Viruses and Volcanoes

A Covid Diary

During what I like to refer to as, The Time of Covid, I used this blog to journal my experiences during lockdown and beyond / kept a journal of my experiences during lockdown and beyond. At the start of the pandemic, my husband had just been diagnosed with a serious lung condition which placed him in the “very vulnerable” or “shielded” category and we made the decision to self-isolate a week before the official lockdown began. We expected to have to do this for 12 weeks and then return to our normal lives when it was all over. Little did we know what the coming year would bring.

Viruses and Volcanoes tells the story of my life in The Time of Covid as a wife, mother, grandmother and daughter from the first days of the lockdown in the UK and later, after we relocated to Barbados, on the other side of the Atlantic. It takes the reader through the shock and strangeness of the early days of the pandemic, the emotional roller coaster of the prolonged lockdown and the gradual adaptation to the new normal.

Viruses and Volcanoes is a personal, unedited and unapologetic narrative of the lives of a middle-aged couple during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was written in real time and is an honest and truthful account of our day-to-day lives between March 2020 and July 2021. As such, it captures the mundane and incredibly monotonous details of the lockdown life that we all experienced at the time.

My aim was not to entertain, explain or examine but simply to record my thoughts, feelings and experiences for posterity, during what was, at the start at least, a truly bizarre and frightening time. I wanted to capture how it felt when the world changed forever overnight before we all became accustomed to it, and it ultimately became our new normal.

I’ll apologise now for the fact that at times I was angry, frustrated, critical and judgmental, but this was my reality at the time. The journal also covers some of the facts and figures about the disease, the government’s attempts to deal with it and the ever-changing beliefs, attitudes and behaviours of our society as a whole.

Viruses and Volcanoes is available in eBook and paperback on Amazon for £9.99 and on multiple digital platforms as an eBook for £2.99.

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Going Wide

The trials of publishing on multiple platforms.

Background

A few years ago, the idea of writing a book, let alone publishing one, was a distant, lifelong dream that verged on fantasy.

And yet, over the past few years I have made that dream come true by publishing, not just one full-length fictional book, but two, as well as co-authoring a biography.

It has been a steep learning curve and, as a complete non-technical novice when it comes to the mechanics of self-publishing, a frustrating one at times.

I started out by self-publishing on Amazon with the help of Michael Andrews from JAMS and I will be forever grateful to him for his generosity and patient support with this. However, over time I have gradually built up the knowledge and skills to enable me to do this by myself and weaned myself off my reliance on him. I pretty much managed to publish Trident Edge all by myself with just a little bit of handholding from him.

This year I decided to publish my books on some other platforms in addition to Amazon. This decision was prompted by the idea that I’d like to try and get a Book Bub deal one day. In reading around how to achieve this, it soon became clear that most books that are successful in being offered one of their, potentially lucrative, deals have to be available on a wide range of international platforms and have some evidence of sales success and positive reviews on these.

So, it was immediately clear that I was going to have to publish my books on some of these other platforms and I started preparing to go about this. After all, I had mastered the art of publishing on Amazon so how hard could it be … ?

Of course, as is to be expected for a mature, IT idiot like me, it has been a bit of a nightmare and after setting out to do this in the summer of 2022, I have only just completed the process. For those of you who are as baffled and bewildered by the challenges of tasks like this as me, I thought I’d share my journey in case it helps. For those of you that find the whole thing as ‘easy as pie’ … don’t bother reading any further.

Leaving Amazon KDP Select

The first thing I learned was that I was going to have to withdraw from KDP Select, as being enrolled in this programme means that your books are exclusive to Amazon. I was a little concerned about this as the majority of my sales at the time were coming from Kindle Unlimited and books are only available on this if the author has signed up for KDP Select. Nevertheless, I decided to go ahead with my decision. Both of my books were at different stages of the 90-day period so the first thing I had to do was wait for them to expire. Trident Edge was almost at the end of the time period but Wait for Me didn’t come off until October 1st.

Purchasing ISBN’s

The next thing I did was purchased some ISBN’s. When I published on Amazon I used their free ISBN’s but these cannot be used for books published on other platforms. Other platforms also offer free ISBN’s but the idea of having lots of different ISBN’s for different books on different platforms didn’t sit well with me so I decided to purchase my own.

For the UK, the recommended source is the Neilson ISBN Store. A single ISBN will cost £91 but you can buy 10 for £169 so it was a bit of a no-brainer to buy 10. A big expense but they never expire and given that I plan to publish more books in the future they will all be used.

Which Platforms?

The next step was to select where to publish and whether to use a third party like Smashwords or Draft2Digital. I decided I only wanted to be on four platforms other than Amazon. Remember my main objective was to be eligible for a Book Bub Deal. I went for Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google and Apple. I decided not to go with Draft2Digital or Smashwords as they appeared to be geared largely towards eBooks and I didn’t want to limit myself in this way.

Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble was a complete disaster! I still don’t really understand why. I had set up an author account while I was waiting to come off KDP Select but when I tried to log-in it wouldn’t let me. I contacted them and they told me my account had been cancelled but they couldn’t tell me why. I was advised to create a new account with a different email address. Not ideal but I went ahead. All seemed to be working until I got to the part where I had to enter my tax details and it blocked me because my tax details were already assigned to another account. I had numerous exchanges with B&N Customer Service who were extremely unhelpful. I chatted about it to other writers on social media. I spent hours of my life that I will never get back trying to work around the problem but eventually I gave up and moved on to Kobo.

Kobo

Kobo was the most straightforward to use of all the platforms. I did have a few issues with the creation and formatting of the EPUB files including downloading and using a programme called Calibre which didn’t work and seems to have messed up my computer in ways that I have still not managed to fix. Nothing serious – just annoying little things like opening my book files in the Calibre programme every time I wanted to work with them and now my computer doesn’t default to Word so I have to select it when looking at any of my text files! Grrr! However, when I did some further reading about how to prepare a Word document for Kobo to convert to an EPUB file and followed all the steps listed, everything worked fine, and my books went live quickly. Even still, more hours of my life flashed by in what felt like the blink of an eye.

Google

I also succeeded fairly easily on Google Play after a bit more fiddling around with formatting again. Generally though, the changes I made for Kobo seemed to make the process easier for Google. However, I think it was on this platform that I had some issues with the cover of Wait for Me (it might have been Draft2Digital but the issue and solution is still the same). Essentially, they rejected the cover because it was in CMYK colour mode rather than RBG. I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about, what it meant, and how I could fix it! I then spent more countless hours of my, now much shorter life trying to sort this one out. I eventually found a free programme that would do the conversion but was dismayed to find that they offered 8 different RGB options. I had to go through a laborious trial and error process saving the file using each option in turn, uploading it and waiting to see if it was accepted or not. Yet more hours of my life consumed before I got the right one and the books were accepted.

Apple

Apple was a bit of a nightmare too, due in part to the fact that I work on a PC and not a Mac. Creating an account and setting it all up was a distinctly unintuitive process that had me tearing my hair out at times. I did manage to wade my way through this process though and finally uploaded and submitted my books. This time they kept being rejected due to some issues with the content. Apple sent me long comments explaining what was wrong, but it was written in such inaccessible IT nerd language that I couldn’t understand it. I spent a LOT of time farting around with Apple and getting absolutely nowhere. By now, I was truly losing the will and wondering why I ever started the whole thing in the first place! Eventually, I decided that I might have to admit defeat and work with one of their recommended partners and this was what led me full circle to Draft2Digital.

Draft2Digital

Wow! I cannot stress enough how easy this platform was to use. I uploaded my books in no time at all. As well as Apple, I decided to try for Barnes and Noble with them too and it all worked like a dream. They even explained what the issue was with Apple. Because my files contained some links to some of my other publications on Amazon, Apple (as their main competitor) had set up a firewall to reject any books with links to Amazon in them. Fair enough. I removed all these links from the files and the situation was instantly resolved.

Conclusions

The big conclusion here is that if you are not super-confident with technology like me, don’t bother trying all the individual platforms. The process will steal years from your life and drive you mad at the same time. I would recommend going straight down the Draft2Digital route every time. I wish I had, and will for my next book!

P.S. D2D also provide Universal Links so that readers can purchase your books from the platform of their choice.

For more information about Draft2Digital, have a look at this Reedsy blog post about it https://blog.reedsy.com/draft2digital-reviews/

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Book Review – Intensity by Dean Koontz

Intense!

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that I felt merited a full review on my blog, despite the fact that I’ve read a lot since my last blog reviews of The Living Dead by George A Romero and Daniel Krauss and Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel.

It’s a fairly long list:

Coldbrook and The Silence by Tim Lebbon

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

Fairy Tale by Stephen King

All 3 of the Lockey vs the Apocalypse series by Carl Meadows

I who have never known men by Jacqueline Harpman

The Stopping Place by Helen Slavin

Apocalypse by Hayeley Anderton

While I really enjoyed some of them, notably the Lockey vs the Apocalypse series and The Silence, I just didn’t feel moved to write a long review on any. Of course, I always pop a little review on Amazon, Goodreads and Book Bub for everything I read. As an author I’d feel guilty if I didn’t. But to merit a longer review on my blog a book has to resonate with me in a way that will leave me thinking about it for a long time after I have finished, for one reason or another.

I didn’t think I was going to feel like writing one on Intensity by Dean Koontz either. I wasn’t blown away by it at the start, but by the time I finished I was buzzing!

It’s an unusual book in many ways. It seems a bit naff to describe it as intense, given that that is the title, but that’s the best way to describe it. It is a very intense experience that leaves you exhausted and breathless.

The story follows two main characters over a 48-hour period in a way that is so detailed that it is almost played out “live”. We live through every single second of Chyna’s ordeal at the hands of the evil Vess, apart from a scant few blessed hours when she is either asleep or unconscious.

At first, I found the book irritating. Overly descriptive with long flashbacks and digressions into Chyna’s traumatic childhood memories, and long and detailed accounts of both characters inner thoughts. Some of Chyna’s actions in the face of extreme danger seemed unbelievable and, at times, downright stupid.

However, I soon reached the conclusion that Mr Koontz was playing with the concept of ‘intensity’. The detailed descriptions and digressions contributed to the intensity of the reading experience. Just as Vess craves an intensity of sensation and experience, this is what we are served by Mr Koontz. The book progresses incredibly slowly, creating such an atmosphere of heightened tension and anxiety that at times it was almost unbearable. I didn’t think it was going to work for me but in the end it did – by the bucketload.

Shocking, graphic, violent, terrifying, and agonisingly tense.

Well worth a read but give it time and play along!

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Book Review – The Living Dead by George A Romero and Daniel Krauss

Dreadfully Disappointing

George A Romero is the father of the zombie movie. The godfather of the dead. An icon of modern American media, a pioneer of the horror film genre, an outstanding filmmaker, writer and editor and the creator of the image of the zombie in modern culture.

The zombie horror genre is my genre. It has been a personal fascination, bordering on obsession, since I first watched Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead back in the 70’s, followed by Day of the Dead in the 80’s. Since then, I have watched pretty much every zombie movie or TV show that has been made, read every book, and played every game.  I’ve played a zombie in a scare event and was a participant in the reality TV show, I Survived a Zombie Apocalypse. I now write zompoc novels myself. (Wait for Me. Trident Edge).

I don’t fully understand my unusual interest in zombies and the concept of the zombie apocalypse (neither do my friends and family) but I think it’s something to do with humans being the real threat to humans, not just in terms of being flesh-eating monsters, but also in the way that the survivors react and behave towards each other when the world as they know it ends. All illusions of civilisation and humanity rapidly melt away leaving people who are barely distinguishable from animals. It’s shocking how quickly society disintegrates and falls apart.

I’m also intrigued by how strange and unfamiliar familiar places become in an apocalypse of any kind. Busy streets, deserted and quiet. Bustling shopping malls and city centres, empty and silent. Survivors free to explore and scavenge wherever and whatever they want – barring zombie threats of course. Nature reclaiming the land. The end of all the services we rely on and and take for granted like water, power, mobile phones and the internet. An upside down, inside out world that is still the same place as before, but at the same time different and changed for ever.

I don’t have the same affinity for other sci-fi and fantasy monsters like vampires, werewolves and aliens. They just don’t do it for me in the same way as zombies do. Maybe it’s because the living dead seem more realistic to me than these other fantastical beasts and creatures. I know that sounds crazy!

I’ve established that I am a massive fan of Romero and all his work. So, imagine my excitement when I heard that he’d written a book, albeit posthumously completed by Daniel Krauss. Not just a book but a humungous 700-page epic that promised to chart the zombie plague “from the first rising to the fall of humanity … and beyond.” It was showered with amazing reviews from the start: “a horror landmark”; a work of gory genius”; the last word of the living dead”; everything you could have hoped for” …

Imagine my disappointment when it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

The first part of the book told a lot of individual stories from the very start of the apocalypse. It was interesting and I did enjoy the start of the book. But even here, there were some stories I enjoyed and some I didn’t. I liked some characters and absolutely hated others. Some stories particularly grabbed and held my attention, and I was irritated when the narrative jumped to another story. I had to stop myself flicking through the pages to get back to the story that had engaged me.

At some point, some of the stories started to get weird. Very weird in a way that just wasn’t believable. I know, for many people, the zombie apocalypse itself isn’t believable but the behaviours and reactions of the characters usually are. At this stage of the book, I started to lose interest and wonder where the whole thing was going, but I soldiered on. In some ways, it reminded me of Stephen King’s The Stand, and I was expecting the various characters all to come together at some point in a satisfying way. And (SPOILER ALERT), they did, but much, much further down the line in, for me, a very dissatisfying way.

It felt as if we missed out on decades of the lives and experiences of the different characters until we meet them in the final section, battle scarred and changed forever. We are told the stories of these missing years in the form of interviews, but this inevitably resulted in a lot of “tell” rather than “show” and as a result they lacked depth and were completely unengaging. It was almost as of the fast forward button had been pressed and we had skimmed rapidly through a huge chunk of a movie. Sadly, with a few exceptions, by the end of the book I just didn’t care what happened to most of the characters and I just wanted to get the book finished and move on to something more enjoyable. (Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel was calling me from my to-be-read pile.) Some of these fast-forwarded stories of the missing years were frankly absurd. Stories of warring zombies with prosthetic limbs. Fantastical tales of unlikely survival. It just didn’t ring true for me.

The main problem with the book was that it was just far too long. It wasn’t a terrible book; it just wasn’t as good as I hoped and expected it would be. The trouble was that when it did drag on it dragged on for so, so long. God, it felt like a slog at times, and I have never been so happy to finish a book.

All that said, I would recommend it. It was a good read in parts, and it took the zombie apocalypse to a place far away down the line where some sort of ending had finally materialised and there was hope for those survivors that had made it that far. It touched on some interesting and currently very relevant socio-political concepts as “causes” of the apocalypse. It just wasn’t brilliant! Just be warned it’s a long hard read and you’ll need some stamina to make it to the end!

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Book Review – Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

Gloriously satisfying.

I bloody loved this book. I picked it up a few months ago as soon as I knew it had been released and added it to my, very long, post-Christmas to-be-read pile. I’d read Station 11 in 2020 and adored it, so have been waiting excitedly for Sea of Tranquility to arrive. After battling through a very disappointing The Living Dead by George A Romero and Danial Krauss, I was in serious need of a reading treat so surreptitiously moved it to the top of the pile. I’m so glad I did. What an amazing book. Satisfying and delighting in every possible way. I devoured it in two days while on holiday in Devon and found myself lovingly stroking the cover long after I had finished reading.

A beautifully written tale of time travel, mind-boggling meta-physics, wonderful characters, elegant connections and coincidences, love, kindness and humanity, Sea of Tranquillity takes us to the moon and back (literally) and spans a period of 500 years. Emily St. John Mandel is a gifted writer. Her plots are clever. Her writing is pure. Settings and characters sing on the page and yet she is skilfully economical with her words and descriptions. I felt every emotion her characters experienced. I worried for them. I exalted with them. I smiled. I laughed out loud. I cried a little. I had some enormous “Ah!” moments as connections and plot twists gradually revealed themselves.

There were some themes that echoed those of Station 11, namely pandemics and people connected by past encounters and relationships, and material objects. Like Station 11, these connections gradually revealed themselves in heart-warmingly startling ways.

I love the way the subject matter is technically pure sci-fi and yet in reality is totally “ungeeky” and utterly believable and every day. She makes living in a dome on the moon and flying about in supersonic hovercraft and airships seem entirely normal.

One character, a writer called Olive Llewellyn, receives some feedback from a reader to the effect that her book was a confusing collection of narrative strands that never came together. This is not true of Emily St. John Mandel. What begin as an apparently disparate collection of narrative strands, flow comfortably through the book and weave naturally together at the end of the story. There is no confusion. There are no unanswered questions. Just glorious resolution and clarity.

Maybe that’s not entirely true? There is one enormous question that runs under the surface of the book and lingers on at the end, not for the characters who know the answer, but for the reader themselves. But, I’ll leave you to discover and ponder that one for yourself.

Needless to say, I’ve just bought and started reading The Glass Hotel.

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Book Review – Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

Breathless and Shocking.

This book has been on my ‘to be read’ pile since Christmas. I wish I’d got to it sooner. I devoured it in two sittings.

The story follows two women over a period of just a few hours during an outbreak of a lethal, rapidly spreading rabies-type virus. Natalie, who is eight months pregnant, has been bitten and Ramola, her best friend who is a doctor, is trying to save the lives of Natalie and her unborn child.

Survivor Song is a high-speed roller coaster of trials and disasters, fear and tension, shocking violence, societal breakdown, love and loyalty, pain and loss, desperation and heart wrenching decisions. It’s not a ZA novel but in many ways, it feels and reads as one. It’s not deep or pretentious, just a damned good story.

What I liked.

The pace. The race to save Natalie and her baby never slowed or stopped and neither did I.

The characters. I laughed out loud at Natalie’s scathing sarcasm and dark humour in spite of the terrifying situation she found herself in. I adored Ramola for her unfailing loyalty to her friend that pushed her past terrible limits she could never have imagined.

I really liked the “Bill and Ted” duo they met on their journey with their creatively quirky hydrophobia test.

The book was a well-written easy read.

In certain scenes the style and structure of the book ‘broke with convention’ but this served to create a vivid picture of the extreme shock, fear and confusion the character was experience.

Something I might steal in my own writing!

The echoes of or own recent experience during the pandemic including PPE shortages, overwhelmed healthcare services and unprotected workers were very relatable.

What I didn’t like

… nothing …

I absolutely loved this book and would definitely recommend it if you are into dystopian survival horror – and even if you’re not! I have just bought Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts and can’t wait to get started.

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Book Review – The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones 

Broodingly terrifying.

I bought this book on the basis of reviews that described it as a “masterpiece”. I’m not sure I agree with that, but it was certainly a dark, disturbing read that I really enjoyed.  

The title is a tragically ironic reference to Theodore Roosevelt’s vile quote “the only good Indians are dead Indians”, and the book is heavy with the prejudice, discrimination, and disadvantage that people of American Indian heritage struggle with on a daily basis in the present-day United States.

The Only Good Indians tells the story of four young American Indian men who massacre a herd of elk. 10 years later they are being stalked by the spirit of one of the animals they killed. The book effectively combines classic horror and suspense with an astute social commentary.

What I liked.

The plot was gripping. It was laden with tension interspersed with abrupt and shocking episodes of bloody violence that you always knew was coming but could never quite predict where and when and to whom.

It was skilfully written – prolonged descriptions of the characters normal lives and backstories were so heavy with suspense that I couldn’t read quick enough for fear of what was going to happen next.

While the supernatural elements were unusual, some might say farfetched, I bought into them one hundred percent. For me, the spirit that hunted the men was merciless and bone chillingly terrifying. I know I will be haunted for some time by the disturbing visual image of the unnatural stalker that the author so vividly creates.

But, as frightened as I was by that spirit, because I understood its motives and its quest, I could not help but feel a strong sense of sorrow and compassion towards it. It was that that evoked a strong emotional response to the book overall. In a sense the “victims” were also the perpetrators, creating a lot of conflict for the reader.

What I didn’t like.

The Only Good Indians was not an easy read. The writing style and the language was hard to understand and required a high level of concentration. I often had to re-read paragraphs or sentences to work out what was going on. Many of the American colloquial references will be lost on an international audience.

I found the lengthy basketball scenes especially challenging and have to admit skimming through some of them.

Overall, a great read that I’d definitely recommend.

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Book Review – Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro 

Quietly Disturbing

I enjoyed this book, but it didn’t blow me away the way I was hoping and expecting it to. Isn’t it often the way that whenever you have high expectations of a book or a movie, you build it up in a way it can never possibly deliver, leading to an inevitable degree of disappointment?

The premise, of cloning humans for organ donation, is deep, disturbing, and depressing. The book is light, sad, and also extremely depressing.

What I liked.

It is a thoughtful, easy read.

It feels simple and superficial, but it isn’t at all. The plot, the characters, their conversations, and their actions all sit at the top of a bubbling mass of nightmarish complexity and confusion. I’m not at all sure that even the characters themselves understand what they are feeling and why most of the time. Possibly not any of the time.

The book is heavy with sorrowful metaphors and symbolism, not least in Hailsham itself, which is, both literally and physically, the only family that Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth will ever have, and it too is revealed to be less solid than it first appears.

I liked Kathy and Tommy for their loyalty, naivety, and honesty but not nearly as much as I disliked Ruth for her controlling and manipulative exploitation of them.

I liked the way that because the characters lived such small, unnatural, and sheltered lives they were highly sensitive to little things. Tiny interactions were hugely important and meaningful to them. Small conversations and statements were huge and provoked much angst and analysis and yet they never seemed to address the enormous issues that were staring them in the face every minute of every day.

What I didn’t like.

I really didn’t like Ruth.

I was frustrated by the passive resignation of the characters to their fate. I found myself wondering why Kathy and Tommy didn’t just run away. But I think I also understood that they had been raised and conditioned not to expect anything else from life.

The interaction at the end of the book with Madame and Emily was weird. It was confusing and almost contrived in the way it tried to answer many of the questions that ran through the book. It felt awkward and clunky to me and left me with a lot of unanswered questions still remaining.

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Book Review – Lightning by Dean Koontz

Mind Boggling

I always find stories about time travel extremely confusing, and Lightning was no exception to this. Half the time I had no idea who was traveling to where and when, or why they were doing so. Nevertheless, my confusion did not spoil my enjoyment of what was essentially a good story. What helped a lot, was Laura’s nine-year-old son Chris’s, exposition about the “paradoxes” of time travel. Whenever I came to a part that was particularly perplexing for my poor old brain to grapple with, I’d just (like the characters) put it down to a time travel paradox and leave it at that.

What I liked.

Lightning is a light, fast-paced, easy read.

It contained some pleasing characters – I particularly liked Laura’s best friend from childhood, Thelma.

I loved the epic-ness of the story that follows Laura’s life from her birth well into adulthood and links in to some real historical events. It also contains some truly audacious plot twists and turns with Stefan meeting some very interesting historical characters and getting involved in some very well-known historical events, in the course of his time travels.

Mr Koontz skilfully created lots of questions and intrigue throughout the first half of the book that compelled me to read on to find out what it was all about.

When the truth was eventually revealed I was not disappointed. So often “big” sci-fi stories like this start well but lead to dissatisfying conclusions.

I liked the way the story shifted between interdependent events occurring in different time zones making some sections very tense and exciting.

What I didn’t like.

As a writer myself, with nowhere near the level of success as Mr Koontz, I was surprised by how “overwritten” the book was. I only mention this because I am constantly trying to avoid falling into this trap myself. I spend many hours poring over my work removing superfluous words and phrases and avoiding telling the reader things that they already know, or that would be perfectly obvious to anyone with a modicum of intelligence. Mr Koontz, on the other hand, frequently over-describes scenes and settings, uses extra words that add nothing to the text, and repeatedly explains things that I already knew. The difference between Mr Koontz and I, I suppose, is that as a writer of some repute, he can get away with it and I can’t.

Sometimes the plot was a tad cheesy and unbelievable. It was very handy and let’s face it, naff and highly unlikely, that two girls who grew up in the care system should both become famous and successful multi-millionaires. It was very convenient that Laura, as part of her research as an author, had learned how to gain access to military standard weaponry and knew how to obtain high quality fake identification documents.

I don’t want to create any spoilers here, and life didn’t work out so well for all the characters, but let’s just say, generally, there was a bit of a “happy-ever-after” feel to the book that left me a little dissatisfied.

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All About Audio

Exploring the world of audiobooks.

The first few months of 2022 have been all about audiobooks for me. When I first published Wait for Me just over a year ago, I had a few enquiries as to whether it was available on audio. I’ll be honest, back then I was just delighted just to have finally published the book and hadn’t even thought abut this. More importantly, I didn’t have a clue where to start.

After I published Trident Edge in October I took a break from novel writing and did a little research on how to go about creating an audiobook. I was daunted and almost gave up a few times. It seemed so complicated and, lets face it, expensive.

However, I kept going and spoke to a few other authors about the different options for an independent author like me. This was how I learned about ACX, Amazon’s audio platform. I’m delighted to say that I discovered it was not only affordable but also accessible to a terrified technophobe on a budget.

It’s as simple as creating an account, selecting one of a few different options depending on your budget, choosing a narrator and uploading your book. I went for the Royalty Share option which allowed me to create an audiobook without spending any money at all. The narrator and I receive 20% of the royalties each and Amazon get the rest. I’ve outlined the process in more detail below.

The upshot of it all is that Wait for Me and Trident Edge are now both available in audiobook formats.

If you are not a member of Audible you can join and purchase the book via this link in the US

and this one in the UK

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ACX Audiobook Process.

Go to ACX.com and create an account and a profile.

Add your book (this pops up automatically if your book is on Amazon).

You will have to upload a square version of your cover.

Submit a script for auditions and submit then sit back and wait.

When the auditions come in select the one you like and make them an offer.

You can communicate with the narrator about any character voices or pronunciations etc.

There is a 15 minute checkpoint for you to make sure you are happy with how it’s going.

Once the narrator has submitted the full recording you get a chance to request any changes before you accept and the book goes live.