Onward and Upward

Essential Writing Support

It’s a sunny day here in Luxembourg. The heatwave has eased, the rain has stopped, and it’s perfect weather for sitting out on the patio and pouring thoughts and words into my laptop.

I started looking through my Scrivener folder of “Unfinished Works“. More accurately, it should be called, “Started and Stalled“.

Some authors struggle to find ideas. I’m of the other type: story ideas constantly tumble through my mind, especially when I’m in the middle of redrafting a story. (I HATE redrafting.) So I type out a few notes in my “Unfinished Works” folder and get back to the task in hand.

(It also happens when I’m swimming, which is a terrible time to get an idea as my iPhone is not waterproof!)

Every now and again, I look through my Unfinisheds to see if there’s anything worth developing. It’s usually an unfulfilling task. I find sketches, first lines or paragraphs, or even whole chapters that lead nowhere I can follow – yet. Worse, I find the plots of movies and novels released AFTER I noted down the original idea. I really wish I had one of those author mind-reading gadgets! Continue reading

Mid-Year Thoughts

Here we go again, sliding past the year’s halfway point – the longest day (or the shortest day if you’re Down Under).

The Earth just clocked-up another 470 million km (282 million miles) – a half orbit of the sun – since a cold and snowy December 31st. And what’s changed? Continue reading

April & May

 

BSFA Ytterbium

Chocaholics and parents might have noticed it was Easter again last month. To me, that meant eating chocolate at the British Science Fiction Association‘s Annual Convention!

Code-named Ytterbium, it was held this year at London Heathrow’s Park Inn.

As always, I rolled up ready to meet old friends, make new ones, and learn about current trends in Science Fiction. And I did all three!

I was really pleased to meet Geoffrey Carr of the Economist and chat about a zillion things, including his first venture into Sci-Fi, Genesis.

Sadly, our intense chatter left little chance for anyone else to get a word in.

Happy, too, for my good friend David M. Allan, who just signed up for a sequel to his novel The Empty Throne.

Happy Returns

I returned home to a garden badly in need of attention. We sanded-down and re-stained the shed, which had badly deteriorated in the past 4 years of weather despite the 7 years’ guarantee of the original coating manufacturer. (Huh!) Of course, the work was disrupted by blazing sunshine, rainstorms, hailstorms, and even a fluttering of snow.

(Happy Spring, everyone in the northern hemisphere!)

The Luxembourg ban on using power tools on Sundays and public holidays didn’t help. (FYI, there are three midweek public holidays here in May.) But I do appreciate the quiet Sundays when I don’t need to get out and make noise.

Writing Progress

As usual, life intrudes on art. I am way behind on my online critique group contributions but managed to complete two short stories in time to submit to anthologies just before their deadlines. I also had to make serious changes to my upcoming classic noir novel, Private Vices, but that should be off to my trusted advisor this month for a final overview before I send it out to Advance Readers.

RIGHT! Back to work.

 

Winter Is Coming

No, not another “Game of Thrones” review.

It’s snowing in Luxembourg, Halloween is here and there’s only 55 days left to Christmas at time of writing. (To keep track of how time’s running out for your gift shopping, click here.)

And it’s been another month of ups and downs in a writer’s life…

A Short Story Published

“Your Secret Library” Online Magazine – Halloween edition!

Here’s your free read of seasonal horror stories
It includes my short story “Let The Children Sleep

Newsletters and Amazon

Like many other authors, I’ve had to change my newsletter mailing company as they weren’t delivering on the promised delivery. There’s so much admin involved: migrating my mailing lists, setting up new signup forms and “thank you” mails, creating newsletter templates, changing the links to my signup form in all the books and everywhere else I published it.

Amazon continues to have problems retaining valid book reviews. So far (touch wood) I’ve not lost any more, but other writers are again seeing theirs erased. I’m watching and waiting…

The Writing Part

And so to the stuff I am supposed to be doing – writing!

My classic noir is in final revision with a target publication date of January 1st. A dozen of my short stories are with various online critique groups.

The new covers for my sci-fi trilogy seem to be doing the job, as my sales are climbing. (Someday soon, I have to write the sequel.)

So…

I’ll get back to making imaginary things happen to people who don’t exist.

Happy Halloween!

The Writing Game


This writing game is a bit of a strange adventure.

Telling Lies

A fiction writer tells lies in a vacuum. S/he tells lies about things that didn’t happen to people who don’t exist. And there might be no one listening… Continue reading

Guilty As Charged

 


In my previous post, I dangled some “click bait” about how I was over-committed, then offered only a cliffhanger. My bad.

Seriously, I found myself in a time bind over the last few months… Continue reading

Struggling Author


It’s been a long month.

Apart from the usual writerly stuff (you know, the stuff a writer thinks s/he’s going to be doing like… er… writing) authors across the world have been struggling with Amazon‘s widespread and apparently random deletion and blocking of reviews and trying to navigate the European Union’s new GDPR law.

Read on… Continue reading

The Price of Fame

Beware Book Pirates!

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been running an Instafreebie promotion (where science fiction readers sign up to my newsletter and receive a free copy of my novel, “FACES OF JANUS“).

Then Google Alerts notified me that the novel was available on a few pirate sites. I checked and found that one site claimed not only to have my novels but also every anthology I ever was published in. Some charge for their copies (and keep the income). Others hand out copies for free. Forever.

I explored a few pirate sites’ extensive book lists. Some of these pirates claim to have as many ebooks as Amazon! Most likely, these were cover shots only and downloaders would get a nice virus instead of my book. (Be warned!)

As my free offer was limited in time and scope, I was at first unhappy about this. But I decided to ignore it, because… Continue reading

Snippets

KINDLE/NOOK AND NOVELS GIVEAWAY COMPETITION

The contest I announced last week is now over and the winners’ names will be released next week. So keep those fingers crossed.

REVERSALS

(Apologies to followers who received a draft copy of this post, sent in error last week. And this contains an update.)

It’s well known that book reviews are important to readers making buying choices. My two Janus Paradisi novels enjoyed a straight flush of 5-star reviews and I was a happy man!

Of course, I’m eager for more reviews and took a look to see if I’d garnered any. I found the opposite: a whole bunch of reviews had vanished.

Of course, I queried this with Amazon: no reply.

I queried again: no reply – for a few days.

Then came the good news: Amazon reinstated those reviews after investigating. Thank you, Zon!

I want to make it clear that I strongly approve of Amazon’s campaign to stamp out fake and bought reviews that boost a rich author’s lousy book to top position, misleading book-buyers. I guess I was just collateral damage, but anyways, Amazon refunded me the stars and so now I’m happy again.

An author friend suggested I’d drawn attention by being a new author with 100% 5-star reviews. So now I’m hoping for a few 4-stars… although it feels odd to be wanting worse reviews to enhance credibility and sales.

Ah, well. Such is the modern world.

SUCCESS STORY: DAVID BRADLEY

I had to mention this. You have to hand it to this guy: following a long list of acting appearances including the Harry Potter movies, Captain America, and Broadchurch, he’s been in both Game of Thrones and Dr. Who.

Well done, that man! And he’s from Yorkshire! Just like me.

So we’ll be looking for his appearance in Westworld soon?

Happy reading, until next time.

 

Faces Of Janus: 100% 5 star!

Reader Reviews

51i8civxul-_ac_us240_ql65_With Janus Challenge straining at the release leash as March approaches, I’m starting to gather 5-star reviews for Faces of Janus (the first in my Janus Paradisi series)

Samples of kind words from readers… Continue reading