Spectacular Settings – WEP entry August 2015

JOIN WITH US FOR 3 CHALLENGES!

The paragraph below is taken from:

Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee:

An Indian History of the American West – by Dee Brown

Image (24)
‘I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream …’

Black Elk (1863 – 1950), of the Sioux

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The book is factual, and touched me on several levels. The statement may sound poetic, but it is the way in which great medicine men like Nicholas Black Elk spoke. It not only summarises one scene, but gives an insight to the atrocities performed by the multi-national invaders upon North America.

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An excerpt from my Goodreads review:

‘Apart from the callousness and cruelty visited upon the original caretakers of the North American continent I feel one of the most sickening thoughts is that it happened so recently – some of it in the late 19th Century.

I cannot recommend Dee Brown’s insights too highly. It should be compulsory reading for all American citizens – they owe that much to the memory of the Indians. Those same citizens should also educate their offspring to the deeds of their ‘brave’ forefathers.

An optional title for this book might be ‘Man’s Inhumanity to Man’.’

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And now, in total contrast:
My Work in Progress is an erotic novel – publication 1st Sept 2015.Give and Take - the final cover

Give and Take
(an excerpt from Chapter 2 – The White Room)

Nick sat up in bed, experiencing déjà vu as he lifted the glass. He sipped the water and let the fresh liquid wash around his mouth before he swallowed. As he placed the glass down again, the bedroom door opened.

“I see you’ve finally come back to life.” The visitor was an attractive woman. “My name is Heather.”

Nick leaned back on his elbows. His eyes opened wide, and his lips parted. Heather was in her mid-thirties, and at least 6ft tall. When she turned to close the door, her long brunette ponytail swished from side to side. A narrow band of black skirt showed below the hem of her short white lab coat. Thin black seams ran straight down the back of perfect legs and disappeared into shining black high heels.

Nick acted like a startled rabbit in headlights when his visitor turned to face him. High-arched eyebrows, hazel eyes, and long dark lashes gave Nick a warm feeling inside. When she spoke again, it brought Nick’s gaze to her sensuous ruby lips.

“It’s time to shed some light on the situation,” Heather said, and strode to the nearest set of drapes. She gave a gentle tug on a concealed cord, and the heavy material parted silently to let in natural light. Heather walked around the bed to the other drapes. As she walked, her unbuttoned coat opened, to show a white blouse and short black skirt.

Nick was feasting his eyes on Heather’s attributes when she reached the second window. She tugged a concealed cord, and the room became even brighter. Nick slid down under the duvet to lie flat on his back. He was aware of familiar stirrings as he devoured this stunning woman with his hungry eyes.

“Do you like what you see so far?” Heather asked as she stepped away from the window. She placed her hands on her hips which pulled the white coat back. There was a clearer view of the well-filled blouse, the top two buttons of which were undone.

“Well?” Heather asked, and inclined her head as she took a step forward.

“Yes,” Nick said and swallowed hard. “I like it a lot.” As usual with Nick, his head was ruled by a pulse further down his body – much further down than his heart.

“Good,” Heather said, as she stepped to the edge of the bed, reached down and pulled back the duvet. When Nick lay uncovered from head to toe, Heather looked down at his arousal and smiled.

Nick had been staring at the steady rise and fall, of Heather’s chest. He gasped at the sudden revelation of his condition. In the short time, he’d been in these strange circumstances it had never occurred to him that he was completely naked. He turned from admiring the statuesque woman and looked down at himself.

“Oh, Nick,” Heather said. “What have you been thinking? You’re blushing too.”

“How do you know my name?” he muttered as he reached to pull the duvet back up. “Where am I?” The thoughts that should have occurred to him earlier were surfacing. “Where is Kirsten?”

Heather leaned on the edge of the bed with both hands and looked into Nick’s wide-eyed stare. She knew what she was doing, and a smile played on her lips. Nick’s gaze fell to the improved view of Heather’s cleavage.

“Later, Nick,” she breathed. “First, you get freshened up and dressed. We’ll talk after you’ve eaten.” She rose to her full height and strode to the door, where she stopped and looked back over her shoulder. “If you don’t want to miss breakfast, you’ve got 20 minutes.”

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POST THIS BADGE UNDER YOUR ENTRY

        Word count 900 :  NCCO

Thank you to all who’ve made the effort to reach this far, and I wish the best of luck to all the participants in the WEP Competition – August 2015

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Give and Take, the novel – progress

Jany 1987 2 - crpdI recently produced an article to provide some insight for my reasoning behind writing an erotic novel, so I’ll try to avoid repetition.

I have my reasons for writing this article, and those reasons are not related to promoting the story, or erotica as a genre.

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At various times in my life I’ve courted controversy, and although I’ve never done so for the sake of it, if I believe strongly enough in something – I will stand by my decision.

This new venture is one such case.

I’m privileged to be a member of the Indie Author Support and Discussion group (IASD), which in my opinion is the best author’s support and discussion groups on Facebook.

I feel qualified to make such a bold statement because I’ve belonged to several such groups, but nowhere else is there a sense of belonging, friendship, family, camaraderie – and yet there is still feedback and support delivered with sincerity and integrity.

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What is the relevance of the IASD to my new book?

I started a thread to say that I would be taking an idea suggested to me, to the next level. I told the masses that I was intending to go a step up from my erotic short story anthology Coming Around – to a full length novel.

I received initial feedback that to some might have been enough to throw away the whole plan, but I like to believe that I’m made of sterner stuff.

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Why was some of the feedback strong and negative?

I posted my first three drafts here on my blog, as I do with all my work. In the first chapter one character receives physical abuse from another character. Note, I do not say it was the male who was the abuser, and I do not say ‘minor’ abuse, because as anyone who has been a victim will tell you – abuse is abuse!

Yes, as a victim of verbal and physical bullying – I’ve been there.

Okay, so if you’re still with me, let’s take a closer look at my idea, and thank you for holding on for the main gist of this article.

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Yes, in the first chapter the male lead slaps his girlfriend’s buttocks, and though it might offend a lot of people, it is a way of life for some, and I believe a realistic opening to my story.

“I’m offended by that type of thing,” I can hear across the ether.

Okay, then please don’t blame me for the wrongs of others. I am not glorifying abuse – it is a fictional storyline.

If you are offended, I’m sorry, but nobody has written or complained about a statesman being assassinated in the opening paragraphs of one of my thrillers. Nobody has complained about people traffickers and pimps being eliminated in another of my thrillers.

A valid point?

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This new story is what it is – erotica. I don’t believe I can take my main characters on their journey and through their respective transformations as individuals and as a couple, unless I have a start point.

Yes, I agree that my start point might be distasteful to a certain number of people, but please keep in mind, the underlying theme in my work is retribution.

Now, on a personal level, I hope the dissenters caught that word – retribution. Therein lies one of the main characteristics of Give and Take, and where I came up with the working title.

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Whether or not you have read the first three chapters here on my blog, I’ve now updated them and altered the early part of the story, and for the better I believe. The second draft of the first three chapters appear in my Work in Progress menu.

*Jan 1987 - Copy

How am I progressing?

As of the timing of this article, I’m working on Chapter 15 of a planned 20 chapters.

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Have I had issues with the plot?

Yes, of course I have. There have been issues with psychology, ethics, level of detail, credibility, and knowing how far to take character and story development.

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Are those issues not true of any creative writing?

Yes, I answer once again, and therein we find another valid point. It is a fictional story and therefore contains a little of what I know, suspect, imagine – plus of course a great deal of planning, thought and … fantasy.

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Should I be afraid of my readers believing that I fantasise about being the male lead?

No, I don’t believe I should be afraid of such a thing. Not as long as they didn’t think I was Pete in Ten Days in Panama, Phil in Beyond The Law, Dan in Amsterdam Calling, or the fetching and adorable, if a little deadly Honey, in A Taste of Honey.

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Do I have any regrets so far?

My only regrets are:

1. I might lose the patronage of anybody who has enjoyed my other work.
2. I might lose credibility from those who believe that erotica is not a worthwhile genre to spend time working on.

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Will I write more erotica after Give and Take?

That will depend very much on the feedback I receive on the completed story.

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I offer my sincere thanks to those of you who have reached this point without treating me as a backroom pariah for attempting this new venture. Like oral sex, it may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s not fair to object to something unless you’ve at least investigated it ….

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P.S. I have no doubt there will be many women, and possibly some men who are wondering why the artwork in my blog articles does not normally include men. Basically, it’s because I don’t normally draw men, but for those of you who’d like to see an example of one of my male portraits …  and no, it’s not me! Unknown American

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Come what? May … Results

Sales and Borrowing

I posted on 10th May to say that I was intending to conduct one of my regular experiments. Before I continue, I should say that the only ‘regular’ thing about my experiments is their frequency. I don’t believe indie writers learn anything by sitting still, observing, and waiting for the world to come to them.

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What was I up to this time?

My personal challenge was to refrain from daily promotion of my books for the remainder of the month, which effectively would mean 20 days of not using any of a variety of platforms to ask people to check out my work.

Contrary to what some folk might think, I’m not an ‘in your face’ type person, so the whole ‘self-marketing’ idea was alien to me when I started out as an indie writer. I learned with my debut title that if I didn’t shout about my work, then nobody else would.

I got on with it, and it produced results. Okay so moving on, nothing mind-boggling, but after a change in my attitude to the sometimes embarrassing act of self-promotion I had a few sales, and I realised the truth – if I waited silently, nothing would happen.

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Did I have work in progress during May?

Having a variety of projects on the go at the same time is my preferred method of working. As May got underway I was already working on two novels, and making notes towards the commencement of a third.

I had to attempt a couple of things to make my idea work:

1. Restrict my visits to social networking sites to a couple of short visits per day.

2. Compel myself not to check my sales and lending figures on a daily basis.

3. Remind myself that I was trying this thing for more than one reason.
a) Primarily, it was to free up more writing time.
b) Secondly, it was to see how much effect it would have if there was a lack of daily promotion.

Apart from my own interest, both of those targets were for the benefit of any fellow indies who read my posts, either as subscribers, or by extension when I offer my thoughts on social media.

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How did it go with social networking visits?

I managed for the most part to keep to two or three visits per day. There was an anomaly in this area, because I continued trying to keep up to date with the first charity anthology by the Indie Author Review Exchange group on Facebook. I’m proud to be both a member of that particular group, and a contributing author to the anthology.

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What is that very important collection of stories?

You’re Not Alone by Ian D. Moore and friends.

To be published as an eBook on 11th July 2015.

An anthology of short stories produced to raise funds in aid of the Macmillan Nurses

An anthology of short stories produced to raise funds in aid of the Macmillan Nurses

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Apart from that, how did I get on?

Otherwise, I feel I did well. I avoided getting tangled into the threads on Facebook, forums on LinkedIn, or keeping up with comments on Google+. I have to be honest and admit that Twitter irritates me, so although I use it, I cannot spend good time reading bite-size chunks and random thoughts.

Now having said that about Twitter – I do actually stop and check out books that are advertised on Twitter, which is why I still use it myself, obviously thinking that there might be like-minded souls out there.

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Were there any sales, lending, or slumps?

Yes, and there was no discernible pattern or reason.
— I had sales of various levels except for five days.
— I had lending except for six days.
— There was a two day period when there were neither sales nor lending.

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Did I learn anything else?

Yes, and it’s for the benefit of those indie authors who presently have one, or even two titles out there and are feeling a little disheartened. I’m not a big name, but in only a few years of self-publishing I can say that without a shadow of doubt – more titles means more sales.

That might sound simplistic, but in a blog next week I’ll elaborate on that area. What I have to say in that post may be of interest not only to those of my peers with one title, but also those with low sales figures.

What else have I achieved with my latest experiment – if anything?

1. In that period of 20 days when I was abstaining from advertising, reading mind-numbing messages, and getting involved in conversations and debates – I completed the first draft of seven more chapters of my latest crime thriller, Acts of Vengeance.
If you know how hard I work at my craft you will appreciate that was a feat.

2. Those chapters might not sound too remarkable, but to put them in perspective, I also started work on and completed the first two chapters of my first erotic novel, Give and Take.

3. Again, it may not seem like much, but the exercise has given me a boost in confidence in my own brand. I know there are those who do not believe that an author’s name is a brand, so for you guys, please think about this question:

Would you consider any of the following as brands?

Wilbur Smith, Jackie Collins, Stephen King, Lee Child, Katie Fforde, or James Patterson.

It was just a thought …

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Where do I go from here?

As I assess the positive and negative aspects of my trial, I have to say that I’m happy that I tried such a thing. My initial thoughts are along the following lines:

1. Maintain my writing output as best I can. I’m in the enviable position of only working in a ‘day job’ for three days per week, so I can feasibly get in at least three writing days.

2. Get back to self-promotion, but only on a weekly, or possibly twice-weekly basis:
a) Promotion on Facebook groups which exist for the purpose of reading, reviewing and self-promotion.
b) Promotion on Twitter, because it is done automatically by the Independent Author Network, of which I am a member.
c) Promotion on Google+ because I’m a member and I check out other members news.

3. Blogging activity:
a) Try to write at least one blog post per week.
b) Allocate time to read other blogs. I supposedly have 140+ ‘followers’ but I tend to mainly visit those who I know make an effort to visit mine. It may not be often, but I do get there.

4. Continue to read and review as many Indie Author Review Exchange members’ books as possible.

5. Maintain a ‘maximum of 3 x 15-minute visits per day’ policy for social purposes on Facebook. There is a tendency to get involved in discussions on social networking sites, but time disappears when we’re in touch with those that we regard as friends.

There is a slight twist in that previous comment. I admit openly that I do not socialise in the regular sense these days, and have not for some years. The term ‘friend’ is used freely on social networking by many, but that is effectively where any of my present friendships exist.

Yes, since leaving the military in 1992, I have become something of a social hermit, but I don’t mean that in a pathetic way – it is fact, and through personal choice.

Thank you as always for taking the time to visit and check out my musings. I appreciate all feedback.

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Oh yes, there’s a P.S.

In the last 24 hours I completed the first full draft of Acts of Vengeance. I will now let it ‘rest’ for at least a week. While that manuscript is resting I’ll be active with some more chapters on Give and Take, my secondary work in progress.

I will also be reading, editing, and critiquing work for my peers. One of my favourite background roles is acting as mentor for a fellow writer.

I know it’s still early days, but I already feel that if you enjoyed my anthology Coming Around and other erotic stories, you will enjoy the novel Give and Take.

Thanks again for reading my posts.

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