Cold December – new camera – Book Giveaway

I was given a Canon 6D SLR for Christmas!!! It is AWESOME. Full frame too. I’m still getting used to all the settings, but the low light photography is excellent.

However, I’m having trouble with the white balance when I use a high ISO and low f-stop. Any help on that would be much appreciated. Below are a couple of examples and some B&W photographs:

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My collection of short stories, Glimmer and other stories, is a Giveaway on Goodreads until 26th January 2014; so if you are a member you could enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of the book.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19461473-glimmer-and-other-stories

It is also available in Kindle format and can be purchased on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Glimmer-Nicola-McDonagh-ebook/dp/B00H89AN1M/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_img_2_AC5G

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Glimmer-other-stories-Nicola-McDonagh/dp/149432928X/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386951475&sr=1-10&keywords=glimmer

http://www.amazon.com/Glimmer-Nicola-McDonagh-ebook/dp/B00H89AN1M/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1387808288&sr=1-5&keywords=glimmer

http://www.amazon.com/Glimmer-other-stories-Nicola-McDonagh/dp/149432928X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388153321&sr=1-2&keywords=glimmer+by+nicola+mcdonagh

Ventures into self-publishing

I decided to self-publish a collection of my short stories recently. Although I am already published with an independent publisher, I wanted to try my hand at being in control of my work regarding publicity and marketing. I spend a lot of time promoting my novel Echoes from the Lost Ones, so didn’t think it would be too much of a disruption to add another book to that time spent online. Wrong!

I spent days finding out about copyright laws on works of art because I wanted to use an image by the artist Henri Rousseau for the front cover. I was going to call my collection Rousseau’s Suburban Garden, after a story in the anthology. Thanks to the help and advice from fellow writers I discovered that it was highly likely that I would have to pay to use the image. I decided to call the collection something else and use one of my own photographs instead. A graphic designer friend, Simon, took the image and designed the cover. Thank you Simon!

Martin, my husband, very kindly formatted the text for me and I am now at the stage where I will be ready to publish with CreateSpace on Amazon. I’ve never done this before, so I’m a little nervous and excited.

The anthology is now called Glimmer, named after the first story in the collection. I chose it because I like the ambiguity of the title and because it is an award winning short. Anyway, here is the almost final cover design. Hope you like it.

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Here’s to my first venture into self-publishing!

If anyone out there has any tips on how to market short story collections, I would love to hear from you.

Thanks.

When do you publish the next book in a series?

I think what I’m about to say will be familiar to a lot of authors.

My debut novel ‘Echoes from the Lost Ones’ was published in June of this year.

http://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Lost-Ones-Forgetfulness-Volume/dp/1939897041/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Sales are slow. But that is to be expected I guess. I’m not really concerned about that. I’m more worried that I have botched my attempts at getting that all-important author profile going, despite working really hard to put myself on the on-line media world stage, and doing readings and workshops.

Previously to being published, I wasn’t on Facebook or Twitter, or any sites that promote authors. I have come to realise that I should have been much more active on the social media platform and may have left it too late.

My publishers are leaving all of the marketing to me. AHH! I am useless at self-promotion. I’ve tried ‘giveaways’, paid promotion on relevant sites, guest hosting on Facebook events and getting author spotlights. I have noticed that sales went up a tiny bit after I spent a small amount to advertise Echoes on Kindle boards, but sales slumped soon after.  So, the question remains, how do I get folk to notice me and buy the book? I have received some excellent reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, but to what end? Now, I’m all a bit ‘harrumph’ and out of ideas.

So, I was wondering if having the next book in the series come out sooner rather than later, would be a good thing? Would readers be more willing to buy a book when they know that they wouldn’t have to wait to read the next instalment?

Does anyone have any advice? I would appreciate it.

On a different note: is it just me, or do grasshoppers look exactly like Alien?

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Haikus inspired by photography

Extinction

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Bee melts like honey

Upon a yellow flower

Wings paused in silence

 

Damage

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The weeping Willow

Sheds no tears as his wild gusts

Rip at her branches

 

Reflections of a cat

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He stares at the sky

Unblinking, slit eyed musing

Thoughts of quill and fur

 

 

 Water caterpillar

Imagellar 

I saw a feather

Dropped in dew transform into

Silver moth larva

Chocolate and tax Returns

I was doing my tax return. Sifting through receipts to see which ones I can actually use.

I came upon a rogue purchase bill amongst the genuine ones. It was for three bars of very expensive chocolate.

My mind said, ‘I can’t put that through.’ My mouth said, ‘Yes I can. I just have to think creatively.’

I’ve receipts for magazines, publications to do with writing, books, inkjet cartridges, paper, pens, paper and all manner of products that pertain to my self-employment as an Art Practitioner.

 How ambiguous is that?

So, I went to the cupboard in the kitchen and rooted through the sugar, baking powder, flour, vanilla extract and maple syrup, and found the treasured confectionary. Three blocks of  ‘Willie’s Cacao.’Image

 I ate half a bar.

This chocolate is the best chocolate I have ever tasted. Sure it is pricey, and I can only buy it in Britain’s most expensive Supermarket, that takes me forty-five minutes to drive to.

 But I don’t care.

 I ate the other half and began to see things differently.

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 So, back to my dilemma. How can I justify putting chocolate through my books?

 A flash of inspiration.

 I can say it helps me with my creativity. When I eat it I become more productive and my writing improves.

 Do you think I’ll get away with it?

 This is what I wrote after my eyesight returned to normal

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Lightning Brood

They come down from the clouds when there is a storm.

We, the children left behind by those less brave,

catch them in our mouths.

 

Once inside, they sputter like fire crackers,

burning our tongues with a taste

of something primal.

 

The adults don’t understand our tight-lipped quiet

and shout for us to hide. To get away from the rogue

bolts of electricity.

 

To run from the bangs and crashes that whoosh around

our heads. But we just stare at them

with big button eyes, all innocence and light.

 

One by one we move our limbs and go into  

an unmeasured dance, wild,

some would say chaotic.

 

But they’d be wrong. Each step we take

is perfectly choreographed to keep in time

with the boom, boom, boom. 

 

Breathless we gulp in static and sulphur. 

Our bellies bulge with a glut of spark and fizz;

and we slap our hands

 

upon our distended stomachs echoing

 the drumbeat thumps.

Until, we can stand no more.

 

Lungs fill with heavy air, our faces turn red.

So we tilt them up and scream.

Their offspring spurt out,

 

carried away on our ear-splitting howls.

The rumbles die away, the flashes weaken 

Exhausted, we lie

 

on our backs and watch them wave to us

as they fly towards the boiling sky.

Returning to their mothers and fathers.

 

We wave back and let the grown-ups shake their heads

and think us mad.

 

The moon as inspiration

I was stuck editing the second book in the series ‘The Song of Forgetfulness’. I didn’t know how to start a particular chapter. I wandereImaged around the house- didn’t take long, small house- and looked out of the bedroom window. Clouds parted in the star free night sky and there was the moon looking down at me as if to say, “Oh, get on with it.” 

 

 

  So I did. You can take a look at an exclusive excerpt from the as yet unreleased, second book in the series ‘The song of Forgetfulness on my Facebook page. 

https://www.facebook.com/thesongofforgetfulness