Category Archives: Personal

2013 and Beyond

2013 was a pretty good year. To start with both the Hellequin books published in 2012 were doing very well, well enough for 47North to contact me and offer me a publishing contract. From that they ended up as a bestselling series. I published a Novella that appears to have been accepted well and I’ve started writing book 4 in the Hellequin books, while drafting the first book in a new series.

Infamous-Reign

There were downsides too. If I’d managed my time better I probably could have written the first Chimera book this year, and my day job has gone downhill considerably, but faced off against my family and friends being happy and healthy and my writing going well, I can’t complain too much.

With Silent Screams

I’ve met some incredible and talented new people this year, many of whom are now good friends, even if they live in different parts of the world to me. And in one weird case, have a hankering for dino porn (you know who you are).

 

So, 2013 was pretty cool. Hopefully 2014 will be even better.

So here’s to you; my friends and family, fellow writers and readers. Each of you made 2013 considerably better for having you in it. And no matter how good or bad your 2013 was, here’s to your 2014 being awesome.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas one and all.

I hope you all have an awesome day, and if you don’t celebrate Christmas, have a great day anyway.

See you all in the new year.

An Evening With

On sunday I was lucky enough to attend an Evening with Neil Gaiman. I’m a big fan of his writing, in fact he’s written 2 of my favourite books of all time in American Gods and Good Omens. I never read Sandman (yes, I know), as I was only about 10 when it started and was more interested in X-men and the Steve Jackson/Ian Livingstone’s Fighting Fantasy books.

 

This is one of the first books in the series that I got. I managed to find in in Oxfam for about 10p. Bargain.

There’s not a thing about this book I don’t love. It’s utterly fantastic.

Anyway, Neil was an excellent host and spoke about his life growing up in Portsmouth, alongside his writing and working on Doctor Who. He read from his book, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”, which sounded very good (I won’t be reading it for a while as I’m under orders to read The Stand, which I’ve also never read).

 

I’m looking forward to reading it. 

It was an excellent evening all round, and then came the Q&A bit. At the end a woman in the audience asked Neil what he’d sacrificed to become a writer. His answer was the first time I’d heard another writer say what I’d always thought. That writers are somewhat detached from the rest of the world.

 

Now what I mean by that, is that when a non-writer watches the news or sees something good or bad happen in front of them, or to them, they respond in the normal way; anger, happiness, sadness, whatever that emotion might be. A writer’s brain will do this with 75% of them, but that remaining 25% is thinking, “how can I use this in a book?” or “that’s interesting information, I must file it away for future keeping.”

 

As I said, I’d never heard another writer talk about it in such a candied way, and it’s nice to know that I’m not the only crazy person out there. From talking to other writers, it appears that actually this is a common theme. So I’ve gone from thinking I’m slightly nuts, to actually being normal. Albeit, normal within my peer group of writers.

 

Which in some ways, is actually more concerning than it was to begin with.

Fun With Maths

Another small update this week as I’m still neck deep into writing With Silent Screams. I should have more news about it in the next few weeks.

First of all, I finished Tomb Raider. It’s  great game and one I can highly recommend. I do have 2 small problems with it. 1. There aren’t enough tombs to actually raid. And 2. There are a few too many enemies, especially toward the end of the game where it can feel like you’re being swarmed. If it weren’t for the fact that the combat is excellent, that would be a much bigger issue.

As it stands though, it’s 10-12 hours of awesome. Personally I can’t wait for the inevitable sequel (as it’s the best selling Tomb Raider game ever, there will be a sequel.)

Bioshock Infinite also has some of the best adverts I’ve ever seen for a game.

However, next week it’s Bioshock Infinite. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love the original Bioshock. While Bioshock 2 wasn’t as good, I have a feeling that Infinite is going to be something special. It’s a shame they’re releasing all of these incredible games in such a short space of time. Damn them.

Savour the awesome.

I actually got some reading done last week too, which is a bit of a novelty for me. I finished the first Star Wars –New Jedi Order book: Vector Prime. I haven’t read too many of the expanded universe stuff for Star Wars, but with a new film in the pipeline I figured I’d read some more. Turns out it was excellent.

 

Slight Spoiler – One of the main characters from the series dies in this book in probably the single best death scene I’ve ever read. It’s just utterly epic stuff, and while it’s a shame they died, it was done well and it appears that they’ll be building on it so it’s not a throwaway.

 

 

 

On the writing front, I’ve realised I’ve sold over 22,000 books of Crimes Against Magic and Born of Hatred.

In fact, if I can get all mathy for a minute, in 2012 I sold:

 

Crimes Against Magic – 9300

Born of Hatred – 2300

 

So far (Jan and Feb) in 2013, I’ve managed:

Crimes Against Magic – 5100

Born of Hatred – 5500

 

It’s a wonderful achievement for me personally, and I can’t thank everyone who supported me or purchased a book enough. But thank you none-the-less.

If anyone is interested in what my magic secret is… well, I wish I knew. Because I’d tell everyone.

 

 

So, that’s it for this week. Have a good weekend all.

My Wife

My wife isn’t really someone who’s all that bothered about Valentines Day, which is fortunate because I feel the same way. I find it odd that someone picked one arbitrary day that people should be all romantic. It helps that our anniversary of the start of our relationship is the day after (it certainly makes it easy to remember).

I’ve also never been someone to make big grand gestures of romance; getting a bunch of people to perform a flashmob declaring my love feels like a hell of a lot of time and effort for such a simple act. I’m also not much of a poet, and writing about my undying love for someone makes me sound like a country song, so I think I’ll skip that.

But Valentines Day is as good as any other for singing the praises of my wife, so, I’d like to take a moment to thank her. Everyone else can look away now if they like:

 

Vanessa, without your support and unwavering faith in my abilities, I wouldn’t be here right now with two successful books under my belt. I certainly wouldn’t be writing my third with an eye to being able to go fulltime. I know my writing sometimes gets in the way of you actually getting things done around the house. I know having to look after three kids while I lock myself away can be exhausting. That’s why I always feel bad when I get so little done. You’re giving me time, and that’s one of the most important things a writer can have. And without that time away from distraction, I’d have never gotten anything done.

 

When I wrote Crimes Against Magic, I said in the dedication that you were my better half, and that couldn’t have been truer.

 

So thank you. Thank you for being there for me. For giving me a kick up the ass when I need it and for ranting about the 1 or 2 star reviews I get (usually with liberal swearing about the author and/or requests to commit violence about their person), thanks for understanding that, yeah I can be grumpy when I don’t get enough work done. But most of all, thanks for being you, for loving this comic book reading, anime watching, videogame playing, tattooed geek. I love you, and it doesn’t matter how many times I say that, it will always be true.

 

Seeing how my wife would probably bludgeon me if I posted a picture of her, here’s some cute puppies. Because everyone loves puppies.

So, there you have it. Me being soppy. It doesn’t happen too often in public, but if you have a partner who is supportive and always there to help you in your writing or art or whatever it is that takes up a lot of your time. Tell them thank you. You don’t have to do it today; you can, and should, do it any day you choose. But do it often. Because they’re some of the most important people you will ever have beside you.

 

Sales

On 30th April I launched Crimes Against Magic to the world, with no idea how it would be taken. I didn’t know if it would sell, get good reviews or vanish quietly into the realms of Indie-publishing, never to be spoken of again.

Turns out it did okay. So after having April to September’s complete sales figures, I thought I’d share them with you all. 6 months of sales figures (if not 6 months in actual complete months) is a pretty good selection of data.

Now, I’m not showing this to everyone to show off, I’m fully aware that I’m nowhere near the upper echelon of sales, but maybe someone will read this and they’ll see that if I can do it, then they’ll have some hope that they can too.

So, to do this I’m going to break the figures down into three categories.  We’ll do UK sales first, then EU and we’ll save the American sales until last because that’s where most of my sales have come from.

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, the figure for sales in the US is astronomically larger than the UK or EU. And I haven’t changed the price (except for 1 week at the end of Sept), so nearly every one of these sales is based on the $4.99 (£3.11) price tag.

So, there’s probably a few questions that you might have from this.

 

Where did these sales come from?

Well, I blogged like a crazy person in May and June, doing spotlights, interviews and anything else I could to get the book out there, so that probably helped. And I’ve gotten some incredible reviews. But the thing that I believe helped the most is the cover. Everyone who has seen the book has told me how good the cover is, and I believe that my sales are certainly helped by having a good cover.

Does this mean I have agents asking for my hand in partnership?

Ummm… no. Not even slightly. In fact, I haven’t heard from any agents, at all. Not that I was expecting to.

 

Where does Crimes Against Magic sit now?

 As of writing (10am UK time), it sits about the 47,000k mark in the UK Kindle store.

 

In the US, it sits here:

 

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,474 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

 

Despite the fact that sales have really dropped off, it’s still pretty damn good. Especially for a first-time, unknown writer.

And to answer a question that I’ve been asked a lot recently.

 

Where are you with Born of Hatred?

Editing. I’m about half way through the editing process and hope to have that done within a week. Then a few people need to read it and we’ll go from there. Basically, it won’t be too long.

 

 

And that’s it for another week. I hope someone found the figures I’ve posted interesting or helpful. Have a good weekend.

I’m Back. And a Chance to Win.

It’s been a long time since I last wrote my own blog posts. So, it’s been a little difficult to figure out what I’m actually going to talk about. Instead of imparting whatever pearls of wisdom I happen to think of, I thought I’d just talk about what I’ve done in those last 5 weeks.

First of all, thanks to every single person who gave their time to be interviewed or write blog posts for me. I have a few more coming up in the next few week, and if anyone wants to take part in an interview or guest blog post on my blog then you’re more than welcome to contact me. And bribes work great. Just saying.

So, what have I been doing for the last 5 weeks? Mostly I’ve been taking care of my new baby daughter, Harley. She was born on 16th Aug and the time since has flown by. Her two older sisters, Keira and Faith, have both been very good with her, although that interest vanishes the second she needs a nappy change.

My beautiful daughter. She has quite the set of lungs on her.

So, my family has taken up the majority of my time. My 7th wedding anniversary was a few days ago, for which my lovely wife got me The Avengers on Blu-Ray and an impressive canvass with some old comic book art on it. She came to terms with being married to a geek a long time ago. Although I think my comic book collection is starting to take up a little more space than she’s always happy with.

My eldest daughter, Keira also started Junior School (I don’t know what the equivalent is elsewhere), which depresses me greatly as the past years appear to have flown by. It’s her birthday tomorrow, so she’ll be 8 going on 16 (at least in terms of attitude).

I saw Dredd the other day and it’s excellent. They’ve captured the character very well, along with the brutal world he lives in. It’s a very violent film and certainly doesn’t shy away from some very graphic scenes. It’s definitely not one you want your kids to watch. Unless you like the idea of screwing them up for a few weeks.

The film also has a great poster. Which is somewhat of a lost art these days.

The one thing I will say a night feed allows me to do is catch up on my TV watching. I finished the first series of Newsroom, which is excellent and caught up with the latest seasons of Castle  (about bloody time with that ending) and Leverage. I also finally got round to making my way through Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Soul Eater. I’d seen about half of them, but am now near the end for both shows and they’re equally good to watch, although Soul Eater is more than a little weird and offbeat in places.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is probably one of the best Anime TV shows ever made.

See the girl with the Witch outfit on? She’s actually a cat and likes to walk around naked. And that’s not the oddest thing that happens in the show.

And on to the writing side of things. Crimes Against Magic is currently doing quite well, although sales have dropped from July. I’ll do a full post about the sales side of things in a few weeks. Hopefully someone out there might find it interesting. Amazon.com has 36 reviews, 33 of which are 4 or 5 stars. Amazon.co.uk has 17 reviews, 16 of which are 4 or 5 stars. It’s an incredible reception and I’m glad so many people have enjoyed the book.

Speaking of books, Born of Hatred is back from my wonderful crit partners, Michelle Muto and D.B. Reynolds and they both liked it. In fact they both said it’s much better than Crimes Against Magic, with better writing and a tighter story. Which is just about the best news I could have received.

I’m currently making lots of edits and then it’ll go to some other wonderful people to have a read. I’m aiming for a Halloween launch, but best laid plans and all that. Which means that if I can’t manage Halloween, it’ll be launched sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving (not that we celebrate it over here), but at least that gives you an idea of the timeframe.

My talented friend, Eamon, is currently getting the cover to Born of Hatred ready, which I’ll show as soon as he’s done.

I have tried to get some writing done on book 3, With Silent Screams, but have managed about 5k. Which isn’t great, but I’m hoping that I’ll get more done once my edits to Born of Hatred are finished.

 

Lastly, it’s competition time. 

If you’d like to win a signed copy of Crimes Against Magic, then read on:

There are four things you can do to get an entry:

1. Like my Facebook Author page https://www.facebook.com/Hiddenrealmspublishing

2. Follow my blog (click on the ‘follow’ button on the top right of this page).

3. Tweet about this competition or RT my tweets (if you tweet, you’re going to have to include me so I can keep track – there’s a widget at the bottom of this page with a link to my Twitter account).

4. Share my posts on Facebook (Look for contest posts on my Facebook page).

Every time you do one of the above, your name goes into a hat. Each additional action, means an extra entry. So in theory, if you do all the above and then share and re-tweet every day, you’ll get loads of entries.

In one week’s time, on the 27th September, my daughter will draw one name out of the hat, and I’ll announce the winner on my blog. They then have one week to contact me with their address.

If you already follow me or like my author page and don’t want to take part (maybe you don’t like free stuff) then let me know and I’ll make sure to remove your name from the hat.

So, until next week. Good luck and have a good weekend.

Chicks with Ink

Next in the list of wonderful people to take my blog for a spin is the, quite frankly, uber-talented Angela Addams. It’s all yours, Angie.

I started getting tattooed when I was 19. In fact, my very first tattoo was so painful (the artist admitted to me later that he was intentionally more heavy handed than he needed to be…asshole) that I vowed never to get another one again. As you can see from my pic, that was a vow I broke….big time. I think that my current count is somewhere around 14 or so…but I don’t sit around and count my tattoos very often so I can’t say for sure. We’re not talking little butterflies either…the artist that I went to for years always had a saying whenever I came in with a new idea, “BIGGER” he’d say… “BIGGER, ANGIE!!!” and so we always went bigger.

For a long time I would always make sure to get ink that I could cover, primarily because I was very concerned about judgment within my profession. So yes, that meant if I was going anywhere where I could possibly run into someone from work I would wear jeans and ¾ length shirts, even in the summer. My family didn’t know about my tattoos either…so yeah, I’d cover up for family events too.

I lived and breathed the tattoo world for quite some time. My bff worked as a piercer at a tattoo shop for many years and I would go there to not only get work done but to hang out as well. I went to tattoo conventions. I drank and partied with some of the biggest, most kickass, heavily tattooed folks you could meet. So I didn’t realize until I moved away from the people who were “like me” how very different the rest of the world tends to view women who have many tattoos. I have faced some element of judgment living in a community where my tattooed self kinda stands out. I’ve been followed around stores by security…I’ve been ignored while waiting for service (trust me, that doesn’t last long, I tend to speak up 😉 I’ve been asked inappropriate questions and scolded about how terrible my tattoos will look in thirty years and what a shame I must be to my mother. It’s kind of unbelievable what people think is okay to say to another individual that they don’t know.

What people don’t realize is that my tattoos do many things for me, many positive things. They act as conversation starters…you show me, I’ll show you kinda stuff. They act as a shield…some folks find my appearance intimidating and at times, that’s exactly what I want. A turn on…yes, some men find tattoos on women very attractive and that can be flattering. They are moments in time, symbols of what makes me me. Most importantly though, my tattoos have always been a way of working through the burden of depression. I’ve found that when I’m feeling my lowest, getting tattooed has been a way for me to work through the pain on the inside by feeling a little pain on the outside. Some folks might think that’s a little strange but it seems to work for me. So, there’s more to it than a little (or a lot) of ink on my skin.

We are a judgmental society. I’d be a fool to think that people don’t judge me based on my appearance. I realize that when I walk down the street showing my tattoos, no one is thinking, wow that is one intelligent, highly educated, hard working woman there. Do I care? No, not really. Getting tattooed is an expression of who I am. It’s a part of my life that I won’t ever walk away from.  My ink gives me power, and as a woman I value that above most things.

 Links:

www.angelaaddams.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/angelaaddams

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Angela-Addams/100002825504020

Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/Angela-Addams/e/B005JOTBPM

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4801196.Angela_Addams?origin=

Every day is Halloween for author Angela Addams. Enthralled by the paranormal at an early age, Angela spends most of her time thinking up new story ideas that involve supernatural creatures in everyday situations.

Well, until now, that is. Angela has recently expanded her creative repertoire to include contemporary erotica, because the written word is an amazing tool for crafting the most erotic of scenarios even if there are no werewolves in sight.

She lives in Ontario, Canada with her loving husband and children.

Allow me to Introduce

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce my new baby daughter Harley McHugh, born on 16th Aug 2012 at 01:48.

 

Utterly beautiful hardly begins to describe her.

 

 

There’s going to be a full length blog post later today from guest-star Angela Addams, but for now, I just wanted to share the awesome.

Painful Art

When I was 21 years old I was dating a complete nutcase. We’ve all had one relationship with someone who, as it turned out, was an utter dick, and that was mine. And if you haven’t had one of those… well that could be because you’re that person for everyone else.

To celebrate the fact that I not only broke up with her crazy ass, but I also left my soul-sucking job, I decided to get my first tattoo.

This tattoo in fact

I wanted to get something special and something that was meaningful to me, so i picked something I loved (comics) and a character from it I enjoyed reading about (Daredevil). It wasn’t a terribly painful experience, although it wasn’t without it’s moments, but it was nice enough that I didn’t once think about stopping there.

You see there’s something no one really told me before I got the Daredevil tattoo. They’re really addictive. Now for the most part I’ve restrained myself from having too many done and only get one when I find something worthwhile having done. So over the years I got a tattoo of my daughter, Keira’s name wrapped around my arm in Japanese. A Samurai when Keira was born.

It looks a little like this, but not like this. Which I’m aware is a dreadful way of describing something.

And two anime wolves next to one another when my second daughter was born.

Imagine two of them, sleeping together with small amounts of colour on their head and without the leg irons.

So, when my wife and I discovered she was pregnant, I knew I was going to get another tattoo. It was just a question of what. After getting the wolves, I knew it had to be something just about the new baby. But it wasn’t until we settled on the name Harley that I knew with a hundred percent certainty what I wanted.

Ignore all the little bits around the outside.

So, next thursday I’m off to get a new tattoo on my forearm and I can’t wait.

Now there are a few things that people should know before they get a tattoo.

1. Yes, of course it bloody well hurts. How much depends on where you get it done and what you get done, along with who is doing the work.

2. If you get something done, try and make it personal to you. Just because everyone else has tribal tattoos on their arms, doesn’t mean you have to.

3. Don’t go with a tattooist just because it’s cheap. Cheap and tattoos are not good friends. Research the tattooist and find out how his/her work looks.

4. Eat before you go. Seriously this is incredibly important unless you like the idea of passing out. At least drink something sugary.

5. Research. Not only the pic you want, but also where you want it and how big. If you go to a tattoo parlour with a copy of a picture you’ve already found, it’ll make everything much easier.

So if you’re thinking of getting a tattoo done, just try to be original and above all enjoy the experience, it really isn’t all that scary.

And now for a Born of Hatred update:

It’s still almost done. Seriously, I’ve got about 2 chapters to write.

As for Crimes Against Magic. Well, this week has been insane. In a good way. I sold 104 copies on Monday and averaged about 70ish books for the other days (so far only 57 today, but you can’t knock 57). I also now have 23, 5 star reviews, which is incredible.

At the moment this is where it sits.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,562 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Once again it’s been a superb week and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I’ll do a post about full sales when I’m back after my Aug break once Harley is born. So, until next week, have a great weekend.