Busy publishing books

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I may seem to be quiet at the moment, but that’s mostly because I’ve been busily publishing books and ebooks.

In the past few months I’ve published a writers’ guide and I’ve republished two anthologies from the old days at Baggins Bottom. And in the past year, I’ve republished a novel and a collection of short stories.

I’m currently in the process of publishing book 3 from Baggins Bottom and the ebook for Twee Tales Too.

Hop along to my “buy my books” page over on the writing blog to find out more. You can skip straight to the link here.

Word meters

Catch the Rainbow

Have you been keeping an eye on the word meters in the sidebar? Those, and the one to the left here, are all provided by Writertopia. If you like them and would like to try them, hop along to their website. There’s a real man behind them too. Once, when I was struggling to get the widgets to work with WordPress, we had a nice email conversation.

CATCH THE RAINBOW hasn’t moved for about a week now, but some of the others have. Yesterday I met my word count challenge for July (and will exceed it even further today), so that one has gone up. I’ve been writing the ideas book this week, so that one has gone up. Each week another section is added to DIARY OF A SCAREDY CAT, so that one has gone up. And, a new one, I’ve started to collate material for TALES FROM BAGGINS BOTTOM BEST BITS BOOK THREE, so that one has appeared and also gone up this week.

BBBBB3 is currently my first hour of writing time. “Writing time” can be anything at all to do with my own writing, including research, editing and admin tasks. As 2007 starts to be collated in the new book, though, it’s starting to disappear from the blog. As I already have the best bits from 2005 and 2006, those years are no longer even in my “private” folder. They were trashed earlier this week. Once this one is done and dusted too, it’ll be going the same way.

The poet asked me the other day when he’ll start to appear in the books. I said Book 9 … unless more than one year get collated together in the meantime.

Today I’m doing electronic edits for a client’s book. I also have more “writing time” and some admin time (invoices – hurrah! – admin & PC maintenance). Then I finish early for a hair appointment.

Tonight marks the return of Ripper Street to BBC1 and we’d both like to watch that if we can, but the poet also wants to cut the grass. Tomorrow we’re out for the day – either walking or sightseeing, depending on the weather – and he’s toying with fishing Saturday evening. On Sunday we’re in Rotherham with his band. So another fairly busy weekend ahead.

I hope we get to do some walking, and next week “daily competitions” has been replaced in the diary with “walk dog”. I’ve recently been, once again, the heaviest I’ve ever been, only  – obviously – heavier. 😦  So I changed our diet this week to a low GI one. (Do you see how “I” changed “our” diet there? I’m so good to him. 🙂 ) I’ve lost more than 4lb over the past 2 weeks, so it’s going in the right direction. My lower back has been killing me just recently, though, and the only thing I can think of, having already changed the settee and the bed, is all of this excess weight I’m carrying. Oh yes, that and the arthritis I have in it.

Wherever we go tomorrow, I’m sure there will be more photographs to choose from to illustrate the blog. We both think it looks so much more inviting when there’s a picture at the top.

Y’all have a great weekend.

Famous last words ( *** list alert ***)

ahmmSo on Monday I bragged about us both shaking off our colds … and then yesterday I was hit by a relapse that completely knocked me out and back into bed. Talk about famous last words.

I’m still not right today, but the time in bed gave me lots of navel-gazing opportunity in a bid to banish those crows of doubt that have been circling recently.

I think I’ve given myself the kick up the bum I needed, but time will tell. But there’s no diary of a scaredy cat this week as, well, I’ve not done a lot …

… other than the following:

  • bought 3 new magazines (digital versions) I’ve always wanted to target with short fiction (including the one in the picture) – market study
  • loaded older versions of previously bought same magazines (all to Kindle Home) – market study
  • loaded previously bought collections of short stories by Della Galton and Teresa Ashby to Kindle Home (1 each) – market study
  • loaded a total of 18 how-to-write books to Kindle Home for browsing and dipping into
  • loaded a further book to Kindle Home on getting organised, 1 on habit-forming, and another 2 for idea-brainstorming (I do love my Kindle …)
  • researched and bookmarked 22 websites that buy short material from freelance writers
  • subscribed to Duotrope
  • submitted 2 short stories to UK markets this morning
  • submitted 3 short stories to Duotrope listings this morning

I’m also aiming at splitting the diary into:

  • am – my writing work (including market study/research)
  • pm – editing/proofreading work (including surfing job boards and other work-finding and administration activities)

More bed-based work yesterday included synchronising all the bookmarks on all of my wi-fi devices so that I don’t have to keep sending myself links. And I did a lot of reading.

I need to concentrate on my own writing again, whether that be novels, books, articles, short stories or fillers. I’m less likely to spend much time on article-writing, unless it’s a reader’s true experience (RTE) I can rattle off or something I don’t need to personally research very much.

And I need an injection of confidence.

And the opposite of a lazy pill …

How do you kick yourself up the bum to get you working again?

Nevis and Culloden

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The Commando Memorial, Great Glen Way (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

As it’s a Wednesday, I’d normally be writing my diary of a scaredy cat today, and I did promise one this week. However, I’ve not done a lot of actual writing work in the week since we got home (although I have been reading lots and making copious notes), so here are some more photographs from the Scottish leg of our honeymoon.

On the Monday we decided to drive through the Nevis range of mountains to see the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness, and we took the “scenic route” along the minor roads that run parallel to the canal.

The scenery was stunningly breathtaking and we were additionally rewarded with little surprises here and there, such as the Commando Memorial that stands overlooking the landscape in which our first commandos did their training in the Second World War.

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Caledonian Canal (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I particularly wanted to see the Caledonian Canal, having seen it featured on the BBC’s Coast series. This beautiful stretch of water links several lochs, rivers and lakes so that boats may take a short cut from one side of the country to the other without having to sail around the top.

But once we’d seen Loch Ness (and no, we didn’t see the monster, funnily enough), we wondered where to next.

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The Nevis Range (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Then the poet remembered his parents taking him to see Culloden when he was very young, and as I’ve always been interested in Scottish history, that’s where we decided to go.

When we arrived we were delighted to see that it belonged to the National Trust for Scotland and, as National Trust members, we not only saved our admission fee, but also our car park fee – a total of £25.

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Loch Ness. And no, we didn’t … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The poet said that it had changed a lot since he’d been – a very lot. And we spent a good while exploring the visitor centre and then part of the battlefield. But it was already late in the day and we had to do battle with the Inverness traffic at rush hour on our way back as well.

So off we headed, back to our hotel, getting something to eat on the way. The food really was delicious at our hotel, but we fancied something a bit less … fancy for our last evening in Glencoe.

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Culloden battlefield (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The next day we were up early and off on the next leg of our trip … but more on that when the pictures are posted …

Yesterday I did quite a lot of work but I was feeling a bit rough. So when the poet called and asked if I wanted to ride shotgun with him on a visit, and get lunch while we were out again, I jumped at it again. This time our sandwiches came from the Co-op, but I had a nice prawn salad and he forced us to have chocolate covered doughnuts …

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Diane at the MacDonald memorial on Culloden battlefield (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I’m still washing, washing, washing – and drying it indoors and out, depending on the weather. And yesterday was no exception. I had a packed, full washing line and bedding in the tumble dryer. But yesterday I also had to tidy up the gig list and put out the shout for this weekend’s gigs as well as plug the next Monkey Dust gig too.

I also caught up on the daily competitions and did yet more name change admin online.

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Graves on island in Loch Levin, Ballachulish (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

My lovely business manager suggested I take the afternoon off. I argued at first, but then decided to heed his advice as I had lots of reading work to catch up on as well. So I was still working, even if I was taking it easy. When he got home he brought the washing in too, bless him, before cutting the grass.

Today I’m back at the washing – there’s another line-full and more bedding drying in the tumble dryer (just call me Widow Twanky …).

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Loch Levin, Ballachulish (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I’m going to surf the job boards and catch up with emails and invitations there. I also have that new edit to continue with and more reading, writing, research and note-making work to do.

This last picture is one of my favourites from all the Scotland holiday. This was the view from our hotel room. I think the poet has done a lovely job with the light, the colours and the perspective.

I hope you enjoy all of the photographs.

And the winner is …

nightcrawler largeprintSusie Kearley! 🙂

Susie, I’ll send you a message via Twitter or FB so you can send me your snail mail address. Thanks to those of you who entered the book giveaway.

The blog will be back to normal very soon, I’m just taking a bit of a breather while I decide what people actually want to see.

The large print edition of Night Crawler (the current giveaway) has probably run out now, so I’m going to check the details and then re-publish on Lulu another large print version of my own. I’m changing my name in May, though, and re-branding myself at the same time, so all of the books may be re-released, with new covers. “Previously published as …” will appear very clearly on the cover and in the blurb. I’d hate people to think they’ve had to pay for something they’ve already paid for.

I’m working on Catch the Rainbow still, and hope this will be ready soon. This is a prequel to Night Crawler, and then I’ll finish The Beast Within, which is a sequel. Then Marcie (and predecessors) will have a little rest while I write the prequel to Catch the Rainbow, which is going to be called Hattie’s Hotshots. I’m a great believer in paying attention to “signs”, and as one appeared on the telly last night that’s perfect for Hattie, I’ve decided that’s next on the list. The third Marcie-specific story will be Snowblind, so I’ll also have that one percolating in the background.

I’m also working on Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book Two, and collating Diary of a Scaredy Cat into a-year-in-the-life-of-a-writer-type thing. And as I work through various short stories and get them in circulation, I’ll also be collating the rest of Twee Tales Too.

So please don’t think I’m being idle. I’m just taking a breather, taking stock.

If you get chance, do let me know what you’d like to see on the blog. I know some of you have said to keep it as it is, but I’d love to hear from those who haven’t said anything too. And if that means more competitions and giveaways and less pictures and personal news, that’s fine. Thanks in anticipation for your time. 🙂

Happy New Year!

First of all a very Happy New Year from all of us here at the recently relocated Baggins Bottom. We’ve had a lovely long but busy holiday and I’m now raring to go again.

Holiday
The first week of the holiday was very, very busy with shopping trips – for gifts and supplies – and the Santa run to Birmingham, Leicester and Doncaster. We finally stood still on Christmas Eve and enjoyed a quiet Christmas Day in our new home.

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Picture: Diane Parkin

Between Christmas and the New Year the poet had 2 gigs, one in Doncaster and the other in Wakefield.

We finally managed a walk in our locality, to see what was on our doorstep. It was a bit wet and muddy, and the dog pulled the poet over at one point as they scrambled down a woody hill, but we found a lovely little dell and an unusual earth bridge. No doubt pictures will follow at some point in the future.

A snow dump just after Christmas stopped us going out to see friends Boxing Day evening, and it lingered until New Year’s Eve, when we made an emergency dash to Liverpool to get the poet a new passport – his work has arranged for him to visit Germany shortly and his passport had run out last May, so he had to make an appointment to get one done quickly.

We arrived in Liverpool at 8am on New Year’s Eve for an 8:30am appointment. But they saw him straight away and told him to come back at 12:15pm. In the meantime, we filled the car with petrol and accidentally stumbled on Crosby to take the dog for a run on the beach.

We were delighted to find 100 statues facing out to see. I’d read about Antony Gormley’s Another Place before, but had no idea we were so close. So that was a nice treat.

When we got back, at noon, the passport was already ready. What great service, Passport Office!

New Year’s Eve was spent much the same as Christmas Day with just us enjoying being in our new home. On New Year’s Day we went to buy the poet a dSLR camera. We’ve been looking for one for him for many months so when a friend announced he was selling his, we jumped at it. Plus, it was another ride out for us.

On Saturday, the poet should have had another gig, but the private party was cancelled. That gave us an unexpected evening off, so we went to our new local cinema, Penistone Paramount, to see Exodus: Gods and Kings. What a nice evening that turned out to be. The film was epic, but the cinema was a lovely old thing, lovingly cared for, with a proper intermission, stalls, a circle, a lady selling ice creams in the break, and an usherette with a torch showing people to their seats. All we needed was the organ coming out of the stage.

New Year’s resolutions
I’ve not made any. Well, not really. But I do have a newly found verve for work.notebooks

My biggest intention is to do more of my own writing in 2015, instead of editing and proofreading other people’s. I’ll still do all of that work, it is, after all, my bread and butter. But I really do need to crack on with more of my own stuff.

The poet bought me these 2 beautiful touchy-feely notebooks for Christmas (the pencil is for perspective) from my favourite shop, Paperchase. Already this is helping as I’ve started to use the pink one on top.

This morning, over breakfast, I had one of those lightbulb moments when the idea for a book I’ve been mulling for a while suddenly appeared, almost fully formed, in my mind. I’ve allocated myself writing time every day in the diary. Sometimes it’s only an hour, sometimes it’s several hours. Today it’s an hour. And while I have plenty of projects to fill the time, because this one is now tugging at my sleeve, I think that’s going to get today’s allocated time slot.

My new working day also starts at 9:30am instead of 10am, with half an hour for dinner instead of a full hour. This gives me less time for housework, but more time for my job. I also have one set period every week for admin-related work.

Other goals include making it to the Leeds write-in at least once a fortnight and finishing Catch the Rainbow.

Health
We’ve both piled on a few pounds during the busy period we’ve had recently, but now things have settled, we hope that so too will our eating habits. We do try to have 3 proper meals a day, but the poet likes supper too, and recently I’ve been joining him when eating late at night has never agreed with me.

yogaToday, then, I had my breakfast once he left for work. I measured my cereal, had a glass of fruit juice with that and a cup of tea with him before he went, and I have a pint glass filled with water on my desk and a banana to keep me going between breakfast and dinner. Fruit will be my snack for between meals and we have lots this time – grapes, pears, apples, bananas and clementines.

With a Christmas gift card we also bought Yoga for Absolute Beginners DVD. I’m not a beginner, but the poet is, and (whispers) he’s going to do it with me. We even got him a yoga mat from Tesco over the holiday.

We watched the DVD yesterday, and I think it’s quite a good one. He found the poses quite hard work, but he’s not very supple at all. He felt a million times better after trying some of them, though. We’re going to aim at this 3 times a week.

Work in Progress (WIP)
My blog time on a Monday finishes at 11:30am, and it’s currently almost that. So I’m going to finish now, having written more than 1,100 words just here.

Today I have that hour on my own work before dinner, and then I crack on with the next editing job, the first of 3 already in. I’ve done my daily competitions and tomorrow I start a weekly check of the job boards.

On Wednesday, Diary of a Scaredy Cat will be back, where I’ll share more about the new non-fiction book project of my own – which is now 1 of 3. Once that ideas muscle is cranked up there’s no stopping it …

Oh, and before I forget … before Christmas I finally published the ebook version of Tales From Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book One … and it’s already been downloaded several times. (Hurrah!) Bob along and take a look and remember, once the best bits have been collated (book two is already awaiting editing), they disappear from public viewing.

Massive kick up the bum

After writing my diary of a scaredy cat on Wednesday, I was so disappointed that I’d made hardly any progress on my own work, that I gave myself a massive kick up the bum. And, as a result, this week has been very busy.

I’ve been working on Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book 2 as well as looking at the electronic file for Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book 1. I’ve been upping the marketing and self-promotion as well as beavering away at the paid bread and butter work already in. And I’ve been brushing up on my ebook formatting skills.

I’ve added a new book page to the blog, and updated the existing P&S page. I’ve changed the prices on my ebooks and republished them on Smashwords, to find there are a few sales in there I’ve not received royalties for yet. Here’s my Smashwords profile page.

Yesterday too, after a nice chat with lovely already boss, I have some new work in to start as soon as the current work is finished.

Also yesterday I changed the job-board surfing to just 2 slots per week instead of 1 slot per day, I pitched for 13 editing or proofreading jobs, and I raised my minimum rate threshold.

I feel so much better for sorting all of that and finally getting my finger out.

Today I have a poorly poet at home. He ate something dodgy on the train yesterday coming home and was up for most of the night. He’s not gone into work this morning, choosing instead to work from home, and is off to the doctor this afternoon.

NaNoWriMo starts again soon, so I’ll be preparing for that over the next few days.

What are you up to this weekend?

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