Bachelor of Science!

So, against all of the odds, I passed my Advanced Creative Writing (A363) module, meaning that I’m now the proud owner of a BSc. Unfortunately, the only local graduation ceremony occurred in June this year, so I will have to wait until next June to attend a ceremony. After four years of studying, it feels like a bit of an anti-climax but I’m glad that I’ve completed it. I’m sticking with the OU for one more course, so that I can get the Hons component…only 19 years behind those I went to school with. It might take me a while, but I get there eventually!

I’m hoping to send my second novel off to my pre-publication readers by the end of this month – to be honest, after having a couple of weeks off, I’m struggling to get back in to it. I’m constantly tweaking things instead of writing more. I’m also rethinking my cover – will I ever be happy with this?

Novel 2

Well, I bet you thought I’d abandoned this blog! I think that I probably had, since I haven’t written here since January 2013.

So, what’s happened? I now have five dogs, having gained two in the latter part of 2013 – it is pretty hard to write with that many dogs, competing with the laptop for prime position on your knee. However, I have finally made headway with novel two. At almost 80,000 words, it is almost complete – it will need to be heavily edited, as it’s very rough, but I’m happy with the storyline and am a little in love with Will, our hero. I’m sure that you will like him, too.

The subject matter is more serious, although I am trying to keep an element of comedy throughout, as that’s what I like, as a reader. Hopefully, I won’t keep you waiting too long.

In other news, I decided to take some Open University writing courses, the first of which was fairly enjoyable and the current one is a bit of a chore. The advanced course made me question my ability (and desire) to write, but I have a story to tell so I’m going to persevere. Still, these courses are another step towards my degree. It would have been nice to achieve this by the time I was forty (later this year) but at least I’m trying.

I’m aiming to write on my blog at least once a week, so I hope you’ll re-join me. I’m also on Facebook. Oh, and please excuse my website. I’m hoping to overhaul it when my book cover is ready.

Snow and bugs

So much for good intentions: bugs have infected the household and there are germs loose aboot this hoose, affecting my new year’s goals (not resolutions). I know that it is very snowy outside, but having not been out since last Thursday, I have missed walking in it. The dogs (except the eldest) are loving it and take every opportunity to run outside and rub their heads in it. Lovely to watch but difficult to get them back in.

I have (stupidly?) signed up for another OU course in the hopes that I can accelerate the goal of achieving a degree. I am at odds with my Creative Writing tutor, which is very discouraging as I had been so excited at the thought of being taught by a successful author. I am by no means perfect, but I am struggling with the tutor’s views, so much so that I’m hoping to change tutors (possibly at the expensive of my overall mark). Usually, I wouldn’t take a stand but covering the costs of this course are a struggle for me, so I should have faith that I will improve because of it – I shouldn’t be made to feel inferior. So, taken a stand I have!

On the plus side, some feedback I got from fellow students has made me take a fresh look at my current manuscript (no, I haven’t written any more than the existing 50,000 words yet, due to illness) and I hope I can make improvements. I’m a bit deflated from my OU course feedback – lack of confidence always affects my writing but, hopefully, I’ll get back to it soon.

In the meantime, enjoy the snow, stay warm, drive careful and don’t laugh if you see me tottering down the street – I hate slippery, icy streets!

Happy New Year!

Welcome to my first post for 2013 – I hope you all had a pleasant Christmas and a happy New Year. Ours was a quiet family Christmas, with the addition of my godmother this year – unfortunately, the ME/CFS made itself known, so I wasn’t able to do as much as I would have liked, but I still enjoyed myself. I even got to feed a reindeer in December, which made me very happy!

2012 was a busy year, with several weddings and, sadly, a funeral. Interesting things included reuniting a lady with a brother she hadn’t seen for 69 years. Unfortunately, I can’t let you know what happened as she never contacted me to let me know the outcome! C’est la vie. I finally managed to get Karma on sale again through Amazon Kindle. Personal achievements included a surprisingly good exam result in my Psychology exam and, for the first time ever, completing NaNoWriMo – that really did take its toll, though it does mean that I am half way through my second novel, Look Who’s Stalking. I had hoped to publish on 14th February 2013 but I think it will be later than that as I don’t want to rush it. I am also studying Creative Writing as part of a degree course – not really enjoying it, as my tutor is pretty hard to please. Starting to wish I’d stuck with Psychology (speaking of the OU, I should be working on an assignment as I type).

I’m not making any resolutions this year as everything we would like to do is dependent on money (which we have little of). If I win the Euromillions, I would like to learn to drive (which would open the door to a few other things I would like to do, but I’ll tell you those things if I ever pass my driving test). Ideally, I would wish for a cure for ME/CFS but as that’s unlikely, I’d hope for a little more understanding (baby steps).

I’ll leave you for now, as I need to research something for my grandad’s birthday: he’ll be 90 this month! Wishing you good health and happiness in 2013. x

Oh no, NaNoWriMo go slow.

There are three full days left until the end of the NaNoWriMo challenge. As I said, I’ve barely done 2,000 words in the past but so far this year, I’ve passed the 40,000 mark. To complete it, I’d have to write over 3,000 words per day for the rest of the week. I’m finding it quite hard to write at the moment, as I’m pretty tired and it’s affecting my concentration. I had a rare festive trip out yesterday when we went to see Nativity 2. It wasn’t the best film that I had ever seen, nor was the storyline very good but in terms of being festive and feel-good, it ticked the boxed. Also had a nice Frankie & Benny’s breakfast, so it was a pleasant morning.

Back again!

My lovely web mistress (is that the correct term for a female webmaster?) has sorted out my email for me, meaning that I could finally locate my blog password.

In case you’re wondering what I have been up to, I signed up for NaNoWriMo and, this time, have taken it seriously. I have signed up twice before and been foiled by either illness or lethargy. This time, I have forced myself to get stuck in. As of today, there are six days to go and I have done around 35k. It puts quite a lot of presssure on me to complete it (2.5k words per day – easier said than done). I found it quite easy at first, but have struggled as the book has developed. The urge to edit is strong, but that is against the rules of the challenge: it’s all about getting words down. The editing comes later. If I can keep up the momentum in to December, I should have something resembling a novel before the end of the year. I aim to have it available on 14th February 2013. Note the word ‘aim’.

If you’re interested in how the dogs are doing, please check out their page on Facebook. Their page is The Simpson Cavaliers. Currently, Ivy is poorly and off to the vet tomorrow. Unfortunately, I didn’t fulfil my attempt to do an ‘Ivy story’ on her blog every day for a year. I was so close – about a fortnight away from completion but, as you know, ME/CFS doesn’t care if you have goals!

That’s enough from me, for now. Hopefully, I’ll be around a little more.

Contacting me…

Just so you know, I’m not ignoring anyone who has contacted me via my email address or via the contact me form: my email seems to have some kind of glitch and won’t let me log in. I’ll let you know as soon as the problem is solved.

Also, Marie and I are going to get together soon and re-do the website, sorting out any faulty links, etc. In the meantime, I’m wondering whether to go back to my creative writing class. I love the social aspect, but not sure I have the energy at the moment. Fifty quid is fifty quid and not something I could waste…

Kindle humour chart

Just had a look at the Kindle chart and Karma is at #21 of the humour chart, #684 in all free Kindle offerings. Delighted about this, even if it doesn’t get any higher. I will stop obsessing about it after this weekend is over with, hoping that I have reached a wider audience and that people enjoy what they’ve read.

Kindle #fail

As you know, Karma is now available on Kindle. There are a LOT of books and authors on Kindle and, sadly, if you aren’t well-known or proven, it’s very difficult to get people to spend their hard-earned money on your work. Fair enough, I say. If you take a chance on a book that isn’t well-written or hasn’t been edited, then you’re entitled to feel hard done by. However, Amazon allows authors to a) let readers read a sample of the book and b) allows them to offer ‘free’ promotions – that’s just what it says: the book can be offered free for a certain number of days to allow you to (hopefully) improve your ranking or increase readership. As much as I struggle with the idea of giving away work (that I literally cried over), I understand that it’s important to get it out there, so went ahead with a free promotion this weekend.

Sadly, Amazon have let me down. The book is not free, and the promotion is showing up as being ‘in progress’. No, it’s not in progress, Amazon, and it’s probably really annoyed some potential readers and made me look bad, too. I have checked out the community forums, and it seems that this is a fairly regular occurrence, so I’ve emailed them to see what they say. I feel disappointed, as I expected more from Amazon.

I will let you know when the book truly is free, and I apologise if you went to download it and couldn’t.

NOTE: As of 10am (GMT), Karma is now showing as free and should be so for the next two days: try Karma free

Karma on Kindle NOW!

I haven’t blogged for a while – the summer months are not my friend (ME/CFS and hayfever are not a good match). However, I have made some progress with the Kindle version of Karma: you can now purchase it at Amazon here It was far more difficult than I imagined. I hold all the rights to the book, but assumed that I wouldn’t hold the rights to the cover art, since the former publisher arranged that. I was pleased in a way, as I never liked the cover I had. A little too pink and girlie for my liking! I had an idea in mind but had no idea how to go about it, so enlisted the help of my hubby, an amateur photographer, and my lovely cousin, who played the part of Paige. We messed around for a while with different ideas and then took to Photoshop to see what we could create. I hope that you like the end result, as we’re all newbies!

I also had to completely re-edit the book, both for my own peace of mind and before conversion to Kindle. I was genuinely surprised at the amount of small errors I found (bear in mind that it was copy edited by the original publisher) and the odd large one. I want my readers to have the best offering I can give them, and hope that I’ve done that. The best thing that I was able to do was to dedicate Karma to my grandma, who passed away not long after it was originally published – she was so pleased for me. I was also able to give Holly, my little dog who died last year a mention. That meant a lot to me.

I hope that I’ve pitched the book at a fair price. The UK price varies depending on US conversion rates. It should be around the £3 mark. Unknown authors rarely sell well (maybe 3-5 books per week), unless they can create some hype (think 50 Shades of Grey). However, I was never in this to make money – it was a cathartic exercise. I do wish I’d been able to keep the promise I made to the original Holly (the dog): I promised that if I ever made a lot of money, I’d buy a field for her to run in.

If you don’t have Kindle, don’t worry: you can download a Kindle viewer for free, via Amazon. This means that you can view the book on your computer, ipad or other devices. Happy reading!