Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Adopted vs. 4th army

I am contemplating my second novel. Well, I've got enough conceptual material to write four but there are only 24 hours in a day and I do have a demanding day job so - one at a time.

Adopted will be a kind of suspense thriller with - the main plot built around the search of a brother who, as a baby, was given for adoption. I started building a skeleton but it kind of doesn't fall together nicely so I need a bit more time on that one.

4th army is a different story. The idea is there, the plot is phenomenal and I already look forward to writing it. In short, it's about kids' imagination gone wild as they play a game of the 4th army as a perfect response to three major superpowers that materializes years later, bringing with it massive repercussions for the whole humanity. Joking aside, it's a damn good story. The cover art idea is floating around in my mind as well so that definitely makes me happy.

I've started marketing Deceiving Noone like mad (Amazon UK), asking book bloggers for reviews, posting meaningful comments, contributing to discussions, posting links on my facebook page, tweeting and so on. I've sold 3 copies so far (in two days) so that should definitely be a good sign - I am in this for a long run. It's a start but I've got to ramp up marketing beyond what I've ever done in my life. There are a few more tricks up my sleeves but that's something for after the Olympics.

Talking about the Olympics, yet another successful day and LOCOG have started sorting out the empty seats problem. Come on, accredited guests or not, sponsors or not - there are competitors' parents who weren't able to get tickets!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Deceiving Noone is available

I started writing Deceiving Noone towards the very end of September 2011 and just about 10 months later it is finally published. Now I really hope you will like it and I really hope there will be positive reviews (please, please, please - it's my first novel). I know, I am repeating myself but this fear of mine is absolutely unbelievable. OK, I'll stop it right here. Promise...

It took about 12 hours for the book to be available on various Amazon sites but it is now finally there. Though, I noticed something funny about the preview chapter - formatting is off although all is fine when you open the book in Kindle application. I need to get in touch with Amazon and resolve this. In the mean time, the only thing I can do is apologize.

For Amazon.com readers, please click on the image below:

For UK readers, please click on the image below:

Right, now I've got to roll my sleeves up and start with marketing. This part isn't something I normally look forward to but this time I kind of want to do it and I'll do all I can to spread the word. The book is a bargain, seriously!

It is priced at $1.52 in the USA (taxation as the minimum list price author can set is $0.99 so the rest must be tax), £0.99 in the UK and €0.99 in the EU. That's where it will be available until Amazon opens up more of their international sites to the Kindle store.

The rest of my day was spent watching Olympics! Oh boy, French 4x100 free relay team gave the USA and Australia a run for their money and won the gold. I was chuffed for Rebecca Adlington (Team GB) for her bronze medal. Kayak and Canoe slalom heats were also fabulous and I am amazed how nerve-wrecking archery and equestrian can be. Fantastic stuff - despite the stormy weather!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Published and waiting

I genuinely thought that day would never come but ten months - TEN MONTHS - later, my first novel "Deceiving Noone" has been submitted to Amazon KDP. Of course, it takes some time to get accepted (fingers crossed) but it should be available tomorrow - I hope. We'll see.

Am I ecstatic? NO! I am really scared actually. What if people don't like it? I doubt this is ego but I am scared to death of embarrassing myself in front of the whole wide world.

You might laugh but it really is tough. I think the book is really good with Nathan, Cali, Terry, Colin, Andrew, Xavier, Annie and so on, all likable (yet some troubled or tragic) personalities, their characters are underpinned by a complex story and everything is wrapped up in massive unpredictability.

All that is fine but that's my opinion (and that of the editor) so how on earth can I tell what you, my readers, will say about it. It's my first novel so I hold my fingers crossed there will be positive reviews (please). OK, I know every single book out there receives negative reviews as well. Though, having no prior experience, I cannot tell, it's impossible, I just cannot tell. I really think it's a good book...

Ah well, I hope you watched the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic games. We have and it was absolutely fabulous! You see, this is not dissimilar, actually. Danny Boyle's production was spectacular, different and was infused by stories from the past and present. There are people out there that didn't like it but hey, Danny is an Oscar-winning director and he doesn't give a damn.

I know what you might say. It's a painful reality - I haven't got an Oscar (sigh). True, but I'm not giving up and I am NOT giving up. This is just the beginning. I will keep reading and writing, and I will take all reviews on the chin (positive and negative) - so help me God.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Colors everywhere!

My daughter and I are now working on 17 illustrations she created for her new book. Sketches need to be rendered in Photoshop and she pretty much doesn't need me anymore - that's how good she's got! Whilst you would expect colors in book images, it is difficult to achieve color in the text and that's where I think she really nailed it.

I am pretty used to self-editing now but editing her text is like working with a delicate porcelain vase - it's so full of color and emotions, almost every change I make looks like a big black smudge on a Michelangelo's Sistine's chapel masterpiece. It's a book for children (3-5 years I believe) so there's not much text but everything there is matches images and her characters perfectly. Don't ask me, I've got no idea how she's doing it but it works and I really look forward to her book coming out in August.

As for my book, I've bought a fabulously fluorescent marker and final editing begins tomorrow and yes, 27 July is still on - a final unmovable deadline!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Wasps or bees?

Not exactly a literary subject but something that bothers me for a few days now. Well, there is a weep hole just above the patio door (double-skin facade ventilation entry point). I like animals, don't take me wrong, but I don't like wasps as they are obnoxious little creatures and their stings are vicious. The pest control company asked me to take a picture to make sure they are not bees (of course, I don't want to get rid of bees!). Decide for yourself but they look like wasps to me. I took the picture late at night with flash switched on. That's the time when they're least active - I'm sure you'll understand why I waited up until midnight.

Anyway, summer in England still hasn't arrived and the forecast says more rain is on the way but next week we should finally see our bright star in the middle of the solar system and I want these wasps out of the way. In the mean time, I will be working on my daughter's drawings and have a final combing through my book before taking on beta reading (and proofreading) of my wife's baking book.

I met publisher for my professional book and she told me there were 274 books sold since April (71 in USA), which is really good for an academic book in such a narrow field and I haven't even started with proper marketing yet. Not bad, not bad and I hope the UK government picks it up as it actually provides a model for creating Building Information Modeling (BIM)-friendly business environment. It will take time but I am positive one day it will be recognized as a major milestone in construction management research.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


My daughter and I started working on her sketches over the weekend and so far we managed to photoshop two drawings for her book. From a rough sketch on an A3 piece of paper to a digital drawing full of color, the transformation is one of the most inspiring things ever. She's got completely hooked up by the process and now she is pushing me to finish all 17 images (like yesterday...). 

I first thought this would take a lot of time but as it happens we can easily complete one drawing a day so releasing her first book in mid August is definitely possible. I've got to figure out formatting but a few trials I made are far less scarier than most formatting guides online would tend to advise.I'm not sure whether it's my ignorance or Amazon's latest attempt to simplify the way you convert a well formatted Word document into a MOBI file. I know, you will say there are other formats you need to consider (EPUB for instance) that make ebooks readable across platforms (iPad, smart phones, etc.) but all I am saying is that it seems easier than most people think it is. We'll see!

My wife saw a terrifying car crash today a stone's throw away from where we live. Both cars landed on their roofs and firefighters had to cut twisted metal to get people out - and all this on a 30mph stretch of the road where most of the time people drive 20mph. Perhaps a police car chase or something, I'm not sure but pretty scary!

Ah, yes, and I forgot to print out my book today. Never mind, I'll do it tomorrow and read it over the weekend (need some break in between). In the mean time I need to play with words and pull together book description - not many words but it is not at all easy. 

Whatever the case, I am getting increasingly more excited and can hardly believe my first novel will be out on the 27th of July 2012. I think Deceiving Noone is a good book wit likable and interesting characters and I really, really hope people will like it. I've gone through the text at least 20 times and I am happy with its total unpredictability - hoping that this will keep my readers turning pages and recommending it others. I hope, I really do!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Family of writers

Wow, watching a documentary about Usain Bolt and his misery over the false start in Daegu, South Korea, makes me think how important it is to know how to fail without giving up on your dreams. He might have problems but Usain will be back in London. Unfortunately, many people start and after just a light tremor in their careers never come back again. I'm not talking about myself of course but it is wise to remind oneself that you should never give up (Yes, I mean you as well!).

And I am trying to pass the same message on to my daughter who is now writing and drawing her first book for children. She sometimes feels the process is too slow but I wonder where she's got this from... Anyway, 16 drawings away she is plodding along and learning Photoshop painlessly through her book too - and she isn't even 10 years old yet.  I keep encouraging her and she is really enjoying it and it really excites her that she will be able to show her new book when back in school in September (whatever keeps her going).

My wife doesn't need the encouragement and her baking book is now almost finished. Some copy editing, proofreading and Kindle formatting, and that will be it. So, yes, it seems we have turned into a family of writers and 2012 is already proving to be a monumental year for us (including the fact that we will - for the first time ever - attend the Olympic Games). After my first professional book in March, three more are coming along nicely too and all of this from a single family within a year. I am proud, I am happy and we keep going on so watch the space.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Final touches

So, I've received a proofread document back from my editors (not entirely happy as they missed a few typos and stuff...). Anyway, most of the things are there and I'm just going through the manuscript backwards - just trying to make sure there is consistency in style and writing throughout the book.

Some chapters were fabulous, some less so but what I am doing now are final touches, the kind of things you do to finely polish your work. It's probably review 20 but I still keep doing it, I haven't lost the energy and motivation because this is what I want to do for the rest of my life - write brilliant (massively unpredictable - a comment from my editor) novels with intricate and subtle messages, with stories that will knock your socks off and make you itch for my next work.

Ah yes, there is one more thing! "Deceiving Noone" will be published on Friday 27 July 2012 (i.e. the start of 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, UK). Sorry again, I thought it would go public before 15 July but I need to have one more final go at the manuscript and I need to be a bit ceremonial - it's my first novel after all.