In the works


Hi there,

as you probably already know, the Col Sec series is in the process of being relaunched. The first two books, Ronin and Omega are already out there garnering some impressive reviews and Discovery is about to be published in the next week. The question I find myself asking now though is should I just tell you about the books that are out and are due out in a few days or should I hint at what’s to come further down the line. I have another two full size books already written along with a novella and a full book and another novella in the planning stages.

If I write about the new stuff will it deter any potential readers from reading the stuff that’s already available or will it just make their anticipation greater?  The only reason I have not already written about what’s in the works is I do not want to give anything away. There are surprises in store and I would like them to remain that way for the greater enjoyment of the reader. Nothing irks me more than when I pick up a book and someone tells me the ending or if I’m about to sit down and watch a favourite tv show and the announcer informs me of what happens. I don’t want to know these things, I prefer to learn of them myself. I like to allow a story, whether it be in print form or or the screen, whether it be tv or cinema to unfold before me as it should, as the writer designed it to. So in that respect and to respect the reader I will not divulge any details of the books to come except to say they will keep you enthralled.

That’s all for now,

See you soon,

Jan.

Ronin (Part 2)


Limelight Literature

As promised here’s another extract from Jan Domagala and his book Ronin.

PROLOGUE

He stood on the Observation Lounge looking out at the vista of stars, waiting to die.

Out of the four volunteers for the special experimental programme, only he and Kurt Stryder were left alive. The other two, Summerfield and Watson, had died in circumstances too horrible to contemplate. Was this his fate too, to die like them?

He knew there were risks involved in the programme, a fact of any experimental programme but seeing those risks, seeing the consequences up close and personal made him doubt the validity of both the programme and his eagerness to enlist in it. It was too late to pull out now though, for the final round of tests had been completed. At least he had gotten that far, more than could be said for Summerfield or Watson.

Turning away from the large…

View original post 2,890 more words

Reviews, life or death for a writer


Hi there,

I recently entered a conversation on Facebook on a writers community page where someone was complaining about receiving a 1 star review. I can understand the consternation the person felt at the review because it was a ludicrous thing anyway. The reviewer gave the book 1 star and said, “I gave it one star because I haven’t read it yet”

The consensus of opinion was twofold, firstly that she should ignore the review as it was ridiculous and secondly ask for it to taken down.

These opinions seem to be in opposition but both are valid, I’ll explain. Firstly she should not allow a bad review to get under her skin or it would affect everything she does from then on. As writers we have to cultivate a thick skin because the business is rife with nay sayers who love nothing more than to pull you down to their level and if you allow negative comments to affect you then they have won. Writing is like any performance art, totally subjective in the viewers eyes. In that respect the truism of you cannot please all the people all of the time was never more valid.

Secondly, the writer should ask Amazon to take the review down as it is not relevant to the product on sale. For this I sincerely hope she has adequate lung capacity for if she were to hold her breath while she waited I think she would soon expire. I doubt Amazon would comply with this issue as I have had a similar situation and had no luck whatsoever in getting them to even acknowledge my complaint let alone comply with my wishes. When I first published Ronin I asked for reviews and I received a rather negative one with a 1 star rating. I, of course was mortified that someone could find fault with the book I had laboured over for many hours and yet here it was in black and white. The review tore it apart and he even admitted to only reading 15%. After I had calmed down and dried my tears I took a look at the points raised. After consulting with a friend who had also read the book I decided to change certain things and republish. I am now on the 3rd edition of the book which has a new Prologue and new cover artwork and has earned a couple of 5 star reviews and yet that very first review still stands. No matter how many times I contact Amazon asking them to take it down as it doesn’t relate to the item now on sale it still remains. So if this other author wishes to go with this route then I wish them the best of luck for they will most certainly need it.

A lot of the comments on the page were encouraging this writer to ignore her lone 1 star review saying it meant nothing. What most of them failed to realise is that  that 1 star review as meaningless as it was in respect of her work would bring the average of her rating down just by its presence. Some said that it would be good for the author as it would bring balance and that readers can sometimes be wary of all the reviews on a prospective buy being 5 stars. I disagree with this. Yes todays readers are more discerning on what they are looking for and in that respect I think a 1 star review could put off some people. It’s a difficult thing to persuade potential readers to purchase a book online at thebest of times so in my opinion if you give any of them cause for concern then they could move on to something else.

I have said this before, reviews to a writer can be a matter of life or death for a career and I don’t think Amazon’s cavalier attitude to governing how reviews are posted is helping us as writers. Until they get their act together though I suppose it’s something we will just have to put up with. To help that the only thing we can do is ensure our work is the very best it can be and hope the reader rewards us for our endeavours.

That’s all for now, see you soon

Jan.

Importance of getting it right


Hi there,

marketing is all about getting your product noticed to generate sales and one of the ways this can be helped is by coming up with a killer slogan. This can be as difficult as writing a book. How to encapsulate a product, for example, a three hundred odd page book into a catchy phrase? This is why big publishing houses employ staff to do this sort of thing and why they have the advantage over the Indie author who has no such resources behind him. Never the less the point of this is about the slogan, tag line, whatever you want to call it.

If you get it right it can boost your sales, improve you profile and increase your revenue.Your product will remain in the public eye for a very long time, as will you, its creator. Get it wrong and it can be disastrous.

There is an ad campaign on local radio where I live for a firm of solicitors who specialise in divorce. They claim to help you through this difficult time with blah blah blah and so forth but their slogan at the end of the ad is, in my opinion completely useless. Every time I hear the ad I tend to focus on it rather than the service they are supplying. I can’t even remember their name. The slogan is “Because life happens” surely a better slogan would be, now take into consideration what service they are supplying, legal help with a divorce, “Shit happens, but life goes on”

Life doesn’t just happen, life is, or can be wonderful but it can also be heartbreakingly terrible and that is purely down to circumstances and your ability to deal with them. There are many of us who subscribe to the three laws of life. Law number one, shit happens. Law number two, shit happens on a regular basis and finally Law number three, if in doubt refer back to Law number one.

So there you have it, my take on what is a good slogan and my philosophy of life. Also keep an eye out for that slogan, if you see it being used, remember where you saw it first.

Enjoy your weekend and I’ll see you soon.

Jan.

Internationally read blogger


Hi there,

every now and then I try to get myself motivated to blog more often. There was a campaign doing the rounds when I first started a few years back now that set out a schedule for bloggers to write either once a day, once a week or month and so on. Well I tried the once a day and that didn’t work so I tried once a week but I found that because I’d set myself a schedule there was no way I could keep to it. Life always seemed to interrupt in some way or another.

Today I was thinking that I really should do this on a more regular basis and I think that one of the reasons I don’t, apart from the time constraints my job, writing my book and life in general place upon me, is that I don’t think anyone actually reads my blog.

That was until a few days ago.

A few days ago I posted my latest piece  entitled ‘Where have all the hero’s gone?’ and a day later I dutifully checked my stats and the usual few hits were there, a couple from the UK where I live, which I put down to family and friends and then also a few from the US. This is not unusual as I’ve made contact with a few people across the pond and I put the figures down to those. The day after that though I registered a few from the UK and US as well as from the Republic of Korea and Mauritania.

I can now boast that I am an internationally read blogger. That may be small potatoes to those of you out there who have actual followers who make themselves known to you but to me this is a big deal.

That is why I am making a concerted effort to blog on a more regular basis. If these people  take the  time and trouble to read my work then the least I can do is give them something to read. I cannot guarantee the quality of the work but I can guarantee it’ll be there.

That’s all for now,

see you soon

Jan.

Where have all the good guys gone?


Hi there,

just lately there seems to be a glut of programmes on the tv that have as their protagonist someone who is morally ambiguous which made me question what makes this type of character so appealing to us.

This kind of anti hero dates back centuries even to Greek literature but let’s not go that far back, I doubt any of us can remember that far back anyway. My first introduction to the anti- hero was Dirty Harry. Here was someone who was willing to bend the rules to get a result. Someone who seemingly didn’t give a rat’s ass for rules as long as he got the bad guy. This trend has travelled well through both mediums of literature and film, whether it be tv or cinema being refined until it is the polished item we see today. Even in Comic books we see the change, even Superman, the bastion of truth, justice and the American way has been altered in the respect that we saw him kill someone in the latest movie outing of the character, something that a few years ago would have been impossible.

This beggars the question, what has happened to the good, clean cut hero, the hero who does the right thing simply because it is the right thing?

There are many who subscribe to the notion that all great characters in literature or film are not either all good or all bad but grey. In life there are grey areas in everything and this relates well to characters, but what is it that makes this type of character so appealing to us?

I suppose, after all the in depth inspection of the matter it all boils down to one simple fact. These people who are willing to visit the same evil of those who perpetrate it on others are doing what we all wish we could do, and that is get justice in a world filled and fuelled by injustice.

In the first book in the Col Sec series we meet Kurt Stryder who has to face a dilemma. His dilemma is a decision he has to make, he has a secret that could cause great harm or bring great good to many if used wisely. Being a good man he is tortured by this decision because at heart he is a good man and only wants to do good. He joined Sol Sec because of something his father told him. Something so simple in concept but it made an indelible impact on his mind. His father told him that for evil to triumph all that was required was for good men to do nothing.

Kurt Stryder’s dilemma can be seen in Ronin available here,  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ronin-Col-Mr-Jan-Domagala/dp/1499603703/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416434415&sr=1-1&keywords=Ronin%2C+Col+Sec+1

That’s all for now,

See you soon

Jan.

Belief in oneself


Hi there,

a while ago I was advised that as a writer my career would benefit from joining a writers group. I dutifully sought out what was considered the best in the area I live in and asked if I could join. My partner and I, she is also writing a book, went along for our first meeting and were dazzled by the array of talent on display. We were so impressed by them that we came away thinking we did not belong there. As time went on though our opinions changed and we felt more at home.

It was a typical writers group in the respect that there were the usual characters present that are listed in various posts about writers groups, anyone who has seen one of these or is a member of such a group will understand what I mean. The longer we were there though our opinions began to alter as to the validity of our taking part in such a group. It wasn’t that we thought were we better than the group, in my opinion their writing skills in the leterary form far out weighed anything I could achieve but it was a difference of opinion in some of the things they said..I disagreed on a few of the points they made but at the time I felt I didn’t have the expertise to back up any argument I could bring to the table. This wasn’t to say that I was wrong either, just that I lacked confidence to argue or to put my point across adequately.

One of the things I disagreed with was a point brought up when reviewing one of the groups work. Their opinion was that the writer introduced the central character too late and that he should be introduced in the first chapter and they argued that this was always the case. Now I know of several best selling authors who introduce their characters after the first chapter and they use the first chapter as a scene setting plot device where something happens and the key character then comes in to either investigate or is involved in some other form. Admittedly these are books that are in a series so strictly speaking the key character is known to most readers and I say ‘most’ as there are always some readers who are new to the series and for them this is a new book entirely.

Another point made, well it was a comment actually and it was made by the head of the group and he said that writers don’t do this sort of thing to get rich, they do it because they love it. I agree and disagree in equal parts. I don’t know of anyone who has written a book or who is about to write a book who doesn’t dream of that book becoming a best seller. It’s what drives us on to pursue excellence in our writing. The group had decided to form their own publishing company who’s motto was that the only limitation was excellence. They told the group that they would take submissions from any quarter and that being a member of the group was not an automatic guarantee of admission, that they would have to go through the submission process just like anyone else. I found it strange that when the company went live that the only books published by them were by founder members of the group and that submissions were closed. I found this to be a remarkable event.

All this aside I found that the advice given out on the whole by the group on writing in general was fundamentally sound and I have benefited greatly it was just that the work read out by other members was not to my taste. I could not see any of the books they were working on ever selling anywhere, so I suppose the comment about never getting rich was a valid point. The market I was, and still am aiming for though is a wider one, one that I hope is filled with people who like the kind of adventures I love to write.

I wish the writing group all the success in the world with all their future endeavours and I have the greatest respect for their talents and skills but for the time being I will go it alone. I think I can concentrate better on the stories I want to tell and if I become a better writer, no doubt it is because of the advice I took on board from their classes.

That’s all for now, see you soon

Jan.

5 Star Rating


Hi there,

I hope your Halloween celebrations went off without too many a hitch last night. This morning though is another new day and with it bring new hope and new endeavours. After feeling down and despondent over my recent apparent inability to reach out to people I was amazed to learn the post I wrote last had the second highest views of any of my posts. This morning I was delighted to learn also that Ronin, the first in the Col Sec series had garnered another review and with it a five star rating.

It just goes to show that life has its way of surprising you and just when you think no one is actually listening someone comes along to prove you wrong.

As I said in my earlier post, I will continue to write and for those of you who do listen and enjoy my work you have my gratitude.

That’s all for now except to say enjoy your weekend.

Jan.