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Floxham Island ~ Sinclair V-Log AZ267/M now available

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My brand new novel Floxham Island ~ Sinclair V-Log AZ267/M is now available to purchase in both paperback and e-book formats from Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu and Ganxy.  All the links are on the Floxham Island page (link below or click the link at the top of the page).

Sam Sinclair thought this was just another run of the mill job. As a freelance law enforcement operative, his job is to find the target and deliver them into the hands of the Law Enforcement Agency. When his law enforcement contacts asked him to find Professor Nembier who they believed had murdered nine of his co workers out on a secluded archaeological dig on Agrillia 3, he fully expected to have the job done quickly. Finding the Professor was the easy part and was to become the beginning of a terrible nightmare for Sam and his companions.

Delivering his prisoner to Floxham Island Prison should spell the end of the job for Sam and some much needed time off but once he and his companions find themselves stranded upon the strangely deserted prison planet and discover the horror that has recently taken place there, it soon becomes his worst nightmare. Facing the horrors that lurk in the dark whilst avoiding those that dwell in the light, Sam discovers that a new killer is amongst them.  As their numbers dwindle, Sam races to find the killer and secure the lives of those still surviving amidst the terror that is Floxham Island.

Click here to Visit the Floxham Island page

First of my brand new space opera series to be out soon

I’ve been away from blogging for a while (yeah I know you didn’t even notice I was gone) due to the demands of editing and formatting.

Now that The Lilean Chronicles series is complete, I have the first volume in a brand new space opera series coming out very shortly.  I’ve recently completed the final edits and spent several hours yesterday formatting for smashwords, KDP and then battled with the paperback formatting.  Formatting for paperback always gives me grey hairs but as I do more and more, I get to win the battle more quickly each time.

It’s those damn headers and footers; I  hate them and they hate me.

I’ve found out through trial and error that it’s all down to where you have section breaks and where you have page breaks.  I put all the front matter (title page, copyright notice, dedication) as one complete section with page breaks between the pages and a section break at the end.  Then I put all the chapters as a second complete section, with page breaks at the end of each chapter and a section break after THE END.  Any endpapers (coming soon etc) goes as a third seperate section.

Headers and footers are only required in the actual chapters.  You don’t have page numbers or the book title at the top of the page for instance, on the front matter or the end papers.  I’ve always found that Word keeps putting headers and footers on my front matter when I put it on the chapter section, but then when I remove them from the front matter, they also disappear from the chapters, ARGH..!

Then I happened to find out that the headers and footers have ‘same as previous’ on them by default, which means Word automatically makes them the same as the previous section.  So, if you want them in the chapters, Word will also put them in the previous section (the front matter) because it defaults to ‘same as previous’ all the time.

With me so far?

What you have to do is turn off the ‘same as previous’ thing and then it will just put the headers and footers in the current section.

You must also make sure that the page numbering is also set to start at number 1 (it defaults to 2 sometimes) and that you unclick ‘continue from last section’ and then click ‘number first page’.

It all sounds very complicated and it is, far too bloody complicated but I am determined to get this.  It only took me a couple of hours battling this time.  Hopefully when I release my NaNoWriMo novel in July, I’ll get it right first try.

Now that the formatting is done I just have to wait for my cover art guy to do his bit, although I just found out he has the flu so he may not be well enough to do this one.  I plan to publish within the next two weeks so if he isn’t well enough I’ll be doing it myself.  Thankfully he’s taught me so much over the last four books that I feel pretty confident I can do a front cover without a problem.  I’ve been doing digital fan art for ages and this particular cover is a simple design; just one complete photo with text for the title and author name.

I hope he’s recovered by July as my NaNoWriMo novel cover is quite a complicated one..!

How to recognise a new kind of sock puppet

There has been a lot of talk in recent months about sock puppets and for those who’ve only just returned to Earth, sock puppetry is buying reviews for your book or making a fake account from a site such as Amazon and giving yourself a glowing review.  That’s the basic version anyway.  Google it for more information.

I’ve discovered a new kind of sock puppet and this one wears a disguise to try to hide the fact that it’s just a sock puppet.  Over on facebook I get invited to many ‘pages’ and ‘events’ run by authors all wanting to market their book or raise its public profile and many of them resort to good old bribery to do it.

They offer you prizes such as Amazon gift cards, kindles, paypal money etc but in return for being allowed to enter this competition (which is nothing more than pulling a name out of a hat) you have to buy their book, download their book, vote for their book and/or leave a review.  Then and only then will you be entered into the draw, which you probably won’t win anyway.

Now, we’d all love a brand new Kindle Fire or £100 paypal money and many people go in for these so called ‘competitions’ without realising what they are actually doing.  They are taking the promise of material reward in return for leaving a glowing review of a book they’ve probably never read anyway, which gives potential readers a totally false view of the product they intend to pay honest money for.

Let’s say for instance that this gal wrote a romance novel and offers such a thinly veiled bribe and people leave glowing reviews of it on Amazon or Goodreads saying how wonderful it is, how perfectly written and how they can’t wait to read more from this wonderful wordsmith etc, you know the sort of drivel.  So a real buyer comes along and likes the look of the hot guy on the cover and thinks about buying it but decides to read the reviews first.  Everyone seems to be awestruck by this wonderful piece of literature so they buy it and eagerly await the postman.  When the knock at the door comes they almost bite off his arm to get at the package and rip it open.  With a fresh coffee to hand and the cat on their lap, they sit down to read.

Then they discover the spelling errors, the bad (or none at all) punctuation, the continuity errors, the horrendously stilted dialogue, incorrect or total lack of research, contradictions galore and generally bad grammar.  They might not know the mistakes are there on a conscious level but they will quickly realise the book is difficult to read, it doesn’t seem to flow and they cannot tell who is talking and who isn’t.  They will get irritated by the overuse of identical dialogue attribution (if it’s used at all) and will find themselves thinking,

“What the fuck is this all about?”

They will feel disappointed and angry at the wasted money and time and will then assume that all  indie/self published books are of a similar standard and will be far less likely to buy another.  For those of us who take a lot of care over the quality of our product, that is a slap in the ta ta’s we don’t deserve.  We must act to raise the bar for the whole indie/self publishing world and a huge part of doing that is to stop trying to con our customers.  You may think it’s okay to help another author out, even if you’re only doing it in the hope they’ll do the same for you (they won’t, believe me) but take a moment to think of the customer who reads your review.  Will they be happy that you told the truth?  If not then remember that same customer might not be too happy to buy your book when it comes out, after being conned with the last one.

The Sinclair V-logs – coming soon

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A brand new space opera series is on its way

The first volume in my new space opera series will be available during February.  The Sinclair V-logs introduces you to Sam Sinclair, Freelance Law Enforcer with the Intergalactic Law Enforcement Agency who will be recounting the more memorable of his experiences in his own series of personal video logs.

Floxham Island

Sinclair V-log AZ267/M

Sam Sinclair thought this was just another run of the mill job.  As a freelance law enforcement operative, his job is to find the target and deliver them into the hands of the Law Enforcement Agency.  When his law enforcement contacts asked him to find Professor Nembier who they believed had murdered nine of his co workers out on a secluded archaeological dig on Agrillia 3, he fully expected to have the job done quickly.  Finding the Professor was the easy part and was to become the beginning of a terrible nightmare for Sam and his companions.

Delivering his prisoner to Floxham Island Prison should spell the end of the job for Sam and some much needed time off but once he and his companions find themselves stranded upon the strangely deserted prison planet and discover the horror that has recently taken place there, it soon becomes his worst nightmare.  Facing the horrors that lurk in the dark whilst avoiding those that dwell in the light, Sam discovers that a new killer is amongst them.  As their numbers dwindle, Sam races to find the killer and secure the lives of those still surviving amidst the terror that is Floxham Island.

The end of the year blog

It’s that time of year again.  I don’t just mean Christmas; I mean it’s the end of another year and the start of a new one, which means one thing in the blogging world – the end of the year review blog.  This is something I started way back in the day when I first joined the internet and got myself a myspace page.  I loved myspace in those days and still look back on it with affection and sadness at myspace’s demise.  Anyway, I digress.  I began a tradition of doing an end of the year – looking forward to the next around Christmas each year and even though I’m not a huge fan of senseless tradition, I wish to continue this one.

2012 has been a tremendous year for me.  It began with me being fresh into self publishing, with my debut novel under my belt and the second written and being edited.  Four novels have been born this year and my space opera series, The Lilean Chronicles was completed.  I had my first go at NaNoWriMo and wrote a 75k word novel in 20 days, which will be published in June 2013.  I also began a new series featuring a new main character called Sam Sinclair, the first of which will be published in February 2013.  I also wrote a third of my planned short story anthology and had several shorts published in Schlock Webzine.  I’ve actually sold a few books too..!

Yes, writing wise, this year had been wonderful.  I’ve learned so much about writing and the process of self publishing and am gratified to see my work on sale all over the internet.  The Lilean Chronicles has received wonderful reviews for which I am truly delighted.  Writing a book is one thing but having someone read it and say they loved it, is on another level altogether.  I have the next two books already taking shape in my head; a second Sam Sinclair novel and an epic adventure quest novel that I will start writing in the summer of 2013.

2012 also saw me meet a wonderfully talented artist who now does all my book covers.  His name is JL Stratton and he is an awesomely talented artist who won’t rip you off.  Find him on facebook by clicking here.   I end 2012 not only feeling like a writer, but knowing that I am a writer and I feel happy and comfortable with it.  I may never be a rich writer, but I’m a writer.

On a personal level, nothing much has changed.  I’m still single, still cripplingly autistic and body dysmorphic and still lonely on an emotional level.   I’m still broke but just getting by and I’ve managed to maintain the inner knowledge that I’m destined for great wealth someday.  I’m still crazy about Riddick and fond of Vin Diesel, although I’ve taken a little bit of a mental step back from the crazy infatuation I used to have for Vin and I feel more balanced about him.  I still have a love/hate relationship with Dwayne Johnson but I am trying to take the same mental step back I took from Vin, although I haven’t quite managed it yet.  There’s something about Dwayne that holds me and I can’t quite yet break away from it for long.  It’s one of the things I intend to work on during 2013.

So what of 2013?  Well, the first Sam Sinclair novel will be published in February and my NaNo novel, Acts of Life will be published in June.  The second Sam Sinclair novel should be ready for publication by the end of the year, so maintaining my 3 books a year tradition.  I intend to continue writing content for my short story anthology and hope to finish it and have it published by the end of 2013, which will bring my total to 4 books next year.  I should end the year deep into writing my epic adventure quest novel.

I’ve managed to save a few pounds over this past year and intend to treat myself to an elliptical cross trainer in the January sales, which I will use as part of my annual, lose weight/get fit campaign.  I know I know, but c’mon, what would New Year be without a pledge to lose weight huh?  Another thing I’m doing next year is going it alone work wise.  I’m quitting my cleaning job with the cleaning company I currently work for and intend to try to work for myself.  The company I work for sometimes only give me 3 or 4 hours work a week, which isn’t enough to live on and I can undercut their prices and be much better off financially.  Hell, I can’t be any worse off so why not have a go?

I’d like to be able to say I intend to find a man during the coming year but I don’t feel confident I could deliver on that pledge, so I’m not going to make it.  I would like to meet someone and I know that my heart is ready for love now.  I just have to get my body into better shape first, hence the weight loss/get fit campaign.  2013 might even see me moving house, as the housing benefit system here is changing and because I have an extra bedroom, they want to cut my housing benefit.  One of the ways around it is to downsize to one bedroom, so I may just be packing up and moving  sometime.

Mother is coming to stay for a couple of weeks for my birthday in February, so I have that to look forward to.  She’ll pay for everything while she’s here and she’s a laugh.  She’s very elderly now and I don’t know how much longer she’ll be around and as we’re getting along better now than ever before, I want to make the most of what time we have left.  Next year will be my turn to have her for Christmas, so that will be fun too.  I’m alone this year as she spends every other year with  her other daughter, with whom I’ve had no contact in many years.  I’m the black sheep of the family and was ostracised many years ago for telling the whole family about the sexual abuse I endured at the hands of my father for ten years as a kid.  I didn’t realised that in ‘good’ families one doesn’t tell..!  At least it means Christmas is a cheap time for me, as I don’t have to buy presents for everyone.

Overall, 2012 has been a year of furious movement in a totally new direction – writing.  It’s been exciting and wonderful for my writing career and I’m very happy to have finally found my true calling, my true destined path – as a writer.

I wish everyone who stumbles across here a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

Get the complete series with 25% discount

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I am delighted to be able to announce that you can now purchase the complete Lilean Chronicles series for your e-reader and get a massive 25% discount on the price of the individual volumes.

I have set up a special discounted bundle at Ganxy.com where you can purchase the complete series for $3

That’s 4 e-books for the price of 3.

Click here to take advantage of this special offer.

More than one way to swing a cat.

The one aspect of self publishing that almost every indie author finds difficult is marketing.  Trying to sell your shit is a thankless and monumentally difficult task and with today’s proliferation of indie authors and the ease with which we can all get our shit published, it gets harder each and every day.  The sheer number of authors all vying for the attention of readers means that most non authors are now numb to the fact that your shit is also out there because it’s lost amongst all the other shit.

The only way to get your work noticed is to be aggressive about your marketing and bombard every available platform with your ads.  You need a really thick skin and a ruthless attitude to the sensitivities of others and just post, post, post.

I have a lot of authors and writer folks on my friend list at both facebook and twitter and many of them are far more ruthless than I am at marketing.  There are many on my facebook list who I have just had to ‘hide’ from my wall because their relentless posts about their books got too much for me.  I fail to understand why these people think I’d want to buy their books when they can’t spare a moment to ‘like’ my facebook author page or repost one of my ads.  Seriously folks, either wake up and realise that if you want me to do something for you, you have to do something for me, or fuck off.

My problem is that I lack the self esteem necessary to ruthlessly post my ads without caring whether other folks want to see them or not.  I don’t  have the nerve to walk into shops and ask the manager if I can gift him a copy of my book.  I’d sooner be strung up by my nipples than stand up and shout about my shit and that’s my downfall.  Deep down inside there’s still that scared little autistic girl who believes she is unworthy of everything and although I know I write well and all the reviews my books have received have been fantastic, I still worry about selling myself.

What I do is post about my books once a day with a direct ‘buy’ link and then do another post alluding to my books without a direct ‘buy me’ approach (see my ‘endorsed by the great and mighty’ blog posts.

At the end of the day, what I need is for people to first know my books exist so that they can then choose whether to buy them or not.  There are many ways to keep people aware without the hard sell approach and I feel more comfortable utilising this less direct approach.  I’ve made a poster for the rear window of my car with pictures of my books and a plea for support.  People see it when I’m parked in the supermarket and you never know, it might encourage a few curious peeks at them.

If you don’t have the balls to use the direct hard sell approach, then think outside the box.  There’s more than one way to swing a cat, as they say.

Endorsed by the Great & Mighty (part 3)

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The Lilean Chronicles is now complete

The fourth and final volume in The Lilean Chronicles series is now in the process of publication.  It is live at Lulu.com now and will soon be available at Smashwords and Amazon.

I’m delighted to reveal the cover and to send my gratitude to JL Stratton for his patience and expertise in making another fabulous cover.

The Final Chapter – Out Soon

Just letting everyone know that the fourth and final volume in The Lilean Chronicles series will be published within the next week or so.

All the formatting has been completed and I’m just waiting for my cover art guy to finish working his magic.

The Lilean Chronicles: Book Four ~ Avalanche Effect

It’s been more than two years since Vincent, Farra & Kyle returned from their harrowing experiences on Drycenia and their idyllic family life is shattered by the arrival of a mysterious stranger and the dreadful news he brings them.  Going against the wishes of the Lilean spirit people, Vincent and Farra race from world to world in search of Gabriel and as faces from the past re-appear, they discover the links between a dreadful war, a medal won for valour and a legendary angel.

It began with a broken promise and ended with a change to the path of destiny.  A small action taken in a moment of desperation that causes massive changes to the destiny of others.