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  • Michael Parker

Blog for December.

This Monthly blog for December could be my end of year blog, but it would take too long to look back over 2022, so I’ll just pick out some highlights. The most significant would be my eight days at Headford in County Galway, Ireland, at a Writers’ Retreat organised by my American Publisher, Wild Rose Press — thirteen American women and me! I flew from Ireland to London for the SPF Book Conference in London after that: two days plus an evening party on the first night. The result of my involvement in the world of books restored my ‘mojo’ and I got back into writing again. So much so that I finished writing my latest Crime thriller, A Song in the Night

(, and, unbelievably, I decided to write a Romance under a pen name. I finished it during the NaNoWriMo gallop with SPF in November and published it as Emma Carney. The title is Happy Lies the Heart ( The romance idea was just for fun, but now I will probably have a new jacket designed by and think about a series. Just needs some discipline; something I seem to lack nowadays. New Year’s Resolution perhaps?

So, what about my December? Well, I put the Christmas decorations up. Not too many, but at least the house was ready for my Church House Group Christmas party on the 13th. That was good: plenty of food, mulled wine, mince pies (natch) and a finger buffet. I cooked BBQ Chicken wings etc. We had a houseful but were not too crowded out.

Being a glutton for punishment, and not knowing my own mind, I dived into a music training session with Jonny May. I joined his group over a year ago. The guy is phenomenal. I’ve learned a few things with him, but this time I started on a Bb scale course. I’m still at it, but I’m managing to achieve small steps.

Another highlight in December was a trip to the UK Southern Book Show in Arundel. The show was arranged by fellow writer, Natasha Murray. I used to have a stall at her earlier events, but since losing Pat, there’s only me and Tuppence left at home, and I can’t leave Tuppence in order to have a book stall all day at an event. Anyway, I turned up with the dog and was able to chat for about an hour with at least six ladies (all writers) who are old friends from the Chindi book club, which folded a few years ago. I also spent time chatting with some of the other writers there. It was really good. And as a ‘bonus’, Natasha awarded me the UK Southern Book Show Super Fan award!

One thing we all had to deal with in December was the bitterly cold, Arctic temperatures. We even had a seven hour power failure, which was no fun. When I think of what those poor Ukrainian people are having to put up with, it makes a seven hour power failure look like a minor inconvenience.

The World Cup! Loved that.

I also attended a Christmas Lighting Service held by St. Wilfrid’s Hospice at Chichester Cathedral. I received an invite because the Hospice looked after Pat here at home during her last days. Naturally the Cathedral was packed, but it was freezing cold.

Another welcome bonus was a £5 royalty payment from Heygates Book Shop in Bognor for the sale of one of my books.

I made a brave decision too: I took some of Pat’s winter clothes to a charity shop. When I thought of all those people who are either homeless or freezing cold because they can’t afford to turn their heating up, I knew I had to give Pat’s stuff away. I felt quite gloomy after I’d done it, but I knew Pat would have approved. I’ve still got loads of her clothes here, but it will be a long time before I can feel it's right for me to pass them on.

I attended the final 2022 meeting of the Bognor Write Club. We had a kind of ‘Christmassy’ type do: mince pies, a selection of Christmas Super hero stories (all our own work), and a ‘Bran Tub’ type draw where we all picked out a prize; each one a contribution from those attending.

And on Christmas Eve, we had a family Zoom meeting, which included our No.4 son, Stephen, and his family in Australia. On Christmas Day I went over to No. 3 son, John and stayed the night.

So Christmas is finally over, the New Year has begun, resolutions will be made and forgotten about, and we’ll all hope and pray for the right outcome to all the problems our broken world throws at us. I can only hope and pray that all of you who read this blog of mine will have a really happy and contented 2023. If you read any of my books, please tell people about me; word of mouth is important.

Happy New Year.

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  • Michael Parker

November ended possibly a little better than it started for me in terms of production rather than sales. When I published my latest crime thriller, A Song in the Night, I saw an immediate uptake in reaction to my Facebook ads and started seeing a constant increase in page reads. I also sold seven, plus a few of my other titles. Here we go, I thought: big Oak trees from little acorns grow. But it cost a lot of money for what I was getting, so I switched to Amazon ads and the bottom fell out of my book world. Nothing — zilch. I was getting no reaction, no page reads and, consequently, I wasn’t spending any money. But the annoying irony is that I started getting downloads for my WW2 story, Shadow of the Wolf, which I’d put on D2D as a free book. In a little over a month I have given away sixty two of those with no advertising.

My next plan was to launch two brand new, identical Amazon campaigns in UK and USA. After four days I have just almost 5000 impressions and three clicks. No-one is interested enough in the book jacket and blurb to even click and see what they think. So, the bonus is I’m still not spending any money, but I’m stagnating in the book market. I don’t know what the answer is yet, but as a side bet, I’ve purchased two Cyber Monday deals (it’s Thursday as I write this) on Kindle Book Review, who I’ve used in the past, for A Song in the Night, and The Devil’s Trinity. Incidentally, I sell more of the latter on D2D than all my other books — and that is with no advertising.

Beyond all that though, I’ve been busy. I used the NaNoWriMo month to complete a Romance; something I have never written as a standalone novel. But the difference is, it will be published under the pen name, Emma Carney. Why? You may ask. Well, it seems I can get no traction with my own name, and goodness knows I have been around a long time, so I thought, why not? Someone may like my love story enough to buy a copy. I’ve ordered a proof copy, which is due to arrive next week, so I expect, hope, to have it ready in time for publishing by Christmas.

My other life, that which fills most of my days and routines, continues in a fairly mundane pattern with occasional interruptions, happy ones of course, with family visits, phone calls, chats etc. The rain has tormented us on the south coast, reaching daily levels far in excess of previous records. We’ve had local flooding, but nothing like we have seen on the National and World news.

I began preparing for Christmas and wrote up all my Christmas cards. These, apart for a few, have been posted or delivered by hand. After that, I dragged the Christmas tree out of the loft and began decorating that. I’m not as creative in that department as I am in the book world, but I try.

Another diversion for me (and millions of other people) is the Football World Cup. I hope, like a good book, it has a happy ending for the English fans.

One other thing in passing. I was described as “Gifted” in the Financial Times years ago. Last night I watched the BBC documentary on Christine McVie; the singer, songwriter and keyboard player with the band, Fleetwood Mac, who passed away earlier this week. Now, she was “Gifted”.

What now for me? More attempts at reaching for the stars I suppose. I’ll be going to a book event in Arundel tomorrow. I know a few of the authors who will be there. It’s something I would have done before my lovely wife passed away, but not anymore. So, I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and a terrific New Year.

Stay safe.

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  • Michael Parker

A lot of stuff happened to me during the month of October: some good, some not so good. None of the downs were life threatening, nor were the ups come to that. I published my latest crime thriller, A Song in the Night, and ordered a proof copy. I couldn’t believe how many errors there were, considering I’d read through it twice before publishing, but such is the life of a writer. I edited again and uploaded the new manuscript. Once I was happy with it, I produced the eBook. And that’s were it went off the rails again. There were no table of contents (ToC) in the book, even though I included a ToC in the manuscript. Always have done and never had a problem. I contacted KDP Support and was advised that I needed a “Logical ToC”. It’s something new I guess, but why did KDP have to change something that worked fine? I did try to figure it out using KDP’s instructions and advice from Google, but I’m still scratching my head over that.

I decided to promote my latest book on Bargain Booksy, using a promotion company I’d watched on an SPF Podcast. Promises were made of course, but I sold nothing. I pointed this out on their Social Media platform and, surprise, surprise: I received an apology and my money back.

Next up was a threat of legal action from an American finance Company who keep the accounts for D2D, an aggregator I have used for about five years. It seems I used the wrong name for my tax return, so my account was suspended, fraud was hinted at and the threat of legal proceedings against me. And all my books were delisted. Fortunately, I posted a warning on the SPF Facebook Group and Mark Dawson, the administrator, contacted one of the D2D staff. I received an email from them. They didn’t even know this had happened. Eventually the error was corrected (by them) and all my books republished. Phew!

Then my banking app stopped working because HSBC were very excited to introduce a better way of accessing the online bank. It meant I was unable to view my account or even have control. I went into the bank here in Bognor and fortunately, the lady behind the glass took my phone off me and fifteen minutes later I was back in the new and “Exciting” world promised by the bank. Why do they do this? It all worked fine, so why change it?

Can you remember what you signed for three years ago? Me neither. I received an email from my Web provider, Wix, to let me know that they would be taking £300 out of my bank for my premium account. This would be for another three years. After a spell of apoplexy, I checked back through my Website editor and found that I had agreed to this in November 2019. It was only £2 per week. Nothing, eh? Until you forget and they want to lift £300 out of your bank. So, I grinned and put up with it.

So you see: all those ‘downs’ were not life threatening but did get me stirred up. Not something I need at my age. Oh, I forgot. Went to take Tuppence down the beach for the morning walk and found I had a flat tyre. I decided to take Tuppence round the village and change the tyre when I got back, but I couldn’t undo the nuts! Nothing I did would shift them, so I had to call Green Flag. A guy came out from the garage and five minutes later I was mobile again.

But on to some positives now. My latest book, A Song in the Night, is now available, but only on Kindle Unlimited. I thought I would give it try. In three weeks I have picked up almost 2000 page reads. That’s the equivalent of about four book sales. It’s an encouraging start, bolstered by advertising on Facebook of course. I have also sold ten copies so far (eBook and print), plus I have sold five other books; one of which was my box set. I’ve had the box set on KDP for about five years and only ever sold one copy I think. But it was a nice surprise to think, maybe, the interest in my latest book may have pointed readers to my website and my other titles.

Another ‘positive’ in a way was the decision I made to promote my Christian Narrative. I realised that as much as I like to see some benefit from advertising, it has always been my works of fiction (apart from My Pat, a love story) that I’ve promoted. I thought to myself that if I want God to open doors for me, I really ought to promote my Christian book: A Word in Your Ear (how God changed my retirement plans). So I now have ads for that on Amazon, but in the USA at the moment. Probably hoping to get some sales for that in the Bible Belt down south.

This month is NaNoWriMo for authors around the world. It’s for anybody really. It stands for National November Writers Month (I think). The idea is to produce 50,000 words in four weeks. Although it’s a peculiar kind of arrangement, the idea is to write 2000 words a day knowing that there are others alongside you, all over the world, doing the same thing. I actually did a thirty minute ‘sprint’ with three other authors on my laptop and about 50,000 in the SPF group on the first day. But I had to admit that I was already 36000 words ahead because I’d started a new project: writing a romance under a pseudonym. The word count for that currently stands at 46000. The first draft will be finished well before the end of the month, but I will be going back to the beginning and rewriting where I can. Eventually I hope to have the completed novel at 60,000 words when November comes to an end.

Wish me luck!

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