Category Archives: Other Stuff

Thoughts on Kindle Unlimited

As most people have probably heard by now, Amazon is launching Kindle Unlimited, a kind of all-you-can eat subscription reading service for Kindle users. It costs $9.99 per month (US-only at the moment), and a lot of people are describing it as Netflix for books, which seems pretty accurate.

As a reader, I think this could be great, and if (when?) it comes to this side of the Atlantic, I’ll definitely be signing up. It doesn’t have every book ever written included, but with 600,000+, I don’t think running out of titles will be a problem.

As a writer, I think it also presents some big opportunities, and therefore I’m going to be slightly changing the way I release books from now on. Or rather, going back to the old way…

I’m going to go back to my old system of serializing things, i.e. releasing each book in a series of chunks for 99 cents each and then bundling them all at the end for $2.99. This system worked well for me until early this year, when I took a break and then changed to just releasing whole books.

I’ll start early next week with the first parts of The Return and Grave Girl. Oh, and I already have some pretty vicious cliff-hangers lined up.

The only real change now is that there’ll be a 90-day window where each new book will be exclusive to Amazon. After that, they should end up on Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo and other sites. I know that’s not ideal, but books in Kindle Unlimited have to be exclusive to Amazon in 90-day chunks, so I’ve made a compromise that I think should work out okay in the end. As ever, I’ll keep an eye on things and maybe there’ll be changes ahead.

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Some thoughts about swearing in The Girl Who Never Came Back

girlwhonever1A few people have commented on the fact that one of the characters in The Girl Who Never Came Back swears a lot, and some people seem to be offended, so I thought I’d explain why I wrote it like that.

When I start a new book, I always decide which (if any) characters will swear, and which won’t. I do this because I think that swearing is one of the many small things that reveal something about a character.

Some people never swear. Some swear all the time. Some only swear under pressure. Some swear because they want to offend other people, or because they actually enjoy it. Others swear without even thinking. There are so many reasons. I know people in real life who swear like Charlotte. Personally, I hardly ever swear, because I worked in a kindergarten a few years ago and had to make a conscious effort to stop. I’m not usually offended when other people swear around me, unless there are young children nearby.

In the case of Charlotte, I decided that she should swear a lot. In an early scene, her sister Ruth even comments on this. However, by the end of the book, Charlotte has mostly stopped swearing (as well as drinking) while Ruth is the one who tosses out a few f-bombs, including one while her daughter is nearby. This is on purpose, and it’s a very small part of the characterization of the two sisters. Maybe I didn’t make it clear enough, so I’ll go back and take a look.

The point I’m trying to make is that the swear words aren’t just tossed in lazily. Charlotte is a bit of an extreme case, but again, there’s a reason for it. I know some readers think she’s not a very likable character, and I can see that, but personally I like her. I think that beneath the swearing and the blustering and the sarcastic comments, she’s someone who has always sensed that something’s not right with her life, but that’s something that comes out in the story. She uses swear words to annoy her sister, and it works, at least in the beginning of the book.

But if you don’t like the fact that Charlotte swears in The Girl Who Never Came Back, I respect your opinion and understand if you’re offended. Just like in real life, some of my characters swear and some don’t, and I’m not going to change that. However, I do mention swearing (along with violence and sex scenes, if they’re present) in book descriptions, because I think people should know what they’re getting when they download a book. I think I’ll update the description for The Girl Who Never Came Back and mention that there’s a lot of swearing.

In the meantime, the new Journey to the Library series has absolutely no curse words of any kind…

The Girl Who Never Came Back, plus new Abby Hart, Ward Z and Finality!

girlwhonever1First, The Girl Who Never Came Back has been out for about a week. It was a total departure from my usual style, being not only a little shorter than usual but also completely avoiding the horror aspects. I enjoyed writing it, and I hope that people like it!

A few reviewers have commented on the fact that the main character, Charlotte, swears a lot. Well, I can’t deny it, it’s true. She swears like an effing soldier. The thing is, it’s a key part of her character, and it’s also part of her journey. At the start of the book, Charlotte swears frequently and her sister criticizes her for having a ‘potty mouth’. By the end of the book, their situations are reversed: Charlotte has toned her language down, while her sister is the one who’s swearing. This is intentional. Some of the character in my books do swear a lot, but there’s always a reason for it. It’s certainly not intended to be gratuitous!

Moving on, December will see the conclusion of the Ward Z series, about a zombie outbreak in an isolated hospital ward. There’ll also be the beginning of a new Abby Hart series, titled Vampire Asylum, which will see Abby confront an ancient evil. And there’s Finality, which is set in a futuristic world where humanity has begun to explore space. I’ve always wanted to write a kind of space opera series, and finally I worked out the story I wanted to tell. I’m planning three series of Finality, and each one will have a very different tone.

That’s the latest update! I guess we’re in the run-in to Christmas now, so things are gearing up. It was quite surprising to see how the US tradition of Black Friday seemed to become more visible in British stores the other day. Not that I’m complaining, of course. And now, the dog and I are going to hit the hay for the night!

Getting to Know You…

It’s weird how memories work, isn’t it? The reason I’m writing this post is that something weird happened to me this evening, and I thought I’d share it.

So I was in the kitchen, making a cup of tea (as usual), and suddenly I hummed the chorus from the song ‘Getting to Know You’, from ‘The King and I’. If you don’t know it, it’s an insanely catchy number that’s best known in this version by Julie Andrews.

The reason I found this weird, though, was that it brought back a really strong memory. When I was little, about five or six years old, I used to love singing this song. I sang it over and over, almost obsessively. And then, apparently, I just forgot about it. I don’t think I’ve thought about it for almost three decades, until tonight, when suddenly it popped back into my head while I was walking across the kitchen to get a mug.

It’s strange to think that the memory of that song was somewhere deep in my mind, floating about until suddenly, by chance (?), it burst into the open and I hummed it again. Kinda makes me wonder what else is percolating in the depths of our minds. I’ve often wondered if every memory is stored somewhere in our brains, even if we can’t access them all. Now I’m wondering even more.

And, needless to say, I’ve now got that song stuck in my head…

Tonight!

I’m ridiculously excited for tonight’s Doctor Who series finale. If you haven’t already seen the trailer…

New look!

I gave the blog a new look, to make it more like a blog and less like a website. I’m hoping this will get me posting more. Lately, I’ve been totally overwhelmed with ‘real world’ work, but there’ll be new Lupine Howl, Broken and other stuff in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I’ve been working with a new editor to get updated and revised versions of my earlier books out there, and that process is rumbling alone nicely. I’ll be back with a proper update soon!

Looking for free eBooks from Amazon? You’ve come to the right place…

I’ve put together a page that lists free ebooks on Amazon that have been released by me or, in some cases, by friends of mine. If you happen to be a friend of mine (and I know there are still one or two out there!) and you want your book listed on the page, just let me know.

So here’s a link to the new free eBooks page, and you can also get there via the menu at the top of every page on this site.

New interview up at Musikdiv

Just a quick note to say that there’s an interview with me up at Musikdiv, you can read the interview here. There’s also a sample of one of the Dark Season books after the interview, so that’s two reasons to follow the link and take a look!

Other than that, I’ve been getting on with the final chapter of Dark Season V: The Life, Death, Life, Life and Death of Martin Keller and have also been doing Christmas things. Just about ready for a nice nap…

Now you can like me on Facebook!

Yes! I finally gave in to peer pressure and joined Facebook, so if you fancy it, you can ‘like’ me here.

Interview and Weekend Plans

I answered some questions for an interview with Kris Wampler, author of Love Train. You can read the interview here; I hope you won’t think I’m taking myself too seriously 🙂

Anyway, the weekend looks like it will be spent mostly working on The Dead and the Dying and Secret Project X, more of which (hopefully) in the next couple of days.