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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Unremarkably remarkable

Little change of plan last week: not unsurprising in a writer’s life I suppose. I gave up on the idea of resurrecting the old manuscript I’d written over forty years ago. It didn’t take long before the truth sunk in and I had to concede defeat. But I have revisited the Conor Lenihan revival — working title is The Prokura — and have added a few more ideas to the story. I’ve also had a slight change of tactic in that I am writing an essential episode in the story that needs to be inserted some way ahead from where I am at the moment. Once I have completed that as a single Word doc., I will probably file it with Scrivener until my story line catches up with it. One stumbling block I had to overcome was to get my main character, Conor Lenihan, into Joanna’s house without anyone knowing. Anyone who has read The Eagle’s Covenant will know that the house is well protected by security alarms and monitors: it would be impossible for Conor to gain entry unobserved. I could have fallen back on a weak practice that I find appalling when used in some thrillers I’ve read, namely making the hero so clever that locked and alarmed doors are no obstacle: “Gaining entry into the house was no problem for a man of Conor’s ability, and he was soon inside.” I came up with the answer when I was out walking the dog with Pat. I challenged her (Pat, not the dog!), to come up with a solution, but she failed miserably. And then the answer dropped into my head. No, I’m not going to say how Conor does it, but it’s legit!

I have had a book promotion running all week with L.H.Thomson. So far I have given away 67 free copies of Where the Wicked Dwell. The promotion ends today, so I’ll probably move past 70 copies. If half of those who downloaded the book enjoy my work enough, I can look forward to a small bump in sales.

On the subject of sales, I believe this time of the year is a period of doldrums. If no-one else is experiencing this, then I must be a lone sailor on a flat calm, windless ocean. It has probably got something to do with people spending more time out of doors on activities that do not include reading. The lighter nights may mean that people spend a little more time out socialising and the like, which leaves little time for books, particularly mine. But I’m not giving up. I’ve submitted a book to BookBub which will almost certainly be rejected; it has 5 reviews (5 stars!) which doesn’t bode well really, but this is where positive thinking comes into play: if I’m prepared to fork out a large sum on a one day advert, then perhaps the minor websites might not look so expensive. I’ve already started looking as a consequence of reading Joanna Penn’s marketing strategies. I don’t have her kind of money, nor the big staff she has working for her, but I can try.

Another stab in the dark was to submit my novel Hell’s Gate to the book reviewer, Andrea Lundgren. I haven’t heard anything yet, and don’t expect to because of the number of submissions she receives. Curiously she only wanted the title of the book, its genre and my email address, so it doesn’t look as though she’ll be too serious about this.

I submitted another title, North Slope to a writer named Mark Stop. This is to be included in a boxset he is compiling. The idea is to promote the set for six months and share the royalties. If it works!

On the domestic front, I had the good news that my six-monthly cancer check-up has resulted in the all clear. The specialist said, after examining my bits and bobs and diagnosing the blood tests results, that he found me “unremarkable, which is a compliment”. Good news then, and hopefully I’ll be staying clear of all the gremlins, both in body and soul. Wish me luck!

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