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.
We had a fantastic 2015. In May we were married in Gretna Green, and had a wonderful honeymoon, first in Scotland and then in Cyprus. Our very busy life started to ease off a little, and my writing work was made much more businesslike. In November, of course, I finally completed my first ever NaNoWriMo, and my first full-length story since, well, Night Crawler.
The holiday has given me time to assess how the past year went and what I’d like to achieve in the new year – workwise and personally. But I’m not going to bore everyone with a list of so-called “resolutions”. Instead, I’m just going to cover some changes to Baggins Bottom.
I’d like to have a grid on the front page with just the opening of each post visible and a continue-reading/read more-type option. But this current theme is quite a new one, and one I quite like, and it doesn’t seem to be available. I shall, however, research it further, and change it if I find it.
In the meantime, here are some new regular features that may or may not eventually be turned into non-fiction books, with added extras, such as OS maps for a walking book:
Wormy’s kitchen – including recipes and gadget tests/reviews
Walk of the week – including gear reviews and product tests
Kitchen garden from scratch – including step-by-step projects
Our lane this month
My fat year (fitness diary)
Each of the posts will have the topic name at the start of the post title followed by a colon, like the list alert on this one. The first post in each category will be an introduction with background where necessary. Come June, I’ll have a good idea of how much material I have and whether or not some of them can be converted into book proposals that can then go on their merry way.
The writing work is being moved up a gear in 2016. I’ve pretty much decided that I don’t want to write articles or features any more, other than nostalgia pieces that insist on being written and maybe readers’ letters. I do have some writing projects already started and I’d like to polish or finish some of those. Then I’d like to concentrate on the non-fiction ideas above.
Here is what I’d like to achieve in 2016, writing-wise:
polish Mardi Gras (my 2015 NaNoWriMo project)
finish Catch the Rainbow
start The Beast Within (a Marcie Craig mystery)
write at least one short story a month for fave short story market (and so eventually lead towards Twee Tales Twee …)
write at least one piece of work a month for the fiction writing course the poet bought for my birthday last year
All of this will monitored and documented and added to a new blog, Words Worth Writing … (do you see what I did there?) There’s not a lot on there at the moment, although I did secure the url a long time ago. But here is where you’ll start to see Diary of a Freelance Writer too, although I’ll probably duplicate that for a while until everyone knows how to find it. In fact, I might duplicate this post over there too, to get us started.
And then there’s the editing/self-publishing side of my work. I have 4 books to republish in 2016, under the new by-line:
I wasn’t going to do a diary today due to having just a 4-day week last week and another this week, and I can’t think what to illustrate it with either. But then I thought I’d have almost twice as much to do next week so I thought I may as well give it a pop.
I’ve not done much writing this week at all. I think I’m probably still in recovery for the blitz that was November. I have been busy doing other stuff, though.
Last Wednesday started with the blog, for which I at least wrote 776 words. Then it was publishing work on the republication of Night Crawler: a Marcie Craig mystery.
All of the interior was completed, but I had to do that twice as Windows 10 managed to corrupt some of my Office files and I had to reload Windows 8.1 first and then recover my files. So that took a lot of faffing time.
We had pro-bono work to do Wednesday evening, with this month’s meeting over in Doncaster.
On Thursday I wrote the Friday blog and was going to schedule it, but decided to go ahead and publish. So that was another 561 words written. I also pre-scheduled a post for the gig list for Monday morning.
We had a lot of discussion about the cover for the book, and tried a few things, but then settled on one that we both thought looked good. And then I ordered a proof copy, which arrived on Saturday. (It’s looking good!)
We booked the weekend off a few months ago, once we found out when the Christmas markets were, but we ended up going to Matlock in Derbyshire on Friday instead of Lincoln, and are sure we had a much better day there than we would have done had we stuck to our original plans.
Illness wiped out pretty much most of the rest of the weekend, but we did manage some Christmas shopping on Monday.
Tuesday it was back in the hot seat and catching up on emails, because I forgot to switch on the out-of-office auto-reply. I also did some more pro-bono work.
I won one job I pitched for a week or so ago, and I pitched for another 9. And I wrote 793 words for the post-weekend blog.
So, as you can see, just a small one this time. Next week’s should be back to normal and then, well then it’s the Christmas holiday …
Oh yes, I’m definitely dining out on this one for a while.
In case you didn’t know, I hit my NaNoWriMo target and for the first time ever – EVER – I became a NaNoWriMo WINNER!
But this was a double celebration for me, because it’s also the first full-length story I’ve finished in 20 years …
When I originally wrote that, I put 10 years, and it looked a lot then. But as Night Crawler was written in 1996, and as I haven’t finished anything long since, it is actually 20 years. And that is absolutely disgraceful.
I wrote Night Crawler in 3 months whilst also holding down a full-time job. I’ve been writing Catch the Rainbow for at least 5 years. I’ve been writing The Beast Within for at least 10 years. I wrote Mardi Gras in 30 days. I know which one I’d sooner make a habit of, don’t you? I can feel the Scrivener coming out again.
So, then … on Wednesday I did a lot of pro-bono work and gig list admin, the latter of which took a while as I wanted to embed the guestbook into the gig list but had to come up with an external link instead. It doesn’t matter, it works just as well, and we’re happy with the result.
I also came up with the new publication schedule for next year, starting with the re-release of Night Crawler in January.
And I wrote 1,010 words of one project, and 1,743 words for NaNo.
Thursday was another difficult Thursday for me, and the only job I seem to have completed is 1,535 words of NaNo. I woke up with a trapped nerve, though, and was unable to do a lot else.
On Friday, I wrote 721 words for one project, and 1,705 words for NaNo.
On Friday evening we went on another gig list trip to Doncaster, with the poet taking photographs of a band some of our friends are in. I didn’t do a review because we only stayed for one set. My neck and back were killing me so we left early to come home.
Despite some terrible weather on Saturday, we went out on a photo-collecting walk. It was cold, windy, wet, squally and very dangerous underfoot. At one point we had to let the dog off his lead just so he didn’t pull one of us over. Because of the weather, and because of my trapped nerve, we made it a very short walk. It was under a mile but still took us 55 minutes. However, at least we have some new photographs, the first of which will be on here on Friday – I have to schedule a blog post for Friday as we’re having a long weekend, on both sides.
We came home, dried off, went shopping, came home again, then I did NaNo and wrote 1,635 words. Then in the evening, Monkey Dust had another gig over in Doncaster.
Sunday was pretty much a day in Birmingham. We had a late start and the weather was still atrocious, so we only had a short visit this time. When we got back, I wrote another 1,733 words for NaNo.
Monday was an absolutely fantastic day. Before I did anything else … well, other than post the request for gigs on the gig list FB page … but before I did anything else, I wrote my final 1,674 words for NaNo. As soon as I could I had it verified so that I could get my winner’s badge before posting Monday’s blog. I was very pleased with that, and still am. And I also wrote 879 of another project. So very happy camper on Monday – and very relieved.
Yesterday started with a little more pro-bono work. I’m hoping to hand the FB page over to a couple of other members of the committee now it’s all set up but for now, I’ll still look after the blog and any media relations. We have a meeting this evening, so I’m hoping I can offload some of it there.
I didn’t do any writing, but I did pitch for 5 new editing or proofreading jobs. Then the rest of the day was spent playing with covers for the re-release of Night Crawler. The poet has come up with a great design for it, I’m really happy with it. But we could not get the placement right for the text boxes.
My homework this week is to get back into the swing of working. I only have 3 working weeks in December, and 2 of those are short ones. So I need to crack on and do some work to get some money in before Christmas.
“We still don’t have any new pictures for the blog,” I said.
“We must have loads of them,” he replied.
“Not of winter.”
“We have, we’ve got lots. From last year.”
“We’ve probably used them all.”
“No you haven’t. Have a look. Choose one from last year.”
So I went to have a look at last year’s pictures … and there aren’t any. This time last year we were moving house. We didn’t get a lot of time to go out and take pictures. Apart from “new house” pictures. And I know I’ve already shared all of those – some of them more than once.
So I went back another year, to 2013, to November. And there was one folder. Just the one. From Cusworth Hall in Doncaster. You’ve probably already seen this one, but as it’s a November shot … well, enjoy. 🙂
And we might not be going out tomorrow either. We were going to go for a short walk, to start us off again building up to bigger and longer walks eventually. But on Wednesday night I did something that trapped a nerve in my neck. I didn’t feel any twinge or pain. I didn’t make any sharp or sudden movements. My neck just gradually started to get stiff. And when I woke up Thursday morning, I could hardly move.
I was going to nip down to Birmingham to see my parents yesterday. But I couldn’t even get my nightie over my head let alone drive 200 miles. So I took 2 “horse tranquillisers” (prescription co-codomol) and went back to bed. Where I slept the sleep of the dead for 4 hours. And when I woke up, the pain and the stiffness were still there.
That’s when the poet started to feed me “big pink ones” (very large ibuprofen). They do upset my stomach, and they upset his stomach too. But reading the leaflet yesterday he discovered that we’re only supposed to take one of these at a time, and he takes 2. I forced one dose down and the stiffness did indeed start to wane. The pain was still there, but at least I could move again.
Last night I took 2 more horse tranquillisers before bed and I’ve been taking big pink ones today (with food). But if I can’t even drive, or raise my arm over my head, or turn my head beyond the line of my shoulders (less on the right than on the left), then he doesn’t think we should go for a walk. Even a small one.
We’re going out tonight, and he’s driving. He has a gig tomorrow, and he’s probably driving again. Then we’re definitely going to Birmingham on Sunday and he won’t let me drive that far in case it aggravates my neck even if it is feeling better by then.
So you lot are going to have to wait another 2 weeks before there might be any more new pictures.
Saying that, I have still managed my NaNoWriMo all week and the finish line is on the horizon. Well, if I stand on tip toe, I can see it from here – it’s Monday. Then on Tuesday, I start work proper again.
I’ve also managed some work on the republication for January of Night Crawler: a Marcie Craig mystery. The interior is ready. The artwork is chosen for the cover. It just needs sharpening and tweaking and the text placing. Then I can order the first proof copy.
Today I’ve done some more pro-bono work too. We have a meeting next Wednesday evening, and the 2 chosen charities are both sending representatives to talk to us, so I’ve been liaising with them.
I still have today’s NaNo to do. I’ve been doing it of an evening, but we will be out this evening so I need to do it this afternoon. And tomorrow we have shopping to do too (as well as my NaNo) as Sunday is already full and I really wasn’t up to doing it last night.
I hope I feel up to a short walk tomorrow, but I will take it easy if I need to. I’d sooner lose just one weekend of driving and walking than have to put up with this for as many weeks (or months!) as some of our friends have recently experienced.
There’s been an uplift in work and activity this past week, definitely a shift in the right direction.
I don’t know if this is because I’m just getting better or because with me being so busy with NaNoWriMo I’m getting withdrawal from everything else and wanting to up my game.
Whichever, it’s certainly a good thing – and I think I’m liking it.
Okay, Much of Wednesday was writing 1,705 words for NaNo and a further 697 words on another writing project. I must have faffed for the rest of the day as there isn’t much else in my diary. I’m sure I probably did a lot more, but I really need to start noting it all down. I do know it was a busy day household chore-wise, but I’m sure I did a lot more.
Note to self: When writing a “diary”, remember to actually write the diary entries.
Thursday was better, in that I remembered to write down much of what I did. This was 2 lots of gig list admin, the second taking up quite a lot of time as I tried to get the dot com reactivated and the Blogger site redirected. It was taking so long in the end that I abandoned it until the next day, but it did take a long time.
I also managed 1,699 words for NaNo. They were a real wrench, though, taking most of the working day to happen, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Thursdays are not very good days for me, either creatively or technologically. This will be reflected in future diary work scheduling as I try to work around it, as I remember it happening when I worked for a living too.
Friday was even better again, with 1,176 words written for one project and 1,733 words written for NaNo. And I managed to sort out the dot com for the gig list, so that took up additional admin time making sure everyone knew.
Our weekend started Friday evening with a press trip out to Homfirth to see Walter Trout at the Picturedrome. I had a press pass, the poet had a photo pass – his first proper assignment. (I gave him another this morning before he left for work …) On Saturday his band had their own gig over in Doncaster, and I managed 1,758 words for NaNo on Saturday, and 1,725 words on Sunday.
We ran out of time to do any photo/research trips of our own.
Monday was a good day, writing-wise. I wrote up the review from Friday (only 203 words, but hey, every little counts), plus 547 words on another project, and 1,836 words for NaNo – a personal best so far. I also sifted through all of the photographs from Friday night, put them all into a separate file for the poet to play with, and selected 26-ish for the Facebook page and 1 each for the gig list and for the blog. I cropped a handful but pretty much left them as they were.
On Monday I started to get the freelancing itch, the urge to be doing more than what I’m currently doing and getting back into the swing of the writing. On Monday I also started to read a book about finance for the self-employed. It may be this that has given me a bit of a kick up the bum.
I started the day with some pro-bono work and a bit more admin. Then it was another day of chores before I finally got around to my NaNo. But I hit another personal best with 2,008 words, I cleared the 40,000-word mark, and I finally caught up with the last couple of hundred words I was short on last Thursday. By the end of yesterday, I was feeling pretty smug.
Work starts today on the long-awaited re-publication schedule.
In January I’m hoping to have a new hardback of Night Crawler available, but this one will be called Night Crawler: a Marcie Craig mystery and it will be by Diane Wordsworth. The schedule is to include a paperback 3 months later, the ebook 3 months after that, and possibly an audio book 3 months after that. Then, 3 months after that, the large print.
In February, it will be the turn of Baggins Bottom Best Bits, but I won’t be bothering with a hardback for that. The ebook, audio book and large print will follow. Then in March it will be Twee Tales. Twee Tales won’t appear in hardback until I have an omnibus edition, but it will still have the paperback, ebook, audio book and large print until then.
And then it will be Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book Two.
As each book is re-published, the old one will be retired. And there will be a clear message on all of them that they were previously published under a different name/title.
Twee Tales Too is already published by Diane Wordsworth, but it needs to be converted to ebook and then audio book. And Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book Three is currently awaiting editing, but that will also be by Diane Wordsworth.
Since I’ve been working with Scrivener, I’ve realised I can copy all of these into there and Scrivener will export it to whatever format I need for publishing. That means less formatting work for me, and more time to write, edit and polish.
I’m hoping that by the time we get to a month without a new book to start, I’ll either have another one myself or maybe one with a publisher. I’m working on Mardi Gras (for NaNo), Catch the Rainbow, The Beast Within (a Marcie Craig mystery), and Diary of a Scaredy Cat.
The poet’s job in all of this is jacket design and author photography. I’m already very happy with the jackets I currently have, but we want to re-brand everything so it all looks as though it comes from the same place.
So, aside from just under one week left on NaNoWriMo, this publication schedule (and any editing) is my own homework this week. What’s on your to-do list?
I’ve had another busy week, I’m pleased to say. How has your week been? Did last week’s picture inspire you to write anything?
I’ve not even started my monthly routine of think/query/write/submit yet. I’ve been busy doing other things – mostly 2 very heavy edits. There’s light at the end of that particular tunnel now, though. I’m hoping the last one will be gone by the end of today. It’s taking a very, very long time.
One of the things I’ve been busy thinking about is this year’s NaNoWriMo. I start it every year, and every year I vow to complete it. But every year my writing stalls, and because I’m not doing any other writing, I don’t get any done.
This year I plan to still attempt my working 1,000 words per day, either on CATCH THE RAINBOW or on other material. But I’m also allocating time to NaNo, around 2 hours a day if I can – and the weekends. Hopefully then, if my NaNo stalls, I still have other writing to be getting on with, and vice versa.
So I’ve signed up again, but I’m still not decided which project to work on and currently have 2 in the planning stages to see how much mileage they might have. I want something to romp along at a pace so I don’t lose interest, but I also don’t want to run out of steam.
On Wednesday I started my writing session with 5 ideas for 7 days (6). Then I wrote a short but new scene for CATCH THE RAINBOW in an attempt to get back into the habit. I raised a whole invoice – on request (hurrah!) – and I did some reading work. Then I had to skip study work to do one of those heavy edits.
Thursday was 1 October, and that meant new month admin – updating the word-count and the workload spreadsheets, moving everything along and making sure all the words carried forward were in the right place.
In diary work, for the first time ever I moved writing work up to the first actual work slot of each day for the following week’s diary. I wanted to see how it went before making it a permanent fixture. (So far, so good …) And I wrote another short but new scene for CATCH THE RAINBOW before slogging on with that heavy edit.
On Friday I wrote yet more of CATCH THE RAINBOW and I made inroads into the heavy edit, and I worked solidly, all day, until about 7pm.
On Saturday we had a football game to go to, but before we went I did more of the heavy edit, and when we got back I finished it and submitted it. (Hurrah!) I finished work on Saturday at 8pm and was shattered. I didn’t get any writing work done, or any research visits, as we were already busy.
I finally managed some NaNo prep on Monday, I finished the 5 ideas for 7 days (7), selecting one of those as a possible for NaNo, and I wrote a huge chunk of CATCH THE RAINBOW. Then it was back to the other heavy edit I’d put to one side to finish the first one. I’d already put this to one side to squeeze in a heavy proofread, so that one needs to go this week.
Yesterday I narrowed my NaNo choices down to 2: a YA time travelling mystery or a regular contemporary mystery leaning towards the mystical. I wrote another new scene for CATCH THE RAINBOW, and I had a play with book jackets, setting up an account on Amazon’s CreateSpace.
Now, I’ve always used Lulu for my own self-publishing, but their book jacket software has always felt a bit restrictive. We’re going to be re-releasing all of the previously self-published books by Diane Parkin with new jackets and a new byline – Diane Wordsworth. I had found a book jacket design website at Canva, but when I tried to log on yesterday – on Opera – it wouldn’t let me, saying they didn’t support my browser and would I please install Chrome. Well, no actually. I removed Chrome for some very good reasons (to me). And, anyway, I don’t like to be told what to install on my own computer.
So I did a search, and while I’m trying to move away from Amazon – again, for various reasons – their CreateSpace seemed to be the best one available.
Now, I happen to be married to an artist, and he wants to design the new book covers. But as neither of us have any experience designing book covers, I think playing on things like Lulu and CreateSpace might be very useful for if and when we buy any software. We already have and pay for Serif PhotoPlus, and that can apparently be used for book covers. But we need to know how to do it first and what looks good.
So yesterday, I played with book covers and, while I was there, I uploaded a new version of NIGHT CRAWLER, with a new ISBN and a temporary new cover. I love the old cover, and I love the large print cover, but we’re trying to stylise them all so they have a theme. It’s not re-published yet, the poet has to come up with an illustration and we have to decide on that theme first. But it’s not far off.
I did more of that heavy edit, but I really need to shift that now. Tomorrow I think I’m out in the afternoon, and afternoons are my editing time.
Here is your homework for this week, then, for those who want it:
Sign-up for NaNoWriMo and send me a buddy request.
Blitz 3 ideas that could be used for NaNo.
Incidentally, the diary may be moving to Friday during NaNoWriMo (i.e. November), to free up more writing time in the week.