September Summary: Publishing, Prose and Poetry

This was the month that The Tower and The Eye: A Beginning finally made it back onto the market!
It took me quite a while to get the story to how I wanted it and it wouldn’t have made it had it not been for the wonderful people in my Beta Reading Group, my two patrons and an Editor friend…
I’ve made a start on the re-write of Book Two – A Party at Castle Grof – and have also written a short story that will be put into the Quargard Chronicles. I’m in the middle of a second story for QC as well. Hopefully that one will be finished by the end of the week…

But because I love all my fans, I’m going to post the first short story in my Fan Group on Facebook for you to read! If you’re a Patron then you already have access to the new story on my patreon page and in the group. If you haven’t joined the Fan Group already, then just request an invite.

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I’ve also been working on a couple of Land Far Away projects, one for the Sketchbook Project and one of my WIP’s, currently titled “Fingle and Springle” (That’ll change when I get to the other end of it!) so I’ve been working on my poetry writing… it was this that inspired me to take part in a Poetry competition.

I wasn’t expecting to win anything – Poetry isn’t really my thing. I tend to stick to rhyming couplets and I don’t pay much attention to the meter or any of the technical aspects that true Poets agonise over.
The challenge was this:

This week you are asked to produce a Cinquain.

The cinquain, also known as a quintain or quintet, is a poem or stanza composed of five lines. 
Examples of cinquains can be found in many European languages, and the origin of the form dates back to medieval French poetry. The most common cinquains in English follow a rhyme scheme of ababb, abaab or abccb.

See link here: www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/cinquain-poetic-form

and the Subject was Regret… so I had a go.  This was the result.

Summer

As Summer comes to a graceful end,
Children prepare for the return to school,
Parents breathe out relief as they send;
Their offspring back to education’s rule,
Hoping that they don’t look the fool.

Teachers sigh for the freedom of Summer,
With no alarm clock ringing out the hour,
Laden down with lesson planned mummer,
Hoping that their students haven’t got dumber,
And that their efforts will show fruit and flower.

I don’t think I did to badly on the form, but I didn’t get the feel of Regret I was looking for! As I predicted I didn’t get even a single vote, but that doesn’t matter much to me. It was the challenge to my writing abilities that I did it for and it was definitely a challenge!

Next Month is the run up to NaNoWriMo. I’m still not certain exactly what I’ll be working on for it, so watch this space!

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Guest Blog: The loss of our youthful dreams by Vivienne Tuffnell

I have the absolute pleasure of introducing one of the most unique authors I know. Her books are beautifully written, multilayered stories that are entertaining to read, but also make you think about the issues contained within the pages.

Today’s post is inspired by her latest novel, “Little Gidding Girl”. I purchased a copy in my hands and will be reading and reviewing it soon… so, without further ado,  I’ll hand you over to Vivienne…

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What did you want to be when you were a teenager? What shining golden dream did you hold towards the end of school or college?
Without doing a proper poll, I suspect that few of us achieved those dreams. At fourteen, I still dreamed of becoming an astronaut. By the following year I realised it was never likely to happen. Of all the career paths, that’s possibly one of the least probable for a young woman growing up in the UK. I still have a great fondness for star gazing and astronomy but it’s been a long time since I ever thought I would walk among the stars.

After my finals but before leaving university, it was required that I attend a careers’ interview. Too little, too late, I feel, at that stage but the 80s were a different era, less pressured. When the career’s officer asked what I wanted to do, I told her I wanted to be a writer. She laughed at me. The young me was very hurt and angry at being dismissed like that but the mature me knows only too well that the path I did choose to follow isn’t actually that much less difficult to succeed in than my original one of being an astronaut. At time of writing, there is ONE female, British-born astronaut; though there are a number of stellar female British-born authors, the chances of being listed among those stars is very small indeed.

Little Gidding Girl’s main character is Verity, once a dreamy, love-struck teenager who’d envisaged a life of poetry with her poet boyfriend Nick. The daydreams of a life together, bound with cords of words and with devotion worthy of the world’s favourite love poems, come to an abrupt and tragic end before she even turns eighteen. So too do her talents and ambitions and hopes.

It’s very hard to come back from that kind of loss. In the time between Christmas and midsummer in the year I turned seventeen, three close friends of the same age as me died in three unrelated tragedies. One in a car crash, one from toxic shock syndrome and one from heart failure. I’d known each for years, since we all entered high school together and one I’d known my whole life.
The final death was that of my best friend. Yet much as that changed me, I was not romantically entangled. I’d not planned out a future for us together. I’d known that in the coming years, friendships would probably fade a little, or even dwindle and die. There’d be Christmas cards for some years, perhaps meeting up for drinks in the university holidays, and perhaps the friendships would develop and endure into full adulthood. But for Verity, it was an ending that she never quite recovered from.

Not only did it end that future she and Nick had planned and dreamed about, it also ended a future where she herself grew and developed and blossomed into the woman she was meant to be. So years passed but she remained at heart that bereaved girl who has lost her future.
Yet those dreams and hopes and talents did not die. As the year turns at the autumn equinox, at her mid-point of life, something starts to stir and change. Too long has the past been forgotten and buried, too long have those lost dreams been ignored. And as they come surging to the surface, they begin to wreak havoc in the life of the girl who has been frozen in time.

At seventeen, Verity lost the future she’d craved when Nick, her enigmatic and troubled poet boyfriend, drowned at sea. At thirty-five, in a safe, humdrum and uninspired life, she finds that snatches of the life she didn’t have begin to force their way into her real life. This other life, more vivid and demanding than her actual life, begins to gather a terrible momentum as she starts to understand that her un-lived life was not the poetic dream she had imagined it might be.

Doubting her own sanity as her other life comes crashing down around her in a series of disasters, Verity is forced to re-examine her past, realign her present and somehow reclaim a future where both her own early creative promise and her family can exist and flourish together. Exploring the nature of time itself, the possibilities of parallel universes and the poetic expressions of both, Verity searches to understand why and how Nick really died and what her own lives, lived and un-lived, might truly mean.

‘From the unknown spaces between what is, was, and will be, messages and sendings break through into Verity’s life: are they nightmares of a parallel reality or projections from a love that has flown? Vivienne Tuffnell keeps us guessing with utmost artistry as we trace the interweaving way-marks in pursuit of the truth. Little Gidding Girl kept me enthralled until the very end.’
– Caitlín Matthews, author of Singing the Soul Back Home, and Diary of a Soul Doctor

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If you’re wondering how my writing is going, keep your eyes open for my next blog post…

If you like my blog posts and enjoy reading my books, perhaps once you’ve gone and picked up a copy of Vivienne Tuffnell’s new book, maybe you would like to keep me writing as well?

There are two ways to do that now –

The first is simply to buy the books that I have already published and out there. They’re available through Amazon and Smashwords… and via other e readers like Nook, Kobo and i-Books.

The second is to become one of my Patrons! There are various different levels of Patronage, so I’m sure there will be one to suit everyone’s pocket, not to mention the rewards that my patrons can access… https://www.patreon.com/KiraMorgana

An Author’s musings on the Past and the Future…

I’ve been looking back at my publishing career to date, in an effort to decide how to proceed with the next few years. I started writing seriously in 2008 and had a few short stories published in various anthologies. I didn’t start publishing my own work until 2011.

One of the questions I get asked from time to time, is how many books I publish a year. I never actually knew the answer to that – once a book is out I tend to forget about it, unless I am actively promoting it.
I used to say that I made about £30 a year… putting me firmly into the “Hobbyist” section of Independent Authors.

I’ve got the new KDP dashboard now… doesn’t look like too bad a system, but I wish I could see which books have sold as well as in which formats / countries etc.
Using the historical tab and a bit of head scratching, I have figured out that I shifted a grand total of 319 books in 7 years. Only 110 of those were paid books. My best total year was 2012 but that was due to a free promo I did that year. The best year for paid books was 2016.

The most popular paid book is currently at an even heat between “Heir of The Dragon” and “Blossom and Kitsune” with “TTATE: A Beginning” close behind.
Kira Morgana is definitely the more popular of my pen names, but that’s probably because she’s published more books!

I’ve sold an average of 16 paid books a year (not including free books because they only occur in one year)… It’s positive that I have actually sold books… but I thought I’d sold a few more than that…
Doesn’t include anything sold on Smashwords though… hmm.

*wanders away to check figures on Smashwords.*

So, having deciphered Smashwords’ reporting system, I find that I have sold a total of 32 paid books in 7 years. Adding those to the KDP ones, I have a grand total of 142 paid books, giving me an average of 20 paid books per year.
Obviously the figures I’m quoting are all my self-published books. Anything published with the Small Presses I’ve been with or my collaboration with Maria K., I don’t have the figures for.
So, am I a successful author? Depends on the measure of success that you use…

What am I going to do?

Well I’m not giving up on writing; it’s often the only thing I can do that keeps me sane – my craft hobbies aren’t child friendly in the same way… and besides, I do have a few fans or I wouldn’t have sold 142 books in the last 7 years!
So I have a duty to get some more books finished and published.

However, this is where I run into a Catch 22 situation.

As an independent author, I am responsible for the whole process of publishing my books; there’s no publishing company vetting it or giving me an Editor / Proof-reader / Cover Artist / Illustrator / MS Formatter to work on getting it out to my Fans.

That’s a hindrance in a lot of ways, because it means I have to do or source all those things myself. Which means I have to have money to pay for (at the very least) an Editor and a Cover Artist. I’ve been incredibly lucky up until now in that I’ve got some incredibly talented and lovely friends who have helped me get this far. I also have a group of lovely people who beta read for me, which helps immensely.

Sadly, my current financial situation (in real life) is rather difficult. I don’t have the spare money to pay for the things I need to continue to publish my work, and the books I have out at the moment don’t bring in enough money to pay for it.

So I have some decisions to make.

I currently have 10 books that are complete first drafts in the Beta Reading Pile, 2 that are in the Formatting Pile and 5 that could be published as is, but that I am wanting to add to, so they are in the Re-Write Pile. There are another 9 that are in the Work-in-Progress pile.

I’m not even considering the ones in the Idea Pile.

So that’s another 26 books to add the 9 that are currently published.
Obviously the order I need to work on them is:

1) Formatting
2) Rewriting
3)Work-in-Progress
4) Beta Reading

Before I even CONSIDER looking at the Ideas!

However, before I can publish any of the books going through Beta Reading, I need to run them past an editor and get a cover for them…
Which brings me to the crux of the matter. I would be able to publish more if one of two things happened:

a) I sold a LOT more of the currently published books
or
b) Those of you who believe in me and like my work support me through the Patreon system.

(Or I win the lottery, but we all know the odds of that one!)

I’ll be working on getting (a) sorted out, but one of the best things that will influence it, is getting another book into publication. So the Formatting and Re-Writing piles are going to the head of the work queue (with one WIP at a time being worked on).

One of the best ways that you, the reader, can help me, is to write a review of my books that you’ve read (no matter where you got it) a review on Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads, Apple, Kobo or Nook can help me to sell books.
Another way, is to recommend my work to friends who are looking for something to read, be that by real life conversation or virtual conversation on Social Media.

If you want to take route (b) and support me through the Patreon System, I will be incredibly grateful and shower you with perks…
This is my page is – https://www.patreon.com/KiraMorgana
Pop over and check it out!

Oh and if you got all the way to the end of the blog post, whatever you decide, I want to thank you for reading it!