WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday Week 9

This week is one of those crazy weeks where I am working on three projects. First, I have a short story to write for an anthology, this is a 15k love story and is set in New York and Cardiff. I can’t really say too much more about that other than it is part of an anthology for Indie love and it will be out in May, the cover release will be next month so I will tell you more about this project then.

The second is the edits on a previous short story I want to get those finished and submitted this week even though I do have a little longer. It is for the Books On The Beach 2022 anthology, I don’t have a set release date yet for this one, however, I expect it will be towards the end of July, I really loved this story, it came to me out of the blue and the one friend I have had read it says it deserves to be a full novel.

The final project underway this week is still Rosie, I struggled to get back into this one after setting it aside for so long so I don’t want to push it aside again. Instead I am doing half an hour each day keeping momentum going.

I am behind on where I wanted to be this year but I have also taken on a few extra anthology pieces which have inspired me and got my writing mojo back. I am hoping over the next few weeks I will get back on track.

The plus side is that I have a launch this week…

The book is released tomorrow so you can still pre-order here

I really liked my characters in this book and can’t wait to read the other stories in the book.

I will see you back here next week to share more of my writing journey.

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday – Week 1 2022

This week I am writing mafia, sex, and violence! One of those things is new to me, yes the mafia part lol. I am in the process of finishing up a piece for an anthology. The problem with short stories is that as you create them, you find they take on a life of their own demanding they become a full fledged novel at the very least. So while the short story will be complete in it’s arc these characters will most likely be back at some point in the future.

To research this story I have to say google has been my friend and my enemy, do you know how many hours you can lose doing a google search for gang tattoos…

I can’t show you all the images I saved for inspiration, you will learn about some of them at a later date, if the story makes it to a full book or more.

I also have harassed my friend Jakab for knowledge of his homeland, and I won’t lie his voice inspired my main character Cezar, I swear he sounds just like an 80’s Bond villain. When deciding to write a mafia story I was determined I didn’t want to do Italian Mafia or Russian Bratva, so instead I decided to go with Romanian.

Straight away I hit a snag as most Romanian gangs tended to be more street gangs without a larger infrastructure, however, I got around this by Cezar having being trained and having links to the Bratva. His life, upbringing and parentage are all things that will come into play if the story makes it to a full book or series.

The anthology is available to pre-order on Amazon and I will be back with more details about that next Wednesday!

Fact Vs Fiction

New Year’s Day = Resolutions!

It is January the first and of course that means that it is time to make a load of resolutions in the hope that we will at least keep one or two. This year however I am doing things a little differently and breaking the year down into three month blocks, basically quarters.

The last few months of last year I switched from using my yearly planning ststem to using a three month Legend planner, this is the one I am using though I am sure others are available…

The link for this one is here. I did begin to find that slowly I was becoming more productive in the last few months so I am going to try this method again this year. So rather than a year of resolutions in one go you will get five at a time, some will continue through the year with smaller milestones.

Resolution One – Write every day!

This seems self explanatory, but previously I have set myself targets and then knowing that I cant hit it I have got disheartened, so this time around the target is only 500 words per day. I really do want to write a lot more than that each day, and to get everything out I want to this year I will need to average out 1500 to 2000 a day but by allowing myself those day where 500 words counts I won’t feel like a failure if I don’t manage more on a busy day.

Resolution Two – Publish Rosie

This book is a third written, it is planned, outlined and complete in my head I just need to get the words on paper and get it out. I have an anthology out next month that needs to be finished in the next week, then it is all systems blazing for this project. I am hoping this book will be out in time to take print copies to Telford in March and the exciting this is this will be my first full length romance.

Resolution Three – Publish Role Of The Dice

Like Rosie this book is planned, outlined and a third written, it even has chapters laid out for the rest of the book it just needs me to focus and get it done. While I would love to get this out for Telford I doubt I will get to a point where I have print copies available for both books. My only hope would be possibly to create a book plate so anyone who wants to buy it from Amazon when it comes out, the ones that can’t get to see my later in the year, can add it. The thing to remember is that you can always order print copies of my books, signed and personalised from Raven’s Rest Press which is the name I have given my print imprint.

Resolution Four – Keep up to date with all scheduled posts.

I pay for a service that allows me to schedule posts to FB, Twitter, Instagram etc and when I first got it I was really good at making sure I arranged for a few posts per day so that even on busy days I had a presence. Then after a while, I became disheartened with my writing, as a result I only posted sporadically. This year I am determined to keep on track. Just 30 minutes each day will enable me to keep up with it all and allow me to share more with my readers.

Resolution Five – Lose Weight

Instead of setting a goal for the year I am aiming to divide it up into more manageable sections. So first this first quarter I am aiming to lose 24lbs, this should be easier as you do tend to lose weight quite quickly at the start. I wasn’t sure if I should share my starting weight but I guess it will make me more accountable to myself if no one else. So my starting weight is 283lbs. I will check in on the first of each month as far as my resolutions go and let you know how it is going.

Getting started…

Now, you know my plans for the next three months I would also like to assure you that you will be seeing me more here more as well and I will be posting at least twice a week plus getting the podcast running again. 2022, watch this space.

My Thought on Writing

Losing An Idol.

The thing about getting older is the people who inspired you, that shaped your dreams start to pass away, and not only can you feel this on a personal level but it also makes you question what your own legacy will be.

On the 11th of December 2021 Anne Rice, the woman who taught me to create whole worlds in my head passed away. She wasn’t the first ‘grown up’ author I read, like so many of my generation Stephen King was the natural progression from teenage books and Tolkien, but Anne Rice took it to a whole new level for me.

When I first read Interview With a Vampire I feel in love with the characters but more than that I became totally immersed in the world. Anne had a gift for bringing history to life in a way which was visceral, you could close your eyes and smell the odour from the Mississippi, hear the sounds of New Orleans. She was the one who made me want to be a writer and to be able to create those same emotions in my readers.

Amongst my most treasured possessions are signed book plates that I sent off to receive from her, it was an example of her generosity to her fans. She knew there was no way that every person would ever get to meet her to get a book signed so she arranged for her fans to be able to send a SAE and in return each was supposed to get two signed book plates but I know many like myself received more.

It is hard to accept I will never get a chance to meet her, never get one of those books I love so much personalised. It is even harder to accept that there is a good chance I will never have that thrill of excitement knowing a new instalment of The Vampire Chronicles is on its way.

There is a slim chance that there may be books she has written, that her son Christopher may complete, but it will not be the same. And if there is a full book somewhere I think it will probably be a little like when Terry Pratchett passed, reading that final book makes it just that, final.

But that leads me to the final thought of what do I leave behind, while I am proud of the books I have written I have so many more in my head, so much more I want to share. I will probably never have to sort of following Anne had, in fact that will only ever happen in my dreams lol, but I do have the chance to leave behind a body of work that I can be proud of.

The only person holding me back right now is me, and ironically the loss of my first ever muse is the kick up the backside I need.

Nano21

It’s November 1st! That can only mean one thing…Here we go again!

Yes, its Nano time again and this year I am determined to finally beat it. I have a short story to finish then my first romance novel Rosie which has been stalled over the last few months and I had been hoping to release today. Instead plan B write like a lunatic this month, cover release when I hit 70k in the document (not Nano obviously), set a pre-order date for just before Christmas when I finish the first draft then edit like a lunatic.

Can I do it? The answer is yes, should I attempt to do it probably not but I have been stuck in this rut so long and I will be damned if another year finishes without at least one release. Going forward I intend to release between three and four books a year, a lot of this year has been about working out how to make myself more productive and I am finally getting there. Last week I got back on track with scheduling social media posts, I also got some writing done, and some housework. These things are not a big deal for some but for me they honest are at the minute.

I am breaking down everything into 30 minute section, then breaking that up with twenty minute breaks. The breaks are needed for my physical health more than my mental, if I am sat at my desk in that twenty minutes I need to get up an move about. The same is true in the other direction if I have been doing housework for half an hour I need to sit down and relax before switching to the next task even if that one involves sitting down.

My plan for Nano is to fit in four 30 minute writing slots per day each aimed at just 500 words. It is an amount I can easily type in that time (I am not as quick as I used to be lol) but also by the time I sit down I should have had time to decide where the story is going next. Right now in my short story a woman is tied up in someone’s cellar, for her, at this moment things actually can’t get any worse (I am not allowed to have really bad things happen to her while she is there or they would lol) but she is shortly going to be given hope.

And really when it comes to Nano, that it what it gives us. Hope we can write that novel, hope we will write everyday and hope that even if we don’t we will find a way to get back in the saddle after falling off.

Will I ‘win’ at Nano this year? Yes! Because even if I don’t write 50k in 30 days, all it takes is to write more than the 5k I have written in the last 30 days to be a winner.

Fact Vs Fiction

NanoWrimo 2020- Time To Begin…

It is half past seven, on Sunday morning the 1st of November and I am about to start my Nano campaign for this year, now to be honest every time start this something happens, but this year everything has happened already.

I have actually planned ahead, I have two projects I intend to get finished during Nano. one only needs a couple of thousand words, the other is a project I am really excited about though I have set myself really strict timelines.

I had picked the start of November for a mental reboot, I have bought myself a nice new productivity planner, bought some Slimfast to replace the toast dripping in best butter that I had been having since my back went. The first couple of weeks after my sciatic nerve went with a ping I lost weight, to be fair I was barely conscious and drugged up on morphine, then of course being unable to move tends to lend to self pity and also eating a lot of crap, especially when you have no appetite but have to eat to take the painkillers to get you moving again.

I know a lot of people wait for new year to make a fresh start but this is more getting back into habits that I have settled into on and off the last year, now is the time to pull it all together and get some books out.

I will update you on my progress twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays, Wednesdays I will talk about the projects themselves and Sunday will be more about the numbers. Right I need to go, I have the family coming for Sunday Dinner before we go back into lockdown as I need some furniture moving, and I need to get some words down first!

Book Signings

World Building Talk at #MAE2019

This was the first time I had ever given a live talk on a subject around writing, I do not claim to be an expert but I am on the learning journey and enjoyed sharing a little of what I have learnt so far.

I hope that in the future I will get to do more of these types of things, and any feedback will be gratefully received as long as it is constructive.

8. Vlog Time · Lazy Sunday

Lazy Sunday #13 & Vlog Time #67 – Getting Back In A Rhythm

Well let’s be honest still struggling with the rhythm otherwise you would have got the vlog on Friday, however it was actually filmed in time this week I just forgot to edit it then there was writing, and football, and the day job, well you get the drift.

So it is Sunday and I have been up since silly o’clock despite the monster having a lie in, why is it when they finally do lie in you are always wide awake, I have had a coffee and now have a diet coke opened, however I have invested in some different Twinings herbal infusion things to try including the nettle one which the monster really wants to try after I told him all about nettle tea, I will be more careful what I talk about on the walk to school in future. I don’t actually like tea, and I have always had a mental block when it comes to the fruit tea type things but I am trying really hard to think of them as fruit infusions, if you want to take a peek at the range you can find them here.

I just went and made myself a pomegranate and raspberry infusion so lets get a move on with this weeks blog posts and I will let you know how I do with it once it cools a little…

  1. The first blog I am sharing today is by someone whose black out poetry always blows me away but today’s selection from sharing is an update and a reminder that sometimes you have to walk away from a project to be able to come back with fresh eyes and enthusiasm https://cbwentworth.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/back-to-the-novel-front/
  2. This blog has featured here a couple of times for various reasons, today there are four reasons this post qualifies, first she is the only person I know who takes as many photos as I do when she goes places, secondly she goes to quite a few stately homes I have not visited yet so I can see them through her eyes, thirdly the bakery van reminds me of when I was a kid growing up in the village and we actually used to have one come round (slightly bigger it was in the back of a box van, you stepped in and it was lined with shelves) and the final reason there is a dalek, need I say more? https://lucywilliamspoetry.wordpress.com/2016/06/05/lucys-diary-05062016/
  3. Now this one is actually something I should do, it would make so much more sense to organise the people I follow into authors, Doctor Who related, charity related, celebs etc just need to find the time, maybe this post will give me the final push https://mundusmediaink.com/2016/06/06/get-organized-with-twitter-lists/
  4. Book covers are becoming a big business, everyday I see more people who have just grasped the basics of photo-shop launching themselves as cover artists but I believe that some of the best covers are those that authors turned cover artists create and non more so than this lady, I maybe bias because she did the Voices cover for me but I am in the process of buying a design from her for The Dragon’s Mark so when I recommend her you know I am putting my money where my mouth is https://msfowle.wordpress.com/2016/06/11/new-covers-at-melchelle-designs/
  5. The final one is a little different, I love the idea of interior design, of course the reality with pets and kids will never be those rooms looking back from magazine pages but this blog is actually a really great way to take a peek at how those rooms get designed, about the influences in colour choice and design, this post is about the influence colour in nature has in the design world https://valentinaexpressions.com/2016/06/10/bring-nature-in-flirtatious-mix-valentina-cirasola-interior-designer/

So before I go let me tell you this infusion smells great, however it tastes strange warm to me and I can’t help think it might taste better ice cold, I might leave a little and try it that way later just to see, but I think this might be ne I could get used to drinking in time. So now a quick vlog and then I shall see you next week…

Editing · Marketing · WIP Wednesday

The Hard Work Starts When The Writing Is Done

When you get an idea for a story, when you feel inspired by the voices in your head to sit and write, your biggest challenge is getting your fingers to keep up with the words. You sit and hammer on the keyboard as fast as you can, hundreds if not thousands of words flowing from you at each sitting. Eventually you reach the end and then the real work starts.

I think it is fair to say right now I hate editing, I am more or less in the process of editing voices from one document to another because despite hitting a clear formatting button something is wrong with the file and it keeps resetting things I don’t want. To be fair this is working in my favour in the long run though as with each pass I am doing I am picking up on more silly errors. You know the type, the silly typos spell-check misses because nothing is spelt wrong you just intended to type on and ended up with no. But even this is not the hardest bit, because you know this is the necessary evil you have to go through to get that book out there.

The hardest part for most of us is the next stage.

You have your book, it looks all pretty, you have editing, double checked, banged your head against the wall, edited again, bought proof copies, spotted a couple of error you still missed and fixed them, then you hit the publish button and any confidence you had disappears.

You now have to sell your book, it sounds so simple, Twitter is full of people selling books but be honest how often have you every clicked on a link? You share to your Facebook page but unless you have already got a few books out there selling well most of the people seeing the posts are friends who either believe you should give them a copy for free or they want to support you but they are not really interested in buying or reading your books. Even when you do a give-away and people read it so few leave reviews that it makes it impossible to bump your books up the Amazon logistics chain to get it to a point where they get recommended.

Amazon are also now taking away the cheque option for payment, no I admit the idea of waiting until you have earned enough to receive a cheque was frustrating but more frustrating is trying to find a bank account here in the UK where you will not end up paying the bank more than you are receiving from Amazon.  The cheapest one I have now found is going to cost me £2 for each overseas payment received which means I need to earn at least that each months from book sales before I cover the costs and that goes for each market.  I don’t know if the decision to change this policy was due to people taking too long to earn enough to receive the cheque and it was messing up Amazon’s books or whether it is a way to reduce the number of people who decide to self publish but it does mean that instead of moving on to the next project the amount of time taken up doing marketing will have to increase.

Of course it is not all doom and gloom if you can just stick at it and increase the number of titles you have out there up for sale, and that is may aim for the next six months, life is going to get hectic and I might miss out on some of the summer sun by being sat at my desk but I want this enough to make those sacrifices.

Does the change to the way Amazon pays effect you? Any tips for marketing?