Journal

Gone too long

It’s been a long while coming, but I’m back.

Here I am sitting in front of the computer, trying to motivate myself into getting my book published online.

If you haven’t seen already I’ve put up my self-publishing website called Morepork Press. You should go and have a look at it. I also put it on Facebook, twitter and Instagram so go like, follow and share the stuff on it.

It’s been a fair few months (count about 10) that I’ve posted so I haven’t died or dropped off the face of the earth.

I’m still living in Perth, Western Australia and loving it. Still unemployed, not loving it. Although I am actively looking for work, so if you know anyone in the Mandurah/Peel region looking for a customer service person, email back.

My book is coming along slowly but surely, writing is not coming easy to me at the moment.  I’ve yet to write the ending of my highbrow fantasy novel and start on the next one.

I know where the story is going and how it’s meant to end but getting there is starting to be an uphill battle, which I wasn’t prepared for.

Writing blog entries is surprisingly easy for me. This post is pretty much writing itself.  I think the problem comes down to structured writing. Rambling is easy, one word in front of the other and away you go. Something that needs to go from point A to point B and I’m lost at point K (I didn’t even know there was one!). Urgh!

Writing wise, I’m currently sitting in a barn while a storm rages around our protagonist and I have no way of getting him out of there, what with him being a Hammer and all. I’ll probably have to do a flash back…..six months earlier…..or something along those lines.

I do enjoy the process of writing through, watching all your characters come to life and then go off and have adventures without you. Your just sitting on the side lines cheering them on while they have boss fights and fall in love with inappropriate people.  Typical characters.

There’s nothing else really happening, still looking for work, still enjoying life with no money, only internet.

I will be posting more frequently now that I have some more motivation and I feel really close to the end of my first novel. I’m probably not, but hey, dreams are for free.

P.S Go look at my self-publishing site, Morepork Press.

Where have I been? Well……

It’s been 3 weeks and one day since I moved to Mandurah, Western Australia.  And I’m loving it!  The weather has been great, the people are great, the food is cheap and the alcohol expensive. Moving to Australia was the best idea ever!

Continue reading “Where have I been? Well……”

And so I’m back……

From being sick and tired and hungry.

So, first things first.  I am officially moving to Perth, Australia on Tuesday 2nd September.  I have my plane tickets (business class, WOOT!!!) and I will be handing in my notice to work in 2 weeks time! I’m so excited if you hadn’t noticed by all the exclamation marks around!!!! Continue reading “And so I’m back……”

Since I’ve been gone…

I tried to write a post last week about how sick I was, but couldn’t muster the energy to even turn my computer on. That’s how horribly sick I was.

Sick person

It’s cold and flu season down here in New Zealand and I unfortunately am not immune to the evils of runny noses and hacking coughs. I had two days off work last week, which my boss was not impressed with, what with my other illness dramas unfolding in the last few months.  I understand from a manager point of view about having all your staff on board and healthy and happy. But in a retail environment and at an airport no less this is not going to go smoothly.  I come into contact with literally hundreds of people a day in my job and not getting sick every second week is a miracle in itself.

In saying that I’m not going to be at my job for that much longer. I start a new chapter in my life in September when I move from Christchurch, New Zealand all the way to Perth, Australia.  I’ve only been to Australia once, even though it’s only over the way and flights to the land of Oz are cheap.  So exciting things are happening for me in the coming weeks and months.

I am also looking at launching my first ebook in November of this year. It’s going to be centred around the adventures of an inanimate object and hopefully if all goes well, be book one in a series of four. Details are still under wraps as I am still in the middle of writing the book, but closer to the time, all will be revealed (cap swishing noises in the background).

So I will now leave you with haiku about the Christchurch earthquakes,

Rumbling escapes
throwing the city into
rock and roll heaven

 

Let’s Get Digital with Gumroad

I’ve mentioned David Gaughran in one of my previous posts before and I’m doing it again.

I’ve just read through his ebook Let’s Get Digital on self publishing and why you should do it and it was really good. Well written, informative about the aspects of publishing we all have problems with and a really good overview of where and how self publishing is heading. As someone who is heading in the self publishing direction I cannot rate or rant about this book enough. I would give a copy to everyone with writing aspirations and tell them to read this before that sit down and start writing.

This post is also a shout out to Gumroad who I highly recommend using when wanting to publish your own work.  Gumroad is a selling platform where you can put ebooks, comics, license keys for software, tshirts, anything you can sell really and make a decent profit from it.  Gumroad only take 5% + 25 cents per sale. A lot better then some of the other selling platforms around (I’m looking at you Amazon).  So if you want to stick it to the man and publish/sell online through your website, then Gumroad is the answer.

Just to be clear, I’m not being paid by Gumroad to promote them, I genuinely believe that they have a great set up and that set up works for me. I’m not saying it’s going to work for everyone. But for those of us who want to self publish and sell from our own websites then this is it. Gumroad.

So as a nice little gift to everyone (all 3 of you) who are going to read this, I have put my first product on Gumroad courtesy of David Gaughran and you can download and have a read of it.  It’s the ebook Let’s Get Digital which David has kindly made available free of charge on the condition that I acknowledge that he is the author (hoolah!) and I make to profit from sharing his ebook in pdf form (no moolah!).

So here is the download link to Lets Get Digital (opens in new tab).

Gumroad

When your Sunday is my “Wednesday”

I work in a retail environment and have a Friday to Tuesday “working week”.  I really enjoy these days as Saturday and Sunday are really busy and the days just go by very quickly. Also it gives me a chance to look at all the books we have in stock and see if I can memorise which ones we have, where they are on the selves and if we actually stock a particular one a customer is after. Sadly it doesn’t allow me to actually read the books while I work as we have so much to do reading even the back of a book is frowned upon.  I do wish book stores would put aside a dedicated reading time for their employees so they could familiarise themselves with the books especially the new releases.  I didn’t even know Diana Gabaldon had a new book out until a customer bought it up to the counter to purchase.  Admittedly books are the only thing we sell in our store as we are based in an airport as well.  But it would be nice if we could have a dedicated reading time.

When I open and run my own bookstore I will have a dedicated reading time once a week for staff, poetry and short story readings for aspiring writers.  If they don’t want to read their own work we can get someone else to do that for them. We’ll have a section solely for poetry (I do love my poetry). I’ll have a newsletter with all the bells and whistles and we’ll open on Sundays (which won’t be my “Wednesday”).  We’ll have afternoon tea on weekend days and talk about what everyones been reading.

I know dreams are for free, but one day I would like to open a bookstore like the one above and just give the community I live in something to look forward to. I would like to think in the future bookstores are a cross between a library, community house and an art space (cafe optional).  I think that’s where bookstores need to focus in on.  I know selling books is the number one job for them but if Amazon and Book Depository keep selling at discounted prices the physical bookstores will look more and more like relics that belong in the past and have no place in the future of the book trade.  Bookstores as a collective (indie and chain stores) need to broaden their scope on what they are willing to do for the community.  There is so much potential for a book seller to market itself as more than just a place to buy a book or pass some time until you’re supposed to be somewhere else.

I would go on further but I might leave it for when I am thinking more coherently and not so tired.  I might even put it in my first long form essay.

It’s late where I am, my hot chocolate has gone cold and I need to get up early for my “Thursday” at the bookshop.

I’ll leave with a haiku about books.

Old booksSpine out, face out dust
leaves a trail of where you were
the first day you arrived.

 

It’s been a while…

since I’ve been around.

I’m half way through Lolita and I’m really enjoying the writing. Humbert is a real dirty perv, and needs help. The writing is very lyrical (I think I’ve said that before) and the flow is beautiful. I hope to write that well one day.

I’ve started a writing journal, I’m aiming for a thousand words a day at least.  I’ve done about 1200 over the last 2 days so I really need to pick up on that a bit.  The writing journal is for me to write down ideas and characters and for generally getting everything out that’s in my head onto paper. I’m finding it very therapeutic.

I’ve also discovered a really good read about self publishing.  It’s from David Gaughran and it’s very insightful and just what I was looking for.  I really needed a push in the right direction and Davids book helped me with that and more. Here’s the link to the book Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran.

So for now I’m going to concentrate on blogging and writing and all the social media and marketing for my books can wait. I’m hoping to release my first novella (longer then a short story, shorter then a novel) in October 2014. So watch this space.

Cute Kitten

I’ll leave with a haiku about cats

Scratch, purr and meow
Soft head butts equate to love
Fur sticks in my mouth

Bring on Mockingjay!

Having finally finished Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, I just realised I had Jennifer Lawrence narrating the book for me in my head. I normally have Sean Bean narrating my books for me,

The book itself lived up to the hype I’d heard about it.  Katniss being devoid of all emotion works well for her. It helps her keep her distance and only care about the people that matter to her the most, Prim, her mother, Gale and Peeta.  At a stretch Haymitch is in there as well.  It did take half the book to get to the actually Hunger Games, which I wasn’t expecting.

The actually setting for the Hunger Games was well thought out and reminded me of Battle Royale (that movie it keeps getting compared to unfairly). With new and gruesome predators being introduced in the game (killer fog anyone) the ability to stay alive was more difficult for everyone. But with teamwork comes the hope of being able to escape and stay alive. Katniss has no idea she’s a pawn in a very big game and in the end everything turns to dust for her.

Those are just my thoughts on the book.  How did you like it?  Leave a comment if you like.

I’m really looking forward to Mockingjay now.

My next book will be Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov about an old man who is obsessed with a prepubescent girl.  The book caused a lot of controversy when it was first published back in the mid 1960s, but I’ve read the first two pages and found the writing well done, even if I don’t like the content of the story. That review should be up in a few days.

Also, my Dads birthday is today, so Happy Birthday Dad.  Hope you have a good one.

He’s turning 64 today. So I’ll leave you with a song.

 

 

 

Catching Fire and other catastrophes

I haven’t finished Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins yet, I will though, mark my words.

More important things came up like sleeping in and Game Of Thrones episode 9 (Season 4). Wow, I was not expecting that to happen! That was an amazing episode. Giants, woolly mammoths and awesome anchor action.  That’s why I haven’t been reading today.

Anyway, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. Back to the grind tomorrow.

Working in a bookshop and being a budding writer you would think go hand in hand. Alas, no. Gone are the days when you could read books at the counter and wait for the customer to come to you. Now it’s all service and no learning about what you’re selling. Sometimes I wish it could go back to that way. But time marches on and so to customs and the ways of the book trade.

Just look at Amazon and Hachettes squabble about book pricing.  It really is turning into a he said, she said, but no that’s not wait I implied kind of debate now.  Even Neil Gaiman had this to say about it “I’m obviously pissed at Amazon”, you can read the entire article at Salon.  The fact that Amazon has to resort these tactics to hold sway over a publishing company is disgusting.  Both parties should enter into discourse about what’s happening because at the moment everyone, including the media, are only getting second hand information about what the real issues are here. Hachette says they want fairer pricing for the books they sell on Amazon, Amazon in turn are saying that isn’t possible and it will effect the bottom line for their business.  I understand that you need to make a profit Amazon, but at the expense of alienating an entire publishing house because the want to renegotiate the contract they have with you.  That’s just throwing all your out of the cot because you have the most toys and you don’t want anyone else to play with them. The biggest problem for Amazon when the dust settles on this is that they will be portrayed as the villains in this piece. Hachette the publishing company doing good by their customers will come out of this as the hero who tried to change the status quo. The losers out of all of this will the customers. People like you and me who like to buy books from Amazon because of the convenience and accessibility and the cheap prices (well for US and UK based people anyway). If Hachette decide they don’t want to bother with Amazon anymore then that’s literally thousands of titles pulled from the website instantly. No more J.K Rowling murder mystery novels, no more James Patterson. Say bye bye to Stephen Colbert and Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point).  These authors not only rely on Amazon for revenue for their books but reviews from people who have read the book, enjoyed it and want to tell other people to buy it. As a one stop shop for everything Amazon already have the infrastructure in place to accommodate this and more.  Setting that up from scratch would be a lesson in futility for a publishing house who wanted to go it alone. The sheer resources that would need to set up your own web presence and social media buzz would be enormous for Hachette.  Then they would have to deal with people not like things that are new and/or different and you’re fighting an uphill battle even before you begin. As a fan of Amazon I would say to them “Hey, Hachette aren’t being unreasonable about what they want, talk to them”.  If they did open the doors of communication to Hachette then that would be a step in the right direction and a win for consumers everywhere. Lets hope this gets resolved quickly. Because the reviews for the new JK Rowling book are looking really good.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,

But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

The_Fault_in_Our_Stars

I’ve just returned home from watching the movie “The Fault In Our Star”.  I laughed, I cried, I cringed and I applauded. The movie is a very close representation of the book, although as Hazel Grace Lancaster would point out it isn’t actually a book. Shailene (I’m not a feminist) Woodley could very well be a shoe in for an Oscar nomination for next year. Her and Ansel Elgort, who plays Augustus Waters,  had great chemistry together which worked well with the story and where it was going.

Having read the book first and being a big fan of the Green Brothers (there’s two of them, John and Hank) I was well aware of the what may have come to pass if they had completely deviated from the book.  My fears were unfounded as I wept along with the rest of the cinema as heart rending scene after heart rending scene played out in front of us.

Now having cleaned up my tear streaked face, I am going to go back a reread the book again, that’s how much i enjoyed the movie.

For those of you who haven’t read the book, go read it, it’s great. The characters are likable and relatable (to a point) and we all wish we talked like Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters when we were that age. And after you’ve read the book and wept with joy and sadness, go see the movie. Then you can feel emotionally compromised all over again.

My review for Catching Fire, my first book in The Reading Challenge will be up tomorrow or Thursday at the latest, so look out world I’m on a roll.