Monday, 29 August 2011


Since last weekend, I've received four sales of The Ellroy Deflection, all thanks to Twitter (see previous post).  That takes it into double figures, my first small-but-significant milestone. Let's say 50 sales will be the next.

Anyway, it's been a Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, the last one before Christmas.  Didn't win the lottery, again, but it's been a good one.  It has mainly involved sofa-bound sports watching as Villa had a boring no-score draw with Wolves, England beat Ireland in a rugby world cup warm-up match, Vettel won the the Belgium F1 Grand Prix and Man Utd beat Arsenal 8-2 in the Premier League (oh dear, someone's in trouble).  The weekend was also taken up by the useal mundane activities, such as shopping and housework, but I won't bore you with that.

Sunday evening, my wife and I chose to watch Inception again.  It was the first time that we had watched it since the cinema and I think I enjoyed it more the second time around, even though I was enthralled by it on first viewing.  Tom Hardy almost steals the show.  He has become one of my favourite actors and I predict an Oscar in his future.  I'd forgotten that the late great Pete Poselthwaite was in it as well, even if it was a very small role.  Looking forward to The Dark Knight Rises, but I'm also looking forward to seeing what Christopher Nolan comes up with next.  I've read that he comes up with a lot of ideas with his brother, but what a track record of imaginative stories (MementoThe Prestige, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight).  Insomnia was good as well, but that was a remake.

Following, that I watched At Close Range, which I had recorded after coming across it on MGM HD the previous evening.  It was released in 1986, but I hadn't seen it before.  I had always wondered what that movie in Madonna's Live To Tell video was and here it was.  For those that haven't seen it, it's a crime drama starring Christopher Walken and Sean Penn as father and son.  I wondered whether Walken and Penn would be as convincing as father and son today, but there is actually 17 years between them.  Penn is the delinquent teen drawn into the criminal ways of his estranged father, Walken.  The performances were excellent and the film itself was a pleasant surprise.  If anyone knows of any other similar overlooked/underrated movies, please leave a comment below.

On the writing front, I've worked out the ending of my second novel, BARREN ENDEAVOUR, and now just have to write it.  In the back of my mind, I'm looking forward to brainstorming a new story for my third novel.  However, I don't want to get distracted from the task in hand.  I'll have some editing to do before starting a new story.  Does anyone think it's sensible or even achievable to do both?

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Twitter Karma

During the last two months or so, I've become a bit of a twitter junkie.  I already had a twitter account, which I used to follow various celebrities, artists or comedians that I was interested in.  Then I read a book that I downloaded from Amazon onto kindle by an independent fantasy author, M R Mathias, called 'The First Steps.'  It was very reasonably priced.  So, as I was new to self-publishing, I thought that I'd get some information from someone who had been self-publishing for a while and had some advice to offer.

One of the things that the author suggested was signing up to The Independent Author Network.  I looked into this and saw that the criteria for becoming a member involved having a minimum of 100 followers on twitter.  At that time, I wasn't a tweeter, just a follower to a select few.  So, I could not see how I was going to be able to gather that many followers when I had about nine at the time (all of whom were close friends or family).

I started becoming more active on twitter by following like-minded users.  I searched using the hash tags for writing, writer, kindle, etc and soon came across kindred spirits to connect with.  As well as following, I also posted tweets with links to my blog and Amazon.  It became clear that I needed to keep up with my end on the posting front, but I couldn't in good conscience persist with the same thing over and over again.  I understand that tweets can quickly get drowned out amongst the mass and it's worth re-posting links with a view to promoting yourself.  But, it can amount to spam if you're not careful or discreet, which some may not think twice about.  I, however, would prefer not to annoy those that have been decent enough to reciprocate my 'follow.'  Maybe that's where I'm going wrong.  Maybe those who are achieving success are those that aren't too polite to refrain from spamming.  They do say that nice guys finish last, don't they?

This made me realise that I couldn't rest on my laurels.  I needed new things to tweet about and this motivated me to produce a couple of flash fiction shorts, which I have posted to my blog, and to keep up with my blog posts.  Like I said earlier, I then became an avid twitter user and now have over 700 followers.  But, I've since learned that it's not all about gathering followers.  I've enjoyed connecting with others who have mutual agendas, interests, passions and aspirations.  I'm still not getting the sales that I would have hoped for and didn't expect immediate success.  It's been successful in other ways - it's been satisfying.

This past weekend saw my first two sales of 'The Ellroy Deflection' outside of the UK courtesy of @KateSpencer2go (Kate Spencer) and @ReneeMJ (Rennee Miller) after they followed me back.

If you're reading this and want to follow me on Twitter - my ID is @DK_Thomas 

Also, my Author Page on The Indepedent Author Network can be accessed here

Thursday, 11 August 2011

What a week it's been

I live in Birmingham and Monday saw the start of extreme vandalism and violence in the City Centre, which seemed to be copycat behaviour following the rioting in London over the preceding weekend.  News reports explained how the gangs responsible for the violence used social media and Blackberry messaging to arrange where and when they would strike, but Twitter was the place to watch for those who wanted to know what was happening.  The pictures and comments were shocking.  The TV coverage was concentrating on the devastating fire in Croydon, but reports of violence seemed to be coming from major cities all over the UK.  Shop-fronts were smashed in and looted, cars were set alight.  It was hard to take in.

Tuesday saw the fallout from the previous night and the rumours of further trouble causing businesses to close early.  I was supposed to work a 12pm to 8pm shift, but everyone in the building was sent home by 4.30pm. That evening saw the tragic death of three men on the outskirts of the City when all the police had been dragged into the Centre.

Wednesday, there was still tension.  Work packed up at 6pm instead of the usual 8pm.  Walking through the City Centre to get the train was an eerie experience.  The majority of shops were boarded up in anticipation of further disturbance throughout the forthcoming night.  Police were out in force, but it seemed that the worst was over.

Enough's being reported in the news about it, and I'm sure every civilised person feels the same way about the degenerates responsible, but I just wanted to document my experience of the last few days.  My employers ensured that its employees were able to get home to safety away from it all.

Thursday - my Twitter account was hacked.  Very annoying.  A spam message went out to lots of my followers, which was very embarrassing.  I looked at the messages and saw that the exact same message can gone out to a load of people, but I hadn't sent it.  I  strived to warn people with a couple of tweets explaining, after receiving replies from confused/inconvenienced recipients and I tried to message as many as I could to advise them to ignore the previous message that appeared to have been sent by me.  What a hassle!  I've changed my password since, to something obscure, so I hope that's the end of it.  Why me?  Surely there are more exciting people's accounts to hack.

It hasn't been the best week for writing.  Too many distractions.  I've found reading difficult as well.  I read two pages of my book today, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, before I realised that not a word had sunk in.  Thank Goodness it's Friday tomorrow...

Sunday, 7 August 2011

I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling that there just aren't enough hours in the day.  A lot of writers do their writing at night, when sleep gets in the way.  I've written about thirty-eight thousand words of my second novel so far (see the Upcoming Projects page) and my focus is now on approaching the final act and bringing it to a satisfying conclusion.  It's going to be a one-off, not part of a series like my first novel is intended.

I've found that the story is hard to shake, running through my head when I'd rather my attention was concentrated on other things.  There's a stack of films that I'm longing to get around to watching, but I don't want to put anything decent on late at night because it just becomes background noise as I succumb to the temptation of picking up a pen and putting it to paper.See my interview with Morgen Bailey about how I write

That's the state of my writing mentioned, now for my reading...

I've stopped reading the newspaper on the train to work and the commute is now taken up by a novel.  It's made quite a significant difference to my reading habits.  Where The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo took me a few months to get through, The Redbreast took me three weeks.  I then started reading Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and I was a third of the way through by the end of the week.

The film will be in the cinema in the next few months, so I glanced at the cast to picture the right face to the characters on the page.  You see, I already knew who was in the film and wouldn't want to watch the film and find that the cast that played out the story in my head was a completely different order.  Hope that makes sense.