Author Interview – Stephen Oram

Anyone up for a little futuristic dystopia? You know, the kind that makes you take a good hard look at our society and worry just a little about where we might be going.

Yeah, me too.

In that case, I suggest taking a look at Stephen Oram’s Quantum Confessions and the just released Fluence.

Fluence-Cover-Reveal_300dpi-195x300      quantum

Stephen Oram specialises in writing near-futuristic dystopian fiction that reflects our society and makes the reader think. He kindly agreed to come along to my blog and answer some questions about his writing. Take a look:

‘Fluence’ is set in a future where your influence on social media determines status and success. All the best dystopian fiction has a solid dose of reality to it, so that the reader can imagine how our world can turn into the fictional one. How likely do you think it is that we might end up with a Fluence-if corporate greed and power increases unchecked?

I think it’s certainly possible. As traditional social hierarchies continue to be deconstructed it’s more difficult to spot the leaders. Social media, in combination with education and inherited pedigree, is the easiest way to assess your influence. There are fewer but increasingly powerful corporations and the concept of a job for life has disappeared. It’s completely plausible that all jobs will be with a handful of corporations and they’ll want to assess you once a year and then move you around within their empire however they choose. In this world your social media rating becomes crucial to your status, your job and where you live. All things considered, I think for some people we’re already quite close to Fluence.

A lot of writing is research, and as a writer I find myself googling the strangest things. What is the oddest thing you’ve ever had to research for a project?

I think the most bizarre research was on Quantum Physics for my first novel Quantum Confessions. It’s such a weird concept – the idea that nothing is decided until it’s observed. The logical conclusion is either an exponentially growing number of universes or someone is the ultimate observer and somehow outside the laws of physics. On a more light-hearted note, I researched women’s shoes for Amber – the female protagonist in Fluence – and amusingly Google is still pumping related adverts at me.

I think much of the attraction of dystopian fiction is down to the ethical and moral questions it can pose about how we live our lives and the potential consequences. What do you think it is about the genre that is so attractive?

I agree with you – good dystopian fiction does push and prod ethical and moral questions and really good dystopian fiction has strong complex characters that bring the dystopia to life. Personally, I find it cathartic; to be able to live, albeit fictionally, in a dark future is a safe way to experience the potential consequences of our less desirable trajectories. And of course, you can always say I told you so if it comes true.

The concepts behind your novels raise so many questions about how people would function in such societies, that I can’t help wondering how much you plan ahead. Do you drop your characters in there and see what they do, or do you plan everything out ahead of time?

I plan the dystopia carefully so it’s 3 dimensional and with the same nuances as a real world. I’m not a great fan of the simplistic black and white dystopias, I much prefer the messy ones because they’re more credible. That’s why I set my fiction in the near-future and in familiar places so it’s easier for the reader to catch the nuances. When it comes to characters, I get a good sense of who they are and then live with them for a while before I start writing. I plan the broad arc of their journey and then see what happens; I spend lots of time walking around wondering how they’ll react and what they’ll do next. The biggest shock I ever had was when a character I really liked committed suicide.

This may sound like an odd question, but I’ve had so many different answers to it that I like asking it, and based on the type of questions you have on your site and your work, I’m curious to know your answer.

If you had the option to upload your consciousness into a fully functioning android instead of dying when you reach the end of your life, would you do it? Why, or why not?

It’s a good question that touches on plenty of moral and spiritual issues. I’ve spent time considering transhumanism which has inevitably led me to think about living for ever. It’s hard to imagine and part of me thinks it might be incredibly depressing. Then there’s the spiritual element – if there is a perfect afterlife and living for ever meant you missed out, it’d be a bit of an own goal. Also, we know the world is over-populated and can’t sustain as much life as there is already, well not the way we seem to want to live it, so I’d want to know how much energy I would consume and whether I was depriving a ‘proper human’ of life. On balance though, I think I would opt to be uploaded, so long as I could terminate me whenever I wanted!

Connect with Stephen on his website, twitter, or facebook.

On the benefits of getting to know other writers out in the wild

About a million years ago, when I first decided I wanted to write a book, I knew no one else who had done so. Not even in a cousin’s-friend’s-neighbour’s-dog’s-aunt kind of way. Of course, this was back in the days pre-internet when if you wanted to meet people with similar interests, you had to actually physically go out and find them.

Later I got to know of a few people who had written books (in the cousin’s-friend’s-dog kind of way), but it wasn’t until the last few years when I got seriously stuck in on ‘The Secret Dead’ that I actually got to know other writers and got involved in the writing community.

One of the best decisions I ever made was joining Meetup and going along to a Write Together group. Write Together is the brainchild of a guy named Joao who managed to find a fix for a very writer-y problem: procrastination. We all know we intend to write at home, but there’s always a distraction. Always a reason to put it off for another five minutes. And writing groups? Well, most of them either focus on critiquing (so you’ll have to have actually written the work), or on ‘Prompts’ or ‘Themes’. Again, not a bad thing if you’re looking for inspiration, but not all that handy on finishing the novel that’s been sitting at the back of your drawer for five years.

The idea behind Write Together is a group of writers getting together and…writing. That’s it. It’s a very simple concept and one that has become increasingly popular. We all work quietly on our own projects and at the end of the session (2/3/4 hours or longer) usually have a chat about writing. There’s no pressure to share (something that fills me with terror), or write anything off-topic. Something about being in the same place at the same time every week with people in the same boat turns on the switch in my brain marked ‘Writing Mode’, and from the conversations I’ve had with fellow writers, I’m not the only one.

A good portion of ‘The Secret Dead’ and most of ‘A Murder of Crones’ were written at the Pret near Monument Station in London on a Sunday where I hosted one of the meetups as a ‘write in’. 10am-5pm every Sunday for two years. You can imagine it’s kind of hard not to get work done with those sort of hours on a regular basis. Especially if you’ve got other writers there who can look over at your laptop any moment and go ‘hey, what are you doing on twitter?’

It was one of the first things I missed when I moved out of London. However, (yay) it turns out that Bristol is churning with creative people. Someone I met described it as ‘all you can eat art’ which is a fabulously accurate description. I’ve met more writers in the last two months than in ten years in London. The place is lousy with writers’ groups. None was quite the ‘Write Together’ concept so I tagged along to one of the ones already there and tacked my own meetups to it. And again, it’s helped me meet some lovely people. I’d love to be able to fast-forward a few years and see what they’ll all have accomplished/published then.

When you have a passion for something, there’s nothing quite like getting to meet another person with the same passion, and getting to have the kind of really intense conversation that involves a lot of head-nodding and excitement. If you’re an introverty type like me, it’s even better, because you don’t have to make small talk. There’s an automatic wonderful subject to talk about. Perfect.

I’ve also met some wonderful writers online (and will write a separate post about that), but my recommendation to new writers is that despite the incredible and wonderful world of social media, it’s still hugely beneficial to go out and actually meet people on the outernet too. (I don’t like calling non-internet space ‘the real world’ because online is real. It’s just different.)

So, if you’re a Bristolian look us up on Meetup (Writing!), and if you’re a Londoner, there are Write Together meetups almost every day to pop along to. And if you’re neither here nor there, then find out what is out there in your area. Or start a group if there isn’t one. You won’t be sorry.

Author Interview – Rae Lori

Rae Lori is a writer of romance and adventure tales set across a range of genres. Her latest work ‘City of Simplicity’ is due to be released on 15th June 2015.

SimplicityCvrSM

Citizen 52701 once had a life that is now a distant memory in her dreams. All that remains is the name she carried over from the time before the change: Lyn. As a by-the-book law enforcer of a newly controlled futuristic society, everything is available at one’s fingertips. Except the one thing that matters most of all. 

A renegade is on the loose, moving under the shadows to stay alive. His one goal is to find the wife he lost when the change took over the city. The problem? She is one of the enforcers eliminating renegades who get out of line. He’ll risk everything to try and bring her back to him. No matter who or what he has to take down to do the job.

To celebrate the release, I’ve asked Rae to come along and answer some questions about her work:

If you could ‘borrow’ a character from another fictional setting (page or screen) to use in your own work, who would you borrow and what would you do with them?

Ooh that’s a tough one. I have a few characters in mind that I’d love a chance to rewrite their endings or give them more to do. I’d probably borrow Dr. Karen Jenson from Blade. I feel like there’s so much more of her story to tell even as Blade continues to fight the vampires. Her cure would be a great weapon and her gun skills would only improve over time making her a great kick-butt character. I have a fan fiction that I started some time ago featuring her. Hopefully I finish it someday!

Your work straddles a number of genres — fantasy, dystopian, romance, science fiction. I’m seeing more and more indie authors doing this. I think it’s because we’re not constrained to having to ‘market’ and have the freedom to just write what we like. Do you think if you had opted for traditional publishing, you would have been able to stay in one genre box?

Oh gosh no! :-) In fact, I’ve often thought that because I used to be published by small presses years ago. I’ve always loved a variety of genres myself whether reading them or writing them. It was a bit of a pain because I had to find different houses for different story genres and I often wondered if the overlap was there for my readers. Now, like you mentioned, indie publishing offers so many different great genres for readers who love reading all kinds of books. And I think that definitely allows me to tap into that reader base, offer a nice sample plate of genres and let the reader pick and choose what sounds great. The cool thing is readers know what they like and, since genres were mainly for bookstore placement, without that constraint there is more of an option for those who need it. I love it better that way.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your work? And the toughest criticism?

Hmm, the best compliment would have to be from some new readers who contacted me after reading Cimmerian City. Since the book dealt with the pharmaceutical industry and experimentation, it really hit them hard because they were exposed to that industry due to their health situations. So it really touched them on a personal level and that really hit home to me how stories can really impact the reader. Someone they never met. It’s pretty amazing.

My toughest criticism…there were a few toughies actually! One was from a reader who I know consider one of my good writer friends and she gave me feedback on an old story of mine. She mentioned how there were aspects I didn’t really touch upon. There some plot holes, it didn’t turn out as she planned and the potential was there but didn’t really reach the heights it could have. Another was from a friend of hers which was my very first steampunk book and it became a big wipeout because the culture of the heroine didn’t ring true. I think that one hurt the most because I definitely wanted to be true to the culture and character, but I flubbed it! Seeing where I went wrong now, I know what to do the next time I approach it!

What advice would you give any newbie writers out there?

One of the biggest ones I’d tell my class when I taught novel writing is to give yourself permission to write crap. The day I heard it from another writer, it stayed with me because many writers try to write perfect that very first draft and the magic comes in the rewrites. Also, definitely learn the ingredients of story writing. Although the format for writing a story may be the same, the beauty comes in how the story is told and what the writer conveys to the reader. We all have different experiences and outlooks which makes such different but fascinating stories. A writer’s voice will eventually find the reader who really hears them.

Do you write to music? If so, how do you find it influences your writing style?

Oh definitely. I’m a huge chillout/ambient fan so I have my fave artists I listen to if not Groove Salad (an internet radio station). Depending on what I’m writing, I’ll listen to a soundtrack that fits the genre in my head. Like for instance if I’m working on my spy suspense story, I’ll listen to the soundtrack or music from the show La Femme Nikita to get me in that mood. I think doing so helps me to really convey the atmosphere and character’s feelings to the reader. I like to think of myself as a movie director and the reader is my movie going public. Which works because my dream has always been to tell stories visually.

You also do graphic design. Do you think having a visually creative background helps with writing description and creating literary settings?

I like to think so. :-) Since I was young, I loved movies and the way they conveyed so much in so few scenes. I always liked James Cameron movies because he’s the closest to doing what I like to think of as novel storytelling on the screen. I also learned a great deal in media design school which included a lot of visual storytelling through animation. My team and I even got to animate a short film which we won an award for! I also love to create music videos for shows and tv characters and couples that I love watching so thinking in visual terms helps me to present the story like a movie in one’s mind. It also helps when crafting my covers so I get to say something that visually covers what that story is about and present to the reader so they know what type of story I’m telling. I think it works!

Rae Lori is an award-winning author of romantic and adventurous tales with a range of genres, settings and time periods. Using her love of film and visual storytelling, she strives to mix the two with the art of the written word to tell her stories.

Her manuscript, Hotel Sunset, won an Honorable Mention award in the 73rd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. Her chapter contribution on worldbuilding in speculative fiction won the 2011 ForeWord Book of the Year Gold Award Winner in Writing (Adult Nonfiction). Her novella, One Evening in London, was awarded Winner of Best Romance Novella in SORMAG’s 2009 Reader’s Choice Awards. Throughout her writing career, she has garnered credits writing movie reviews, fiction and articles on the comic book and film industry. Under various pen names, she has written books, novellas and short stories that run the genre gamut of science fiction, fantasy, short roman noir, paranormal romance and many more waiting to fill the book pages.

Check out more of Rae’s books on the web!

http://www.raelori.com

https://twitter.com/RaeLori

https://www.facebook.com/RaeLori

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2955866.Rae_Lori

 

Some book recommendations:

Some good news for fans of No Way Home: both Lucas Bale and S. Elliot Brandis have just released new books. Yay! Frustratingly, I’m out as I write this and uploading pics to my site has gone wonky or I’d show you the gorgeous covers for these books. You’ll just have to take a wander over to Amazon and take a look at them there.

Lucas Bale’s A Shroud of Night and Tears continues his epic Beyond the Wall series. And it’s dedicated to me and Alex Roddie! How flattering is that? I’ve beta-read for the whole series so far and it’s been very exciting to watch the story develop. This is definitely a recommended read. And it’s out on a special launch price of $0.99 (two days only), so get it quick.

I haven’t read S. Elliot Brandis’s The Pearl Diver yet, but it is definitely on my TBR list. I have read his fantastically imaginative The Tunnel Trilogy and am very much looking forward to seeing what he’s come up with in the new series. Like A Shroud of Night and Tears, it’s on special at $0.99 so now’s the time to buy.

So there you have it: some guaranteed good books for your holiday reading list. Enjoy!

 

Author Interview – Michael Patrick Hicks

Emergence will be released on 4th May. To celebrate its release, Convergence will be on sale at $0.99 for the week.

Michael Patrick Hicks’s debut novel Convergence was an Amazon Breakthrough Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and after reading it, it’s clear why. Not only is it action-filled, turn-the-page-and-find-out-what-happens-NOW reading, it’s also my favourite type of story in that it asks some very difficult ethical and philosophical questions about how future technology might affect the nature of humanity.

convergence
Convergence is set in a futuristic, post-invasion United States which has broken up into different territories. Main character Jonah Everitt lives in a refugee camp in what was California but is now under the control of the invading Pacific Rim Coalition. He’s also a DRMR addict. DRMR stands for Databiologic Receiver of Mnemonic Response, and is effectively a chemical and technological advance that allows users to relive the memories of the dead.
Jonah is hired to kill a high ranking member of the PRC and steal his memories, an act which sets an unexpected set of consequences into play.
I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read it, but it had me gripped from the first page.

emergence-800-cover-reveal-and-promotional
As a beta reader, I was lucky enough to get an advance look at Emergence, the second in the DRMR series. For those unaware of the nature of beta-readers, we read the novel prior to publication to help pick up plot-holes or style and story issues. I didn’t find too many of those (Mike’s a good writer), but I did keep writing little essays on his manuscript because he has so many fascinating concepts to mine around the DRMR technology. I just wanted to jump into his world and keep digging. You know it’s a good book when you want to grab the author by the lapels and shout, ‘Come with me! I need to know more about your world.’
Luckily for me (and you), Mike’s agreed to come along and answer some of my questions.

Your first novel Convergence is set in a post-invasion United States. This makes for some very interesting political speculation as to what would happen if a Pacific-Rim-style Coalition did invade the U.S. What attracted you to this setting?

I simply wanted to do something that was a bit dystopian and to make the environment something that was not only dangerous, but which would have a severe impact on the characters and uproot everything in an interesting way. I wanted something that was a bit grittier, a bit more noir. I was really attracted to America as a failed experiment. The USA is a very, very young nation and a bit of a Johnny-come-lately on the global stage that sometimes has a very peculiar arrogance to it. I wanted to see a North America that was “after the fall” so to speak.

The DRMR technology has some drawbacks, mostly in the form of addiction, but it also invites some interesting conjecture as to how living someone else’s memories would influence and change the user. I can’t help thinking that the introduction of this technology would lead to greater empathy and peace within the world, as people learn what it’s like to live in someone else’s shoes. Do you agree with this? And if not, why not?

While I think, and at least certainly hope, that the world is moving toward greater, progressive values and inclusivity, I’m fairly positive that a technology like DRMR would be badly abused, if only by a minority of retrograde people who fear positive change and inclusivity. For all the good that could be done with it, I think there are some inherit problems and that it would kind of ruin everything for everybody. Maybe I’m just a pessimist. But, as readers will see in Emergence, it’s definitely a technology that’s ripe for exploitation!

Everyone has the stories they tell themselves about their own lives, so that even someone using the DRMR and accessing the memories first hand might come up with a different interpretation of who that person is. If someone accessed DRMR of your life, what do you think they’d learn from you?

Oh my goodness. I have no idea! Probably that I’m some horrible, darkly maligned personality with too many tortured thoughts and unending mental screams of anguish. Or maybe that I’m far more caring and squishy than I’ll publicly admit to.

If you could access the DRMR recordings of someone in real life, would you do it, and how do you think it might change you?

I don’t think I’d want to access the DRMR recordings of anybody I was close to. There are certain political figures and big-mouthed zealots that I’d be curious to access, but mostly to satisfy my own morbid curiosity on whether or not they’re the delusional, hypocritical con-men I believe they are, or if they actually believe the garbage they spiel. I don’t think such access would make me a better person, and I probably don’t want their particular brands of poison lingering in my head after all.

The DRMR world is detailed and feels very real. How did you go about researching this kind of political situation and the accompanying technology?

For the invasion angle, I looked at publicly available documents of Chinese officials war-gaming potential plans for invasion and looked at various refugee camps. The technology angle required a tremendous amount of research into memory formation, memory deletion, brain structures and how they interact, and some of the work that DARPA is doing. While the DRMR technology is a sci-fi concept, there are certainly efforts out there in the scientific community to make it not only plausible, but entirely possible.

When I tried to think of what genre Convergence is, I came up with a lot more than one: science fiction, dystopia, future tech, thriller. It’s a difficult book to pigeon hole. A lot of marketing involves trying to raise awareness of a book among fans of that genre, and having an original concept can sometimes make a book more difficult to market. Do you think this has been the case with Convergence?

To a degree, it has been, yes. But, the readers that have found it, so far, have been very kind and have received the book warmly. So, for that I’m completely grateful! Convergence is definitely a mish-mash of a lot of different genres, so if somebody hates sci-fi but loves mystery/thrillers, I think there’s a good chance they’d like Convergence. A lot of people think sci-fi is just aliens or Star Trek type stuff, but there’s plenty of room within the genre for other types of work. I operate very much in the Cyberpunk Noir end of things. Convergence is definitely more on the Blade Runner end of science fiction, in terms of it being very much about humans, on Earth, dealing with daily life, but their life just happens to have a little bit more high-tech stuff than we do. At least for now.

Who would you say are your favourite authors, and do you think they have influenced your writing?

Stephen King, Richard K. Morgan, Tom Clancy, Dennis Lehane – those are my big favorites. And yeah, I think they’ve definitely influenced my writing, a lot. Particularly in terms of technothriller writing, I think reading each of those writers has really helped shape my own writing style and my approach to writing and story-telling.

Can you give us a sneak peek into what’s coming next for the third of the DRMR series?

Not yet. Emergence is book 2, and that releases Monday, May 4, 2015. I’m working on an entirely separate and different project at the moment, for the Apocalypse Weird crew, and that’s where my focus is at these days. I’ve got a couple ideas for the third DRMR book, but it’s still a ways off. People should keep an eye on http://michaelpatrickhicks.com and sign up for my newsletter there; whenever I have an announcement to make, those are the readers that get it first.

Where would you like your writing career to be in five years?

I’m certainly hoping I’ll have a nice catalog of titles that a wide range of readers can plunge into!

What is your least favourite part of the publishing / writing process?

The business side of things on the publishing end can be mind-numbing and exhausting. Trying to line up ads with a number of promotions sites, and locking in release dates and coordinating between print and digital markets and waiting on proof copies, and keeping track of income and expenses for tax purposes, and spreadsheets and spreadsheets and spreadsheets – that is all very much not glamorous or fun. Don’t let anyone fool you – writing is a business, regardless of how much fun the writing side of things can be. But even that has its dreadful moments! It’s work. It’s not digging graves or working in a coal mine, thankfully, but you still have to be mindful of the fact that it is, first and foremost, a business.

You can connect with Mike on his website, twitter, facebook or goodreads (and do. He’s very nice. I promise)

Nosferatu

nosferatu

I’ve been intending to see the original 1922 version of Nosferatu for ages. It’s one of the seminal horror films of our time (arguably even the most influential). I got to see it in the best possible way: in Bristol’s Victoria Rooms accompanied by original organ music — just as it would have been shown back in the day. (Enormous kudos go to David Bednall on the organ and his improvised score. It was incredible and I can’t believe how much talent must be needed to improvise something that awesome.)

I’m not sure if anyone could possibly complain about a review of an almost hundred-year-old movie containing spoilers, but if that sort of thing bothers you, consider yourself warned.

Nosferatu is a thinly-veiled version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The original script was the Dracula story, but the film makers couldn’t obtain the rights so they ended up changing the names and the ending. Unluckily for them, it was still close enough that Stoker’s heirs sued successfully over the adaption, and a court ruled that all copies be destroyed. Luckily for us, all copies weren’t destroyed. At least one survived to become one of the oldest and greatest horror movies of our time.

The film hasn’t aged nearly as much as it could have. It’s still relevant. Still scary in parts and it’s had me thinking about it on and off over the last few days. The most obvious difference to modern movies is the over-acting, but I really enjoyed that part of it.

happyhutter

Gustav van Wangenheim as Hutter was the most manically jolly character I have ever seen on the screen. It felt a little silly at first (there were a few titters in the audience), but it did mean that when he does finally realise the nature of the Count and cowers in his bed, terrified of the monster coming towards him, it felt like watching a happy, bouncy puppy realise it’s about to get a kicking. I haven’t felt that sorry for a fictional character in some time. Poor innocent little puddle.

coming into the room

Nosferatu (Max Schreck) was fantastic too. There was no angst or guilt or sparkles. He was just pure creepy vampire and I loved him.

ellen

Greta Schroder as Ellen was a surprise. I wasn’t expecting such a strong female character from such an old movie. I thought she was going to spend the film screaming and fainting. There was plenty of that but she was the one to save the day. She was certainly a lot cleverer and determined than her innocent puppy of a husband.

 

Ultimately, a fantastic film and one I was really pleased to have seen. It was even worth the wait to get to see it with such a fantastic live score. This evening I’m going to watch the 1979 remake. Let’s see how it measures up.

Updates

Apologies for the lack of posting, all. It’s been a busy, busy month and writing has had to take a back seat. Busy stuff this month has included a move out of London, my son starting his new school and about a zillion other things,

Upcoming projects include a contribution to a new anthology from the same awesomely talented group of writers who brought you No Way Home. (Yes, I’m including myself). No Way Home has done tremendously well and I am incredibly proud to be part of it. I’ll announce more about the new anthology in due course.

In other news, now that I’m settled I’m looking for a job. If anyone knows of anything interesting going in the Bristol area, let me know :)

 

Farewell to the great Terry Pratchett

I was so sorry to have heard about the death of Terry Pratchett on Thursday. He was not only my favourite writer (and I think one of the true greats) but also someone for whom I had the utmost respect and admiration.

Pratchett is my comfort reading. I couldn’t even tell you how many times I’ve read each of his novels. I also couldn’t tell you which is my favourite, but if I were to list my top ten favourite books of all time, Terry Pratchett would have written every one of them.

Terry Pratchett not only influenced me as a writer, but also as a person. His books made me think. You can build an entire world philosophy off of Pratchett quotes, and make the world a better place.

RIP, sir, you will be much missed.

On Growling

Everyone has their own pet peeve when it comes to books.  Mine is growling.

I get why writers use it. It’s a handy short cut for: This guy is an alpha-male. Look at him putting everyone in their place. He can’t be bothered with the petty waffle everyone else cares about.

The problem is that I haven’t actually heard anyone growl in real life. I know I’m being a pedant, but it always throws me straight out the story.

I recently read an otherwise decent book that was marred by one of the characters growling all the time, especially during the sex scenes. This was when the female character imagined him as a muscley black panther slinking through the jungle (as you do apparently) and then when they were at it, he’d ‘growl like a panther’.

Firstly, panthers are better known for their screaming than their growling (which is even worse), but this is what a panther growl actually sounds like:

Dunno ’bout you, but if a woman actually heard her partner making that noise during sex, she’d either burst out laughing or run away. Probably both at the same time.

 

Last chance to borrow on Amazon

I’m going to be removing my books from KDP Select on Amazon (which allows readers to borrow the books). This will be from 9 March for A Murder of Crones and 11 March for The Secret Dead.

Other authors have had a dip in income due to being in Select. This hasn’t had much of an effect on me (I’m not making much at the moment anyway) and I am getting a good number of borrows so I’ll be sorry to lose that. Whether readers will go on to buy them instead remains to be seen.

My real reason for taking them out of the program is simply because Amazon requires exclusivity to participate and this no longer makes sense. The exclusivity applies to giveaways of ebooks as well as sales on other platforms so it really restricts my ability to get my books out there to readers.

I think it’s a real pity about Amazon’s exclusivity clause. I don’t think it does any favours to readers or writers, and I really wish they’d get rid of it. I’m not convinced it’s such a bonus to Amazon either.

There are still going to be plenty of opportunities to get freebies. I’m going to try go perma-free on The Secret Dead and will do an ebook giveaway for Murder of Crones on Librarything later in the month (both not possible under the Select program).

Keep watching this space or follow me on twitter. I’ll announce when the giveaway is up and running.