The Thing

It’s a Brand New Day

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

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

Advertisements

Interesting times

Well, here i am, November, and i should have a working computer in a week or so. I’ve got a computer that works but has a dodgy mouse plate (every so often it goes rogue and hits links or marks text) which can’t be trusted online, so i’ve been using that to edit the trilogy. It’s also got a coffee-soaked hard disk, so i’m saving to memory sticks, clouds, and everywhere else i can cadge some disk space.

The editing is nearly done – i’m on Book 3, and the other two are done. I can’t believe it’s taking so long. I’m at the point of giving up writing and taking up something like illuminating manuscripts by hand, you know, something quick and totes 21st C.

Meanwhile, despite liver getting steadily better, i’ve had non-stop health probs, including so many cancer scares i’m almost blase over blood tests, MRI’s, and CAT scans. Almost. MRI’s are an exercise in Zen and the Art of Keeping On Breathing, and I still find waiting for results is terrifying. So far, so benign.

Tip for MRI machines – put in good earplugs and then their headphones over the top. Doesn’t kill the noise, but brings the constant disco thump down to ‘there’s a nightclub next door’ instead of ‘i’m lying with my head in a speaker at a Boney M concert’.

Latest was ‘you may have some kind of sinus cancer’ and a CAT scan that showed up what they thought was a brain tumour. It was, but it’s apparently not the dangerous kind. Turns out all those years abusing my body are really starting to pay off.

Anyway, weird thing about being away from Twitter this long? I’m cured. I don’t even think about it much. Which is a worry, as i am going to need to go back soon, at least to let people know my books are out.

What if i’m like a bornagain non-smoker, and can’t stop myself from criticising other people’s obsessions with baby hippos, politics, or i-Things? It’s a worry. Still, I gave up smoking and didn’t become a bornagain, so I’ll try to have faith.

One day at a time.

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


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/


Self-imposed Social Media Exile: Day 37

  • I have begun to hallucinate conversations with people online. I have them in my head rather than logging on. This saves heaps of time and reduces chances of arguments.
  • The baby hippo pics are not up to par. Have been forced to watch National Geographic doco’s to get my hit.
  • my Klout is in freefall. Down to 45! Despite formerly being a well-respected social media guru (over 50 on Klout) I’ve now lost my social media guru-status.
  • The Birthday Dragon (my debut novel) is sliding up and down the various charts on Smashwords – last seen at number 6 on Highest Rated but it’s fallen off the Best Sellers – i did suspect it showing there was a glitch, or that books on Smashwords only had to sell a copy a month to rate.
  • Yet again, some hot young pop starlet is supposed to be looking at one of my songs with view to recording it. Goddamn it, stop getting my hopes up, bitchez! Record something, then don’t wipe out on drugs or unsuitable men, and make my freaking fortune. Mind you, you killing yourself could be good for sales. *looks thoughtful*

****

In other news: I have pretty much given up on my first book (The Birthday Dragon – yep the one on the right of this post with the pretty cover). Not completely, just on spending much more time pushing it for now, as for the first 10 weeks of its publication – while it topped all the charts – it was completely invisible.

So all the work i did (and the work done by all my lovely friends who actually bought it, or won it as a prize, and were kind enough to do reviews for me) was pretty much pointless.

 ****

This last has induced a state of Siamese Zen™ which means instead of being really that chilled, i’m a bit tight-wired, and might kill something. Oh, yeah, the book was invisible because i made the mistake of marking it Adult.

I figured seeing people were having sex i probably should. It’s a novel for adults, with adult themes, including frank discussions of various sexualities, pretty constant drug use, and a hero whose main motivation is usually getting laid, so i figured Adult it should be.

Turns out that was huge mistake, one that took months to discover. As most of the Erotica isn’t Adult rated, there’s no need for The Birthday Dragon to be as it’s a novel, not a pornographic work (it’s also known as #TheThing when on Twitter).

Especially because Smashwords was completely blocking any passers-by from seeing the book.  The only people who could see it were those went direct via a link  (which meant usually people who happened to follow me on Twitter), or those who knew the site and had switched off the Adult filter, which is in about 4pt type in the top right of the page.

*sounds of screaming*

****

But hey, i did a good deed, told another author about it – her book seemed excellent (from my glance at the sample), she’d been published 6 months longer than i had, and was invisible. How could i not say anything? She’d marked hers Adult because she used the F word.

We were both left shaking our heads (and no doubt both using the F word and worse rather a lot) at how Smashwords never bothered to say, in BIG letters, that

Adult means Nobody Can See You.

****

Yeah, so i was feeling really fucked off a trifle dispirited at that, especially since i’d wasted rather a lot of time both promoting my book and trying to find out why, after the first few weeks, there was no buzz. No interest. Nobody was even looking.

Finally, the fact that it was invisible was revealed, just as i completely ran out of energy and time. Oh and sanity. That’s where i’m at. Like a sensible person, i’m writing Book 2, and will relaunch Book 1 when i do.

I’m very glad there are people out there who liked Book 1 and are prepared to say so in public. I’m hoping at least some of you meant it about wanting to buy Book 2. Which reminds me, if you read it and haven’t done a review, please do (at link just above), they make a huge difference to site visibility and thus to people’s interest.

This time, while you’re all enthused and telling people about the book, they WILL be able to find it easily on Smashwords.

*bangs head on desk rather a lot, for a very long time*

****

  • When i write about 2011, it will be the “Year of The Headdesk”.

****

Book 2 is currently titled “Dragonskin” – as yes, you guessed it, this it the book where Polo learns to control shapechanging. Of course, being Polo, he’s going to take the scenic route to that discovery.

The half-brother second-in-line to the throne is still out to get our hero, thinking up inventive ways to kill him slowly, but he has to let the enemy in the north take their turn. The heir to the throne, having driven Polo away, is still plotting to take over the world. He may just manage it.

Polo’s just trying to survive. Little matter of having joined the army while on a drunken bender. He has three years.

****

I’ve shifted my estimated publication date for Book 2 – which was “before Christmas 2011” – because no way will i make that.

Currently aiming at “first couple of months of 2012” and earlier the better, but i’ll keep you posted.

Now shoo, i’m busy writing.

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