Tag-Archive for » With Proud Humility «

Location Spotlight: Catalpa

This is the name of Captain Alexander Hayes’ first ship and is loosely based on the ship, HMS Surprise in the series by Patrick O’Brian.

This is the floor plan for the HMS Surprise as put together by the lovely people here which I studied about six years ago to help me get a feel for the ship and where everything would be.

As you can see from the plans it’s triple masted and officially she was classified as a 6th rate ship of the line with 28 guns but in this version there’s actually room for 24 standard 32-pound cannonades and 8 18-pound cannonades, giving her four extra guns than normal. She housed a crew of 200+ and was a pretty nippy little ship.

While on board this ship, Marie ventured down into the main hold where Black Vane was held and spent a lot of her time in the Great Cabin, trying to avoid the ship’s Captain. She alludes to going to the lower deck and playing poker with some of the crew, something that would have been frowned upon had this been a ship of the line at the time, but thankfully Hayes was a privateer and the rules were a little different.

Although, I’ve based Catalpa on a real ship I’ve bent the history a little, obviously. Hayes bought Catalpa in a port in England and sailed her to the Caribbean himself, taking passangers who wanted to head over to the new colonies and any goods they desperately needed over there to ensure his crew were well paid and provisioned for.

Catalpa doesn’t actually feature much after the first third of the novel but that doesn’t make this gorgeous ship any less important. This was Hayes’ first and will always have a special place in the Captain’s heart.

Character Spotlight: Alexander Hayes

Also known as Captain Hayes, this is the male counterpart character in With Proud Humility. As I said with the last one of these I did. If you haven’t read the book already it might be worth checking it out at the above link. I will try to keep spoilers at a minimum but the point of these blogs is that they are extras to compliment the books I write.

With Proud Humility is the first of my published novels and the basic idea popped into my head while I was in the shower one day. The initial section that came to me was the meeting between Hayes and Marie and then the bit, a couple of months down the line when they are on the island and there’s that big decision moment for Hayes that he’s forced to make by the villian. The story and characters sort of grew out of there really but I think I owe the inspiration to a couple of people.

I’d decided that I wasn’t really going to write any more not long after I got to Uni and it wasn’t until a friend called Dan asked why I stopped that I realised I didn’t really know why. I’d always loved writing and nothing had changed.

Captain Hayes

Hayes was soon making himself known and sharing space in my head and while I was getting to know him I realised he was a bit of a cross between Jack Sparrow and another friend of mine called Dylan (who happened to be pretty good friends with Dan). Although, he ended up a lot more like Dylan and a bit like Sean Bean by the time I’d finished and less like Jack Sparrow.

Dylan, Dan and me played and MMO called Puzzle pirates (featured right) and Dylan was our Captain, which is, I suppose, where the resemblance came from. But Sean Bean is definitely who I’d want to play him if Hollywood ever decided to turn my swashbuckling epic into a film.

When I first had Hayes in my head I thought he was going to be my antagonist and Vane would be a very minor character but as I explored the characters further I realised he would have this major turning point where he would choose something good over something evil and I couldn’t condemn him to the depths of evilness.

Despite this book being almost completely written from Marie’s POV I always seemed to know what Hayes was thinking, even when Marie didn’t. I probably knew him and his ambitions and goals better than I did her. Something about this character just spoke to me.

He had seen a lot of life before ever meeting Marie and seemed quite happy doing his own thing and being his own boss. His crew adore him and know they’ll fare well, get paid well, and have plenty of adventure along the way. Like Marie he wasn’t entirely happy with the way his social class worked and didn’t respond well to the expectations of his parents. This led to him leaving home and buying his first ship at an early age.

I don’t think Hayes and Marie really realised it themselves, but this probably led to him falling in love with her. She was everything his mother wasn’t. She bucked the trend, did what she wanted and although she infuriated him for not just falling in with his plans, she also proved she wanted similar things to him. To be free to be herself in a social class full of rules and regulations.

Hayes is one of those sorts of people that’s able to adapt to anything. He thinks fast and nothing much fazes him, except being disobeyed, so he’ll be pretty calm and collected no matter what happens.

He’s got boundaries (evidenced by how un-harshly he treats Marie about half way through the book) but he is willing to sacrifice a few things to reach his goals. Probably because he understands the rules are different in 19th century Caribbean compared to 19th Century England. The Caribbean is cuthroat and only the strong survive.

Oh and on top of that he’s an excellent sword-fighter. Well, you’d kinda have to be wouldn’t you? With all those ship to ship battles and the boarding that would be required. Thankfully sword-fighting was something any respectable gentleman could learn when growing up and it was considered to be the height of fashion to wear the cutlass when going about England. One of the few useful things about being in the first class. Although, he takes this a step further when he teaches Marie but he did it as much for himself as her. It was his way of saying he also didn’t agree with society and it’s ridiculous rules, which was the one major thing Marie and him have in common.

The Plan: December 11

Last month I completed NaNoWriMo. Pretty much as planned. I finished a few days early so I did a few minor other things as well towards the end of the month, although I mostly took it easy.

This month I intend to get my two short stories out in an ebook. I’ve decided to get those out together in only ebook form as they are just sitting around collecting dust now they are finished and that’s never good for writing.

I’ve also got my book launch for With Proud Humility, December 17th. I know I’ve plugged this quite a few times but I’m plugging it again. It should be a blast and lots of people have already said they’re coming.

When I’ve finished everything above I’ll get back to editing book 2 and writing book 3 till both of those are done.

With Proud Humility: From start to finish

With the first novel of mine finally finished and in print I thought I’d share the timeline of how things went in writing it. This is also my 100th blog and I figured a nice way to mark me actually being relatively successful at blogging.

6th April 2007

A discussion with one of my friends online resulted in me having an idea for a book (while in the shower)

I then wrote the first 600 words or so in a frenzy of writing delight. I hadn’t written in well over a year and it felt very good. I vowed then and there that I would finish the book.

9th April 2007

I uploaded a polished version of the first 600 words or so to the Wiki page for the society of the MMO I’m playing (puzzle pirates, yes I still play). I got 5 people in the society reading it, including the friend that sparked it.

Over the next month I wrote and uploaded 4 more chunks of approx 600 words each.

November 2007

I realised I had totally forgotten about the book again and needed to continue. I wrote another 2k words that month. I also attended a writers meeting and took what I had along. It’s the first time my husband took me wanting to write seriously. It’s was also the first time I really begin to take it seriously.

24th December 2007

I was bored and didn’t know what to do while waiting for Christmas to come so I wrote some more, bringing the total up to approx 7k words. I also told the first few other people that I was considering writing as a career. I’d finally realised I loved writing even if I didn’t understand what that meant.

January 2008

I started to take the book more seriously as a whole and renamed a bunch of characters as well as rewrote some really bad chunks. I also finally plotted out the rest of the book chapter by chapter.

February 2008

I handed my notice in at my job, wanting a less stressful one with less hours so I could spend more time writing.

April 2008-September 2008

I started temping in various locations, writing in between short term temp jobs. By the end of September I had got approx 20k words done and was introducing myself as a writer to people I met. I still attended any of the writers meet ups I can in Bath. I also made my first estimate on the final book count, around 70k words.

October 2008

I finally got a part time job and settled into a writing routine. Writing approximately 2k words per week on a good week and about 500 on a bad. I really wasn’t very disciplined but I was making progress.

January 2009

I had about 35k words and felt like half way there.

At this point I started researching publishing options from the traditional way, to Print on demand, to completely self funding a print run. I decided I didn’t really like any of them that much  which was typical me really. I always want to change a revolutionise things.

I did have a natural leaning towards print on demand though. I didn’t like the gatekeeper mentality of  the traditional route and I couldn’t afford to fund a print run large enough to make it worth doing. Unfortunately I also couldn’t find a Print on demand service that didn’t charge a huge amount for not a lot of actual gain.

29th January 2009

I had my first meeting with a guy called Chris Turner because I’d seen a film trailer idea of his on facebook and offered to help him write the script. I’d only met him once before at a wedding we had both helped at and I’m not entirely sure why I offered to help him, I just couldn’t stop myself.

We then meet up  at least once a week for the next 4 months which seriously cuts into my writing time because I typed up what we hand wrote together.

15th July 2009

I managed to scrape together enough money to stop working completely and live off my very lovely husband for a few months. He was by now very aware I was 100% sure not only do I want to be a writer but I wanted to be a entrepreneur of sorts. I still didn’t get any more writing done on my book, however, as I was too busy trying to raise  money for the new company I’d set up with Chris and get my head around my new role.

September 2009

Somehow my money was still lasting and I still didn’t have to go back to work so I turned my full time attention back to the book I promised myself I would finish 2.5 years earlier. At this point I still didn’t really know what I was doing. I just knew I wanted to be creative and write.

16th October 2009

I filled up my first A4 pad of hand written book (I don’t work well typing straight away) and moved on to my second, feeling very very satisfied with myself. I had about 55k words at this point and realised it was going to be a good bit longer than 70k words, more like 85k in total. I promised myself it would be finished before the end of the year.

31st December 2009 7:45pm

I finished the first draft of the book. It had a temporary title – All’s fair in love and war. I kinda liked it but not enough to keep it. It’s 88k words long. I also only had 15 minutes until the new year’s eve party I was hosting started. Needless to say I hit party mode full swing (I worked on Christmas day to get it finished).

8th January 2010

I emailed it out to three beta readers after having a preliminary edit myself. Over the next 6 months it got edited a total of 4 times and had a lot added and taken out.

July 2010

I finally felt I’d finished enough for my liking. I got back to researching ways to publish. Because I didn’t have the money for any of the other options I knew about I eventually decide on traditional publishing and went through the agonies of writing a synopsis of several different lengths as well as a query letter and email.

August 2010

I’d finally picked some publishers I wanted to apply to and finished fretting about my query letters etc. I applied to one by email only putting in a two sentence synopsis as they asked, nothing else. I got rejected. I found I didn’t actually care that much. I mean I know it’s not nice being rejected and I was angry they didn’t even bother to read a longer synopsis or even look at the book at all but I’m not actually that bothered.

I used the rejection as an excuse to get people to stop nagging me to apply to more publishers until I could figure out what I did really want. I think a lot of friends and family were a little fed up with me at this point. It had been ages since I’d started and I often had people asking leading questions about the book. To be fair I was equally as fed up. I couldn’t find the option I wanted and didn’t think it existed.

30th October 2010

Someone online overheard me telling someone else I was trying to get published and asked why I didn’t try self publishing on kindle as an ebook. I vaguely remembered hearing of the Kindle but I dismissed the idea as not being good enough.

31st October 2010

I couldn’t sleep. What I was told about ebooks kept coming back to me. I googled them and found several blogs and articles by people saying ebooks are revolutionising the way the world reads and even some traditionally published authors are now self publishing to kindle. Mostly Joe Konrath. I hashed this over with several people. Some I knew would say ‘no, go traditional’ others I thought would go for the ebook thing and some I thought wouldn’t give an opinion. Surprisingly all but one said go for it.

1st November-2nd November 2010

I spend two days thinking about and researching nothing else, trying to decide what I wanted to do. I didn’t like what the traditional publishing industry is, never had and really didn’t feel settled or happy applying to them. I also didn’t want to just self publish something that was rubbish and add to the stereotype that self published authors are crap and not worth considering.

Eventually my heart over ruled my head and I went with what I felt most peaceful about. Ebook publishing for the win.

I did know I needed to really make sure my book was up to scratch so I made a short list of people I wanted to help me get the book edited. I couldn’t afford a professional copy edit as at this point I’d been out of work for over 15 months. Fortunately I had a list of 2 other writers, someone that used to edit for a magazine, and a few good friends with a good eye for detail. In some cases I had a volunteer or two ask to help out proof reading and I thought more couldn’t hurt.

I also made a request to an artist I knew for a front cover.

The provisional launch date I had in my head was December 1st although the few people I said this to all laughed at me. They thought it was going to take me until the following year at the earliest.

27th November 2010

All the editing was finished and done and I sat and waited for all the cover art I needed as well as got my book formatted correctly for the kindle.

1st December 2010

I found out my front cover art wasn’t going well. I quickly emailed or facebooked every person I knew who was a graphic artist of any kind and asked them if they had the time and expertise I needed.

3rd December 2010

Keith Mountifield stepped in and we worked until almost midnight together making my ebook cover design.

4th December 2010

I got up early to upload everything and finally hit the publish button. The formatting was awful and needed to be completely re-hauled. I started totally over, stripping the book of all its formatting and reapplying all of it again. By 4pm I’d managed it.

The book was launched as an ebook.

December 2010-February 2011

I marketed the book like crazy. Trying to get reviews from review blogs as well as customer reviews. Lots of people wouldn’t review it because it was either an ebook only or self published. I had to admit I got very annoyed about this but persevered anyway. Cost so far £7.75 (sending printed manuscript to a reviewer, who then never reviewed it).

25th February 2011

I started working with Keith Mountifield on a website to help promote the book and the other stuff I was doing by then. Tony Mountifield kindly agreed to host it for me. (I love my in-laws, they are a very talented bunch of people) Cost so far £19.75 (registering domain name).

28th February 2011

Website was up and running, despite me having no internet for over 24 hours in between starting and finishing.

23rd March 2011

I researched ebook tips on marketing and getting reviews and it brought me back to Joe Konrath’s blog. The days blog was about his print books and how he prints them through a subsidiary company of Amazon.com – CreateSpace. I registered that he printed his books himself but thought nothing more of it, instead I looked for advice on how to maximise ebook sales.

24th March 2011

I couldn’t sleep again. I kept thinking about print books and Createspace. I had to check it out. I suddenly realised, not only are they the perfect Print on Demand company to go alongside my ebook choice but they didn’t charge (you can pay $39 for a higher chunk of royalties if you wish, but don’t have to). They were just what I had been looking for over 2 years ago.

I cried.

I then told a bunch of people. Including Keith Mountifield, who would be my person of choice for making the front cover, spine, and back cover (seriously this guy rocks). We talked about the things I’d need to do a much higher quality cover for a printed book and he gave me a list of things I’d have to get.

25th march 2011

I blogged a giveaway and began trying to get everything I needed. Lots of people helped. I also reformatted the book for print, deciding on a 5.5′ by 8.5′ book with 274 pages.

1st May 2011

I had my first completely independent 5 star review of the book from the Founder of the ePublishing Consortium. I was over the moon with this as it was the first person that didn’t know me in some way who had given me a 5 star. It also got me included on the reviewers Amazon list that was just for the top Indie books in his opinion. I then had many more reviews roll in over the next few weeks.

15th May 2011

The ebook was on promotion for the rest of the month at only 99 cents to help raise awareness. I had more sales during this period than the rest of the year to that date and was only 1 off doubling my total lifetime sales for the book.

June 2011

I decided to keep the price at 99 cents as an ebook as it kept sales at a slightly higher level than at $2.99, also had a few more 5 star reviews roll in.

1st July 2011

Made the print versions cover with my designer, Keith Mountifield. We also set up the publisher Red Feather Writing, it’s website and it’s logo. Cost so far £40.70 (the cover needed me to buy the gloves, rose and old cards)

5th July 2011

I uploaded everything needed to Createspace. Had the files rejected.

7th July 2011

Tried again. Got rejected because of the bleed not being obviously there. I then swapped a few messages with the Createspace support team and with Keith trying to figure out why it wasn’t working.

August 2011

Took a break from trying to figure out the files issues to focus on other stuff and have a holiday.

22nd September 2011

Continued trying Createspace’s review process, encountering many different problems after reformatting and reediting. A lot of it didn’t really make sense. Keith eventually redid the whole cover again in a different program.

14th October 2011

Finally gained approval for my file and ordered my proof. Cost so far £63.28

17th October 2011

My proof arrived. Checked it through and found everything to be in order, I believe I may have cried at this point too. I then approved the book for printing and publishing and ordered the first 50 books, due for delivery mid December. Started planning the book launch party. I also began taking pre-orders. Cost so far £278.64

11th November 2011

The first box of my books arrived and I began signing.

17th December 2011

I know this dates in the future but it’s when I’ve actually scheduled my book launch for. It’s going to be in the Starbucks on Bond Street in bath and anyone is welcome to join from 1pm onwards.

And that’s the whole journey. Well done to anyone who actually read the whole thing and made it all the way to the bottom here.

With Proud Humility: Print Book Cover + Giveaway Result

I’ve finally got my print version of With Proud Humility ready to print and have ordered my proof. Since people have been waiting so long I thought I would share my very shiny new cover for the book.

As people might remember from a few months ago I gathered every item seen in this cover and my very awesome designer came up with this for me. As I also promised in the post I made to gather the parts I will be giving a free copy of the printed version away to one of the helpers.

Kezia Warren is the lucky winner and I will be making sure she gets one of the first ever printed copies of the book signed and delivered to her.

Lots of new reviews.

I’ve been very excited to find I’ve had three new reviews of my book on Amazon.com in the last week. All three were high reviews and it’s been really nice to hear of people enjoying something I have written so much, especially as it can be quite hard going marketing the first book for an author. So many people don’t want to take a gamble on a name they’ve not heard of before.

To top it all off the second reviewee also runs an Amazon list for what he considers are the best indie authors out there and I’ve now had my book added to the list.

I’ve updated my book page here with a few small quotes from some of the awesome reviews I have but because I was so excited about them I wanted to share the three newest ones in full here.

1) 4 out of 5 stars

A beautiful adventuress, pirates, treasure, and romance, oh my! The language can be a little stilted, but the plot takes off from the first page and never lets go. Great fun! – Lisa Deckert

2) 5 out of 5 stars

“With Proud Humility” by Jess Mountifield revives swashbuckling adventure stories.

This is a good story told very well. Author Mountifield sets a new standard on adventure stories and crafts characters like they are people we know. This is a nonstop high seas adventure with a powerful female leading character.

This book achieves a level of quality that earn a 5 star rating. Buy this book and get ready for a tale with pirates, lost maps, a hidden treasure horde, danger and intrigue. This is one of the books you won’t want to put down. This would be one author to follow for future books as well. – Patrick Donnell

3) 4 out of 5 stars

Here I thought I was getting a nice thrill ride, sword, pirates, explosions. A good old fashioned pirate adventure, if you will. The author managed to tuck in a perfectly good romance as well. You know, a good one, without the bodice ripping and creative genitalia metaphors.

Though the dialogue may seem somewhat stilted to some. It is set in the colonial era and is a period piece. The author did a very good job keeping the dialogue in that period. Not only that, but she took a female lead character and made her a powerful, wily and fully capable force to be reckoned with in an era when women, even certain levels of nobilty, were seen as little more than property and means to an heir. The way Marie gamed the Victorian/Colonial era societal structure was both inventive and thouroughly satisfying.

I honestly don’t know why this book would be billed as a romance, all good stories will have an element of romance to them, that that’s what Jess Mountifield has turned out: A Good Story.

But, Mike? Seems like you loved it, why only 4 stars?

Well, I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s plain to see that the author was in Marie’s head. She is a well defined and whole character, very compelling and very believable in that way. I only wish she would’ve gotten into some of the other character’s minds that way. Some of the secondary characters almost seem like set dressing at times. Mountifield tells the story in a limited 3rd person view. To this reader at least, it would have be better served as told through a 1st person view point. That would’ve solved a lot of the issues with lack of knowledge of Marie’s adversaries and allies motivations.

The sticking point: Marie is an avid poker player, this reader is not. To someone that enjoys playing cards in a competitive manner, the level of detail and strategy put into the card games in the novel would be an added bonus, to me it was tedious at times. I only wish the author would’ve put the same level of detail into some of the battles in the book. The end was open enough to suspect a sequel or possible series. I’d look for it based on this work.

Overall, a good read, and highly recommended. – Mike Jordan

All three reviews made me smile in their own way and while they each have the odd point of critisism, considering it’s my first book and I am hoping to address some of those problems in later books, I’m just pleased I managed to entertain a bunch of people with something I wrote. It’s also amazing that my characters were so well grasped by the readers, especially Marie. I love my characters and for me writing is very much just me telling their stories so I’m very glad I managed to portray her well.

If this has finally enticed you to actually check out my book you can download the kindle version from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and for the 40% free sample and as many other formats as exist you can also get at Smashwords.

Don’t have a kindle or ereader I hear you cry, well no worries! You can get the kindle app for your computer, almost all smart phones, iphone, ipad, you can even get the epub format from Smashwords and transfer it into your itunes library to read on an ipod!

And the really best part is it costs less than a starbucks coffee!

With Proud Humility: Excerpt

As the date for this book being available in print is drawing near I thought I’d share an excerpt from Chapter 10 of the book.

 

Marie was left alone for many minutes before she heard the door scrape open and the footsteps of two people walking in. She also thought she heard the sound of a chair being moved and then someone sitting down on it. The second set of footsteps seemed to walk out again, leaving her alone with the first.

Whoever was now in the room with Marie seemed content to sit and watch her for several moments as she shivered in front of them. They were evidently satisfied with their position of control over her and were taking their time.

Marie was eager to ask them who they thought they were but her gag prevented anything but a muffled noise being heard. It seemed enough to stir her captor to their feet again though.

They came towards Marie who tried to pull back as they got closer. They then kneeled in front of her and removed her gag.

“Do you know who I am?” Marie immediately said, trying to sound stern, despite her fear.

There was a pause as her captor took their time about answering, making Marie think she had been ignored. She was about to speak again when they leaned in close so their mouth was right by her ear.

“I know exactly who you are,” he whispered and then kissed her on the cheek.

Marie could not reply. She knew who he was as well. Her chest began to ache as she realised the last week with Hayes had been nothing but an act. Marie choked back her tears, wishing to remain calm and not allow Hayes to see the effect this revelation was having on her.

There was silence for some time as Marie did not trust herself to say anything without betraying the wave of emotions that now coursed through her. All she did was kneel, shivering and fighting with the overwhelming desire to let her feelings out.

Captain Hayes continued to kneel in front of Marie while all this went on inside her. Despite her attempts to hide her emotions he could see the turmoil. He took off his jacket and, as he had done the day they first met, he draped it around her shoulders.

“For the cold,” Hayes explained. He then took off her blindfold as well. He did not get up though and stayed kneeling on her level.

“Are you going to hand me over to Vane?” she eventually managed to compose herself enough to ask. Hayes laughed at her.

“Why would I do that? The information you know is worth far more than the price Vane has placed on you.”

Marie looked away from Hayes again, still struggling to keep herself composed. Hayes knew a lot more than he had let on, so Marie waited for him to continue.

“I knew something was not right the first time you were on my ship and I have spent the last few weeks finding out everything I could about you and Vane. There are some very colourful stories, I must say.”

Hayes got up and returned to his seat in front of her. Marie looked at him again, the distance between them helping to compose her. Once he had her attention he pulled a folded piece of paper out of a shirt pocket. Marie understood straight away and exclaimed.

“How did you get the map?”

“Never you mind that. I have it and Vane does not. Where is the island?” Hayes replied.

“I am not going to tell you that! How can you possibly believe that I would ever consider telling you what I know after the way you have treated me?”

“You will tell me because you are not going anywhere until you do.”

“I have spent the last ten years not telling Vane, what makes you think I will tell you now?” Marie said confidently. She was not afraid of Hayes. He liked money but he was not like Vane. He was humane at least.

Hayes put the map away again before getting up and leaving Marie. He locked the door from the other side as he left. Marie assumed he was going to let hunger and thirst try to persuade her to talk.

The books is available as a download from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Smashwords and many others.

Indie Authors First Book Project

Inspired by Joe Konrath’s blog a week ago where he pledged $500 to the charity First Book if his book made it to the top 100 of Amazon.com’s listing, a group of Authors have all come together to do the same thing. All books involved are being kept track of here and I’m expecting mine to be up there shortly. Yup you heard me right. I’m doing it too with my book With Proud Humility

Now don’t panic that it’s Amazon.com doing it and that leaves all you uk people out of the fun. I’m pledging to pay $500 to the charity regardless of which Amazon it gets to the top 100 in and if it manages it on both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk I’ll donate twice the amount.

Here’s the book on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Book synopsis:

Marie’s mother died protecting something, but what? Determined to find answers, Marie is prepared to go to any length to locate her mother’s legacy, even to pursue the man responsible for her death. No price is too dear to Marie, who gambles everything on a marriage of convenience to a ship’s captain she knows she can’t trust, but who may be one ally she needs.

This is a historic story of romance and adventure, set on the Caribbean seas of the early 1800′s, a tale of betrayal and sacrifice in pursuit of an unknown goal.

 

So please go check out the books on the list and even if you don’t buy mine buy one of them.

The plan: April 2011

Last month’s progress:

Last month I tried to do a trial run at NaNoWriMo. To write 50k words of my new novel in one month. I didn’t quite manage it. I did manage just over 40k words, however, and I’m now well over half way through the next book’s first draft. So I do consider it a success.

  • I hand-wrote: 41k words
  • Typed: 65k words (including emails and blogs)
  • Spent 10 hours planning for the old book.
  • 5 hours on Flight work
  • Spent approx 15 hours in the month distracted by something (not including emails).
  • Sent 103 emails
  • Spent 25 hours reading

I think I need to be distracted less but still good progress, and maybe send a few less emails.

This month the plan is to get my book cover done for With Proud Humility, finish off the last of the t-shirt designs for the new website/shop and work on the graphic novels with Kezia Warren and Andrew Bellingham. I’m also going to need to dedicate some time to a top secret project for Flight. Will post more about that when I can.

I’m taking ten days off from easter, so assuming I still have some time left, I’ll then continue writing the second book (and maybe finally name it too).

Book cover: With Proud Humility + Giveaway

I’m interrupting the normal blogging schedule to ask people for some help with something.

I’ve recently been exploring many different options to get my first book in print. The good news is that I’ve decided upon one.

The bad news is I therefore need to update my front cover, as the ebook version already done won’t actually stand up to the high res test needed for a print run.

This is where all of you come in. I need to gather every item in my cover picture into one place and take a bunch of photo’s.

As you can see that’s not an entirely normal set of items.

Cutlass: Believe it or not this is the only item on there I’ve already got/know someone with one (Me and my friends like swords)

Rose: Well I’m sure I can buy one of these come photoshoot day so no worries there.

Lace gloves: I don’t have any of these so if anyone has any white lace gloves they’d be willing to lend/give that would be appreciated. – Have managed to acquire these now

Playing cards: I really need these to be as old as possible as I need them to look like they are from early 19th century. Dirty and well used is good too. Again I only need to borrow as these can often be collectors items. – Acquired.

Hemp rope: I need at least 1 metre of this, borrowed/given.

Hand: I think I’ve got that one covered. Just.

Background: I’d really like to use something made from a dark wood like Mahogany or dark oak as the background. Will need to be something bigger like a table or coffee table so all the items can rest on top of it and I don’t actually want to keep this at all. If I can would prefer to just turn up somewhere with me and a photographer and use someone else’s furniture.

And what do you get out of it? Well since the book is about to be in print, anyone that helps will get entered into a prize draw for one of the very first signed printed editions of the book (if lots of people help I’ll give away more copies).

If people know useful info they can either comment below, facebook or tweet me. If you comment remember to give me some way to contact you in case you win.

I’ll obviously be running this giveaway of sorts until the book cover is done and uploaded and will do the draw as I close it (winners will have to wait a bit for their prize, however, as it takes a few weeks from me submitting everything before I get physical copies in my hands).