Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Twitter Angst

Everything I've read post-publishing my e-book suggests that Twitter is a way of promoting yourself, learning from other writers, networking ..... and countless other good things which I'm not positive enough to recall at the moment.

I set up my account (second to my personal one which I use just to follow pro-cycling, the odd comedian, politician etc.) and started to add authors, publishers, others who seemed to have similar writing or relevant interests to me.

I read all I could every day for around half an hour in the morning, and the same again in the evening, figuring this would give me a good 'spread' of tweets from around the globe.  I bravely made a few comments, thanked people for following me and tried one of those multi follower thingies to attract new followers (until I realised that it was auto-tweeting a load of crap when I wasn't paying attention and some of the new followers were not quite what I had in mind shall we say).

I tweeted links to my e-book on Amazon, to Pinterest where there's the makings of a picture gallery relative to the book and to this blog.

When I'd built up a few followers, I felt it was a good time to start asking some questions.  I do want to learn from others, so tips on 'print on demand' publishing in the UK, the Amazon KDP package and learning about using Google+ effectively are all things which would really help me.

But my tweets went unanswered and the only feeling I have for Twitter in a 'work' capacity is that it is just a listing zone for people to advertise their wares, rather than the community feel I was hoping for.  Just looking at my timeline tonight, all it contains is links to author's new or existing books, blog entries (which I do try and read and have commented upon, but there's no real interaction there either) and retweets.

I know I must be missing something big-time here.  But how am I going to find out when no-one answers my questions or read my blog I wonder?

On a lighter note, because there always is one, today's biggest visitor to the bird feeder wasn't a bird.

Not much modesty either :)

Spent a restful hour after work crashed out on a bean bag watching hundreds of herring gulls and common gulls milling around in the sky.  We decided they were catching flying ants - the hot/humid weather today forcing them out of the nest.  Amongst the gulls, three buzzards circled and swooped, which was beautiful to watch and above all of them, were half a dozen swifts, so high in the sky that I had to strain to hear their haunting shrieks.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Mevagissey Memories

As is the case with many holidays, there's always the intention to revisit certain places and Mevagissey is definitely one of those.

I used Mevagissey, Cornwall, and one or two other locations near to it, in The Splintered Circle.

This meant drawing on memories from twenty years ago, but if you have a good time then powerful memories tend to remain clear, at least for me.

For some of our trip to Cornwall, it rained - another vivid memory is when we visited Gweek Seal Sanctuary and were soaked for the whole day, but the seals were delighted and we managed to see some rutting deer and 'dippers' fluttering along the river bank, which may never have happened on a sunny day with lots of other visitors.

Luckily when we stayed in Mevagissey, it was warm and sunny.  We stayed in 'The Shark's Fin Hotel' which I believe is still open, parked the car near the water's edge on a narrow track with no railings to reverse into and appreciated the unique atmosphere.  I doubt it will be the same today, so perhaps a twenty year old memory is better than a revisit?

In the book, the character Raif Condor spends some time in Mevagissey, where he appreciates an open air folk concert and, totally out of character, dines on fish and chips :)  Unlike me, he doesn't get the chance to say in a hotel, or even bed and breakfast, instead his employer relegates him to a downmarket trailer park a few miles out of town in an effort to keep his profile low.

Here's some relevant links.

About Mevagissey

About Gweek Seal Sanctuary

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Sources of Inspiration

Post publication, e-book listed on Amazon, and I had been struggling for new writing ideas, which has extended to blogging.  Prior to writing 'The Splintered Circle', I'd blogged for years on a different site and loved the interaction with people from all over the world.  My posts were just about every day life and included loads of pictures of the garden and local Dorset scenery.  So it is quite difficult to get back into it.  I feel clumsy; I'm not really full of ideas for posts about the book either.  Probably because I spent so long working on it and need a break?

This morning we have a rare window of sunshine and so I thought I'd just wander around the garden, take a few pictures of flowers and plants that have managed to survive and flourish despite all the rain and wind.  Just being outside away from the computer and other distractions can sometimes give me a bit of inspiration and ideas.

In the windowbox outside the kitchen window, I sowed gaillardia and antirrhinum seeds way back in March. Despite constant attack from slugs and snails, they are now blooming and the reds, yellows and oranges are stunning.

At the back of the garden, things are more natural, with wandering native shrubs and trees, amongst which there are bird feeders with sunflower hearts, nuts and niger seeds.  To me, here isn't a nicer sound than the call of goldfinches as they descend to feed.  A clematic tangutica, planted only last year, has rocketed, obviously appreciating the rain, and its unusual yellow flowers are loved by the bees.

Back inside, there's not much inspiration here.

But gradually ideas are coming through for the next piece of writing - either non-fiction, or another novel, although I still feel I need to wait a while for some more feedback on my first effort before charging on regardless.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Character Ideas

UK weather … Downpours set to continue for rest of June thanks to unfortunate positioning of Atlantic winds … so, it is pretty obvious the jet stream is determined to stop any walking or gardening for the foreseeable future. I did spend an hour cutting back a couple of shrubs this morning; the plants love all this rain after all, but I gave up when the secateur handles grew too slippery to cut with and my shoes started squelching with water.

So - an ideal opportunity to write a proper entry and maybe a good place to start is with character ideas.

The relationship Fleur Fern has with her Aunt Marie in The Splintered Circle is a close and special one and I hope I've written this in such a way as to provide the reader with an idea of the warmth.

My great aunts and uncles, pictured in their garden in 1967, gave me so much inspiration for character development for the Fleur and aunt bond.  In the book I do make reference to how the Islanders who were left behind during the Guernsey Occupation had to make do with old curtains and material scraps for making clothes.  In the picture my three aunts in the front are doing just that, even though this is some years after the war ended.  

I was close to all  my aunts and uncles in the picture. Not in the warm and soft way depicted in the book, but still, their sporadic presence in my life and their recall of past events about the Channel Island Occupation was amazing. Even in 1967, some remnants of the War remained; such as German helmets left behind and hung on hooks in their shed. Still today there is the opportunity to see and sometimes enter the various fortifications built around the islands. These are a constant reminder of the Occupation and the effects of war – built by slave workers – not islanders though – rather workers brought in from Russia and Poland.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Splintered Circle now on Amazon

Very strange, and exciting, to see your own work up there on Amazon.

I've started off with a couple of days offering the ebook for free - downloads so far around 400, which is great!