The Night Bus

After a day of faffing and kerfuffle (and a little bad language, but not too much) yesterday, I have posted my new book up on Amazon.

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The Kindle e-book will be released on 30th November and is available to pre-order now. It will take a few days yet for the paperback edition to be ready, as I need to check through a printed proof first. I’ll post when that is done.

The book is in two parts. A collection of seven short – and not so short – stories, which make up the bulk of the book, followed by a selection of recent poems.

I have always enjoyed travel and, one way or another, nearly every piece in here is to do with travel. The only exceptions are a couple of the poems that seemed to fit in among the others for aesthetic reasons.

Some of the stories are quite dark, but the majority of the poems have a lighter touch. In these, especially, I hope that my love of the natural world comes through.

Two of the longer stories are set in India; in one, a young man goes in search of a mysterious destiny, while in the other a travelling Englishman becomes embroiled in a chilling disappearance. One story speaks of the support and comradeship of a close-knit island community while another tells of jealous intelligences far older than mankind.

Of the poems, there is one long piece, which gives the title to this collection and tells of a long journey across India and into the mountains and, among others, one short series of poems about the ancient paths and tracks of Britain.

An early piece of writing advice I was given, and for which I am eternally grateful, was ‘Write the stories and poems you want to read’. This I have done, and I hope you will want to read them too.

Stories From Anywhere

I am proud to announce…Tah…Rah!! A book of short stories from Tunbridge Wells Writers.

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My regular reader may be interested to learn that the collection includes a fairly long short story of mine, World’s End, and I’m reasonably proud to point out that the cover is also designed by me.

A dozen stories in total, this is available at the moment as a paperback on Amazon (the link is here), and it will be published as an e-book on Kindle fairly soon. Once it is, I’ll put up a new post.

From the blurb on Amazon…Twelve writers, twelve stories. From intrigue in Colombia to bizarre adventures in Italy, from an unusual protest to a prison break in Chile. Get ready for an exciting journey with this collection from Tunbridge Wells Writers… 

Bloody Weather

Yesterday I sat down to work on a section of my novel which is set in a hot, dry place. Outside, however, the skies were grey and the wind was blowing. It was becoming cooler. Autumn leaves drifted down. Everywhere was damp. Everywhere was muddy. Unsurprisingly, the writing refused to happen.

Fortunately, I have an unfinished short story set in a leaden, windy, wet and muddy environment – Britain – so I wrote a few hundred words on that. My hero was a bit wet and cold and windswept, but what the heck!

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I know a few hundred words isn’t much, but it’s more than I’ve managed for a while. Partly, because I’ve been unusually busy, and partly because I’ve felt a bit down.

But as a bit of a progress report on my forthcoming short story collection, A Dozen Destinies, a few more of the stories went out to beta readers yesterday, so I haven’t yet given up on the possibility of having it ready for the beginning of December. I’ve settled on a cover picture (big reveal to come!) and decided to release it as an Amazon Print on Demand and Kindle ebook only.

Last year, I spent a lot of time looking at other outlets for Making Friends with the Crocodile, as well as releasing it on Amazon, and I eventually used Kobo (ebook) and Pothi (POD in India), but neither of them justified the effort. So this time I’ll keep it simple.

Goodness me, I don’t know how any of you manage to contain your excitement.

And today it’s grey and windy and wet. And there is a real bite to the wind.

Oh well. ‘It was a dark and soggy night…’

The Indian edition of my book is published!

Well, it’s taken me long enough, as I’m sure everyone will agree, but I have finally managed to publish Making Friends with the Crocodile as a Print on demand paperback in India! Hurrah!

It is published by Pothi, and is available on their site, here, and on Amazon.in and Flipkart.

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It is still available as a Kindle e-book from Amazon, and is also available as an e-book from Kobo, worldwide, for those who do not favour Kindle.

I have been told plenty of times that I need to be more proactive promoting the book, but I’m not terribly good at that. However, this is me having another pathetic stab at it:

Buy it now! It’s great! Please…pretty please…

Oh well, I’m working on it.

Should you be kind enough to buy it, or, indeed, if you have already done so, please consider leaving a review. Reviews encourage others to buy the book, and, on Amazon, once a book has garnered a certain number, then Amazon list it a little more prominently – which is a tremendous help to the author!

And I have been lucky enough to garner some very complimentary and generous reviews, so far. A few excerpts:

‘This beautifully written story, set in a village in Bihar, draws you in from its first page.’

‘Making Friends with the Crocodile is a very fine book. And it takes us into the harsh reality of the life of women in rural India, much more effectively than any official report.’

‘The characters are depicted with obvious respect for a culture that is both beautiful and at times shocking. By the novels finale, though tragic, we are left with a very thought provoking and memorable story.’

‘This is a novel with depth and real emotional involvement. Told simply and with an honesty that defies disbelief at events and attitudes, it packs some serious punches. It’s a story that will live with me for a long time, and one that has materially altered my opinions about certain cultural norms. Researched in real depth and related in language that fits the narrator so well, it’s a very good read.’

‘Mick has delved into the mind of a middle- aged woman living in rural Bihar and has beautifully sketched the love – hate relationship she shares with her daughter in law. The book gives a lot of perspective on the mind-set and predispositions that prevail in the rural north Indian society (which apply, at large to many other parts as well).’

The blurb: ‘Siddiqa was only just into her teens when she was forced to leave her home to live with her new husband and his family in another village. The years have passed, and now Siddiqa has three children of her own. Her grown up son has brought his new wife, Naira, to live with them, so Siddiqa is no longer the lowliest in the household, for she has a daughter-in-law.

Life in rural India is particularly harsh for women. This novel explores themes of female oppression and tradition and asks whether the next generation will find life any easier.

I suppose that at least when I publish my next book, I should have a much better idea of how to go about it.

The Book is Released – Hurrah!

 

Making Friends with the Crocodile‘ is now released!

Making Friends with the Crocodile cover                             POD cover

Kindle edition                                                     Paperback edition

Anyone who has already pre-ordered it on Kindle / Amazon should have received it by now, and in countries where there is no pre-order facility, such as India, the Kindle edition is also now available to buy.

The paperback is available from the Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.eu sites only – this is a quirk of Amazon – but can also be ordered from the estore at CreateSpace, at the following link:

https://www.createspace.com/6301808

And now, I wait to see what people think of the book, with a considerable amount of nervousness.

If you do buy a copy, please consider leaving a review either at Amazon, or on Goodreads, if you are a member (better still, at both!). Reviews are genuinely the lifeblood of a writer, and do help to sell books.

Finally, the blurb again…

‘Siddiqa was only just into her teens when she was forced to leave her home to live with her new husband and his family in another village. The years have passed, and now Siddiqa has three children of her own. Her grown up son has brought his new wife, Naira, to live with them, so Siddiqa is no longer the lowliest in the household, for she has a daughter-in-law.

Life in rural India is particularly harsh for women. This novel explores themes of female oppression and tradition and asks whether the next generation will find life any easier.’

 

 

The Morning After…

Wow, what a weekend!

After the book launch, the parties!

Celebrations!

Oh, and when I looked out of the window to see the streams of bunting all the way along the road, and the swarms of well-wishers gathering outside the house, I was so excited!

Then once I had gone out and signed loads and loads of autographs, I was being chased all over town for interviews by all the big newspapers!

And then I…

Well, okay. That’s not strictly true.

It’s not very true at all.

In fact, it’s not true in even the teeniest tiniest littlest way.

My life does not seem to have altered in the slightest and, actually, I’m glad about that.

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Right, now it’s time to get on with the next stage.

I’ve put a link on the image of the book on my sidebar, which goes directly to my book page on Amazon (thanks, Stuart!).

And I’m looking at the best way to create Print on Demand paperback copies of the book, probably by using CreateSpace (lots of recommendations), and hope to have that sorted out in a couple of days. I don’t think it’s too difficult, but my way of dealing with new technology tends to be by shouting at it and slamming doors, so I may take longer than other writers.

But since the release date of the Kindle copy is June 4th, I should have time to arrange for the paperback to be released on the same date.

So, what next?

Actually, it will be great to feel that I can focus on just writing again, and not just constant editing and revision, so it’s back to the long Work in Progress, ‘The Assassin’s Garden’. This has a timeline that stretches from Medieval Persia through Medieval India and the British Raj, through to Edwardian England. It’s already a long novel and nowhere near finished, so I suspect that I might eventually have a trilogy on my hands.

I might even write a short story or two.

Ooh, it’s exciting. I do love this writing lark!

Published!

Well, blimey, Making Friends with the Crocodile is now published on Kindle and is up on Amazon as we speak!

Making Friends with the -Crocodile

About a week ago, I reached the point where I felt that the editing was finally complete, or, at least, if it wasn’t, then I might just pick at it for ages without really making any further difference, and so it was time to get the process finished.

What a relief.

It feels as though I have been under pressure for weeks. I’ve felt tired, I’ve felt tense.

Ooh, I’ve been irritable!

All this pressure, of course, is of my own making. A lot of it, I suspect, being due to this being my first foray into publishing.

I knew that I needed to format my text for Kindle, and heard that Scrivener was a useful tool for that. And so I downloaded Scrivener, and spent a couple of hours working through the tutorial until I decided that it just wasn’t going to happen for me.

I’m sure it is very useful, but I was getting to the point where I felt like chucking the laptop at the wall.

So I went and looked in detail at the instructions for publishing on Kindle, and found that you could just save your file in the correct format and then upload that.

Bye, bye Scrivener.

I looked at a few Kindle books and then wrote the stuff at the front and back of the book – about copyrights and stuff like that.

I inserted my table of contents.

I already had my book cover ready.

I wrote the blurb:

‘Siddiqa was only just into her teens when she was forced to leave her home to live with her new husband and his family in another village. The years have passed, and now Siddiqa has three children of her own. Her grown up son has brought his new wife, Naira, to live with them, so Siddiqa is no longer the lowliest in the household, for she has a daughter-in-law.

Life in rural India is particularly harsh for women. This novel explores themes of female oppression and tradition and asks whether the next generation will find life any easier.’

Working out how to upload to Kindle, and to complete all of the forms and tick boxes proved a little long winded, but reasonably straightforward.

So then, suddenly, there it was. Sitting on Amazon, available for pre-order, with a launch date of 4th June. Although for some reason, unfortunately, pre-order is not available in India.

And now it feels much like stepping off of a crowded and noisy street into summer sunshine; the sounds of the shouting and the traffic disappearing and being replaced by birdsong.

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Woo-hoo!

And what a buzz to go and look at my own author page on Amazon, with my own book there!

Woo-hoo again!

For the moment, as I say, it is only available for pre-order, and will be released on 4th June. But if anyone does feel inclined to buy it, pre-orders will help boost the ratings when it actually launches.

I am going to look again at Print on Demand, in a day or so. Initially, I had ruled it out, mainly because the one site that I looked at required the customer (i.e. me) to order and pay for a set number in advance, and I assumed that would always be the case, but now I think that is possibly not so. Certainly, the Amazon tool, CreateSpace, looks as though it might work more the way that Kindle does.

It will be great if it does, since I really prefer to have a physical copy of a book, and I know there are still a few other people out there who still feel that way.

So…now to get my head around promotion…