The end of a dry spell?

Over Christmas 2014, I was feeling quite down; partially because of the weather and partially because it didn’t look like anyone liked my writing anymore. It set off a case of “Writer’s Doldrums” and in keeping with tradition,  I self medicated with chocolate, wine and duvet days.

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Yes, I know it says Nanobug, but I changed it to Nanobot…

Then came January 2015 and I resolved to try and pull meself out of the doldrums and get on with the business of writing. Before Christmas, I’d putThe Necklace of Harmony“*  permafree on Smashwords and 99c on Amazon (because unless you’re in their special club, you can’t do free…) so after I sobered up, I went and checked the stats…

Smashwords sales Jan 2015

This was on Smashwords…

I was pleasantly surprised by what I found on Smashwords, even more so because my Amazon sales had flat-lined.

The thought that people were actually, willingly, downloading my little collection of stories, made me feel a lot better. So I started an attempt to finish “Night of The Nanobot”** , my on/off science fiction fantasy story.
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I posted each chapter up on wattpad as I went and posted about it on Facebook, Twitter etc… and I started getting reads! I even had a couple of votes, which while it didn’t catapult me into Watty Fame, did feel rather nice. It was encouraging.

So I ploughed on and eventually on the 4th of February I typed the final full stop. That one is going to be passed into the gentle hands of my alpha-readers and I’ll get on with something else.

I popped in on my published books recently on Amazon and came across this on “The Heir of The Dragon.” – 

 

5.0 out of 5 stars A Darkness in Te Ling, 24 Oct. 2014
By
Te Ling is a city like no other. Certainly it has all the usual sights and sounds of a modern metropolis – the crowds, the tourists, the businesses, the hustle and bustle. But the real life of the city is hidden, and the real rulers of the city lurk in the shadows. Under the Treaty of Te Ling, Vampires, Werewolves and Humans live in an wary but beneficial alliance.Until two outsiders arrive. They are hunters, and their prey is The Black Dragon – Vampire Lord of Te Ling.Against this rich and exotic background, the author weaves a fast paced and absorbing tale of love, blood and intrigue. More than just another ‘Vampire / Werewolf’ story, this has serious depth, a lot of action, and a brilliant twist in the ending!

I couldn’t believe that I’d missed this one. Heir is one of those stories that doesn’t get a lot of press and lo, someone had actually written a review of it! I had a mad case of warm fuzzies, I can tell you!

I was trying to decide what to do next. I can’t do anything to “The Tower and The Eye” until my editor has read them and given me a list of what needs changing. I thought about sorting out “The Dragon’s Pendant” but my beta-reader is currently in the throes of sorting her own writing out for publication, so I doubt I’ll be doing that any time soon.

I went back to my work-in-progress folder and took a wander through the fantasy section (a change is as good as a rest, as my Nan used to say) and came across the Japanese based world of “Yumi’s Story” and “The Ballad of Pigsnout the Wanderer”  from the Quargard Realm. Both of these stories draw me, but in the end, Pigsnout won the toss and that’s what I am now working on!

This post might sound like I am rambling and boasting, but it actually has a point. At Christmas I had reached the point of Writing Suicide – that of stepping away from the keyboard and never doing it again. Then I was talked round by my partner who said, quite wisely for him, that I should give it another year and if it still didn’t pick up, then I could give up.
The encouragement I had got from the sales on Smashwords, the reads / votes on Wattpad and the review that I had obviously missed; coupled with several rather nice private messages from a new reader, pulled me the rest of the way out of the Doldrums and into the feeling of “yes, I can carry on with this…”

Reviews are important to Indie Writers; even the 1 stars, which can at first glance see nasty and vindictive. They tell us that people value our work. That we have been noticed for whatever reason and that we are affecting those who read our work in whatever way.

Of course, increasing sales are good as well, because… this might seem a little mercenary of me… we need money to be able to pay the bills and continue to do the thing that we love best – create and write stories for readers to read.

In my case, the money from my books is going straight into my moving fund to get my family into a safe, secure house with a roof and enough space for my Aspies to feel happy and calm in… but that’s a totally different story really.

Right then, I’m off to do more wordsmithery and World Creation…

Peace and health to all who pass through!

M

*This book is still permafree by the way, so if you fancy a read, feel free to boost my ego a little more and download it!

** If you decide to follow this link and read what is up on wattpad, be warned – I stopped posting before I got to the end of the book. Also, the wattpad version will only be up until the end of february.

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Biting the bullet…

Warning – this is partly a Pity party, but the whining does have a point… eventually.

Asking for help is one of the hardest things in the world.

All my life, I was told not to ask for things, “You’ll get what you’re given and like it.” was a common refrain throughout my childhood from a variety of people; not just my parents.

I was taught that if I needed something, I should work for it myself. So I was working from the age of 12 3/4 years old.

Yes, that was technically illegal, I didn’t care and my employer didn’t either.

I sampled lots of menial jobs in my early working life. I was a Chambermaid, a Market Seller, a Paper Girl, a Waitress, a Bar Steward, sold Fish’n’Chips, broke up fights, drifted into sleep doing data entry, tried to sell double glazing, sold computer games, tried to help people with their digital TV…

I got up early and stayed up late in pursuit of the money to be able to live in the way I wanted. I often didn’t have the money to eat from those jobs – I only just made my half of the rent a lot of the time.

It was irritating.

I earned enough (with my partner’s income as well) to be ineligible for any Govt. help (there was no such thing as Working Tax Credit then) and we ate  pasta and ketchup way too much. I already had a degree, but it was useless for almost everything I tried to apply for.

So I took a PGCE in the hope that becoming a Teacher. I passed (it was difficult) and got a NQT job to finish my training. I passed that and got a full time teaching job. Which ended a year later.

 

Ah well, there’s always supply work. I thought to myself when I tried and failed to get another full time or part time teaching job.

HAH!

I joined agency after agency. I got very little work and was told that it was because I couldn’t drive. But I couldn’t afford to learn to drive… so I was in a Catch 22 situation.

By now, I had two children to support and my partner was driving over two hundred miles a day, just to keep us in the house we were in…

Fast forward to today.

The Kids

The Kids

This is my family. My partner has been diagnosed as Aspergers. NOS has been trying to cope with both Aspergers and High School for over two years. And we have the wonderfully entertaining Princess Wriggles to enjoy.

We’re still in the same house. That’s right. 3 Kids, two adults and all the attendant stuff in a small 3 bedroom house. Just about liveable… or it would be if it weren’t for the state of the roof and the plumbing (but that’s another story).
We’d planned to put the baby into the same room as PT when she turned a year old. We didn’t count on PT possibly being Aspergers as well.

What is Aspergers?

“As soon as we meet a person we make judgements about them. From their facial expression, tone of voice and body language we can usually tell whether they are happy, angry or sad and respond accordingly.

People with Asperger syndrome can find it harder to read the signals that most of us take for granted. This means they find it more difficult to communicate and interact with others which can lead to high levels of anxiety and confusion.” – From The National Autistic Society

One of the things that those with Aspergers need is a safe, secure and above all, calming environment to recharge and relax.
Dealing with the outside world causes all sorts of problems. While an adult can find a quiet place to calm down while they’re out and about, a child can’t. Add the school environment to their daily routine and you have daily sensory overload.
So a quiet bedroom / private space is essential to their well being.

We have the space for NOS to have this. The only way we can give PT the same space and give ourselves space (TOH really needs a private space) as well, is to put the baby in our room and sleep in the living room.

Not an ideal situation, more of a last resort.

So why don’t you move?

And here is where the earlier whining is relevant. I haven’t been able to return to teaching since I lost my job. I’ve updated my qualifications and still not been able to get a job. TOH is in the midst of changing career and while he has a part time job at the moment, it’s not an ideal long term solution as it’s only temporary.

We are reliant on Benefits to help us live day to day. There is very little spare cash and what spare cash there is goes on clothes or shoes etc. We’ve not been able to save up the money we need to move.
The deposit, the rent in advance, the moving costs – when I’ve figured it up, we’d need about £3,500 to be able to do it. And every time I manage to save money, it flies out the door again on the wings of an emergency / unforeseen bill.

I’m forced to ask for help.

None of my immediate family can help – they’re in similar straits. We can’t get a Bank loan big enough because we don’t have a big enough income or full time jobs – the banks are suddenly feeling responsible!

So the only thing left (other than sleeping on the sofa) is to ask for help generally.

I’ve started a GoFundMe campaign to this end. If you feel like donating money to help our family move to a more suitable house, then feel free to click on this link – House Move  – and donate whatever you feel you can afford.
There’s no time limit to the campaign and I’ll keep it open until either we get the amount we need, or we get kicked out of the house we are in (not as far fetched a prospect as you might think.)

If you feel uneasy about donating to a complete stranger (and believe me, I understand!) then look up my books (under Kira Morgana or A. E. Churchyard) and buy a copy or two – any sales from my work will be put aside to add to the Moving Fund.

If you don’t want to do either of those, then I won’t be upset – I realise it is a difficult world out there and there are people who are worse off than we are. If you want to support the campaign emotionally / promotionally, then feel free to tweet nice things about it and/or share it on FB.

I realise that this is a bit of a pipe dream.

However, I’ve already had four lovely, wonderful people donate to the campaign already, meaning it isn’t as much of a dream as it was.

So there you have it. I’ve bit the bullet and asked for help.

Over Half way through…

… the month of NaNoWriMo and I still haven’t hit the half way point of the MS yet…

I’m stuck at under 20k and I should be at nearly 30k.

Why?

There are lots of excuses you can use when you’re a writer, especially one who works from home and has to bring up the kids at the same time as writing.  But they are excuses… and I am not going to trot them out – you’re all intelligent and imaginative, you work them out.

The only one which I consider valid is the fact that I am pregnant and it causes me to take involuntary naps and the most absurd times of day – believe me, when I feel my body shutting down to go to sleep, I have to head for the couch or risk sleeping face down in a puddle of drool on my keyboard.

Which would not be good for my keyboard or my face.

There are eleven chapters up on Wattpad for you to read should you wish to – I’ll understand if you don’t want to, after all, it is the first draft and as Hemingway said:

The first draft of everything is shit.

If you do read it, then feel free to leave any comments you like… I’ll be taking them into account when I do the editing. Just for the moment I’d like to be able to get on and actually write the first draft…

‘Ullo, I just realised, I’m procrastinating again… better get back to the writing!

Toodles!

K