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Category: a little girl in my room and other stories

>One Year Indieversary

>A year ago today, I plucked up the courage to press publish on Kindle – it didn’t take long for Little Girl to go live.  My first-born.  New parent jitters.  It was an experiment, I really didn’t think anything would come of it, but I wanted to try it anyway – I like to learn and I like staying off the main road.  People said indies won’t sell.  Horror won’t sell.  Short stories won’t sell.  Flash fiction definitely won’t sell, particularly the dark stuff.  I kept hearing things like only hiring a good editor and cover designer will convince people to take you seriously.  *Dun-dun-DUN*

I uploaded a piss poor cover.  There’s been four or five covers for that poor little book so far.  This one has stuck.  I had a terrible description, awful promotional skills and an entire lack of media awareness or writerly friends.  I didn’t even tell my family I was writing again – they know now but they aren’t going to read my work, never mind give me a dodgy review.  😉  I chose a pen name and for months sweated in case anyone knew it was me.  *Insert eye roll here* 

I sold something like five copies of the book in the first month.  Got into the forum thing, wasn’t comfortable with the extreme spamming/bitchiness/negativity, was and still am quite vocal about it, moved on to other places.  Discovered that there are people who are on the side of indies, despite the bad reputation, and got over how bummed I was about the bad atmospheres.  *Takes things to heart*

Took a good few months before I started to get daily sales – thanks to my first reviews.  Decided marketing wasn’t a good path for me.  Gave up on the book completely – I actually said those words to my OH.  Tried to fit in online.  Didn’t.  Focused on a novel.  Still haven’t finished said novel and probably never will.  *Cannot edit to save her life* 

Little Girl got lots of angry reviews.  I took advice from some people way smarter than me, copped on, changed the cover to the present one and came up with something resembling an actual product description.  Learned to dread review numbers increasing but also realised the bad reviews were probably encouraging sales.  Got down about the way people act online sometimes.  Remembered life’s too short for that.  Stepped away from forums/facebook/twitter.  *Iz dramatic*

Remembered that the whole point of the indie thing was to forge my own path.  Palm-slapped myself.  Figured out my own plan, the one that had been shouting at me while I was listening to everyone else’s plans.  Knuckled down.  Joined ROW80.  Was shocked by the positivity.  Was inspired too.  Heard from some other writers and readers who either said or did things that reassurred me not everyone in the world is a dick.  Again.  Got over myself.  Again.  Wrote my ass off.  Not again.  Realised it’s March.  Counted a year’s sales.  More than I expected.  More than half in the last two months.  *Is shocked*

Lesson:  Maybe there is no lesson.  I did nothing in the end.  I don’t come close to the good ‘uns in skill, talent, personality or sales.  And any good that came to me came because of the actions of others, not me so basically the point is I’m not a good example of anything?  Erm.  😀  A year on, I still don’t have a novel out, I’m still working alone while the world sleeps and I still have no idea what I’m doing.  Actually, that’s not really true.  I know the plan, it just doesn’t make sense to anyone else.  😉

I’m going to keep doing nothing – aside from being myself, writing and trying to become the best writer I can be.  I’ve learned a lot, about the business, the craft, other people, myself.  I might be a little braver, hopefully I’ll work a little harder with a lot less ego, and for now I’ll just pat my wee book on the back and say, that’ll do book, that’ll do.

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>Now Why You Wanna Go And Do That?

>Writers are always asked questions like what made you start writing, where did you get your inspiration from, etc.  The question I’ve been asked most over the years (even before I epublished) is why.  Why flash fiction, why such depressing concepts, why fantasy, why overdone ideas (werewolves, vampires, witches, angels, underwolds, afterlife), why such open-ended conclusions, just why. 

It’s hard to answer.  I honestly can’t remember what sparks most of the stories that come to me.  First and foremost, I write about the characters in my head.  I don’t worry about their story – I just give them a voice.  I know it isn’t going to please everyone and I’m fully aware some of the things I write upset people (and there will always be lots of people who think that what I put out there is crap but nowt I can do about that one) but I don’t sweep uncomfortable issues under the carpet – that’s how people get away with horrific crimes for years and years.  I don’t make an attempt to upset people either, shocking people is never my intention. 

Some of what I write comes from real life in ways I can’t fully explain here – I know so many families living with secrets, the past can’t be acknowledged, the guilty can move on and the victims are expected to cope too.  No.  I hate that.  I hate that new generations of children are unnecessarily put at risk but nobody will talk about, acknowledge, or face up to past horrors. 

I try to stay off the soapbox but people need to speak out and deal with shit.  There’s someone in my life who barely understands how much of a victim they are but they are basically ostracised from their family who stick by the guilty party and won’t hear a word of what happened because “it was years ago.”  Fuck that.

I’m not claiming to be an expert in anything, I can only write what makes sense to me.  In one of my short story collections is a story called A Skeleton in my Closet and another called Childlike Bride.  The victims in these stories are defenseless and abandoned by those who should be there to protect them.  Not everyone gets my intentions with those stories but that’s the chance we take when we write anything.  In the story, Justice, most people feel that a young child was harmed but when I first wrote it, the child was the woman’s grown-up daughter and the man was the daughter’s partner.  That’s the beauty of a short story, it’s so open to interpretation that it can be a hundred different stories depending on who reads it.

With the other collection, Sixty Seconds, a lot of the stories involve gangland type crimes.  I remember going to school and seeing police beat up schoolfriend’s older brothers.  I remember police running away in fear.  I keep seeing old friends and their families in the paper because they’ve killed people or been shot at.  I know young fathers who were murdered before they could see their unborn children and I know victims who just can’t take it anymore.  I know families who are torn apart and can’t go home because it’s too dangerous.  I’ve had a seven year old boy threaten to rape me, egged on by older lads (guess what he grew up to be).  An old friend grew up to be a woman beating animal who almost strangled his girlfriend because she miscarried.  Someone close to me held a stranger as the man bled to death after being shot.  A friend’s boyfriend threatened to burn down my house and kill my family because his girlfriend wouldn’t answer the phone.  I deal with these things by writing stories.  They aren’t directly taken from life but it’s my way of getting the crap out of my head.

Going back to victims being forced to “forget” about the past and move on for the sake of family, this even applies slightly to Thirst.  Ava’s relationship with her grandmother has a similar theme running through it – Ava’s unacknowledged trauma hasn’t been dealt with and comes through in her OCD.  The OCD aspect is there because there is no other outlet for her anxiety – she’s a number counter and it gives her a sense of control.  She’s a functioning adult, she went to school, she had a serious boyfriend but she chooses to distance herself from society, thus accentuating her symptoms.  (I have social anxiety, if I avoid people, it gets worse so this was my thinking regarding Ava – however, I can make a show of being normal if I have to, I’ve been “acting” most of my life). 

Most people have some form of OCD but it isn’t all about keeping things in order and it isn’t the comic thing that most of us make light of now and then.  There’s all sorts of serious forms of OCD regarding numbers – rarely acknowledged fully in media but in the film Camp, one of the characters mentions their number issue that requires medication – and a lot of sufferers don’t realise that it is actually OCD and that many other people are going through the same thing.  Yay for the ‘net, letting people know they aren’t alone. 

It’s hard to understand if you haven’t dealt with it and it isn’t a quirk, it’s pretty fucking serious if you can’t control it.  There are many forms, counting and multiplying randomly, hearing a word and repeating it using the order of numbers in the alphabet (and using those numbers mathematically to eventually come up with a certain base number) or having good and bad numbers and doing anything possible not to use the bad numbers. 

There is so much more than this that I could never do justice to, I’m just trying to give basic examples but you catch my drift.  In every day life this can be more consuming than hand washing and it’s an internal symptom that isn’t picked up on by other people all that often.  Imagine being a little kid trying to explain why you’re spacing out when you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing.

In pretty much all of the longer stories I write, there’s forms of racism.  Not based on colour (because I don’t have the skills), but more of a species/fantasy race prejudice type thing.  Probably because I find racism impossible to understand.  I suppose I’ll keep using it subconsciously until I figure it out in my head.  I’m just thinking about all of the novels I’ve written and yep, there’s always something that boils down to racism – more importantly, fear and ignorance.  I need a new theme.  🙂

I’m a selfish writer.  I write for me.  I don’t write for fame or fortune (sorry OH), I write to make myself happy.  I write the things I want to read.  I don’t know how to write any other way.  I like to know the reasons why people act the way they do and writing helps me understand problems, motivations, disorders.  My answer to why I write is that I need to understand why.  Not knowing, not understanding, this gets in the way of me dealing with anything.  I need the answer to why to move on so I write to find/understand some of the answers.  I live in major fear of someone hurting my kids, it’s something I became quite obsessive about until I started letting it go by writing stories – I have trouble dealing with my past, so I write about it (no, I don’t publish those stories, LOL).  Basically the answer to every question is writing is my way of letting my warped mind deal with life without me cracking up completely. 

Maybe I’ll get into the overused fantasy issue (and the lack of HEAs) some other time, this post is long enough.  🙂

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>New Book Covers

>A reviewer on Amazon complained they found my horror collection in the children’s section. Of course this sparked off a mini freak out by me so I went running to Kindleboards for advice.  Peoples over there reassured me I hadn’t somehow messed up the categories (Amazon confirmed it today) but it was mentioned that my cover didn’t match the content. Also, the description wasn’t very, well, descriptive.

So I went looking for a new cover. While I was at it, I had an eye out for a new cover for my fae stories too. Finding a cover that matches the content of the flash fiction is hard so I went with something I thought was creepy enough and am hoping for the best on the description.

The new stuff is still uploading to Amazon but the covers are already showing. Thought I’d show them here. Mostly to give me a new post. 😉  I know I’m not exactly . . . half way to good at book covers but I bought some images (from people on Dreamstime who actually have talent – credited on the title page btw) and hopefully the whole thing isn’t entirely awful.  I’m going to pay someone to create a cover for my novel.  One day.  If it ever makes it out of my laptop alive.

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>Smashwords Sale Promotion – Freebies!

>Smashwords are having a promotional sale during July so I opted to put mine as 100% off.  To get either book for free, use the code SW100 when checking out. 

A Little Girl In My Room & Other Stories

One Night With The Fae

I’m sure most Smashwords authors will be giving out coupons for their books so have a look, get some downloads, read some freebies and leave some reviews.  Have fun!

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>New Story

>I added a new short story to A Little Girl In My Room & Other Stories on Smashwords. I’m not sure if it shows up in the sample but the code for a free copy during March is EF96D if you would like to read it.

I’m procrastinating…I’m pretty sure I’m only writing short stories this week to avoid working on my novel. I hate editing something I’ve written.

*sigh*

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>Code for Free Ebook

>Smashwords are having some technical difficulties with the 100% off promotion code for Read an Ebook Week. While they are working on it, I’ve generated an additional code that can be used to purchase A Little Girl in my Room & Other Stories for free.

Type EF96D into the space provided before checking out and this Ebook will be free.

If there are any other books you would like to download for free but are having trouble with, just give it a few hours or try again tomorrow. I’m sure the issue will be sorted asap.

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>Free Book Promotion at Smashwords

>From the 7th of March for one week only, my collection of short stories will be available for free at Smashwords! At the checkout stage, simply type in the promotion code RFREE and get the whole book for free.

The collection is a group of grim, grisly and supernatural tales. Download a free sample now or wait until the 7th to download A Little Girl In My Room & Other Stories for free.

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