Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Purge

Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and admit you've wasted your time.
It's time for a fresh start!
No, I'm not giving up writing in favour of a career as an ice-cream van man, although I would totally own that role. Instead, I have decided to get some research done on what makes a good kindle book cover, as opposed to just trusting my brain. I sometimes feel as if I'm cheating when I read tips, as if my own imagination should come up with everything by itself, but this time I have bowed to common wisdom, and found it to be good.
In the past (very recent past) I have created my own covers using a host of photoshop trickery and computer magic, but it was all for nought. All I needed was to find some really good pictures, keep them as they were (isolating part of it that fit the story's concept) and add some bold, clear titles in well designed fonts. And that is pretty much it. Below are the results. I'm still keeping my cover for Shy (I do like that mouth), Heal The Sick Raise The Dead (my mate Jody did a great job, better than I could ever do), and The Alchemist and the Idiot King (which is still stewing in first draft land, but will be done one day, and the cover fits the fantastical nature of the narrative). The rest have gone and been replaced by leaner, meaner models. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

An exercise

After finding it hard to get into a flow with writing last week, I decided to spend half an hour working on a simple premise with no worries about plot or character, simply atmosphere. Below is the result.

Glass shatters somewhere in the house. The covers are a tangle around me but I’m out within seconds. The streetlights are out too – there must be a power cut. The night outside is starless, but I can see the moon. It bleeds a little light onto the landing through the skylight above. I walk past my study and head downwards.
Each step is slower than the last as I move into the darkness below. The blinds are drawn in the living room, and the door is open, as is the door to the kitchen. I look in and see black shapes, one long across the floor, another high against the wall, with smaller ones dotted about. They are the night images of the daytime sundries. It was I who put them in their places. I know all but one. I hear a gasp. That one is raising a hand. I turn and run, my feet slamming on the staircase, though the sound does not quite drown out the scream, or the sigh.

The lights go out. Glass shatters somewhere in the house. I wait for a moment, hoping that the lights will come back on. The night outside is starless. The streetlights are out too. It’s too dark to read anymore, so I close the book and go to push myself up out of my chair, when from across the landing I see a shadow leave the bedroom. I freeze in place, my hands on the arms. It’s gone in a moment. I go to the doorway and stare downwards to the foot of the staircase, but what little light the moon gives me is drowned in the deep. I hear a gasp. A piece of the black detaches itself and begins to move towards me, so I back away and slip behind the chair, burying my face in my hands.

Glass shatters somewhere in the house close by. I wake up and slip from the sofa onto the floor. The walls are distant memories in the dark, and all I can see is a sliver of white by the door leading to the stairs – I must have left the blinds closed. The table digs into my knee, but I know that there is a torch there, so I run my hands across the surface until I find it. Someone gasps, so I get to my feet and when I look up again I see a shape in the doorway. I raise my torch but it is gone before I turn it on. I know my way, even in the dark, and scramble over the sofa towards the kitchen. Perhaps I will get a knife.
My breath is stolen but I don’t know why, and I all I can do is sigh.

The lights go out. I fumble and drop the jar, which shatters on the tiles beneath my feet. I reach down without thinking, and my hand closes on glass. It bites into my skin and I let out a gasp. My flesh holds it in place and I cannot see enough to pull it out without risking permanent damage. I turn towards the living room, hoping to get my torch, when a shape lunges towards me. I raise my hands and feel the glass between us, cutting hand and neck, my hand and their neck. I scream, and the other gives a sigh.

Friday, 6 March 2015

A change of tactics

I've been writing ever since I was young, but only selling my work for close to three years, so I still have a lot to learn. I've always been more focussed on writing than marketing - this is unlikely to change unless marketing becomes markedly more thrilling - and have used Amazon and its KDP select programs to generate income, but it's time for a change. These programs are giving back smaller and smaller benefits and I'm missing out on a huge base of readers, so after a last small round of freebies/offers I will be distributing everything I've written through not only Amazon but also Smashwords and Bookbaby, and anywhere else I can find.
I'll still be writing though, otherwise my brain will atrophy.