I'm running a promo running Friday to Monday inclusive and making everything on Amazon free for the long Easter weekend. Because it's Easter, so why not?
Hit the button beneath to be taken, by the power of magic and some nifty coding, to your local Amazon store.
...is very little.
I vary wildly between plotting and pantsing, and while I like both for various reasons, sometimes I still struggle. I pantsed Gabrys because it wasn't supposed to be anything more than ~600 words of fluff for the A-Z Challenge. That it turned into over 20k words was a bit of a shock for all concerned. And I used to pants most of my stuff, particularly the NaNo events, because November has a bad habit of being insanely busy at very short notice.
But at the same time, I do like having a plan. I planned out both Kirill novels in full (although it still ended up allowing for a little wiggle room), but that was an odd experience — a kind of dreaming out the story that allowed me to take the plot, turn it and examine it from every angle until I found the right approach, and then write its outline down for actual writing. It felt odd and constricting at the time, and it was difficult to force myself to sit and write what I'd already 'written' in my head... but when it came to writing Reconstruction, it turned out to be beneficial: I'd got to chapter five, keeled over from a variety of reasons, and left it for a couple of years. Eventually I decided to finish it for Camp NaNo, dug out the notebook I'd written it in (harder than you'd think.... took a while) and, with my carefully-plotted notes, worked through and finished it.
It is, to date, my only Camp NaNo win. Me and Camp NaNo don't get on.
I don't think I'd have finished at all if it wasn't for my meticulous notes, but when an extra scene presented itself, I could still add it in because it worked in context.
So I know plotting works — particularly if there's a big gap between plotting it and writing it, because plotting it then writing it feels like a massive effort in redundancy... which is, perhaps, why I'm not a good plotter.
Either way, it's Camp NaNo again, so I'm trying to plot out my story. It's... not going well. The main character told me his name quite happily, he even named his business, but I feel like writing might actually propel me along the plot line better than plotting is.
But without a plot to write, I feel paralysed. It doesn't help I don't have the space or time to sit and dream out the plot like I did with Kirill, because without going into too much detail, that amount of time and quiet isn't not really an option any more. Honestly, any sort of writing at all is difficult these days. I'm trying to edit Gabrys and... yeah, it's not going well, and all I want is something half-decent to bind myself, but actually being able to sit uninterrupted and work on it simply ain't happening.
Sooooo I don't know. Do I sit with half a plot and start writing to see where it takes me? Or do I try to work through it properly?
Who the fuck knows? It's only four days into the damn event, right? *groan*
Even if it's just that privacy laws are fucked if you live in the UK.
I can legally shield my address in my domain name details for obvious privacy purposes — no one, particularly no LGBT person, wants a disgruntled or angry person turning up at their door.
But if you set up a mailing list, as authors are encouraged to do, then you're forced to send your home address to every single person who receives an email from you. Just so you can tell them exactly where to find you if they don't like you or your writing and they're a trifle unhinged.
"But what about a PO Box? People use those!"
Yeah, rich people use PO Boxes. Current prices are £29.40 a month, £152.40 for 6 months, or £267.00 for a year. And that's for the privilege of travelling 30-45 minutes on the bus to pick up any mail myself: they're only at sorting offices. If I want it forwarded on to me, you guessed it, that's more money.
Worth it for someone who sells maybe one book a month? Nope.
So, no mailing list. It's just not worth it for the massive risk it poses.
And that is that you get a much more cohesive conversation with Paypal (albeit eventually) over Twitter. You even get the same customer service rep every time.
I mean, I wouldn't need to have discovered the only way to have a sensible conversation is via Twitter versus via email* if someone hadn't decided to sign up to Paypal using my email address, and if Paypal didn't allow them to set up a bank/card account without needing to verify their email, which would have stopped the whole debacle in its tracks.
Which, in this day and age and with Google's bizarre "the dots aren't important" approach to email addresses, you would think would be a standard approach but apparently not. Unfortunately, the dots are important to quite literally everyone else, because I can't shut down this peculiar attempt at identity fraud because they omitted the dots in my account.
BUT! Apparently this person with the remarkably lax approach to personal and financial safety (they used my account to sign up for something else as well, which contained their full phone and address...) can't receive payment until they verify their account, and since they can't verify their account... I suspect their cunning plan is depressingly easily thwarted.
Or possibly it's all a big scam, albeit perpetrated by the world's worst scammer.
Either way, if you need to contact Paypal, Twitter is a great approach.
* I had a problem with my account maybe ten years ago and Paypal were the most spectacularly unhelpful entity ever. Email, phone, nothing worked. I just kept getting the same badly-cobbled-together form responses again, and again, and again... until they (eventually) asked for a notarised fax of my passport.
I can only assume they thought a photocopy of my passport signed by a lawyer would be an inconvenient and relatively expensive thing to obtain (think £20 per signed copy at the time). Unfortunately for them, I worked in a solicitor's office. I just asked a lawyer to sign it and then sent it from a machine that conveniently printed "_______ Solicitors" at the top.
It was resolved within a day.
There's something irritating about the way when you upload the file to Amazon, it says "no spelling erors."
Because it didn't notice Sigil had somehow lost half the damn opening speech marks, did it??
So I've just had to correct that and re-upload the file, and now I have to check the others too.
I'd love to know what happened there. I just hope it doesn't happen again.
I finished editing Gabrys's Gods Only Know What and I think it works better for the changes, particularly one section that worked, but a little crudely. I think that particular change works better and is actually a little more disturbing for being, well, less disturbing.
That sounds a little more weird than it really should.
I sent it off to a beta reader who'd read the initial version, but I've not heard back and I'm not wholly expecting to if I'm honest. I mostly did it for bookbinding purposes — yes, I bind books, although I lack the time and space to do it properly: the best I've managed recently was a small stab-bound sketchbook a couple of years ago — so whether I actually do anything with it beyond that is in the air. It's been sat around long enough, longer won't kill it or me.
One of the side effects from finishing this round of editing is it finally kickstarted me to write, albeit a little sporadically. I'm particularly happy that I managed to write a new chapter to the first arc of Radial, something I started years ago and lacked the impetus to continue given it's now spanning three or four main arcs and various short stories. I need to figure out how that's going, and again, whether that sees the light of day is anyone's guess. It's... not romantic. In the slightest. Alex and Milos loathe one another in this arc, even if they end up together (this really is not a spoiler given that 1. the storylines are all over the place already and 2. no one is ever gonna read it so who the fuck cares?)
The main problem is the day job has started taking up a lot of time. In the region of between 40-60 hours a week sort of time. It doesn't leave much time to actually write, given I have all the fun of being a full-time carer and also looking after the pets on top of it all. Which means, of course, this is the only time I get that itch in my fingers to write... probably because I have no time to write... or read or play video games — currently on Far Cry: New Dawn, Far Cry 5 being a game I somehow wrote an entire sub-narrative about in my head during many, many hours of playthrough.
I have managed to snag a few episodes of The Umbrella Academy though, which I love (so far; Gerard Way's stories have a bad habit of becoming incredibly sad). Gotta take the enjoyment where I can I guess, since I don't get much of it these days.
...Haven't I used that as a title before?
I've been a quiet lately, mostly because I've had the Horrific 'Flu (tm) that's given me a still-lingering cough, ridiculously bad sneezes and regular thumping headaches. Not really conducive to doing very much. Annnnd honestly I still feel like a poorly-reanimated corpse, which is proving fun.
BUT! Despite all that, I've finally got off my backside and started editing (again) the story occasionally known as Gabrys, and occasionally as The Prince's Last Whatever The Hell It Was. ...It needs a better name. I think it's working better for it, although who actually knows? It's slow going though, especially as some chapters needed at least half of them rewriting, which means braining, which is proving awkward with the headaches and having to fit it in between work.
So this is mostly just an update to say, I'm not dead even if I feel like it.
And that this round of editing is very almost proving fun. But only very almost.
So, as ever, you can get free books. Not quite in the same way, but if you look over here...
(And there might be something hanging around on the Modern Fantasy page, but don't get your hopes up too much.)
Finished the excellent Occult Detective Quarterly #5 today, which was kindly sent by one of the editors as a bonus for backing the ODQ #4 Kickstarter. Honestly, I'd have happily backed a Kickstarter for this one too. Both issues have a great range of stories from various authors, and some of them lodge pretty firmly in your thoughts. There's a couple here I'll still be turning over in my head in a couple of weeks' time. Particular highlights are teenage lovers sneaking into an old church, a twist on the 'girl on a highway in the rain' and a rock band with a distinctly unnerving studio.
I don't know if they're planning on releasing an ebook format version, but you can pick up the paperbacks on either Amazon US or Amazon UK.
Google decided to mark all Weebly-hosted sites as 'dangerous' this morning. Weebly keep trying to downplay it and say it was only a small percentage of the sites, but it certainly didn't look like it from where I was sitting.
And how do I know it wasn't a small percentage of sites?
Their own site editor was blacklisted along with everyone else's site.
It's not a big deal for me. I mean, who the hell even comes over here, right? But I felt bad for people whose businesses relied on their site working well, and whose customers might not be savvy enough to know how to get around the massive, threatening red screen Google puts up. People do freak out at the big threatening screen and probably don't have the day job where you go "oh fuck, the cookie's expired again" — i.e. me at least once a week.
They've shrugged it off so flippantly as a "false-positive that adversely affected a certain number of sites" but for those people who rely on it to make a living? I'm sure all that lost revenue is not so easily shrugged off.
It's definitely 'flu. And not even the fun kind that lets me drift gently away and hallucinate very, very gay stories. The last time I had it was when I realised the Rose Queen was male, not female, and suddenly there was so much more plot...
Not a luxury I've got today. It's been ten hours of work, and then another ten tomorrow, and eight after that. There may be questionable decisions made but... well, I can't go dropping 28 hours' worth of shifts because I'm ill. I don't get sick pay (this was mooted maybe five years ago? and vanished without trace for, I suspect, fairly obvious reasons) and I don't fancy their chances of finding cover for all those hours at short notice. I'm sure they'd try, and I'm sure for some of the people on one of my shifts extra hours would be welcome, but... there's a big chunk of money to miss out on just because I'm occasionally vomiting my guts up and I haven't slept properly in two days.
A friend and fellow writer challenged me to write 5,000 words of smut a week. The mutant death cold from hell put paid to that. Nothing makes you less inclined toward writing smut than every sneeze being so hard you think you'll eject several teeth and possibly a tonsil.
To be fair, I'm seeing a distinct lack of her contacting me with what she's written, soooooo...