I apologise for this purely self-indulgent post but it is an exciting time for me (I have said that a lot recently!). Before I launch into the post can I thank everyone who has downloaded Bella and Lola, Super Lizard Begins and/or Lasia’s Fate. The reason I am posting this is that there have officially been a hundred downloads of my ebooks (well actually there were when I wanted to write this post this morning, now there are even more….well a few). This is a significant milestone for me as I feel I am now reaching an audience, ok a small one, but an audience none the less. Is this an important step to becoming a fully fledged author? Ok so the majority of the downloads have been free books (well practically all of them, only 4 for Bella and Lola so far!) but at least I have made a minor ripple in the literary world. And what’s more is that these numbers are not counting reads on Wattpad. I have been thinking of statistics recently. While watching my blog views I was going to post when I got to five hundred. I managed that a few weeks ago and thought it was not really that exciting, but this is. So thank you once again if you have download any of my ebooks, if you have not then please have a look. Only Bella and Lola costs any money, Super Lizard Begins and Lasia’s Fate are free so you don’t even need to spend a penny (unless you need the toilet. Sorry that is a bit of a British joke there!). I hope to have some more paid and free ebooks up in the near future, at least two of which should be full novels. Right I’m off to convince myself that writing 100 rather than one hundred in the title was for impact and that I can actually write!
Sometimes ideas for stories just come to you. I am still trying to continue with my novel and complete my sci-fi short story but since joining Smashwords, getting Super Lizard Begins on multiple formats and placing Bella and Lola on Kindle I have wanted to get more writing live online. I have folders on my computer for each book/story I write and have started two new ones as the thrill of what has happened in the last few weeks have stirred my creative juices. I have started neither book, well I have written a brief introduction for one so that is a bit of a lie, but they are there ready for when I want to go to them. However, on Tuesday this week I was doing some teaching and suddenly some 6th Form students popped in and recited some Shakespeare then left without explanation. They had actually asked if they could do it and I obviously let them. One pupil asked why they had done this. I then explained that it was Shakespeare’s birthday. They then asked why we were focusing on Shakespeare but ignoring Saint George’s day. In truth I did not actually know it was Saint George’s day and this got me thinking about English identity. It is often said that us English, ok I am actually from Guernsey so not really English but I live here and feel as good as being an Englishman without actually being one, have lost our sense of identity. We have traditions and rituals but they are often pushed to the side in favour of accepting a multicultural society. Whilst I am one for multiculturalism and understanding others beliefs and systems I hold true that England has lost some of its history. We should accept others but be clear who we are and where we come from. I thought then that we know of Saint George and we know he fought a dragon but we do not really know what it supposed to have happened, well most of us anyway. This gave me the opportunity to write a short story and get it on Wattpad and Smashwords thus releasing the tension I had to write. I set about finding some brief synopses of different versions of the story (well I mainly looked at Wikipedia!) and decided what to write. I then spend the next few evenings getting the tale together. This fevered spell spawned Lasia’s Fate.
When I was editing it I started to worry that people would think I was trying to convert them to Christianity when I had entered the writing from a purely story telling point of view, although this was largely looking at George and the Princess and it could seem rather fanatical at times. I had only employed this for literary effect and it was not my belief system at all. Well I am a Christian but I am also Agnostic. I believe that we do not possess enough knowledge at this point to prove the existence of God or Gods. In fact, though I believe in God, if someone proved he did not exist I would say ‘ok’ and simply stop believing in him. Sometimes I think my faith is important to me and other times I feel it is just to fill a hole. In all I really enjoyed writing Lasia’s Fate and in parts feel it is the best writing I have done. It got me to think, to put in imagery and try to get into the mind of someone who is not at all like me. I hope people take it for what it is, a fantasy story based around a myth.
Anyhow, if you wish to take a peek then you can access it free on Wattpad here and Smashwords here. It is currently pending review for the Smashwords Premium Collection so may be on other e-readers soon, but I wont bore you will constant posts of Lasia’s Fate is on WH Smith, Lasia’s Fate is on iBooks etc etc. I think I have done enough of that with Super Lizard Begins!
As you may or may not know I have been part of Wattpad for some time. As well as posting stories you can join groups and discuss your favourite topics. Most of these groups are about specific genres and have quite serious discussions. Once group, however, is a little different. It is a hideaway for the less serious, a place to chat with like-minded souls and discuss aspects of literature along with the debates that matter like who would win in a fight between Captain Jack Sparrow and a Ninja. Whilst other groups tend to be the domain of the younger writer, this group is for us older, more mature (maybe that should be less mature) writers. It is aptly known as The Pub. One thing about The Pub is that it feels quite manly (although women are allowed too) and to celebrate this the Pub Committee do interviews with the male members of The Pub. These interviews cover such topics as how we got our nicknames, what we like to write, what inspires us and what super power would suit us best. You know, all the important literary stuff. I am happy to say that I was selected for such an interview and gladly accepted. If you would like to read my interview you can click here. I hope you enjoy it.
Now I understand that these posts might be becoming a little of a bore and are unashamedly self gratifying but it is a very exciting time for me in terms of being an author. Please also be aware I will not be doing posts when every book I place online appears on a different platform, I feel the first time I get on each platform is acceptable though. Right let’s get down to it. First of all I would like to say, Smashwords I love you! As the title says, Super Lizard Begins is now available free for Kobo via WH Smith. If you are not from Britain then you may not have come across WH Smith. It is basically one of our most famous book stores and appears on most high streets in cities in the UK. This for me is quite an achievement. My wife is even incredibly impressed. This is a big milestone for me as it should give me more exposure. Whether people will download it remains to be seen but at least I know that by using Smashwords I can most definitely reach a larger audience. I am now more excited than ever to get more work onto Smashwords, suppose I better get writing then!
Last thing to say is that you can download Super Lizard Begins for Kobo from WH Smith here.
There has been a lot of blog updates recently but that is all down to it being quite an exciting time for me. Recently I blogged about my children’s story, Bella and Lola, being up on Kindle. Well something else exciting has happened in that area. I use a website called Shelfari to store details of books I have read and then review them. It allows you to have a visual bookshelf showing all the books you plan to read and have read. The amazing thing about this is it links directly to the Amazon store so any book on Amazon appears on there. This means that Bella and Lola: Up The Wrong Tree automatically appears. Now you can have a copy of Bella and Lola on your virtual bookshelf next to the likes of Lord of The Rings and Great Expectations. It makes me feel like a true author. The only problem is that I feel like adding it to my bookshelf and giving it a good review. Is that cheating? Well I wrote it so I have read it!
Anyhow, here is the plug once again. You can buy Bella and Lola: Up The Wrong Tree on the UK Kindle Store here or on the American Kindle Store here. If you have downloaded it then a review on Amazon would be great. You can also add it to your Shelfari bookshelf and review it there too (it can be got to here). Oh well, I suppose I better create my Amazon and Shelfari author pages. It really is all very exciting!
I mentioned on a previous post that I had been working on another children’s book. Well the good news is that it is complete and live on Kindle for the low price of 77p. It is a short story about my two cats and has some edited photographs, taken by myself, to hopefully add to the narrative. I had never intended to write it, however I was away in Scotland with my wife on a trip to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary. I had taken my laptop to carry on working on my sci-fi short story. It was not that I was neglecting my wife, just that sometimes she likes an afternoon nap and I am given an hour or so to myself. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to relax and get some words down. However, we got a phone call a few days in from my Mother-in-law, who was looking after our cats whilst we were away. One had gone missing. After twenty four hours of strife and a few tears, the cat was found. Thinking of my unborn child I suddenly had the idea of writing the tale as a short children’s story which I intended to read to him/her through my wife’s tummy. I had toyed with the idea of putting some work on Kindle to see how easy it was and if I could sell any copies. This seemed the perfect opportunity. I can safely say it was far easier than I thought to get work up on Kindle and I will, no doubt, be adding some more in the future.
Anyhow, for now you can get your teeth into the gritty tale of Bella and Lola: Up The Wrong Tree. Be warned though, it is aimed at five year olds so expect some tense drama!
Recently at school we were asked to promote the CILIP Carnegie Medal by getting our pupils to review shortlisted books. They can do this by going to the website and selecting their school then writing a brief review. The judges then use these to help them decide on the winner. I noticed that there is also a Kate Greenaway Medal for books that apply to pupils in primary school. One book on there is ‘I Want My Hat Back’ by Jon Klassen. The thing about this book is that my wife and myself bought it for our nephew for Christmas. We had seen it in Waterstones when looking for ‘The Gruffalo’ and were amazed at how funny it was. I thought I would just do a quick post to promote it and say that I hope it wins the award. It is basically about a bear who has lost his hat and asks all the animals he comes across if they have seen it. I do not want to ruin it by saying what happens (it is a book for five year olds so the plot is not that deep!) but it is safe to say that it had us cracking up in the shop. The illustrations are also beautiful and add to the charm of the story. It is very new age and different from those classic children’s picture books and I think that is why we liked it so much. I do not really know about any other work by Jon Klassen except that he does a lot of illustrations but here is a link to his website anyway. All that is left to say is that my fingers are crossed and I will be checking out the results when they come out.