New Covers! New Covers For Everyone! (Plus A Rafflecopter Giveaway)

You get a New Cover! YOU get a New Cover! New Covers for Everyone!

You get a New Cover! YOU get a New Cover! New Covers for Everyone!

As you can probably tell, I’m a bit excited. Not Oprah-giving-away-trips-to-Australia excited, but pretty excited anyway. I’m trying a new experiment which involves new covers for two of my books.

Ain't it purty?

Ain’t it purty?

A Time-Traveller’s Best Friend has a lovely, easy-to-see cover, thanks to my good friend Josh Atkinson (be patient as he’s still setting up his website). Thusly –> And now Ruth and the Ghost has an absolutely FAB cover from Covers For Romantics.

So much gorgeousness, I Can't Even.

So much gorgeousness, I Can’t Even.

In honor of Ruth and the Ghost‘s gorgeous new cover, I’m hosting a Rafflecopter Giveaway of 3 Kindle copies! So break out the typing fingers and enter for a chance to win a copy of Ruth and the Ghost! Just click on the Rafflecopter Link to enter. (And don’t forget to check out the blurb below).

Enter Rafflecopter Giveaway Here! (Sorry, too late!)

He’s dead. She’s not- but someone is poisoning her.

When Ruth, sick and ailing, moves into her inherited estate in England, she brings with her a stepmother and a stepsister- and a murderer. But that’s nothing compared with what she finds there… George is dead, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a bit of fun. Unfortunately for Ruth, his idea of fun is making sure that his new friend stays with him. Forever. Can Ruth survive a poisoning murderer and a murderous ghost, or will her inheritance be the death of her?

Busy, Busy, Busy

It’s been a busy week. And now that I’ve written the word ‘busy’ five times, it’s looking really weird to me. Maybe I need a nap.

But I digress.

It’s been a busy week. My proofs for Wolfskin came in (finally!) but since they’re late arriving I have only a week and a half to check and correct. So there’s that. Then there’s the last 5000-odd words of Spindle that need to be done by next week if I want to keep on target with that particular deadline. And then there’s Memento Mori (the second volume in the Time-Traveller’s Best Friend series). I’ve only just begun it, and though I know roughly what the story arc for the collection will be, and have a few titles and ideas for a few of the stories, I still need to write the thing. By August at the latest.

With all these deadlines, you’d think I’d be madly at work on one or all of them. No such thing. I also got a new idea for a Short Thing for Weekly Fiction’s Open Call For Submissions. Naturally, I started work on that, with a little bit of editing and proof-reading around the edges. Fortunately, Wolfskin is proving much less complicated than Masque was. I seem to have caught most of the errors and inconsistencies and missed words before this point (does that mean I’ve advanced a level? New Power! Error-Free Gained!) and it’s really mostly a matter of a tiny change here and there.

Added to all the above is a busier-than-usual week at work, coupled with an annoying surge of my favourite companion, Meniere’s Disease.

I may just quietly go mad for a while. Don’t mind me. It’s a self-chosen madness after all.

What about you guys? Who else has a murder of deadlines? (Well, what is the group word for many deadlines, anyway?) And are you actually working on them?

Housekeeping

Did you guys know that printed books should always be odd-numbered on the right page? Or that text should be right and left justified? Or, for a matter of fact, that when you shorten the front of a word with an apostrophe (ex. ‘leave ’em alone’) that the apostrophe must face the same way as one that shortens the end of a word (ex. ‘doin’ what comes naturally’).

I didn’t until I started self-publishing. Got any idea how long it takes to go over 300-odd pages of text, looking at every flamin’ apostrophe? Oh yeah, and MS Word just puts ’em through as regular apostrophes. You gotta think about every shortened word as you type it. (Well, there’s probably a function I can turn on somewhere in the recesses of the program, but beggared if I know where it is.)

Also on today’s housekeeping: both Masque and A Time-Traveller’s Best Friend: Volume One are on a Goodreads giveaway at the moment, until about mid-April. I’ve got three signed copies of each to give away, so if you’re interested, click through the link on either above, and enter to win. A handy little feature of Goodreads that I found out about just a few days ago, and that I’m very happy to make use of!

And as I announced on my Facebook and Twitter pages, Wolfskin is at present being sent out to bloggers and reviewers. If you’re interested in getting a free copy (either ecopy or paperback) for the purposes of a review, contact me at gingellwrites [AT] gmail.com, through the comment section, or from the form on my Contact page.

Fourthly and lastly, I’ve been bingewatching On The Up with the wonderful Dennis Waterman, delightful Sam Kelly, inimitable Joan Sims, and pot-stirring Jenna Russell. SO MUCH FUN. So many glorious one-liners. And I’m completely in love with the ending.

Well, that and the equally wonderful live-action version of Black Butler. I’ve watched it three times now. It’s become one of my all-time favourites along with Alice (mini-series version with Andrew-Lee Potts), The Fall (Lee Pace), and City of the Lost Children (Ron Perlman).

Seriously. Watch any of these.

Over and out.

(What? You didn’t think my housekeeping would include actual work, did you? Well, apart from all the apostrophes.)

Milestones

Milestones are a big part of a writer’s life. From the first short story or novel that we finish to the first book signing or reading we give, life seems to be measured in tiny increments of success. I still remember the first novel I ever completed. It’s almost entirely rubbish and needs to be extensively rewritten, of course, but at the time it was a massive achievement for a fourteen-year-old writer who had never completed a manuscript.

Then there’s the first successful short story I ever wrote. The first time someone was excited to read something else I’d written because they enjoyed the first Thing. The first full ms request from a publisher. The first personalised rejection from a publisher (well, actually gutting rather than good, but it was no form rejection).

My first paperback sale felt amazing. Yes, it was someone I knew, but it was the first. And the other day, my first reply from a book reviewer, who said that A Time-Traveller’s Best Friend sounded interesting, and that she’d added it to her list.

Today, my milestone is the 1000th visitor to my blog. 6 months, and 1000 visitors.

stats

Bloggers out there, you know what it’s like. Even if you’re a mastodon, you were once a pygmy like me, delighting in that 1000th visitor. It feels good, doesn’t it?

Milestones aren’t the be-all and end-all of a writer’s life, but they are a lovely reminder that life isn’t entirely always slog. Sometimes you actually get somewhere. And that keeps you slogging on until the next milestone.

Proofs Have Arrived!

Ladies and gentlemen, proofs have arrived for the paperback of A Time-Traveller’s Best Friend! They’re almost all gone, too; because as soon as they arrived, various family members began to claim title to them. (Actually, I went a bit crazy a la Ophrah: ‘You get a book! You get a book! Everybody gets a book!‘)

So if anyone wants me, I will be sitting in my writing chair with my remaining proof, and gloating. Also, pics!

Book Proof 1 Book Proof 2 Book Proof 3

Getting Back Into The Swing Of Things (Or, Post-Publishing Blues)

TimeTravellers (No subtitle)

So I’ve finished my first, (self)published ebook (gratuitous Kindle link and gratuitous Kobo link to same).

There was a big sort of scuffle toward the deadline, when I seemed to be writing during every lunch break at work, then rushing home to write feverishly every evening until bedtime. After the writing there was the editing, and after the editing came the formatting. Then there was the realisation that Kindle and Kobo take a little longer to upload books than I had fully grasped. All in all, it was a big rush, scramble, and heave to get over the finish line in time.

Then, the day after I uploaded A Time-Traveller’s Best Friend to Kindle, I was uploading it to Kobo. The same day, I was researching how to upload it to iBooks and making preparations for a CreateSpace paperback copy. That kept me busy for the next few days.

Came the weekend, and suddenly I was at a loss. Somebody should have warned me about this. There’s a gaping hole somewhere around my middle that isn’t because I need to eat (doesn’t mean I’ll say no to those doughnuts, though) and I don’t seem to be able to settle to anything. The other book is done, finished. But I can’t seem to get right into my old WIP again, despite the fact that I know where I want it to go, what I want it to do, and exactly who my characters are. And let’s not even get into the usual stresses of “Why isn’t my book selling more than a few copies? I’ll press the refresh button again: that’ll do it!” or the continual jumping back and forth between book pages in the vain hope that somebody has reviewed your precious ebook in the five minutes since you last checked.

I’ve decided I’m gonna take it easy. I actually got to read a couple new books over the weekend, and managed to do a bit more work on a book I’m critiquing for a friend. Sometimes it’s good to have a break. Also, there are a few more seasons of 24 to catch up on, so there’s that. Only now I’m kinda feeling like I could actually work on my WIP after all . . .

Oh well. Who needs a break, right?

Butt In Chair . . .

You know what you want to write. You know where the story goes. You’ve got a handle on the dialogue, and the ending is well within grasp. And yet, the thing just doesn’t get written. Why?

Well, if you’re me, it’s because you type a few words, or sentences, or paragraphs (if you’re really dedicated) and then get distracted. Or reward yourself with some internets, or a bit of tv. Or you have a blog that’s good for whiling away an hour or two because you’ve got to write that new blog post. In this day of distractions, there’s always something at your fingertips to take your mind off what you should be doing.

My problem is that I lack discipline. There are those days where everything seems to flow, and on those days I can sit and write for six or seven hours. Those days I mostly forget to eat, and only get up to go to the toilet when the need becomes so pressing that I can no longer ignore it. Then there are the days that, despite knowing where the story’s going, I can’t seem to settle and write. It’s just too hard. I’ll put something on the telly ‘for background’ and end up writing maybe 500 words after hours sitting in front of a tv show I wasn’t even really interested in. Worst (and kinda best) of all are the days where my brain is working furiously on Plot and Movement and Idea; and I can spend literally hours daydreaming the suddenly perfectly clear plot-line I want to outline. Character flaws become clear, tiny details and mistakes pop out at me, and I seem to know exactly how and where to build all the necessary little foreshadowing details. Of all my distractions, this is the one I love the most. Probably because it is, in a way, part of my process. It’s an allowable kind of daydreaming. It’s useful. It serves a purpose. But all the same, not much gets written on those days.

(Image from http://www.onethreefour.co.uk/2009/02/14/shiny-things/)

(Image from http://www.onethreefour.co.uk/2009/02/14/shiny-things/)

So how do you beat the malaise? How do you push past the disinclination and distraction and flat-out laziness? Really, it depends on who you are. When it comes right down to it, I’ve found that the best thing for me is to have a deadline. That’s why I announced the publication date of A Time-Traveller’s Best Friend before it was quite finished. It forces me to put my butt in the chair and just write. To sit there and type until it’s done. I’ve still got two short stories to write to finish up the collection, and a bit of formatting to do, but by and large, I’m on track.

Having a deadline is healthy for me. It may not be helpful to you, however. Every writer is different. But when it comes to writing, the one thing that is true for all of us is that distractions- well, distract. The most effective way to get your story written is to put your butt in the chair, and write. Turn off the tv. Avoid the internet. Write. Don’t worry if it’s rubbish. That’s how we learn and grow. Just write.

Write.

Clipping From ‘The Margaree Moocher’

Kez and Marx seem to have popped up on Seventh World, in the small township of Margaree . . .

Clipping from The Margaree Moocher, Community Column.

 

Law Enforcement in the community

Robbery at Margaree Downtown Drive-through Grocer.

At 3.57pm local time, officers were called to the scene of a robbery at the Margaree Downtown Drive-through Grocer. The offenders broke into the secure back room via the bolted back door, using a welding laser to cut through the 3-inch steel, and kicked free the safebox in the back room.

Fellow staff say that when a female staff member went to investigate the noise, the robbers held an industrial saw to her throat and threatened to decapitate her if she did not produce the key to the grocer’s strongbox.

According to witness statements, it was at this point that a small girl wriggled out the window of the next vehicle in line and through the drive-through window. Her co-passenger, described as a small, angry man, fell out the vehicle’s window while attempting to restrain her, and entered the grocer by kicking in the drive-through window.

The level of noise at this point became so great that surrounding houses as well as waiting customers pinged the Margaree Law Enforcement Office on their emergency frequency. Officers arrived on the scene to find a female staff member in hysterics on the floor, two bloodied and battered offenders handcuffed to the cool-room door, and several other staff members in the process of emptying a bottle of scotch between them.

The uninjured female employee was transferred to Margaree Medical Centre without comment, but other staff members were heard to comment: “She hit him in the head with a spanner. She hit him in the ******* head with a ******* spanner.”

Margaree Law Enforcement has taken custody of the offenders, though the rescuers were not found in the vicinity.

Anyone with information regarding these two persons of interest should comment on the Law Enforcement community board or ping the Office directly. The individuals are described as a short, sandy-haired male in his early forties, and a young, dark-haired female of ten to twelve years old.

Incident at the Margaree Local Library.

An incident at the Margaree Local Library has resulted in the re-appearance of several ancient book-form readers once catalogued as lost in the fire of 3069. The book-form readers have since been burned for safety reasons. Residents are reminded that travelling to points in time before the advent of time-travel is strictly prohibited and will be investigated by the Time Corp as a serious crime. Any information welcomed by the Margaree Law Enforcement Office and Time Corp.

Community Interest

*The Margaree Dramatic Society’s production of The Fall of Fourth World will be playing in Donovan’s Dimensions Playhouse all week. Attendees are reminded that outside snacks and drinks are not permitted, and that any devices interfering with the stage effects will be promptly confiscated.

*Enquiring minds wish to know if the overflow of stage effects in last night’s performance of the above was an attempt to make the performance more real to the audience, or if there was a malfunction with stage equipment. Complaints are already flowing in from Margaree’s leading ladies, who complain of ruined frocks and soggy shoes in the wake of an unexpected flood that deluged the audience.