• Michael Parker

November 7th. 2021


Looking through my previous blog post, I could see a sense of wanting to do more and get involved. Well, Robbie Burns had it right with his immortal words about the best laid plans of mice and men going “oft aglay”. I started with the best of intentions by beginning the Amazon Ads course again, changed my writing schedule to earlier in the day by making the most of a fresh mind, and left the domestic chores to the afternoon. It looked like it was working, but then I went down with a chest infection which needed antibiotics. The whole thing floored me and even two weeks after completing the course, I still haven’t got back to normal. So my plans went out of the window. I’m clawing my way back though, and to that end I decided to re-edit my pulp fiction thriller, Hunted, and offer it free to my email subscribers, plus anyone who comes across the link while it’s available. This is the link: https://BookHip.com/JNFFDBC. I have also made some progress on my current project; the fourth in my Marcus Blake series. This one will be set in Wyoming and will be a step up for Marcus in that he will have more of a Jack Reacher type role in this but will not be a Jack Reacher clone. There will be Indians.


Before going down with this infection, I felt my plan to open up was going well. I’d restarted my church House Group and was attending the Sunday services (albeit with a mask), visited both my granddaughters and managed a trip up to the Greenwich Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark with my No.2 son, Terry and my grandson, Freddie. I’d even managed more Clavinova time. I’m also lined up for a couple of social events with my next door neighbour this month. Oh, and my plan to capitalise on the James Bond film release worked because I sold a dozen of my books of the same name during last month. Cost me a lot on Amazon Ads, but at least it put a smile on my face.


My idea last month to consider the Na-No-Wro-Mo writing exercise in November was a non-starter. It appealed to me briefly, but, the chest infection notwithstanding, I would never have been able to complete the task. And I don’t think there would be a pay-off either. The indie book world is now an overstuffed juggernaut that swallows self-published books, making them disappear for ever unless the writer wants to spend a lot of money advertising and hoping the potential readers take notice. I think the majority of us are probably better served by concentrating on a local market and hoping to expand from there. You may recall me writing about my romantic family saga, Past Imperfect, published last month in America? I looked at the ratings today. It is 3.7 million in the best seller ranks, and around 100,000 in the Romance genre. My publisher will not spend money promoting it; that’s down to me, but in the American market? No, not a cat in hell’s chance. Not to worry though; I will do some advertising, but I need to revisit the Amazon Ads course and think about where best to spend my money. Incidentally, I see that Robert Galbraith’s book (AKA J.K.Rowling), Troubled Blood, has a print length of 945 pages. Phew! Makes you think, eh? I don’t think my box set runs into that length. Perhaps I should stretch my latest Marcus Blake thriller into a 1000 pages. At my age I don’t think I would finish it!


So there you have it: a very brief synopsis of my life over the last four or five weeks. I could have mentioned walking my little dog, cutting down the lavender bush along the front border; washing, ironing, sneezing, coughing, and goodness knows what, but that would mirror most of your lives too. Oh, and something else I’ve learned too: Slan agus beannacht: (be safe & blessed).


Till next time.

Michael

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  • Michael Parker

Those of you who followed my weekly blog posts will know that I stopped once my lovely wife had passed away. I had already given up writing and declared that I wouldn’t write anymore because I could no longer see the point. For me, life had more or less come to an end. A year has passed now, and on August 18th, the anniversary of Pat’s death, I watched her funeral (plenty of tears). That evening I went out to a fancy restaurant with Pat’s brother and his wife. It was my sister-in-law’s suggestion; one that I am glad I finally overcame my reluctance and agreed to join them.


Two days later I began what I would probably call my ‘Odyssey’. I travelled up to Norfolk to spend a weekend with my eldest son. Then I drove round to Lincolnshire, stopping off at my elder brother’s place for a couple of hours, to pick up Pauline, a long-standing friend of mine and Pat’s. Pauline lost her husband ten months ago. We came home and spent the next few days visiting my family in West Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset. Ten days after setting out, and covering 1000 miles, I was back home reflecting on the way forward, and acknowledging it had been a kind of catharsis; a move ahead in the healing process.


Although I had decided to no longer write, the book world never really left me; it is too ingrained in my psyche. I submitted a couple of my books to online publishers, never really expecting anything to happen, when the Wild Rose Press in America agreed to publish my romantic family saga, Past Imperfect. The book was released under their name on September 1st. I have no control over the book, having signed a five year deal. No money changed hands; they dealt with the formatting, jacket design and metadata.


Shortly after WRP accepted my book, I began having thoughts about writing again. I had an email from Kobo about ‘Na-no-wromo’ (?), a yearly challenge for authors to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. I didn’t give that too much thought until I remembered I had already started a sequel to my pulp fiction thriller, Hunted. I had a look and found I had written 17000 words before I stopped writing.


So now I’m wondering if I really want to get back in the game. I think the answer is probably a yes but needs a little more thought. I bought myself a Yamaha Clavinova earlier this year (a digital piano) because I wanted to learn to play piano. I played keyboard for years, but playing the piano is something entirely different. I thought that would fill the empty space left by the absence of spending time on another kind of keyboard knocking out thrillers, but I think I could cope with both.


This blog post will be my first attempt at getting back to my book world, but instead of posting weekly, I will keep it to a monthly blog (unless something unusual happens). We’ll see.


Wish me luck!

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  • Michael Parker

When I worked for a living, I did a lot of twelve-hour shifts. Never liked them, but at least at the end of my shift I could go home, go to bed and relax for a while. Yesterday, Friday, my day began at around 6 am, and finished last night at 2.30 am — just over twenty hours. Looking after Pat is hard work. I did manage to get my head down but was up again at 7 am to start the shift again. There’s a lot to this ‘Full-time carer’ business. Pat’s situation isn’t good, but I have to accept it for what it is and hope I can keep her as comfortable as possible. We have a steady stream of nurses coming in. One came this afternoon and dressed Pat’s wounds, checked her physically and departed. Pat seems a little more settled at the moment. We have the positional bed in the front room, which has been an absolute boon: so much better for Pat. It’s amazing just how much support is out there, most of which is free.


Tuppence goes away tomorrow, probably for about three months or until this is all over. If Pat goes into a nursing home, I will have Tuppence back. It won’t make a great dal of difference to me in regard to how much time I have, but it will make a heap of difference to Tuppence.


In my book world, I see no changes in my sales or my expectations. Now that I don’t write, I ignore a lot of advice that comes pouring on to my PC by way of social media book groups. But one thing I do see, and understand, is that as a stand-alone writer, I have very little chance of attaining high rankings and sales in the indie world. I have even seen patronising comments about stand-alone writers as though we were some sort of interlopers in the world of series authors. I did get a smile on my face when I saw one author complaining that her book sales were down, and what on earth were Amazon up to for goodness sake? — “I’m trying to make a living as a writer!” — seemed to be the complaint as though Amazon should pull their socks up.


As I mentioned last week, I am joining 10K Readers author Mike Donald on a thriller promotion, due to begin on September 1st. I downloaded Mike’s book, Louisiana Blood (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07WVHCL6S) so that I could have something to say when the promotion gets under way. Mike’s book is set in the USA and UK, and what struck me about this was the fact that his characters are playing out their scenes in their own language (English of course), and that he uses double speech marks, which is normal for American publications. I’ve seen authors on some the FB groups of which I’m a member, worrying themselves over the use of the American way or the British way. They’re often told to go with whatever they feel comfortable with, something which Mike Donald is doing with no hang-ups. I’m hoping I can reach a lot more readers through Mike, but I have to say that in terms of which of us is the longest in tooth, it’s me. So perhaps Mike is hoping to hang on to my coat-tails. Hope I don’t let him down. Wish me luck!

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