After my recent AWOL, this is my most epic catch up ever. I’m catching up on all your blogs and comments now. With one thing and another these past couple of weeks, I completely forgot that I put all my covers on special for the month of May at a flat charge of US $20, INCLUDING for made to order by author brief covers, because I want to get this project off to a proper start. I think I only announced it on Twitter before I “went fishing”. So I’m going to extend it for the month of June too. If you fancy a bespoke cover for twenty bucks head over to the Contact Me page up there.
Before my fishing trip I also made brand new covers with my own designs for my two short stories, The Visitation and Fly Birdie, because you can’t very well be selling book covers with rotten ones on your own books. Ha! I’ll share the Fly Birdie one here – about time my favourite of my own scribbles got its proper face. The idea behind it is looking out from the inside of a magical tree at birds flying free. My shorts will be free when I launch my non-fiction book in a couple of weeks, for those of you who fancy them and haven’t read them yet. Epic catch up – onward and forward!
Free Short Stories
My two short stories are free on Amazon until 22 December if anyone fancies a little read.
It’s Read Tuesday!
Today is Read Tuesday guys. A day for me to release my inner book glutton and load up my Kindle with piles of discounted and free books. There are some awesome authors on this list, so click here – Read Tuesday – and get shopping. And don’t forget the bookworms in your life this Christmas – check out this post on how to gift an ebook from Misha Burnett.
My African Me & Satellite TV is discounted on all major Amazon sites. It’s 99 cents on Amazon.com, and equal currencies on Amazon.uk, and the rest. Also on Smashwords. Shadow People is also 99 cents on Amazon.com, Amazon UK, and Smashwords. My short story, The Visitation is free today on Amazon.com and Amazon UK.
I’d be most grateful to any of my friends who would share this news anywhere at all. Now – I’m off on a book binge – happy shopping!
Interview by Phil A Davis
I had the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by architect and an author I greatly admire all the way over in Hawai! Thanks so much Phil!
Fly Birdie is free today and tomorrow if anyone fancies a little read.
The Visitation will be free on 24 – 25 September, so I’ll post those links on Tuesday.
My books are free on Amazon today and tomorrow, so I’ll pop the links on here for any blogger friends who fancy reading them.
And if you fancy more of the free, or if you have anything on free promotion today, it’s FREEBIE FRIDAY on our buzzing Google+ community. ALL are welcome to join this community.
Happy June guys!
Beware The Feathered Horde
We had a car-load of unexpected visitors arrive today, so all that got done was loads of chatting and eating. The feathered horde always love guests. New innocents, not expecting a parrot to suddenly fly by, as they really do, and swipe the choice morsel they were saving for last, off their plate. It’s amazing people are still brave enough to visit us at all really. The baby weaver is still a tiny bit shy of people, so he mainly lurked today, but judging by the glint in his eye it won’t last. Jelly the big weaver bird is currently furious with the world in general, so earlobes were abused, eyeballs were rudely eyeballed, and scowled and screeched at too.
I can’t say no to him though. He’s so small and cute. And the bravest little fellow in the world. He really did have a very rough start. Besides, I find it seriously hilarious when he’s quivering with rage, and I can never do more than laugh at him, then give him what he’s yelling for. So he’s not aware of being anything but in charge of the entire universe. Right now he’s tired out, fast asleep, and looking more like angelic LB, the character who was based on him.
Some of my friends who’ve read Fly Birdie will know that little LB was inspired by my very own crazy Jelly. This isn’t a ploy to get anyone to rush out and buy it, by the way. In fact, when African Me & Satellite TV goes live, all my other scribbles will be free for a couple of days – so I suggest you wait till then if you fancy reading it. How’s that for great marketing skills?! Hahaa!
Anyway. The poor little guy’s been moulting for a few weeks now, changing from his baby beige feathers, and turning into a proper adult male weaver, with a shiny black head and bright yellow body. Also all his “special” white feathers have fallen out, and normal black ones are growing in their place. He’s finding this a bit depressing and spending quite a lot of his time zooming to the bathroom, all on his lonesome, and staring gloomily at his reflection. I’m not even going to argue the point here that only dolphins recognise their own reflections – he knows exactly who he’s looking at. It pains me that he’s itchy and not liking his new look. Jelly’s a special little fellow.
Obviously Fly Birdie is ninety nine percent fiction, but caring for him when he was just a little lump, made me think about the effect animals have on people – even deeply damaged people – hence the short story. I’m planning on adding a bit about the guy who inspired LB in the revamped little book, but for now, I’ll just tell you.
A tree didn’t fall and start a crazy sequence of events. We did have a very dangerous Mahogany tree that was about to though. They have very spongy wood, and this one was huge, waterlogged, and already cracking. So we brought in tree fellers to chop it down. The feller was a bit of an artist, and really cool in his own right, so it wasn’t his fault when one single tiny branch zoomed across the wrong way and fell into a Palm full of nesting weavers.
A few hours later I noticed the dog picking something up and dropping it again – he looked a bit confused as to whether to eat it or throw it. That was Jelly’s first trip after being knocked out of his tree. I picked him up, wiped him down a bit, and took him inside, not thinking for a minute that he’d survive the day. He did though – the minute he was dry, he was cheeping like crazy, and didn’t hesitate when a spoonful of porridge came his way.
It was a couple of days later. He was sitting on his basket in the kitchen, got a fright, and made an unbelievable leap across the room into a pan of simmering water. I know now how dumb it was to have him in the room at all – but that only helps for the future. I fished him out and held him under running, cold water. He really looked like a tiny goner lying on my palm. He keeled over and stayed that way. Thinking he was dead I quietly lay him in his basket and put him in another room, while I tried to get over the guilt and shock.
When I went back in, he was not only up and trying to clean himself, he was trying to sing at the same time. Long story short – he had third degree burns, his leg really did get horribly infected, and I really did keep him with me every second of every day for weeks, bathing his wounds with antibiotics and pushing it down his beak when he eventually did give up, and try to close his eyes forever. That wasn’t going to be allowed though. Finally one little toe blackened and fell off. And quite a few feathers on one of his wings did grow out white as snow – from the trauma, I would imagine. But he got better, and hasn’t looked back since.
So his life didn’t go as LB’s did. It took too long for him to heal to ever be released back into the wild, but it’s clear that Jelly enjoys his life with us, zooming around, singing his songs, and being a very busy guy all day long. I can’t imagine life without him now anyway. It’s amazing how sometimes, one very special creature will be sent our way, and without the extra effort that’s sometimes required to let them live, we could be missing out on meeting the most gorgeous of little souls. I’m glad I never gave up on him, and my friends can’t mind him munching their earlobes – he’s the only one that gets huge packets of marshmallows brought for him every time after all. Or maybe that’s a ploy to try and keep him busy?
Till next time friends. xxx
Free Books On Amazon
To celebrate the fact that it’s always Spring – somewhere, I’ve decided to put all my tales on Amazon up for free today and tomorrow (12 – 13 April). I’ll pop the links on here if you’d like to download them. I hope you enjoy them! They will go free at around 12 CMT, so in around two hours from now. African Me & Satellite TV will be published next, and then on to the second book in the Shadow People series.
And join us today and tomorrow at the Spring Fever Reads Giveaway, and stand a chance to win more books and a Kindle Fire!
Till next time friends. xxx
Guilty Of Speeding
Still busy sorting all my old blog posts into categories. Seeing the dates on these posts has made me realise how quickly I’ve zoomed along this indie writing road. I opened the WordPress site in March 2012 after joining Facebook in January. Before that the only IT knowledge I had was how to operate my cellphone – sort of.
As far as writing went, I’d only started that the year before when I wrote African Me & Satellite TV, scribbled in notebooks and on bits of paper shoved into an old manila folder. The story had been niggling at me for a while. To begin with I really just wished it would go away. I’d never written anything before. Never yearned to be an author, or ever imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be capable of writing so much as a paragraph of fiction that anyone would actually want to cast their eyeballs over.
It never went away though. It grew and grew, and became my obsession, until finally it was done, sitting in a tatty pile on my desk along with the two books that grew side by side with it. Two of the characters in African Me were so huge to me that they had to have books of their own. And so they did.
Not ever having been on line before, and not even knowing that Kindles existed, I tentatively tried to look for agents. I’ve never approached one though. A friend suggested that I join Facebook and look for writers there. I did, and found one brilliant little group of mainly aspiring authors and one or two stars. There, apart from gaining a couple of amazing friends, I learned about indie publishing. It was only towards the end of last year that I found myself swept away on the indie highway.
Along the learning way I’ve published two short stories, and a sci-fi/fantasy novel on Amazon, obviously expecting to be hugely famous mere hours after pushing the upload button. Shame about that. I’ve found out lots about finishing, formatting, and publishing e-books, as well as creating covers for them, not to mention marketing and SEO. The biggest thing I’ve learned so far is that I have only one toe in the water. As far as indie publishing and marketing knowledge is concerned I still have miles to travel. I’m just really glad to be on the trip.
And that trip was all about getting African Me & Satellite TV published. There were just unexpected twists, trips, and bonuses along the way. I now have the first book in a series out there, with loads more to come. I’m painting away to create images of Lapillus and the characters in Shadow People, so that anyone who reads the books see them a little as I do. I’ve learned that writing and reading short, sharp stories is brilliant. For the first time in my life I’ve written poetry. This was really hard, but a bit of African Me just had to have it, and I’m very happy with how it turned out.
African Me & Satellite TV will be published soon, and I am terrified and excited. My main point of this ramble is that no matter what trip you are on, you never know where it will take you.
To writers more newbie than myself I say – gosh – are there any? Seriously though, from what I’ve learned so far I have a couple of opinions.
• Don’t publish your beloved first. Publish another brilliant, but lesser love first and learn the ropes a little.
• Don’t believe that just because you have “Author” attached to your moniker, thousands will fawn at your feet.
• Learn about marketing on line, and follow through. I’ve been held back in this department by constant (daily – very often weekly) power outages, and the weakest internet signal on the planet, but that has never stopped me from trying.
• Research every thing that you do. Don’t fall for “editor” “publisher” tricks – there are a lot of nasties out there who will con you properly. Check credentials.
• Beware of spending the majority of your waking hours in the wrong areas of cyberspace. Do you really think that posting links to your books on a group of other indie writers will generate sales or get you real readers?
• Do join other indie writers for online events. You will build up a group of indie writer friends over time and this is good. You support each other. Boost each other. You need this. Just be careful who you team up with. Make sure your indie buddies are cool.
• Don’t ask people for fake reviews. If I see a book with hundreds of gushing five star reviews, I’m immediately wary. And if I then read the book, and it’s really bad, I’m not a happy girl at all. I do review for friends, but never if they ask me. If I like what I see, am a fan of the genre they have written in, I buy their book. I never leave bad reviews – ever. If I don’t like a book I leave it at that. There are loads of people willing to leave crap reviews – some that seem incapable of spelling “and”, I’m sorry to say.
• Have patience. What will be, will be.
Till next time friends. xxx
Reviewing Amazon Reviews
It’s considered “uncool” as a writer to give nasty reviews the time of day. But. When I got my first (so far only, thank goodness) one star review for Fly Birdie it hurt. Fly Birdie is a little tale very close to my heart, and it baffled me that anyone could find gentle Hannah “disgusting” in any way. The hurt gave way to wondering if the reviewer had actually read the story. I always find one liners that say nothing at all about the story a bit suspect in any review. Then I felt terrible that she had actually been so grossed out at anything that I’d written. I really hoped that it had been a free download and that the poor lady hadn’t actually forked out .99 cents for it. All of these emotions were gone in an hour, and then I started laughing. I realised that I’d had a very sharp spike in sales since the posting of that review, so I sort of started to like it. Of course not everyone is going to like what you write. One three star review for The Visitation I have totally taken on board. While the reader really enjoyed the story and got into it, she felt that it ended too soon. She wanted more. Excellent feedback as far as I can see. I loved that she liked it, and I’m grateful for her suggestion. While that is originally exactly what I wanted to do with that particular short story – I wanted it to be short and shocking – I am now considering fattening it out a bit and sending that lovely helpful reader the new version as a gift.
Ignoring bad reviews isn’t going to make them go away. I for one am not ever going to try and hide a bad one. I trust that genuine readers are intelligent enough to decide for themselves whether a review is worth taking into account or not. If you want to sell books on Amazon you have to have reviews. Anybody can post reviews on Amazon whether they’ve bought the book or not, whether they’ve read a book or not, and regardless of their credentials as far as commenting on literature is concerned. These are mostly real opinions from real readers. Some are fairly obviously not real, and nobody with half a brain is going to be swayed one way or another by lonely onions in petunia patches. I spend a lot of money on books. I buy loads every month regardless of the fact that I don’t have much time to actually read them. I will get to all of them at some point in my life. I only started looking at reviews when I first published Fly Birdie. I still don’t often look at reviews, but when I do, spotting a really vitriolic one star review often has me hitting the buy button. I read the blurb, have a look inside, and then I decide whether I’ll buy the book or not.
As far as reviews for my own books are concerned, I hope that everyone who reads my scribbles will leave a review for me, to tell me what they thought. Good or bad, all of these opinions can only help me. Why announce rave five star reviews from the rooftops, and ignore the bad? From now on I’m going to take note of all reviews that I get. That’s the beauty of publishing on Amazon. You can fix problems. Bring on the reviews I say! I love every one that a reader has taken the time from their lives to give me. Thank you, lovely guys. To be honest, I haven’t actually roared too loudly about my five star reviews, so you might wonder why on Earth I’m going to share my really crappy one star review with you. Well. Because I’m sharing a couple of one star reviews from some really famous and outrageously wealthy authors, and I’m thinking that it’s only fair to tack mine on at the end. So – for all my lovely author friends that have ever got less than a five, here’s to let you know that you’re in the illustrious company of book selling rock stars. Rock on reviewers! If reading rotten reviews offends you, stop reading now, otherwise join me for chuckles. I’m very seriously compiling a little book of the worst reviews ever written. It will get loads of rave five star reviews and earn me millions. Ha haaaaa!
Till next time friends. xxx
Stephen King – Night Shift
(MY COMMENT: I LOVED this book – I would give it 5 Stars)
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the most horrible books I ever had the displeasure of reading., September 25, 2008
E. Adam Galmor – See all my reviews
This review is from: Night Shift (Hardcover)
I am a Stephen King fan. In fact, my most favorite book to date is his masterpiece, The Stand.
But the stories in this book are just pointless, uninteresting, uninspiring and downright awful.
I am simply dumbfounded at how this became a #1 best seller, or why it has such great reviews on this website. Rarely have been so utterly disappointed in a book.
Maeve Binchy – Lilac Bus
(MY COMMENT: I loved it as much as all of Maeve’s books – 5 Stars from me)
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, February 10, 2013
hope sank – See all my reviews
This review is from: The Lilac Bus: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
Awful book not up to authors standards. As if she didn’t finish it. Nothing came together. Don’t read this one.
Hugh Howey – Wool Omnibus
(MY COMMENT: Still on book one, but I really like the way Howey writes, and everyone I know who has read it, loves it)
1.0 out of 5 stars A complete dud. Seriously??? Five stars?, March 13, 2013
HouseofG – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 – 5) (Silo Saga) (Kindle Edition)
It’s easy to see why the author self-published this book- his very poor writing style, dull plot, and weak characterization would have been rejected by editors a thousand times over. Having said that, I surmise that his success derives from one thing only: the originality of his general storyline, however poorly executed it was. The overall dystopian concept of an entire civilization living in an underground silo has apparently not been done before, and is the only reason I can give this series even one star. We can only hope that Ridley Scott, who surprisingly optioned the film rights, can turn this lumbering, slow-paced read into a compelling cinematic experience. I suspect that was what he had in mind.
J K Rowling – The Casual Vacancy
(MY COMMENT: Haven’t read it yet, but did buy to see what all the fuss was about, so $17 in JK’s pocket anyway)
1.0 out of 5 stars 100 shades of “meh”, October 2, 2012
Amanda Richards (Georgetown, Guyana) – See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE) (TOP 500 REVIEWER) (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Casual Vacancy (Kindle Edition)
In little town
What a bore
This tedious, overstuffed, character-heavy story takes you through the machinations of finding someone to fill a vacant council seat in a little town. After countless repetitive chapters about the lives of the unlikable characters, each stuck in their own personal imbroglio yet linked in one way or another, you may feel the need to take a break to watch the grass grow on your front lawn.
The main problem with this book is that the most interesting character physically leaves the scene in the first chapter, and by the time you finish dragging yourself through the painful ordeal of completing the book, you’ll feel that he’s the luckiest one of all.
Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg – Nightfall
(MY COMMENT: Speechless!!)
1.0 out of 5 stars Blah, November 27, 2000
Shane Tiernan (St. Petersburg, FL United States) – See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE) (REAL NAME)
This review is from: Nightfall (Mass Market Paperback)
I haven’t read the short story but I would recommend it – even if it’s terrible at least it’s short and terrible, not long and terrible like this waste of trees.
It’s everything you would never want in a novel: boring, repetitious, filled with generic writing and dialogues; and all this is heaped onto an idea that probably would have made a good short story – oh wait from what I hear it did.
Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games
(MY COMMENT: Not read but really wish I could sell as many books)
1.0 out of 5 stars Panem is Snoozeville., March 2, 2012
Alex – See all my reviews
This review is from: The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, Book 1) (Hardcover)
I’m seventeen, and everybody and their mother told me to read The Hunger Games, because “it’s incredible!”. I finally decided “Why not?”, despite the fact that I have long given up on Young Adult novels. Sure, I’ve come across some good ones, but The Hunger Games is a prime example of why I don’t shop in that section anymore.
For what was advertised to me as an “awesome, fast-paced adventure”, I was bored out of my mind from start to finish. With every turn of the page, I thought it’d get better, thinking surely something interesting had to happen or else people wouldn’t be so obsessed with it. Twilight should have taught me that people can go nuts over poorly executed literature, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt.
The book is poorly written, in the POV of the main character, Katniss. When I say “poorly written”, I mean both in the construct and execution of plot and characters, AND the writing style (e.g., Lots of cliche ideas, like “it feels like I was just dreaming”, and one line I remember reading was “the saltiness of the soup reminds me of my tears”. I find that ridiculous, like some moping Emo-stereotype) And, because the story is in first-person, I (*spoilers*?) started the book KNOWING that she wasn’t going to die (not to mention, two books follow). I didn’t feel any danger for her and I didn’t like her. While, admittedly, I like the CONCEPT of the book, I didn’t enjoy anything about it while reading. The characters and plot are one-dimensional. It was painfully predictable. Cliche. Boring. Immature.
The sad thing is, I think teenagers like this book because it requires no thought–it has no sustenance by means of developed characters or intricate plot. If we want people my age to start reading, should we really settle for feeding them empty stories like this one?
E L James – 50 Shades Of Grey
(MY COMMENT: Not read – or bought, but reading EL’s reviews is a hobby of mine. They’re hilarious. Good for her causing such a stir!)
4,884 of 5,134 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the worst I’ve ever read… No, wait. It IS., March 6, 2012
Ebeth822 (Tx) – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Fifty Shades of Grey (Kindle Edition)
I downloaded the book to my Kindle because it was on the best seller list and had 4 stars overall rating on Amazon. I wish I’d taken the time to read some of the reviews. As it turns out I agree with the negative.
I found myself thinking “Twilight, plus some spanking, minus the sparkly vampires.” Here, I’ll save you all some time (SPOILER ALERT):
Once upon a time…
I’m Ana. I’m clumsy and naive. I like books. I dig this guy. He couldn’t possibly like me. He’s rich. I wonder if he’s gay? His eyes are gray. Super gray. Intensely gray. Intense AND gray. Serious and gray. Super gray. Dark and gray. [insert 100+ other ways to say “gray eyes” here]
I blush. I gasp. He touches me “down there.” I gasp again. He gasps. We both gasp. I blush some more. I gasp some more. I refer to my genitals as “down there” a few more times. I blush some more. Sorry, I mean I “flush” some more. I bite my lip. He gasps a lot more. More gasping. More blushing/flushing. More lip biting. Still more gasping.
It was an interesting concept – for a “romance” novel. However the story is weak, the pace is slow and awkward, the characters come through as more schizophrenic than complicated, the “romance” is a jeuvenile and dysfunctional crush, and the “erotic” scenes alternate between “Penthouse Forum” and something that sounds like it was written by a painfully shy and sheltered 13 year old. I have now read through some of the rave reviews and I have to assume that these were posted by people easily shocked and/or titillated. I can’t imagine what fans are comparing this to when they describe this as “good.”
Nice cover art.
Jo Robinson – Fly Birdie
(MY COMMENT: Erm…..)
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wasted my time, March 3, 2013
Linda Hutson – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Fly Birdie (Kindle Edition)
Grade school quality SHORT story. Not enjoyable at all. I was disgusted by the actions of the “heroine” of the story.