Thursday, 28 March 2013

Too much sex? Or just a personal preference?

And I'm talking about in books here, before anyone gets excited and thinks I'm writing a post about porn. Now, I'm almost positive I've banged on about this subject before some time in the dim and distant past, but I'm bringing it up again today because, overnight, a nice 4* review appeared over on Amazon for my latest novel, the sexy soccer romance Striker. This particular person liked the book, thought it was a good read, and because this reviewer has read and enjoyed quite a few of my books, I kind of trust what they have to say. But they had one niggle with Striker, and this niggle is what caused them to give me 4 rather than 5 stars - too much sex. They're looking forward to the next book in the trilogy, but they'd like the sex to be toned down a bit. 

Too much sex...?
So, I can't help but ask myself, was there too much sex in Striker? Or is this all just a case of personal preference? Now, I'm not denying that there isn't a lot of sex in Striker, because there is - there's quite a bit of it, actually. But as I was writing that book I really was conscious all the way through about the amount of sex I included. I dropped scenes, put them back in, took them out again, then put them back in a slightly toned-down version. Although, I would like to point out, that the majority of sex scenes in Striker remain in their original state. But I was demented half the time, believe me, not knowing what to do for the best. Because how much sex to include can be quite confusing at times.

Could've done with more sex, for me...
I mean, some people say 'Fifty Shades of Grey' contained too much sex, but in my opinion (yes, I succumbed to the hype and read it), it could have done with a shed-load more to make it interesting for me. I actually thought it had a lot less sex than I'd been led to believe, but that's just my opinion. And everyone has a different one of those.

Take my rock star romance See You At The Show for example - I've had some people say they'd wished there'd been more sex in that book, and I was annoyed with myself for editing it back. But if I'd left it in its original state would some people then have complained there was too much sex? Not enough/too much - am I ever really going to be able to keep everybody happy? I'm not sure.

Not enough sex...?
I think people who know me, and who've followed my writing over the past few years, will have noticed that my books are now leaning slightly more towards the sexier side of romance - the hotter side of romance, even, although I'm stopping short of full-on erotica. I'm not sure I can go that far, not yet, anyway. So, sex is going to figure quite a bit in most of my books from now on. And maybe that will alienate some readers, maybe it will gain me some new ones, I don't know. Keeping every reader happy is an impossible job, you just can't do it. 

But now that someone has mentioned that the amount of sex in Striker put them off slightly, well - as a writer you can't help but take that on board. It's just what I do with that now that I have to think about. I'm in the middle of writing 'Extra Time' at the moment, the next book in the Striker Trilogy. And so far the characters haven't exactly been celibate. In fact, I'll let you all into a little secret with this book - there's sex within the first few pages. Might as well kick it all off the way I mean to go on. However, that doesn't mean to say that the book will continue on into one long shag-fest. It won't. It isn't. But it isn't going to be some middle-class aga-saga either. There'll be sex, and there'll be quite a bit of it. So you have been warmed. But how much exactly is something I may have to re-think. Do I back off slightly and tone it all down? To keep one reader happy? Well, there's the question, you see. So far that's the only comment I've had about the amount of sex in Striker, no one else has made any other negative comment about that, in fact, some people have gone in the complete opposite direction and said the sex scenes were fabulous! So, yeah, I'm confused. 

However, last week I read a very important piece of advice from someone who works at a big publishing house. Information that I think every writer should take on board - write for yourself, first and foremost. Don't write what you think readers/editors/publishers want to read. Write for yourself, because, if you wouldn't want to read what you've written, then how can you expect anyone else to want to read it, too? 

So, I've come to the conclusion that, no, there isn't such a thing as too much sex in books. It's all a matter of personal preference - the old "one man's meat is another man's poison" analogy. And, as long as the book isn't just one long round of bonking, as long as that book has a story to it, something that makes people want to read it regardless of the sex (which I'm glad people are pointing out with Striker - that it does actually have a good story to it), then surely the amount of sex involved is always going to be something that people's attitudes will differ over. 

I'll continue to write 'Extra Time' without any changes, for now, and see how things go. Now is not the time to edit, anyway. This is me - this is how I write. And I don't really want to change that.

But I do think that the question of sex in books will always be one of personal preference. Some people like a little, others like a lot. Now, if only I could hit that happy medium... 


Friday, 22 March 2013

Meet the Author - Jamie Tucker Dougan.

It's time for another 'Meet the Author' post - and today I'm featuring a man you may have met briefly last week, if you read my blog regularly, when he popped by to chat about his latest work-in-progress - Offside!. You can check that post out HERE.

But today it's time to get a proper introduction to my fabulous Twitter/blogger friend, and fellow indie author, Jamie Tucker Dougan. 

I'll let the man himself take it from here... 

Hi, I’m Tommy.

By day, I work in a car & truck dealership and I'm a 40-something dad of two wee boys and been with the love of my life for 22 years, 17 of them married.

At night, I take off my glasses and become Superman…

Nah, I don’t really. But I do have a alter-ego like Clark Kent.  I become Jamie Tucker Dougan, blogger and writer.

Jamie Tucker Dougan is my blogging and writing pseudonym. Jamie Dougan was the name of the main character in my first published eBook Grande Plage. It's also a reference to my dad, who was taken from me when I was very young. And Tucker has been my nickname since my college days. That’s the name most people know me by.

My writing has a theme - adult romance. Some of my stories are based on events from my life mixed in with my vivid imagination and dreams of a ’happy ever after’ like a few John Hughes movies that I freely admit to liking. Or movies like St Elmo's Fire. Or my favourite feel good movie Jerry Maguire.

Most of my life, I've lived in my imagination. I'm a romantic at heart. I want the gushy, happy, make you sick type of life often seen in films. At various points of my life, I've wanted to be Ferris Bueller. Or Keith Nelson (Some Kind of Wonderful) or Jerry Maguire. Or John Cusack's character in Better off Dead and Say Anything...

I created my own characters though and had my own movies going on in my head to escape the realities going on in my life at times.

These characters now have names. The movies in my head are now the stories I write. They are scenes from my life, with a wee bit of artistic license to make them watchable... or as the case is now, readable.

I started writing at primary school. I loved doing essays and short stories.

When I was around 9 or 10 years-old, our home went on fire. The only thing I was concerned about was my diary book. That diary book had my sketches and scribbles in it. More on them later.

An essay I’d written one day in English class about being Prime Minister for a day was submitted for display at the Maclauren Art Gallery in Ayr, South Ayrshire. That was the first inkling that I was actually quite good at writing a story. That started me making something of those sketches and scribbles I’d started. Those stories and sketches were to escape my real life though, the bullying I endured and the not very nice ex-boyfriend of my mum.

Like most schoolboys, I dreamt of being a footballer. I was lucky enough to play for my primary school and for a short time, my secondary school. But I was never encouraged any further. On wanting to join a local boy’s football team, I was told no. That disappointment became a fantasy in my head. I created a fantasy world where I was star striker for a team that’ll remain nameless (it features in the novel I’m currently writing). But it wasn’t just a fantasy where I was the only character. I had a whole team of characters, their wives and girlfriends… where they lived, what cars they drove and so on.

As I got older, the writing of my fantasy world got less and less. Then my mum remarried and we moved to another town and I was away from my friends. The writing started again. But it was only in a diary. And it was my thoughts of being in a new town, among new people and feeling very alone. Okay, we’d only moved five miles and I went to school with most of the kids in my new area. But they were not the bunch of friends I had in my old town.

After leaving school, I stopped writing. Real life was taking over. I had a job, college and some new friends.

Then unexpectedly, at 17, I was made redundant from my first job. That was a huge blow, especially as it was 1986 and unemployment was huge. I spent almost 6 months on the dole. I started writing again between job hunts. My short stories then were influenced by the movies of the time. One movie heavily influenced a story I began in 1987. That was St.Elmo’s Fire. That short story to this day is still unfinished.

Fast-forward a few decades to 2006. Curiosity about the world of social networking got the better of me and I joined MySpace, made a very good friend and her blogs influenced me to start blogging… and a few years a later, writing again. The story I attempted to write was that one I began in 1987.

Blogging for me seems to come very naturally, as does writing. I’m extremely proud of my blog and chuffed at the amount of views it’s had. My blog though was the only place I let people see anything I’d written, with the exception of that friend, who’d become my best friend and someone I could trust and opinion mattered.

And she was the person who gave me the nudge needed to publish one of those short stories. That was Grande Plage.

Grande Plage was written one week while bored on lunch breaks at work. It’s about a young footballer who is sent to France on loan one summer. He meets a girl, falls in love… and then is requested back by his club. Years later, with an aching heart, he returns to France to find the girl… you’ll have to buy it to find out if it’s a happy ending or not.

Grande Plage was followed by AlwaysRunning Away, another romantic, erotic tale. And then I turned a series of blog posts about my real-life trip to America in 2006 into a fictionalisation of the trip. It’s called The RubiconTrail and is my most successful eBook so far.

The world of football though hasn’t been far from anything I’ve dabbled with since. Last year I began a story which was initially titled ‘Extra Time’. It was a reworking of an anonymous blog I’d started in 2011 about the manager of a fictional football team. For NaNoWriMo last year, I started a prequel to ‘Extra Time’ called ‘Caught Offside’.

Those two workings along with a couple of other bits and bobs have become the nucleolus of my first attempt at writing a novel. That novel is called Offside! It’s about a fictional footballer called Shane Henderson and his life from a teenager starting out in his career to almost present day and embarking on a new chapter in his life.

I’m not rushing this story but I’ve set myself a deadline of my 45th birthday in April 2014. It’s hard to find time to write around having a full time job, being a dad and the support behind my wife and her little business. But I’ll get there.

You can find all of Jamie's books HERE on Amazon.

You can also follow Jamie on Twitter at @JamieTDougan

And you can keep up to date with what Jamie's up to by checking out his BLOG.

Jamie, thank you so much for such a fabulous post! I always love to hear about other authors' writing journeys - and yours is so interesting! And you love so many of the same films that I do - the 80s certainly threw out some classic movies!

It was  a real pleasure to have you here on my blog, giving us such a wonderful insight into you and your writing. 

And as I'm writing a trilogy of books centred around a fictional footballer at the minute, I can't wait to read Offside! when it's finally released.

I wish you ever success with your writing future, Jamie, and thank you once again for stopping by   

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

KDP Select - Was it worth the ride?

This morning I decided to read the KDP newsletter that was sent to me via email a few days ago. Was it interesting? Well, for all the wrong reasons, yes. On this newsletter was an interview with an "indie" author who was thanking Amazon and KDP for "changing her life". She has, apparently, sold over half a million books in just two years, bought her dream house, can now send her kids to college without worrying about money, and all because of Amazon and KDP. This was obviously an interview used to make potential authors think that self-publishing your books with KDP was the answer to all your writing dreams. "Look at what this author has achieved?" it's screaming. "You too could have the success she's had!" Err, no. We can't. Not really. For starters, this author used to be traditionally published, and she pointed out herself in the interview that she had a whole heap of people waiting for her next book, but she was having trouble with her agent being able to sell her latest novel to a publisher, which is why she turned to Amazon and KDP. Which is fine. But she is not the typical person that I have come across who is self-publishing these days. Of course this particular author is going to have success - she has a fan base, people already know her name. She's out there, already established, popular. Something the majority of self-published authors aren't.

She also points out that she has a book which is available permanently for free. Now - and please, somebody tell me if I'm wrong here - but I was under the impression that the average self-published author can't actually have a book on permanently for free, although I've seen plenty of books that are free on a permanent basis. As far as I'm aware, if we, the average indie author, wants to put a book up for free then we have to join KDP Select (more about that in a minute) and use the 5 days of free promotion that are available every 90 days. Outside of that, I'm not sure how we can make our books free, never mind have one permanently out there as "bait" for our other books, for want of a better expression. 

So, if Amazon and KDP think that that author is a typical indie author, then what the hell are the rest of us? Because I would love just a teeny, tiny bit of the success that author has had. If only! Since I started self-publishing with KDP a couple of years ago I've sold around, oooh, let me see... I don't know exactly, but we're probably talking about 4,000 books, something like that. Maybe a few more. In fact, it probably is a few more, after all, I had a good few months last year but then Amazon changed all the algorithms and it all turned to crap again! 

So, the past few months have led me to do a lot of thinking. For just over a year, all of my books have been enrolled in the KDP Select programme. I've taken advantage of the free promos, and for the main part they were a great success. They led readers to my other books, and I had a lot of people contact me saying they discovered me by downloading one of my books for free, but then they went and bought all the others. I couldn't complain about that now, could I?

I also did quite well out of the Kindle Lending Library, in the beginning. When you enroll your books in the KDP Select programme it automatically makes your books available to borrow for free to anyone who is a member of Amazon Prime. And although the reader gets the book for free, authors still get paid every time one of their books is borrowed. And like I said, in the beginning, I did quite well out of this. But over the past couple of months those borrows have dwindled to almost nothing. Just a handful.

So, I began to wonder if giving my books total exclusivity to Amazon - which is what happens if you're enrolled in the KDP Select programme - was really worth it now. The free promos aren't working like they used to, and the borrows I'm getting now are negligible. There are reasons why the free promos don't work as well as they used to - check out this excellent blog post I've just found regarding the changes Amazon have made to their algorithms over the past year or so. It explains a lot, especially as the dates mentioned coincide with the drop in popularity of the free promo, for me, anyway. 

Could my books soon be available here?
Things are changing in the world of ebook publishing, and for the self-published indie author especially. And I'm just not sure that staying with the KDP Select programme is for me anymore. Maybe it's now time to spread my wings and get my books out on other sites, make them available to other platforms and see where that takes me. I'm not denying that the bulk of sales is probably still going to come from Amazon, but I'm interested to see how things go outside of KDP Select. Will it make a difference? I have no idea. We can only wait and see. 

So, to answer my initial question, was my foray into the world of KDP Select worth the ride? Yes. Undoubtedly. I got in at the beginning and for me I made the most of that, saw increased sales for a time, and gained new readers who may not otherwise have found me. And that's the most important thing for me - gaining those new readers. But I'm just getting too confused with the changes Amazon are making at the minute. It's time to look at the way I sell my books now, and make some changes myself, although they'll always be there, on Amazon. Always. But, as far as the KDP Select programme goes, it's time to cut that loose now. It's time to move on, and let's see what happens...

Should you feel the urge, you can check out all my books HERE on Amazon

Now, I'd better get back to work. I've got a new book to write...


Friday, 15 March 2013

'Person of Interest' - Mr. Reese. Why do I love this show so much?

John Reese - 'The Man in the Suit'
I'll tell you why. Jim Caviezel. There. End of blog post! Seriously, though, Mr. Caviezel is a major factor in making sure I never miss an episode of this brilliantly new and different TV drama from CBS. That, and the fact that if you do miss an episode then you're probably likely to tune in the next week and wonder what the hell is going on, but I'm not here to talk about the clever concept of the show, or the frailties of "The Machine", or the fantastic on-screen relationship that is Finch (Michael Emerson) and Reese. Oh no. I'm dabbling very much in the shallow end of things today. I'm here to celebrate all that is wonderful and sexy and... yes, I'm here to talk about the character played by Jim Caviezel - John Reese, otherwise known as "The Man in the Suit".  Because I've suddenly begun to notice just how popular a character John Reese is turning out to be. And it's not just because he's a different kind of kick-ass good guy. He's an incredibly sexy, different kind of kick-ass good guy! 

A younger Jim Caviezel in 'The Thin Red Line'
I used to think I was the only one who'd noticed that deep, almost soulful way of speaking that Jim Caviezel has given to his character of Reese. The way he can make an ordinary sentence sound like the sexiest thing in the world, and he can do that, no word of a lie. I'm giving this actor immense kudos for that, too, because I don't remember him being able to do it when I watched him in The Prisoner a few years back. Or in the movie The Thin Red Line, but oh, how amazing did Jim Caviezel look in that? He was one sexy guy back then, too! 

Mr. Reese, how kick-ass do you look in those shades?
The character of John Reese is a bit of an enigma, I suppose. Which is why I think he's proving to be a hit with the women. We know snippets about his past life, and we know that he does have a human side - he doesn't smile often, but boy, when he does it has the ability to make any red-blooded woman's heart skip a zillion beats! - but I think the fact he still has this aura of mystery surrounding him, that's what makes him all the more attractive. Well, that and the fact that he's incredibly handsome, totally gorgeous, and a man I've heard a lot of women now call their new "TV husband".  

More Jim Caviezel? Oh, go on then...
Now, I'm not saying that, on first viewing, all of this jumped out at me straightaway. Far from it. It took me a few episodes to really appreciate the qualities that Jim Caviezel brings to the character of Reese. Maybe I was just too intent on concentrating on the storylines at first to fully take in just how brilliant a character Reese was turning out to be, but I certainly appreciate it now!

Finch and Reese - the perfect partnership.
Whoever created the character of Reese deserves a huge pat on the back, and whoever decided to cast Jim Caviezel in the role deserves a medal, because it truly was inspired casting, in my opinion. I'm not sure anyone else could have done it better, I certainly can't think of anyone, anyway. Or maybe I'm just one of the many biased ones now, because we're so used to seeing Caviezel in that role.

Oh, and if you want to check out just how sexy John Reese can be, take a look at this fun YouTube tribute to the character... I love this! Especially the bit at the end... so funny!

All I know is that he makes this show; being able to tune in every week and see the enigmatic Reese in action is something I look forward to, like you wouldn't believe. And yes, I've lost track of a plot on more than one occasion because I've been perving focusing my attention elsewhere. Can you blame me? He may be going slightly grey now, and he may be a little bit "bigger" than he was in his younger days, but somehow Jim Caviezel just keeps getting sexier! I certainly wouldn't kick him our of bed for eating crisps, that's for sure! And he's made the character of John Reese all his own.

Do you think I might be getting just a tiny bit gratuitous now...?
From the way he walks, to the way he talks, to the way he can wear a suit like nobody else can - it's all part of what is making John Reese a TV character to remember. And, as far as I'm concerned, Mr. Reese will continue to be my very own 'Person of Interest' for quite a while to come yet...

You can catch the rather gorgeous Jim Caviezel in 'Person of Interest' on Channel 5 at 9pm on Sunday evenings, if you're in the UK. If you're in the US, then you're the lucky ones! Series 2 is already going strong on Thursday evenings over there... 

Oh, and just one more thing before I pop off  - the character of John Reese was used as a huge inspiration for my fictional football (soccer) manager Jim Allen in my latest novel Striker - a sexy contemporary romance set within the world of professional football (soccer). And that particular character gets quite a few of the more steamy scenes, too, believe me... Can't think where I got the inspiration to write those from... can you? ;)  

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Football Inspiration...

Last week I did a guest post on my fabulous Twitter/blogger friend Jamie T Dougan's blog It's My Life! And today, Jamie has kindly agreed to do a guest post for me, and it would seem that, right now, both he and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to our writing. Both of us are currently immersing ourselves in the world of football, but you've heard enough about what inspired me to write Striker - let's find out what's inspired another author to write about the beautiful game... I'll let Jamie tell you more...


When I told my wife that my first novel, Offside! is going to be about a fictional footballer, her response was ‘Again?’
That’s because my first published short story, Grande Plage, is about a young footballer falling in love while on loan to a team in France. That story though was more of the old romantic in me and being a big softy at heart who loves a happy ending.

There have been other short stories I’ve started and never finished that have been set in the world of football too and that’s because being a football fan, having played the beautiful game and to a degree, having worked within the world of football, it’s an easy subject for me to write something about.  That’s not where my inspiration comes from though. It comes from 2 sources… a cartoon strip in The Sun newspaper and a TV drama from a few years ago.

That TV drama was Dream Team,the story of a fictional football team called Harchester United and its players and staff. It ran for 10 seasons on Sky 1 and launched the careers of a few familiar faces… Alison King (Coronation Street), Rob Kazinsky (Eastenders) and Ricky Whittle (Hollyoaks). I only watched 9 seasons though because by season 9, the story lines were getting ridiculously far-fetched. Mis-fortune and bad luck followed Harchester United like a bad smell.

My main inspiration for Offside! though is that cartoon strip in The Sun. It’s called Striker and since 1985, it’s followed the life of fictional former footballer now manager Nick Jarvis. And since 1985, I’ve followed the life of Nick Jarvis from a young player with non-league Oakville to manager of Warbury Warriors.

Twice, Striker disappeared from The Sun. The first time though, it was replaced by a similar cartoon strip called The Premier. But when Striker suddenly without warning, vanished from The Sun in August 2009, I was gutted. It finished with an incomplete story line. You can only imagine how delighted I was when Striker returned to The Sun at the start of this year. My inspiration was back… and just at a time when I needed it. It was like a kick in the butt reminder of what I was trying to write a story about… my own fictional footballer called Shane Henderson and his journey from teenager to almost present day.

Michelle wrote a post for my blog recently about where we get our inspiration. And like Michelle, I have visual inspiration from actors/actresses in my favourite TV shows. I’m inspired by people in my life and events from my life. But the biggest inspiration for me in the story I’m writing at the moment is the fictional tales in a cartoon strip.

You can follow Jamie on Twitter at @JamieTDougan

And check out his blog HERE.

And look out for a 'Meet the Author' post with Jamie very soon, where I'm sure we'll find out more about him, and his writing. Watch this space...

Friday, 8 March 2013

Meet the Author - Gemma Wilford

Yes, after a bit of an absence while I prepared Striker for publication, 'Meet the Author' is back! And today I'm pleased to introduce fellow author and North East resident, Gemma Wilford! 

Want to find out more about her? Take it away, Gemma!  

Thanks to Michelle for having me here today, I am honoured to be featured on her blog and I have been following her exciting journey these past few months as she has produced her brand new little beauty Striker.

Like Michelle's books, I have always loved a good romance story. I also love adventure stories; early favourites include The Famous Five, The Secret Seven and Nancy Drew. I spent my summers engrossed in these books and when I did come up for air, I would immediatley start writing my own version.

I loved my English Lessons in Middle School and the teacher that helped nurture my writing back then has recently published his first novel Beyond Saving. It was during my time at this school that I was a member of BBC Newsround's Press Packers and I was twice runner up in their journalistic competitions, attending their studios to film in the Blue Peter Garden a news piece to camera.

Adolescence then the hum drum of working adult life soon crept in the way of any creative writing. It was the back end of 2010 when I started writing again and wrote a children's book The Ruby of Egypt ,which became my first self published book in 2011. It has since been revamped; fully revised and edited with a brand new cover and the second edition is now available.

Last year, I had a short story 'Breaking The Rules' published in the I Am Woman Campaign Anthology Volume Two as well as spooky story 'Lady In Black' featured on GK Adams blog as part of a Halloween theme. I am currently in the editing stages of my first novel, a hunourous Chick-Lit recession based book 'Miss Pooshoe', which I hope to release Autumn 2013

Thank you Michelle for having me here!

~Author Bio~

Gemma Wilford was born in Nottingham, England and grew up in Cramlington, Northumberland, where she still resides with her husband. Her journalistic achievements include being twice runner up in BBC Newsround's Press Pack competitions.

2011 saw Gemma self-publish her first Children's Book 'The Ruby of Egypt' and she is currently in the editing stages of her first novel, a humourous Chick-Lit recession based book 'Miss Pooshoe'. She recently had a short story 'Breaking The Rules' published in the I Am Woman Campaign Anthology Volume Two as well as spooky story 'Lady In Black' featured on GK Adams blog. Gemma documents her publication journey as an author to her blog 'Missuswolf's StoryLand’.

Gemma is a proud member of Melissa Foster's Awesome Support Team #GoTeamPIF.

Visit her at: or follow @Missuswolf on Twitter.

~Buy your copy of The Ruby of Egypt here:~

~Social Media~


The Ruby of Egypt (Children/Young Adolescent Fantasy Adventure)  

Ruby finds herself being dragged by her over excited and rather embarrassing parents on a sight-seeing holiday to Egypt. Viewing the pyramids is the last thing a fourteen year old girl wants to be doing when she could be basking in the glorious sunshine by the pool instead. Her disappointment soon turns to delight when she curiously follows a black cat inside the Great Pyramid of Giza, where upon entering she is mysteriously transported back in time to Ancient Egypt. Aided by a talking feline.Guided by a dragonfly. Protected by a Falcon headed God. Ruby must embrace an important mission that will not only challenge her ability to amend her stroppy attitude, but will change the purpose of her life forever.

~Chapter Excerpt~

Ruby could feel the walls closing in on her but she couldn’t move; the transmission between her brain and her feet lost in translation. Oh God, she thought, the Pyramid’s collapsing and I’m going to get trapped in here! Panic set in, her breaths becoming shorter, making her gulp for air. There was a gust of wind that sent sand whispering all around, choking her as it invaded her lungs. The light grew brighter as she struggled to maintain her balance against the continuous shaking, blindly grasping with one hand for something to hold onto whilst keeping the other protectively over her eyes.

The roaring noise grew louder and louder, vibrating dangerously in her ears. She wanted to curl her arms around her head before her ear drums burst against the pressure. A wave of dizziness splashed over her as the room started to spin in an uncontrollable whirlpool.

The last thought that floated around her mind as her consciousness faded was how annoyed her parents were going to be.


Thank you so much for a brilliant post, Gemma, and for appearing as a featured author on my blog. It was a pleasure to have you here!

I wish you every success with The Ruby of Egypt, and with all your future writing projects. 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The Marketing Migraine is back!

I don't know whether it's just me, or whether other writers feel this way, too, but now that I've finally published Striker, I feel kind of - empty. Is that weird? I feel like I've lost this huge part of me, that suddenly, after all those months spending time with those characters, immersing myself in their lives, I feel a little bit lost, and for most of this week (yes, I know it's only Tuesday) all I seem to be doing is faffing around and getting nothing constructive done at all. Not one thing. Well, okay, I've written a press release to send to local newspapers, when I feel brave enough to contact them. And I've done a handful of guest posts on other authors' blogs. But apart from that, it's been a case of twiddling my thumbs and putting off the inevitable - the marketing of Striker.

Yes, I can put it off until those proverbial cows come home, but this book is not going to sell itself. People aren't going to fall over themselves to buy it if they don't know it's out there. So it's up to me to change that - but that's where we have the problem. I don't have a bloody clue where to start! And this is nothing new. This is my seventh book, so you'd think I might have picked up a few tips over the past couple of years, and I have. Don't get me wrong. But there's only so much an indie author like myself can do before we hit that brick wall. Although, right now, I feel like I've hit it before I've even started!

You see, I'm really not a very good salesperson. I'm also very shy. I find it hard to approach people, hard to ask for things, and I find it even harder to blow my own trumpet. I mean, I can sit here and say I think Striker is one of the best books I've written, and I really think, if you like your escapism sexy and your men hot, then this is the book for you. But I find that very hard to do. Not because it isn't true, because it is. Well, I think so, anyway. Selling myself just doesn't come easily to me, that's all.

I see some of my fellow authors appearing in local newspapers, on radio shows - and I wish I could do that, too. But I just find it extremely difficult to push myself, and my books, forward. But that's nobody's fault but my own. And I have to change that mindset.

So, with all that in mind, does that mean that, maybe, I shouldn't be doing what I do? Because, after all, marketing and selling yourself is such a huge part of being an indie author. But I don't think it's just the shyness and the fear of approaching people that's holding me back. I think there are other things standing in the way, too. And that brings us back to that age-old subject of the indie -v- traditionally-published author.

To some, the stigma of not having a publisher willing to back your books still makes a fair amount of people out there assume that your work isn't good enough, it's not up to scratch because, if it was, then surely a publisher would have spotted that potential and snapped you up? They assume that, just because you're an "indie author" you aren't taking it all seriously because, if you were, then surely you'd be spending your days trawling through agents/publisher listings finding one who will represent you. Er, no, actually. I've been there, tried that, and found that it took up far too much precious time that I could be spending writing. However, you do underestimate how much kudos mentioning a publisher carries.

I know for a fact that, should Striker become a successful book (I'm talking hypothetically here because, right now, I think Jackie Collins has naff all to be worried about!) I probably still wouldn't get past the usual round of ignored emails at local TV/Radio stations, because they look at the words "indie author" and dismiss you and your book like you don't matter. That you can't possibly be good enough because nobody in the literary world wants you.

I know this is a problem that will continue and, to be honest - thanks to Amazon changing their algorithms on a frequent basis - I can't see it changing any time soon. So I'm just going to have to get used to it, toughen up, get working even harder, and learn to market my books in a better and more imaginative way.  Nobody's going to do it for me.

I have to learn to ask, to put myself forward, and if doors are slammed in my face then I need to fight to get them opened again. That's what I need to do, rather than venting my frustration here. Although, it's amazing how cathartic getting something off your chest can be. 

I hate the marketing side of things, I really do. I find it such a chore, and that's mainly because of the kind of person I am. Shy, quiet, and not someone who regularly pushes herself forward. I just love to write. When I'm writing I'm happy, I'm really, really happy! But then we get to this part of the process and I feel deflated, almost. Like none of that hard work was worth it, when I know that I'm the only person who can make it worth it.

Christ, I can ramble on, can't I? But I think I know what I've got to do now. Even though I'd much rather just open up a new Word document, and start typing that first sentence of a brand new book. Because that's why I love doing what I do...

Looking for some sexy escapism, by any chance? Then you've come to the right place! My brand new, sexy soccer romance Striker is out now! Guilty pleasure, bonkbuster, call it what you will - but it involves hot footballers, beautiful women, and more than a sprinkling of sex... what more could you want from the first in a trilogy of books I'm dubbing "Fifty Shades of Football"...? 

Get Striker HERE from, and HERE from