Sunday, 5 February 2012

Correction to my pessimistic announcement yesterday, I am on Kindle in Amazon from this morning . . . I really thought it would take a few weeks to filter through.

Web link is not working too well, so go to Amazon and seacrch for Coloumbus Day

Happy reading

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Today I received my first printed copy of Columbus Day, I had purchased via Lulu. It was so exciting opening the package and seeing for the very first time my work printed in paperback with a wonderful coloured cover. Thumbing through the pages I recognised every word I had written over the past four years, and felt some pride in having achieved something tangible. (Something I have not done a lot of in my life)

I am working on the Kindle version and hope to have that on Amazon in a few weeks.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Hello fellow readers . . . if you have followed me on my previous two Blogs, you will know they have been about my travels around Scotland; Orkney in 2010 and the Highlands/Bals Festival in 2011.

This however is a departure from traveling (although I hope to resume that later in the year). Four years ago I started to write a novel . . . well, write maybe too strong a word. I started to have ‘ideas’ floating around in my head, much like a composer or songwriter. If the words come, they write them down - I didn’t.
My ideas however started to overtake each other, and I realised I had in fact not one, but several ‘ideas’ trying to escape onto paper. (or a PC screen)

After unraveling these initial ideas, I ended up with three synopses. The prominent one being Columbus Day. (I am also a good way through the second book, and hope to launch that later in 2012).
After the initial ‘surge’ of enthusiasm, and realising my outpouring of ideas only covered six A4 pages, I hit writers block very early on.

It is said we all have a book in us, which is probably true; it is having the time and patience to sit down and bring it out that is the clever part, and I think in my case, some worldly experience.

I do admire professional writers who turn out one novel after another using just their imagination. They immerse themselves in to their characters, and/or the period in which they are writing, and mold for us, the reader, an elaborate world, which can contain anything and everything, born solely out of the author’s imagination.

This is in contrast to writing about (fictional) events that can shape a novel from one’s personal experience, gained in my case over many years. I did read however about an Australian author who was nominated for a book prize. His book was set in France, but he readily admitted her had never been there.

I am not saying I have experienced everything in my story lines, far from it, but there are many situations and events that I have included because I have experienced them first hand, and remembered them, and therefore have drawn on them. I could not have written Columbus Day if I was twenty-five.

One reason it has taken me so long is that I am still gainfully employed, so writing has been done in the evenings, at weekends or on holidays. Talking of which, I visited Spain two years running in the name of research . . . that was my excuse. I did actually visit the WOMAD music festival in Caceres, western Spain because I do love World Music. This World Music theme is paramount in the book, as is my love of cooking and travel.

I realised towards the end of 2011 I must either finish it or walk away from it. It would have been a total waste to walk away, so I crammed the last two chapters into a few months and prayed it all came together.

After working on one’s own book for any length of time, it is easy to become bias, so I needed someone to read it, and to be honest about it. I had not idea if it was any good or even made sense, let-a-lone grammatically correct.
This onerous task fell to my very good friend Ros McCaul. Ros is a marathon reader, and founder of a book circle of long standing, so I knew if anyone was going to criticise it honesty, Ros would, friend or no friend.

After a few anxious weeks Ros called to say she was well into it, was enjoying it, bar the obvious spelling errors (and ‘Words’ failure to spot my intended meaning). Not only Ros, but her talented daughter Kate read a copy to valuate my gaudy attempt to translate certian sentences into Spanish using software. Their combined final verdict was ‘very good’, which was far better than I had expected. ‘Not a world class academic read’, Ros said, which is fine, as I am not aiming for that market.

Just before Christmas 2011 I had surgery on my neck, and was off work, (albeit at home working part-time), for the rest of December. Having finished Columbus Day, and with two ‘positive’ reviews, my adrenaline kick-in, and I went headlong into my second story, The Letter, which I hope to finish by the autumn.

It is all very well having a finished manuscript, or a 750Kb file, but if it is just lying around doing nothing it is a waste. Over the Christmas break, I read everything there was to read about traditional publishing v
e-publishing, and I can assure you there is a lot of it out there.

You may have read about the hugh rise in on-line book sales through Amazon and other e-book stores, and therefore the decline of traditional publishing. Without boring you for too long, a new author entering the market wants to make money fast, and have as wide as possible circulation. E-books and self-publishing therefore seem the way to go.

Traditional publishers, we are told, only take on serious writers, not one-off novels, and properly only one or two a year.
The answer I have decided on is to embrace both camps. I have found there are several on-line self-publishing websites for e-books, where I can experiment with layouts, covers and price, and easily change anything quickly if need be.

The final ‘clean’ copy will be sent to a long list of literary agents in the hope of some interest.
If I was serious enough to write full-time, I would want to have the backing of a large publishers behind me. They still have the marketing and sales expertise required to make a best seller.

Therefore, in the interest of an experiment, I am embarking on the e-book route first, which I am launching here.
I have two versions, UK version available via Blub £2.99 for Apple products, and a USA version available via Lulu for EPUB readers $4.99 (There is a paperback version but unless you live in the USA please wait for the UK version).

I am told there is no ‘sex or violence, or vampires’ in the book which may put off the younger reader, but if I have to describe it, I suppose it is a Romantic Mystery, but please judge for yourself.

Your comments and observations (for errors etc) will be appreciated, via here, or Facebook or Twitter.

Here is a taster of Columbus Day;

George Morton has lost everything. His wife, Aimee, was killed by a drunk driver, then, six months later he is accused of cyber theft.
Deciding there is nothing left for him in England, George buys an old farmhouse in a small village in Spain, much to the dismay of his three children, Alex, Bonnie and Christopher.
There he meets the attractive Maria, and her not so agreeable papa, Vincente.
George settles down to a new way of life, but not forgetting his lovely Aimee and the wonderful years they had together.
Someone else however is not forgetting him. Oliver Barnes, Chief Executive of Barnes & Barnes International Bankers, whom George worked for. Oliver is convinced George has the banks money and is determined to retrieve it, no matter how.
As life goes on for George he becomes closer to Maria, and she too wants to start a new chapter in her life, either with or without her fathers consent.
Good food and World Music are paramount in George's life, and he sets about rediscovering these senses once more, and enjoying adventures along the way, which all culminate on Columbus Day, 12th October.