Up at sunrise to write today
How cool – my husband just bought a paper copy of Baby Blues off Amazon. I only made about 50p but that’s not the point! It’s there; a real book (free delivery, too, which is better than paying for proof copies to be shipped from the US.)
I’m much more nervous than I have been about anything to do with the self publishing journey so far. Not only is a paper book more permanent than an ebook, it’s also a much bigger investment from a reader (though less profit for me – I couldn’t bring myself to charge more. It’s already double what I’d pay for a paperback!)
I’ve been formatting Dragon Wraiths for print today and it was really tough rereading the book. I’d love to rewrite it, armed with 270 days of writing and editing every day. I feel I am a stronger writer now, and I want to bring my first novel up to my current standard. But if an author did that for every book, would they ever get around to writing any more?
As an aside, someone mentioned today that I seem a little like a recluse with my online presence. I was surprised because I feel like I spend half my life trying to increase my online presence. That said, I think it’s in the nature of a writer to hide in a cave. I guess that’s why social media can be a struggle.
I think it’s time I got a copy of one of Kristen Lamb’s books on social media – We are not alone: The writer’s guide to social media or Rise of the Machines (her latest one). I’ve resisted so far only because I already have dozens of books I haven’t read on writing and marketing. Hers are meant to be among the best though, so a good investment of my time. Has anyone read either of them? Which should I get?
(As an aside, I went to Kristen Lamb’s blog to see how much Rise of the Machines is, and it’s not available to buy on her page as far as I can see. Isn’t that a social media fail? 🙂 )
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:
THIS POST CONTAINS SOME STRONG LANGUAGE
Claire read the text message again and frowned, the movement exacerbating the headache she’d had all afternoon. Glancing up at the window, she saw only the reflection of the empty dorm room. At 8 o’clock in the evening in Queenstown, it seemed everyone was out partying.
I should be on a bus to Christchurch. My flight leaves in 24 hours.
She’d tried to get a bus to the airport as soon as the tiny plane carrying her from Milford landed, but it turned out all the buses left early in the morning. With no choice but to wait in the hostel, and with no iPad or money, Claire felt like she might burst.
And then the text from Kim had arrived. Claire read it for a third time, but it still made no sense.
Sorry, Claire. I’ve been a bad friend. But it won’t matter anymore. Have a nice life. Kim.
Every time she read the words, Claire felt the knot tighten in her stomach. If it hadn’t been from Kim, she would have worried that it was a goodbye note from someone intending to do something foolish. But Kim was the most resilient person she knew.
The nagging worry continued to worm under her skin. At last Claire had to do something or go mad.
Hi Kim, lovely to hear from you. If anyone’s been a bad friend it’s me. I’ll be home in two days, please say we can catch up and be friends? I’ve missed you so much. Claire.
Claire watched the phone, waiting for a response. As the minutes ticked by, the tightness in her chest became unbearable.
Grabbing the phone, Claire strode from the room and down to reception.
“Hi, I need to call the UK, do you sell phone cards?” Claire looked at the girl behind reception sat reading a magazine. She turned her head slowly and gazed at Claire without speaking.
“Do you sell phone cards, please? I need to call England.”
The girl nodded, and reached into a box under the desk.
“Five bucks will give you twenty minutes to the UK, is that enough?”
Claire nodded. It would have to be; she needed to save every last bit of money to get to the airport and buy something to eat on the way home.
Tapping her foot, as the girl wrote something down in a book before handing over the card, Claire snatched it and span round to locate the phone. She spotted it in the corner, but it was in use. Judging by the body language of the girl curled around the handset it was likely to be in use for some time.
Claire froze. She was loathe to ask the girl on reception anything, suspecting any answer would take too long. Her mind felt blank with indecision. Looking left and right, as if a phone might materialise on the blank walls, Claire was about to run out into the street when she heard the phone click.
Hand outstretched, Claire reached the handset just as a teenage boy was about to pick it up.
“Please, this is urgent. I think my friend’s in trouble. I need to make this call?” She turned pleading eyes on the boy and he shrugged and wandered back into the lounge.
The instructions on the back of the phone card seemed impossibly complicated. Claire scratched off the silver paint to reveal the code, then typed in the long string of numbers and waited.
After a long pause, the phone began to ring. Each note of the ringing tone made her heart beat faster. The phone felt slippery in her clammy hand and she twisted the cord round and round.
“Answer, Kim. Come on. You only sent that text half an hour ago. Answer, Goddamnit.”
Ten rings, twenty, then the phone went dead. A metallic voice came on the line.
“You have four dollars twenty cents remaining. Do you wish to make another call?”
Scrolling through her phone book with numb fingers, Claire found Jeff’s number and dialled it in. Again the phone rang, five times, ten. Claire was wondering who she would call next when she heard a click.
“Jeff? It’s Claire.”
“Claire. Cricky, how are you? I thought you were in New Zealand.”
“I am. Listen, is Kim with you?”
“No. She said she needed a night by herself, so I’m staying with mates. Why?” His voice rose slightly. “Have you guys spoken at last?”
“No. She sent me a text. Look it might be nothing, but it sounded like she was saying goodbye. You don’t think she’d do something stupid, do you? It’s not like her, but I’ve tried ringing and she’s not answering.”
“Fuck.” Jeff’s voice came out like a bullet. Then Claire could hear movement and panting, as if Jeff was running.
“How long ago did you get the text?” His voice sounded distant.
“Half an hour. Jeff, you’re scaring me. Why would Kim kill herself?” Claire fought the wave of nausea threatening to overwhelm her. She leant against the wall and held the phone with both hands.
“She’s had depression, since the miscarriage. Oh Claire, it’s been awful. I wish you guys hadn’t fallen out. She’s on medication but I’m not sure she’s been taking it. Look I have to go. Thanks for calling me.”
“Wait. Jeff. I’m sorry. Tell her I’m sorry.” The phone was silent, and Claire wondered if Jeff had gone, or if he thought she was too much to blame.
“It’s not your fault, Claire. We’ll sort it out when you get home. If I’m not too late.”
The phone went dead.