Refreshing The Background

The other day, I changed my About.me background photo for the first time in a while:

Screen capture of About.me
Screen capture of About.me

I like that site. It’s sort of an “artistic” version of LinkedIn, and I find it’s used by some interesting people. I may know you courtesy of it. [Waves.]

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For Instant Happy Woman?

While cat sitting for friends last month, I’d noticed this coaster on their dining room table. I photographed it because, being a man, I’m not entirely sure how to take this: image

And it made me chuckle. We saw them again last night; they have just moved house temporarily until they move permanently to Cambridge in August. So we got to see their “interim” place in Bath, and she had that coaster on their dining room table once more.

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“The Competition” Identified

It’s surprising to open an Amazon email and see one of your books at the top of the list among others Amazon appears to consider “similar” to it:

Screen capture of an Amazon marketing email.
Screen capture of an Amazon marketing email.

I screen grabbed as much of it as I could. Two unmistakably have “romance” in the title. I may have to “investigate” those, and others (I kept the email), to see what, err, I’m up against. ;-)

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“He said THAT? And she said THAT?”

I have literally awoken at times around 3am, my mind for some reason fixating on some plot point or statement. I wonder, “Did I leave *that* out? Did she say that?” It’s a sick feeling that can ruin a night’s sleep.

So far – luckily – whenever I have had that happen, on frantic double-checking I discover everything is fine, and I breathe out. When writing a series, you need a perfect memory. You can’t miss a thing, because even a minor oversight or “misremembering” a tiny “fact” from earlier can prove pretty embarrassing later on.

[Selfie, 2015.]
[Selfie, 2015.]
I’ve been rereading Passports at length over the last few days. It’s the first time I’ve done so in at least a year. As I do, I’m finding I’m also struck by how the books are “evolving” from that opener.

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Reminder: Airplanes Are Not The Living Room…. Or Another Room

With so many more people flying than ever before, and with space on board planes becoming tighter, people are, umm, closer than ever on aircraft. Perhaps too close. Rightly, Valerie wants everyone to respect each other a bit more: “Dear Couples Who Love To Fly”:

Screen capture, Valerie & Valise web site.
Screen capture, Valerie & Valise web site.

We’ve all endured clueless, inconsiderate idiots on planes. But reading her open letter also made me smile, because whenever I see something like it I also recall an experience I’d had some twenty years ago – the single, strangest one I’ve ever had on a plane. (And that includes having once also shared a row with a Frenchwoman and an Amish man.) I first posted this in May 2014, and thought it worth a repost here this morning:

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From Narragansett Bay To Writing Today

Wednesday’s post about a writer of “17 books” going on and on about her personal money woes, combined with the end of my “Bastille Day” free promo for Passports, got me thinking more on this subject.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of books.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of books.

We know there are the “sneak peeks” that the likes of Amazon use to drive sales. But that is not always enough. Much as with musicians who do free gigs and artists who display paintings merely to be seen, when you are lesser known as an independent author it is certainly unreasonable to expect readers to part with money for your work until they believe it is worth it.

So making a novel free is often necessary. Still, it does go against the grain to offer complete free books to enable readers to get to know your work when yours aren’t “shorts” produced every few months for quickie consumption. It’s a lot easier psychologically to give away 1 “short” book when you have “16” others out there, than it is to give away a 400 page novel when you have only 2 of them.

* * *

Much is also made of the fact that independent novels, be they shorts or full-length, are imperfect. They may have, for example, typos:

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Not “Adieu” Quite Yet

Yesterday evening I hit one of my interim targets for Distances, the third novel. Every chapter in the manuscript is now, more or less, under control. The scope of the book is largely settled.

Within my outline, I write wherever my mind takes me. I “finished” the book somewhere in middle of the last third of it, when two chapters that had been only “skeletons” up to that point were filled in generally at last. Having done that, I sat stunned briefly.

French air force overflight. Bastille Day parade, Paris, July 1995. [Photo by me.]
French air force overflight. Bastille Day parade, Paris, July 1995. [Photo by me.]

My mind then took me forward to the next book. I’m unprepared mentally to say “goodbye” to these characters yet. Quickly, I stopped myself from thinking that far ahead.

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Your Hourly Income Isn’t Readers’ Problem

Today is the fifth and final day Passports is FREE on Kindle. If you’ve downloaded it – or do – during this span, I hope you enjoy it. And speaking of Kindle:

Screen capture of Twitter.
Screen capture of Twitter.

Recently, a Lexie Syrah was interviewed by CBC radio. She says she has published 17 books, and has pulled her Kindle titles from Kindle Unlimited. She’s angry about Kindle’s changed payment terms for Unlimited and the lending library.

If you as a reader even care, since July 1 authors are paid per number of pages borrowers read the first time they read a borrowed Kindle book, not merely for the book as a whole having been borrowed. Kindle tells us authors that authors themselves have sought this change:

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The “Other” Glastonbury

Yesterday, we took the nephew to Glastonbury – no, not to the music festival, which is over. (There were trucks still clearing away post-festival.) I mean to the town, which is full of history and varieties of faith. He studies Classics at Oxford, and loves this sort of thing:

Part of the remains of Glastonbury Abbey. [Photo by me, 2015.]
Part of the remains of Glastonbury Abbey. [Photo by me, 2015.]

The Abbey is amazing.

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Travel Romance Fiction: C’est Moi

My uncle has been messaging me again. Although he knows now that I write, and the nature of what I write, he’s still after me to do “cosy” (“cozy”) crime novels:

Messenger screen capture.
Messenger screen capture.

If you don’t know what that means, they are these types of books:

Screen capture of The BookPeople Limited,
Screen capture of The BookPeople Limited, “Cosy Crime” first page.

And that despite me telling him several months ago that I couldn’t do them and don’t want to do them. But he won’t stop.

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