28 July 2013

Do new writers need protecting?

I recently read a blog post about a writer who'd been sent an email promoting a blog tour business.  I can't find the post now but the general idea is that if you were new to the writing business and got that kind of email, you'd not realise that you could do it yourself and end up forking over cash you didn't need to.  We must protect the new writers.

I thought about that for a while and decided, do we? Do we really?

Sure there are some unscrupulous people out there, preying on those without information. But hell, that happens everywhere.  If you want to buy your first car, do you rock up to the car dealer with a wad of cash and take what he offers you?  Maybe some people do, but I'd consider that a 'stupid tax'.

Anyone with a lick of brains would research and get advice.  If you are a complete newbie,  you educate yourself.

And, come on, this is the 21st century.  It takes about 2 minutes on google to find a mountain of articles on promotion for writers.  Read them, be discerning and ask questions.  If someone is selling services to writers, check their price against their competitors.  If their prices are substanially higher, ask why.  Ask around and get recommendations.  Do a bit of snooping.  If they say they have a million twitter followers, check it out and make sure that's not a million bots.

Even new writers aren't new to the world of buying stuff, and services for writers are no different to any other service.

25 July 2013

Print is coming!

I received the proof copy of The Bad Girls' Club in the mail today.  I now need to check it carefully and, hopefully, it will be available for purchase soon!

22 July 2013

Holiday in Japan

I've been doing careful planning for my holiday in Japan, mostly shopping planning. That's the best bit of holiday planning, right! Even though I'm going for a month, I want to pack light so I'm basing most of my wardrobe around cute dresses and comfortable shoes. No room in my bag for shoes that aren't comfortable yet stylish - but boy, are they hard to find!

The first trip I took to Japan, while waiting to check in, we noticed a guy with a small sports bag as his only luggage. We had too much luggage and it seemed an impossiblity to travel with such a small bag. Now I think I can do it. I've cut my needs down to bare minimum.

The secret is to cut out all those things that you might need if the situation arises. Cut anything that doesn't go with anything else. Dresses help with that, saves you having that top that only goes with one bottom situation. I know the packing experts say to take a bunch of separates that all go together but does that happen in real life? I don't have clothes like that. I have tops that look good with some things but are too long/short/tight/loose to wear with others.

Note - the shoes pictured are NOT the ones I have but are the nearest thing could find. I think my new shoes are so awesome they deserve a whole post of their own.

20 July 2013

Don't rain on my parade

Photo: Flickr, LicenseAttribution Some rights reserved by mikebai
I've been reading a lot lately about people who get discouraged from writing by those around them - friends, family, random strangers.  People who tell them they are wasting their time or that they will never get anywhere.

I can't imagine why anyone would tell someone they can't write or that they shouldn't be wasting their time.  Sure it's tough to make a success of it but, even if you don't and enjoy writing, what's it to anyone else? 
No one tells you that you are not going to be the next *insert name of famous person* if you piss fart around watching reality TV or getting pissed at the pub.

No one tells you aren't going to be the next Maradona if you join the local soccer team.  It's enough just to participate.  No one tells you aren't going to be the next Jamie Oliver if you take up cooking.

Why does writing make people so antagonistic?  It doesn't even cost much to do or hurt anyone.  Maybe it's because you go into a little world of your own and shut them out?  Some people can't handle that, just like they can't handle silence.

I'm lucky.  I can't remember a single time anyone has ever told me I shouldn't or couldn't write.  Maybe because I come across as the kind of person would tell them to mind their own business and go on doing things my way.  Or maybe I come across as the kind of person who would punch them.

That doesn't mean I've had support and encouragement from everyone around me.  In some cases, I do, and that's fantastic but in other cases I've had complete indifference.  And that's okay too.  Not everybody has to be your cheerleader.  They just have to STFU and let you get on with it.

18 July 2013

Bad Girls' Club on sale

If you don't already have a copy, you can grab one for 99 cents until July 20th.  What are you waiting for?

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Japan

Interesting fact - Kobo is owned by Rakuten, which could explain why they are so spammy.

Other interesting fact - The Bad Girls' Club will be available in print soon.  Be the first to get the details by joining my mailing list.

And, a totally unrelated matter, I fell over tonight because the streets were all wet and slippery and have sprained my arms.  Luckily I can still type though.  I told my sister I wasn't attacked on the mean streets but BY the mean streets.  

13 July 2013

Japan Plans

I've not been blogging much lately.  Partly because I've been writing and partly because I've been planning my holiday.  I'm off to Japan in September-October.  While I'm there, I'll be researching my next novel which is set in Nagasaki.

I had a bit of a freak-out when I realised the dates I'd planned for Nagasaki coincide with a major festival.  Jumped online and found out most hostels and hotels had jacked up the prices for any rooms they had left.

I considered rescheduling since I'm going to be in Japan for a month overall but the dates I'd planned fit in around everything else perfectly.  Still there is no way I'd pay triple or quadrule the going rate for a room.  I have a budget of $50 a night for accommodation and, if I go over that, it's got to be for something that will be an amazing experience, not just satisfy someone's greed.

After a lot of messing around, I did find a room at a reasonable price but it involved a shared bathroom.  Not such a big deal for me, except I remembered my experience when I went to Kochi last year.  Not just a shared bathroom but a bathroom without a Western toilet.

I never book rooms in Japan on English sites because they charge more and you don't get the best deals but it does mean sometimes you don't get these comforts.  Japan has the most advanced toilets in the world mostly but the squat toilet does still exist and most public toilets have both options.  It amazes me to see these 90 year old ladies head to the squat toilet.

I have no flexibility, I can't squat!

I have used them in an emergency - when I've had a 5 minute transfer between trains and the Western toilet is occupied but I'd prefer not to.  Luckily, the hotel in Kochi with the squat only option had a park across the street with real toilets!

I took a break and then had one of those head slapping moments.  I could book the double room (that has a bathroom) for an extra $5 a night, still be within budget and not have traumatic toilet time.  Sometimes I have to stop being such a cheapskate.

So I booked it and then it hit me - I'm going to be in Nagasaki for this big-assed festival.  I love festivals in Japan.  Even though I don't handle crowds well, the chanting and the music, the build up of tension, the primalness of the day, it gets me through.  Of course, a few beers and some food on sticks never hurts either.

It's going to be amazeballs, as the kids say.  Expect lots of pictures and blogs.  I am even thinking of buying a new camera.

05 July 2013

Of Words and Water

A while back, a few members of a group I'm part of on Goodreads, started talking about putting together an anthology for charity.  Slowly the project came together in support of Water Aid with stories centred around the theme of water. The end product is a fine collection of short stories and poems.

Water. Many of us take it for granted. With the turn of a faucet, an endless supply runs across our hands, douses our face, fills our pots, kettles, tubs and swimming pools. We depend on the life-sustaining qualities of water for everything from the essential to the mundane, to refresh our bodies and replenish our thirst, to clean ourselves, our clothes, our automobiles and even to maintain our lawns. For us, the fortunate ones, safe water and sanitation is an integral part of our daily lives. Could we survive without it?

Roughly one in ten of the world's population do not have access to safe water. Two in five people do not have access to adequate sanitation.(*) WaterAid is working to change that. Since 1981, the international non-profit organization has been transforming lives by helping the world’s poorest communities help themselves.Of Words and Water is a collection of water-themed works from authors around the globe, all of whom wish to contribute to WaterAid’s invaluable efforts. Our work is given freely: if you enjoy it please give generously to share the gift of clean water, the gift of life.

Download your free copy from Smashwords and, if you have time, leave a short review.
Please say thank you with a donation to WaterAid through our justgiving page. If you’re short of cash, you can give something back by telling your friends about the book and getting them to spread the word, too.
Read our ‘Of Words and Water’ blog.