My work output just lately has been absolutely atrocious.

I just this second updated my word-count spreadsheet for July, and I had to spend some time first putting in a series of zeroes for June!

I’ve not written a word since 22 June. This is disgraceful! Especially when I have so many ongoing and new projects bustling for attention.

I wouldn’t mind, but it isn’t even as if I don’t have anything to pay for. I have a new car to pay for, for a start! And yes, it really is yellow! I’m very, very happy with it.

They made us feel very special at the dealership when we went to collect the cars. Even they said they don’t often hand over two cars. We were both given a key ring and a tin of car sweets each.

I wondered where my car was, but it was beneath a sheet that was ceremoniously whipped away to reveal my lovely little new motor. The poet’s car was outside.

So now we have these two new cars to pay for, we need to pull our horns in and I need to get earning. I do have editing work in, and there are proofreading jobs on the way too. But my resolution for July is to write something every day, even if it is just a blog post – it’s all exercise.

What have you been up to while I’ve been AWOL?

(There’s 243 words to start me off …)

Two books now available on Kindle

lulu cover
I’m delighted to announce that not one but TWO of my re-branded, re-packaged and re-published books are now available in the Kindle store on Amazon.

This is one (or two!) of the things I’ve been working on recently.

NIGHT CRAWLER: A MARCIE CRAIG MYSTERY and TWEE TALES are now available, on Kindle, for £2.99 and £1.99 respectively. If you click on the covers, you’ll be taken directly to the Kindle store. But if you’re in a different country, still follow the links and then follow the link on the books’ pages to your own country’s Amazon – it’s usually in the top right of your screen if viewing on a desktop or laptop, and I think there’s a clickable link on other devices too.

I’ve not had much luck selling ebooks on other platforms and I can’t really afford the time to re-format them at the moment. But if you prefer to buy your ebooks on Kobo or Nook or whatever, do let me know and I’ll make it a priority. For the next 90 days, however, they’ll be exclusive to Kindle. I want to see how the KDP Select thing works out before making them available elsewhere as well.

These Kindle versions can no longer be bought with the Diane Parkin byline. However, I’m trialling giving the Kindle versions of the new books away FREE to anyone who buys the paperbacks … I’m just not sure how they work with each other yet, so won’t promise anything until I know it’s working … watch this space for that.

My other decision (as well as the Kobo/Nook/etc) is to only publish hardback books via Lulu in future, then publish the paperback and the ebook on Amazon. The CreateSpace is so much easier to use and there are lots of different styles of cover to manipulate too. (See my “current projects” page for examples – I’ve been working on that as well.)

You can see from the illustrations, on this page and on the “current projects” page, the difference in cover size. Also, my raw Word files didn’t need half as much re-formatting to get them to work as they used to. In fact, they didn’t need any. Perhaps this is something Amazon has worked on.

If you buy any of the books, or if you already have older versions, it would be great if you could leave a review – if Amazon will let you. Thank you in advance.

Back into the groove

You know when the schedule’s starting to work again when you get an extra 10 – 20 minutes in which to do whatever you want. Some people may re-jig their schedule as they can probably squeeze something extra into that extra time. But I prefer to reward myself for being busy because, otherwise, I just may burn out.

Today, I’m writing an extra blog post! 🙂 (Lucky you lot!)

The diary has had a bit of a re-jig today and the item HOUSEWORK no longer features. This doesn’t mean I’m not doing any housework any more. I’m just doing it in bursts of 10 minutes when I can, either before the working day starts, while I’m making a drink or having a break, or after work ends. After all, if I had a “proppa job” I wouldn’t be here to do the housework.

The poet started his new job yesterday and his hours are quite different to his last job. Now he starts at 8am and finishes at 4:30pm. This means he’s out of the house by 7:15am and probably back by 5 – 5:15pm, and it adds another half-an-hour onto my own working day – especially if I omit that pesky housework thing. And that means I have 8 working sessions per day instead of 7, in 1-hour blocks, but I also get 2 x 15-minute breaks and 1 x 30-minute lunch break.

Mornings will be mostly admin things, surveys, emails, catching up on social media, etc. But 3 times a week there’s a blog post – Mon (Baggins Bottom), Wed (Words Worth Writing), Fri (either/or). On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the extra hour is currently pro-bono work and gig list/band admin respectively.

Dinner’s at 1:15pm, and I also get to catch up on friends’ blogs, social media, etc, now. So watch out for that extra visitor to your site.

Four afternoon sessions mean at least one writing hour per day and 2 editing hours (either my own or a client’s). Then I get a study hour on Mondays (which is also writing, really), a job-search hour on Tuesdays, another study hour on Wednesdays, an extra admin hour on Thursdays (diary work), and an invoices/admin/PC mtce hour on Fridays.

The diary, as ever, is completed in pencil, with appointments and date-specific work going in first, as it comes in, and then everything else going in around that on a weekly basis. And because it’s in pencil, it’s also still very flexible for anything that comes in unexpected, such as some extra pro-bono work I needed to do this morning, because the press dictated it.

So, there’s my extra 20 minutes done with. Back to work and … “writing work”. Wahey!


List alert: A bright new year

We had a fantastic 2015. In May we were married in Gretna Green, and had a wonderful honeymoon, first in Scotland and then in Cyprus. Our very busy life started to ease off a little, and my writing work was made much more businesslike. In November, of course, I finally completed my first ever NaNoWriMo, and my first full-length story since, well, Night Crawler.

The holiday has given me time to assess how the past year went and what I’d like to achieve in the new year – workwise and personally. But I’m not going to bore everyone with a list of so-called “resolutions”. Instead, I’m just going to cover some changes to Baggins Bottom.

I’d like to have a grid on the front page with just the opening of each post visible and a continue-reading/read more-type option. But this current theme is quite a new one, and one I quite like, and it doesn’t seem to be available. I shall, however, research it further, and change it if I find it.

In the meantime, here are some new regular features that may or may not eventually be turned into non-fiction books, with added extras, such as OS maps for a walking book:

  • Wormy’s kitchen – including recipes and gadget tests/reviews
  • Walk of the week – including gear reviews and product tests
  • Kitchen garden from scratch – including step-by-step projects
  • Our lane this month
  • My fat year (fitness diary)

Each of the posts will have the topic name at the start of the post title followed by a colon, like the list alert on this one. The first post in each category will be an introduction with background where necessary. Come June, I’ll have a good idea of how much material I have and whether or not some of them can be converted into book proposals that can then go on their merry way.

The writing work is being moved up a gear in 2016. I’ve pretty much decided that I don’t want to write articles or features any more, other than nostalgia pieces that insist on being written and maybe readers’ letters. I do have some writing projects already started and I’d like to polish or finish some of those. Then I’d like to concentrate on the non-fiction ideas above.

Here is what I’d like to achieve in 2016, writing-wise:

  • polish Mardi Gras (my 2015 NaNoWriMo project)
  • finish Catch the Rainbow
  • start The Beast Within (a Marcie Craig mystery)
  • write at least one short story a month for fave short story market (and so eventually lead towards Twee Tales Twee …)
  • write at least one piece of work a month for the fiction writing course the poet bought for my birthday last year

All of this will monitored and documented and added to a new blog, Words Worth Writing … (do you see what I did there?) There’s not a lot on there at the moment, although I did secure the url a long time ago. But here is where you’ll start to see Diary of a Freelance Writer too, although I’ll probably duplicate that for a while until everyone knows how to find it. In fact, I might duplicate this post over there too, to get us started.

And then there’s the editing/self-publishing side of my work. I have 4 books to republish in 2016, under the new by-line:

  • Night Crawler (a Marcie Craig mystery)
  • Baggins Bottom Best Bits Books 1 & 2 (that’s 2 books)
  • Twee Tales

I still have the following to knock into shape:

  • Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book 3

And I have this one to start collating:

  • Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book 4

And then in February … (joke!)

So that’s it for now. All that’s left for today is to wish everyone a very merry new year. Good luck for 2016!