New release! Saffina DESFORGES (writing as Stevie Jordan) & Karen Osborne – INDIGO KIDS – Part Four: CECI

Yup, you heard right – another new release! ;-)

CECI ia awake…

IndigoCeci_CVR_LRG

Ceci has never had much of anything. Growing up on the mean streets of Brazil, he has fought every day of his short life – a life that is soon to come to an end…or is it? When Ceci wakes up in an empty operating theatre in Buenos Aires with no recollection of how he got there, strange things start to happen. Finding a mysterious key and discovering a hidden world beneath the hospital where strange becomes downright weird, Ceci soon finds out that maybe his life is worth more than he thought – but to whom?

Louis Ortega, aka The Hierophant, wants Ceci’s soul –wants his colour—his and the rest of the indigo kids’. Ortega has a plan and with the help of his faithful-but-misguided mercenaries, will stop at nothing to achieve it. With his dark prince and master surgeon, Raphael by his side, Ortega continues his quest to steal the colour from the world and use it for his own means – but Ortega didn’t bank on the power of the kids or their special gifts. Slowly, but surely, they are opening their hearts and minds and in doing so, discovering things about themselves they never knew – with their colours, comes power.
Ceci is about to find out that he has allies – friends. From the wondrous Jax and the geeky Hadi, to the glittering green girl, Harmony and the adventurous Starr, to the ones he is yet to meet, it soon becomes apparent that for the first time ever, he isn’t alone.

It’s time for the beginning of the end…it’s time for Awakenings.

Get your copy now!

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Saffi

Teenage kicks ~ Saffina Desforges and St Mallory’s Forever!

Here’s one for you:

What do a long-haired, middle-aged teacher/writer/trampolining expert residing in West Africa; a thirty-something football-mad scribe and snowboarding loud-mouth with a penchant for beer and Ray Ban’s; a self-proclaimed neek (50% nerd, 50% geek) and super-hero wannabe (special powers – multi-instrumentalism) and a poem-writing, bibliophillic boarder (school, not snow) have in common?

man_question_mark

Indeed, you might ask!

St Mallory’s Forever!

That’s what.

The new Young Adult/Teen mystery from Miriam Joy, Charley Robson & Saffina Desforges

The new Young Adult/Teen mystery from Miriam Joy, Charley Robson & Saffina Desforges

How could the universe throw such peeps into the melting pot and not expect chaos to ensue? And what would they come up with? Who are these people?

We all love a good mystery right?

Okay, before I introduce Miriam and Charley (because you already know the front and back end of the Saffna Desforges pantomime horse intimately), hands up those of you who can work out which one is which of us from the opening descriptions?

I bet you all thought that I was the quiet one and that Mark ‘Zebedee’ Williams liked the odd chilled glass of Stella right?

Sorry to disappoint, but Mr Williams doesn’t get anywhere near enough snow to be a boarder where he is! ;-)

So what of these crazy teen writers that we have gone and got ourselves embroiled with then? Who are they? How did we meet? And what do they do?

Say hello to Miriam Joy (of neek and super-hero fame):

Double prosperity

Double prosperity

Look, she admits she’s a geek, okay! Anyway, don’t take my word for it, here’s a few words from her royal-neekness herself:

Miriam Joy has lived all her life in South-East London, plodding through the state education system, and has got as far as AS levels: English Lit, French, Music and Classical Civilisations.

Never one to make things easy on herself, she plays three instruments (violin, flute and piccolo), does both archery and ballet, and is learning two dead languages and a made-up one on top of her schoolwork. She also makes YouTube videos and answers emails for the Teens Can Write Too blog, and still manages to find time to procrastinate.
She also has an obsession with mythology, mainly Celtic and Norse, which started at the age of eleven. Far from ‘growing out of it’ as most people expected, she has simply become more knowledgeable, or as her parents call it, weird.

You can also read another blog interview with Miriam on St Mall’s and collaboration here.

So who is this fellow-geek and trekkie-cum-Sherlockian, Charley that she mentions?

This is what Miss Robson had to say about herself when I battered her repeatedly with a virtual lacrosse stick asked her to jot a few lines down (they’re sooo cool these girls, that they already refer to themselves in the third person. I’m surprised they don’t have a middle initial!):

Charley Robson is a student, geek and bibliophile, and has passed the majority of her education in a private Dorset boarding school. She has been writing “seriously” for around eight years; at thirteen, she began writing a high fantasy novel that spawned into her very first trilogy – which, despite its flaws, she is still very proud of. She credits the fantastical works of myriad fantasy authors, both from childhood and into her ever-approaching adulthood, for her enduring devotion to the genre.

Outside of fiction, Charley is also a fairly prolific poet – one of her poems was awarded a place in the Top Twenty of a Daily Telegraph poetry competition in 2010 – and enjoys writing articles for her school magazine. In 2012 she also followed up on a keen interest in theatre and acting by writing a pantomime for performance in the annual school Drama competition.

St Mallory’s Forever! marks Charley’s first foray into the mystery genre, something she has long admired but eternally struggled to concoct plots for. St Mallory’s has also marked Charley’s first serious escapade into co-writing, and the mechanics of the publishing world at large.

Oops! Almost forgot – this is Charley:

She's a poet and she knows it

She’s a poet and she knows it

What other amazing facts can I share?

Oh yeah: These two new kids on the block are still at school.

Miriam will just have turned 17 by the time St Mall’s goes live, how cool is that? We are thrilled to have been able to work with them and assist on this project. It has been great fun and I have no doubt that kids, teens and adults alike will love St Mallory’s as much as we loved helping them write it!

So what’s it about?

Well, St Mallory’s Forever! is a good old, warm and fuzzy mystery novel. Set in an imaginary boarding school (think Malory Towers and St Clare’s), but written as blog posts from the point of view of three girl boarders. Here’s the unofficial blurb…

When her mother becomes head of music at St Mallory’s School for Girls, Helen is uprooted from her London comprehensive to start a new life in a totally alien environment – a boarding school. But before long, the behaviour of the other girls is the least of her problems: Helen picks up a piece of rare music from a shop in Brighton, and suddenly she is at the centre of what seems to be an enormous …conspiracy.The bursar is behaving suspiciously. Her mother is lying to her. And now Tim Morrigan, a boy from the partner school, is getting involved. Do they all want the music, or are there other motives in play? And since the music appears to have been written after the composer’s death, is it real, or simply an elaborate fake?Accompanied by Abigail Roe, a veteran student with a penchant for Shakespeare and geek culture references, and Xuan Liu, the well-travelled daughter of a Chinese diplomat, Helen sets out to solve the mystery. But homework, lacrosse matches, and morally ambiguous members of staff all seem to be determined to stop them.
We are frantically trying to get this ready for early next week – mouse power and weather permitting, so please bear with us whilst we do.
 
But, if Mr Williams insisits on spending all his time bouncing on trampoline with the local kids, don’t hold your breath! ;-)
Mark hard at work on St Mallory's

Mark hard at work on St Mallory’s

 
In the meantime, head over to the facebook page here and show some love by clicking ‘like’.
 
It’s a shame there isn’t a ‘flippin’ love this’ button, ‘cos I am pretty sure you will!
 
Jolly hockey (or in this case, lacrosse) sticks!
 
Saffi
 
**NEWSFLASH**
 
St Mall’s is available on Amazon UK here and Amazon.com here from today!
 
 

Happy Anniversary ‘Sugar & Spice’ ~ Life as the front end of the pantomime horse: Twenty four months on

Well, what a ride!

Two years ago today, we clicked  ‘publish‘ on our Amazon KDP account.

200,000 downloads and 175,000 + sales later and here we are!

And those totals are just for Sugar & Spice. I haven’t tallied up the sales for the other books, but it’s fair to say we are within kissing distance of a QUARTER OF A MILLION SALES.

Let me repeat that: 250,000 people have downloaded our books.

That would fill Old Trafford 3.3 times over.

They call OT The Theatre of Dreams.

It is certainly a place where you can live out your fantasies and leave life behind for an hour and a half. I know. I’ve done it many times. What I didn’t ever dare dream about, was that, one day, people would want to read what I had written. That the inner-bowels of my imagination, spilled out onto the page like a gutted pumpkin, would interest anyone.

Twenty four months ago (that is 730 days, 17531.6 hours) Mark Williams and I had a dream.

We dreamt that if the agents daren’t take on our book, that the public might give it a chance. They might read it. Hell, they might even enjoy it!

I just came across some old emails. One of them, was a rejection from our now hard-working agent. She loved the book, but daren’t take it on. Then the ebook revolution started and publishing changed forever. The gatekeepers realised (well, some of them) that they didn’t hold the only key anymore. Hey, newsflash! The readers will decide! Look at Twilight and Fifty Shades. (I’ll just dump this rather heavy case right here shall I?)

Have a look at this:

I made up a name. A name that no-one else had, that would only link to us on the search engines. It is no secret that the name was a combination of my fave character from Ab Fab and the surname of someone I worked with that I rather liked.

I made this cover myself. No-one had ever heard of us.

I spent 3 days working out the HTML coding for formatting the book. I took a tutorial on how to work out KDP. I started a blog. I did interviews for other blogs. I joined a million sites, set up a facebook account, I tweeted, I actually started to think that one person might want to read what I/we had written. Then…

NOTHING HAPPENED.

What??? Are you insane? We have just published a book that was over ten years in the making. Our blood, guts and glory are woven into every word that has spilled out onto that page. What do you mean you don’t want to read it?

Me and this shy, long-haired, latte-guzzling bloke that I met on the net have something to say, you WILL listen! ;-)

And listen you did – eventually.

After some meagre and frankly embarrassing sales figures for the first 4-5 months, Sugar & Spice took off and we have never looked back. We hit the number two spot on Amazon UK and I THINK, we were even number one for a brief hour, losing out on the top spot to Gordon Ferris and his Hanging Shed. We were the first indies to ever hit that spot and we stayed in the Top 100 for over three months until Amazon mysteriously ‘lost’ our book for almost four weeks. Who knows how long it might have stayed there? Anyway, despite that minor blip, Sugar & Spice has been in the Top 100 of its category ever since and we still sell 100s of copies a month. It reached number two in the Waterstones chart and is still at number 5 in Police Procedurals on Kobo. It has since been translated and published in France as Paraphilia.

We owe a lot to that book. We owe a lot to each other, Mark and I.

Speaking of my partner in crime (literally), I found this today. This was one of the first email exchanges between Mark and myself after he had reviewed Equilibrium (now called Dark Halo and STILL not finished!) on youwriteon and we began talking. How polite we were to each other back then! ;-)

Hi Mark,

Nice to have a bit of information to put to the name!

Many thanks for the link to your blog, I will be reading regularly from now on and will take your advice on writing my own.

I have always been a tad wary of venturing into the social vamp scene as I was unsure of how much of Equilibrium to put ‘out there’ so to speak. I am mindful of the fact that I could end up with people already having read most of it before I actually finish it! But hey, if you say it sits well with agents etc to have a following, then it sounds like a good idea to me.

Personally, I am not a writer of any description. I am a 37 year old H&S Manager and have had no formal training other than a writing course that I bought off the internet some years ago, hence my speedy acceptance of your kind offer to review my work!

I am learning all the time (mostly from YWO) and am trying to apply everything that I am learning to what I have written so far, so I hope you understand when you find a plethora of mistakes later on in the book!

As I explained before, I am well aware of the fact that my writing needs a lot of ‘fine tuning’ but I hope eventually to have something in a publishable state. I have been at this book for so long now (I started it almost 10 years ago! And have not touched it for long periods of time, sometimes years) that I decided this year was the year to blow the dust off and finally finish it and move on to something else hopefully. I didn’t have a great deal of time to write before and only ever spent an hour or so here and there on it, but recently, now that I have finished studying/training for work etc I am spending a lot more time on it and receiving positive reviews on YWO is giving me the impetus I need to move it on to a conclusion (I think I may be able to use the angel angle somewhere there too).

So, please be patient with my writing and please do not hesitate to point out where I go wrong, I will take everything on board as I am just so grateful for your giving up your time to help me.

I intend to read your chapters tonight on YWO and will submit a free will review later too, if it helps!

Can’t wait to hear what you think and if you continue to enjoy it. I have some reservations about the whole Diary of murders (this will make sense as you read on) and I am not sure how else to weave them into the plot, so please feel free to comment on that too.

Hope to hear from you soon and thanks again.

S

—–Original Message—–

From: Mark

To: sjg1973@aol.com

Sent: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 12:58

Subject: Re: Equilibrium

Many thanks, Sarah.

As per previous email, I’ve managed to successfully download Equilibrium, and can’t wait to read it. It makes a welcome change to be reviewing something from choice rather than as an assignment!

A little about myself, to put any commentary in context.

I’m a self-employed tutor / freelance writer with a past record in TV, theatre and journalism and now working on becoming a novelist myself, hence my finding your work on youwriteon.

So a professional writer of sorts, but NOT a novelists’ agent or publisher (I have to jump through the same hoops as you to get that far!).

I’ve just started a new writers’ blog and shall be commending Equilibrium on it. (Obviously as you’ve put your work on youwriteon you’re happy to have it in the public domain.)  Being a new blog (I’ve just moved to this area) it won’t have much of a following initially, but hopefully will soon build up, and increase Equilibrium’s public profile.

If you haven’t got a blog yourself I strongly recommend you do so. They can be enormously useful in promoting your work and yourself, with a literally millions worldwide as your potential audience. I would imagine that linking to writers circles and especially chat-groups centred around vampire-style stories would prove enormously beneficial in the long-term. (Demonstrating an on-line following for your work is a sure-fire way to get an agent’s interest!)

Always bear in mind that publishers and agents receive literally hundreds of submissions every week, which is why it is imperative to have a final product as near perfect as it can be, to get someone to give it a second glance and forward it to the next review stage.

As I think I said in my initial review, the reading public’s interest in this genre is beginning to wane, with angels apparently the up and coming theme, but don’t let that worry you. I think Equilibrium, if say published two years down the line (a realistic timescale given you are only two-thirds through), will be ideally placed to capture the hearts and minds of the mid-teen Twilight readership who will by then be late-teen / early twenty-somethings looking for more mature storylines.

Anyway, I shall not distract you from your writing any longer.

I’ll get back to you as and when I can and let you know my thoughts

Best wishes,

Mark

Well, what a long way we have come since then! We have now published 5 full-length novels, 2 anthologies, 2 (s0on to be 3) kids shorts and 9 novella/shorts (although some under a different name) and we are  hard at our second Rose Red Rhyme and book 3 of the Rose Red series, as well as many other projects. As you saw earlier, Mark isn’t one for working on one thing at once! ;-)

So where do we go from here? Well, the honest answer is, we don’t know. Not for sure. We have a million and one projects bubbling along and one day, hey, we might even finish Book One of the Dark Halo series. That’ll be a day to celebrate when that finally hits the virtual shelves. I originally started that one in 1992! But for now, we will just keep doing what we do. Bringing readers reasonably-priced, quality stories, because our readers deserve the best. Let’s face it, without you, we wouldn’t be having this conversation…

Here’s to the next twenty four months and whatever they might bring!

Saffi

Jobs for the boys (Goodbye Mr. Apple)

So, sadly, when I made my last post a few days ago about the iPhone, I had no idea about the untimely death of Steve Jobs. In fact, it was less than 24 hours after I posted that I learned of it.

It’s a strange one. Everyone knew he was ill, people had seen how he looked in his last public appearance and then a day after Apple make their ‘big’ non-announcement about the poor relation iPhone 4s, he was gone.

I guess it is tribute to the family that they kept his last few months away from the media and they were able to spend those last precious days with him and out of the spotlight, but I can’t help feeling that there are more powerful forces at work here – more powerful even than they guy who transformed the way we listen to music, communicate, watch tv, workout and basically live – function.

They reckon he has left years’ worth of technology behind. Wow! What a legacy.

I have always been a fan of ‘all things Mac‘ and having had the cash to buy some of their products recently, I am a complete convert.

They work the way you think. That’s what I love about them.

I just bought the new Apple TV to stream music, photos, videos etc around the house. No docking station, no stereo, no memory card, no dongle. Just stream your stuff to a HD TV and watch/listen to it through your tele and surround sound. Awesome.

I can’t believe how things have changed.

We moved into our house 7 years ago in May, just gone. We had a Technics stack system, a 32″ Panasonic HD Viera (which was the most amazing new invention), a pretty decent surround sound system, a laptop and a desktop PC. Oh and an MP3 player the size of a stone. No seriously, it was actually called ‘the stone’.

And we won’t even talk about the mobile phone!

How the f*ck did people talk on those things without getting whiplash (at this point, if a ‘no-win, no fee’ company call you. It wasn’t me!)?

Anyway, I digress. My point here is how things have changed and how quickly.

For me, Steve Jobs was at the forefront of the digital revolution and will leave a legacy that leads the way for years to come. And big up to him. What a guy. He certainly changed my life.

So, what does all of this have to do with me and mine?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Not only has the way I text, call people, watch my favourite programmes, shop, changed; so has the way the world reads.

This time last year I bought a Kindle and persuaded (beat to a pulp about) Mark into putting a book on it.

Hmmm. Let’s see what’s happened since…

Are you sitting comfortably?

Then I’ll begin:

Paramore (yes, my guilty pleasure. Well, one of them Roxette is another. but that’s another time for bums on carpets) sang about the world ‘not needing another band’.

In fact, they said:

“Now I’ve got a feeling if I sang this loud enough

You, would sing it back to me.”

“No one is as lucky as us,

We’re not at the end

But oh, we already won.”

“Tell me how you got so far, and never making a single sound.

I’m not used to it, but I can learn

There’s nothing to it.”

Ok, so the lyrics aren’t in that order, I had to mash them up a bit, but the message is pretty appropriate.

For thousands of years, people have been writing books (think Bible) and the gatekeepers have dictated what you, the public, get to read. Imagine if Steve Jobs had filtered what gadgets went to general market and which ones the ‘rich and famous’ could have access to? (alright, so we’re not all gonna have a solid gold Gucci iPhone!)

Imagine if there are a billion writers out there who’s work is AMAZING, but agents and publishers said you ‘weren’t allowed to read it.’? Your children couldn’t have access to it?

That’s what has happened. Up ’til now.

When you went to school, college, Uni, there was a set curriculum to follow. You were told what to read. Don’t get me wrong, most of the time, they were spot on, but just open your mind to the fact that for every one book you’ve ever read, that left you feeling empty, scared, empowered, sad, happy, alive, desperate – there were a thousand books that were better than that that you would never get to read? Huh? What’s that about? What if J.K. had listened to the publishers rejecting her work?

Sorry, but you get my point!

Well, no more!

The advent of the e-reader has changed the face of literature. Forever.

I am not going to get into the big J.A Konrath/sometimes Stephen Leather  ‘most of self-pubbed stuff is a pile of shit’ debate & ‘it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon’ crap, (have you even run 5k?)  readers can judge for themselves (hello, they have brain cells!) but what  I am going to talk about, is how things will never be the same again. Never, I mean, never.

Forget publishing, reading will never be the same.

The way we read has changed.

How we read has changed.

Where we read has changed, but the biggest difference, is who we read has changed.

December last year, my bookshelf (yes, a real wooden shelf) looked like this:

Stephen King

James Herbert

Patricia Cornwell

Dean Koontz

J. K. Rowling

(and Mr. WillIAM Shakespeare and the odd Edgar Allen Poe might have been jostling for elbow room)

And it still looks like this.

Ya know why? Cos I haven’t bought a hardback/paperback book in 12 months.

Guess what titles are on my Kindle/iPhone/Nook/Sony other android, reading device?

Lee Childs (never read him before, even though he is an awesome author and I am now deeply embedded into his fifth book)

Kathy Reichs

Tess Gerritsen

(ok, so, I know what you’re thinking, but this is thanks to exposure)

And here come the “not-so-well-known-but-equally-as-great-writers”

Michael Wallace

Sibel Hodge

Barry Eisler, Jack Kilbourne (no, not the same person. But you can be forgiven for thinking that J.A  Konrath and Blake Crouch are snuggling up in the same sleeping bag and smelling man farts! But wh0 are we to diss co-writing? Oops. I am sure in the UK you will NEVER HAD HEARD OF THEM JUDGING BY BC’s very short-lived stay in the top  100, despite signing a deal with Thomas & Mercer? Some things, cannot ‘cross the pond’? ), John Locke (ok, I haven’t read them, but you can’t discount them)

Amanda Hocking (ditto above, but still…)

And…

erm…

I bet you were expecting a massive ‘who’s who’ from our new digi-imprint MWiDP right? Nope, that comes later.

The best book I have read this year (and for a long time) ON MY E-READER was ‘Into the darkest corner’ by Elizabeth Haynes.

Right, so it was a top ten best-seller (so was our debut novel for five weeks!) and it was publicised, but I would NEVER have read it if it wasn’t for my e-reader.  I would never have SEEN it. I spent the whole time reading it, thinking “I should be writing” and why am I reading another one of those, “I’ve been done wrong, let’s make a book out of it.” (slight nod to Amanda Knox) diatribes, but I loved it! Her writing style was so fresh and misleading. Kept me sane when my life had just tilted 90 degrees to the South.

Why?

I once got told that your first book in a print run is expected to sell less than a thousand copies. Then what? Er, thanks, but we can’t afford anymore rainforest destruction to chance another.

Well get this!

Sugar & Spice has now sold over 100,000 copies in less than 12 months! Ok, we pubbed it in late Nov’ 10, but I don’t count that, we were  Kindle virgins at that point.

It is currently #3 on Waterstone’s chart (above John le Carre, Steig Larsson and the literary genius that is James Corden) and our new release ‘Snow White‘ is #12!

You know what? We might get two top ten hits on Waterstones? We might sell another 100,000 copies of a book without a publisher that no-one has ever heard of. We might not.

Let me tell you what we are doing.

We are celebrating the fact that the reading public have the chance to decide what they read and when.

We are talking to readers and writers and the other uncategorised. We couldn’t do that with a print book.

We are reaching audiences we never knew existed and making them listen.Hell, they didn’t even know they were audiences,  but by far the biggest thing that has ever happened… is down t0 you.

The readers.

Forget the digital revolution.

This is a revolution –  digital. And it’s in your hands.

Literally.

Don’t stop loving books, just see books in a different form  and see how many more books you can reach now.

Mr. Apple lives on, as do his inventions. he changed our lives, it’s time to change yours.

Saffi

P.S: Steve Jobs was a businessman. He would kill me for not doing this:

If you’re not being talked about, they’re talking about somebody else.

Here’s a list of the most fabulous writers in the world, who we are thrilled to have join the MWiDP imprint. Check them out if you want a good read at a decent price! It doesn’t tear up trees, it shreds minds. Paperless. ;-)

Tonya Kappes

Anne. R. Allen

Prue Batten

Danielle Blanchard Benson

Christine DeMaio-Rice

Karin Cox

Elizabeth Ann West

G. S. Johnston

Sarah Woodbury

Allen Scahtz

Barbara Silkstone

Athanasios

Cheryl Shireman

M.P. Macdonald

Tom Winton

G.P. Ching

Sunhil Bahtia

Georgina Ellis Young

Patricia Rockwell

The future is here, the future is digital (unless you get a six-figure paper deal over four books between two which means you can actually get 12k per book. divided by two?) again, huh? Nah.

The future is a bag-load of fab writers helping each other (aka http://thewritersguidetoepublishing.com/) and apparently, Apple (aka Steve Jobs) have announced the iCloud? Whether it rivals Kindle or Google ‘clouds’ remains to be seen.

Did Steve not see Mark’s post a while back, or did Mark See Steve’s?

I used to want to write books.  Now I realise, that if Jayne was still here, she’d have said this:

  • “It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.”
    – Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
Nah, Jayne, you’re wrong.
What we will do is self-publish! (what a dirty word! I can see the ‘so-called’ agent with 700,000 blog followers – if  you had that many readers, you would be a writer, instead of a  agent,cringing over their copy of ‘Publishers’ Weekly’)
Or, as I like to call it: Give the readers’ the choice.
Let them decide.

It’s a wonderful life – honest!

I get asked all the time what it is like being a writer in this exciting new digital age.

I recently did an interview with a journalist who is writing a piece for The Mail on Sunday magazine, Live on e-publishing and the Kindle experience and he asked lots of questions – I mean lots! But the thing that resonated with me personally was just how much more you are than a writer these days.

I guess I hadn’t thought about it until I said it out loud.

I know how poor George felt now when he jumped over the desk at Bailey’s Buildings & Loans to escape the crowds at the bank; everyone wanted a piece of him.

That’s kinda what it’s like being a writer. You are a business; a brand.

Gone are the days when writers would sit tapping on keys, smoking cigarettes then posting their finished manuscript to an agent or publisher before taking a holiday and starting their next one. You need a blog, several email addresses, a twitter and facebook account, a website, a cover designer, an accountant, proof-reader, editor…I could go on.

All of these people need communicating with, directing, you need to be available 24-7. I feel like the shop owner in Stephen King‘s ‘Needful things‘ (one of my all-time favourite reads) sometimes, always open and able to lay my hands on anything anyone might want. (and although I don’t ask that people end up dead, I do expect a favour in return. Reminds me of the concept behind Kristen Lamb’s “We are not alone’!)

I think when Amanda Hocking explained her decision to sign with St. Martin’s Press, she explained that feeling. She said something like “I just want to write.”

It’s true. Writing is in your blood. It isn’t something that you wake up and decide to do one day (well, not for me personally anyway) nor is it something that you can just stop. I love writing – in any form. So whether I am tweeting about my day or blogging about the latest book, at least I am writing, creating.

Of course, my real love is telling stories, but hey, just lately, that has to come a measly second-best.

No, what we are busy doing now is learning how to run a business. How to market our brand, keep ahead of the trends, out-think the competition and stay ahead of the game. No-one taught me to be a writer (OK, I have learnt a great deal over the last few years about the craft and technicalities of writing, but no-one can teach someone imagination and their voice) but I am having to learn other things now.

A year ago, a blog and a website was something that famous people had. I very rarely visited any, let alone thought that I would be able to design and run my own!

HTML, Mobi and epub might as well have been characters out of a sc-fi film for all I knew and being interviewed by the press was something that happened to other people (well, except when I was 11 and was the first girl to join the local football teams supporters’ club and they put my picture in the local free weekly. Remind me to tell you the story of getting a tour around the players’ dressing room, whilst they were all changing because I had a hat and scarf on and nobody noticed that I wasn’t a boy! ;-)) but twelve months down the line and these things are part of my life now, like it or not.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 It means that I am getting to do what I love: write and most importantly, have people read it.

So if that is the price I pay for waking up every morning and thinking Hey, I’m actually a writer (I can say the words out load now without cringing with embarrassment) then I’ll take it every day of my very busy week.

It is a wonderful life, but it’s also damn hard work!

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