Sunday, July 21, 2013

Update on writing

A busy week on the writing front. Infinite Diamond continues to sell at a decent rate, and I'm getting reviews back which is a first for me. I like reviews because it means somebody out there has taken the time to read my work. All the feedback I've had to date has been constructive and largely very positive. It's really good to know people are getting the feel I intended for work - fast paced, exciting and fun. It's easy to think it's right in your head but when someone comes along and confirms it independently it makes a huge difference. So if you have left a review, and you read this, this is for you: thank you very much.

Aside from Infinite Diamond, I've also relaunched Satisfaction: A Sociopathic Romance. This book hasn't sold anywhere near as well as Infinite Diamond, and I think the reason is that I haven't been able to find the market for it. Although I believe it's a good story and people will enjoy it, it doesn't sit anywhere as neatly as Infinite Diamond. That book is a clear sci-fi action adventure, and it's easy to market. Satisfaction is... well, it's a bit of everything: drama, suspense, comedy, romance, thriller... how do you pitch that?

The other issue with Satisfaction is that it has, or had, a lot of graphic sex and crude language. This alienated it from a large section of potential readers, but for the people who like that kind of thing, it wasn't graphic enough. I've read some 'erotica'. Wow. It's an interesting genre and definitely not one I'm aiming for, and Satisfaction really does not fit into it. So in a purely cynical move, I've excised the most graphic content and toned down a lot of the crudity. There's still cursing in there, but it's now more appropriate and purely contextual. I'm also pitching it as a contemporary romance. It will be interesting to see what this does for sales over the next few weeks.

Looking ahead, I have my final completed manuscript GhostWalker which I'm currently reviewing. This should be ready for publication by the end of the month. Once I have that out, I'll have three novels and three short stories published. Considering that until I got married I never let anybody read anything I wrote, this is pretty remarkable for me. Even if my writing career goes nowhere, I have at least achieved something with my life and nothing will ever change that.

Thanks as always

- Paul

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Infinite Diamond - an update and future plans

Well, this is a surprise. Following my promotion on KDP Select last week, Infinite Diamond has been selling at a steady pace. A week ago, I was about ready to give up writing, but this has made me change my mind.

It's the strangest feeling in the world to know there are complete strangers out there willing to pay to read a book I wrote. It's extremely odd, and I keep expecting to wake up and for it to all be a cruel dream, like that time that I owned a lightsaber.

I'm hoping that people like the book and that there's an appetite for more, so I'm working hard to get GhostWalker ready for publication. That story is a quasi-prequel to Infinite Diamond; it's an unrelated story but it's set in the same universe, and anyone who had ready ID will recognize a few familiar faces cropping up in the final act of the story.

Beyond that, I'm working on the first draft of The Eye of Andromeda, one of two direct sequels to ID. It follows the Fox brothers a few months after the events of ID, as they return to their work at Megisti and dive into a fresh adventure that brings them face to face with new challenges. It's another fast paced adventure that will appeal to readers of ID. I would like to publish it by the end of the year, but I'm going to have to pull my finger out to do that.

Until then, keep reading and all the best.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Piggy in the middle

This is going to be a long post, so grab a drink and some food if you want to delve into the insanity it contains.


I don't usually blog about things that happen in my life. I write about my writing on the whole, but something happened to me last week that was so strange I had to write it down otherwise people would never believe it.

I have a friend, who for the sake of this post I will call Debbie. Debbie lives back in England, and I used to go to school with her. I kind of fell out of touch with her over the years but then we reconnected through Facebook, as I'm sure many people did. After that, we became Twitter friends, and that's where this craziness really kicked off.

Over time, I started to suspect that Debbie was a bit odd. She wasn't in any kind of stable relationship, despite being in her thirties. She was obsessed with boy bands, and boys in general. All her crushes were on people at least 10 years younger than her, but that in itself wasn't a bad thing. The thing that seemed odd to me was that she would get very attached to people online, through Twitter and various other outlets, and these people were clearly just using her. I pointed this out to her and even though she acknowledged that I was right, it made no difference. She just carried on. Sometimes she met these people and sometimes she didn't, but all these relationships ended the same way - in tears.

One of these people she grew attached to was called Bernie (also not his real name). Bernie was a bit of a player, and clearly had a string of women that he was carrying on with. Debbie and Bernie would meet up to 'have fun', but only when it suited Bernie. The rest of the time he would ignore Debbie and leave her pining, or even go out of his way to drive her away, until her turn came around again, at which point she would ignore all the preceding shit and dutifully answer his call.

That arrangement went on for a while, and she would moan to me that he was using her, but she wouldn't, or couldn't, give it up. I don't know why. Whether the physical side of things outweighed the outright shitiness, I couldn't say. I tried to stay detached, and I did for a long time, but last week I got well and truly dragged into the mess.

The problem arose because a new little fishy entered the pond. A younger, prettier fishy that was clearly a threat to Debbie's position as the easy lay. Debbie got wind of the new fishy through Snapchat. Now after playing around with Snapchat thanks to Debbie's recommendation, I can only conclude that it is the most devious and troublesome app ever invented. It allows you to send a photo with a brief caption that the receiving person can only view for a couple of seconds, and then it disappears. It's clearly designed for sending intimate or downright dubious images. When my wife found it on my phone, she was not impressed, because she automatically assumed that it was there for nefarious reasons. I explained that it was only there because of Debbie, but even then she was still highly dubious. It's safe to say that this caused some heated discussions between us.

All of the above gives you a bit of background to the events that will fill the rest of this post. What I'm going to do now is transcribe some of the text of the conversations I had, so I can show you how quickly things can spiral out of control. The whole conversation took place over roughly a 12 hour period, starting around 6.45PM in the evening EST, or 11.45 BST.

I had texted Debbie to say hi and ask how things were. Sometimes she wrote back, and sometimes she didn't. I always knew if she wrote back with more than a couple of words that there was a crisis in progress, so right from the off I knew something was going on.

Here's what kicked it off:

DEBBIE: I'm a million % convinced that everything internet based is pure evil designed to drive you to the loony bin!!! Snapchat is KILLING me at the moment haha!! I'm obsessing over people's points!! Really not good :/ Oh & I'm currently trying to stalk some random young girl & failing miserably!!! Bad!!

At this point I should have said nothing, but I was sat at home alone and I was bored so I asked:

ME: Who are you stalking? And why?

DEBBIE: Bernie's turned weird on me and I'm kinda convinced his gf dumped him and I'm kinda convinced its from Snapchat. He's completely cut me off and I think it's cos I'm his 'best friend' on SC... guess the gf questioned him and rightly so... plus an odd random girls name appeared on his list. She overtook his gf and her sister & isn't budging. I'm not stupid, I know what's going on there. All I know is she's 18 and lives here. Asked a few random guys if they'd message her to find out who she is but they refused and it's driving me INSAAANNNEEE!!!

Okay, at this point I really should have got on the boat with all the random guys and sailed off into the distance but my interest was now piqued. Plus I was bored. I read this message as being a cry for help in her stalking quest...

ME: What's her name?

DEBBIE: She's XXXXXXXXXXXX (that's redacted, CIA style, so don't try looking for that name because even if that exists, it's not her). He still seems to be snapchatting her which fucks me off massively!!! I text him today to ask what was wrong he said nothing that he was tired & busy & he's not ignoring me so I asked a question & yeah he never replied!!! Complete fucker!!!! SCREEEAMMMM!!!! He makes no sense AT ALL!!!! He's worse than a woman!

This got alarm bells ringing for me. Surely it's obvious why he wasn't replying to Debbie? The guy was completely using her! Why couldn't she see that, accept it and move on? Isn't that what most people would do? The problem with Debbie is she doesn't listen to this kind of common sense. I've tried it with her before and it makes no difference. There's no point trying to be reasonable, so....

ME: I'll add her but I doubt she will accept me. Plus she will see you're the only person on my friend's list and figure it out in one second unless she's thick as two short planks.

DEBBIE: Ooh delete me! I'll delete you then you can Snapchat her! Yes perfect!! But make sure my name is off your friends list or it will be obvious.

ME: I'll delete you now.

DEBBIE: I deleted u... Hv I gone off ur list???

ME: I deleted you so I can't tell. I don't even know what to say to this girl.

At this point I need to hold up my hand and take responsibility for some of the ensuing mess. I have no idea how to work Snapchat or look at who's friends with who. I just wanted to message this girl out of morbid curiosity, and to alleviate my boredom. In retrospect, I should have waited for the all clear from Debbie, but I'd deleted her so I figured I was good to go. I added the new fishy to my Snapchat, took a black picture and put a caption that said 'hi there' and pressed send. I expected that to be the end of it. If someone I don't know sent me a random message, I'd just block them and ignore them. Isn't that normal? Well, not for this girl. A moment later, she wrote back with a black photo asking, 'who's this?'

ME: She messaged me asking who it is.

DEBBIE: Haha!! Hv I gone off ur friends list? U should have 'best friends' at the top.

ME: You're not on there. I'll give her two minutes to block me.

DEBBIE: Haha! I really need to check you're not on my friends list. His Snapchats just went up so he's on there now. I'm convinced he's with her now. Just reply and say you're a random looking for friends.

That seemed a bit odd to me. Maybe I'm too old for this game. But I did what she said and told this girl I was a random. She asked to see my face, which seemed reasonable, so I showed her. At that point, I expected to be blocked, but no. She kept asking questions. She was suspicious. She started asking me who had put me up to contacting her. At the same point, Debbie discovered that I was still on her friends list on Snapchat and started to panic.

DEBBIE: Fuuuuccckkkkk!!!!

ME: See it's not going to work is it

DEBBIE: I thought I'd disappear!! Let me block you, see if that works.

ME: I'm having a chat with this girl, I told her a friend of mine wanted to get to know her better. It's shit, best thing I could come up with.

It really was a shit cover story, and one that didn't work well at all.

DEBBIE: That's cool!! Is she chatting back? I'm trying to block you but it won't let me!

ME: Yeah, she is. No pics but she wants to know what the hell is going on.

DEBBIE: It won't let me delete you! Is she getting shitty?

ME: No she's just curious and wants to know what's going on.

DEBBIE: Just tell her you're a random.

Now this is the point where things started to go wrong.

ME: She asked if it was Bernie's gf asking who she is.


ME: Yeah this is a bit fucked up. She said she doesn't know Bernie.

Clearly this little fishy had a guilty conscience, but I wasn't there to pass judgement.

DEBBIE: She clearly does know him haha!!  WAAAA I WISH I COULD SEEEEE!!! His has just gone up so I think she's on to him as well... what's happening??

ME: I don't feel good doing this.

DEBBIE: Stop and block her.

That was the first and last sensible thing Debbie said. I should have done just that, but I didn't. I was having two parallel conversations, one recorded, one not, and I felt bad for this other girl who was clearly getting alarmed by the situation.

ME: She wants to know who put me up to this. I haven't said but she's going to figure it out.

DEBBIE: What have you said to that?? Tell her she's crazy and paranoid!! How can she hv jumped to that conclusion so quick?!?! Everyone gets randoms chatting to them. She's blatantly seen my name hasn't she :/

ME: Well she just asked if its Debbie so this hasn't gone all that well.

ME: Now she asked if it's Fiona (another fake name)

DEBBIE: Who the fuck is Fiona? Tell her you added me as a friend but I wouldn't talk to you. Tell her you added Fiona too. Confuse her!

ME: Yeah but now I'm gonna sound like a complete stalker!! I'm just playing dumb and saying nothing.

DEBBIE: Yeah but that's better than her knowing that it's me!!

Now this was about 90 minutes into this three way exchange with me acting as piggy in the middle, and I was starting to feel really uncomfortable. Clearly Debbie had no compunction about throwing her friend into the line of fire, which made me feel pretty shitty and made me side more with this random girl than with Debbie, who was starting to look a bit unstable to me.

ME: He's going to figure it out surely? Unless he thinks its Fiona?

DEBBIE: That's what I want him to think!! Anyone but me!! How did she get on to him in the first place?? She's definitely on to him right now... ohh Fiona is his gf's sister! Stupid me!!

ME: This girl knew Bernie has a gf. She asked if it was his gf behind it.

DEBBIE: Just out of the blue? She's either paranoid or obsessed!! Says me hahaha!!!

ME: It sounds like Bernie is surrounded by a web of paranoia and trouble.

DEBBIE: What's she saying?

ME: She wants to know what I want out of all this.

DEBBIE: Huh? She doesn't sound very bright does she!! Is she like 12??

This went on for a while, with Debbie quizzing me while mystery girl was also asking me questions on Snapchat, trying to figure out what was going on. A couple of times she asked outright if it was Debbie behind it, and I told her that I couldn't say, that I was just the messenger and that I was sorry I had gotten involved. I felt bad for her and wanted to tell her what was going on, but that would have meant betraying my friend and I couldn't do that. Eventually mystery girl gave up and said she was going to bed. At that point I figured I was off the hook and I could relax and walk away. This had been going on for over two hours, it was the early hours in England and I was ready for it to stop. I was glad when mystery girl left, but that still left me getting interrogated by Debbie for several more hours. I won't bore you with that; instead I'll jump ahead several hours to when the Snapchat friends lists updated and I disappeared from Debbie's list and she finally thought she had removed any evidence of her involvement. This point came at 11.00PM, or 4.00AM BST

DEBBIE: Well thankkkuuu a million billion times for that crazy crazy.... er what do you call it? Hmm no idea but you know what I mean! Ul hv to snapchat her random shit to keep in contact

ME: I'm going to delete her! I don't want crazy people snapchatting me! I'll delete the app. I don't even use it. Oh and the word you are looking for is 'stalking'

I was tired and irritated by this point.

DEBBIE: Please don't delete it, then it will all come back on me :(

ME: How will it come back on you?

DEBBIE: Can u just leave it a day or 2... pleeeeeeeaaassseeee????

I should have deleted it.

ME: I guess but I don't see what difference it makes, how can they know who was involved

DEBBIE: It had my name all over it last night... but now its gone I want him to see that. Just looks a bit better now I think :/

ME: What do you want out of all this? To scare this other girl off or to get Bernie?

DEBBIE: I don't want either! Just wanted to know what was going on so I knew I wasn't being strung along

ME: He's obviously stringing you along since you met him.

DEBBIE: I know I'm half asleep I don't know why I said that haha

Because it's bullshit, that's why.

DEBBIE: A young girl living here just didn't sit well.

ME: Too close to home?

DEBBIE: Yeah all the others have been miles away and older so they were only text stuff. She's 18 or whatever.

ME: You need a decent man in your life. And she said she was 25

DEBBIE: I doubt very much she's 25. I don't need any man!! Seriously!! I need a friend with benefits but I end up with a pervy nutcase! She's no more 25 than I am. Her friends on snapchat are 16/17/18

ME: Why would she say she was 25 then?

DEBBIE: If she thought you were me or Fiona she would lie to throw you off wouldn't she?

ME: Will you be pissed off if he dumps you?

DEBBIE: How can he dump me if there's nothing going on?

ME: Okay if he gets his benefits elsewhere?

DEBBIE: He was getting benefits from his gf anyway so... He's only cut me off since she fucked him off & understandably.

Yeah, Debbie is classy. Sleeping with him behind his girlfriend's back and that doesn't phase her in the slightest. This back and forth went on for a while, until 4am my time. Eventually I'd had enough and wanted sleep. My brain was frazzled. I settled down to sleep and checked my phone one last time.

There was a message on Snapchat.

It was mystery girl.

That surprised me. I hadn't expected to ever hear from her again, but what surprised me was that no more than 30 seconds after the snapchat arrived I had a message from Debbie...

DEBBIE: Has she sc'd u?!!!

ME: Yeah a minute ago. How did you know that?

That message got my back up. Now I was being stalked! This was getting ridiculous! I didn't want anything to do with either of them, I just wanted to go to sleep.

DEBBIE: I just refreshed. What did she say?

ME: She said she was going to meet Bernie today but now she's not thanks to my friend Debbie.

DEBBIE: WHAT???!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ME: Her words

DEBBIE: Please please tell her you don't know me :( he'll go crazy at me :(

ME: She knows somebody is behind it

DEBBIE: Yeah but she can't think me. Please :( tell her u swear u don't know Debbie

ME: Okay

DEBBIE: Say Debbie blocked u.

She switched to third person. I thought that was a bit odd, like she was in denial and was talking about someone else rather than her.

DEBBIE: Ask if she knows who Fiona is. 

DEBBIE: I think I'm going to be sick :(

ME: I said you blocked me but doesn't that kind of suggest you were behind it?

DEBBIE: Did u say u tried messaging me but i ignored u & blocked u

ME: No I said I didn't know what was going on.

DEBBIE: Say u tried for days which might explain why I was on ur list but never replied ever

ME: This is getting stupid

DEBBIE: I know!! Please just say u tried but I never replied. Ask if she knows who I am. Pleeeassseeee.

ME: She's on to you Debbie. She asked when you put me up to this.

It was now 4.30AM my time, and things were getting stupid. On one hand, I had a random stranger who had clearly worked out what was going on, even though she didn't know who I had. On the other hand, I had Debbie having a near panic attack at the thought of what this guy would do when he found out about her snooping around in his business via third parties.

Maybe I should have had more sympathy for Debbie, but by this point I didn't care. She wanted to pin it all on this other girl Fiona. She was layering lie on lie to try and get herself as far away from things and she was using me as a scapegoat so she could carry on with her sordid little affair.

I'd had enough, and made the crazy suggestion of telling the random girl the truth and he would understand eventually. Debbie was far from impressed by this idea.

DEBBIE: No way, seriously it's nothing like that with me and him. I can't cope with this, seriously please don't do this to me. I'm done if you tell her the truth.

ME: What were you expecting when all this started? This is just stupid

DEBBIE: But you can tell her she's wrong. I can't believe u wanna land me in it.

ME: I don't, that's the last thing I want.

At this point I told the random girl a new story that I hoped would solve things for Debbie, even though she barely deserved saving in my eyes. I said that there was a miss X involved, who wanted me to pin everything on Debbie to cover her own tracks. Mystery girl seemed to buy into this, but still wanted to know who miss X was. Debbie was still panicking at this point...

ME: If he's this bad why did you even want to do this?

DEBBIE: I only wanted to know who she was. Nothing wrong with that. I didn't ask for any of this.

Personally I don't agree with her sentiment, but there you go.

DEBBIE: U want her to think its me & I don't know why u'd do that.

I lost my temper at this point.

ME: Oh for fuck's sake. Why would I want her to think it's you? Don't be bloody ridiculous. I'm sitting here trying to fix this mess and protect you at 5AM. Don't give me that shit!

DEBBIE: She added me on Snapchat. For fucks sake. I need to be gone. I can't face any of this.

ME: Well I guess I'm wasting my time then.

DEBBIE: This is the worst. Is she still there?

ME: I've told her Miss X is using you as cover. So you can deny everything. Simple.

Around then mystery girl un-added Debbie from Snapchat, at which point Debbie began to believe that my cover story was working. I could literally sense her coming back down to earth and recovering from her mild panic attack, but as she did she just switched back into stalker mode again.

DEBBIE: She's blatantly 12!!!

ME: No, she's not. She's a nice looking girl in her 20s.

DEBBIE: What's she saying now?

ME: She wants to know the name of miss X

DEBBIE: So has she told u whats with him & her then?

ME: No she hasn't and I'm not asking. I'm about to quit talking to her and I want nothing more to do with this fucking insanity.

DEBBIE: Wish I could see what she looks like. Have you got a camera there to take a pic???

For fuck's sake.

ME: NO. How would I even do that? I'm sat in bed. She's a nice looking girl in her 20's. Now your spaz is over you're back in nosey mode. You bloody women are all the same. I don't know why people get divorced and remarried. Like the next one's going to be different.

She then started sending me pictures of the mystery girl, which she found on Bernie's Facebook page. I found that unsettling. If I'd been mystery girl and knew this, I'd have freaked the fuck out. If you are mystery girl and you read this, hi. I'm not coming to kill you. I can't say the same for Debbie, though.

ME: Okay stop stalking now.

Right at that moment, Bernie texted her to ask: Something u wanna tell me???? Snapchatting someone whos on my list..

DEBBIE: I knew she'd tell him I fuckin knew it!!!!!!!!!

Debbie then went on to tell Bernie that some psycho had been stalking her and causing all this trouble. By that, she meant me. Frankly, at that point, I was done. I sent a few more messages through the day checking on Debbie, asking her what had happened. It turned out Bernie cut her off, and blocked her completely. I can't say I'm surprised. Despite saying that she had no interest in this guy, and only a passing interest in the mystery girl, she was clearly lying on both counts. Once my part was played, I was suddenly dumped to one side. I ended up blocking Debbie and cutting off contact. Mystery girl blocked me, never having found out who Miss X was.

I guess I had a part to play in this mess. I wasn't invested in Debbie's game and I didn't think what she was doing was right, whichever way you looked at it. I was the wrong person to message mystery girl. I didn't go out of my way to drop Debbie in it, but mystery girl was not the 12 year old bimbo that Debbie was picturing. She was a bright, switched on girl who figured things out pretty quickly on her own. Clearly she had a guilty conscience about getting up to whatever she was getting up to with Bernie, and it was that that triggered off the nights events and ultimately brought an end to Debbie's fun.

I hope she's okay, I really do. I don't agree with what she was up to, but it's not my place to judge her. I know she pins the blame for Bernie dumping her squarely on me, but at no point did she want to admit that she was in the wrong with any of her actions. If she had, maybe I'd have come up with a better cover story. Maybe my views clouded my judgement and I subconsciously wanted her to stop messing around with a guy who was hurting not only his girlfriend but Debbie and who knows how many other girls. I didn't make a deliberate decision for that to happen, but maybe a part of me wanted it to.

The upshot is, if you need someone to do your dirty work for you, I'm definitely not your guy.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

More needly things

My last post was a moan about self publishing and what an utter pain in the arse it is trying to get reviews of your work. My theory is, and I might be completely wrong here, that reviews equal sales, and good reviews equal great sales. Getting those reviews is proving really hard, though.

The promotion for my second published novel Infinite Diamond ended last night, and I've looked at the figures in comparison to my first novel Satisfaction.


pre-promotion sales: 1  ::  reviews: 0

promotional (free copies) sales: 472  ::  reviews: 0

post-promotional sales (so far): 0  ::  reviews: 0


pre-promotion sales: 1  ::  reviews: 0

promotional (free copies) sales: 333  ::  reviews: 0

post-promotional sales (so far): 0  ::  reviews: 0

So I can see that I shifted a few more copies of Infinite Diamond than Satisfaction over the same period, but not enough to say that it's all that different. And in terms of reviews and sales, there's no difference at all. I can't even say giving away free copies is worth it because it doesn't seem to generate sales. I guess I can wait a month or so and see what happens but at the moment I'm a bit baffled. Of course, one possibility is that my books are just a load of boring crap that nobody wants to read. To my mind, that's the most obvious explanation.

I'll keep checking back on my sales (or lack thereof) over the next few months while I prepare my next novel Ghostwalker for publication. Maybe something will happen. I'll probably lose all control of my bladder if it does.

Thanks as always,

- Paul

INFINITE DIAMOND (sci-fi action adventure novel)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The proverbial needle in a haystack

I've just published my second novel, Infinite Diamond, on Amazon. As with Satisfaction, I enrolled this book in KDP Select as it gives me access to the widest possible reader base. It also allows me to promote the book by giving away free copies for 5 days out of every 90 days. I figured this would be useful to get copies of my books out there and to generate some form of interest. The logic seems to be that you give away so many books that a groundswell of interest is created that then translates into sales once the promotion ends. It also gives people a chance to leave reviews, which in turn generate sales.

Neither of these things seem to have happened.

Now I will freely admit to being a complete novice at this self-publishing lark, but I kind of imagined that there would be a little more post-promotion activity. In short, here's whats happened with Satisfaction:

pre-promotion sales: 1  ::  reviews: 0

promotional (free copies) sales: 333  ::  reviews: 0

post-promotional sales (so far): 0  ::  reviews: 0

The promotion ended a couple of weeks ago, so what this tells me is that giving away free copies does nothing to help sales or reviews. Even one review from 333 copies would be less than 0.3% of the readership showing enough interest to say, "Yeah, I liked it," or "Wow, I wouldn't even use this as toilet paper in an emergency."

This is frustrating and also baffling.

Being a logical minded sort of person, I've decided to follow the same method with Infinite Diamond, so I can do some kind of analysis. Maybe the first book just wasn't what's popular right now, or maybe I'm doing something completely wrong? I don't know, but by putting my second title through the same process I'll be able to see any trends that develop.

The promotion for Infinite Diamond is currently underway, and it ends on June 28th, so I'll update this post then. In the meantime, I'm going to stare at my computer hitting refresh every thirty seconds in the hope that something, anything, changes. It's kind of like eBay, only more personal.

If you're interested, below are links to Infinite Diamond.

Thanks as always,

- Paul

INFINITE DIAMOND (sci-fi action adventure novel)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Shameless, unadulterated plugging

I haven't done much in the way of writing for a few months. I've been busy with my photography, which has been going very well, and I haven't had any time to sit down and put pen to paper (or more accurately, fingers to keys).

Last week I published my third short story, Stormfront. This one is a small slice of space opera, and it is so far my most successful story. I have no idea why. I don't know if it's a popular genre, if it's being listed in the right category or if it's got an interesting cover. Whatever the reason, it's selling faster than anything else I've written.

To date all the stories I've published have been unrelated and, for the most part, from different genres. I do tend to lean more towards sci-fi. I can't help it; it's what I like. The upcoming novels I have ready to sell are a thriller and a sci-fi action adventure. I can't publish them until I have them proofread and I can't do that without paying for the service. I need to shift about 1,000 copies of my stories to fund any more novels. I really like the stories and I want to publish them. It's just going to take some time.

So in order to push my work, I'm listing the links to all my stories, both on Amazon and Smashwords. The first half of all the stories are available for free; if you want to know how they finish, it will cost you 99c for each. That's it.

SATISFACTION (confessional adult thriller, novel - definitely not for kids!)

STORMFRONT (sci-fi short story, space opera)

TRICKSTER (confessional short story)

TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES (sci-fi short story)

Please do check these out, and if you like them, let me know. If you hate them, let me know too. I can take it.

- Paul

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Get over it

Last Saturday I photographed my first gay wedding. I didn't know it was a gay wedding until I was on my way; I found out when the other photographer I was meeting texted to let me know there would be two brides. My reply was simply, 'Oh, ok.'

It seems a bit strange to me but apparently a lot of people were freaked out by this wedding. The venue I shot at doesn't want any publicity about it. Other people have made comments about how you need 'an open mind' and 'a big heart' to deal with such an event.

For fuck's sake. This is the 21st century. Who cares? If two people love each other and want to make the same lifelong commitment as anyone else, why shouldn't they be allowed to? Who gives a shit what they want to do with each other? Don't give me that shit about it being in the Bible. So is stoning people for having affairs and if we enforced that one then most of the people I know would be dead.

Honestly I was totally unfazed by the whole event. I did notice that there was no first kiss or much smooching at all during the event. I'm sure this was done deliberately so as not to offend some of the older relatives that were there. Some people don't like things that make them awkward or uncomfortable shoved in their face. I get that, so kudos to the brides for making that decision. That level of thoughtful planning just makes me all the more irritated that people are being all self-righteous about the event. Part of me wishes they had put on some kind of BDSM routine for their first dance or invited all the single guys up to play the soggy biscuit game in the middle of the dancefloor. It was really a very tasteful, well organized and sanitized almost to the point of blandness event. In short, there was nothing to offend anyone, which is why people being offended by it is bugging me so much. Get over it, old people. The fact is, you signed contracts with a client, so you can't suddenly get all fussy about it because people are gossiping about it. Grow some love spuds and stand up for yourselves. People will respect you far more for it.

As you may be able to tell, bigotry and downright ignorance are a couple of things that irritate me immensely. I'm not pro-gay rights or anti-old, stupid white people. I just don't see why people care so much about other people's lives. In short, get over it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

If you go down to the woods today...

Today is quite an important day for me. After a few (20) years of fiddling around with writing, starting stories and forgetting to finish them and coming up with ideas that never make it beyond a scrap of paper, I finally published a novel.

I say published in the loosest possible sense. E-published I suppose is more accurate. It's the future you know; ebooks supposedly make up 30% of book sales in the US now. To me though, unless you can hold a book in your hand, it's just not the same.

I suppose I shouldn't be talking like that, because it's demeaning what I've achieved. I wrote a book. A real book, that doesn't exist anywhere else in the world. Nobody else wrote that story, or created those characters. It all came from me. It's unique. It means I have left a mark on the world, no matter how small or insignificant it might be. Nobody can ever take that away.

I've no idea how this publishing thing is going to go. A large part of me believes it will fall flat on it's face and go nowhere and it will just become some kind of embarrassing side note to my life that's better left forgotten. A small part of me thinks it might just be the start of something amazing.

The thing is, I know my writing isn't that bad. There's no reason my book shouldn't sell, and there's no reason I shouldn't be able to publish the other two manuscripts I have completed this year. There's no reason I shouldn't be able to write the five stories I have in development at the moment. In another couple of years I could have published 8 books. That would be a dream come true, particularly if they became self-sustaining and generated enough revenue so that I could write and make a decent living, but I know that's just a dream for now.

Incidentally, the book I published today is Satisfaction: A Sociopathic Romance. I published a large chunk of an earlier draft on this blog a while ago. It's still there if you wanted to take a look. If you wanted to buy a copy of the finished version and compare the two, then you know that would be very nice of you.

For the first month, Satisfaction is available at 50% off, just $1.49, with the following coupon: MH93C. It's valid until March 1st 2013. You can find my book here: It will also be on Amazon in the next day or two.

Who knows where this will lead. Somewhere? Nowhere? Round and round in circling futility? Your guess is as good as mine.

Thanks for reading


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Evolution of a story: GhostWalker

This week, I finished reviewing the latest and what I hope is the final version of my novel GhostWalker, which I first conceived of and wrote in 1993, when I was 18. It was initially written as a screenplay and it was appalling: laughable dialogue and phenomenally bad plotting meant that, in retrospect, it was unintentionally hilarious. That initial version only exists as a hard copy sitting in a folder under a bed somewhere in England. I need to get it back one of these days.

Between that version in 1993 and the version of the story that exists now, some twenty years later, I made numerous attempts to rewrite the story. The amount of effort I put into the story is a testament not only to how incredibly awful that first version was (I'm not even exaggerating here; when I do finally get my hands on that original copy, I'll scan it and upload so you can see for yourself) but also that at the heart of the tale lay a pretty good action adventure.

Honestly, I've been toying around with this story for so long that I've lost track of when I started to rewrite it again and how the plot and characters began to evolve. Apart from the first missing draft, I think I still have all the subsequent versions. The problem is they were written on so many platforms that there was never any version control and numerous copies and saves has wiped out any trace of when they were first written.

Based on a bit of deduction and memory (the latter of which can best be described as hazy), I think I began rewriting the story at around the 10 year anniversary mark, in 2003. This would make sense, firstly because 10 years seems like a logical time to revisit a long dead story, and secondly because at that time I was living with my ex, not having a great time and I would avoid reality by sitting behind a computer screen and working either on college assignments or this story.

If I ever do publish the finished version of GhostWalker, which I fully intend to do this year, and it's successful, and there's interest, I'd like to publish an essay on how the story evolved, both for my own satisfaction and also as a guide to other writers struggling with their creations. The amount of work that's gone into the story far outweighs any financial benefit that it could ever bring me, but on the other hand it's been an incredible learning exercise on how not to write a story.

So, and this is really for my sake than anyone else's, I've decided to try and map out the various iterations of this story and figure out where the story changes occurred.  As to why I made the changes, I can't be sure. I can only assume that as I re-read each version I realized that some elements - characters, pacing, structure - didn't feel right and I altered things until the general pace and atmosphere of the story matched my imagination. It's fair to say that where the story is 20 years after it was originally conceived is so far removed that the two stories are hardly recognizable.

My first pass at sorting out the mess is to figure out the order all the drafts hang together. This has taken me about four hours to do, but I think I have it. 20 years of labor and several hours of headscratching has resulted in the following list:

 A              1993       -
 1               2003       42
 2               2005*     44      
 3               2005*     43
 4               2005       35
 5               2006       79
 6               2006       92
 7               2006       108
 8               2010       105
 9               2011       79
10              2012       83

This bit of organization threw up a couple of interesting things. Firstly, although I have 10 different drafts, there are some which are minor and only five that have substantial changes: drafts 1, 5, 6, 7 and 9 have the major alterations. The biggest change was between 8 and 9. By draft 8 the story had become a boring, bloated mess. A year after writing it I tore it apart and completely rebuilt the first half of the story as draft 9, changing it from a interminably boring opus into what it was supposed to be in the first place: fun and exciting. Draft 10 rewrote the second half of the story.

Rather like draft 8, this blog post has become overlong and far too dull. I'm bored of writing this now, so I'll stop. If you want to hear more, a) let me know and b) get a life.