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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Present Tense

Christmas is coming and will soon be dominating our thoughts about what presents to buy friends and family. You could do no worse than thinking of buying those you love, or like enough, to make an author’s day and give books as presents. When me and my two brothers were youngsters, we almost always received books in our Christmas stocking. One aunt always made sure of that, and it was because of this that I developed a liking for the children’s classics. An album was always welcome, but I’m not talking of music; I’m talking about the bumper books that were published by the ‘Comic’ houses. Great stuff, great reads.

When my book group, CHINDI, have a book sale, the children’s books always sell well, leaving thriller writers like me looking on enviously as the pile next to mine diminishes rapidly. You can find these books on the CHINDI website at All our books are available through the website’s bookshop, so why not look in on us and have a think about Christmas?

My own progress in finishing my latest novel has been hampered for all sorts of reasons, procrastination not being the least of them. I seem to be grinding to a halt, losing a couple of days and picking it up again. Like a lot of writers, I reach a sticking point and wonder how I’m going to get through it. I always manage to find some convincing way to move the story on, and sometimes manage to give the story a significant lift. I reached that point during the week when I had my main character, Marcus Blake, find the Samsung laptop that was essential to lead him to the killers of at least four people, but I had reached this key point too early and needed to delay the revelation. But then, what would I do for the next 20,000 words? After all, I still needed to round off other elements of the story that were essential in the whole jigsaw. I had almost been hoisted ‘by my own petard’. I changed direction, ensured the laptop had been wiped and then sent Marcus off in a different direction. But I left a little teaser, for the reader, which pointed the location of a memory stick on which all the data had been copied. This is like the needle in a haystack: where in the whole of England will Marcus find something as small as the memory stick? It’s great fun being a writer, but it does yer ‘ead in at times!

The fish tank is looking good. Couple more days and I’ll be buying some fish. After that, it might get a bit tricky maintaining the right chemical balance and keeping the fish alive.

I will be doing the hospital book talk next week. I’m looking forward to it. One of the joys of being a local author is that from time to time people ask you to talk about yourself. Once again I will be promoting the CHINDI group, but only for a wee while; most of the time it will be about me (and my books)!

Still battling with my Ingram Spark file. It’s the jacket that’s causing the problem, only because I’m not too sure what I’m doing. I worked on it this morning using PhotoShop, and uploaded. It will be a couple of day before they let me know if I have it right. Fingers crossed.

I’ve given up on Facebook ads. for now. The returns I was achieving were doing nothing significant. I reached my budget limit, which meant the ad. was stopped. I’ll go away and lick my wounds, work on my novel and try to have it ready for the New Year. Then maybe I can think about using FB ads. again. Wish me luck!

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