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A Few Changes

plan-aYes it’s been a very long time since I posted. In fact I’m sure more than a few people believed I had dropped off the face of the Earth. It’s been about nine months since I’ve been seen out and about online. There are a few reasons for this, and I feel you all deserve some kind of explanation – here it is.

October 2012 my beloved cat Sandy, who I rescued at age 5 weeks, had to be put to sleep. She was 18. The grief that consumed me was indescribable. I try to keep my private life “private” so I never mentioned it at the time and only do so now that you might understand why I’ve been absent so long. Sandy dying was only the beginning of the Dramarama Festival I was going to have to endure.

For months I was total wreck. Much of my business responsibilities were falling to my assistant because I couldn’t get my head back in the game, I was only going through the motions. Anyone who has ever had a deep connection with a pet will understand where I’m coming from, those that haven’t will be wondering how a cat dying could effect me so much.

Without me at the helm guiding the business, things started going wrong. Around the middle of 2013 I had lost about 50% of my business to competitors. Now the financial trouble starts to really kick in.

As you might imagine I’m skimming over a lot of details, but I’m sure you get the picture of how bad things were. Amid all this gloom and doom I was determined to keep writing. We all know what they say about the “best laid plans of mice and men”.

Next on the list of things life wanted to throw at me was bad health. I suffer a couple of chronic health issues which are normally kept under control. Not so anymore, my health problems became acute and I became desperate. I was losing my business, my health and at times I felt sure I was losing my tiny little mind; and my writing…. well there was no such thing.

Around September/October I’d battled back to something resembling normal health and was determined to nurse my business back to health also. A plan was made and I spent the next couple of months working my butt off to make it happen. Currently I’ve managed to claw back my market share. Things are not rosy for the business, but they are a damn lot better than this time last year.

A setback with my health in January nearly derailed everything, but here I am in March feeling as much like myself as I ever have.

I learned some important lessons during this black period and it has resulted in me making a few necessary changes.

  • Social networking might be important for promotion and other things, but I don’t have time for it and I’m not going to beat myself up about not being on every damn social network there is. I have eradicated all my social network accounts accept Facebook. And don’t expect to see me there a million times a day. (Facebook games are the biggest time suck on the planet)
  • Good intentions are no substitute for actual work. I have indefinitely suspended the “Author Promotion” section of the website. Again this is a time constraint consideration. Working on posts and adding other authors work to the site leaves me little time to do any of my own work or writing for that matter.
  • More writing, less promotion. I never published my writing to become rich. I write for the pure enjoyment I receive from it, when anyone reads and enjoys my work that is a total BONUS!

There are more changes happening behind the scenes, which mostly relate me being able to organise and prioritise my time better. The biggest change is that I am retiring the Vampires Revealed website. All the important stuff will be migrated here. To start with Character Bio’s have been moved.

For the first time in a very long time, I am back to writing. It feels so good to be with my characters again. Although I’m not sure they are going to be too happy with what I have in store from them.

 

 

Words for Words Sake

As many of you already know, my writing career started writing for newspaper. Fresh out of high school I was offered a cadetship with the local paper and I jumped at the chance. However a chronic health condition (which I still suffer from) stopped me from pursuing journalism as a career.

The reason I mention this is writing for newspaper and writing fiction are two distinctly different styles.

Back when I was working on the newspaper my Editor was a complete Nazi (in a good way). He drilled into me the prinicples of reporting and to stick to the facts, quote verbatim, do not editorialise. It was my job to report the story accurately and objectively, not to add colour, embellish or spout my opinion. Writing fiction on the other hand, is all about painting a story; making it come alive in the readers mind.

A few days ago while surfing the net, I’d like to say I was researching but the truth is I was procrastinating, I came across a review of both Vampires Revealed and Desires Revealed by the same reviewer.  Their single complaint about both books was they were too short.

This is not the first time I’ve seen a reader complain they wish one or both of my books were longer. But I can assure you, it has forced me to take a good hard look at myself and my writing. I think it’s fair to say that to a certain extent I am still struggling to move past the rules of writing for newspaper and to embrace the style of writing fiction.

While I am now acutely aware of my habit of being overly succint, I will not write more simply for the sake of reaching some arbitrary word count. I will always be aiming to write enjoyable stories and I will try to be mindful of adding more information where it is needed. But I will not write Words for Words Sake!

A Title Revealed

Portrait of young man.

Reseph – hero of the next book.

Originally it was planned that my next book would be titled “The Unseen Hand”. The story, plot and twists were all worked out, until…

Well once I started writing the characters took over. This is not unusual for me, all my characters become larger than life once I start writing them.

Anyway, Reseph was most insistent about what he thought to be the ‘important’ part of the story, so that is where the story has gone. I’m afraid to say the next book is now going to be quite different than I had originally planned. You’d think I’d learn from past experience and realise my characters will always take over.

So now that Reseph has jumped and down, yelled and screamed at me what he wants, I find have to rename my next book. It will now be called ‘Reseph Revealed’.

A pretty boring title if you ask me, but the decision was not mine; blame Reseph if you don’t like it. Anyone who wants to take issue with the choices of a 3000 year old Herashevn vampire is braver than me.

I will be posting to my Facebook page what was going to be the beginning of the Prologue to the original story. It’s very short, but I hope that you will enjoy it anyway.

For those of you who are patiently waiting for the release of the next book, you will be pleased to know that I have made significant progress; despite many, many distractions. Okay, I admit it, I’ve been wasting time playing games when I should have been writing. To be honest, I think I’ve been somewhat battling over whether or not to stick with my original plan for the story, or let it go the way Reseph wanted it. We all know who won that war. No matter, I’ve written about one third of the first draft and still plan on a release later this year.

If you are keen to know what is happening with the book you may want to ‘Like’ my Facebook page, as I occasionally posts lines from the book as I’m writing. It may, or may not as the case may be, give you some insight into where the story is heading or what is happening.

Chapter 8 has been taunting me for a little while, but I reckon I’ve got it sussed now so I better get back to the grindstone and pumping out those words.

{Guest} Anthony Sunderland

Why I Write by Anthony Sunderland

It is amazing when and where life changing moments can occur. There is no accounting for random acts that can drastically alter your life’s course or give you a purpose you could never have dreamed of previously.

My defining moment came about when I was watching the idiot box. I had always loved Buffy TVS, but the season one finale just totally blew me away. Sarah Michelle Gellar went through just about every emotion under the sun in a forty two minute tour de force.

I had seen other brilliant performances before and was a fan of several actors and liked to se everything that they were in, but until that moment I could never understand why so many people go nuts about any performer – whether actor, sportsperson, or musician.

I certainly couldn’t understand why people want to collect everything that celebrities appear on or put their names to. That’s not a confession that I went mad buying everything Buffy all of a sudden. I did want one of the lifesize cut outs but quite honestly was too tight to buy it. One large poster does have pride of place in my house. But that’s the lot, I swear!

I can’t remember exactly when that life changing decision occurred. Right then, the next day, or the next week, but something inside me clicked. I decided, or a passion awakened, that I wanted to write a screenplay as fantastic as the one I had witnessed. I wanted to write something so great that it would test Sarah Michelle’s incredible talent to its limit. Something so good that as soon as she read the script she would be begging to play the part.

If you had told me then how difficult it is to write a great screenplay, never mind how tough it is to sell it, then I would have probably ditched the foolish idea right there and then. Fortunately, or not, nobody did. It has been incredibly difficult to learn about the techniques of writing, and the technical aspects, formatting, presentation etc, and great fun. It has also been a time consuming and expensive education, but a choice I’ve never regretted.

I have written four full length big budget screenplays on spec. here’s another harsh lesson: nobody told me beforehand how expensive they are to produce.

So my next step was to look at producing a graphic novel as a web series. This was just before Hollywood started snapping up everything graphic novel and before the House of Mouse paid $billions for Marvel. See, I can think ahead of my time.

Unfortunately life got in the way. No excuses here. To some degree I let it. Looking back I wasn’t either focused enough or daring enough. Not willing to commit fully for fear of falling on my face.

I eventually found two enthusiastic art students at Calderdale College, Anna and Kelsey, who have produced some great design concepts. I found a very talented artist who could produce the exact look and feel that I wanted. His price of 20K for the project was reasonable, but he wanted half up front. A deal breaker.

After that I was promised the Earth by a group of designers who simple spent the next six months trashing and redoing the great concept artwork that I already had. Arghh!!

Up until this point I had ignored the Kindle although I had heard of some of the success stories. I still wanted to write for the screen, to describe images and have other people make them come alive.

Part of me remembered a piece of advice from a screen writing workshop regarding the difference between writing a screenplay and a novel. For the script you just need to write “A typical Bangkok whorehouse,” and then it is someone else’s job to create that exact set. For a novel you have to describe it, in as few words as possible, in such detail that your mother would grasp the feel and smell of the place without ever having stepped inside one.

No, I really didn’t fancy the idea of putting that much effort into writing a story.

So why have I ended up with four novella length stories published on the Kindle? Numbers 5 & 6 are on their way shortly. Because it is my passion to tell these stories. I won’t quit unless or until I have exhausted every possible avenue of producing and marketing them.

I may not be the fastest or most brilliant person at doing things, but I keep on going when all the easy pickings, and instant riches seekers have given up and moved on to pursue the next shiny object. I really hate giving up. I am still standing, battling to achieve my dream.

P.S. None of the characters in the two sci fi series I’ve published so far are inspired by Sarah Michelle Gellar.

About the Author

Anthony Sunderland – Sci Fi Writer

Anthony is an electrician living and working in Yorkshire in the UK. He was inspired to start writing after watching the seaon one finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

He likes watching and playing most sports from pool and snooker to football and badminton. He’ll try most extrme sports, including parachuting, bungee jumping, fire-eating, and is a qualified glider pilot. Diving with sharks and bungee jumping off a bridge or cable car are on the to do list.

Anthony has written four full length screenplays on spec and is publishing the Sci Fi epic ’59 and the Destiny’s Daughter alien mysterys series on the Kindle. His goal is to see his work on the big screen.

Find Anthony on Facebook

Connect with Anthony on Twitter

Fav Friday with Dennis Boyer

My 10 Favourite “Any” Things – Dennis Boyer

ELO – one of Dennis’s favourite things

When Rebeka invited me to participate in her blog she gave me several different options – a guest post, featuring my book, posting an author bio, etc.  But her invitation also included a subtle challenge, daring me to “be brave.”  Well, never one to back down from a challenge (I am super-competitive by nature), that was what I immediately responded to.  The challenge seemed simple enough – post your ten favorite “anythings”.  Should be a snap, I thought.  But as I gave the topic some thought, I began to realize this was indeed a heavy gauntlet I chose to pick up.  It’s pretty hard to limit oneself to just ten things when considering your all-time favorite things.  My first thought is to ignore the heavy stuff – you know my family, my relationship with God, the blessing of being born into a free society…  Instead I’ll present my favorites with the caveat that these are my favorite “frivolous” things.  The things which don’t necessarily have the most depth of meaning, but the simple things I find pleasure in.  Well, here’s my best crack at it – enjoy. Read the rest of this entry

Kobo: The Heavyweight Challenger?

Big news in the world of self-publishing. Interesting article and links to all relevant information.

Kobo: The Heavyweight Challenger?.

Update

Kobo has now released WritingLife from beta and is available for use now.

10 Rules For Writing By J.S. Wayne!

Great article from JS Wayne. There are more than a couple of rules I’ve broken.

10 Rules For Writing By J.S. Wayne!.

Are You Indie or Self-pubbed?

AKA – Why I hate self-publishers

Indie or self-pubbed: two sides of the same coin

I am going to be brave and outrageous and make a distinction that I doubt has been made before; the difference between an indie author and a self-published author. In addition, why I hate the latter.

The impact and effect of the digital revolution is far-reaching and the publishing industry is no exception. Companies such as Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble; making it easy for the 1000’s of rejected authors to finally see their work in print. (Albeit electronic print)

Anyone with any interest in non-traditional publishing has likely heard of authors such as Joe Konrath or Amanda Hocking; what about these folks? Barbara Freethy, Gemma Halliday or John Locke. These authors have all sold more than a million copies of their books. The success of these hard-working authors would not have been possible if not for the ebook publishing revolution.

The down side to this is the putrid avalanche of rubbish which is flooding the market, also as a direct result of e-publishing. You know the type of thing I’m talking about. Books that have covers slapped together using some dodgy (not meant to be used this way) program. Books that are seemingly immune to spellcheck. Books where the laws of physics, nature and grammar have been defied and abandoned.  Books where the formatting is a mangled jumble of font styles and sizes. (Here’s a tip, your writing is supposed to be creative, not the fonts you use.) Books, that let’s face it, should never have seen the light of day. These are the types of books I categorise as “self-published”. The creators (I refuse to acknowledge them as authors) of these books should be shot.

Self-publishers beware! Indies are gunning for you.

Indie authors on the other hand, focus on their craft; improving their writing and storytelling. Indie authors realise it’s their job to write a good story, but they will need help to produce a good book. They seek assistance and advice for editing, formatting and cover design. They consult colleagues and beta readers to identify strengths and weaknesses in their writing. All with the sole purpose of producing the best damn book they possible can.  Indies know and accept, that doing it yourself is not the easy route. They understand how incredibly hard it is to get noticed and achieve even moderate success.

Can you spot the difference?

Now you might be asking yourself what has prompted this hostility towards the brainless and talentless self-published writer.

Aside from the obvious obstacles and challenges faced by an author, these self-pubbers and their ramshackle offerings are having a devastating effect on perception towards non-traditional publishing and it’s authors.  Countless book reviewers will no longer accept any type of self-published work. They are tired of having to sort the wheat from the chaff, only to occasionally find something worth reading.  (The importance of book reviews will have to wait for another day.)

In an industry where the big boys already have a major advantage, as far as customer perception is concerned, we need to be nothing short of perfect if we want to sway readers. The incompetence and ineptitude of self-publishers guarantees that indies will, for the foreseeable future, continue to be viewed as pariahs of the publishing world.

Indie authors UNITE! Death to the self-publishers. Say goodbye to childish book covers, farewell to spelling and grammar errors. Let the revolution move forward. Together we can change the face of publishing. We can give readers fantastic stories at great prices AND keep control of our work.

So ask yourself – are you an indie?

RH Around Cyberspace @ Geek Goddess

Explaining why I choose to write about vampires,  is the subject covered in my guest post over at Body of Geek Goddess. You might be surprised by my motivation.  Check out the full article here:

Why I Write Vampires

Many thanks to Tracey (aka thriftygal) for sharing her space with me.

RH Around Cyberspace @ Hubpages

Adele Cosgrove-Bray asked the tough questions in a recent interview. Well maybe not that tough. For a glimpse inside the mind of vampire obsessed writer, check out the full interview on Hubpages.

Interview with writer Rebeka Harrington

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