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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Challenging Times

This week, the weather has put a damper on the country and affected all walks of life. Accidents, people killed, motorists stranded for hours on end, trains and buses cancelled, emergency services stretched to the limit, and the military called in. The homeless have been particularly hard-hit, and so too have those pensioners who need home delivery of much of their vital supplies. So what has been my worry? I’ve been hoping that the UK Southern Book show on Sunday — tomorrow! — will not be affected. Big deal, eh? I took a drive along the coast to Worthing last Thursday to check on the venue and local parking. The sun was shining, there was no snow on the roads, which were bone dry, and everything looked great. Never mind about the rest of the country struggling; my patch was OK. Thoughtless or what?

But we know that’s not the case, is it? I wish the whole country was enjoying sunshine and good weather. And I wish the whole country was out shopping and buying my books. We can dream, eh? The Mystery & Crime book talk at Portsmouth Book Fest today had to be cancelled because several of the writers who were scheduled to attend couldn’t make it because of the weather, so I’m hoping the snow will disappear and people will brave the cold weather to come along to our event at Worthing.

I found myself having a chat with my son about my WIP yesterday, and the struggle I’m having in trying to write a thriller within the constraints of developing a ‘Series character’. In my case it’s Marcus Blake, who has been the central character in two of my books — A Covert War and Where the Wicked Dwell. I’m in a literary straitjacket because of it: self-inflicted, I know. My son suggested I write a pulp fiction thriller and put Blake in when I’ve finished. I threw the challenge back at him and asked him to give me a substantial plot-line so I could write without prevarication and bang out my next, mind-boggling thriller. I don’t know if he’s up for it though, not being a writer. But he’s an intelligent man and, who knows? He might get the bug and become a better writer than me. He can beat me at darts and snooker any day. And if I played golf he’d hammer me, but this might be something on which I would leave him standing.

My BookBub ads are making some kind of progress. I can see some increase in sales compared to last month, but my latest advert seems to be struggling, so I’ll probably have to dive in and have a major re-think about which way to go with this. I actually raised the daily budget and increased the author keywords, hoping it would give me more relevance, but it seems to be having the opposite affect according to my latest figures. So, it might be a case of “Less is more”, and I need to reduce both budget and keywords.

On the domestic front, Tuppence still doesn’t know she’s on a weight-loss programme (I like that phrase). She still wants to eat anything we do, and keeps sitting in front of you, looking up with those lovely, Cockapoo eyes, waiting for you to give her some of whatever it is you’re eating. It’s difficult, isn’t it? Wish me luck!

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