Z for ZZZZZ….. #AtoZchallenge

I need a lot of sleep after this month.
I’ve started a new job, I’ve started a new project, I’ve approved edits and have sent books out for proofing, I’ve done lots of other things.  I’ve also let go of a lot of things I just can’t sustain.  I’ve collapsed projects, I’ve cut down on client work, and I’ve put myself, my family and my new job to the forefront of my mind.

So I thought I’d share where I’ve been for my AtoZ and give you the full circle of what I’ve done.

And then I’ll go sleep!

Wilderness Apocalypse – AtoZ Challenge (Shared) – 17/25 posts.
Alexandria Publishing Group (shared), What is a name (introductions in the alphabet)
And Author Interrupted

 

Y is for Yes

So, I’m working on the most important things right now.  But I’m saying ‘yes’ to a couple of things.

Yes is for ‘yes, I’m writing’.  Y is for ‘Yes, I finished CampNanowrimo’.

And Yes is for there will be regular content on my blog from now on, more than once a week, more on the important stuff and more and more about my books.  I’ve also changed direction just slightly, so Y is for yesterday, and leaving it behind.

Today though, I started a new story over on Wilderness Apocalypse, bringing my total started stories to 3.  I’ll do a summary tomorrow!

X for Xciting changes (yeah, I’m cheating)

So, now that I’m in amazing new job of doom(tm), I’ve decided that I’m going to start doing two things again.  Well… three actually.  One is painting minis and models and scenery and dioramas and *stuff*.  I really miss that hobby aspect of my life and I’m kinda glad I’m getting to do it again.

The second is knitting.  I really miss being able to knit, and that’s something I can change.

And most importantly….I’m going to get on with writing stuff and more importantly than that, releasing it all instead of sitting on it.  Mantic Games has a publishing arm, so I might write for them, but I want to get my own life sorted out and doing the stuff that makes me happy.  So there it is.  I’ll start sharing and showing off in the next few days, along with some of the other ‘fun’ projects I can now get away with doing.

Today’s was another short one, I know, but I’ll be back tomorrow with a half of a short story that I’m publishing in it’s entirety in one day between here and Wilderness Apocalypse called ‘Yesterday’.

W for A winning read #TouchedwithFire #Review

TWF Giveaway

Welcome to the REVIEW EVENT for Chris Datta’s Historical Fiction Novel Touched with Fire! We have a great giveaway at the bottom of the post and hope you enjoy hearing about this fabulous book. But first, the details:

Tight3DduckyEllen Craft is property

In this case, of her half-sister Debra, to whom she was given as a wedding gift. The illegitimate daughter of a Georgia plantation owner and a house slave, she learned to hate her own image, which so closely resembled that of her “father:” the same wiry build, the same blue eyes, and the same pale—indeed, lily-white—skin.

Ellen lives a solitary life until she falls, unexpectedly, in love with a dark-skinned slave named William Craft, and together they devise a plan to run North. Ellie will pose as a gentleman planter bound for Philadelphia accompanied by his “boy” Will. They make it as far as Baltimore when Will is turned back, and Ellie has no choice but continue. With no way of knowing if he is dead or alive, she resolves to make a second journey—South again. And so Elijah Craft enlists with the 125th Ohio Volunteers of the Union Army: she will literally fight her way back to her husband.

Eli/Ellie’s journey is the story of an extraordinary individual and an abiding love, but also of the corrosive effects of slavery, and of a nation at a watershed moment.

Author: Christopher Datta

Genre: Historical/Women’s/African American Fiction

KindleNookSmashwordsPAPERBACK

Review:

starstarstarstarhalfstar

I don’t read a lot of books outside of my favourite genres, so when I picked this book up, I really wasn’t sure what to expect.  What I read and was sucked into very quickly was a well written, well researched, thoroughly compelling book.

As far as I could tell, it was authentic and interesting – I didn’t read anything that jarred me out of the story in a bad way, but did give me a lot of things to think about and look at out of sheer interest.

Ellen was a slave girl begotten of rape.  Fair skinned and dark haired, she was the companion of her father’s daughter, and fits in neither the world of the slaves, or of the main house.  Isolated and unhappy, she tries to keep herself apart of everyone.  And then, her life changes.

Examining everything from skin colour to gender (as she travels as a man for a time), this book is interesting, and as I said compelling.

Given the other books from this time I’ve read were Beloved (Toni Morrison) and Winesburg, Ohio (Sherwood Anderson), I did feel the book compared to them for accuracy and engagement.  There was a level of profanity that was unexpected, but I did still feel that was appropriate.  All in all, I can’t recommend this book enough – the only complaint I had was that in some places it did feel a bit like we were being educated on the time, over and over, when I’d have been happier just getting right into the story.  That may not be a fair criticism though, as I don’t know the genre as well as others.

I rate it four and a half stars.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review Event Schedule:

Date Blog
21-Apr My Devotional Thoughts
21-Apr Deal Sharing Aunt
22-Apr Jelly Side Up – Promo Only
22-Apr Our Wolves Den
23-Apr rubina ramesh
23-Apr The Mama Games
24-Apr My Writer’s Cramp
24-Apr The World As I See It
25-Apr I am indeed
25-Apr Rachel Delane
26-Apr Rick And Eileen Bremner
26-Apr Author Interrupted
27-Apr Anna Tan
27-Apr Pete Waugh
28-Apr Alexa B
28-Apr Michelle Willms

About the Author:

Born inChris1 Washington, DC Chris Datta, Foreign Service officer, has been on numerous battlefields for his job and country. He has seen mass graves, brought war criminals to justice and in this new chapter, Datta brings readers a stunning historical account of the American Civil War with Touched with Fire. His attention to detail is superb, and his experiences abroad have given him ample stories to tell for years to come.

His action packed life has taken him across the world from the United States to Liberia and Southern Sudan. Not only serving in active war zones but often battling tropical diseases, Datta has nurtured his fascination with civil conflict by diving into the history books and historical records of America’s past. His research is meticulous, and his attention to detail creates vivid pictures of the past.

Follow Chris on his website for updates about new releases and upcoming events: http://touchedwithfire.org

U for unbelievably close #AtoZchallenge

I get to share some *really big news* tomorrow.  I mean, groundbreaking.  Well, for me at least.
Until then, I thought that I’d share a couple of other bits of housekeeping news…

I’m going to be announcing my revised publishing schedule for all of my short stories that have appeared during the short story challenge, seeking beta readers for Memento Mori, and doing some fun stuff around social media in the next few weeks – I’m really excited to share what I can with you because I really feel like I’ve been treading water for so long now, that I’ve been stagnant and a bit dull for a while.  I’m also currently taking a leaf out of my own book and redoing my plans instead of remaining with the ones I designed this time last year because things have finally shifted social media wise that it makes sense to replan.  But as I’m also doing it for clients, it’s actually quite easy.

Speaking of Memento Mori….

I announce it first on my mailing list, so if you’d like to Beta, I’d love it if you head over there.  We’re also talking about building a small, exclusive street team. If you’d like in on it, please join up, comment or generally make some noise 🙂

Until then though – here’s the screenshot of the lineup for the book 🙂  The little snippet, Underground and above, has spelling errors, and I need to apologise for my handwriting.Memento Mori lineup

t is for time that I don’t have

One of the more painful realisations I’ve hit recently is that I am very, very scattered.  It’s charming and sweet when you’re a teen, and great when you’re an agile freelancer, but as time has passed, all I realise is that I like freelancing….on my own terms.  Not having stability hurts me and makes me a more difficult person to live with, and actually, a lot of my self worth is tied to my job.

All well and good right?  Well, no.  I want to be in a full-time job, do a PHD, run blogs, write books, be a generally nice and supportive PR superstar and knit and take photos and game and….

There’s not enough time.  And I think part of being an adult is living with that.

Time…more finite than I ever believed…..

S is for stupidly busy #AtoZchallenge

Yeah, yesterday was ‘really knackered’.  Today, the word of the day is stupidly-busy (all one word, conjoined, dragging me along behind it!).  I wish I could say why, but it’s all coming together now so I’ll get to say something soon(ish).
Until then.

What to do when you’re so busy you can’t breathe (ok, maybe an over-exaggeration).

I find when I’m busy, or tired, or so busy I can’t see the end of the road, then I really REALLY rely on to-do lists and plans that I follow, step by step.  If I don’t, things get really messy, really fast.  So I totally recommend your favourite to-do list system to help.  And if you’re going to tell me next that there’s no way that you can spend time looking at your to-do list.  I say ‘take five minutes to plan your day.  Not only will it give you a sense of accomplishment, but you’ll actually have an idea of what you’ve got to do.

Fire-fighting or treading water?

One of the things I do notice with my to-do list is sometimes I get a couple of things done, a couple of things more fill up my list and it looks like I’m back at the beginning of my day.  But I know I’m making a difference, even if it’s a small dent each time.  But if you really are fire-fighting or treading water, you should maybe consider evaluating what you’re doing and if there’s anything you can do to make things easier on you.  Perhaps automating, or saying no to tasks might help.

Is there a place for to-do lists when things are slightly quieter?

I think there is a place for to-do lists always, but I think they’re more useful when you’re really struggling to find direction.  Some people find they help, long after you’ve finished planning, while others feel that it’s easier to work when it’s quieter without restrictions.  I like to-do lists and goals, always, but your mileage may vary.

What do you use as your to-do list?

I’ve recently discovered the joys of having a synced to-do list on my Windows 8 (Blarg!) laptop and my windows phone (equally useless, but cheap), but I’ve tried all sorts of wonderful projects.  My favorite was 30/30 which I use on my iPad, but there are other great apps out there too!  What are your favorites?

 

Edited later – – I got the following comment….
“Kai, I thought you were doing S for Scrivener”.
I was going to, but the issue is it’s a HUGE post.  I’m going to run it after the AtoZchallenge, so that people can find it more easily.

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R is for really knackered #AtoZChallenge

Really short one today.  I’m so tired it’s unreal.
I thought having Easter off might help, but nope.
So, I’m going to share a couple of things.

Really tired means really easy to miss opportunities

One of the major things I’d like to highlight is that if you’re really tired, it’s easy to miss stuff.  Opportunities, mistakes, ideas.  Writing is the most important thing for me right now, along with job-seeking.  I love writing, but I need somewhere to work too – it keeps me fresh and bright, and not bone weary.
Ideas that you miss are often the worst though – I feel nothing worse than the nagging sensation I thought of something brilliant that I just didn’t follow through.

Never mind though.

Three ways to (temporarily) shake tiredness

There’s three clever ways to shake tiredness – you can ask others for help, so that you can focus on what you really need to, you can choose to take time off to recharge, or you can ignore it.  Ignoring it can be difficult though, but it can work in the short term.

Me?  I’m taking a bit of time off tonight, and will come back blazing tomorrow 😉

Q is for Quick Tips and questions/answers #AtoZchallenge

I thought today, I’d give you a couple of more quick tips, and keep with the lighter, shorter posts.  I know it’s unlikely stuff will ever be the epic length of my cover design post, but there’s a couple of other tips that aren’t big enough for a post of their own, and could be talked about today.

  1. I don’t need an editor, I write perfectly.
    I hate to say this, but everyone, *EVERYONE* needs an editor.  If you’re not sure where to look for one, there are some great documents on the Indie Author Group.
  2. I don’t have the time to do this…
    One of the major complaints that I keep hearing from people is that once they’ve got one (or more!) books online, it’s that they don’t have time to market.  The thing is though, you can market easily in ten or twenty minutes a day.  You need to have the basics in place, but the rest of it is easy to manage.  Plan out what you need to do and then look at doing it.  Decide what works, and what doesn’t – do more of what works!
  3. How do I decide between KDP and KDP select?
    Another major question we get on the groups that I look after is knowing whether the author in question should put the book on KDP, or opting into Select, which is Amazon’s exclusive platform.  To answer this, we need to look at what the author wants.  If you want your book to be available, from the outset on all platforms, you need to NOT use select.  But you’ll also not get to use certain promotional tools.  If you go back and read my post on Kindle, I cover it a bit, but there are benifits to being in Select, in return for posting your ebook to Select exclusively.
    What do I do?  90 days exclusivity on Select, encourage those not on Select to sign up and let me know they want the book, give them a discount on my newsletter when I publish it, using the Smashwords coupon system and then go all platforms if the signups justify it.  Otherwise I just stay on the Kindle until I need to move off into the wider world.  It works.
  4. I can’t get passed first draft, what do I do?
    In short?  Nanowrimo!  There are three throughout the year (two camps in April and June) and one major one in November.  This year will be my 12th, and I still love it.  It really REALLY helps, but it does take commitment.

Got any other questions?  Post ’em here and I’ll answer them if I can!

 

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P for promotion #AtoZchallenge

A lot of the questions I’ve been getting in private about what I’m talking about this month is why I’m not sharing my own stuff.  One of the things I can’t share quite yet is work, but I’ll be sharing that later in the month.  In the interim though, I thought I’d share a couple of the new things that I’m up to, and a couple of old ones too.

First.  You can follow me here – FacebookTwitterG+Mailing List

Blogs

For those that missed it, I blog a lot.  The easiest way to keep up with my ‘random’ stuff is to head on over to http://aggreagate.kaiberie.com – it keeps the majority of my blogs, and I’m still finessing it down so that you can filter based on your favourite categories etc.
I thought I’d highlight a couple of the newer ones and invite you along to their twitter accounts etc.

Here’s Armed With Dice – and it’s TwitterFacebook – Mailing List – a geeky, gaming community where we’ll review relevant t-shirts, games, talk writing for geeks, and more.
Here’s Wilderness Apocalypse – and it’s TwitterFacebookMailing List – horror, short fiction, and lots of chatter from two wildernesses – Alaska, where my co-writer, Kriss is based, and here in the UK.
Here’s The Finishing Fairies – my PR company, again, co-owned with Kriss.  We’re about to start blogging social media, community management and more.
Finally, here’s the co-op I’m with – it’s called the Alexandria Publishing Group.

Groups

I can’t go very far without sharing the groups I’m with on y’all.
I moderate on several – The Indie Author GroupBook JunkiesI Dance With Books.

My books

Of course, I might as well share them.
My main book is a tutorial book called 12×12 – you can also find my horror stories here, under Sabrann Curach.

 

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