Friday, 24 June 2011

E-books, a newsletter, and a competition

Hello! I'm back from Blogger no-man's-land, and problems seem to have been resolved - fingers crossed!

Lots to tell you. No, not about the new book yet (fingers still crossed) - but I've been busy with other things. I've now published all FIVE of my Sheila Norton books on Amazon as Kindle e-books, having spent several quite enjoyable weeks (if I may say so myself!) re-reading them all and adding in the copy-editing. And then a bit of fun doing the 'cover' images. And to celebrate finishing the process, I've put them all on a 'sale' price - a real bargain at £2.29 each! So if you haven't yet had a look, please feel free to pop over to and have a browse. And if you have already bought one (thank you so much!) you now have a chance to get another one while they're at such a reduced price!

OK, sorry - sales pitch over! As another little celebration, I've also decided to run another competition. I held one some time ago, to win a signed copy of 'Tales from a Honeymoon Hotel' - which proved to be very popular. This time, the winner gets a choice of several books. It's very easy to enter, and you don't need to buy anything - details can be found on my website at, and the answer you'll need is to be found somewhere on the website too. To make it even easier, you stay on the website to enter the competition: just send your entry on the 'Contact me' page.
Good luck to everyone who enters! It closes at midnight on 31 July so don't hang around! Sorry to say this is limited to UK residents though.

By the way, all this information about the e-books and the competition, and more besides, is on an e-mail newsletter which will be going out during the next few days. If you received the last 'Olivia' newsletter you should automatically get this one (tell me if you don't!) but if anyone else wants to sign up for it, please let me know! It's not a regular thing (or I'd never get any writing done at all!) - but there will be further mailings from time to time.

Short story news? Well I had one published in 'The People's Friend' in the first week of June, and a further one accepted last week. But I'm still waiting to hear about all the others - I think everyone's in the same boat at the moment: news seems to be filtering through very slowly. It's a tough time for short story writers - sadly, magazine readers seem to be turning away from fiction in favour of celebrity news etc. Let's hope the tide turns again before too long!

And I hope everyone else is having some success with their writing ... I'm off to catch up with some of your blogs now while Blogger is allowing me in!


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Blogger problems

This post is just by way of thanking those of you who responded to my post yesterday. I wrote a fairly lengthy 'thank you' at the end of the list of comments, only to have Blogger refuse to accept it, taking me back to the sign-in page half a dozen times before I lost my patience with it!

I've heard that lots of people are having problems with Blogger at the moment. I don't write on my blog too frequently at the best of times, and I'm afraid life's too short to mess around trying to get Blogger to do what I want it to!

So thank you to Jarmara, Frances, Lydia and Karen for your sympathetic comments - and to anyone else who might, like me, be trying unsuccessfully to make a comment!

Hopefully normal service will be resumed in due course but meanwhile I'm staying away!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Feeling miffed

I've always been a bit too trusting. I tend to think people are nice until proved otherwise. And if they do something thoughtless or unexpectedly selfish, I always think they must have a reason, and give them the benefit of the doubt, until eventually I suddenly wake up and think: No, hang on a minute - they should not have done that, and I'm not happy about it, and I feel a fool for believing in them!

It's happened to me this time with someone who, while not a personal friend, I've known for quite a long time. Someone who asked to buy some copies of one of my books from me (and I let him have them cheap) and then didn't pay me. Simple as that. It was my own fault for handing them over without payment - he didn't have the cash on him but promised it a couple of days later. The days passed, I saw him again, nothing was said. I hated having to ask for the money but figured he must have forgotten, so reminded him in a friendly manner and got another promise. And so it went on. Each time I saw him, there was a different excuse; he'd forgotten, he'd been away, he was skint. I sympathised, laughed it off, said there was no hurry - because I knew him. Or I thought I did.

Eventually I went from sympathising and laughing it off to feeling miffed and upset. Why did he think it was OK not to pay me? Did he assume I'd got those paperbacks for nothing myself? I'd had to pay my publisher for them, and sold them on to him for little more than they cost me. And even if I hadn't been making such a small margin of profit, he'd agreed the price happily and I was entitled to the money! Writing is my business, part of my livelihood. Would he take something from a shop and say he was too 'skint' to pay for it? Or 'forget' to pay his gas bill?

My reminders changed in tone from gentle to serious. His excuses went on. He'd lost his cheque book, he'd meant to post me a cheque but he forgot my address, he'd been mugged. You get the picture. And at long last, so did I. He had no intention of paying me.

As I say - he wasn't a friend, so it isn't exactly a personal hurt. But while I'm as capable as anyone of forgetting something once or twice, I can't imagine doing something like this to anyone - ignoring continual reminders - and I just find it inexplicable when someone does it to me. It's not actually about the money at all - the sum involved is small, and although I don't make much money from my writing I can afford to say I'd rather forget it, write it off, than upset myself any further by continuing to chase it.

I'd like to say I've learnt my lesson, and as far as this particular person is concerned, I obviously have! And yes, if I find myself in a similar position again, I'll ask for the money before I part with the goods. But will I stop expecting people to be nice, and trusting them, and making excuses and allowances for them? Well, no, I think I'd prefer to carry on in that vein, actually! I don't want to become suspicious and distrusting of everyone, and I'd like to think people will make allowances for me if I'm genuinely forgetful, or if I'm not always very nice.

So to the guy who rang my doorbell today and tried to sell me a cleaning treatment for my driveway, I'm sorry I pointed out that we have a 'No Cold Callers' sign on our door, and I'm sorry that when you said 'Well everyone has those signs so we take no notice', I pretty much shut the door in your face.

At least, you know, if I did ever agree to have any work done by your company, at least I'd bloody well pay you!