Category Archives: P.D. Martin

Who, me?

By PD Martin

Well, looks like today is/was my Wildcard Tuesday and I’ve completely missed it. It’s 7.25am here in Oz, and all hell is about to break loose in my house as I try to get Grace to school and Liam ready for his second ever swimming lesson. 

 

So, huge apologies from me. I’ve got nothing….nadda. 

 

And my only excuse is that I’m still not quite moving away from the chaos side of the equation…yet! 

 

Hope you’ll forgive me!

Boroondara Literary Awards

by PD Martin

In my last blog I mentioned the complete chaos in my house at the moment. But I didn’t mention I had another factor compounding the chaos of a new toddler in the house…a big freelance job!

Back in February I was asked to judge the Short Story Competition of the Boroondara Literary Awards. I knew that in September I’d get a delivery of about 300 stories (1500-3000 words long) and that I’d have a month to read them and pick the winners. No problem. I estimated it would be about 40 hours work over four weeks. Piece of cake.

Then the exciting and unexpected call came…we could organise flights and pick up MinSeok (now Liam MinSeok). 

For the first week of my four-week judging allocation, we were in Korea. Then in the second week I was reading during his naps and at night, but didn’t seem like I was getting very far. That’s when I found out that this year the competition had a staggering 611 entries. Ahhh!

But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the experience of reading and judging these short stories. What makes a short story good? What separates the winners from those who don’t place?

My first pass of the 611 stories gave me a shortlist of 82 stories. Even this initial shortlist was hard to come up with, because there were many powerful stories that demonstrated the entrants’ strong grasp of the writing craft. In fact, I hope this doesn’t sound rude, but I was surprised at the quality. From there, I got it down to 36, then 26 and finally I was down to my top 12 stories, from which I chose the winners. Funnily enough, I actually culled the winning story at one point  (yes, the one that got first prize), but then brought it back in because I kept thinking about it. You know those kind of stories? It stayed with me.

So, what does make a short story good? It’s difficult to describe the magic formula that makes a short story sing; however for me there are some essential elements. For a start, an opening sentence, paragraph and first page that grabs me. A short story doesn’t have much set-up time and a good short story, like any novel, will constantly drive the reader forward and take you on a journey. Sometimes the driving force is the plot. Sometimes it’s the characters. And sometimes it’s the pure beauty of the written word, the author’s grasp of the writing craft. Of course, ideally these three things come together on the page — a strong plot, intriguing characters and beautiful writing.

There’s still more to a short story than that…there’s the ending. Whether it’s resolution or a shocking twist, the story must feel complete. It was actually the endings of the stories that helped me narrow down the 611 entries to my first shortlist of 82. I found many stories started strong and kept me reading, only to disappoint me in those last few sentences.

One of the difficulties in judging a competition like this is that you’re not always comparing apples with apples. How do you compare a story that’s funny, to a story that’s tragic? Or a story that’s more literary and atmospheric to a murder mystery?

At first, I also found myself drawn to the more shocking, tragic and dramatic stories and I realised that while these stories did pack a punch, I shouldn’t automatically elevate them because they addressed horrific subject matter. These stories were often difficult to read because of their emotionally charged content, namely child abuse, domestic violence, rape and child abduction. In the end, I was mindful of giving these stories equal weighting with the other entries — not elevating them, but not dismissing them either.  

Finally, to narrow down my final 12, I gave each story marks out of ten for:

  • Artistry
  • Voice and characterisation
  • Narrative structure
  • Show don’t tell
  • Impact

It ended up being a tight race. Unfortunately I can’t talk about the winners yet, because the official announcement isn’t until next month. But I will mention them in November.

In the meantime, questions for the Murderati gang. What makes a short story sing for you? Do you think you’d also initially feel drawn to the more tragic and perhaps impactful stories if you were the judge (or have been in the past)?

Chaos!!!

By PD Martin

In my last post I talked about adopting our son from Korea and it seems fitting that this post should focus on the current chaos in my life!  

As any new mum/mom will tell you, it’s a HUGE change and no matter how prepared you feel, you’re NEVER prepared. And, let’s face it, some elements of the typical writer personality don’t blend well with motherhood (e.g. vagueness).

Writer + Mum = Scary combination

I know I’m a great mum in terms of being loving and affectionate, making sure they’re eating well, instilling a good sense of self, etc., but I’m a hopeless role model when it comes to getting out the door and general calmness about said departure.

So, this WAS my typical day four weeks ago:

  • 5.55am – alarm goes off (3-4 mornings a week)
  • 6.15am gym class (3-4 mornings a week)
  • 7.15am – home (morning routine starts)
  • 8.45 – Drop Grace to school at 8.45am,
  • 9.15am – At desk writing
  • 3.15pm – Leave to pick up Grace from school

Plus I had two longer writing days (my husband works four days a week and one day my mum picked up Grace).

And even though I started the morning routine at 7.15am, I still struggled to get out the door by 8.35am! And I ALWAYS felt a little chaotic and disorganised. And that was with one child. Sometimes I’d have to duck back up to the school with Grace’s library bag (often forgot that one every Wednesday) or her glasses.

As you can imagine, the morning chaos (and general chaos) has gone to a whole new level. It’s the night time chaos that is probably the worst. I’m happy to report that our new little boy is a great eater. But at about 5pm when I go into the kitchen to start making dinner he comes up to the child gate and starts screaming and rattling the child gate with all his might. Sometimes he’ll start throwing things at me (toys). It’s kind of like this primal voice going: “Come on, woman. Get my dinner on the table.”

Actually, he’s an incredibly well-behaved little man (food obsession aside), and incredibly happy. It’s amazing how well he has adjusted. He loves everything. Just amazing to see him settle in despite not understanding a word we’re saying, changing seasons (Northern Hemisphere to Southern Hemisphere), not to mention the biggest upheaval of them all —leaving his foster family and moving in with ‘strangers’.

Except for the chaos, things are going very smoothly.  I’ve even managed to get to my 6.15am gym class two mornings a week (hopefully I’ll work my way back up to 3-4 mornings a week soon).  

Pre-children we went to a friend’s house for dinner and his wife said that when he got home from work she’d hand the two kids over to him for bath, bed, etc. On the way back home that night, I said: “I can’t believe he works all day and then has to come home and get the kids bathed and into bed.” I think I even said “I’d never do that.” How ignorant was I?! Two days ago I sent my husband a text: Just curious…how far away are you? Of course, he read and knew the subtext. Ahhh….chaos! Help!

Life has certainly changed. I’m loving motherhood but still settling into my new routine (not to mention lack of writing time). But the chaos makes me feel a little out of control. So, got any funny stories of complete chaos so I don’t feel like such a loser mum!?? They can be parenthood or non-parenthood related. Please…indulge me 🙂

And baby makes four

by PD Martin

All the Murderati contributors know the deal, but some of our readers may have noticed my absence from comments for the past three to four weeks. Maybe?

Well, I’ve had good reason. I’ve been an extremely busy girl! First was a trip to Hawaii (which I blogged about), then South Australia for a writers festival (also blogged about that), and then the biggest event of them all — off to Korea to pick up our son. Told you I had a good reason.

We started the process of adopting our second child from Korea nearly three and a half years ago. Since we adopted Grace in 2007, the Korean international adoption program has changed dramatically. I could blog about that (in detail) but I won’t. All I will say is that while I think the ultimate goal is great from a societal point of view (to keep all Korean children in Korea, with loving Korean families) the actual outcome at the moment is probably not in the best interests of the children (in my humble opinion). Now, while there are less children being placed overseas, the ones who are adopted by American or Australian families are much older than they used to be. When we picked up Grace she was 4 months old, but our son was/is 16 months old. That being said, we know we’re both lucky and blessed and he IS settling in brilliantly. And we owe Korea a lot – our family. Now, onto the experience…

We got the news that we were allocated a baby boy in October last year. With this exciting news came the ‘bad’ news that the estimate for when we’d pick him up was early 2013 — so he’d be nearly two years old. We prepared ourselves for the long wait as best we could, knowing we were lucky to have Grace to focus our attention on.

Then, in July this year, we were asked to lodge a final bit of paperwork. Could this mean he was coming to us earlier? The government department that deals with intercountry adoption felt it was a good sign. We started to hope that maybe, just maybe, he’d be with us before Christmas. Maybe even by November. Then we suddenly got the call — you can pick him up in two weeks’ time!  

We arrived in Korea late on Monday night, 27 August. Our first meeting was scheduled for 11am on Tuesday 28 August but at 9am we got a phone call bringing it forward an hour. Ahh!!! We managed to get ourselves ready (and presents wrapped) on time — just.

Our little boy arrived not just with his foster mum, but with his foster dad and one of his foster brothers (the foster mum has two boys, both at college). This immediately told us that they were all extremely close and it was going to be very difficult for them to say goodbye.


MinSeok was hesitant at first, but eventually warmed to us, led by Grace who was an absolute angel! The first meeting also involved the exchanging of gifts (Korean tradition) and in addition to some presents for us all, the foster family gave us a huge canvas trunk full of clothes and toys for MinSeok, plus two massive photo albums (including one professional album that features MinSeok in about 10 different outfits/shoots!). There was also an additional bag of his favourite toys. Incredibly generous (although luggage instantly became an issue!) We were also told he preferred men to women and about his routine.

At the end of the meeting I asked the foster mum if she thought he’d respond okay to us holding him, and she said he was normally okay, so yes. Both my husband and I got to hold him briefly. Very exciting, very surreal.

The big ‘handover’ day was set for Monday, but we decided it would be good to have another meeting in between, maybe on the Friday. So we asked our social worker at Eastern Social Welfare Society about it. At this point, we discovered the foster mum had been sick and in hospital and that it would be too much to get them to come in again (they live 1.5 hours by car from Eastern). We now believe this is probably why it all happened so suddenly in the end for us. Eastern rushed us through, knowing the foster mother was sick.

Our second meeting (which would be the handover) was very strange. For some reason, they’re holding these meetings in the foyer of Eastern. And while it is a ‘closed/private’ environment, there are Eastern workers walking around, other couples and families who are adopting, etc. Very strange. We’d witnessed three incredibly traumatic handovers in this pretty public forum and we weren’t looking forward to it. However, MinSeok was extremely good during that meeting and while the foster mum was crying at the end, MinSeok was in my husband’s arms and went off with him/us no problems and no tears. We took him straight to the room (we stayed at Eastern, which has two levels of rooms in their guest house), where he played for a bit, and still didn’t cry. Then again, we did have our secret weapon (5yro Grace).

The next day was tough…the tail-end of the typhoon caused shocking rain and after being cooped up for most of the morning and the first half of the afternoon we decided to brave it just to get out for coffee. We got soaked even with umbrellas. We raced back and had food in the fridge for Grace and MinSeok for dinner but only corn chips (and beer!) for the adults and it was too wet to even consider going out. Eventually we got Grace and MinSeok fed and Grace in bed, and after much walking MinSeok was asleep, too. The rest of our last night was spent packing and eating our dinner of corn chips with a couple of beers.

We weren’t sure what to expect the next day on the plane, but we had a dream flight. The first leg (Seoul to Hong Kong) was three hours and MinSeok kept himself busy. For the second leg, we’d only been up in the air for about 20 minutes when he fell asleep on my husband’s front (in the Ergo carrier) and he didn’t wake up until we’d been through Immigration and collected our bags in Melbourne! Hubby didn’t get any sleep, because any time he tried to put MinSeok into the plane cot or into my arms, MinSeok would wake up screaming. We only tried twice!

MinSeok (who at first wouldn’t really come to me at all) is now looking to me for comfort, food and also smiling and laughing. We’ve started him on a new routine (from a book I had when Grace was younger) and it seems to agree with him.

He’s really coming out of himself the past couple of days. Smiling, laughing, etc. Not that he’s ever appeared distressed or unhappy — more like he was just watching and taking it all in.

He’s absolutely gorgeous — if only I could post pics! We’ve signed something with the Victorian Government agreeing that we won’t post any photos or transmit electronically until we’re his legal guardians. It’s frustrating, but I can see their reasons.  

So, after many years of waiting, I’m a mum again 🙂 My writing time is out the window, of course, but it’s more than worth it!

Also, Eastern Social Welfare Society does amazing work in Korea, helping the elderly, disabled, and orphaned and abandoned children who can’t be adopted due to the legal requirement of relinquishment. You can find out more at their website. We sponsor a gorgeous little boy who’s in Jacob’s House. Look at the sponsorship section if you’re interested.  

Thank God for lending rights

A very short blog today, mostly because it’s a small but important subject!

We’re very lucky here in Australia to have a government-run system called lending rights. Each time someone borrows one of my books from a library, the borrow is logged and once a year those borrows are tallied up and I get a cheque in the mail. Nice, huh?

Sure, it’s not like we’re talking a huge payday, but when you’re an author, any cheque is good…welcome, needed…and cashed at the bank within 24 hours.

We have two lending rights programs — public lending rights (PLR) and educational lending rights (ELR). As the name might suggest, public lending rights come from the public libraries that stock your books and educational lending rights come from  schools, universities and other educational institutions that buy and hold copies of your book. 

I got my most recent PLR and ELR payment fairly recently, as it’s in line with our financial tax year (which for some unknown reason is 1 July to 30 June).

So, I’d like to says thanks to the Aussie Government, and to the library borrowers out there. Sure, it’s a lot less $ per book than what I’d get from a sale, but every little bit helps. And it’s also increasing my reader base, which is a good thing for every author.

So, do other countries have a similar lending rights system? What are your thoughts on this extra author payment. In case you want some cold hard figures, I usually get $2,000-$3,000 a year, mostly from PLR rather than ELR — my books aren’t in many school libraries, for obvious reasons.

PS: As I mentioned in my Wildcard blog on Tuesday, I’m travelling so I’m not sure how much access I’ll have to join in the discussion…just chat among yourselves! 

Salisbury Writers’ Festival

By PD Martin

I’m up for Wildcard Tuesday, and I wanted to talk about the wonderful weekend I just had in South Australia for the Salisbury Writers’ Festival. I think all readers and writers can agree that writers’ festivals are fantastic.

For readers they offer an insight into the writing life and their favourite authors (and characters), and for authors they’re an opportunity to meet fellow authors, meet readers, and generally get out of the cocoon that often surrounds the writing process.

Salisbury Writers’ Festival was no exception!

It’s a smaller festival, one that’s run by a local council about twenty kilometres outside of Adelaide city centre, with many of the attendees being aspiring writers. Whether it’s despite its size or because of its size the event is run incredibly well and I had a ball.

I was lucky enough to be involved in four events over a three-day period. First off, was my keynote address on Friday night. My topic was “The Brave New World for Readers and Authors”. One guess what that focused on! It’s interesting, because here in Australia market penetration of e-readers is very poor. Stats are hard to come by, but when I asked members of the 170-strong attendees if they owned a dedicated e-reader, only about eight hands went up. Like I said, e-readers still aren’t big here, and so part of my address was really about the basics – what an e-reader is, what brands are available in Australia and some of the features. I think they’re like many new technologies, in that people are hesitant to jump on board, especially with something that’s new, something that they don’t see or hear much about. And that’s the case with e-readers here in Australia.

In terms of the author side of things, I talked about the self-publishing revolution that’s been happening in the industry and mentioned some of the bigger success stories, such as JA Konrath and Amanda Hocking. During my research I found a quote from JA Konrath that I absolutely LOVED. He was quoted in a USA Today article as saying: “Traditional publishers are just serving drinks on the Titanic.” Man, I love that quote! So much so, that I wanted to share it here in case you haven’t heard it before.

Then, on Saturday I was on two panels, one titled Pathways to Success, which had four of us sharing our experiences of getting published. Dan McGuiness, who writes graphic novels aimed at 8-12 yro boys, had a very interesting success story. Basically, he went to a pub one night that was an ‘arty’ pub with readings and the like, and showed a woman his drawings. She asked if he could write a book in that style, and he said “sure”. That woman was an editor at Scholastic and she signed him up for his Pilot and Huxley series. Not many authors find success walking into a pub and it definitely makes for one hell of a good story!

I also stood in for a sick panellist for “Pathways to the Future”, and as you’d expect the discussion centred around ebooks, social networking, blogging, etc. It was a lively discussion with one blogger/author, one publisher, a digital publishing expert and little old me.

Although there were other very interesting events on for the rest of the day, the conversation we’d started at the panel was so interesting we continued it over coffee. That’s one of the things I love about writers’ festivals – meeting other writers and people in the publishing industry and just hanging out.

My weekend dance card finished with a master class that I ran from 9.30-3pm on Sunday. My aim when I run any sort of class is to give attendees information about the writing craft that I feel would have helped me get published sooner, if only I’d discovered these pearls of wisdom a couple of years earlier. I think everyone enjoyed the class.

There’s also something kind of nice about staying in a hotel, especially if you don’t tend to travel much for work. So at night I was able to kick back, read a bit on my Kindle and watch a bit of TV. Nice.

So, what’s your favourite readers’ or writers’ festival and why? 

By the way, I’m also travelling this week, so might have difficulty responding to comments. In fact, I don’t know when/how I’m going to write and get my post up on Thursday! Stay tuned…

Aloha

By PD Martin

Yes, I AM blogging from Hawaii today 🙂

I’m currently on a girls’ trip with my daughter, mother and sister. But I want to devote this blog not to the trip per se, but to motherhood.

In some ways, it took becoming a mother for me to really appreciate my mother. She sacrificed lots of things for us girls, and was a single-parent for most of our lives, following a divorce when I was eight years old. She worked incredibly hard and saved hard to give us the basics early on, then later on a few splurges.

This trip would definitely count as a HUGE splurge. She brought my sister to Hawaii for her 40th birthday in 2008, and then a couple of years later my daughter and me, but this time for my 40th birthday. Then last year Mum really wanted to go again, but I knew it wasn’t going to be financially possible for me; so I said Grace and I couldn’t come. A few weeks later, she offered to pay for airfares and accommodation if we could come up with the spending money. Pretty good offer, huh?

Then, around April/May this year the same thing happened. Mum wanted to go to Hawaii again, but we couldn’t afford it. So she decided to dip into her retirement savings – again!

We have all been completely spoiled with these trips to Hawaii, and can’t believe how lucky we are. 

Like I said, being a mum yourself makes you realise how much work goes into motherhood, and how much love. Not to mention the worry! But that’s a whole other blog.

When I was thinking about this blog, there was one other occasion that came to mind. When I was 22, I’d fairly recently split up with my boyfriend and he’d started seeing someone new. We’d managed to stay pretty much out of each other’s paths despite living around the corner, but then there was a birthday party coming up of the mutual friend we met through.

I was feeling insecure and second best – a feeling many people experience after a separation, particularly when another person comes on the scene.

Anyway, my Mum took me shopping and bought me a fancy leather jacket. I walked into that party feeling strong, way cool, confident and like a million bucks…thanks to my mum.

Don’t mums rock? What’s your best mum story?  I hope you’ve been lucky enough to have a great mother in your life.

Just do it!

by PD Martin

I’ve always been the kind of writer who LOVES applying expressions like this to my writing…

  • Just do it!
  • Bum on chair!
  • Focus!
  • Never surrender!

I eat those phrases up for breakfast! (Sorry, I know that’s way too many exclamation marks, not to mention clichés, but they need to be there.)

I’ve also been lucky enough that I’ve never really suffered from ‘writer’s block’. In fact, the hard-ass part of me says writer’s block is self-indulgent. Now, I’ve probably got loads of readers (well, the authors) up in arms at this point. I know there will be lots of people who disagree about writer’s block.

The thing is, I’m not saying there aren’t days (or even weeks) when writing seems harder than normal—sometimes WAY harder. But, I’m a practical kind of girl, so I either write through it (eventually it starts flowing again) and edit later, or sometimes I move projects all together. That way, I’m at least writing. Besides, at this point I know I can finish a novel, so it’s not like I’m going to wind up with loads of unfinished manuscripts. It’s just a temporary focus shift.

I did this earlier this year. My plan for 2012 was to finish my mainstream drama novel and then while I was querying agents, I’d work on my Pippa Dee novels as part of my ebook strategy. But after I sent my mainstream novel to Beta readers, there was one problem I simply couldn’t decide how to solve. There was one character who everyone disliked. But what to do with her?

So I guess that was kind of writer’s block, but it didn’t feel like it because I decided to move on to my Pippa Dee novels while I waited out the decision. I could let it tick over in my subconscious. No way was I going to let it interfere with my productivity. Told you I was practical.  

So I focused on The Wanderer and Grounded Spirits and once they were finished and up on Amazon, I moved back to Crossroads and Deadends. Two weeks ago I finally finished the editing process and started querying agents. Remember my blog on the writer’s rollercoaster?

Anyway, obviously the querying process has taken up a chunk of time over the past two weeks, but I still feel extremely unproductive. And I’ve been bringing out the big guns, internally telling myself to:

  • Just do it!
  • Bum on chair!
  • Focus!
  • Never surrender!

But, to no avail. Well, not much at least.

However, it’s not writer’s block. In fact, when I do spend time on my current work in progress (the follow-on to The Wanderer) it flows very easily and I’m excited by it. But for some reason I’ve really been letting the distractions rule these past two weeks. Facebook, emails, scheduling Amazon freebies, and who knows what else? Where have the days gone?

And there have also been some days, when I haven’t felt like writing or trying to write at all. I mean, the rest of this year I’ve been eating lunch at my desk to maximise my work time. Seriously! With Grace starting school in February this year and my shift to ebooks, this has been my year for working hard.

So what’s going on? Where’s my bad-ass writer gone?

I think part of the problem is when I finished Crossroads and Deadends I was conflicted about what to work on next. My 2012 ‘project plan’ says next in line is The Guardian Arises, book 2 in my Wanderer and Guardian trilogy under Pippa Dee. Problem is, sales of The Wanderer and Grounded Spirits have been such a small percentage of the sales of my PD Martin stuff, that I’ve realised that middle grade/YA fantasy novels aren’t the most popular ebooks. So, from a financial point of view, I probably should work on the follow-up to Hell’s Fury, but that book will take me about six months to write, whereas I reckon I can write The Guardian Arises in six weeks, especially because I’m already 20,000 words in and it’s officially middle grade so will probably be around 50,000 words.

So, how can I get myself back on track? One thing’s for sure. Something’s gotta give. What do you do when you lose your focus and/or get distracted?

By the way, I’m aware that this blog is in sync with some recent ones here. Collective unconscious? Pari’s rebooting, Stephen’s decided to take the writing slower and devote more time to family, and Martyn (Tania) found a change in location the key to kicking his current WIP along. I think maybe the answer for me is to go away for a couple of days without internet. That’d sort me out! 

Amazon’s KDP – sharing experiences

By PD Martin

We’ve had a few blogs recently on ebooks, including discussions in the Comments on sales figures, Amazon’s Lending Library and Kindle Select. I’m hoping there are others out there who felt their appetite was whetted rather than sated and that perhaps a full blog JUST on those two aspects would be interesting. I’m not saying I have the answers (in fact, I have a few questions!), but I wanted to open the discussions up and share my experiences. And I’ve got an important question for readers, too 🙂

For those of you who aren’t aware, Amazon’s Kindle Select means the author must offer their book exclusively via Amazon, and in return that book can be borrowed (and you get $ for each borrow) and you can use five free promo days a month. The free promo days mean you offer your book for free and it heads up the charts. Hopefully!

So, a recap on the more recent ebook posts here at Murderati:

Former Murderati Brett Battles blogged on his secrets to success 
I blogged on the sweet spot for ebook pricing 

Alex blogged on her epublishing decision 

Zoe blogged on modern manners and social media 

Now you’re all caught up. 

So, Kindle Select. I did my first Kindle Select campaign with Coming Home back in May. I set it to run for 48 hours but after less than 24 hours, over 5,500 copies had been downloaded. I was excited and alarmed. Do I really want THAT many people to get my work for free? I foolishly stopped the campaign. I was in the top 40 of Kindle and #6 for Suspense (or was it mystery & thriller). Of course, later I realised the error of my ways, especially when Brett talked about 30-40K of downloads over three days.  

However, back in May I was excited by my first, tentative step into the Select program. You see, I saw a sales spike when I took Coming Home off the free promotion. In the following 48 hours I sold roughly four months’ worth of sales and I thought: “This is it. I just put one of my books up for free every couple of weeks and I can boost my ebook income.” I should also note, I didn’t do ANY promotion. Not even on Facebook or Twitter (I didn’t want to tell my readers and fans that they’d bought the book for $2.99, but others could get it free).

Anyway, a few weeks later I decided it was time to spike my sales again. So I put Coming Home up for a two-day free stint. Again, no advertising or promotion of the freebie. This result was COMPLETELY different. WTF? I got like maybe 300 free downloads. WTF? 

David DeLee mentioned in his comment on Alex’s blog that his more recent results with his free days haven’t been as good as in the past, and I’m wondering if maybe the first time you put it up for free Amazon ‘realises’ and advertises it some way? And Brett’s post mentioned that results haven’t been as earth-shattering recently either. So what gives?

It seems now we need to advertise and promote our freebies. Perhaps through social media (but we don’t want to turn people off – think back to Zoe’s blog last week) and maybe through blogs (Alex’s post on Tuesday is relevant to this one). 

Or is something else changing? Simply more players in the market, more authors going in for the free promos? Or maybe it’s something more complex. On Tuesday, Alex talked about the Amazon algorithm. Anyone out there give me more info on this? I’m not sure if this is to do with the ‘We recommend’ emails Amazon sends out or the free promo stuff. 

And finally, Amazon’s Prime Library. Again on Alex’s epublishing post, Robert Gregory Browne talked about some pretty high numbers in the lending department. But I’m literally getting lends in the double digits per month. So how do we promote our books in the Lending Library to get a share of that $600,000/month?

I do also have an important question for readers out there …would you be disappointed or annoyed in any way if you’d paid for an author’s work and discovered it was free a few days (or weeks) later? 

See…told you I had questions! 

Rediscovering an old love

By PD Martin

For today’s Wildcard Tuesday, I wanted to look at rediscovering old loves—not lovers (!), that’s an entirely different sort of blog 🙂

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the past week, as I prepared to go skiing for the first time in over 12 years. Maybe longer, actually. I thought it had been 10-12 years but if I do the maths it’s probably more like 14 years. That’s a long time. Particularly given I used to LOVE skiing.

So, what stopped me from pursuing my love? I’m afraid it’s plain and simple – money. In fact, if I had money, I’d definitely ski every season, probably several times a season. I’m not sure what skiing is like in other parts of the world, but here in Australia it’s an extremely expensive pursuit. A day lift pass at Mt Buller is $108, then there’s ski rental, clothing, accommodation, etc. etc. Not really in the budget of most authors.  

This trip was actually spurred on by my daughter and my dad. Grace has wanted to ski for a couple of years (since she was 3), and Dad was going up (also for the first time in 10+ years) with his new wife and step daughter. They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse; they’d pay for all of Grace’s expenses, including ski school. And so, we planned our two-night, three-day trip.

It was Grace’s second time ever seeing snow and her first time skiing. I hoped she would love it, but we took it easy, booking her in for the afternoon session on the first day. I warned her that falling was part of skiing and not to worry about it! But she’s not very fond of falling, so I was worried it would completely put her off.

It felt a little weird leaving her in the ski school. While Grace does go to school now, she’s never been to day care or a holiday program – the benefits of working from home. However, once she was settled I hit the slopes. I had two hours of skiing time to myself.  After only two green (easy) runs, I felt ready and confident enough to hit the blue (intermediate) slopes. I should say, I was never an advanced skier, mostly because I would only get up for a couple of days a season. That money thing again. So I was always a blue run girl, rather than a black (advanced) skier.

Anyway, it was definitely a case of rediscovering an old love.  We were blessed with the weather … blue skies and sunshine. I only had two hours that first day, but I made the most of it up on the top of the mountain before heading back to pick up Grace. Then Grace went on her first ever chairlift with me, and I took her down a long (easy) run. I was glad that the skiing process had come back to me enough that I felt confident taking her down with me. And she LOVED it. It also gave her the incentive to learn to ski, because she wants to go down the mountain fast like Mummy.

The next day she was keen for an all-day lesson (9-3.30). I dropped in on her a few times and got some great video of her learning to snow plough. In the afternoon it was up the chairlift with her again for a hot chocolate with my dad, then up a little higher on the mountain. This was when this pic was taken.

So, I’ve rediscovered an old love. I’m not sure when I’ll be up again (comes back to the lottery/best seller solution) but I hope it won’t take me another 14 years.

Are there any old loves you’ve re-discovered? Or perhaps something you want to re-discover?