June 26, 2011

Sunday, life details & hyperlinks

The sky is cloudy, but at least it's warm. Been raining a lot the past few days, and cloudy when it's not. Lawn is half mowed, and that's the way it has been for the last four days. In a burst of energy I set out to mow my meadow, until rain stopped that enterprise. Since then either I've been busy or it has been raining, or the grass has been wet fron morning dew or rain. All the dew it gets means I never ever water the grass, and it stays green.
In other news, I had a Real Estate lady bring some possible buyers through the London house; she dropped a note saying she had people who want to buy, did I want to sell? So Saturday 2pm they duly went for a look. Asked me 'how much'and my reply was 'dunno, but municipal tax valuation gives a figure, how about that?
As for writing stuff, I have started adding more Thriller elements into 'Stone Song'- as with any such thing, every change has a snowball effect down the line, meaning more changes further on. Might get to a reasonable novel length ultimately.
Also, spent hours working out how to create a Table of Contents in Pages with active links. Exported to Word, and uploaded to Smashwords. Hopefully that will translate into a proper clickable TOC in the various formats. Hyperlinks, which i always thought just take you to some web-page, apparently are the means which link the Table to chapter headings. This is all in Heavy and Light Tales, by the way. If successful, I can do the same in Stone Song when that is finished & published.
My attitude with the short story book(s) is to use them as practice, finding out how to format properly, make covers, linkable TOC, build a web-presence and all that stuff.
Then the novels will have all the groundwork done when I get to them.

June 21, 2011

Heavy and Light Tales

Okay. My new little short story collection is live on Smashwords, and will probably be uploaded to Amazon Kindle later today.

I'm experimenting with pricing. Since I don't expect much in the way of sales, this is priced at $2.99, to get that 70% return from Kindle sales (if any).

The other thing I must do is remember to include at least 'Addendum to Dog' in the 'shorts' listing for Kindle.

Going through my old stories I realized some of them are fairly good. Some small rewrites, an extra sentence or two in some, seemed to give just a bit extra zip, and of course some pruning too. One longish speech in 'the Shot'is gone without any loss.

I'd intended to use the same cover image as on the paperback edition, but couldn't find the digital version anywhere. Instead I used a photo of a very spiky plant.
Not too happy with the title font and placement, that should be a bit lower, further from the top edge. Will have another go at that also, later today

June 20, 2011

BunoWrimo, new short story collection, & new Sherlock

I'm in BunoWrimo, which means I'm supposed to write a total of 50,000 words, an entire novel, in the month of June.
Didn't actually attempt that, but have directed that energy into finishing projects mostly, rather than start a big new one.
Mind you, there is 'Sherlock Holmes and the Case of Lady Chatterley's Voodoo Dolls', but that won't be traditional novel length. As a Graphic novel, the page count may reach 100, but the word count will be much lower. I have the plot roughed out, and it is perhaps half written.
The last couple of days I've been preparing to publish another short story collection, originally intended to be an ebook version of Heavy and Light Tales, my 2006 paperback short story collection. After some editing and pruning, I decided to add a couple of excerpts from my novels, both to raise interest in them, and because they're not half bad as stand-alone stories. This is especially true of bits from Eland Dances.
So, quite a productive month, and if you count editing, with bits altered, added, or slashed, I should have something like the target figure by month end.
As for 'Stone Song', one Beta reader has told me 'go ahead and publish it' Mind you, I think he only read the first half. Silence from the others, which likely means they find it heavy going. Oh well.
Click on the title of this post to see Heavy and Light Tales on Smashwords.

June 16, 2011

Latest projects

I've been busy with several things at once - of course, the only way to be busy, since projects and 'things to do now' are like city buses when it rains, they travel in convoy.

So presently; roof shingles, next Sherlock Holmes story - going to be a graphic novel - wowsers, finishing Stone Song, keeping the garden going in the face of a marauding hungry ground hog. -

The next Sherlock Holmes story has become a graphic Novel in progress, in collaboration with a virtual friend in England.
Title is going to be 'Sherlock Holmes & the Case of Lady Chatterley's Voodoo Dolls'
So far a few more than 2,000 words written, the main characters decided on, and the skeleton of the plot outlined (mostly). Portraits of the main characters are being worked on, which will be used as the basis for the many smaller pictures needed.

We think something like a 100- 150 page minimum, with at least one small picture per page. Text may be alongside the illustrations, as Sherlock tends to be quite long-winded, and so those little dialogue-bubbles won't do.


The roof needs new shingles. Not this roof, the one sheltering me as I write this, but the house in town, where my daughter and grandson live. Fine, how much, let's do it shall we?

Not so fast. This is a semi-detached and so anything like a roof repair involves the people in the other half.

They are Believers, in one of those Churches that tell them everyone else is Profane, & only True Believers will be Saved. Fair enough. Now with the roof repair, one of their Church Brothers has been picked by them to do the roof. Both sides.

Problem I have is the guy hasn't left me a written quotation or contacted me. His verbally passed on figure is high, I think. So I got a quote from a well known, very respectable, company. The sort of place you'd expect to be expensive for this sort of thing. Their figure, with written warranties & a few bells, is several hundred dollars lower.
Next I asked the guy doing several roofing jobs in our street for a quote, and his figure is $900 lower than the big company. No response whatsoever from neighbours, except that they have a Brother who will do the whole roof, theirs and mine.
So I am expected to pay over an extra $1000 because their Brother has been picked by them?

Stone Song has gone out to a few Beta readers. Waiting for feedback.

Groundhog has been stymied by a careful fence. Unfortunately all that's left are potatoes, tomatoes, a few beets sprouting again, and two tiny cucumber plants.

June 8, 2011

Wednesday already

My gosh. Flying along. Lots of time so far this week doing the web-presence thing; now have 223 Twitter followers & 75 'likes' on my Facebook author page. If that is achievement, I'm making progress.
So far 9 copies of Sherlock Holmes & the Zombie Affair have sold this month/week on Amazon Kindle USA. One more and that'll equal the 10 sold in May, though it was live for just 12 days, from the evening on 18th so not a big leap.
Now, all that effort comes down to $7 in actual money earned. The only real justification could possibly lie with future earnings from Stone Song and other writing to come.
Drawback there is the totally different genres - the tiny 'Sherlock' niche as against the much larger and more competitive SF/Thriller/Adventure of Stone Song.
I have no idea how many have read the sample available to be read online fron Amz kindle. That would be useful to know, for sure. Have to assume some percentage of those who read the sample go on to spend $0.99 and buy the rest.
If web presence counts for anything, it should show in a fairly quick start to sales of Stone Song when I publish.
Which is going to be within weeks, certainly, even if I do some rewrites; Jury is out on that. I have a reasonable & coherent story as is. Do I want/need to juice up the tension & conflict?

June 5, 2011

Sunday sunshine

Managed to do quite a bit of in-filling in Stone Song, 2 hours out in the sunshine, squinting at the laptop, back inside so it could charge again, while I went through and edited.
Paul Kater has been sending me emails about the chapters I sent him for his input, and I've been integrating his suggestions as I go. Then more new stuff again.
Not sure how many words total, but it feels like progress. Couple of important scenes sorted, and continuity and some minor motives/decisions written in several places.
Yesterday was a low achievement day, because I was in London from midday on. Supposed to meet a guy to see about the roof there - needs new shingles. He didn't turn up.
So I stayed, because my grandson's 9th birthday party was from 5pm on. More adults than kids, as it happened. Lots of food and conviviality, while kids surged around. Someone kindly gifted several mini marshmallow guns, which found eager testers. Expect the raccoons will enjoy the marshmallows all over the garden.
Ended up by toasting hot dogs on sticks, with Birthday Boy the last kid standing.We did Octopus Dogs. What you do is split the ends of a hot dog sausage into several parts, with the middle section left as is. Then jab a sharp pointy stick into that middle bit, and hold over hot coals. As it cooks the ends curl into twisty fingers. Fun to watch, and of course eat.

June 4, 2011

Sherlock Sales, book covers, Dead Road

I have the cover with St.Materiana's Church seen through the lower gate, and the Dead Path, on the Smashwords version. The Litch Gate is the other name for this gate, because bodies were carried along this route. Traditionally, these Dead roads were left unobstructed so the souls of the dead could fly directly to hallowed ground. So very appropriate for a story involving a zombie. This is quite an eye-catching image, even if you don't know exactly what it shows.
Saint Materianas is in Tintagel, Cornwall, and is a very old church.
I have the anonymous cemetery on the Amazon version. Tumbled gravestones in hues of grey and green, fairly spooky.
Whether the cover influences sales (much) is very hard to judge.
I know, I know, big yawn, who cares about the miniscule sales of a very short ebook? Obviously I do, and so --
As of yesterday, Friday 3rd there'd been 6 sold by Amazon.com during June, which would be 2 per day. Since it went 'live'during the evening on May 18th, there were 10 sold on .com & 2 on .UK, so a bit less than 1 per day.
Forget about Smashwords, nobody goes there to buy, it seems. Fellow writers, certainly, and there've been 14 'sold' there, 13 with use of the coupon. Now, the other retailers they supply might be different, but it'll be a while before it gets out to them.

June 2, 2011

Espresso Book Machines

I posted a couple of days ago, saying there were around 21 of these machines world-wide. Wrong. Click the link(ie click the title of this post) to see the current locations. University libraries are early adopters, in Canada and the USA, from Australia to Egypt, they are spreading very rapidly.
If you are an Indie Author there is a very direct interest here; you can list your books with them for any customer to get a real paper back copy anywhere there is a machine.
I'm in, as soon as I've posted this update.
Something definitely worth looking into is buying or leasing a machine, opening a bookshop.
Not sure of the cost, though someone mentioned 75,000 GB Poundsfor one. Not bad if you have a decent market to serve. One in the University of Toronto, another at Waterloo are the closest to me right now. Wondering about setting up in one of London's malls (Ontario's London)
Certainly going to try get my book(s) into their system.
This is absolutely the future of publishing and book retailing. Perfect combination of most of the advantages of ebooks and paperbooks.
For Indie bookstores this has to be the answer. Low storage and display costs, combined with a huge inventory.

June 1, 2011

June - summer's here at last, time to do stuff

This spring has been mostly miserable, cool, if not downright cold, and wet. Farmers couldn't get into their fields to plant in areas where their soil doesn't drain very well. My own garden is almost bare still, just a few spuds sprouting, since the deer jumped the fence and ate my lettuce, beet tops and brussels sprouts.
But never mind meandering in the garden, this month is Buno-Wrimo month. As of today, a strict (hah) regimen of 1,800 words every day, or else. Else what? No beer, that's what! Wish I could see the bloody computer screen outside though, cos that's where I want to be, in the light and air.
If they bring out an e-ink screen device you can write as well as read on, I'm on it.
For the month I'm not going to try to write 50k words of a new novel, but rather finish Stone Song, including editing, and also do another Sherlock shortie + start a cook book, simple stuff for singles, aimed at carnivores who eat some veg but aren't into lots of ingredients,stuff that needs attention while cooking, and so on.
My daughter suggests wild/gathered foods eg fiddleheads with self caught trout, dandelion wine/ greens, daylily fried in bacon fat etc. Stuff I do, well I would if I ever caught a bloody trout anyway.