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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Self Indulgence and Self Help

July 1st. 2023

June was quite an eventful month for me one way or another. I published my third Emma Carney Romance, Chapel Acre. I asked my usual jacket designer for a cover, but he couldn’t commit before August 1st., which meant at least a ten weeks wait before he could complete, so I went with my own, simple design. The reason for that was because of the promise I’d made to myself to complete five Emma Carney Romances by the end of the year. By publishing Chapel Acre (, it meant I was well ahead with my plan. Unfortunately, I have now hit a brick wall and can’t come up with a story for No.4. I think I’ve used up all my ideas, but I have six months to go yet, so we’ll see.

Having said all that about finding a decent idea for EC4, I have jotted down a few ideas and written about fifteen hundred words as a starter. I have to accept that I am a “Pantser”. I can’t plot for toffees; it just doesn’t work for me. I wish it did, but that isn’t how I write.

But there’s something else that I have done that may affect any chance I have of making a name for myself (I mean, Emma Carney) in the book world: I cancelled my Mail Chimp account. The reason for that was because I’d virtually lost all my subscribers, and trying to resurrect their interest, particularly as they had originally signed up for A&A and Thrillers etc, I don’t think they would have been that interested. To give you an idea, I’d gone from 1500 subs down to an open rate of about 0.1%, and each newsletter resulted in more unsubs than opens.

On June 19th. I travelled up to London for the Self-Publishing Live Show at the QE Hall on the South Bank. There was an informal meet up at the Mad Hatter pub that night. I went along and bumped into a young woman I’d met last year at the conference. We spent an hour chatting about our books, our lives and our plans. She told me I had enough lifetime experience to write advice and self-help books, or to put out monthly newsletters talking about the events in my life that might be of some help to anyone who was struggling with the kind of things I’d dealt with and managed to live through. I thought it would make me sound rather pompous if I considered myself some kind of life guru who could help people. I told her this, but she wouldn’t have it. I’ve given this some thought, although I don’t expect it to happen, but I have republished a small booklet titled What Happened After ( and will put that up on Social Media feeds (hopefully). It’s a 17000 word narrative on the two years following the death of my lovely Pat and covers my mental state, my ups, my downs, and eventually finding hope again in my writing.

The book conference was an eye-opener (as always). One presenter was Bella Andre, often referred to as the ‘Queen of Romance’. She has sold 10,000,000 books and hit the New York Times best seller list. Another intriguing presenter was Britt Andrews; another incredibly successful writer. Racheal Maclean was another. Three years ago she was at the book conference as an unknown writer. Last year she was a presenter having sold one million books in two years. She was a guest interviewee this year. One thing about these three women is the incredibly hard work they’ve all put into their craft, which has to be the secret behind their success. I applaud them all.

So, from the ‘Gor blimey to the ridiculous’. I followed up my presence at the book conference with a book stall of my own at the local ‘Fun Day’ on the green here on our Park Home Residential Estate. I sold twenty four books. Makes you smile, eh? I considered that a good day. I got to chat with people I didn’t know, some I recognised because they are Residents here. One chap came up to my book stall and tapped several of my books saying: “Got that, got that, got that…” He tapped about five books. He told me he’d bought on KDP and thought I was an excellent writer. Makes you think, eh?

On the domestic front, I’ve had my Park Home clad with insulation. It’s a government scheme for people on low incomes who live in Park Homes to help reduce their energy costs and reduce the carbon footprint. It cost me nothing, so I will say thank you to the British taxpayer; such a generous bunch. I’ve continued my project of turning my garden into a low maintenance garden. I’m slowly clearing my borders and putting weed mats and tree bark down. The idea is to rely on pots of flowers and reduce the amount of time I spend weeding (and breaking my back!)

For the coming month, July, it should be situation normal: housework, gardening, writing, playing the piano badly and walking the dog. Oh, and some promotional work. Wish me luck!

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