RS: I Haz Planz 02/07, June Round Up & Half Year Review


^_^ Why am I so happy? Go on, can you guess? No?

My ISBNs came through yesterday! Far sooner than I thought they would. This means I’ve been able to order a proof copy of the paperback version of ‘Slippers & Chains: Sugar Dust’. Ha, I’m so happy I could puke, this is a GREAT feeling! . . . Yes, even the puke! . . . I haven’t actually puked, don’t worry.

Actions Last Weekblank calendar from OpenClipArt

~Send x3 review requests for ‘MEO:TFS’
Nope, but I’ve been very busy, as you’ll see!

~Send x3 review requests for ‘Slippers & Chains: Sugar Dust’
Again, no . . . but I have actually paid for advertising, something I’ve never done before. I’ve paid for a Release Blitz from Writing Marketing which puts my info in the hands of upwards of 200 bloggers and reviewers. Whether or not they decide to take me on is another matter, but Writing Marketing has a level of reach that I just can’t compete with on my own. So . . . we’ll see what that does.

~Complete fresh back and front data for solo pieces in ‘Meeting Each Other’ series from ‘Carol, Niall & Lin’ onwards
No. I guess I might have overdone it this week with all these little admin bits. I kinda knew it was a lot to get through  . . .

~Check out my Goodreads and make sure everything is up to date
Nope. I can’t even get into Goodreads right now! I can’t remember which email address I used to sign up, let alone the password for it, so this one is a null goal. :( I’ve emailed support, however. So many they’ll be able to help me out and get me back in.

~Sign properly into The Romance ReviewMy Romance Reviews and update my profile
Soooorted! All done and I put some advertising through there as well. Funny, I have all these credits building up and I’ve not used them, so it’s nice to kinda do something with those. Let’s see what happens next!

June 2015 Round Up

~Get base photography done for ‘Sugar Dust’ cover art in photoshoot with Sarai
:( It was done, but in the end, time constraints and a change of artistic direction prevented me using the photos for the cover art. However I do have plans for them, so you’ll be seeing some of that work very soon hopefully.

Cover art for Slippers & Chains: Sugar Dust~Commission the cover art and be ready to apply one to the other
Sorted . . . you may have seen this pretty lil number early last week? >>>

~Get ‘Slippers & Chains: Sugar Dust’ formatted for ebook and on sale
Yep. See purrdy thumbnail.

~Decide if I want to publish this release through both Amazon and Smashwords, or take advantage of Kindle Select
For now, just Amazon. I’ll look at my publishing schedule going forward and think about Smashwords. Only because it will eat another ISBN if I do. But . . . so far, so good. ^_^

~Send this month’s newsletter
Sorted! Last one until September now. I also sent out the notification for the re-release of ‘Sugar Dust’. A day late (oops!) but done. ;-)

Half Year Round Up

Half point of the year! Blimey, that seems to have just raced by. I know that’s one of the absolute worst clichés in the world, but it’s true. It’s barely touched the sides! Anyway, I’m not sure how to handle this because I’ve been reviewing my goals for the year month by month, but I suppose looking at where I am in the same way does the same sort of job.

First up, what have I done:

  • Meeting Each Other series complete in full and on sale in digital and paperback forms
  • Slippers & Chains: Second Base edited to beta standard and sent out
  • Slippers & Chains: Sugar Dust complete and re-released in digital form
  • All newsletters issued and ‘Raven’s Diary: The New Pet’ sent out in full

Ha! Put that way, not bad for six months of head down, finger-crippling work. ;-) So how do I treat the rest of the year?

Change That Shit Up!

With half the year let to go, this is all looking pretty manageable. Let’s have a look. Completed tasks struck out, changes/clarifications in red and new tasks in green.

  1. ‘Slippers & Chains: Sugar Dust’ back on sale as an ebook by end of June 2015
  2. Get ‘Slippers & Chains: Sugar Dust’ on sale as a paperback by end of July 2015
  3. Edit ‘Slippers & Chains: Second Base’ following comments from beta readers by the end of October (preferably by end of August).
  4. Draft ‘Slippers & Chains Three’ (and give it a damn title!) by end of November 2015 (during NaNoWriMo?)
  5. Switch to a more manageable newsletter schedule of quarterly postings with bonuses for new releases when the current ‘New Pet’ story is done.

Targets For July 2015

Hmm. Okay. Well . . . it’s still Ileandra’s turn right now so it’s not time for me to take over. However . . . there are still things for me to do.

  1. Order proofs for ‘Slippers & Chains: Sugar Dust’ and be happy enough with the result to okay sales
  2. Continue to push for exposure: complete at least x2 site questionnaires / interviews
  3. Clean up the front and back data for the rest of the ‘Meeting Each Other’ series
  4. Regain my Goodreads access

Activities For This Week

  1. Order first ‘Slippers & Chains: Sugar Dust’ proof
  2. Complete fresh back and front data for solo pieces in ‘Meeting Each Other’ series from ‘Carol, Niall & Lin’ to ‘Bill’

Thoughts…

It’s been an amazing year. Now that I look everything like this I’m stunned at the progress. Slow at times, but always steady and always forward. I’ve taken very few steps backwards (if at all) despite a couple of knocks.

All I need to do is keep ticking along at the same steady pace and we’ll see what happens at the end of the year. Weird, but I don’t want to look too far ahead, almost like that would be bad luck or something. o.O

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RS: So . . . I’m Making A Book Trailer


Y’know, because I don’t have enough to do. -_-

No, I just thought it would be nice to have something visual to use as a tool for promotion of ‘Sugar Dust.’

YouTube is almost as big a search engine as Google itself and generally these days when you search for something images and videos related to the search terms are right near the top. So why not have a book trailer right?

I can think of a tonne of reasons actually, not least of which: time is really quite pressing.

Heh, that’s why I’m not doing it. Oh, I had to lend my voice and a couple of choice body parts (don’t be nosy! You’ll see when it’s done!) but the majority of the work is being done by the Funk Master.

For those of you who don’t know who this is, the Funk Master is DSB’s other half.
Significant Other.
Baby Daddy.
Guy That Knocked Her Up.
;-) He’s also someone we all love very much and are incredibly lucky to have in our lives.

Raven and the Funk Master

D’aww, we be cute!
Credit: Grace Elkin

/mush

He also happens to be a very talented photographer, musician and film maker. Ha, I know, lucky us, right! So he’s doing all the work on shooting, directing, editing and I’m just milling around saying ‘but my arm huuuuuuuuurts!’ . . . To which he laughs and replies ‘I need you in the light!’

Anyway . . . yeah, that’s the news of the day! ^_^ As soon as there’s something to show, you’ll know about it for sure. I just wanted to let you know that it was coming.

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RS Bonus Blog: #AskELJames Is NOT License To Be A Dick


Yes, it’s a bold post title, but at least I have your attention now. ;-) Ready to see what this post is actually about? There is a TL:DR version below, feel free to skip on to that if you want.

Yesterday at 6pm GMT a terrifying example of the cruel nature of human beings hit the internet and spread like a cancerous growth. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I refer to the Live Q&A Twitter Session for ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and ‘Grey’ author, E. L. James.

Before I begin in earnest let me clarify two points. 1) There is a GREAT DEAL to talk about here. Most of it I’ve no intention of covering – not in this post anyway, as I want to focus on what irks me the most. But I do want to acknowledge that this is only part of the whole conversation that could be had on both #AskELJames and the FSoG franchise in general. 2) My opinions on the books haven’t changed. I haven’t read ‘Grey’, nor do I intend to, but the initial trilogy is still on my Kindle and I have read the lot. Bits of them several times over. I maintain what I’ve said in numerous posts across this blog and state that in my opinion the books are terribly written, lacking in driving character arcs or plot, and are a poor example of any sort of healthy BDSM relationship. Despite that, what I found on the #AskELJames hashtag last night and this morning terrifies me.

I love Twitter. Hell, I love the internet. Through a couple of wires and a keyboard (to dumb it right down) I’m able to talk to people all over the world at any time of the day I want. I remember a world in which computers were a source of fascination for me, let alone something through which I could sit at my desk in Leicester and chat to someone, 140 characters at a time, in Australia.

But when did this incredible advancement in technology give us license to be savage bullies? Because now that I’ve given it some thought, that’s exactly what happened on Twitter last night. A bunch of people who do not know this woman swept online to poke, prod and publicly lambaste her. And not just her work. Very many of the tweets I read were personal and, no matter how I feel about the books, I can’t stand behind comments like that. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t laugh at some of them. I did and while there’s a part of me still chuckling, there’s a larger part of me that’s ashamed for enabling this level of bullying through inaction. Even if only for a a short while.

Nobody would put up with this sort of vitriol in the workplace. Children submitting a peer to this level of concentrated hate would be disciplined severely. So why is it okay on the internet? From supposedly mature and sensible adults?

bear yelling 'you suck'

NO!
Credit picture: rones
Credit words: my own

I’m not going to post examples. Frankly there are enough news articles and remnants of the #AskELJames hashtag floating around to give you all the information you need, but I do want you to think about this: everyone is entitled to an opinion. Everyone is entitled to voice said opinion if they wish. But it is possible to do both things without attacking another person by way of following the crowd/being ‘funny’/’proving’ a point/’letting off steam’.

I can only dream of seeing the level of success E. L. James has discovered with her FSoG franchise (today is the re-release of Sugar Dust, for example!). I’d give a lot for even a fraction of what she’s achieved. But to think that such success opens me up to this level of hate, derision and bullying (which it appears people feel is their right!) makes me feel happy to be tiny, unknown and insignificant in the large scheme of the literary world.

It would be unfair for me to say this much so far without mentioning that some people used the tag the way it was intended. This is reported knowledge as I had trouble finding examples myself – but I’m aware that Ms James was able to answer at least some questions fired her way, while (sensibly) ignoring the others. There were also people who leapt to her defence, for the books (which we’ll have to agree to disagree on) and for her as a person (which I fully stand behind). This small fragment of Twitter users last night reminds me that not everyone is ‘dickish’ – for want of a better word – and that there are those out there who feel as I do . . . always a pleasant discovery! ;-)

Anyway, to these people, well done. Good for you, standing up to bullies the same way we’d tell everyone to in any other situation. May you forever showered with snuggly kisses . . . y’know . . . if that’s your thing.

TL:DR Version: The bullying E. L. James was subjected to last night was horrifying and wrong. Nobody should feel it is acceptable to personally attack a person on the internet where they are ‘safe’ and ‘anonymous’ behind a screen. When making a comment out there on social media or an article comment stream, try thinking about it this way: ‘If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it on the internet.’

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IY: Mah Plans 29/06


What a great week! ^_^ I feel like so much good has happened and I’m going to enjoy rounding it all up for you.

Actions Last Week

~Get to chapter 20 of my deep edits on ‘Walking The Razor’s Edge’ following the primary timeline
. . . *ahem* yeeeeeah, I kinda finished the primary timeline. Like . . . completely. Look:

Heh, heh, heh! ^_^

checking off feedback~Make seven review requests (in person/via email/via blogs/via strangers) – go on, girlie . . . one week of meeting this goal. Go.
I DID IT! I FREAKIN’ DID IT! And, not only did I finally manage to make a target but I got three positive responses too. Phew! *wipes brow* Now to just keep doing that . . .

~Create and complete the new blog page
Yep. If you’ve not seen it yet, find it here.

~Confer further with Dave re ‘Walking The Razor’s Edge’ cover art options
Also done. Sent him an email and spotted him in town where we had a quick chat.

Activities For This Week

. . . not sure! I’m on track, I’m following my tweaked plan. I wonder . . .

  • Work through one chapter of the secondary timeline
  • Make seven review requests (in person/via email/via blogs/via strangers) – go on! Make it two weeks in a row
  • Insert ‘Buy Direct’ button for physical copies of ‘Silk Over Razor Blades’

Thoughts…

blank calendar from OpenClipArtSo much for my forced acceptance last week. The primary timeline will still need some work, but the bulk of the structural issues I needed to cover are now sorted. I get the feeling that I’ll need far less shuffling of chapters to make it read the way it should.

I seem to remember shifting massive chunks of text around while working on ‘Silk Over Razor Blades’ leaving an end product that resembled, but was vastly different to what the beta readers saw.

Still, all we can do is see what happens, right?

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IY: Fantasy Creatures – Zombies; ‘Remember Me?’


Michael jackson thriller zombie - clipartSo . . . last week I promised you flash fiction.

. . . well you’re not getting any. :( Sorry.

Instead, you’re getting 1,313 words of my very first attempt at any sort of zombie fiction! Mwa h ah ah ha ha ha ha haaa!

Yeeeah, something happened when I started writing and about 200 words in I knew that the story I had in mind would never fit into 500 words. Well . . . it could but I don’t want it to. :-p

So (!) ‘Remember Me’ is a complete story that could use a bit more tweaking, but, largely, I’m happy with it for a first draft. I wrote it last night at about 9pm (because I always leave my blog posts until the last moment!) before settling down to watching Resident Evil. Because . . . y’know . . . zombies!

Anyway, I’d love to know what you think of it. ^_^

It’s cold in the house. Utilities stopped working weeks ago. Nobody dares to open the fridge lest the stink of rotting food wafts out and suffocates us all. A strange concern since we’re probably all going to die anyway.

I pull my arms out the sleeves of my jumper and tuck them into the front. Goosebumps are rough against my stomach, the dry scabs from a dozen close shaves itchy and painful. “How long have they been gone?”

Cheryl looks up from her pointless perusal of the cupboard above the sink. Three tins line the counter before her; pineapple chunks, chickpeas and a more unfortunate option, dog food. She nudges this last tin to the side and picks up the pineapple. Her chipped fingernails pick at the ring-pull in the top. “Two days,” she whispers. Her voice scratches the air, like clawed fingers on a pane of glass. “Two fucking days.”

“They’re fine.” My voice has more cheer in it than I thought I could fake, and I wonder then if my optimism has blinded even me. “Probably just struggling with all the food.”

She shoots me a venomous look, scratching the top of her head where roots of dark, mousy brown begin to show beneath the vibrant red. “No. No, that’s stupid. You’re stupid! I’m not staying here hoping your white knight is going to swing through the door with a delivery. I’m leaving.”

I purse my lips and say nothing. She has a point though. Never before has Vince been so long on a forage. Even alone. With the others at his side it should have been easy to cycle to Sainsbury’s and raid the shelves. Even with the cart hitched between them the journey wouldn’t take more than half a day.

I cross the small kitchen and peer out the window, dodging the bold spiders making multiple webs across the pane.

Dusk squats in the air, a dim, unwelcome guest. Through the dying light, skeletal trees clutch at the sky, swaying in the same breeze that rattles the flimsy back door.

I can’t help but notice Cheryl has made no move to leave. “You’ll die if you go out there,” I tell her.

“I’ll die if I stay.” Her fingers tighten on the pineapple tin. “I can’t even remember the last time I ate something hot. The last time I drank something that didn’t taste like some cat had pissed in it.” A feverish light fills her face. “ Come with me.” Hope crawls into her voice. “Just the two of us; we’ll be quicker without the others. We’re making good time; if we just keep going we can get to Skegness by the end of the month.”

I wrap my arms still tighter around my stomach. “And what then?”

She hesitates. “It has to be better than staying here. Those things are everywhere. If we stay they’ll find us eventually.”

“I’m not going without Vince.”

Silence.

“Bitch. You stupid, stupid, bitch.” Not angry any more, just resigned. Cheryl shakes her head and snatches the tin of pineapple, tucking it into one of the front pockets on her oversized jacket. After a pause, she takes the chickpeas too. “If you’re so sure they’re coming you won’t need these.” She smiles, a gesture utterly without humour. “Good luck.”

I lock the door when she leaves, piling chairs from the dining room against it just in case more of the creatures decide to test the way in. I’ve seen them do it before. They seem smarter than the ones in the movies. Faster too.

I’m warmer now. My breath no longer gusts in the air like an old steam train. Perhaps that’s what I should have done in the last place instead of building a fire. Nothing brings those creatures running quite so fast as heat and noise.

Darkness falls like a stone.

I pace the house, peering through windows in the living room, the study, the study, the bedrooms. Each pane of glass gives me a different view of the street and rear gardens, offering a brand new promise each time I visit. And each time I turn away disappointed and increasingly scared.

The chill returns.

What if he really is dead? What if they ate him like they did so many of my other friends? What if Vince never made it to Sainsbury’s but lies someone in a ditch longing to call my name but scared the sound will bring those beasts down on him?

Indecision ties a knot in my gut.

Loud rapping at the back door breaks through my inner dialogue. Rapping, which becomes thumping, which evolves into a full on crashing, coupled with a frantic voice. “Tina? Tina, let me in. Tina!”

As I thunder down the stairs I’m already counting, processing the numbers in my head. She was only gone half an hour. They’re close.

I reach the back door just as the first shambling shapes materialise from the gloom at the end of the street. They spot her. Begin to run.

Cheryl pounds the door again, scratching, kicking and punching. “Let me in, please, god, please! Tina!”
The chairs screech on the floor as I drag them back, shoving against the piles of furniture I put there such a short time ago. Cheryl’s cries grow louder. “Tina? Hurry! They’re right there, please! I’ll be safe inside.”

I stop, still holding one of the dining chairs. Though my heart pounds in my throat, I’m calm, steady, placid. Slowly, I place the chair back against the door. Then another. And another.

Cheryl’s face appears in the window. “What are you doing?” she shrieks. “Tina, you crazy, bitch, let me in!”

“I’ll be safe inside, you said. But I won’t be if you bring those things with you. I’m sorry, I-”

“No! You can’t do this. Let me in. Please, Tina, please!”

“I have to be here for Vince. I know he’ll be back.”

The screams continue as the shapes move closer. So does the pounding. Then the sound takes on a more desperate pitch as pain lends its voice to terror. The two emotions form a terrifying harmony that fills my ears to the point of bursting. I push more furniture against the door.

It seems hours before she stops screaming, though in truth, probably no more than two minutes. In the sudden still I hear my own breathing, a rough rasp at the back of my throat that hisses as it passes. My face is wet, my eyes sore.

Though I tell myself it was the right thing to do, the rough jumper loaned by Cheryl once more begins to itch as I tuck my arms inside.

I make myself look. It’s the least I can do.

Climbing onto the counter is an easy job, pushing the can of dog food further to one side so I can peer down through the glass.

Nothing.

Not even a splash of blood.

A rough shadow looms up on my left. Glass smashes in terrible cacophony, sharp slivers slicing my face and hands. I fall back in time to hear the thud of something heavy landing on the floor and rolling.

My chest tightens when I see it.

A can of chickpeas.

Moans fill the air. More tinkles of broken glass. An arm scrabbles through the opening, long and filthy, caked with dried and fresh blood. A hand grips the sill, seeming not to mind the broken points of glass stabbing upwards like shiny teeth. The figure pulls itself through slowly, eyes fixed on me the whole time.

Hope dies in my chest. Not that I had much anyway. And yet I have to speak, to hear it with my own ears. “Vince?”

The creature pauses long enough to cock its head, such a human gesture that, for a split second, I can almost believe he remembers me. Almost.

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RS: I Haz Planz 25/06


I feel good. I’m happy. I’m working at a steady pace and I’m excited. If DSB gets off her backside long enough to share, you’ll soon know ALL the reasons why. ^_^

Actions Last Weekblank calendar from OpenClipArt

~Make the final decision on the type of cover I want for ‘Sugar Dust’
. . . see this morning. I can move pretty fast when I need to. ;-)

~Complete the nitty gritty of the paperback formatting for ‘Sugar Dust’
Dooooone! Just need to get the final wrap around cover and then I can order the proof. This is the main reason I’m releasing the paperback next month.

~Send x2 review requests for MEO:TFS
Yes! OMFG, I set a goal for review requests and actually did it! Hahaaaaaaaaa!

Activities For This Week

  1. Send x3 review requests for ‘MEO:TFS
  2. Send x3 review requests for ‘Slippers & Chains: Sugar Dust’
  3. Complete fresh back and front data for solo pieces in ‘Meeting Each Other’ series from ‘Carol, Niall & Lin’ onwards
  4. Check out my Goodreads and make sure everything is up to date
  5. Sign properly into My Romance Reviews and update my profile

Thoughts…

Looks like I’m on track to hit all my targets for this month. So . . . let’s focus on getting people in the know about mah books. ;-) It’s catch up now and gaining momentum. Also small odds and sods to make sure my presence is up to date in all the places I appear.

Seems sensible, right? ;-)

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RS: Slippers & Chains: Sugar Dust – Cover Reveal (Take Two!)


So . . . last week I whined about people judging books by what they see on the front cover. Well, I think I need to stop doing that because I’m yet to commission a cover that I didn’t instantly fall in love with. My covers are great! :p

And this no exception! While I adored (and still do) my previous cover, my finances don’t (currently) allow me to use that particular designer, lovely as she is. In light of that, in preparation for the re-release of my first novella, here is the stunning cover designed by ravenink, fabulous creative talent behind the artwork on Meeting Each Other: The Full Story.

*drum roll*

Cover art for Slippers & Chains: Sugar Dust

Fooookin WOW! ^_^

*happy sigh*

I’m so glad I waited. So glad I didn’t rush. So glad I trusted my gut on this and was willing to change up my plans. Not that my original ideas were terrible, but instead of clinging to something I couldn’t make work, those ideas gave me a springboard for the brief that yielded this. Isn’t it stunning?! ^_^

I’m also pleased to say that given that the cover is now ready, the release date for the digital version of this novella is 30 June 2015. This is just to ensure I have time to do the last few ‘panic-checks’ I allow myself before a piece is ready for the public. Meanwhile, you can pre-order it and ensure you don’t miss out!

Next week, since that will be my first post of July, I’ll talk about the paperback release! ^_^

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