Friday, 28 October 2011

My kind of holiday...

I thought I'd talk about holidays in this blog post- mainly because talking about them is about as far as I get these days.  Lying by the pool with a cocktail in me hand and the sun beating down are nothing but a distant memory, but hey, at least I have those memories.  Which is why I thought I'd share some of those memories with you, and in particular, memories from my favourite type of holiday - cruises!
Oh, we're not talking the QE2 or anything big and posh, we were never made of money.  No, I'm talking your middle-of-the-road cruise ships, the kind of cruise ships that anyone could go on and just have one hell of a good time!  Because I've never had a bad cruise, and we've done a few.

The Thomson Topaz - Gone, but never forgotten!
The first cruise we ever went on was way back in 1999, on the Thomson Topaz, a ship which is now defunct but it holds really special memories for me, because that first cruise was an absolute hoot!  We met some fantastic people, saw some amazing places, and had an experience I'll never forget.  It was also an all-inclusive ship, which basically gave us carte blanche to order any drink we liked, and we did, deciding one evening to order a pint of creme de menthe, just because we could.  Nobody drank it, ofcourse, it was awful!  Tasted like mouthwash!
Anyway, apart from ordering whatever ridiculous drink we could think of, and rearranging the animal fruit sculptures on the piano in the main bar so that a couple of them suddenly turned very rude thanks to the careful re-positioning of a slice of kiwi and a couple of grapes, we also saw some incredible places, such as Rome, Barcelona and Monte Carlo, a place where I'm sure the locals go into hiding when they know a cruise ship is about to dock because when we were there it seemed devoid of anyone who wasn't wearing shorts and had a camera hanging from their neck, but the price of an ice cream at the Cafe de Paris was quite reasonable, I thought, although I'd have hated to see the bill for a T-Bone Steak and chips!

Like I said before, these cruises we've been on haven't been posh.  They weren't overly expensive and they weren't full of people trying too hard to overdress for dinner, pretending that meeting the captain could only be topped by George Clooney turning up and handing round the free cocktails.  Take passenger and crew talent night for example. When the compere introduced some bloke from the boiler room, who was probably going to murder something by Elvis, I can't remember, explaining that he worked in the bowels of the ship, someone from the crowd piped up "that's where our cabin is!"  Yep.  The QE2 it was not!  But fabulous fun it most certainly was, with the best bunch of people, even if some of them did possibly enjoy themselves just a little too much.  One bloke we met - who could always be found on any of the trips to the various cities we visited at the bar closest to the dock - made such good use of the all-inclusive facilites that he spent a whole evening saying goodbye to everyone when we still had two days of the cruise left!

But that all-inclusive option is a must for me on a cruise because, apart from all the soft drinks, tea and coffee you drink during the day, I used to start my alcohol intake at around 7pm, with a lovely pre-dinner cocktail in the bar at the top of the ship, where the bartenders would always make me something they'd recommend and then I'd have to have another one, just to make sure.  That was then followed by wine with dinner, more cocktails during the entertainment, and then a few nightcaps back up in the bar we started out in all those hours ago.  Never actually felt drunk though, funnily enough, but that's maybe because of the amount of food you can pack away on a cruise - the only holiday where you can eat dinner, pop over to the midnight buffet for a snack, then have an English breakfast at 3am beofre grabbing a couple of hours sleep and waking up to another plate of bacon and eggs!  Heaven!  However, it's the kind of holiday where you need a holiday to get over it.  After the last cruise we went on I remember arriving home and falling asleep infront of 'Deal or no Deal' before I'd even had a chance to unpack!

You see, I don't know what it is, but people just seem to have less inhibitions on a cruise holiday.  Even my husband who actually got up one evening, without being asked, to perform The Timewarp, when usually getting him up to go anywhere other than the bar would have taken a mammoth effort.  Mind you, I wasn't so happy with him when he disappeared one night (well, it was actually 2 am) claiming he was going to buy some cigarettes from the bar and didn't come back for almost an hour, causing me to think a barrage of irrational (due to the excess alcohol intake, I suspect) thoughts of him falling overboard, meaning I had to comb the ship looking for him for my own peace of mind, only to find him sat in the piano bar calmly sipping a whisky and chatting away to the barman! I should have been angry, but I just sat down and ordered a brandy before the all-inclusive option ran out at 3am.

We've experienced everything on a cruise from incredible entertainment to trips out that we'll never forget, we've met fantastic people and never laughed so much - usually at passenger and crew entertainment night, that never fails...
The Ocean Village - been on that one too!

But, from the Thomson Topaz to the Ocean Village, those cruise holidays are holidays I will never forget, and I live in hope that we haven't experienced our last cruise holiday because I'd hate to think that I'd never again watch 'Ready, Steady, Cook' whilst in the middle of the Mediterranean or drink a Long Island Iced Tea and then proceed to find absolutely anything that anybody said to me incredibly funny for the rest of the night, even if it wasn't, or fall asleep infront of The Matrix (I know! Me, falling asleep infront of a Keanu Reeves movie! Who'd have thought??!) in the ship's cinema on one of those afternoon's when the weather wasn't playing ball.

I want to do all that and more all over again, because ask me what my holiday of choice would be and it would always be a cruise.  Hands down, no contest.

Now, incase our Euromillions numbers come up tonight, I might just start looking for that all important cocktail dress... and while we're on the subject of cruises, I think I feel an idea for another book coming on...


Monday, 24 October 2011

The X Factor - so, where is it then?

I'm going to have to stop watching The X Factor for the good of  my health.  You see, I start Saturday evening all calm and relaxed, smiling my way through 'Strictly Come Dancing', wishing I could wear those gorgeous dresses and be swept around the dance floor like a princess, then I switch over and the stress starts!  Gone is the relaxed atmosphere, and so begins 2 hours of me ranting while me blood pressure goes through the roof!

I'm not even sure why I'm watching X Factor in the first place, but it's probably a first class example of me being sucked in by the hype. It happens, I'm quite gullible sometimes, infact, I'd probably be an ideal candidate for a Derren Brown show.
I mean, as far as I'm concerned X Factor stands for everything I hate about music, but then I struggle sometimes with the slight hypocrisy I may be displaying regarding manufactured bands/artists seeing as I'm a bit of a Take That fan and, after all, who else is to blame for the (not altogether welcome) explosion of manufactured boy bands if not those 5 guys from Manchester?  Yeah, it's their fault, as my husband keeps reminding me.  And I can't deny he's maybe just a little bit right.

Take That - to blame for decades of boy band madness?
Anyway, back to the X Factor.  And actually, while we're on the subject of Take That, can I just say that although I'm a Take That fan (a bit of a Take That fan, and not half as bad as I was back in the 90's, ie: my dream of running off with Howard Donald to have his babies and live happily ever after in a semi in Cheshire has long gone, believe me!) Gary Barlow is seriously annoying me since he became Simon Cowell's replacement as head judge on X Factor.  Does he have to look so smug?  And considering the majority of his acts in the boys category are as weak as last night's dishwater he has, in my opinion, got absolutely no right to sit there and look like he's got the next recording superstar within his grasp!  Quite honestly, I reckon I've got more chance of bumping into Bradley Cooper and Jake Gyllenhaal down the cereal aisle in Sainsbury's checking out the low sugar muesli than Barlow has of having the winner in his category.  The girls have got it sewn up, let's face it.  Although, to be quite honest, and just because I'd love this show to be shown up for exactly what it is, I think Johnnny Robinson should win.  And, if you have no idea who Johnny Robinson is, check out his 'Rock Week' performance here.  All I can say is, are they putting up with this kind of thing on X Factor USA?


I mean, I know this is an entertainment show, and you have to try and take it for what it is (as my husband keeps reminding me) but I can't help feeling that it's helping - and by no means is it managing to do this single-handedly - to change the entire face of the music industry, and not for the better.  Gone are the days of real bands and musicians, and hello to a world of manufactured pap (no, that wasn't a spellling mistake) and a barrage of boy bands we could all do without.  Because they all sound the same to me. Not that I listen to many, you understand.  My musical tastes are very much rooted in rock and blues, with the likes of Foo Fighters and Genesis rather than The Wanted or JLS being my preferred choice of listening.

Joe Bonamassa - proving real talent is still out there.
Not to mention the absolutely incredible Joe Bonamassa, somebody I am so grateful for because he is showing, year after year, that you can make it without it being off the back of a TV talent show, hyped to within an inch of your life.  He is an amazing and credible artisit through sheer hard work and talent alone, nothing else.  He's no hearthrob, he isn't seen out with celebrities in order to heighten his profile, and he isn't even all that well known, but he has an army of fans out there who know how talented he is.  And I'm not sure that we'll ever get anyone of his calibre coming off the back of X Factor.  Ever!  Infact, if they do mange to find someone like him in any future shows then I shall cartwheel down our street singing the entire BackStreet Boys back catalogue...

So, why am I still watching X Factor then?  Absolutely no idea is the honest answer.  I keep promising myself that next week I will ignore it completely and watch something far more interesting that doesn't make me agitated but I'm always there, week after week, tuning in, if only to shout at the TV and swear blind that this is the last time!  And maybe this time it is, because 'Rock Week' just about finished it for me.  A sing off between 2 of the contestants with the best voices in the competition resulting in somebody who can hit every note going home whilst others who would struggle to recite a nursery rhyme in tune are still there to fight another day!  That didn't sit right with me.

But I guess, like it or loathe it, X Factor is probably here to stay, especially now Simon Cowell has taken it over to the US, although whether it will overtake American Idol in terms of success has yet to be seen, but one thing's for sure, it ain't going to go away.  Music has changed, it's evolved, and whilst X Factor may have turned out the odd one or two acts who have been extremely successful in terms of hit singles and a huge fan base (mainly of screaming girls, and yes, I've been there...) all us lovers of "real" music can do is keep our fingers crossed that maybe, one day, it will give us somebody we can actually call a true artisit.  Because I'm still waiting...

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

And so my writing journey continues...

I'm sitting here this afternoon, in my little office (the back bedroom, to be exact) at the Ikea table that doubles as a desk, surrounded by piles of random pieces of paper that all contain quite important snippets of information ranging from how to upload my novels onto Amazon (although, strictly speaking, I leave all that technical stuff to my husband) to notes on my new novel, all of which should be filed neatly away somewhere but after years of working as a media technician in offices that ran on organised chaos, I'm kind of used to the system I've got.  It works.  Until I lose something important then I'll doubtless go off on one and blame someone entirely innocent for the fact that I can't be bothered to get organised!

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah, I'm sitting here in my little office just thinking about the journey I've been on since June this year.  A journey which saw me transform myself from somebody who was banging her head off the dining room table in frustration because not one agent wanted to accept any of her 3 novels, into someone who decided to take the plunge and self-publish those novels myself.  And it's been one hell of a journey so far, but it's also a journey that is still in its very, very early stages.  Believe me, this is something you come into for the long haul.  What is it people say?  It's a marathon, not a sprint.  Well, they got that right when it comes to being a self-published writer!

I've learnt so many things since my first day as an independent author (a day I actually spent standing in a queue for over 3 hours outside the Stadium of Light football ground waiting to see Take That, but at least it took my mind off how my first book was selling!) and I don't think there's a day gone by when I haven't learnt something new.  It makes me quite dizzy when I think about everything I've read, all the stuff I've had to take in, the things I still have to do in order for me to get the exposure I need for my books to get noticed.  Hard work doesn't even begin to describe it, so if anybody dares tell me that being a writer is an easy life I can't be held responsible for the response I may give.

But the most important thing I've probably gained in all of this so far is support.  And a lot of that support is from people I've "met" through Twitter and Facebook, people I've never spoken to face to face but people who have helped me more than I could ever have imagined.  Because I really do feel like I'm doing this on my own.  As far as family are concerned, they just think I'm "playing" at this, and very rarely even ask how things are going as far as my writing is concerned, and yes, that makes me sad because I would love the close knit support that family can bring.  Even at the age of 43 I'm still hoping that one day I'll make my mother proud of me.  But meeting people just like me, people who are on the same journey, that's been a revalation.  That's made me feel not quite so alone, and I want every one of those people - should they read this - to know that I appreciate every post they've shared on Facebook, every Tweet they've RT'd on Twitter, every kind word they've said about my books, all of that goes a long way to making a new and still very inexperienced author like myself feel like it's worth carrying on with this journey, just to see where it takes me.

Because I don't know, in all honesty, where this will eventually take me.  Do any of us?  I know I'm never going to make a fortune out of it, and I know there is so much hard work still left to do - one thing nobody warns you about when you start out on this journey is the sheer hard work involved in marketing not only your books but also yourself! - but I'm determined to carry on and see what happens, because I love what I do.  I love writing, I love creating new stories and characters, and I just want people to enjoy what I write, and hopefully accompany me as I continue on this journey.

So, to sum up, let's see what I've learned so far.

1)  Not to get hung up on sales figures.  I know that we all want our books to sell but I've found that becoming obsessed with sales figures can only lead to frustration, disappointment and a huge distraction that can set you back days!  I've learned to smile when a book sells, accept that I'm not Jackie Collins, and do everything I can to make people want to check out my work.  That's all I can do.  And I think I'm finally happy with that.

2)  Writing a new book is the hardest thing in the world to do once you're self-published.  Why?  Because you've got a lot less time, that's why.  When I wrote my first 3 novels I would sit down first thing in the morning and write constantly for hours on end until around 5/6 0'clock in the evening.  There was nothing else to concentrate on except writing those books, but now there's still promotion to do on existing books, blogs to write, websites to set up ... actually finding the time to sit down and write is the most difficult thing in the world!  And even when I promise myself that I'm going to have a day when I do nothing but write, I start to feel guilty that I haven't been out there promoting/marketing, etc.  But I do need to sit down and give myself days like that because, if you don't, I think it's all too easy to get bogged down with everything else and forget why you came into this in the first place - to write!

3)  You need support.  An absolute must.  It's a lonely job being a writer, and yes, I do like my own company and sometimes I need to be alone with just my imagination, but there are times when I also need to realise there's a world out there and actually talk to someone - even if that's just on Twitter or Facebook!  Distractions help, sometimes.

4)  Don't give up, even when you have days when it all seems pointless, when everyone's selling more than you and you feel like you're just not good enough for this.  I'm sure all writers - especially indie authors - feel like this at times, but it passes.  I know that now.

Kick-ass romance? You bet!

5)  Be proud of what I write.  There are days, you see, when I wonder if people really want to read the kind of stuff I write because, looking around at a lot of the books that are selling well at the minute, a lot of them are so different to what I write.  I don't do gothic fantasy or thrillers, I can't write horror or anything deep and meaningful and no vampires have ever been anywhere near one of my storylines.  I write kick-ass romance, alright! ;-) And I'm proud of that!

6)  Being an indie author can be fun - if you let it!

Ok, I've rambled enough now, I think it's probably time I actually got back to practising what I preach and actually do some writing!

But, before I go, I'd just like to say a couple more thank you's, to people who've been a bigger help than they could ever know.  To the wonderful @Mummy_Misfit for allowing me to vent any anger/frustration/general feelings about anything in particular in emails.  She's another indie author, just like me, and someone I now consider a friend.  She deserves a lot of thanks.

Another kick-ass romance? Absolutely!
And to all of those who put up with my small but sometimes full-throttle Bradley Cooper obsession - (just wait 'til The Hangover 2 comes out on DVD! You won't know what's hit you!) - thank you for listening to my inane ramblings. But I'm still calling it "research"...

Oh, and before I go, I'm touting around for anyone who wants to interview a new, up-and-coming indie author who is trying desperately to become the Jackie Collins of South West Durham ... any takers?  You see, the marketing never stops ... ;-)




Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Movies, music, imagination - What inspires YOU?

I'm always fascinated by the methods other writers use in which to inspire themselves, their characters, scenes from their books... I'm always interested to find out how they work when they're writing; do they sit in complete silence?  Do they have the TV on in the background?  Do they listen to music?
Personally, and I think I may have mentioned this before, I have to have music on when I'm writing.  Because music is such an integral part of my life.  I need it to be there because it helps me think, but I don't just use it as background noise - I use songs as inspiration.
And, after reading a very interesting blog post from M.J. Kane, an aspiring Women's Fiction writer from Atlanta, entitled 'Does Your Story Have A Soundtrack?' http://thiswriterslife-mjkane.blogspot.com/2011/10/does-your-story-have-soundtrack.html#comments - which gave me the inspiration to write this blog post of my own - I was glad to see that I'm not alone!  Because, yes.  All of my stories have soundtracks.  Every single one of my books was built on music, characters and chapters were shaped by listening to certain songs, ideas were formed by the lyrics of a track.  That's the way I work, and that's the way I love to work.

My first novel, 'No Matter What', was shaped by quite a few different styles of music, all carrying their own form of inspiration at different times in the book, all giving me some kind of help to write a certain scene, or decide which way a character would go just because I listened to the words of a song or liked the way a track felt.

Canadian rock band 'Nickelback' featured very heavily on my soundtrack for that book, the song 'Do This Anymore' from 'The Long Road' album being a track in particular that became very important to me, and I don't know why, not really.  All I know is that I was lying on a sunbed in Tenerife one afternoon on holiday - when I was in the very early stages of writing the book - this song was playing on my iPod, and the ideas just started flowing!  I could picture in my head the way I wanted the story to go, the way certain characters were going to react to certain situations; I'd shaped practically an entire novel on that one song.  Even now, every time I listen to that track, it gives me goosebumps because it reminds me of how close I am to the characters in that novel, how much they mean to me, and how much one song shaped them all.

Another song on my 'No Matter What' soundtrack is Christina Aguilera's 'Fighter', a very poignant song that inspired a later part of the novel, and helped me to put myself in the position of one of the main characters.  The lyrics to this song were very important to me, because they describe almost exactly just how that character was feeling, what she was going through at the time.  It helped me to write some very heavy scenes, and it's a song I absolutely love.  For a lot of reasons.

And those are just two examples from a list that is well into double figures of songs that helped me to write my debut novel.

But it isn't just music that helps determine the way my books take shape, although it's still the biggest part.  But, along with music, I also like to picture the story playing out in my head, almost like a movie, as I listen to certain songs, and that helps in a way you wouldn't believe.  Taking time out to just sit and listen to music, without any other distractions, has helped me combat many an attack of writer's block, because letting the story play out in my head makes it more real, it makes the characters real, their behaviour and actions more important - it makes everything three-dimensional almost, and it works!

I also read somewhere that, when creating characters, it can sometimes help to base characters on real people (not too closely, though, for obvious legal reasons!) and have pictures of those people around you when you're writing - and that really works, believe me!  I use this method almost like a stencil, if you like.  I take the basic outline, and I then make that character my own.  It makes things a lot more fun when I'm picturing the book's "movie" in my head, let me tell you!  And I think there are a few people out there who have read my books and know just who I've based certain characters on! 
And am I talking complete rubbish here?  Because it's probably very hard for someone else to understand, this weird and wonderful method I seem to have adopted, and I think all writer's have their own very personal ways of working.  This is just mine.
I write pure escapism, you see.  Fantasy, if you like, because I sure as hell haven't lived the glamorous lives some of my characters have!  So I have to gain inspiration in a very different kind of way.

By making the story and characters into a "movie", by creating these scenes in my head, acting it out, it makes the book so much easier to write.  It makes me see how things could gel together, how relationships could play out.  It makes characters and scenes easier to create, easier to write about because I have images and ideas stored away to fall back on, songs I can listen to that will help me.

Anyway, I'm rambling now.  But as I'm rambling I'm listening to yet more music that is - as we speak - triggering off more new ideas to help me carry on writing my new novel, a follow-up to 'No Matter What', provisionally entitled 'Illusions of Love', and it's a novel that is fast developing it's own soundtrack, its own "mini-movie".  And I'm enjoying every second of creating it all.

So, if you're a writer, how do you like to write?  What inspires you?  Music?  Real-life experiences? Something you've seen on TV?  I'd love to know.  But, as far as I'm concerned, it's music and imagination all the way for me, and together they can be a very powerful tool...

For more information on 'No Matter What', or any of my other novels, visit my other blog Michelle Betham: Author - It's All About The Books  for everything from reviews to taster chapters.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Meltdowns, re-thinks and rather sexy darts players... welcome to my week that was!

I'm beginning to realise that the life of an indie author isn't an easy one.  But, then again, there have also been times this week when I've realised that it can be an easy (ish!) one.  It all depends on how you look at it, really.

I mean, I started my day today with my feet up and a cup of tea watching  a re-run on Sky Sports of the World Grand Prix Darts tournament that I'd missed last night due to a rather good Philip Glenister drama that had been on BBC1 at the same time.  I spent a very pleasant hour or so watching the lovely Paul Nicholson (darts eye candy, read this earlier post of mine - Darts Eye-Candy - It does exist. Believe me - to see why) play Phil Taylor, although the 'pleasant' bit ended when Taylor finally won, thus ending my quota of darts eye candy for this tournament.  Anyway, I'm digressing somewhat here, let's get back on track...  what I'm trying to say here is that, how many people can start their working day drinking tea and watching darts until 10am?  That has to be a perk.  Well, in my book it is.
Paul Nicholson - official darts "eye candy"! And not a bad way to start a morning either...



So, is being an independent author a tough job, or a pretty cushy one?  Neither, really.  Like I said, it all depends on how you look at it.  You see, I've had a bit of a week.  Oh yes.  One hell of a week!  And it's all my doing, nobody elses.  Because I have a habit of overthinking everything, to the point where, on Tuesday, I had a bit of meltdown.  Ok, maybe 'meltdown' is an exaggeration, but I'm a luvvie, remember.  Trained in the Performing Arts, so the drama queen in me likes to come out and play now and again.

And why was I having this mini-crisis?  I looked at my sales figures, that's why.  And usually it doesn't bother me whether I'm selling bucket-loads (I wish!) or none at all (those days are more common!) but this week, it did bother me.  I don't know why, I have no idea what made me suddenly decide to throw my toys out of the pram and go all Krystle Carrington in 'Dynasty' (over acting, for those of you young enough to have no idea what the acting in Dynasty was like!) but just after breakfast on Tuesday I was ready to give it all up and take up knitting as a hobby because I just felt despondent.

Until I went onto a page on Facebook called Indie Writers Unite. They gave me the virtual kick up the backside I needed to stand in the corner, have a word with myself, and remember why I'm doing all of this in the first place - because I love to write.  That's the reason.  I'm not saying I wouldn't love to sell bucket-loads of books, I'd be lying if I said I didn't.  Who doesn't want their books to sell?  But getting hung up on sales can be really detrimental, in my opinion.

You read about others writer's and how their books are selling good amounts every day, and you begin fretting that you aren't managing to do that yet, and that's what happened to me this week.  I got too hung up, too obsessed with sales and, for a day or so, totally forgot my focus, my real reason for becoming a writer in the first place.  And after a day of chatting to other indie authors on Facebook I realised that I wasn't alone in having bad days, everyone has them!  But with a few words of encouragement and a little bit of support, I rediscovered my focus, put the obsession with sales to the back of my mind, and got back to what I'm here to do - write!

You see, if you come into the business of writing - especially as an independent author - with a view to making loads of money, you're living in cloud cuckoo land.  It ain't ever going to happen, not unless you're that one in a million that's managed to make a good living out of it.  And they're not exactly thick on the ground!  If you rely on writing as a source of income, then you're going to put so much stress on yourself that it'll become something you dread doing rather than something you love.  I'm lucky, I don't have to rely on my writing to bring in an income, I can just sit back and write, get my books out there, and anything that I make out of them is nothing more than a bonus to me because, now I've put the drama queen back in her box and my toys back in the pram, I know that if I can sell even just a few books to people who actually enjoy reading them, then that's my dream achieved.  All I ever wanted was for my books to be read, and my stories to be enjoyed, be that by 50 people or 5,000.

Every kind word I get with regard to my books, every great review, every time someone says they can't wait for my next novel, that makes me so happy, and I need to remember that feeling - all of us indie authors do - we need to remember that feeling, because that's what pushes us forward, that's what makes us want to write, knowing that people enjoy what we put out there.     

So, yes, in terms of the marketing we have to do and the promoting we have to spend time doing - not to mention that fine line we indie authors walk between letting people know about our books and ramming them down their throats, that can be hard.  It's not easy to get used to, and it's a learning curve I shall forever be on.

However, in terms of being able to get up every day, sit down at my desk and create a new and wonderful world within the pages of a book, that's not very hard at all.  That's what I love doing, that's what makes me happy.  And if my work can make just one other person happy too then, surely, I've done my job to the very best of my ability.  Haven't I?


Monday, 3 October 2011

'See You At The Show' - My latest novel at a knock-down price!

So, I've knocked the price of my latest novel, 'See You At The Show', down to just 86p/$0.99 - why?  Is it because I don't think the book is worthy of a higher price tag?  Am I not as confident about that book as I am about the others?  No.  It's for none of those reasons.  I'm proud of the book, I love the characters, I love the story - and I think it was well worth it's previous price of £2.29/$3.30.

But I'm a new author.  Nobody knows who the hell I am, no-one's read my books - bar a very few kind people who've already bought copies.  And I have got to try my hardest - as an independent author - to get more people to come and take a look at my novels.  That's just the way it is.  Readers aren't just going to come out of nowhere,  I've got to let people know who I am, that I'm here, and that I want them to check me out!

'See You At The Show' - my latest ebook

So, I made a decision.  Why not give people a chance to read one of my books at a very low price?  It might work, it might not, but if it means I can get just a handful of people to try out one of my books then I'll be a very happy new author.  And if they like what they read, well, they might just want to try another of my books, we'll just have to see how that pans out.

But that's what I've decided to do.  I've decided to offer one of my novels at a knock-down price, a kind of taster, if you like, to the type of books you can expect from me, the kind of stories I write.  So, if you've got a spare 86p/99cents and you're looking for something to read, or you're just willing to give a brand new author a go, then why not download 'See You At The Show' (you can find the link to the book's Amazon page down the right hand side of this blog) and see what you think.  And if you do decide to give it a go, I really hope you enjoy it because, as a writer, that's the most important thing to me - that people enjoy my work.  After all, that's the whole reason I do this. :-)