My Writing Space

And The End Begins

by on Oct.27, 2014, under eBooks, Self-Publishing, Ties That Bond, Writing

 

 

The story for Book 3 has finally started to take shape, and not just in my head.

Initially I had the ending but that was it. How I was going to get the characters there, or for that matter, which characters were going to make it that far, was a complete mystery.

I have pages filled with ideas and parts of scenes that I thought were great when they popped into my head, but nothing that really grabbed me with that ‘let’s get this party started’ feeling, nothing that gave me the undeniable feeling of ‘this is where this story starts’.

That is until recently.

I was thinking about one of those partial scenes I had in my notes and how I might be able to get Mia to that point when chapter 1 just started to play out in my head like a movie – I love it when that happens – then chapter 2 followed automatically. Now it’s starting to flow.

I can’t wait to see how the story will unfold but I’m beginning to think that, just like with Book 2, the characters are going to take me on a journey that I hadn’t anticipated.

Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

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TTB Has Become A Series

by on Aug.19, 2014, under eBooks, Self-Publishing, Ties That Bond, Writing

Who knew writing a series would be so difficult. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a series in mind, I don’t know.

When I finished writing Ties That Bond I was asked if there would be a second book continuing the story from the first, and half-heartedly said – sure, maybe, at some point. I wasn’t being flippant I just hadn’t given it any thought.

Ties That Bond is a complete story, and even though the possibility of exploring what might happen next in the character’s lives was there, there was no story in my head busting to get out. Instead there were other characters with completely different stories demanding my attention. So I started writing notes and snippets of scenes for the new stories.

I did hit publish on Smashwords and Amazon though, hoping there would be other people out there who might like TTB, and slowly people have given it a chance. Guess what? They started asking for book 2, and I started panicking. There was no book 2, and other than some vague ideas, there wasn’t even the basis of a story for a second book. I suddenly realised I had to commit to a second book, or disappoint a lot of people, so I took up the challenge.

Turning the one story into a series hasn’t been easy for me. All the little demons that usually come out to play when I write brought friends with them to torment me. They didn’t just take jibes at when I was writing, making me question what I was putting down on the page, but they almost stopped me from writing at all. Could I write a second book that readers of the first would like? Could I get the characters to come alive again? Could I this or could I that? The questions kept circling with no definitive answers.

As I struggled through the writing process I had to keep up my presence on social media (something I’m not great at), and there I frequently saw other authors putting out book after book in a series. I know it’s not a competition, but it was a little disheartening at times as I struggled to get the characters to co-operate, and the ideas to gel. It took a lot longer than I would have liked to finish Deception, but I am very happy with the end result, and thankfully so are my readers.

Now everyone’s asking for book 3. Damn, I need to start writing it.

Open Book

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Big News

by on Jun.02, 2014, under Deception, eBooks, Self-Publishing, Ties That Bond, Writing

 

 

I’ll get to the big news in a moment. 

Firstly, I’ve been completely slack about this page, yet again, for many reasons but the biggest one was finalising Deception. 

There were some unforseen challenges along the way, but I’m thankful that the glimmer of light I saw in the distance was the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, and not an oncoming vehicle of mass destruction. 

Life and plans in general, don’t always go the way you’d hoped, but that really is life isn’t it? Sometimes it all turns out better, and sometimes not so much. That’s the way it goes for everyone, including my beta and alpha readers. They have their own lives to focus on, and I am extremely grateful for their precious time, and the effort that they give to me, and my writing. Without them my stories would never make it to cyberspace. 

I’ve also learnt a very important lesson over the last few months of editing. If a sentence, or paragraph, isn’t sounding quite right to me, it can stop me from working on the story until I’ve fixed the problem. It may mean I spend hours on that sentence, or paragraph, but I have to admit, I’m really happy with the end result so I can’t complain. But it does mean everything takes longer than I’d hoped. 

So the big news – Deception is finally live.

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The Joys Of Editing

by on Jan.21, 2014, under Writing

 

 

Editing can be the exciting discovery of the hidden gem buried deep within the pages of the first draft, a nightmare of re-writes as you search for that gem or any number of combinations of the two.

There’s always the chance that your gem isn’t buried too deep and a little work will have it shining through fairly quickly. Other times it can be a hard slog of digging through the mountain of pages restructuring and rewording to see if that gem even exists.

Editing is hard work no matter which scenario or combination your work falls into. And editing takes time, especially when you’re also juggling everything else life throws at you. You need a life right?

Being an Indie Author and part of the Indie Community means you have a lot of work to do as well as writing the stories you want to tell. There’s the promotion, marketing, platforms to build, other people to help if you can, readers to connect with, and the list goes on.

Suddenly the time you had when you wrote and edited your first book is gone. You no longer have the luxury to edit at your leisure and let ideas simmer in the recesses of your mind to come out when they are ready and hopefully improve your story.

There is an unseen force pushing to get everything done, including pre-promotion, which cannot and will not be ignored.

Currently I’m polishing my gem to see whether it’s a diamond in the rough or just another piece of broken glass.

Of course I’m hoping for a diamond.

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It’s Been Awhile

by on Jan.05, 2014, under Writing

 

I haven’t kept up with this blog as I promised. I’ve let far too many things slip over recent months.

Now I’ve got things pretty much under control and I’m back on track so I’ll be back here fortnightly, at the very least, starting from now. No more slacking off. No more feeling like I’m drowning in cyberspace.

So a new year, a new look to the Blog (which I’m still working on), a new look to the Facebook page and very soon a new book.

I will be back.

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A Cautionary Tale

by on Aug.23, 2013, under Facebook, General

This will be a long post, some may say a bit of a rant, so grab a cuppa and comfy seat.

First – I didn’t realise it’s been so long since my last post and apologise to anyone who does read them and has been waiting.

Second – as mentioned in a previous post I was taking time away from writing because my Great Dane Buffy was fighting cancer. After a brave fight we said goodbye to her on the 20th July. She will always be missed.

Third – my new laptop had a major meltdown that left me with more downtime trying to fix the issue and here is where the cautionary tale begins. Just like any good story there is drama, adventure, a bit of suspense and intrigue, a touch of comedy, some mystery, oh, and angels and demons but not of the paranormal kind.

The tale starts at the beginning of January on a very normal day when I spied a tech sale on Catch Of The Day a reputable online clearance warehouse site. I’ve used them before with no issues whatsoever, even had to do a return which was smooth and issue free. So when I spied a brand new last year model of a cute Sony laptop with a huge hard drive, massive RAM and a CPU that ran at the speed of light (well compared to the laptop I was using) which was almost half the price of what it would have cost me if I’d bought it 6 months before, my eyes popped and I drooled. I could even purchase a Windows 8 upgrade package for it. Yes, it was going to be mine.

I read the fine print which included (I’m paraphrasing here) ‘Ignore any manufacturer’s warranty in the box and if you have any problems come direct to us. We want to make sure our customers are happy.’ What did I have to lose? Well, my sanity for one thing but I didn’t know that at the time.

So I purchase said laptop all shiny and new and upgraded it. Now for a little mystery. During the upgrade process there was some software that needed to be manually upgraded after Windows 8 was installed – no sweat, easy job. So I go to Internet Explorer and go to the Sony site. I was more than a little surprised to find myself on the American site but switched to the Aussie site without any issue only to discover my model doesn’t exist. WTF? I swap back to the States and voila there it is and all the updates I need are listed. So it appears I have purchased an American model that is not sold here in Australia. That’s okay though because it comes with some really cool software that doesn’t come on Aussie models as far as I’m aware. I update everything I need and my new laptop and I live happily for approximately 6 months.

Then the fateful day of the meltdown. This laptop does come with whiz bang recovery software, no sweat, let’s run it. Now the drama begins, it can’t complete the recovery. Time to pull out those recovery disks I created, phew, glad I took the time to make them. Now the drama builds as they fail at disk 4 EVERY TIME! Another WTF moment. Here’s where I pulled my first rookie mistake, one that shouldn’t have happened because I used to be in IT. I’ll admit I’ve been out of the game for a while but it’s a costly mistake I should never have made. You see I created the disks after upgrading instead of before and the upgrade changed a vital file so the laptop couldn’t restore to its factory settings which included Windows 7. Use the image you created instead I hear everyone say. Oh yeah, you mean the one I never got round to making? That would be my second rookie mistake. Don’t worry, I’m a little black and blue from beating myself up over my mistakes.

So the adventure begins laced with suspense, intrigue, and a little comedy. I go to the Sony USA site looking for my only hope, recovery disks, and there they are larger than life. I click on what I need, get taken to the order form and the first demon appears. I can only order from them if I live in the USA. Are you kidding me? The form clearly states that the credit card address and the shipping address must match and must be in the USA.

So I contact the place of purchase, as they stated I should, told them my predicament and waited for a response. Here comes the second demon – 2 days later the response was short and sweet – as it’s not a hardware issue we cannot replace the laptop. I never asked them to by the way, I asked them to help me get the disks I need. After all I didn’t fill out any warranty info that came in the box because of them, I didn’t even look at it and if I had, I would have seen that the warranty is only for the USA, it’s not International. That would have been a red flag moment.

Back to Sony USA and I contact their support going into great detail as to my predicament. A day later I received a lovely email that started with ‘Great news, we’ve found the software you need …” and proceeded to direct me back to the order form that I can’t order from. I sent another message highlighting my problem and why I couldn’t use that page, again, and asked how else I could get my hands on the disks. A day later another email arrived with a sorry can’t help, do you have a relative in the States who can order for you? Ah, no I don’t.

Before I go any further I have to say their support staff tried to be helpful, well as helpful as they could be with their hands tied with bureaucratic red tape (my third demon). I cannot fault them.

Next I contacted Sony Australia whose support staff bent over backwards trying to help and I can’t fault them either. They did say they could try and order the disks for me but could not guarantee being able to get them because they were for a laptop outside their region, yet another WTF moment, and they suggested using one of those forwarding companies until I mentioned the credit card address issue. Then they also suggested that probably my only option was getting someone in the States to purchase them and then forward to me. However, they also pointed out, another glimmer of hope if all else failed, was that I probably had a case against the selling company as they did not state anywhere on the product page that it was an overseas model and I had the proof, because being a tad anal, I printed all the pages out to make sure what I ordered was what arrived.

Now that would be a good course of action if, as a last resort, I wanted my money back but I didn’t really want to give up the laptop with all the cool software I wouldn’t get on an Aussie model, I just wanted it working.

So after exhausting all the obvious options I decided my only course of action was to ask a complete stranger for help. Well, not a complete stranger, but someone I have never laid eyes on and don’t really know and they don’t really know me – an Internet friend and fellow author. Someone I have grown to know, as much as you can, on Facebook. This is where the angels come in. I PM’d her, explaining the long winded saga and posing the challenge, if she was willing to accept, in helping me get my hands on those damn disks. She jumped at the chance, for which I am so grateful, enlisted her hubby to help and a few weeks down the track I have now rebuilt my laptop to its former glory. In fact this post has been written on it.

Thank god for Internet friends.

So, are there lessons to be learnt? Absolutely and for me it’s to stop making stupid rookie mistakes because I should and do know better. For big business it’s full disclosure when advertising goods and as it’s the 21st century how about taking down the out-of-date barriers to assisting customers no matter where the goods originated and then end up.

Let’s start with the place of purchase, Catch Of The Day. I’m going to assume I’m not the only one that’s been in this predicament over the last 6 months because now some of their tech pages have ‘Direct Import’ on them and then info on what that actually means. So maybe they’ve learnt a lesson.

As for Sony, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love their products and I’ve never before had an issue with one of their laptops. However, this is the 21st century right? If I can buy a USA model of anything here in Australia why can’t I buy accessories (including the disks) for it as well without having to ask for assistance from a US resident? What’s with this regional crap? Sony is a global company so why can’t Sony Australia get me parts for my American laptop? Why can’t I go to the American support page and purchase what I need direct? I can buy other stuff from America over the Net. Time to wake up Sony and help your support people help your customers no matter where in the world they reside. My American laptop shouldn’t be penalised for living in Australia. It likes it here.

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Book 2 Is Starting To Flow

by on May.29, 2013, under Self-Publishing, Writing

The writing is getting easier … Yahoo! The characters are finally starting to ‘talk’ to me and the writing is starting to flow which is such a huge relief. At times though there is so much going on in my head I have trouble getting it out quick enough which is frustrating.

As I mentioned before I have the cover sorted and, drumroll please … I have the title. You read right, the title is done but I’m not telling, not yet anyway.

I have been posting snippets of Book 2 on Facebook so why not pop on over and take a look in the notes section. You’ll also be able to see what else I’m up to and checkout the competitions I’m involved in with other Indie Authors where you can win some great prizes including copies of Ties That Bond. There are more competitions on the way too.

You can also click on these links for direct access to the following competitions:

Live right now is Say What? Savannah Mae’s HUGE giveaway – Say What? Savannah Mae

Live as of the 1st June and running until the 1st August is Tasha Gwartney’s EPIC giveaway http://bit.ly/11jMfz3

Hopefully I’ll see you on Facebook.

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Networking Is A Must

by on Apr.23, 2013, under eBooks, Self-Publishing, Ties That Bond, Writing

 

As I mentioned in my previous post I needed to spend some time networking and marketing – two very important tasks for all writers not just indie authors. Networking and marketing go hand-in-hand, when you are doing one you’re automatically doing the other to some degree.

As if in answer to my last post an opportunity came about to network over Facebook with a lot of other authors wanting to do the same. Kismet? Coincidence? Or just a ‘wow, how spooky is that’ moment? Who knows but it has been a mutually beneficial experience as far as I can see. A big thank you to Jonathan Gunson of Bestseller Labs for getting the ball rolling and to Scarlett Dawn for keeping it rolling.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve met and interacted with a huge number of authors from all over the world and, besides having ‘like minds’ to talk all things writing with, I might even gain some new readers.

I’ve also taken the plunge and entered the cyber world of Twitter (link on the right), not a place for the fainthearted. Do I really have anything to tweet about? Sure … maybe … I probably do but should I? After all, once it’s out there, it’s out there forever.

So far I’ve tweeted very little but I have done some re-tweeting and a lot of reading. I’m beginning to think there’s a whole Twitter language I need to learn. Does anyone really understand it? I could use a few tips.

I guess it’s like everything else we do – it’s a learning curve; it’s all a learning curve.

 

 

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Book 2 and Other Important Stuff

by on Mar.27, 2013, under eBooks, General, Goodreads, Self-Publishing, Smashwords, Ties That Bond, Writing

There is good news on book 2 – it is slowly taking shape. Now that everything seems to be sorting itself out for Mia and life seems to be settling down nicely, of course it’s not going to. Mia will be crossing over (if you haven’t read Ties That Bond that won’t make any sense) but the reasons behind it won’t be the ones she initially goes for. That’s the first real twist and the only thing I will say at this point.

At the moment I continue to drive the story and characters where I believe they should go but I am hopeful that they will take over and I will become a passenger on a fun filled ride again. I have spent time on other aspects of the book as well. Stuff my mind kept focussing on so I figured I should just do it and get it out of the way. So I have the cover sorted but the final title is still eluding me. I know it’s not important at this stage but it is something that occasionally demands my attention which is really annoying.

Of course I also need to spend time networking and marketing which is why I participated in Smashwords’ Read An E-Book Week not only providing Ties That Bond for free but also downloading other indie authors’ books. I have so many books to read now that it’s kind of silly but I wanted to take the opportunity to support fellow Smashwords’ authors and have made an unspoken commitment to review each one as I finish them. That’s given me more work to do but it is important. As a writer I need to read. As a reader I need to review, need to give feedback to those indie authors who spent so much of their time and effort into completing a novel or short story. As an indie author I need to support other indie authors.

Finally, as I mentioned in a previous post my Great Dane Buffy was diagnosed with bone cancer and I am continuing to document our journey at http://merilyn.tripawds.com/blog/. This is taking time away from writing but she is definitely worth it. So far she is doing really well.

So I guess to sum up – I can’t put Buffy on hold, like I would many other things so that I can write, I need to adjust to a new routine – Buffy, writing, book marketing, reading, reviewing, life in general. We’ll see how that goes.

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Read an E-book Week

by on Mar.04, 2013, under eBooks, Self-Publishing, Smashwords, Ties That Bond, Writing

 

 

ebookglasses

 

Smashwords is promoting e-books with Read an E-book Week from the 3rd – 9th of March and there are many e-books including Ties That Bond that are part of the promotion. You will find a code on a book’s page that will let you know if it is 50%, 75% or 100% off at checkout.

Ties That Bond is 100% off for the week. Take this opportunity to download, if you haven’t already.

Also checkout Smashwords for other great books involved in this promotion. To download from Smashwords you need to become a member but membership is free, so what do you have to lose?

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