Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kindle vs. paperback: my experience

Hi, all

As I'm waiting for my proof-copy of Excuse me, where is the exit?, I thought I'd give an overview of my experience.

Kindle: formatting is a bit of a fiddle-job, but there are some really useful threads on authonomy who helped me a great deal. Uploading is simple, the publishing process has got some terms I didn't understand, but are explained. All in all, quite a simple process. The customer support is amazing. You can upload your book today and can earn money tomorrow, though they say it takes up to three days. I'm happy with kindle. 

Paperback: I went with Lulu based on recommendation. The formatting issue is a bit of a pain, but I managed with the help of friends. They offer different sizes, but non of them really appealed to me. So I went with a size that is popular (6x9) to keep the costs down.

Now, they have the option 'global reach', which means you get an ISBN number and pay something in the region of � 48 or $60 to get your book on amazon and other outlets. I've decided against it, because I don't earn anything from this book. All proceeds go to Japan.

So I didn't pay anything in advance. Customers now have to order through Lulu's page and here's the big deal: the delivery costs are high. I've ordered five (thin) copies and the shipping cost is �6.99 which I feel is outrageous.
To me it seems Lulu or createspace (even bigger delivery costs at about �14) only are worth going with if you take the big package of global reach. 

Lulu price is �5.99 + shipping. If you'd like to purchase a paperback please contact me, I will not accept that people have to pay such a high price for shipping. My e-mail is shown on the right.)
You'll even get it signed by me. :-)

Maybe you have made some different experiences, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A milestone and other things to look forward to

First things first: I've crossed the 100-mark! 

Yes, I've sold over hundred books, 101 to be precise, which makes about �40 to donate to Japan so far. It's not much, but it's better than nothing, right?
The best thing is: nobody has thrown it back into my face with the words, 'that's the biggest piece of shite I've ever come across!' So that's another good thing.

To all of you who bought Excuse me, where is the exit? Thank you. Keep spreading the word.

Since this goes well and hopefully will stay like this, I'm working feverishly on my first novel No Wings Attached. A very lovely beta reader (thank you, Alice) has helped me to see again after I went, literally, blind. I knew there were some things that needed fixing, but I couldn't see them anymore.
The first novel certainly is a little bugger and I think you will understand that I was ready to throw it into the Thames after the 13th time I've been through it. Now, I just want to get it out there. I love this book, it's funny, it's romantic, it's different -- just something you want to snuggle up with. I wrote it for me and I do enjoy a good book. If you do say so yourself, you might think. Yes, if I don't believe in myself, who else will, then?

My deadline for publishing is the 1st of May. I need those schedules to push myself, otherwise my best friend Procrastination will divert my focus into any other direction. Not acceptable as there is a sequel to be written, as well as the next book of comical short stories and my latest novel is in dire need of an edit.
This should keep me busy or a while; please stop by every now and then. I'm always glad when someone visits my humble red blog.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Oi, mate, look where you.... and then there is the crash.

If I told you that I've been cycling all my life and that I've never had a serious accident, would you believe me? Well, you should, because it's the truth. I've been stopped by the police, I've fallen off my bike hurting myself so badly that I couldn't walk for days (I still don't know how this happened), and I've had some near-accidents.

My friend Bobby has been in my ears like a plaque, telling me I need a helmet, which, of course, I refuse to wear. Reflective belts and LEDs is all I will commit to.

So yesterday was fantastic weather and because I have accumulated a little bit to much winter-insulation, I thought it was a brilliant idea to kill two birds with one stone; I rammed the saddle between my butt-cheeks and off I went, music in my ears, smile on my face.
Not too far away from where I live is a canal which offers a wonderful cycling-route. If you have good control over your bike, that is. The path is uneven in large parts, but gets better after a while, especially if you enter the national park, where you can cycle until you are exhausted.

However, after only ten minutes of happy paddling away with reasonable speed, enjoying the view, a guy just drove in my way; there was nothing I could do to prevent what had to follow. Though hitting the brakes, I crashed into him, my bike skidded under me and I landed on my knee. He came out of a park without even considering that there might be someone cycling past. Poor guy was in a bigger shock than I. He asked me a several times if I was all right, which I confirmed. A few witnesses craned their heads to hear out exchange, but as there was no major blood-loss, they left us alone. I re-adjusted my handlebar, lock and earphones, then sat on my bike and went ahead with my journey, ignoring the pain in my wrist, my arm, my knee and calve. I'm not a sissy, am I?

Back at home, I took a look at my 'injuries'.

A few bruises that are building up now, my wrist, knee and arm were swollen (still are), but it's just a matter of days and I'll be like new. Not that it will keep me from cycling, and that without helmet. I'm glad that if someone asks me if I ever had a serious accident, I can shake my head. I know I was lucky; if this would have happened on tarmac instead of gravel, it could have been much worse.

The guy, by the way, got away unscathered, the lucky swine.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Beautiful Moon

  This is the beginning a story I recently wrote for an anthology. They didn't like it, but I love it. Read the full story (910 words) by clicking on Random Short Stories.

  Kevin sat motionless and listened. As usual, he was fascinated, trying to figure out what she said to her mother, who called five minutes ago. It sounded like she was angry, but it could easily be misinterpreted, in the end, what did he know? She turned to face him and briefly smiled before letting go of another salvo of words he didn't understand. Her body stiffened and she fiddled with the hair band which kept her thick, almost black, hair in a loose knot. He knew instantly it wasn't good news when she did that. It now fell down her back like the hair of a model in a shampoo commercial. Strong, heavy and with a shine that would probably make any other woman jealous. It was late at night and the moon was beautiful against the dark sky. He watched her small frame relax as she turned to look out of the window, nodding, obviously in agreement with what her mother said.
    Of course it was bound to be difficult. Although her parents always accepted she lived in England, far away from her country of birth, they made no secret of their hope she would come back after finishing university and marry a Japanese man. They were traditionalists after all. And she had always said she'd go back, didn't plan on staying here. She loved Japan, the language, the food, the culture. Things have changed since he [....]

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Attention, lovers of short stories and flash fiction!

Recently, I got in touch with Mark Turner, who is the editor and one of the partners of a new magazine called voluted tales.
The best part is, not only are they really friendly and supportive, but you can get your name out there and be paid. They are fairly new, but growing fast.
I asked him what their goals are, and what kind of stories/genres they are looking for. Here is the answer:
Ideally, the objective is six distinct editions, General (mixture of everything), Themes (different theme each issue), Serials (to serialise longer works that might no otherwise get published), Young Adult (mixture, older teens-twenty-somethings), Paranormal Romance (no porn, focussed on the Paranormal elements, rather than all the 'sof porn/romance that just happens to include a vampire' type of stuff abounding, trying to be different, and Noir/Thrillers, some of which are close to 'Horror' in many ways, but mainly coz they offer interesting 'twists' to stories, mysteries, etc.
So, monthly for the General edition, and the others as the material and finances allow. They'll be on as many online outlets for ebooks and e-magazines as we can get, priced somewhere around $2.95.

You can find here a free copy to download. Pop by, send your submissions and spread the word about a fine new magazine that will hopefully conquer the world.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Charities that give.

Tomorrow it will be a week ago, since the world stood still for a moment. The pictures and footage left almost everyone in shock and reeling. Since then, many authors, editors and artist, independent and well-known gatherd together to set up several project to raise money for the tsunami relief in Japan.

Here are the ones I'm involved in:

Authors for Japan an auction offering editing, tutoring, art, etc. ending on Sunday, so you better pop over to grab some of the goodies.

New Sun Rising - Stories for Japan Authors and artist creating an anthology with a Japan theme. Submission deadline will be the 11th of April. Please take a look at the blog for more information.

Indie Authors Relief Fund another auction with loads of useful and great stuff. Ends also on Sunday.
Excuse me, where is the exit?  My collection of comical short stories, all proceeds go to Japan. See more here.

Words to Music An anthology that has been out for a bit longer now, donations go to several different charities.

Please stop by and visit the links above. They certainly will be something for you. Remember you're not only doing something good, but getting something good in return.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Warm up your kindles! My book's out! All proceeds go to Japan.


Sales have risen to 82 so far; keep them coming. Please help to get enough together to make a difference. I've now decided to donate all proceeds to the BritishRedCross and Doctors without Borders.


I plan to raise money to donate to the people who have lost everything in Japan.I've set a low price so that as many people as possible can afford to buy it. All profits go to charity.

Excuse me, where is the exit? is now available to download from amazon UK  at �1.14 and amazon US at $0.99. You can read some excerpts of the book if you click on the link, there above, under my name on the top of the page.

Review from a reader:  I've just finished reading this. It's a collection of light hearted short stories written from a woman's point of view. I recognised myself in some of them! Obviously I enjoyed some more than others - my personal favourites are Cycling, Housework, Wasps and Hairdresser. Some of these had me laughing out loud!

I hope you enjoy it. Leave me feedback and recommend it to anyone who can't run fast enough.

Please help. It's not only an entertaining read, but it's for a good cause, too.

I'm working on making the book available via POD, for those who prefer a paperback.

If you'd like to have a signed copy, please contact me via e-mail. You can find the address to the right.



Friday, March 11, 2011

My heart goes out, yet again.

It has been only a few weeks since the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand, today, the next horror-news arrived and I couldn't believe it. Japan got hit terribly, especially the tsunami the quake has triggered. The footage was heart-wrenching and my thoughts were immediately with the people I know in Japan. Followed by those friends on mine that are in the tsunami warning - area, and all those people who have lost loved ones, those who got killed in the immense waves that swallowed everything in their way. There was no way to escape at the speed it washed over the country.

And I'm sitting here, sound and safe in London, trying to grasp the whole affect this catastrophe will have. I'm shocked, I feel my own little problems put into perspective and I feel heartache for the innocent lives that have been ended.

I cannot begin trying to understand how it must feel to be surprised by an earthquake or see the devastating pictures live, to escape from a tsunami. I've never experienced anything vaguely similar. But I know someone who blogs about her repeated experience and feelings in Christchurch. If you can pay a visit to her blog.

And here is a thread on authonomy which is constantly updated with information and links.

In the meantime, I hope that the toll for the victims will stay as low as possible and hope people manage to stay safe.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My neighbours, my rant

Some of you might know that I have severe differences with my upstairs neighbours, well - one of them. They are two girls, first in a line of guys. I've lived in my flat for almost four years and always got on well with the blokes. When I moved in, I had two guys living upstairs and we became friends almost instantly. They left their door open when they were home and when I came home from work, I would go upstairs and we would 'hang out'. Or they would knock on my door at the weekend and asked if I'd like to have breakfast which they made. We often cooked together, ate together, went out together. We basically were the inseparably three.
 This is us joking around on a night out.

I was really sad when they moved out. But they moved not too far away and we still saw each other. One moved back to Spain and the other one, I'm going to see tomorrow, actually. So my first neighbours became friends and I'm really glad I met them.

The next two were all right too. We got along, they were nice lads.

Now, 1,5 years ago, I got the first pair of girls. I was excited. It started out really badly, sort of. It rained thoroughly into my flat because someone had a shower upstairs. This was the opportunity to sit together and get to know each other. It was 2am when I went upstairs and it was lovely. I was so happy to  have some nice neighbours again. And I actually really got on with Y. and still do. She gave me piano lessons. (Yes I started to play last April.)
Then: it happened. Our house felt like a tube station. Permanently, there were people trampling through the hallway, slamming doors, laughing, etc. Even the guy in the shop downstairs asked me what is going on. Then, E. began to work in a pub and everything got worse. She always had people around, but they constantly rang my buzzer, one of those very shrill tones, and that at every time. Even in the middle of the night. They all slammed the door and stomped about upstairs. This house, which once was one, is divided into two flats, wooden floors, poor insulation, thin walls.. you get the picture. When they leave their flat, slamming the door, everything in my flat shakes. Literally.
She would come home after work, bringing a few people with her, music loud, shouting and laughing and I couldn't sleep. She would throw parties with 35 to 40 people upstairs and they would last until the morning. We're talking 7 or 9am here. Now talking didn't actually change anything, although I've tried in the most possible nice way, I got the snappy answer that she's allowed a life. I agree, but not if it means, I need to suffer. This house is not made for parties.

One Sunday night, I had enough and banged their door at 3am. Nobody opened the door, though I know they heard me. 45 minutes later I banged again, harder and more persistent. I heard E. through the door telling her friend to just ignore me. But her friend wanted to restore the peace and opened the door. She apologised, but I wouldn't have it anymore. They then went one level higher which they could've done when they got home, but couldn't be bothered to, for it's much nicer to keep people from sleeping.

I complained to my landlady and this weekend, they are moving out. I'm anxious to see who will be next and somehow I hope for two nice guys again. I think I'm done with female neighbours.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Show me the way to SAA (scented addicted anonymous).

For those who know me, know that I'm not that girlie. Most of the time, I go out without any make-up at all, I also hate shopping unless I'm in a DIY-store. I don't collect shoes or handbags and I don't care what the latest trend is. But...
I love my body creams and butters, scented soaps and shampoos.

This is just a part of my shampoo/conditioner 'collection'. I literally go crazy over Lush, The Body Shop, and a shop nearby, which sells all sort of creams, butters and hair products. I'm that mad, I actually try to have a fruity soap, together with the shampoo and then a body butter, oil, or even mist. It ranges from raspberry, plum, apple, pomegranate and, of course, my favourite: chocolate in the form of cocoa butter.

Part of my soap, bubble-bath, body butter, oil and mist collection. 

So yesterday, I went into this store next to the market where I buy my vegetables and fruit, and bought an everyday body cream and a huge tub almond-scented massage cream. Can't wait to try it.

Though, I've run out of honey, coconut and fruit soap. That means I need to pay Lush a visit. Even if they are against keeping reptiles in captivity, I know I know. With those products, it's a lot more fun to look after your skin. And you always smell deliciously, almost edible.

Try it out and soon, you might be as addicted as I am.