Monday, 30 December 2013

For the holidays I've decided to do something a little different and reblog one of my most popular posts - a facetious piece on Fifty Shades of Grey.
It was too good to resist!

* * *

I have succumbed!

Having told myself I had no intention of wasting my time reading the new super-hyped best seller, Fifty Shades of Grey, I have spent two days doing just that.
Why? Jeez, I don't know. I'm still biting my lower lip, wondering that myself. Perhaps, it was my insatiable curiosity as to what all the hype is about.
So, I rolled my eyes and downloaded a kindle version on my new super-tech Macbook.

Oh my, I was stunned by the literary skill of the author and the use of verbosity that would have challenged a seasoned thesaurian!

The emails exchanged by the couple had me peering ever more closely at the page. Not out of excitement at their intense interchange, but the font was so small I found myself reaching for the magnifying glass.
Was that a deliberate ploy by the author to test the eyesight of the reader, or some new and exciting literary technique?
Holy f@*# I guess we'll never know. But I have to admit, I enjoyed the characters' subject titles on their emails more than their actual content.

As for the heavy sex scenes, well... they just made me flush fifty shades of red! It certainly had me effected down there, so much so that I'll have to give myself a spanking as punishment! But, that'll be after I've learnt to expertly pilot a helicopter, glider and super sonic jet, played Chopin on the grand piano like a seasoned concert pianist and ended hunger in Africa!

Wow! That was just Book 1.
Should I or shouldn't I read Book 2 - Fifty Shades Darker? Jeez!
Laters baby.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Writer's Burnout? Not this Christmas!

As writers we can so easily suffer burnout trying to complete our latest manuscript, blogging, tweeting at appropriate times to connect with differing timezones, networking on Facebook,
Linkedin, Google+… etc, that we forget to give ourselves some much-needed time off.
So, this Christmas I've decided to do just that and enjoy the special time with my family, indulge in Christmas baking and try to get through the list of great reads on my kindle.
I find nothing recharges my writer's cells than reading books by great authors; to let their wonderful gift with words flow through me, and hopefully inspire and even improve my own literary efforts.

But most importantly, it's important to remember the real reason for celebrating Christmas. It's not about the Christmas tree, the presents or the festive food, and as enjoyable as these things are, they are insignificant compared to the momentous events which took place in a Palestinian town two thousand years ago - a town called Bethlehem. That historic night, God came down in human form to be born as a helpless babe and grow into a man who was destined to pay the ultimate price for our sins - death on a cruel Roman cross. He - Jesus - took our place, and our punishment for our rebellion against God, so that we would have a place by His side in Heaven. And to all who place their trust in Him, that's our ultimate destiny.
This is what Christmas is all about - God's incredible mercy, love and justice all combined, in a manger in Bethlehem.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and may you know the love of God which surpasses all understanding.

Monday, 16 December 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas - An Author's Lament!

It's Christmas time and who couldn't resist doing something a little different? So, here is my version on the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas that I think every writer will identify with.

The Twelve Days of Christmas - An Author's Lament

On the first day of Christmas
my laptop showed to me:

1 sale over Christmas

2 returned ebooks 

3 creepy fans

4 price drops on Amazon

5 new marketing strategies

6 book-bloggers ignoring me

7 Linkedin warnings!

8 tweeps unfollowing

9 Facebook friends blocking

10 censored emails

11 publishing rejections

12 online giveaways - to Khazakstan!

and a Goodreads troll who's following me!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Read Tuesday - It's Going To Be Huge!

This is a quickie to let everyone know about Read Tuesday. It's a wonderful way to promote books and authors. Starting this coming Tuesday, Dec. 10th, and for twenty-four hours only, various authors in all genres, have heavily reduced their book titles (ebooks and paperbacks) on Amazon, Smashwords and CS.
Some say it's like a Black Friday type of event, but for booklovers!

Yours truly is also reducing the price of BLOODGIFTED, Book 1 of THE DANTONVILLE LEGACY series by 50%.
Just go to SMASHWORDS and use this coupon - WU38E - to claim your discounted copy.

Go to the Read Tuesday link above and check it out. The book savings will be MASSIVE.

Happy Read Tuesday everyone.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Christmas in Australia is Hot - Must Be Sung To the Tune Of, "Winter In America Is Cold…"

I love this time of the year, and not only because it means I'll be on summer holidays (I live in Australia), but it's Christmas, and that brings its own delights no matter what the temperature.

It means the sweet scent of pine in the house - unless you have an artificial tree. Here in Sydney, that's often preferred as the heat affects the cut trees and they wither faster - you get the smell of rotting pine in the house instead. One year my mum came up with the brilliant idea of keeping our tree in a bucket filled with water, then spray it with pine scent. Unfortunately, that December we had a series of heat waves and not only did the tree rot faster (in spite of the air-conditioning) but the pine spray we used was for bathroom use. We now had a wet rotting tree that smelled like a toilet!

Heat or no heat, festive season is not the same in my house without Christmas cookies. And our traditional Czechoslovakian ones (my family's originally from Prague) are to die for. One year I thought I'd try my hand at making a gingerbread house. I bought all the ingredients, cut out the template from a recipe book and got to work. It all went well until I began pasting the walls and roof together. Australian summer heat and syrupy icing sugar are about as compatible as an ice block on a hot pavement. Nothing I did would make it stick together - roof and walls kept sliding apart. My fairytale gingerbread house was turning into a renovator's delight!
In the end I gave up, cut them into various shapes, stuck the lollies on top and served them up to the kids. They were gobbled down in minutes!
Eh! Who needs a gingerbread house!

Every year I make my own Christmas cards. Each one is different, and is designed for the person it's intended for. My dining room table gets littered with coloured and textured card, glue, glitter, stamps, snippets of ribbon, lace, buttons and even old Christmas cards. I cut them up and recycle some of the prettiest images - bells, angels, scrolls, stars… etc.
But, beware of metallic parts - they go "beep" in the post office and set off another type of bell!
I found this out one year when I had used a decorative, star-shaped metal clip to attach the folded message sheet inside the card.
Who would've thought!

This Christmas my family is coming over to my house to celebrate.
My artificial tree is up and glitters beautifully when all the lights are off; the cookies are being baked - small, horseshoe-shaped ones that don't melt in the heat; and my Christmas cards are lining the mantelpiece ready to be posted - the message sheet is glued in!

Merry Christmas everyone.

Please leave a comment and let me know how you celebrate this-best-of-all-seasons.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

After Your Book Launch? Sell Your Book(s) From Your Website

Well, the book launch was a grand success, and the fifty paperbacks that were ordered for the occasion just about all sold. Only fifteen copies remain. What to do with them? Sell them on your website, of course!
It was a great technical step forward for me to obtain the html code for the Paypal button and place it on my blog. And I'm no computer wiz. So, if I can do it, anyone can!
In Australia, where I live, Amazon has only recently arrived, and for us Aussie authors, that's fantastic, for it means readers can now purchase our books in our own currency without worrying about foreign exchange rates and unpleasant surprises on our credit statements.
There's one downside, though - for now only ebooks are available. The paperbacks must still be purchased from Amazon, which is in the USA and the postage is expensive.

But, I can order as many copies of my book as I want with my heavily reduced author discount and sell them from my website. The price of my book, BLOODGIFTED, plus postage still ends up costing less than buying it from Amazon, AND delivery is faster. In Australia, it'll arrive within four days.

So, for all those who love a good gothic, paranormal tale that spans nearly two thousand years, here's your chance. The Paypal button is in the right margin. BUY IT NOW WITH ONE CLICK!

Please leave a comment - it's not difficult. Just go to the Comment box and start typing!