Friday, March 27, 2015

I'm back

Hi guys, I'm back. My financial situation has not yet improved, but I'm giving it all I have to find a way. I'm looking for alternate ways to supplement my income until I earn more from my writing, and I'm trying to be positive. It's always hardest just before things get better, I've read that in so many places and since it's quite comforting to believe it I choose to do so. It must be so damned hard right now because things are about to fall into place for me!

I've written a new little book, another one about a cat. This one is about a British cat called Baby. Baby is brash, extroverted and completely convinced that absolutely everybody loves him - even when evidence points to the contrary. He had an experience recently that changed his entire life and gave me the inspiration to write about him. As usual the book is free for a limited time, only two days left because really I should have written this post yesterday but migraine...

Anyway, here's the link: The Cat on the Wrong Side of the Door

Go check it out and send all your friends to look at it too. Let's see if we can get this book into the top 100 free kindle ebooks before the promotion ends :)

Writing: it's a solitary occupation that requires deep introspection and a willingness to share a part of yourself with your audience. No matter how absurd the setting may be (if it's a fantasy populated with unicorns that poop rainbows for instance) the story in a book should feel real. The reader should be able to identify with or relate to the characters and to have an emotional response to them. The author almost inevitably puts a part of him or herself into each and every character, or a part of you.

Authors tend to be introverts of course, but at the same time watch the people around them and study their behaviour and mannerisms. Authors are trying to figure out what makes people tick,  not only the people who stand out from the crowd but also ordinary people. They study people like entomologists study insects. They mentally dissect an individual's actions and reactions, and try to assign a motive for the things they see happening.

I have had people ask if they will be appearing in one of my books and the answer is yes, probably. It may not be you exactly, but perhaps a way of speaking, or a mannerism, or a behavioural quirk that I find interesting. Everybody is material - friends, family, acquaintances and people I see on television or read about in the media.

I am not a social person, I can be anti-social on a scale that has my more extroverted friends and family members scratching their heads. I hate crowds and have panic attacks if I am in a large gathering. I far prefer the company of my cats to people which can make others think I am lonely. I am not lonely, I just don't need as many people in my life that others do. I am not unique, there are many like me but of course we don't form groups or some such thing!

However, I find people fascinating and if I do go to a function I am completely happy sitting in a corner watching. I'm gathering material, observing and collating in my head. An author shamelessly listens in - on conversations at the next table, one sided phone conversations, arguments with a person in authority, everything that people do in their day to day lives. It's not snooping, it's gathering material.

But it is the author, it is me, that goes into the characters the most. The protagonist, the antagonist, the bit player - they all have something of me that makes up who they are. Characters in a book are not real people, but amalgamations. They are part author, part friend, part someone the author read about and part fits the personality profile character from who knows where. To be believable the character must behave in a way consistent with the way real people behave. That is why authors use real people, or parts of them. That is why I use me, and I use you.

So if you think you recognise yourself in one of my books you are right, or at least partly right :)

You see? Writers are ever so slightly crazy :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Have you ever felt pushed by unseen forces in your life? All my life I've felt these pushes. It seems that as soon as I think I'm where I'm supposed to be and I start to relax life says Ha! Tricked you!

I know I've made poor decisions in my life, and bad choices. I've tried to understand and forgive myself for all of them. I've tried to start again and get it right, to do what I was born to do and stop wasting my life. Everything seemed to come together, everything seemed to be working and I really believed I was finally on the right path. It didn't matter that it is a path a lot of people thought I was crazy for travelling, it was my path and it felt right.

But now finances are forcing me to at least change how I'm doing things and maybe change everything. I don't want to do that, you can't imagine how deeply I don't want to do that. I've begun making a life here and to feel comfortable. I want to be comfortable!

There have been times where I have hated it here, the dirt and the dust, the filth. I've lost my temper over the difficulties in the smallest things like getting a decent can opener or egg flip. I've struggled with the language and the customs and the food. I've longed for decent curtains (still do) and good milk and any number of small conveniences. I've wished for rain and grass and flowers and a garden.

But now, with the threat of losing it all I realise that I don't want to leave it. This is my little corner in the world and I want to keep it (but not the curtains). I want to keep my cats and my street cats and this apartment. I want to complain about the milk and the cheese and the laundry guys forgetting to send back a shirt. I want to buy food from the Syrian bakery and travel at life threatening speeds in a taxi that badly needs some air in its tyres or new shock absorbers or a new cv joint or most likely all three. I want to sit on my balcony in the dawn light, eating my breakfast and listening to silence. And I want to write.

I'm so close to success I can taste it. My first book is selling steadily, my little books continue to sell steadily, I have a new short read book I'm about to publish and I'm working on another book that insisted on being written. I don't want to give up now when I'm almost there.

I have options, I hope. I'm trying to get writing jobs on various writing sites - problem with them is that so many require you to be a US citizen. I've decided to write the prequel to Zora's Dawn and publish it and Zora's Dawn on Amazon without waiting for agents or publishers. That will potentially earn money faster than waiting for an agent to pick me up and then find a publisher - that all takes months and I don't have months. I'll try to find an online tutoring job too.

I don't know if any of this will solve my problem but I hope it will. I want so badly to finally be able to stop worrying about how to pay for everything - and by everything I mean a roof over my head and food on the table (a figurative table since the apartment doesn't have one but you get the gist).

I can only believe that I am once again being pushed in a different direction to get me where I'm supposed to be - I don't know quite what I'm supposed to be doing but I'm being pushed, I assume, because I didn't figure it out fast enough on my own.

So, I'm teetering on the brink of the black hole but I'm determined not to fall in, I'm determined that somehow I'll find a way to get financial security sooner and not later (I was prepared for later as making a successful writing career requires patience), I'm determined that I will grab life by the throat and say enough, stop jerking my chain, let me live in peace.

I'll get back to you on how it works out...

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My head's going to explode!

Aww you guys, you come here and check every day, and like a bad landlady I don't show up. Well I'm here now :)

I have news, nothing earth shattering - well actually it is quite literally earth shattering, at least part of it. So I'll start with the earth shattering. Outside my apartment building is a backhoe with a giant jack hammer attached and it is attacking the ground, unearthing chunks of concrete and rocks and breaking them up. It's been going allllllllllllll day and I'm about ready to shatter along with the rocks. I hope it won't be for much longer since I think that the main issue is the old foundations for a little building that was there originally. I hope so.

While digging and clearing, this backhoe most helpfully also cleared the phone line to this building and so I have no ADSL internet, just the USB wifi which costs a whole lot more for a whole lot less data. I've no idea when the line will be repaired, it sure would have been useful if the people responsible had checked to see if there were any underground cables before they started. But you know, that would be reasonable and responsible and suchlike. Who would do that? Am I miffed? Just a teensy weensy bit.

So my day has been full of the musical tones of a huge jackhammer. I can only be thankful I am on the fifth floor and not the ground floor. Even here the floor is reverberating. So is my head. I've been trying to write but getting nowhere at all. It's like the words that circle in my head have been stirred up and they've fractured. So instead  of the smooth series of circles full of words I've got a jumbled up mess. The letters are all at different angles, the words are scrambled and nothing can flow. So when I try to write they get stuck and all I can feel is my head vibrating and the words all tangled up inside.

I'm getting this blog written but it's not as free flowing as usual. I'm making spelling errors and having difficulty getting the wording correct. I keep having to stop and think, which when I write is not something I usually have to do. Generally it all just streams out onto the screen and I don't think at all until I come to edit.

Anyway, enough of my woes. The other news is that I've started the second author page, the one about Sabrina. Here's the link:

Now onto other news. No news on the find an agent front, other than that I've tweaked the synopsis and the query letter and sent them off to a few more. It's the wait that is so frustrating, so it's best to focus on other things while waiting which is what I've been doing.

Yesterday I got a huge morale boost with a fantastic review for one of my little short read books. Reviews are very important to an author - well to this author anyway. They are a means of getting feedback from readers, to know if the book has resonated or not. I feel validated in my choice of career when I read a great review like this one, it really lifted my spirits. I'll share the link for that too in case you're curious as to what makes me smile:

It's the second review :)

Other than that it's been write, plan, keep up with the two new pages, and write some more. It's finding the balance between them all that's a bit tricky but it does seem to be evening out. Well until today anyway. Earlier on I was so frustrated at the fractured insides of my head that I gave up and went and made scones - which turned out brilliantly. I really hope tomorrow won't be so bad, that the jack hammer will be done its job soon.

Have a great few days until I'm back here again, hopefully less fractured next time!

 This is the cause of my brain fracture :)

So I made these

But I still need this sign on my front door!