New Year, New…Year

Yes, funnily enough the transition from 2013 to 2014, AKA Tuesday to Wednesday, has not heralded some transcendental change or indeed a sudden desire to lose weight, or gain weight, or eat more celery and less pig, or take more risks or less risks. It means we’re that much closer to machines taking over the world and sparking a giant zombie spider uprising and that someone stole my heating oil. Or we used too much and it ran out. I’m unsure. Also that I’m posting my first blog post for a while.

I’m going to pretend that you care, and tell you how my Christmas was. It was fine, thank you. I ate mince pies and bread sticks and custard and chocolate and juices and stollen. In various combinations. And I watched Person of Interest, Arrow, Agents of SHIELD, Terminator, and the world spin around me every five minutes due to being unwell. My New Year’s day was the same, minus much of the chocolate and mince pies, and some of the spinning.

On a more interesting note, this should be the month in which my thriller will be published. As it is quite short compared to my previous novels, I don’t intend to put it out in paperback form at the moment. I don’t think I could keep the price low enough for a 71k word book (the last two were 128k and 98k respectively). So it will only be available in all e-formats. I will be revealing the cover soon.

I have a fleck of gold paint on my jumper and I don’t know why.

There are also stirrings in the Wyrd Worlds 2 direction, but that won’t be until later in the year, if it happens. Also later in the year, I hope to have the third book of NEXUS finished, but I intend to work on that and something entirely different simultaneously once my thriller is out, so I can’t be sure.

Enjoy 2014, and if you win a lot of money give it to me, because I want it.

A&ME: 6 Hours With Death

Ok, the title may be ever so slightly exaggerated, but do you want to know what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? The former spends six hours sitting in A&E, shaking and throwing up.

Ok, I may be a bit stoppable.

I should point out now that there’s no real point to this post other than to detail what happened for no particular reason at all. It’s also long.

At about 4pm last Wednesday, my mother called me to say that my grandmother had fallen out of her wheelchair and hit her head. I had to go and watch the shop while she went to the hospital. About half an hour later she called me again to say that my grandmother was fine, and just had a black eye and a small cut on her head. I didn’t like the idea of going to the hospital at all, so after closing the shop I went back to the tech to wait in my office.

At 9pm, the tech closed and my mother had to come and pick me up. My grandmother was still in A&E, waiting for a doctor to come and discharge her, so we had to go back there. I followed my mother through A&E, avoiding contact with the sick people, lest I contracted their ailments. Finally, we came to my grandmother’s cubicle. Inside I found my grandmother lying in the bed sporting an impressively aubergine-coloured eye and a pretty small cut.

For the next half an hour, we sat and tried to decipher what she was saying (it’s not easy when she has no teeth, and doesn’t make much effort to pronounce words any more) and idly making smalltalk. At one point she told me that her husband had died the previous day (he died several years ago, but she never seems to remember that). Then the doctor finally arrived. He asked her some questions and we tried to translate. Then he checked her heartbeat and checked for pains in her neck. Then came time to clean the cut so he could get a better look at it.

I’ve never been good with blood. I used to get very bad nosebleeds pretty often and never had a problem with them, so I’ve never understood the issue. But at the sight (or extended talk ) of blood and other things such as broken bones and generally things that aren’t meant to be, I sometimes start to feel lightheaded and sick. So with that in mind, I stood outside the cubicle and occupied myself with just watching the nurses coming and going. I thought I’d be perfectly fine, since it was only cleaning the cut.

I was mistaken.

It wasn’t the blood this time, because there was none that I could see. It was more my grandmother’s panicked reaction to the pain of his not exactly gentle cleaning. She was kind of half-crying, half-giggling and trying to bat his hands away. My mother had to go in and hold her hands so the doctor could finish. Still I thought I was fine, until suddenly the world began to very slowly turn.

I concentrated on breathing deeply and looking about me at normal stuff such as a grumpy man reading a newspaper. It didn’t work, and I continued to feel more dizzy and lightheaded, and finally sick. I decided I would have to head for the exit to get some fresh air. I heroically struggled down the corridor while my vision closed in around me in a dark tunnel of doom. Or something. What I could see began to take on a reddish tint and my stomach began to crawl towards my throat.

Finally I made it out to the packed waiting room, where every eye turned to me, and finally out into the ambulance drop off bay…thing. Here, I headed across to the other side of the road to get away from the cigarette smoke, and sat down on a ledge there. I began to feel a little better in the cool air, but then I became aware of people at the door talking about something – possibly a broken arm. I realised I needed to get further away still, until I could be alone and away from talking.

I headed along the road and down the steps towards the car. At the top of the next set of steps, I stopped and sat down on a low post. It was quiet and peaceful. Cool and lightly drizzling (Irish rain). I watched the stars and contemplated the meaning of life. Or considered that I should have brought the car key. I forget which. The very unpleasant feelings of sickness and lightheadedness went away and I felt comfortable and content, sitting in the rain in my waterproof jacket. I turned to watch some people coming down the steps.

Then the feelings came back. Suddenly, I was being rudely awoken from an odd, but warm and comfortable dream.

‘Are you okay?’ an unknown man asked from somewhere nearby.

I wondered why there might be a strange man in my bedroom, but I quickly realised that instead of my warm, soft pillow, only cold, wet, spiky grass and hard dirt pressed into my face. Blood was rushing to my head. I was lying on a dirty, grassy slope beside a path. On the path was a young man holding out his hand and asking me if I was ok. Clearly something was amiss, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

Then I realised. Lying on dirty, grassy slopes at the side of paths is not generally considered the done thing. I took the man’s hand and thought about how to rearrange my face into a more suitable expression than confusion. I smiled and laughed. Only a bit. I didn’t want to seem crazy. I couldn’t think up a better excuse for lying in the dirt than the truth and so I told him and his girlfriend, with a touch of embarrassment. Most likely to make me feel better, he told me he was the same with blood. His girlfriend offered me some of her Coke. I declined on the grounds that it wasn’t Sprite.

After assuring them that I was ok, and didn’t need them to go and get a doctor, they waited for the old woman they were with to catch up (I assume they must have run when they saw me drop, because they were all together coming down the steps) and left. I decided it was safest to sit down on the steps (which they’d thoughtfully told me I was lucky not to have fallen down).

I took a minute or two to reflect on how odd the whole thing was, and how the last (and first) time I’d passed out was in secondary school, when I shoved my hand into a cardboard box and got one of those big staples down the inside of my fingernail. Then, I did what any tough, strong man would do: I called my mum. I’d begun to shake a bit, the side of my face stung for some unknown reason, my opposite ear was numb and my waterproof jacket was covered in dirt. Unfortunately, she’d turned off her phone ten or so minutes earlier.

I tried again, but the sudden deluge of calls didn’t cause her phone to realise that it should turn itself on. After trying to cry in self-pity, and failing, I decided that I might as well go back inside. Then I realised how lucky it was that I hadn’t fallen on my phone and broken it. I waved at my would-be saviours as they drove past. Or rather, I did that thing of seeing them, turning my back on them and then waving backwards at them.

I heroically struggled back up the path and inside. It was too hot inside, which was odd since it had been quite cold half an hour before. I decided I’d just get the car key from my mother and sit in the passenger seat to wait. After getting slightly lost in the (two) corridors, I found the right cubicle again. My mother was just turning her phone on in case I needed to call her. After an ‘Oh dear, what happened to you?’ she handed over the key and I left. As I entered the main waiting area again (taking time out of my shaken daze to smile at a blonde sitting on the floor), I considered my appearance. My coat was dirty, my white t-shirt under that was stained with mud and grass, and so were my jeans. Surely these people thought me some kind of noble warrior, who had been outside fighting off Viking invaders. Or something like that.

Outside, and once I was away from prying ears, I tried out a couple of self-pitying whimpers until I found one that suited the situation. Whilst whimpering and sniffing back non-existent tears, I became more aware of stinging and a kind of swelling sensation all down the left side of my face, particularly around the temple. I determined that I must have hit said face and temple on the ground. Then my awareness switch to my right ear, which now felt as though an ice cube was being forced inside it.

Finally at the car, I realised that my mother had followed me because I was ‘acting strange’. As I took off my jacket amid a burst of heat and climbed into the car, she asked if I might not be better inside, just in case. I said no and passed out.

For the second time, I found myself rudely awakened from my odd but warm, comfortable dream. This time by my name being called, along with ‘Speak to me’. Once back in the land of whatever the opposite to nod is, my mother ordered me not to leave the car, shut the door and ran back up towards the hospital. Two women stood at the side of the car park, whom she asked to watch me. They turned out to be nurses, and so they went back up to prepare for the arrival of their lor…to prepare for my arrival, and my mother came back. She drove up and around to the ambulance drop of bay…thing, while I threw up out the window a few times. There’s still a bit dried on the side of the door, but it’s been raining today so hopefully it’s gone now. In my mild delirium, I managed to take out my phone and put it in the glove box, for fear of falling again and this time breaking it.

The nurses were waiting with a wheelchair. Unfortunately, just like every time you go to the supermarket, they’d managed to get the only one in the place with crappy wheels. So with much jerking and wall bashing – which is not beneficial to someone who is dizzy and nauseous – they took me inside. All eyes in the waiting area turned to me again. Their noble warrior had fallen. Actually their noble warrior had fallen twice and hit his head and thrown up a lot.

The second nurse gave me a cardboard tray thing just in time for me to throw up in it. The next ten minutes or so is blurry, but I recall giving the receptionist type woman my name and date of birth in between bouts of throwing up and wishing they’d turn me to face away from the sick people. I also remember her telling my mother, when she came back from re-parking the car, to take me through the double doors to the next waiting area. She did so, and we sat beside the reception in there for about two minutes before any of the three people decided we were worthy of their acknowledgement.

It was the doctor who had been ‘treating’ my grandmother. In fact, I’d walked past him when I went inside to get the car key. Covered in mud and grass stains, and he glanced at me and walked on by. At the reception, he asked what happened. My mother proceeded to explain that I’d passed out two times, the second of which I had also had a seizure of some kind. Which was news to me.

The doctor laughed.

Now, I’ve since laughed a couple of times at the whole situation myself. However, with the person sitting in a wheelchair, shaking, drenched in cold sweat, throwing up into a cardboard tray and having to be held back due to dizziness, I felt that laughing was not quite the appropriate response. If I’d had something hard to throw at him, and the strength with which to do it, I would/should have. Perhaps I should have thrown my vomit at him. And then laughed.

The nurse then told my mother that we shouldn’t be there and that we had to wait outside in the main waiting area. She wheeled me back through the door to where the receptionist woman told us we shouldn’t have gone through the double doors to which she had earlier directed us. Then we waited. Beside the blonde sitting on the floor. I didn’t make eye contact. But I didn’t throw up again either.

I vaguely recall telling my mother three or four times that I was not ok to be left while she checked on my grandmother, but nothing else besides the heat and the shaking and the disturbing lack of oxygen in the air.

Then, after a much shorter wait than I expected, a nurse called us into a side room. He took over control of the unruly wheelchair and promptly knocked me into the door frame and made me feel highly nauseous again. Then he told me off for not answering him when he asked me my name. I was at that moment trying to determine the reason for the agonising pain that felt like a combination of a hammer and knife being taken to my eardrum when I opened my mouth to speak.

I realised later that just about every member of staff in the place assumed that I was either drunk or on drugs. And when I was asked if I had a history of either, the emphasis was in the wrong place. As though they’d already got to the bottom of the issue and that was it.

After managing to force out the answers to his questions and explain why I was having trouble answering, but stopping short of explaining what manner of hole he was, he told me to get on the bed. Lying down and having my legs up felt much, much better. Then then he got out the needles and suddenly I’d have rather been out in the corridor.

Upon getting annoyed with my deep breaths and ‘sighs’, as he called them, he told me to relax myself and blamed me for his missing the vain the first time. He also told me I was hyperventilating. Eventually he got one of those blood taps, or whatever they’re called, into the back of my hand. That thing that they can get blood and plug a drip into if necessary. For some reason mine had a longish little tube hanging from it in which I could observe my blood. Thoughtful of him, after hearing what seemed to have caused the ‘incident’. He also shoved a needle into my arm to get blood. I’m not sure why.

Eventually I was wheeled into the smaller waiting room. Here, I began what turned out to be a six hour wait for the doctor. I shook a lot. I felt sick for five of those six hours. I felt lightheaded for five of those six hours. I nearly threw up a few times, but that was narrowly averted by a sudden desperation for the bathroom. For which I had to get out of the wheelchair and stagger weakly through the midst of the assembled sick people in the main waiting area.

It was a highly unpleasant five hours, during which I tried not to fall asleep, in case of concussion (something, I might add, the nurse did not check for or even warn against, even after I asked if that might be the problem, and him agreeing that it might), and tried in vain to find a comfortable position in which to sit and also not feel nauseous. Eventually, at the four and a half hour mark, I found that bending over and resting my head on my knee was the only position in which I didn’t feel sick. I’m fairly sure that having a length of metal piping shoved up inside my vain the whole time was part of the cause for the prolonged nausea.

After five hours, an old man with heart pains (who had been waiting about nine hours already) joined us in the tiny waiting area. Then not long after, an old woman – also with heart pains – was brought in. They started talking to each other, and to my mother, and telling stories and remembering the old days and joking. After ten minutes of this, I no longer felt sick or dizzy, and came round enough to laugh at said jokes and partially explain to them what happened to me. Two old people had done what the doctors and nurses hadn’t been able to (and, to be fair, hadn’t actually tried to either). His daughter came in with a flask of tea, which the rest of us politely turned down. I would have liked some, but I didn’t fancy throwing up again.

The old woman was obsessed with her slippers, which she was adamant were not hers. And not the ones she’d been wearing when she was taken out to the ambulance. It was a source of much mystery to her and amusement to the rest of us.

At five and a half hours, the old man was finally taken away by the doctor. The old woman summoned a nurse to ask for three cups of tea for us. The nurse said she’d check our charts to see if we were allowed anything and then get someone to find us tea. She never returned and the tea never materialised.

Finally, I heard my name called. The doctor was, thankfully, not the same clown who had laughed at (and arguably caused) my predicament. I followed him to a cubicle, which I was sad to see had been empty the whole time. Lying down had, after all, lessened the nausea considerably. He asked me questions. Then he shone a light into my eyes. Then he poked my face. Then he stroked my face, which was very pleasant. Then he hit my joints with a hammer, which wasn’t very pleasant. Then he shoved a thing into my ear to look for blood. Then we played a game in which he’d move his finger about and I had to tap it and then my nose, and back to it again. I must have won the game, because he decided to move on to the x-ray of my jaw area.

After another wait, which thankfully turned out to be brief, I had an x-ray from two different machines. I went back to the waiting area for a few minutes while the doctor looked over the x-rays and my blood test results. He eventually called me back into the room to tell me that the x-rays didn’t show anything, and that I probably tore or strained the ligament on the right side of my jaw when I hit the ground. He also told me that my potassium levels were a little low, and gave me some potassium tablets.

Then, at the six and a little bit hour mark, I was free to go home. After the most painful part of the night: removing the blood tap. That was very sore, thanks to the little hairs, and a week later, I still have a large bruise on the back of my hand.

So, all-in-all, an unpleasant six hours, but nothing serious. Some very tiny scratches on my face (including one on my lower eyelid that makes me think I was quite lucky there). A painful jaw, necessitating a diet of soup. A bruised left hand. A cut right hand (although cut might be an exaggeration). Bruised and stiff knees. And exhaustion. That’s about it. I have found myself a little bit confused a few times since (including twice just this morning). Only forgetting words in the middle of a conversation and not being able to tell if I’ve spelled words right, but I always did that anyway. Perhaps not quite as completely as this, but still… The only lasting problem is tiredness and occasional mild headaches. But that will go.

I will not be returning to hospital to visit anyone.

Anyway, I have successfully written a stupidly long post and refrained from attempting to write any more of my book, and now it’s time to go home. So I leave you with two unnecessary pictures. …The End.

EDIT: I’ve removed one of them 🙂

My poor hand


I thought the z might make the clever word play better. I don’t think it worked.

To update the previous post: The surgery on the dog’s paw was going to be €600 (I don’t like to think what it would have been had it been a remotely tricky or in-depth operation). We took her back to the vet and told them to do an x-ray. They couldn’t do the x-ray the first time, because the machine was playing up, but the vet was very confident it was two fractures (I think I was wrong when I said metac…whatever I said).

It was very lucky we did, because it turns out, there’s no fracture at all – certainly not plural. There’s apparently a vague line which could be a nearly healed sprain (which she didn’t actually show us on the x-ray, and I couldn’t see), and she may have pulled a tendon, which apparently feels a lot like a fracture…or something.

So the dog is now not limping, and we didn’t have to borrow and waste €600.

Because she gets so over excited around other dogs, the vet said they’d make sure no other dogs were put in the kennels with her while she was in for her x-ray. When we went to pick her up, however, we were told she had been very good with her neighbour. When we went in to the kennels, in the cage beside her was a little calf, no bigger than the dog. It was cute. It was also on a drip, and under one of those incubation bulbs.

So all is well with the world. Or at least the dog-in-my-kitchen world. And now someone wants to set me up with the vet.


Get it? It’s a play! A play on words! Sawb…oh never mind, it’s not very good.

[angry-rant] My dog has a suspected metacarpal fracture, and needs surgery. She needs surgery because it’s two little toe things that are fractured, rather than just the one, and so if it’s put in a cast and left to heal, the wrong bones might fuse to the wrong bones. We have no idea how she did it, which means we don’t know how long it’s been fractured, as it might only now be getting sore for her after who knows how long.

The vet doesn’t have the expertise or facilities to do it herself, so she rang up the place that does it. They said no. She was surprised. She left it that we had their number and we would try to arrange an appointment ourselves. So we rang this morning. They have a slot on Friday and could take her then.

Could. But won’t.

Any why won’t they take her? Just in case one of their own clients needs the slot!

What a pitiful excuse for a vet. Of course, that’s not the entire reason. The other part of it is that – despite the fact that our vet said we could afford to leave the surgery for a month maximum, but if it was her dog, she’d make sure it was done within two weeks – the woman said that it needed to be done sooner than Friday.

So the logic, then, is that she could be taken on Friday, but it should be done earlier, so she won’t book her in, thus leaving the dog with no surgery at all. Genius. That makes perfect sense, right?

What an absolute disgusting disgrace of a vet.[/angry-rant]

In other news, I’m going to build a shed.

My Name Is Ross And I’m A .com

Just a brief post to say what you almost certainly already know: I have made the leap from to .com! So, while was a nice, snappy name, I decided to go with Of course, as a web designer, I should probably have made a proper website (no offence, WordPress), and perhaps I’ll do so at some point. But for now, I quite like this.

Also, I’ll be doing a blog tour starting on 1st June. I’ll come back with more information once I’ve confirmed every blog. It’ll only be seven this time – one per day, friday to friday – as I’ve never done it before and I want to see how it goes and what happens and whatnot. I have two more to find, and then I’ll be back! That’s a promise, not a threat. Except it isn’t a promise, because I don’t make promises.

Kindling [insert witty second word]

I was going to rant about Firefly and why the hell those inept morons at Fox got away with airing it out of order and then cancelling it…but then I saw another post on the subject and decided to leave it.

Instead, I’ll announce that I am now the owner of a Kindle 3G!

I didn’t have one until yesterday, when I bought one, and now I have one. And that’s not the end of the anecdote! I very nearly bought a little Archos tablet instead, since it was cheaper and had android so I could read epubs as well as Kindle, but when I gave it a try, it was ridiculously slow. So I didn’t get it. THAT’S the end of the anecdote.

I got it mainly so that I could test my books out on it before publishing, to ensure that they display correctly. However, I find that I have 2 pages worth of books on there already, and I’m halfway through one of them. I like my new Kindle.

I would rather have an actual book in my hands, but for books that I’m not sure about, or am not hugely interested in but still want to read, it is useful to have the Kindle to store them on and keep my actual bookshelf free for Terry Pratchett.

I like the way, when you put it into sleep mode, it comes up with a new picture every time. I like the way that when I looked at it in the shop, the picture was there, but the battery was so low, that the thing wouldn’t turn on. That’s how little battery power it uses! Dead battery, and it’s still on! I don’t know how the screen works, but it works well – it really does look like the words are just printed right onto it.

I still want a tablet, but I think my Kindle will be sticking around even then.

Bring back Firefly!

My Writing

I’m not entirely sure what to say about it, but I am a writer (and an author now), so I should probably say SOMETHING about it. I started writing short stories long enough ago that I no longer remember my first. I think it had a hill in it. And perhaps a house on the hill. And the colour red stands out. Perhaps someone wearing red climbed a hill to visit a house?

Anyway, I’ve always loved creating. Whether or not I’m any good at it is for others to say, but I’ve always entertained myself with my creations. And that is the aim, after all. If others enjoy it too, then that is a very big bonus.

I think there was thunder and lightning over the hill, too.

I had completed two short stories of a slightly more serious nature (one based on a computer game preview I read in a magazine, and the other a complete rip off of Metal Gear Solid 2), and was halfway through my first proper novel by the time my grandmother asked my if I was going to try to get it published. I said no – that it was just for me and some family – but it planted the idea.

Not too long after, my computer crashed and lost the entire novel, and so I went on to something else. That something else eventually mutated into Shadow of the Wraith, and my first actual, proper, full novel was completed when I was about 18. I think. My memory is awful, so I could have been 16 for all I know. I did one brief edit, and then moved on to book two, finishing it within just a few months this time.

Thankfully, my granddad had printed out half of that original, lost novel, and so I haven’t lost it entirely; but so far, I have not thought about it since. I know one day, I will convert it to sci fi and make it a part of the NEXUS series, but for now, I have enough ideas popping into my head.

Eventually, I got serious about publishing Shadow of the Wraith, and after copious edits, began sending it to agents. Of course, I was too hasty, and sent it long before it was actually ready. No one asked for a full read. It was depressing.

Then I remembered Authonomy – the website for writers, on which I had tested out the beginnings of book two. I uploaded Shadow of the Wraith, and began reading other people’s books and critiquing them as best I could. This in turn brought in reads for my own book, and I began to get very very good reviews and critiques. I learned a huge amount by my own occasional, blundering idiocy, and from other writers.

I finally snapped into some kind of strange, realistic view of my book. I started an edit – a final edit. It was practically a rewrite, I changed so much, fixed so much. The book was improved ten-and-a-half-fold, I estimate. By the end of my book’s time on Authonomy, I had just over 100 comments; almost every one of them positive. I was ready.

By now, I had given up on the traditional publishing route. My excuse was (and still is) that my book just isn’t quite placeable. Is it sci fi or fantasy in space? Is it comedy or merely humorous? Is it YA, New Adult, or for anyone at all? It could be an excuse, but I think that is one of the main reasons I had no interest from agents (well, that’s not entirely true, but I’ve mentioned that in my first post).

So, with self-publishing now a far less bitter taste in my mind, I sought out the best place to get my book printed. I didn’t want vanity publishing – if I was going to do it myself, I certainly would at least not sink that low. Of course, self-publishing is not nearly as frowned upon as it once was, but I still don’t like the idea of vanity publishing. If anyone is going to buy my book, it shouldn’t be me! The answer, I found, was I downloaded their templates, I created my pdf and my cover, and I published the book privately, ordering a proof copy so that I could have a more tangible idea of what I was aiming for.

It was very exciting when the book finally arrived – I nearly jumped up and down squealing. The same night, I went to bed with the book, to see if it was any different reading it purely from a reader’s perspective. Of course, just two pages in, I spotted an error. Then another. Then a sentence that ended halfway through! It was clear that my final edit had not been my final edit. I started making notes, and the next day started my final final edit, whereupon I would read through the book with my laptop open beside me, and correct everything I came across. Finally, I finished. NOW, I was ready.

Preparations began for publishing. The first step was to send it off to a professional editor who would assess the manuscript, tell me what I was doing right, what I was doing wrong, and how to improve everything. It was a lot of money (over £600!), but it would be worth it. unfortunately, it was not.

I’m not saying it was a waste of money, because I did get 16 helpful points out of it. But out of an assessment of 37 pages, that’s not a lot. The thing is, this editor was also a sci fi author. Sci fi authors are, as you may know, a precious bunch. They get enraged at the very idea of someone not doing sci fi ‘perfectly’.

He couldn’t grasp that my book was not hard science fiction. He told me that my alien character eating a sandwich was ‘patently ridiculous’. He told me that I wasn’t allowed to have a sarcastic drone (it’s actually an android) character, because I didn’t understand the ‘rules’ properly. He COULDN’T tell me how unlikely it was that any alien would be in any way like us.

In short, he missed the point. I managed to salvage some useful bits and pieces and translate some things he said, and didn’t say, into something helpful. I began my final final final edit.

Once this was done, I was ready.

Suffice to say, I am now published. I’ve posted more about that in my first blog so I won’t go into it here. This is about my actual writing, after all.

Now I sit here, just over a week after publishing the book, with 15 sales under my belt (maybe more, I haven’t looked since this morning), and I feel good. I have to do a lot of marketing and whatnot, but at least it is out there and people are buying it, promising to buy it soon, and reading it!

Don’t tell anyone, but book two is actually already written and has been through its final edit. All that remains then before I publish that too is its final final edit and its final final final edit…

Originally posted on Squidoo.

The Plunge

Shadow of the Wraith, Kindle cover

After many years – perhaps about twelve – of writing and editing, rewriting and editing, I finally finished my final edit of Shadow of the Wraith on 6/4/12. Then it was a slightly bumpy and educational month getting ready to self-publish.

I learned that converting to html for Kindle was somewhat frustrating and tricky, that converting to epub was exceedingly frustrating and tricky, and that literary agents pop up at very inopportune moments.

Yes, just two weeks from publication, a friendly agent from a well-respected agency sought me out to tell me he liked what he read on Authonomy, and could he read the full manuscript.

I said no.

Well I had to. Just two weeks until my long-awaited (by me and my mother anyway) novel was released, I was just too far down that path, too in that mindset, to turn back. Even temporarily. But it was nice to be asked.

The final week was like the scene of so many action films, where only a few seconds remain on the bomb’s countdown! I had an artist working on my ebook cover, and not taking notice of half of what I asked him to do; I needed a bank account into which my millions would be deposited, but was being turned down for one; I was preparing to visit my family in England for the weekend (probably not the best timing).

But, as the timer read ’00:01′, I received and finalised the cover; I got my account; I got my PayPal verified; I got six shots of Jack Daniels at the airport (What? I only asked for four!).

Then came the fateful day. I was back in Ireland – it was a bright and still morning, rather unfittingly. I opened my laptop, I checked my files, and I clicked ‘publish’.

Then I waited.

I should have been preparing press releases and book reviewers and whatnot (actually I should have done that some time before), but I’m not very good at preparing things. Even as I type, I have open a browser window with ’40 ways to promote your book’.

Naturally, things did not go as smoothly as they had in my head so many times. Lulu decided that they didn’t like the cut of my hardback’s jib, and refused to distribute it to Amazon (paperbacks only); Amazon itself messed something up and left many of us unable to do anything with our ebooks, or show them in the KDP Select program; the majority of my good friends and followers on social networking sites couldn’t care less that I had achieved my dream of publishing a novel, and refused to click that little button to spread the word.

However, both versions of the book began to sell, and just this morning I got my email saying that Shadow of the Wraith is now properly published on KDP, allowing me to enrol it in Select and have Amazon Prime members borrow it for free.

There’s still plenty of work ahead in order to help the book start moving on its own momentum, but this is what I want to be doing – writing books. And preferably selling them. It’s not exactly like hard work, is it?

Then I’ll start all over again with book 2.

Originally posted on Goodreads, 4/5/12