Sunday, 19 June 2011

Excerpts from the second book

Hi - this week I thought you'd like to read a couple of excerpts from the second book which I'll be publishing in a few weeks. This time the action takes place in the forest when Burly, Grum and Max meet up for a picnic and run into a couple of hunters, Captain Quentin Tee and Tyre, his sidekick. 

...The deer stepped out into the clearing. She had a dappled honey brown coat and delicate features; she walked daintily past them to the water's edge and lowered her head to sip the water.
“Oh wow,” said Max quietly, “this is such a cool place.”
Burly nodded his head and smiled. “It certainly is,” he replied. “Now, I think we should just carry on but be just a bit quiet so we don’t frighten her.”
They continued their picnic. “Here,” said Max, “do you want a peanut butter sandwich Burly, mum always makes way too many.”
Burly sniffed it with his snout and popped it in his mouth. “Mmmm, good,” he mumbled, “crunchy.”
“The only way to go,” said Max. “Smooth peanut butter is rubbish.”
The deer finished drinking and shook her head. Drops of water plinked into the river.
“She's beautiful,” said Max.
“Why thank you,” replied the deer.
Max dropped his sandwich. “She.... it... just spoke...”
Grum sniggered. “Any reason why she shouldn't? You've been talking to a bear and groblin for a few weeks now.”
“I suppose you’ve got a point,” muttered Max picking up his sandwich and flicking off the bits of dirt. “Why was I even surprised?”
The deer walked daintily towards them. “Hello,” she said and lifted her nose to sniff the air. “Are those peanut butter sandwiches you're eating? They smell good.”
“Here you can have one,” offered Max.
“Smooth or crunchy?”
“Ah, thank you, but I prefer smooth.”
Burly laughed out loud at the expression on Max’s face.
“You want some crispy fried earwigs instead?” asked Grum.
The deer flicked her ears and looked around. “I must be going,” she said politely. “Good day,” and she disappeared quietly into the wood.
“Wow,” said Max, “that was really cool. And odd. Cool and odd. And weird.”
“The forest,” said Burly, “is all those things, now come on you two, let’s get looking for something to take back for Mike.” ....

Max felt his heart beating wildly and he hurried along next to Burly who was moving quickly through the forest. Grum sprang into action and tried to cover up the fact a bear that weighed a ton and was the size of a small house had walked that way. “Give me the easy job why don’t you,” he muttered as he looked at the trail of broken branches and squashed vegetation behind them.

Burly was thinking hard as he walked. It was only a matter of time before the hunters found their tracks and he had to get Max and Grum to safety. He made a decision and stopped.
“Grum,” he called.
Grum’s face appeared behind a bush he’d been trying to make look natural. “What?” he asked tetchily holding large pieces of broken branch in each hand.
“The hunters,” said Burly. “They’re after me, not you. We got to split up - take Max back to groblin territory and then make sure he gets home safely, and I’ll lead them away. Do you understand?”
Max’s eyes immediately filled with tears. “No Burly! You can’t do that! We’ll come with you, we’ll lose them somehow!”
Burly looked at the trampled vegetation behind him and knew it was just a question of time. “Max,” he said gently. “Max, you have to do what I say. I’ll be alright I promise. You both promised you would do as I asked, now I’m asking you to leave. Grum, take Max.”
Grum’s face was pale, but he took Max’s arm.
“No!” shouted Max and held on to Burly’s fur.
“Max, I can move faster, I’ll stand a better chance without you, do you understand?”
Max wiped his nose. “Oh Burly...”
Come on,” said Grum, tugging Max’s arm. “We’ve got to go. Good luck Burly.” Grum turned quickly so Burly couldn’t see that he, too, was close to tears...

Sunday, 12 June 2011

A cunning plan!

Last week I wrote about thinking, planning and background research but 
this week my blog is going to be about taking action! I was galvanised by the members of the Writebulb group at our meeting yesterday who all seemed genuinely interested in the process of self-publishing and what I'm up to, so here I am - all spurred on and raring to go!
Here's my cunning plan:
First part: I'm going to finish book 2 of the Burly and Grum Tales by the end of this month. I'm still laughing and typing by the way so if nothing else I'm having a good time!  Once it's completed I'm going to download it onto Smashwords. Just before I do that, however, I am going to make Beyond the Forest (book 1) free to readers. 
Second part: I'm going to spend more quality time on forums (yes, even though I've confessed I'm not that great at forums!), for example, Kindle/Amazon and try to find the right platform for myself.
Third part: Continue to work with the wonderful Joanne at Born Free, try to get more feed back from parents about their view on ebooks and generally keep plugging away in the background. 
Fourth and most important part!: Keep a level head. Being successful is important to me but at the same time I have to think smart and not get too drawn into the emotion of it all. Why is success important?  Because I would love the opportunity to do something I love every day of my life and have it mean something (but still keep my day job because I do enjoy that as well), and also because I owe Rob Jones, the artist, big time! I would love him to get the recognition he deserves as an artist and also frankly, I'd love to be able to pay him!! So here's to the future and finding the right road to success!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

When Life Makes You Stop and Pause for Thought

This week I've been doing a lot of thinking. My journey on the road to being published is an interesting one and I'm gathering as much information as I can along the way. I didn't think I'd rise instantly to success, I knew it would mean hard work and that I would have low times. I now need to look objectively at where I am and take stock. The facts are:
1)  The children's e-book market is a tough one to crack. Most children don't own kindles or iPads, it has to be the parent who makes the decision. So question 1: how do I find mothers who are interested in the concept of e-books for children? I've got an ad on Netmums and EssexMum asking them their opinion on e-books but have not had much interest even though the book is free.  
2)  I'm discovering that although I enjoy networking, I'm useless at forums - in order to contribute in a way that adds value means you have to spend time doing it properly, read other authors' works, review books, etc. and that is time consuming. I work full time, commute, write, take care of a house and son and father, spend my evenings on the web, help run Writebulb - I can't find the time I need.  So my second question is: is there a way around this (apart from going back 20 years when I would have had the stamina to sustain that kind of commitment!)
3) The third fact I have to face is that people are not as excited as I am about how wonderful self-publishing is!  I want to tell the whole world!  I've written to local newspapers and radio sites, I've refreshed LinkedIn, learnt to tweet, I'm working with Born Free etc. etc.  I'm still missing something that is the key to grabbing their attention - what is it? 
Puzzle - life is a puzzle - I just have to get the right pieces in the right places and if anyone can offer advice as to which bit goes where then do please let me know!