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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Living on your own with just a dog for company does kind of limit what you can do and where you can go because of your moral obligation and desire to care for the dog. There are times when I could murder Tuppence, but I would never neglect her even though she always reminds me when it’s time for our apple (I’m usually asleep in the chair,) or our bag of crisps in the evening; but my faithful mutt has a built-in body clock that never lets her down. So when I look back in my diary through February, the pages often look like they’ve been put together by an AI (Artificial Intelligence) robot, they are so repetitive. Such is the life of a retired pensioner with a dog. At least, that’s what it could look like if it wasn’t for my two hobbies — writing and playing the piano. Oh, and watching football on TV of course.

Those of you who follow my monthly blog will know that I bailed out of writing as Michael Parker and turned into Emma Carney, a Romance author. My plan was to complete five novels this year, provided I live that long (I’m 82 this month!). Well, yesterday, I uploaded my second, Emma Carney Romance to KDP. The title is The Girl With No Name. I’ve ordered a proof copy having edited it twice already. Yes, I’m a DIY writer and edit all my own stuff. (I can hear a lot of tutting going on in the background). For my first Emma Carney book, I used for the jacket (I used them for my book A Song in The Night as well). The story is about a homeless girl who has no memory of her earlier life and a wealthy high flyer in the City of London. Two people from different worlds, two extremes at opposite ends of the spectrum. Their worlds collide with life-changing consequences. As I did with my first Romance, I designed the jacket myself so I can get the book online but plan to get Nat at the Typesetters to design something to replace it. I’ve added a view of the jacket for you.

My plan now is to run an AMS campaign for my first EC novel, I’ll be using a method that came via FB. Quite an eye-opener really. The guy who wrote the article usually has well over one hundred campaigns running for himself and even more for his clients. And yes, he’s a successful writer. However, he has distilled the nitty-gritty into less frightening proportions (for free), which means I’ll be running no more than six campaigns with about fifteen keywords, provided I can find the most appropriate. It means I’ll get a better view of what is working and what is not, rather than staring blindly at a dashboard with hundreds of keywords and hoping to find which ones have the most clicks.

Still in the world of books, Smashwords are running a promotion next week through the aggregator, Draft 2 Digital (D2D). I’ve included all of my books that are with D2D. The books are being sold at half price, but the royalties stay at the full price. The promotion is free. I think Smashwords is trying to get back in the game because it has lost its way a bit.

And here’s another surprise: For some reason, the Canadian group, Rakuten Kobo, is managing to sell my thriller The Devil’s Trinity ( without any promotion or marketing from me. Each month I sell about six through this company. I don’t know why, but if I did, I would bottle it and sell it.

Because I have finished my second EC Romance, my mind is buzzing around a third novel. I have to say though that I need to step back for a few days, and work on my promotion and marketing, and also my piano playing skills. I’m off to Norfolk this month to celebrate my 82nd birthday with my eldest son and daughter-in-law, Vincent, and Jackie, at their home, together with my No.3 son, John who will be driving us up there in his F-type Jaguar. I did offer to drive us in my Kia Venga, but for some strange reason, he refused and insisted on taking the Jag. Hmmm! On the way back, we are planning to drop in on an ex-RAF mate of mine and his wife. The last time I saw them was around 1975 — something like that. So, no writing, no planning, and no doggie duties. Should be good. Wish me luck!

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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Going into a new year often brings optimism, hope and a determination to stick to our New Year resolutions. As I write this blog, it’s the end of January and, statistically (I think), 40% of us have ditched our resolutions and settled back into our usual routines, dull or otherwise, and got on with our lives. For some, it will be extremely difficult, but for a few, their hopes and ambitions will be no less important than they were last year and will try to rise above those difficulties and push on.

Fortunately for me, I do not have the difficulty of making ends meet and keeping warm in my home, but I do still harbour the hope that I will make a success of my writing this year, and as Amazon increases the size of its electronic library, writers like me gradually disappear beneath the weight of about 37 million eBooks on KDP and vanish from sight, and my resolution to make a million dollars this year vanishes with it (same every year!).

But there is hope! Those of you who follow my monthly blog posts will know that I ventured into the fictional world of Romance last October and published a warm-hearted Romance under the pen name of Emma Carney (Happy Lies the Heart. I haven’t advertised the book yet, apart from posting on Social Media, and have sold eight so far. Now, this may not sound like cause for ‘hallelujahs’, but the fact is, it has outsold my other books, two of which were the subject of one-day blitz advertising. I made the decision after publishing that book, to continue as Emma Carney, and to push myself to write a minimum of 1000 words a day. So far I am 33,000 words into my second Emma Carney romance, averaging 1250 words a day. Another decision I made was to have the book jacket redesigned by I have paid an advance, and they are committed to beginning the jacket on February 7th. And continuing with the idea of keeping to our resolutions, I will have my Emma Carney jackets designed by Racheal and Nat at the book typesetters.

To get an idea about the Romance genre on KDP, I did some brief research. I started reading Avery Maxwell after seeing her on a Mark Dawson podcast. Phenomenal, that’s all I can say. But after reading about thirty pages of one of her books, I had to give up: sexually explicit doesn’t even cover it. But good luck to Avery, although she doesn’t need it. It made me realise that writing that kind of pornography is simply not my bag; I have to stick with ‘wholesome’ romance. But! Yes, there’s always a ‘but’, it doesn’t have to be about a six-pack, stripped to the waist, love-island man and scantily clad, love-island woman; it can be reasonably clean. So I’m reading Barbara Freethy (not really enjoying it though). Never heard of her, you say? She has sold more books on Amazon than anyone and is a New York Times best seller. ‘Way to go’ as the Americans say.

Another development in my world of books was an unexpected email from D2D (Draft2Digital) about a new direction for Apple books. Apple has been developing digital voice technology using AI (Artificial Intelligence) and is commissioning selected eBooks in the Romance genre and producing audiobooks. D2D sent me the email because of my Romance, which they have published as an aggregator on several online bookshops, including Apple. This is not a guarantee that Apple will take my book on, but if they do, it will cost nothing, and after six months I will be free to publish the audiobook through other outlets.

On the subject of AI, there is a class one action being launched in America by some high-ranking litigators against a global company who have been creaming off millions of bytes of creative data from all over the world, infringing copyrights in the process, which is illegal of course. Some big Companies have joined the fight as well. AI looks like a force for good and a force for evil: rather like the Internet.

On a more homely and domestic note, I have bought a new mobile phone, signed a new contract with BT for a digital voice landline phone (fibre optic) because of my poor hearing, and started popping 60-second videos on Tik Tok from time to time. I’ve been caught by the localised flooding and signed a petition to stop the idiotic councils from allowing developers to build houses on flood plains (not that they will listen). I also travelled up to Lincolnshire to celebrate my late wife’s birthday on January 14th. This was with our friend, Pauline, whose husband died shortly after Pat. Had a really nice Chinese meal, a bottle of Red, and a pint over at the local pub. The next day it was church. Then home to the localised flooding. A memorable weekend and a memorable month indeed.

That’s it! Hopefully, there will be more next month. Wish me luck!

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  • Writer's pictureMichael 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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