Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Free free free!!

I said I'd come back and tell you once the werewolf books are up and free didn't I? I should have done that yesterday, got completely distracted with my adult colouring book project - more on that later.

Ok well both books, the short read prequel and the full length book one are now available through amazon and are free for the next few days - and pretty cheap after that too :)

I'll post the links here now: Zora's Dawn The Prequel

Zora's Dawn Book One: Zora's Dawn

So that's them, and I'm about to start work on book two in the series.

Now back to the adult colouring book. I've decided to design one using the designs in my drawings and making some more up as I go. I'm not sure yet how detailed to make them - I'm leaning towards having some pages highly detailed and some simpler, and mixing in some of the mosiac designs as well. I'll post some pics of the designs as I come up with them. It's going to be a bit of a long process, it takes a lot of time making my drawings and I'll need to be writing as well. But I'm hoping for a time frame of a couple of months to get it ready.

My last word is for all of you who live in the northern hemisphere where summer is coming and who have street cats or dogs around you (or feral or wild or however they are named in your area). Here where I am the weather has turned extremely hot. I am in apartment that catches all the sea breezes, and I have fans, and when it gets too hot I have aircon. The street animals (and indeed some of the people) don't have any of that. So give them drinking water. Just cut the bottom off a large water bottle or any sort of large (clean) bottle and fill it with water daily. Place it in the shade if possible to stop evaporation and also to keep the water a bit cooler for them to drink. They will thank you for it and you will have helped them survive the heat.

The same goes for people of course. If you live near folk who might be struggling with the heat drop by and see how they're doing. They might need a helping hand and are too proud to ask. It doesn't hurt to ask and you may help a person who can't help him or herself. Help the animals and people around you and you'll be helping yourself as well.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Busy days

Ok I know I've been gone from here for a while, I've been getting the werewolf book and the prequel ready to publish. It's surprising how long the editing process takes when you can't just send the manuscript to someone else to do for you! I also had to write the prequel which I thought would be 20 000 words but which ended up being shorter at 10 000 words. But it said all I wanted it to say so I'm happy with that. The prequel was always going to be a short read, just some backstory to help the reader understand why Zora is the way she is.

Of course it didn't go smoothly, I've not yet uploaded to Amazon and had it go smoothly. This time it was my covers - which I had so carefully made the correct size - that were the problem. For reasons known only to the computer gremlins that make my life difficult my covers reverted back to a smaller size and I had to go in and re-size them and redo the titles. But it's done and the books are both uploaded to Amazon, just five minutes ago.

It still didn't go smoothly as I couldn't load the previewer (most likely because the internet speed here is painfully slow) so I don't know if they uploaded correctly or not and will have to wait until they are both live in the store - later on today - to do so. But I need to make changes anyway as I plan to add links to each book at the back and with Amazon you don't get a link until the book is live so I have to edit and re-publish. So hopefully tomorrow both books will be live and ready to sell sell sell!

In other news, I had an email from an agent about the Letters book, just to let me know that she hasn't yet looked at it but will do so in the near future.

I've also had two reviews on the Baby cat book - link here: The Cat on the Wrong Side of the Door

These are interesting reviews in that they have two differing views. The first review - with a sad total of two stars - was from the point of view of someone who believes cats should always be indoor and that I wrote a book condoning irresponsible cat owners who let their cats roam. The second review gave it five stars (yay!) and gave the view that I hadn't intended to write a book either for or against allowing cats to roam and suggesting that readers simply enjoy the story.

Of course I had simply written a story about a cat that I know which got himself into a sticky situation while he was outside. I wrote a story about his life from his point of view and I did not intend to make it a story about the perils of indoor/outdoor cats. In truth Baby is such an impulsive cat that the incident which occurred could just as easily have happened indoors.

It is interesting that viewpoints differ about whether cats should be entirely indoors or not depending on which part of the world in which you live. For me, as a child our cats always had the run of the outdoors - we didn't have screens or ceiling fans or air conditioners and if we tried to keep the cats indoors by keeping doors and windows closed we would have all died from heat exhaustion. We didn't lose many cats to outdoor hazards but we lived in a small town.

When I was older my cats still had access to the outdoors - for the above reasons. I did lose a couple, one was hit by a car (and I was living in the country and the road was very lightly traveled so it was a shock) and one bitten by a snake. However there was no way of keeping them indoors so it was accepted as the natural order of things. Dogs and cats sometimes died too young and from preventable accidents had they been indoors.

Flash forward several years and I was living in town and my cats were all indoor. Too many hazards outside from cars to snakes plus I valued the native wildlife. I also had Bengal cats for a time and they HATED staying inside.

However that was Australia and Baby lives in the UK, in a close that is protected from traffic. There are no snakes, few spiders and nothing in the way of natural hazards. He is pretty safe from everything except himself. It seems to be accepted there that cats live an indoor/outdoor life. In this area the only cats I know of have lived very long and safe lives.

It seems to depend on where you live as to your views on whether cats should be allowed access to the outside world. In this case, Baby goes outside as to all the other cats. In my case, my cats don't - not least because I live on the fifth floor but even if I didn't they still would not because it is just not safe for them here. I am sure if Baby's owner lived in a different area with heavy traffic he would not be allowed outside.

It all comes down to common sense I think, (and I'm talking about responsible pet owners here). If you live where it is safe, where your cat can't decimate the local wildlife, then by all means let it outside if it wishes to go. If you do not, keep your cat indoors. But, in the case of my book - I just wrote a little book about an impulsive cat!

It does go to show though that even a negative review can have a positive effect. I am guessing that the writer of the second review purchased the book out of curiosity due to the first review. And I once read that poor reviews also show that the reviewers are genuine buyers and not people that have been paid to write a positive review. As if! If I could afford to buy reviews I could afford an editor :)

I will post the links to the new books once they are live on Amazon. Go check the Baby book if you're curious - it's cheap :)

Reviews, we welcome them all, even the bad ones

Baby, the cat on the wrong side of the door

Friday, May 1, 2015

One year later

Today is a bittersweet day for me, and I'm feeling a bit down I have to admit. Today one year ago I left my house and began my new journey. I loved that house, I know I said I learned that it is all stuff, and it is, and you can't take it with you (not even to a new beginning), but I did love that house and I do miss it.

So today I'm feeling a bit sad at the loss of the life I had. This new life is still so new that I am still adjusting, still trying to find my feet on the shifting sands (literally too!) and uncertainty of my daily life. Yes, I'm at peace with my past, and I'm free of it. I'm a different person to the one who left that house and I can't regret this time of growth. But still I'm sad, and I feel regret for all that has happened in my life. I've made so many mistakes and taken so many wrong turns. It's never too late to find the right path in life and I hope that this time I'll make it without going wrong at the next crossroads I come to.

I've learned a lot about writing and publishing and since I've been here I've written six books and published four. I have had reasonable sales on my first book, and some wonderful reviews from readers. I'm waiting for word from agents on the most recent book, Letters to Myself, and I'm waiting in high anxiety. I'm writing the prequel for Zora's Dawn and once it's done I'll edit and self publish both and I'm quite excited about that too.

I've made a life here, it's a very different life but it's serene and conducive to creativity. I'm drawing and I have so many different artistic projects just waiting for me to do - sadly I need to have some money in order to do them and right now I'm saving every cent I can, so oil paints will have to wait. My financial situation is so uncertain that it's causing a lot of stress. I'm hoping however that it won't be much longer before I experience an upswing financially. In the meantime I'm working on building this writing career every moment I can. This means I'm not drawing and I miss that, but I have to keep my goal in mind and work towards it.

One thing I did recently was to make an author web page. I used Wix, and I don't know if that was a good idea or not. However the process was relatively easy and I'm happy with how the site looks. I think it's important for future sales to have my own website. In time I'll get my own domain name but for now of course I can't afford it. It takes around a month for search engines to find new websites so if you go looking for me you'll have to follow the link I'll post below. Do go take a look and see what you think of it. And if you spot any errors do please tell me! You can leave a message here, or you can send a message from the website.

Here is the link: Sheryl Lee Author

Well that's it for today, I need to get back to writing and waiting. For this book (Letters) I've taken a lot more time on researching agents. I decided to try to target ones specifically looking for the type of book I've written. That's what I do each time of course, but this time I've done a lot of research on individual agents, searching for interviews with them where they say what they're looking for rather than just the blurb on their agency page. Time will tell if this approach is more successful. With Zora's Dawn, it's still to early to tell whether I'll get a response from agents. Of course a lot just ignore you completely but most do eventually send at least a form rejection - it can take so long to get a response that you can forget you even queried an agency.

I apologise to you all for being down today, I'm sure I'll be feeling a lot better soon. Thank you to all of you who come here and check my blog every day. I'm humbled to see that I'm being read in so many different countries across the world. It makes my day, it really does, to come here and see how many people seem to like reading what I write.

This is the plan:

This is what I'm trying to remember:

And today, this is what I'm doing - no choice but to move forward, life doesn't have a reverse gear:

So this new life is a work in progress: