Thursday: Book Promotion Day

Yesterday’s WWW post got me thinking.  It and similar things are very good ways to promote blogs, creating a chain that anybody can make use of to discover new blogs.  It also serves as a good way to introduce folk to new books.  With my (alleged) brain firing on at least half its cylinders, I started running through a variety of ideas, some of them just plain weird (which I guess came from my lunatic fringe).  One, however, stuck and refused to give ground to any competitors.  The title of this post is a bit of a giveaway, of course.

I would like to run a Book Promotion Day every Thursday.  At first, I thought of just throwing books out there for others to consider.  On further reflection, however, I decided that I should place this in the hands of fellow authors.  I’m therefore inviting authors to submit a piece on one of their books!  The book does not have to be your latest!  The piece should include a link to a picture of the book cover, the blurb for it, the current price, and purchase and/or contact links for both the book and the author.  Both ebooks and traditional print books are welcome, of course.  If the book is the subject of a special offer, this should be included in the piece, including the period the offer applies for.

I’ve made this as painless as possible.  Reviews aren’t wanted, but you can include the book’s current rating, if applicable, in the standard ‘up to 5’ stars system.  Each Thursday, I will include as many books as possible, up to a maximum of ten.  If your book desn’t appear one week, it may well appear on another.  Inclusion is subject to space.  If you only wish to offer your book details for a specific week, please state that in your piece, but note that such a request doesn’t guarantee its inclusion.

I regret that I must exclude:

  • Erotica
  • “Get rich quick” books
  • “Miracle cure” books
  • “Diet” books
  • “X-rated” books

If you wish to participate in what is, after all, free advertising,then please use this form:

Success or failure for this idea is in your hands!

~ Steve

Participation Post: WWW Wednesdays (Mar.20)

This “participation” post scheme comes from Should Be Reading blog by MizB.  Thanks for the idea, MizB!  I don’t normally get involved in chain posts of any kind, but this is entirely harmless – just a bit if fun, in fact.  It might, however, also bring some titles to notice, and that’s never a bad thing…

www_wednesdays4

Quote:

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Here’s my WWW for this Wednesday:

HUNTER_mr What are you currently reading?  I’ve just started reading the ebook edition of Hunter: Intrepid #2 by Australian author Chris Allen.  It’s outside my normal reading genres.  I’m actually reading it for review purposes, though I must admit I’m also looking forward to it.  I’ve been expanding on the genres I read in recent years, so adding another won’t hurt!  A thriller, it promises to be quite a ride, judging from the blurb and reviews I’ve already seen.

Flash Cover Foxtrot - eBook cover What did you recently finish reading?  I’ve just finished another ebook, The Forever Saga: Flash by Sean C Sousa.  Again, this was a book I agreed to read for review purposes, and I’m not sorry I did.  My review of it will be appearing very soon!  It’s a science fiction tale which goes places most books in the genre have always filed to explore – real life people.  If you haven’t read it, then I can say this much: I would happily recommend it to you.

Blood of Kaos - J D Miller What do you think you’ll read next?  I will probably move on to a third review novel, the ebook of Blood of Kaos by J D Miller.  It’s a dark fantasy adventure.  I normally don’t do “dark” stories, due to the impact they have on my mood.  It will be ‘fingers crossed’ time throughout.

Penning Perils

I’m slowly coming to recognise certain facts about making efforts to become a published author.  There are many perils out there, lurking everywhere.  What’s worse is that, apart from  the very fact that they exist, many come disguised as worthwhile!  There’s no shortage of those who will offer you the world, or more, if you will just pay them this very small amount, just so they can do what they do, and they promise to do all those jobs you hate doing, so that you will be free to concentrate on your writing.  Sadly, there are many of these that won’t get even close to your expectations, and a surprising number have the audacity to actually ask more than legitimate services.  You will likely encounter their advertising in various places that are less than selective in what they are willing to allow on their sites.  There’ll be even more of them scattered across the social networks – both the general networks and those aimed at the world of authors and readers.  The moment you put yourself out there, posting on a social network or maybe starting a blog, you will use certain trigger words.  You can’t help do anything else!  Unfortunately, the bad guys, or ’black hats’ in internet parlance, have software which constantly scans for the use of those words.  When they find them, they ooze out of the virtual equivalent of woodwork and begin to make your life difficult.  Emails start coming in, especially if you haven’t been cautious enough to never post yours publicly.  Adverts pop up in places they shouldn’t.  Spam assails you from all directions!  Life can quickly become a living hell if you make a wrong move now.  You’ll never be free of them, but if you actually respond to any of them, the situation will spiral out of control.

What’s truly sad is that some of the black hats can sound so genuine, so honest.  The best (in the sense of success) will have you utterly convinced of their honesty, their heartfelt desire to help you, to lift all the burdens from you.  It’s a pity that they aren’t all like the worst (least successful), who are so transparent, so obviously false, that nobody could possibly be drawn in by them.  These latter usually use such atrocious English, and utterly incomprehensible spam, that they are actually laughable, if you set aside what they’re trying to do.  The golden rule is: never click a link if you don’t know where it comes from!  If you do, you may unleash an endless inundation of more spam, or you may find yourself the victim of identity theft!  If you have never heard of a site, don‘t click that link!  I don’t care if it is an ad on Facebook!  Trot on over to Google and do a search on it, check the “whois” entry, if there is one.  And don’t just take the first page of the Google search results – go deeper.

Much of this may sound pretty general, and you’re right – it is.  The important thing to remember is that a lot of the Spam and fakery will actually be targeted!  It will often talk about things that have become very important to you.  Just because it’s dressed up to look like something you should pursue doesn’t make it legitimate.

Having spoken about the activities of the black hats, I should put in a word about the honest folk who may land you in trouble.  They may start an online business meant to provide a very genuine service.  Unfortunately, you only have to look at the statistics for failed businesses!  A genuine intent to do what you set out to do doesn’t mean that you will be successful.  That applies to everybody.  Be cautious.  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!  Don’t make commitments that may bind you to a failed business, or brand you as unreliable yourself because you supported somebody else who then failed.  It’s sad, but you really can’t afford to take risks.

Ultimately, you have taken on the job of author.  You need to spend your time in writing – not defending yourself from the worst that the internet has to offer.  Be true to yourself.

~ Steve

Dissecting Getting Published

When I first started on this journey, I was confident of only one thing: I would have a lot to learn.  Needless to say, I wasn’t wrong.  In fact, I was being too conservative in my estimation!  Self-publishing is a wonderful, scary thing.  I had, many years ago, discovered that the world of publishing had three routes to getting into print: finding a literary agent willing to take you on (along with your money) so that they might make a deal with a large publishing house, finding a small publishing house specialising in your favoured genre, or being suckered into “vanity publishing” (whereby your masterwork is printed and bound just as you’d wish, regardless of quality, errors or other blunders, and having the delightful task of hawking your published book to every bookshop you could get to, unless you wanted stacks of boxes of your book, unread by anybody).  The one beauty of this was the simplicity of it.  Today, things are nowhere near as simple.

Very recently, I had my first ever sale of  priced ebook!  It will sound silly but I was ecstatic and would have capered with joy if able.  The ebook is self-published through Smashwords.  They provide an excellent service, and I have no complaints. In fact, I consider myself immensely lucky to have found them first, before discovering the numerous alternatives.  In a very short space of time, I have learnt that the service sites differ widely (and wildly, at times).  They may shout about a “free service”, and provide just that, but the quality of that service is another matter.  On just one issue, I have found that Smashwords is unusual.  You can publish your ebook and offer it for free, in multiple formats that will serve the vast majority of eReaders.  Some others will allow you just one format, or perhaps more than one as long as the prospective reader is willing to pay membership fees.  Many will allow you to self-publish for free, but insist on you charging a minimum price for your ebook.  There are several other factors, too.

Apart from these “free service” sites, there are publishers clamouring for submissions, allegedly. Some of these are seemingly legitimate, though I can’t vouch for any.  They offer all that you could want, from editing, through proofreading to professional cover design.  Of course, it all comes at a price, which varies considerably between publishers.  Most of these are actually offering real, printed books.  Some, if not most, of these publishers don’t print a quantity, however.  They print on demand, when an order is received.  It’s a very sensible concept, in many ways.  The potential pitfalls, however, are that your book won’t appear on any book shop’s shelves, unless it’s second-hand, and just what happens if the company folds?  You could find yourself with a pile of orders (let’s be optimistic) and no way to fill them!  How so?  Well, you’ll find that, as is commonplace with all self-publishing, you take on an enormous burden – marketing!  You will lose a significant amount of writing time to publicise your book, creating promotions, giveaways, and various other devices to try to win an audience.  Of course, you could pay another company to do all that for you, or the publisher (really more of a printer than a publisher) may offer the service for a hike in their fees.

There is, of course, still the option of finding, satisfying, and paying a literary agent to do it all for you – at least as far as getting published is concerned.  And there are still traditional publishing houses, many of whom disguise themselves under the names of various less well known names.  You will, naturally, still find the same old obstacles to dealing direct with these big publishers.

Having a publishing option sorted, you may want to recheck the terms and conditions, and any royalties arrangement.  There are services out there where you will be expected to give them exclusive rights, which really isn’t a good idea.  The amount of royalties offered varies widely, too.  Be wary on this one!  A service that has only just started up and hasn’t yet gotten a proven record of success could offer a high royalty rate, but then you may not sell anything through them. You also have to beware of things like transaction fees ns other ways to minimise what you actually receive!  So, don’t sign over any rights and make sure that royalties are fair and that fees are minimal or non-existent.

Ah, the joys of self-publishing…

~ Steve

A Little Bit More

Shade of Evil It has occurred to me that there’s an aspect of my “novelette” Shade of Evil which may make some people wonder.  The ending is unusual.  I have no desire to write any spoilers here, and I think that I can safely avoid that.

I make no attempt to tie up all the “loose ends”!  The story ends as it should.  The unfinished elements, however, reflect the fact that the lives of the characters go on, unobserved by us.  I’ll admit that it may seem strange to have a book end like this, but then Life isn’t tidy.  People, with their stories, come into our lives, spend a little time there, and then pass on.  The rest of their stories become unknown, even those stories we were an intrinsic part of, for a while.  We may, at some later time discover how the stories turned out.  We may even reconnect with those same people.  If we do that, it may surprise us to discover that the story has still not ended.  To write a tale that has similar loose ends isn’t to deliberately leave open the option for further tales attached to it, it’s simply a reflection of how Life actually works.

Loose ends are, in fact, popular with some readers.  They allow the reader to imagine their own developments.  Fans of particular books will eagerly seize loose ends and follow them in the form of fan fiction, whether the author approves or not.  Other readers hate them, and if you are one of these, then I apologise, but I have no intention of changing anything!  If you are truly eager to discover where certain lines lead, why not drop me a line and say so?  Who knows, while I have no plans for a sequel at this time, I may just be persuaded to write one…

~ Steve

 

A Terror Rises – “Shade of Evil” Arrives

Shade of EvilYesterday, 15th March, I released my first novelette. Shade of Evil is a future fiction horror tale.  It is the first ebook that I have released that isn’t free.  Given its size, I don’t think that’s unfair, and it’s also just $0.99 from Smashwords.

To quote from the blurb:

A simple man bears a terrible burden, unknowing. Now, that burden is killing him, seeking freedom from his exhausted hulk. Freedom to satisfy its evil hunger.

A darkness dwelt there, a vile miasma of misery that gnawed at the very soul of the man. It had been there for years, growing like some parasite, growing bloated with every bit of melancholy that was sucked from him. Worse, it was taking on a life of its own, a substance that should not exist. And the man was becoming something less, something hollow.

Shade of Evil is recorded on Goodreads, so members there (it’s free to join) can add it to their bookshelf and write a review of it.

~ Steve

Blogging – Behind The Words A Person Sits

500 Likes

Imagineer-ing got to 500 likes earlier this week!  Really happy about that, and looking forward, now, to getting it up to 1,000…

I’d like to thank everybody who took the time to click the Like button, especially those who actually read what they clicked it on!  I regard these milestones as very important indicators of progress.  Like most bloggers, I would guess, when you start a new blog, you always wait nervously to see whether you will gain an audience.  To gain a good sized audience is an even greater achievement.  Every time you hit a milestone, you get the courage to continue.  You no longer feel that you’re talking to yourself!

To Blog Or Not To Blog…

When you first venture into the world of the internet, you learn that certain things seem to hold great sway.  Facebook, Twitter and blogs are forever being quoted as sources, interconnected and feeding off each other like cannibalistic bacteria.  You join Facebook and soon discover that, in the jumble of pictures and outbursts, many folk are repeating their Twitter tweets, or those of others.  Then there are those other posts, directing you to other web sites.  Some of these just go to ordinary sites, but many more go to blogs.  A quick search reveals that “blog” is the shortened form of Weblog, and that a Web log is a kind of journal site, ranging from simple diary types to very professional journalism.  Many are also out there to sell.  They may be selling anything, from some very dubious products to a the idea of buying services or products from a company.

After you’ve been around a while, and discovered that your hobbies interest others, you begin to consider the idea of a blog.  That’s when the first headache hits!  There are numerous blog platforms to choose from, and being a novice, you have no idea what to choose.  Sensibly, you do a quick survey of the blogs popping up on your Facebook and Twitter feeds.  In all likelihood, two platforms will stand tall: BlogSpot/Blogger and WordPress.  The first will probably outweigh all the others, so you toddle off and join there.  If you’re like me, though, you’ll soon discover the limitations and restriction.  No matter how I tried, I couldn’t get a really nice looking blog that suited my wishes.  I abandoned blogging because of that experience.  Years later, I had WordPress recommended to me.  Oh boy!  What a difference!

WordPress comes in two flavours: a .com and a .org.  The first means you don’t need a web site or domain of your own, but there are rules that must be obeyed and the space is restricted (not that I’ve gotten anywhere near closing on that maximum space allowance), plus certain things are not possible – such as most affiliate selling and full customisation.  The second is the framework platform which you can upload to your own site, meaning you’re only limited by whatever your hosts stipulates.  Personally, I believe that WordPress, in either form, is the best blog platform available.

Whatever platform you do choose, you have made the decision to write a blog!

The First Blog

You’ve got your platform chosen, and you’ve made it look as good as you can, using the themes that are available.  You have replaced any sample pages with your own writings.  Now, the big moment comes!  You have to write your first blog post.  Let’s say that you elect to write about the thing you love, your hobby.  Empowered by your feelings for the subject, you write something you’re really proud of, maybe even including some pictures.  You’ve finally entered the ranks of the bloggers.  You sit back and wait for the eager hordes to flock to your post and hit that Like button… and nothing happens.  Not one visitor!  You’ve just discovered why bloggers use Facebook and Twitter to advertise their blogs.  Without such advertising, no blog would get off the ground.  Those who fail to grasp that fact seldom remain bloggers for long.  And even with the advertising, it takes time to build a following.  You have to be prepared to be patient, to watch visitor numbers go from a flow to a trickle and back again, until you post something that hits a chord with people and you suddenly have a real influx.  With some effort, you may even keep these new visitors, and perhaps even see their numbers increase as they start spreading the word about your excellent blogging.  And that’s one of the big secrets of blogging – getting others to talk about your posts.

To Blog Readers

I appeal to blog readers, especially commenters: please remember that a real person sits behind every blog!  They are human, fallible and unique, capable of great thoughts and subject to human emotion.  They have views that are their own and may express them, and you may not agree with them.  That doesn’t mean that you should use the anonymity of the internet to attack them or their views!  If you have differing views, express them, but in a quiet, reasoned, unabusive way.  And even if you wish to express agreement or appreciation, keep your tone at a sensible conversational level.  Remember that you are reading the words of a courageous person, who has dared to put themselves out there and attempt to share something that they feel is worthwhile, and perhaps even helpful.  That doesn’t make them any less sensitive than you.  If you can think of nothing but inflammatory remarks, it is best to leave saying nothing.

A blog is often a very personal thing.  It may, deliberately or inadvertently, expose the blogger at a deeply personal level.  Blogs can be a rich resource not only for those sharing an interest, but also for students of human nature.  I know nobody who doesn’t say something about themselves whenever they write anything.  Blogs are wonderful places for amateur, and professional or prospective, psychologists.  And here I will reiterate.  Don’t abuse the blogger!  Remember, if a blogger’s posts are so revealing of the writer, then so can your comments be of you, the visitor.

~ Steve

A Look At Web Sites For Authors

These are just some observations I have on the various web sites that I’ve used for self-publishing and/or marketing since becoming a self-publishing author.  What I’ve learnt is that something might seem like a good idea, but that doesn’t mean they are.

Facebook

The “big daddy”, as it were.  These days, it’s almost impossible to do anything without having a Facebook presence.  It certainly has benefits, if it’s used properly. I can’t tell you that I’ve cracked it yet, myself, but there’s no doubting that, if nothing else, it’s a good way to drive traffic to your web site and/or blog.  From what I’ve seen, I think it has also helped push some folk to the right place to download an ebook.  Personally, I don’t have a page for every ebook – I just have an author page.  I believe that’s sufficient, at least until I get a blockbuster bestseller!  All of that said, Facebook is often frustrating, annoying and downright risky!  Facebook changes things often, and not always helpfully.  It’s very easy to become totally swamped with posts from others on your Newsfeed.  It’s also easy to become a Facebook junkie – spending far more time on it rather than on more important activities.  Then, too, Facebook is the target of hackers and other malicious folk, rendering your security virtually nonexistent!

I would suggest that you give the absolute bare minimum of information on your profile page.  The same applies to your author page and/or book page(s).  I would recommend that you try to avoid using the Add Friend button!  Try to limit yourself, as much as possible, to using any Follow option or just Like pages.  Keep the Add Friend option for family and trusted friends.  I have been rather bad at that and now have a totally insane number of “friends”.  I would suggest that if you wish to network with somebody who only has a personal profile, you suggest to them that they create a page, so that you can Like that instead of adding them as a “friend”.

Twitter

The other highly fashionable social network.  Twitter is something of an oddity.  You have a strict limit on how many characters you can have in a tweet, which can be immensely frustrating at times.  I find it much harder to establish how much Twitter helps to increase interest.  I can only assume that there is some benefit to using it.  Personally, I rarely actually write tweets directly – I let other things do that for me automatically, like WordPress (host of this blog).  Like Facebook, it takes very little effort to find yourself overwhelmed by the tweets of those you choose to Follow.  There’s no doubting that you will find thousands of folk who seem  to fit the profile of those you would like to network with.  And therein lies the problem!  There are thousands, or tens of thousands!  You will, eventually find yourself in the situation where, with your Twitter timeline open, tweets will appear too rapidly for you to keep up with them.

I have only one piece of advice on controlling how many Followers you Follow back, and that’s be selective.  You will receive notifications of people or organisations who have Followed you.  Some of these will be very undesirable folk indeed and should be avoided at all costs, while others will simply not fit into the type of activity that you want, or need, to embrace for your network.  Do not feel embarrassed at refusing to Follow anybody!  It isn’t rude to refuse, it’s simply good sense.

Goodreads

For both readers and authors, Goodreads is probably the best there is, to a point.  It’s easy to add both books by yourself and by others, building up a library listing.  Gaining friends takes much longer than on Facebook or Twitter, and I have been disappointed in one particular respect.  Members are supposed to write reviews of what they read, and rate them.  In reality, there’s far less activity on that than there should be, and getting your own books reviewed is extremely difficult.  And gaining fans is even harder!  You can link your Goodreads account to Facebook, so that some of your activity appears there as status messages.  If you have an author page on Facebook, then there’s an app that allows you to link to your Goodreads profile page, or Group.  Alternatively, if you have Facebook pages for specific books, then you can use the same app to link to your books (individually) on Goodreads.

As far as I know, so far I’ve had very little benefit from using Goodreads beyond its library facility.  It’s a pity as the potential is there for much more.  Admittedly, there are many very active Groups on Goodreads, but, as with Facebook and Twitter, it can soon become too difficult to keep up with them.

Smashwords

This is, without a doubt, the most important, and most useful, site of all those I have used!  It provides an excellent way to publish your own ebooks, in several formats, and lots of advice on doing so.  It is also a very good source for ebooks by many other Indie authors.  Smashwords will submit your ebook(s) to most of the major online retailers, as well as numerous web sites that are subsidiaries of their own, usually with specific genres as their focus.  The system is easy to use, which is paramount as far as I’m concerned.  To date, I have had no reason to be unhappy with Smashwords.  If i have a criticism, it’s that perhaps more effort could be made to encourage members to submit reviews of the ebooks they download and read.  But, it’s principally a site to self-publish your ebooks.  It doesn’t stress its networking potential.

WordPress

This is on a par with Smashwords but for entirely different reasons.  First of all, I should point out that there are two forms of WordPress: the WordPress.com hosted version, like this blog, which has a few limitations, most particularly in regard of just what you’re allowed to include, and the self-hosted WordPress.org version,where you have total control over what you include.  If you want to maximise your chances of making money, using affiliate links, then you need the second option.  Both versions allow you the flexibility to not just create a blog, but to create a complete, professional looking, web site!  Both also allow you to use a wide variety of free or paid themes, but you have to pay on WordPress.com if you wish to customise the CSS underlying your chosen theme, while that’s free if you’ve opted for self-hosted.  Best of all, perhaps, is that you can get both for free!  The biggest difference is that WordPress.org has to be downloaded and then installed to your own web host, and you will need to add several plug-ins to bring it up to the same level as WordPress.com’s package.  It’s a painless but lengthy process.

If you can afford it, I would recommend buying your own domain name and a good hosting package and then installing WordPress.org.  You really won’t need anything else!  You will have the framework for a full web site, and you’ll know that you can change the look easily whenever you want to.  It really doesn’t get any better than that!

Others

Gaining ground in the realm of social networks are Google+ and Pinterest, both of which I use to some extent.  The thing that I notice most with these sites is that, before very long, you start simply duplicating everything, with the same people on every network.  I’m not convinced that anybody gains anything from that kind of setup.  I’ve also tried Free-eBooks.net, but that seems to have had peculiar results, with huge numbers of my ebooks downloaded/viewed but little or no feedback, and nothing more than Like/Dislike being selected by the respondents.  LinkedIn is very good for networking, but it’s primarily aimed at those who are looking for employment of some kind.

I have tried numerous other web sites but, in all honesty, I can’t say that I’ve received any benefits from any of them.  Several have seen my ebooks downloaded from them, but without a single instance of feedback from any of them!  I can’t honestly recommend any of them.

I’m still trying new web sites.  If I find any that are worth you taking a look at, I’ll let you know in future posts.

~ Steve

Robin Leigh Morgan In Her Own Words: An Author Interview

I’m very happy to present an interview with Robin Leigh Morgan!

~ Steve

RLM image
When did you first discover the desire to write was so strong in you?

For 11 years, from 1995 – 2006, I wrote almost weekly commentary type items for a community newspaper, which I loved doing; and along the way I started to slowly write a contemporary romance manuscript. However I never sensed it would be good enough to publish.  One day someone suggested I write something for a younger audience, which I did and wound up with my debut YA Paranormal/Time Travel/First Kiss romance novel in less than a year.

Do you usually write in the same genre you tend to prefer to read?

I seldom get a chance to read, I worked for 33 years with the same employer and had to commute about an hour each way. Now, being retired I’m busy with my writing and marketing/promoting my debut novel. When I have the time I like to read poignant memoirs, such as, And The Whippoorwill Sang by Micki Peluso. Otherwise, to answer your question I would say No to your question. I say this because I’d like to be as original as I can get, and I don’t really want to be influenced by any other writer for fear I might subconsciously write the same thing which had been written by that author.

When reading, do you prefer traditional printed books or ebooks?

I’m old-fashioned when it comes to reading books. I like the feel of a book in my hands rather than some cold electronic device that I must be constantly be concerned about it being charged, or to worry about the sun washing out the image on the screen.

Do past or current events in your life have an influence on your writing?

Generally speaking I would say No, but subconsciously they might.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

I Kissed a Ghost0001 Selecting a title for a book had been a very challenging experience for me; but after racking my brain over it, I decided to merely summarize the premise for the entire story in as few words as possible until I had something which could be used as the title for my book. Hence, since the story is about a girl [Mary] and her kissing the ghost [George] she had living in her house; the story had to be called, I Kissed a Ghost.

Have you got a favourite author, who stands well ahead of all others?

I would have to say I have no favourite author. When I do read, I basically read for the moment. I do admire J K Rowling, and what she’s accomplished with her series of Harry Potter books. Oh, how wonderful it would be if each of us authors could be only 1% as successful.

Have you got both printed and digital books published?

Right now my debut novel is only available in a printed format.

Do you try to write to satisfy what is fashionable, or do you write pieces that you would want to read?

I write what I feel comfortable and satisfied in writing. I wouldn’t feel comfortable writing to merely write what is fashionable because I don’t want to be forced into a position where I’m not being true to myself as an author.

How do you fit writing into your life? Do you have set times for writing?

Being retired has finally allowed me to really start a second career as an author. In addition to having published my first novel, I market and promote it. I now have time to relax, socialize in the nearby community centre at lunch, go shopping, etc. I’ve set my own flexible schedule which includes time for writing my second novel, a yet untitled contemporary romance with a paranormal element running through the storyline. I don’t like having a rigid schedule now, I had enough of one for the 33 plus years I worked nonstop; a schedule which did not really allow me time to pursue my writing career.

Do you keep every jotting of ideas, just in case they might be developed at some later date?  Do you write freeform or do you faithfully plan every piece meticulously before you start on a piece?

If you’re asking me whether I’m a “plotter” or a “panzer”, I’d probably say a little of both. I make a skeleton of an outline, writing down the basic plot points I’d like to hit as the story unfolds; and as a sculptor starting with a wire base of what they’d like to have, I add material, then take some away, I keep on repeating this process until I have finished what I had in mind. I write, write, write and then go back and delete all the unnecessary fluff which doesn’t move the story along and keep the reader interested in what they’re reading and wanting to read more, by creating hooks in the story in, and towards the end of, as many chapters as possible.

When writing, most authors now use a computer of some description. Which do you find more satisfying: writing using any means available, using a computer, using a typewriter or using a pen/pencil?

I find using a computer most satisfying as I can see each word falling into its assigned place in my story. And if something develops as I write, I can instantaneously make a change.  However, I do keep a pen and paper on the night table next to my bed, just in case I wake up in the middle of the night and an idea hits me, which I don’t want to forget.

What is your greatest ambition in writing?

Being able to make the NY Times best sellers listing once in my life.

Finally, where can people find you and your book online?

My book is available on Amazon.com at: http://www.amazon.com/Kissed-Ghost-Robin-Leigh-Morgan/dp/1480030031   My book is also available on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.es, Amazon.fr and Amazon.it

If anyone would like to read some unedited snippets from the book, just check out the Ghostly Whispers entries on any of my blog sites:
http://www.mypennameonly.blogspot.com or
http://www.mypennameonly.wordpress.com or
http://www.mypennameonly.webs.com [this is also my website]
http://www.mypennameonly.tumblr.com

I can also be found on:
Twitter = http://www.twitter.com/mypennameonly
Facebook = http://www.facebook.com/mypennameonly
Goodreads = http://www.goodreads.com/RobinLeighMorgan

It has been a pleasure sharing my answers in everyone. I hope you have learned something about me, my writing and my book.

Robin Leigh Morgan

The Guild (Thief, #5) by Steve K Smy – New ebook released

I don’t normally post more than once in a day but I hope that you’ll think this is justified:

The Guild - ImagineerAnd here it is, the fifth short story in the Thief series.  I still don’t know for certain how far this is all going!  I am thinking about bringing them all together in a single volume at some time.  Of course, to do that I’ll have to be fairly sure that the end has been reached…

Anyway, back to The Guild.  To quote the blurb:

The Guild: a criminal organisation that lurks in every corner of Ur’gavan. The Guildmaster: chief of that organisation. And caught between old oaths and new: Tirnam.

The prince and his friends are confronted by the Guild’s brutal methods. His power challenged by the demands of the Guildmaster, they must prove that Tirnam is the only ruler of the city.

Will Tirnam and his friends be free of problems now?  Well, if they’re human, then the answer is probably that they won’t.  The question then becomes whether or not the problems they will face in the future will be enough to justify writing about them.  It’s a puzzle… sort of.  In  fact, I must confess that I have the germ of an idea for another tale in the series, but is there another after that?  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what comes along.

The Guild is available in multiple formats from Smashwords (just click the cover picture), in ePub format from Goodreads and in ePub and mobi (Kindle) format from the shop on the main Imagineer web site.

~ Steve