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:
“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.
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. 🙂
I get a lot of hits on this blog every day, and often on days when I haven’t posted anything.
But the number of comments has dwindled significantly to maybe 3 a week if I’m lucky. (And big thanks to all of those who do say something.) So either I’m doing something wrong, or people just aren’t interested in blogs any more.
To those of you who are still interested, I have a book giveaway. It’s a large print edition of Night Crawler.
All you have to do is comment below and answer these three questions:
Where you know me from (online or in real life)
Where you’re based in the world
What you want to see (or don’t want to see) on this blog
All three questions must be answered in order to qualify for the draw, which will take place on my birthday on 9 March 2015.
I was convinced today was Saturday for some reason and was just in the process of beating myself up for forgetting to post again when I realised it was still Friday. That was quite nice, knowing I still have a whole weekend ahead.
On Wednesday evening we went to listen to Judith Barrow talk about her latest book Changing Patterns, in Slaithwaite Library. We got there early so had fish and chips for tea alongside the canal. It was a lovely evening, nice and mild, and it was nice to finally meet Judith, who is a fellow Seriously Serious Scribe on Facebook. We also met up with my friend Carol, who you’ll often see in the comments here.
While there we asked if they had any copies of my large print book, Night Crawler, as there wasn’t one on the shelf. I was delighted to learn that Kirklees has 2 whole copies of the book, but I was over the moon when they said one had been out twice and the other had been out 8 times. I was so deliriously happy it bordered on the childish. But I didn’t care.
People are borrowing my book! If I’m lucky, I might also get plr. 😀
(Incidentally, this isn’t the cover I chose for the book, it was the one I was given by the publisher, but I wasn’t going to argue.)
So after I calmed down, we settled down to listen to Judith speak and it was nice to be in another actual, physical writerly environment. I’m always interested in the process of writing, from idea to finished product, and I also like to know how much research has been done and how it’s applied to the work in progress.
Yesterday was pretty much more of the same. I pitched for more work and I did computer-based work, and I’m doing that today too. I’m just finishing up one job, another has arrived in the post, and I’m negotiating another with a potentially new client that should lead to regular work. There’s another job I pitched for last week, re-pitched this week, and I want to send out a hard-copy pitch in case my emails went into their spam. That would also be a nice little regular contract if it comes in.
I’m not going out this weekend. I’m off to see the parents on Sunday, or maybe Saturday, I haven’t decided yet, and the rest of the time will be chilling in front of the telly or working. We’ve had more hot weather forecast so it will be too warm to take the dog out during the day.
I’ve been in a bit of a rut. I find that when people owe me money, I get distracted. I get distracted because when everybody does it, basically I have no money, and I really do struggle to function with no money. In May just one client paid me. Another went on holiday for 14 days and forgot to pay me before they went. Others just dragged their feet. This left me in quite dire circumstances for most of May and, as a knock-on, also for June.
It’s not as if I haven’t done the work and don’t have money due. I think it’s downright rude when clients don’t know my personal circumstances. Perhaps they think I do my work as part of a little hobby, seeing as I do it from home, and clearly I don’t need the money or I’d have a proper job. Whatever, it’s just not fair.
Anyway, I’m not going whinge and moan. But I do need to ensure it doesn’t become a regular event. It’s just that when I’m distracted, I don’t work as well; and when I don’t work as well, I seem to lose interest in getting the work in too.
So now I have daily and weekly targets. I’d already upped my weekly wage minimum requirement, but with folk choosing not to pay me that didn’t work very well either. Instead I need to send something out every day – every working day – be it a completed job (edited novel, proof-read book, written book proposal), a short story, an article, a pitch for an article, a filler, a puzzle, a bid for a job.
This week I’ve sent out 2 brand new short stories. I’ve been editing a novel, I’m proofreading a book, and I’ve bid for 14 jobs. I already have a RTE (reader’s true experience) stewing, ready to be sent next week, and a long, nostalgic article doing the same.
I’ve printed off a magazine’s latest guidelines to see what I can come up with plus an anthology’s upcoming projects to see if there’s something I can send to them.
I’ve bought some of the red-top magazines to see what fillers and readers’ letters they’re actively looking for at the moment. And I have an article pitch currently stewing for one of the specials I write for. A special I used to write for has asked me for some ideas, and another special in the same field has also asked me for ideas. I need to get the ideas hat on.
I’m checking the job board every day (just one now, I do actually get enough work from the one, when they pay me, the others don’t seem to be so professionally run) and I’m back doing the daily competitions – well, I live in hope and I have won some very nice nights out that I wouldn’t normally be able to afford.
I’m writing a sample chapter for the non-fiction book as I really really really really need to get the updated proposal off and, hopefully, the contract sorted, and I’m writing the sequel to Night Crawler.
I’m also fielding and prioritising creditors. Fortunately, most of them are reasonable people and, for the past 5 years, I’ve had an impeccable record. It is a juggle, though, and a distraction I could do without.
Not having anything very uplifting to blog about, that’s probably why I’ve been quiet. A collective kick up the bum might be a useful thing just now, and thanks in advance to those who oblige.
This picture is on the June page of my calendar. It was taken on a walk from Locke Park to Worsborough Country Park, Barnsley.
Well, for a start, I got my head right down and cleared some work. I worked solidly until about 7pm last night, actually, proof-reading, proof-reading, proof-reading. And I still have some to do. But there’s only so many different ways I can think of saying “proof-read another book today …”, and as that’s pretty much all I did, well, I think you get my point.
The dog also got walked, I also went to town, I also did shopping.
And the big news of the week?
Nope, wasn’t snow, although we did get quite a bit of that all over the country. No, on Friday morning, in the midst of all of that proof-reading, my lovely, lovely postie brought me 4 copies of my new large print book, Night Crawler.
To say I was over the moon is the understatement of the year. I’ve had loads of things published with my name on over the years, including books. But this is the first time ever that someone else has loved my book enough to publish it for me.
It took me 16 years to sell that book and when my box of comp copies finally arrived, I could have wept.
For a sneak preview, bob along to my buy my books page and follow the link – it’s the first one there. It’s not available until 1 February, though, and it’s very expensive – as it’s the large print version – but I’ve already found a copy for sale with 25% discount here at the Book Depository, where they’re taking pre-orders. As this is the libraries version, though, it would just be better for everyone to just borrow a copy of it along with all of their other library books, like every week (nobody has to read it and it doesn’t cost anything), and then next January I might just get my first ever plr.
In other news, we did, as I say, indeed get snow. It was forecast to hit the country Friday morning but it arrived in Baggins Bottom on Thursday, just to be awkward. By Friday morning it had already started to melt. It carried on coming, however, and it carried on sticking, and so I wimped out and stayed indoors this weekend. It’s thawing again now, but we still have some forecast for later today and again tomorrow.
Normal service should resume tomorrow. Meanwhile, back to proof-reading …