Category Archives: Personal

Today I am a Professional Author (and a piece of advice)

On April 29th, I wrote a piece titled ‘Today I am a Published Author‘, it was to signify the day that my first ever book was published.

That was two months ago, and since that day, it’s been a roller-coster ride of highs and lows. If there’s one thing I can say about being an Indie author, it’s never dull. It’s depressing,  heart-breaking and incredible, but never dull.

So, two months after that book went live, I got my first ever payment. My first one. Okay, it was for £22 (about $35), but I don’t care, it was for 1 day’s worth of book sales in the UK and I got paid. So today I move from being an author, to being a professional author. I now get paid for something I love doing (I promise not to go around calling myself a professional author, that’s just being a bit of a tit).

I think I’ll have to buy my first boat on an instalment plan.

That was not the only thing that happened this week that I felt a need to share with you all. If you’re a UK writer and you’re an Indie, you have to get a Tax number from the IRS otherwise Amazon send the lovely fellows over there 30% of your earnings. This is something I learnt a few days ago and immediately set about trying to get hold of the IRS.

My only real problem (apart from being on hold for an hour) was the awful music. You make enough money, get a bit of something interesting on there.

As it turns out it was quite easy. There’s a number to call on the Amazon FAQ’s about tax. You call it, ask for an EIN (if your a company) and there you go. Unfortunately it takes about an hour to get through to them, and about 5 minutes to complete the call. And the number is in the US. Which means your phone bill is going to take a kicking. So, here’s my advice. Get Skype. It cost me about 85p to use it to call them. I can’t believe how much easier it was.

So, yes, this week was a bit of a learning experience. But the fact that I can now state that I get paid to write, is one of those things I’d always dreamt of. Yeah, I’m not making Stephen King money. But right now, right here, all that matters is that people have bought my book and enjoyed it enough to keep it. I won’t go into sales figures (I want a few months of data before I do), but this is where Crimes Against Magic is currently sitting (as of 20:30 on 27/June/12).

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,981 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

And you know what, that looks damn good to me. And, touch wood, long may it continue.

This much wood.

The Old, The New and The Madness

March Madness is almost over, and although I probably didn’t get the exact number of words I wanted, I did okay. I certainly managed to get a lot of what needed to be done, finished.

And now for the next few weeks I’ll be concentrating on getting Crimes Against Magic ready. This year seems to have flown by so far, and it’s hard to imagine that I’m already at the point where I’m getting ready to publish my first book. In a few weeks, I’ll post the opening few chapters and let people know more details about when and where it’ll be available.

In other news: I finished The Hunger Games at the weekend and although I can think of a few things I wasn’t that impressed with, most of my problems wouldn’t be an issue for the age group the book was aimed at. Overall though, I really enjoyed it and will be picking up book 2 once things calm down a little around here.

I saw the new pictures for the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic this week, which were, quite frankly stunning. They’re going to be in the April issue of National Geographic.

No matter how many times I see pictures of the wreck, it never gets any less creepy. I feel the same way about hearing the song from the movie.

The Titanic has a special place in our family as my wife’s Great Grandfather was on-board when it sank. He was a fireman (not in the sense of a modern day fireman, but someone who keeps the fires burning for the fuel), and was very lucky to get off when so many others lost their lives. Apparently he was ordered onto one of the lifeboats so that he could row. My eldest daughter, Keira, went to her school for Titanic day dressed up as him. I was particularly proud of the fake moustache.

My own Great, Great Grandfather was meant to be on the Titanic too. But he got drunk in a pub and woke up after it had set sail. Yep, that kinda sums up that part of the family right there. To be fair, in hindsight it probably worked out well for him.

The big new this week, and clearly the most important, is that my wife and I discovered that our new little bundle of joy is another girl. I’m very happy about this news and even more that my wife has agreed to name her Harley.

I guess I know what my next tattoo will be.

That’s right I’m going to live in a house with three girls and my wife. When the teenage years come, I’m going to be in a state of permanent cat-like readiness.

That’s it for another week. Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Five Things That Impressed Me

This week, I thought I’d take the time to go through five things that have impressed me the most in the past few weeks.

But first, an update. March madness is going quite well.  I’ve averaging the 1000 words a day that I need (just about) and making pretty good time. The story has changed slightly though, as I sort of wrote myself into trouble and then had to write myself out of it again, but what’s the fun in writing if you can’t challenge yourself?

I’ve also done some research for book three. Primarily, I’ve been looking into the Great Freeze of 1709. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I love research. I learn so much that I didn’t ever think I’d need to know.

And now onto the point of this weeks blog.

1. Saga

As some of you know, I’m a big comic book fan. And Brian K. Vaughan is one of the best writers in the business.

He’s the writer of Y: The Last Man, Pride of Baghdad and Ex Machina. All of which are superb and come highly recommended by me, so his new comic series was always going to cause a bit of a stir. And Saga lives up to every inch of that promise.

It would be easy to say that Saga is just Romeo and Juliet in space, but that does neither the characters nor story justice. More was done in this first issue, than most writers manage in five or six these days.

Praise must also be given to Fiona Staples who does some wonderful art, both on the fantastic action scenes and the more dialog and emotional heavy stuff too.

I don’t want to say any more, because this is the kind of comic that you should go into without knowing the story too much. But be assured that this is the start of something a bit special, much like Y: The last man. If you have any interest in comics, sci-fi or just good writing, you owe it to yourself to pick this up.

2. Hunger Games

I’d never even heard of this book up until about a month ago, when I saw the trailer for the movie and immediately thought – Americanised Battle Royale for a teen audience. (For those of you who don’t know, Battle Royale is one of the finest films of all time and is about a group of kids stuck on an island who all have to kill each other until one remains. It’s incredible, dark, funny and very, very violent.) I held off reading the book because I didn’t want it to be another Twilight ‘will they, won’t they, how can she decide between the two’, which really isn’t for me. Turns out I was wrong so far. I’ve not finished it yet, but damn is it ever dark.

I’m also finding it to be very well written and gripping. I don’t know if the film will be any good, and maybe the end of the book goes all pear shaped and I’ll hate it, but at the moment I’m very glad I got myself a copy.

3. Mass Effect 3

I love Mass Effect. Love it. I love the characters, I love the setting. Pretty much everything about these three games scream “Steve, buy me, love me.” And Mass Effect 3 took me 32hrs to complete. And I loved 31hrs and 45 minutes. Then it all went horribly wrong.

I’m not going to spoil the end of the game because that would be a really shitty thing to do. But it was the biggest let down I’ve had from an ending in a very long time.

But those 31 hrs and 45 minutes before then, pure gaming gold. Characters I’ve seen grow and develop over the three games came back to fight once more, and I had quite the touching romance with a certain alien female as I did my best to save the galaxy. It was all heading towards being the best way Bioware would have ended the trilogy. But, damn. Just… damn.

4. PS Vita

You may have guessed that I’m a big fan of videogames. I have been for many a year, and will probably still be playing when I’m old and sat on my rocking chair, waving my walking stick at youngsters and demanding that they stay off my lawn.

I’ve played most handhelds since the Gameboy back in 1989/90. The PS Vita is the most impressive I’ve ever used since… well, since ever. It’s an incredible piece of technology with a fantastic launch line up. The touch screen on the front is wonderful (as is the screen itself), the controls feel right, and even the rear touch pad is a nice touch. There are issues (PS1 and PS2 games should be playable, Wi-Fi should always connect and every single one of the ‘compilation games’ like Sly Racoon should be playable on it) but they’re tiny compared to how much fun I’ve had playing Uncharted on a handheld.

Sony deserve to do very well with this as it blows the Nintendo 3DS out of the water in terms of features and capability. Hopefully that success will come for them.

5. Suits

I’m not a big TV watcher. I like Supernatural, Burn Notice, Lost Girl and Psych. And I watch a few things with my daughters (Ben 10 and Phineas and Ferb are big hits in my house), but there’s very few other things that I’d consider to be unmissable.

Suits is now on that very short list. In the 6 or 7 episodes I’ve watched, I’ve grown to love this show. It’s smart, funny and very well written, with characters that are both believable and entertaining. Long may it continue.

And that’s it for this week. Enjoy your weekend.

March of Ideas

Everyone occasionally has that thought where something pops into their head and they think, “Hey that would make a good movie/tv show/advert/book etc.” Most people then file that idea in a big box marked Imagination’s Home and forget all about it, moving on with their lives or promising that one day they’ll finally write the story/screenplay they always wanted to.

I typed "Gothic Chest" into Google. That was my first mistake. I wish very much that there are things I could un-see.

I’m not sure if the same is for all writers, but for me, I don’t get that luxury of filing things away for future use. I get to think about the idea, to ponder and shape it until it becomes something I can work with. For the most part I love this part of my brain—it’s what allows me to shape my words and worlds into something I can almost feel.

And then there’s the other times.

At the moment, apart from editing CAM, I’ve been writing the second book in the series. Unfortunately my imagination doesn’t seem to care about this at all, because a few weeks ago I got an idea for a story. It was only a glimmer at the time—a tiny fragment of something I thought was quite cool. Over the past two weeks, the idea has tried to muscle its way into my thoughts at every conceivable moment. This includes when I’m working on actually finishing the book I’m meant to be writing.

It happens quite often with me, I’ll be in the middle of one thing and my imagination wants me to do something else. My imagination, you see, is a small puppy that needs constant attention less it start driving me bloody insane. The last time I gave in, it resulted in pages and pages of notes about a second series of books staring someone just coming into their abilities. And the time before that it was a fantasy story.

You trying saying no to this face!

My imagination won’t let it go, so for the passed two weeks I’ve tried to give it the time it clearly craves. And I think the end results will be quite good. It’s certainly not something I ever thought I was going to write, although it will require a lot of research. There’s only one problem; it’s in the same series as CAM, but much further down the line, which means I’ll have my brain telling me to hurry up and write it for the next few years.

The weird thing is, no matter how much I wish my imagination would let me finish what I’m trying to do, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I love that it forces me to think about ideas outside of what I’m currently involved in. I love that it challenges me. But still, sometimes it’d be nice to have a switch so that I could only concentrate on what I need to get finished. Only sometimes though.

On another matter, I got to see the first draft of the cover for Crimes Against Magic. I was considering showing everyone, but I think I’d rather wait until it’s finished before unveiling it. But it’ll be soon. Very soon. And it’ll be totally worth the wait.

A Very Special Announcement

I had a nice idea for my first solo post that included telling everyone about my book that will be coming out this year, Crimes Against Magic.  The best laid plans of mice and men, and all that.

I was going to wait for a few weeks to announce this. But seeing how a lot of people seem to already know, I figure I may as well make it official.

My wife and I are going to have our third child, due in early August.

Originally, I was going to wait until the first scan had gone, and then let people know. But, as per usual, that’s flown right out the window. So, to stop the haphazard way in which people find out, I figured telling everyone at once was probably a good idea. And what’s a blog for, if not to put all information in one place.

For those of you who don’t have children, you won’t know the mixture of joy and mortal terror at discovering you’re going to be a father. Well, that’s true of baby 1 anyway. By the time you get to the 3rd, it’s mostly a case of figuring out when I might actually get some sleep again. Short answer. Never.

We don’t know what the sex is yet, but so long as it’s healthy and happy I’m not fussed. Besides my wife and I rock on the baby name front, so we’ve already got some cool names picked out for either eventuality. My eldest daughter wants to call it Harley Quinn if it’s a girl. My wife is not coming round to the idea as much as Keira would like.

So that’s the blog for this week, thanks to everyone who came and looked around or commented last week. You never know, next time I may actually get to talk about writing.