Live at Last: 2013 365 Challenge #251

Playing with the all-important balloon!

Playing with the all-important balloons!

Today I broke a whole bunch of self publishing rules and published Baby Blues and Wedding Shoes on Amazon, even though I’m still doing a final read through and spotting the odd typo. I know I’m heading for the third ring of indie-publishing hell but I have my reasons.

Partly I need to keep moving forward. I reformatted the Smashwords version for kindle this morning, between writing my post and taking over childcare at 9am. I did then spot some odd pink paragraphs which I’ve subsequently (hopefully) fixed – in between making playdough snakes, facilitating home made pizzas, assembling giant pipecleaner craft, playing hide and seek and a taking a trip to McDs because Dobbies ran out of balloons (and, honestly, Mummy didn’t feel like cooking dinner!)

Pink paragraphs aside, the kindle version looks surprisingly okay for a first pass. I usually get to version five on Smashwords before I’ve ironed out all the kinks. If I’ve learned one thing this year, it’s how to use word styles to speed up ebook formatting. (Now I just have to work out how to make pretty chapter headers, like Rinelle Grey’s books have!)

Finally on Amazon

Finally on Amazon

My main reason for rushing ahead with publishing Baby Blues on kindle, rather than waiting for the paper version to be ready and loading both to Amazon together, is that Dragon Wraiths comes out of the KDP Select programme at the end of September. I can’t believe how quickly this three-month block has gone. I’m going to stay out this time and stop being so impatient: I don’t have the time or strength for decent marketing, so I’ve decided to focus on writing more and better books, knowing that Baby Blues and Dragon Wraiths will always be there as back catalogue.

I will run one last free promo on Dragon Wraiths (later this week, if you haven’t already read it) and that will be it, at least until Class Act is ready next year. The reason for one last promo, even though I don’t get as much return from them anymore, is that I hope it will possibly lead people to Baby Blues without me having to offer that for free to increase its rankings.

(Note to self: put free chapter of BBWS at end of Dragon Wraiths!)

I will, at some point, run a competition to celebrate finally finishing Baby Blues – with a prize hamper including a print copy and probably some chocolate – but it’s going to have to wait a little bit, as I don’t have a print copy available yet. I’ll probably figure out the final details of the comp and post about it some time this week though: I guess I can always have it run for a few weeks, until I get a paper copy of my book. The competition will definitely feature parenting stories or other tales of humiliation, in honour of some of Helen’s experiences in the book. If you know any parenting blogs who might like to feature the competition let me know.

As I put on my Facebook page this morning, publishing Baby Blues is feeling more like a sneak than a launch. But, hey ho, life vs writing and all that. At least it’s finally out there.


Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog: 


Claire sat, awkwardly holding Josh’s hand, staring at nothing out the window. She hoped he had fallen asleep, but she didn’t want to check in case she caught him staring at her again. If she had to endure the soppy, tear-filled gaze one more time she thought she might vomit.

I don’t understand women who go for the new man, in touch with his emotions. Give me some British stiff upper lip any day. It’s not like I was going to drown in three feet of water with the tour guide right there.

In fact, their guide had laughed at Josh’s panic, forcing Claire to play down her own fear. She suspected more than one nightmare in the future might revolve around drowning and being trapped underwater: not experiences she wanted to repeat. But even she could see, in retrospect, that she wasn’t in any real danger.

Someone should tell Josh that I’m not a sick child he needs to save. The only people he ought to be concerned about are his wife and kids.

And yet she still had his sweaty hand clasped in hers. It had seemed cruel to spurn him: like kicking a cat. But she didn’t need Bethan’s sniggers and eye rolling to tell her she’d made trouble for herself.

“Hey, Claire.”

As if hearing her thoughts, Bethan called to her across the coach aisle.

“You won’t be sharing a dorm with us at Westport, then?” She grinned, as Claire flushed beetroot.

“Pack it in. I take it he is asleep?” Josh hadn’t moved at Bethan’s words, and she hoped he wasn’t feigning slumber.

Bethan nodded, and leaned nearer. “He is rather scrummy. Why don’t you just sleep with him and be done with it? The wife need never know.”

“I’d know.” Claire was surprised at the fierceness in her voice. As Bethan recoiled, she immediately said, “Sorry, that came out sharper than intended. You forget, I’ve met his wife and their children. She isn’t some faceless entity with no feelings. She even looks like me, although that’s where the comparisons end. She’s a doctor, and a brilliant parent. I wouldn’t hurt her for the world.”

“And yet he would. Some fella you got there.”

Claire had to agree, although she felt driven to defend Josh. “He wasn’t like that when I knew him in England. He had some kind of breakdown, I think, and it’s still affecting him.”

“You mean he isn’t just a selfish twat that never grew up, who has run away because life got a teensy bit hard?”

It was Claire’s turn to be shocked at the sarcastic sneer in Bethan’s voice. It reminded Claire that she knew little about her new friend’s history.

Biting her tongue on a retort, Claire was forced to smile. “Show me a man who has actually grown up and I’ll show you a boring bastard who takes life far too seriously.” She thought about Michael and his pompous preaching.

“So, what are you going to do? He did save your life.”

Claire opened her mouth to deny the suggestion, then saw the twinkle in Bethan’s dark eyes. “You cow! It’s so hilarious, sat over there. You try sitting in this seat.”

“Don’t mind if I do!”

“Well, why don’t you seduce him then? Get him off my hands.”

“And break the poor little wifey’s heart? I can’t do that. Why don’t you call this woman and tell her you stumbled across her husband at the lost and found. If she really wants him, she’ll come and collect him.”

“Poor Fiona. She did that once already: flying halfway round the world with three kids in tow.”

Bethan pulled a face. “She sounds like an angel. Too good for him.”

Claire privately agreed. It was clear that Josh had fixated on her as the way out of his humdrum life, but Claire knew it was no more than it had been the first time they met: She resembled the wife he used to know, before children had eaten into their lives.

Not that I can blame him for wanting to evade the responsibility of raising children: it’s not something I’m in a hurry to do. But it seems Fiona does all the work.

She couldn’t deny he came across as selfish and pathetic however which way she viewed it. The sooner she sent him back to his wife the better.

Prising her hand free from his, Claire turned her back on the sleeping figure and tried to ignore the weight of his head resting against her shoulder.

If I let a man into my life again, it will be one who can stand on his own two feet.


8 thoughts on “Live at Last: 2013 365 Challenge #251

  1. First off, congrats on the launch! One of the great things about self-publishing is we have the ability to re-up our files when we spot an error (or when someone condemns us to the aforementioned circle of hell for not noticing a typo in our 18 read-throughs).

    Second, you mention that you don’t have time or strength for decent marketing – I forget if I have recommended Kristen Lamb to you before or not, so forgive me if this is a repeat. If not, then I highly suggest you check out her blog. Fits right up the alley of those who want to write and know they need to market at the same time, all while living a full day life. Her book “Are you there blog…” and her newest book “Rise of the machines…” have been lifesavers for me. In fact, I spent a great part of this evening re-reading them just because they re-energize me to feel like 30 minutes a day truly is enough to make progress on the platform building front. Small, consistent deposits = full bank account. Anyway, here is the link to her newest book (the others are being revised with newer content) if you’d like to check it out!

    And finally…congrats again! 🙂

    • Thanks Sarah! I do follow Kristn’s blog religiously (hence so much time going into this blog!) but I haven’t read the books yet. Will add Rise of the Machines to my to-be-read list! Thanks for the reminder! X

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