Festive Wish


Hi there,

as the end of the year draws close and Christmas is a few hours away I would just like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas. If you do not subscribe to the western tradition of celebrating the birth of Christ then I hope whatever festivities you engage in are happy, stress free and are a time when all the family can get together and rejoice.

Life has a habit of intervening in these events but for the short time over the festive period I hope everyone can relax and enjoy their time together.

That’s all for now, see you all next year

Jan.

If only Life came with a reboot function.


Hi there,

remember the tagline in Jaws 2 “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water,” Well life can be a bit like that at times. You know what I mean, everything seems to be running smoothly,the jobs going great, the kids are doing great in school and suddenly “Wham!” from out of nowhere you get side swiped and knocked for a six.

I wonder how many of you have faced that “Wham!” situation, and how do you get around it to carry on? More than a few I’ll bet. The thing about life is it’s a great character builder, and the way to test if you have good character is to see how many “Wham!” situations  you’ve faced in your life and what type of person have you become because of it. The mere fact you’re still here and carrying on has to stand for something surely.

Like many of us I have faced these troubling times on more than a few occasions and I would like to think they have made me a better person. I would like to think that the old adage of “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is true and that through the times of deep despair I have faced in the past I have come out other end standing just that bit taller walking that bit more erect making me able to carry on with a smile.

I know there are those that when faced with what can only seem at the time, the end of all they know with no sign of hope they seek solace in other forms. Whether it be drugs or the bottle or whatever, I would point out that that is a choice and in this life there are consequences to every choice, every decision you make. I would plead with them not to make such a choice when in the grip of despair because you would only be trading one trouble from another, even greater one. The same rule applies here as does that states, never make a huge decision when angry, because you will inevitably regret it. Life unfortunately does not come with a reboot function, once you make a decision you have to live with the consequences for the rest of your life and sometimes they affect others around you too. After all, no one is an island, we all impact on others lives as we travel this road called life.

That is all for now, just my little thought for the day, hope you liked it, hope you take it on board especially during this festive season and don’t do anything you will live to regret in the years to come.

See you soon

Jan.

Coming out of the shadow of humility


Hi there,

yesterday I took part in a live discussion on Facebook about marketing with a marketing and business guru, a friend of mine, Mr Kunle Olomofe. The idea behind the discussion was to learn what I needed to boost the public profile of the Col Sec series. It was an awesome session where I was mercilessly grilled about my aims and what I wanted for the future for the Col Sec series and my career as a writer.

If asked, any writer worth his or her salt would answer in the affirmative the question of would they like to have a best seller, I am no different. I was once told by a member of a writers group that people didn’t do this sort of thing to get rich, they did it because they loved it. I agree and disagree with that statement in equal measure. As a writer I do it because  I love it, I am incredibly passionate about the craft, I may not be the best at what I do but what I do is unique, and I will expand on that later. I love to craft a story that is thrilling, captivating and is filled with characters the reader can identify with and cheer or jeer depending on their role in the story. Where I disagree is that I have and always will work towards getting that best seller.

To be able to do that I have to do two things, clearly there are many more things but for this article I have narrowed it down to the top two. Firstly I have to target my audience, and this is where I clarify an earlier point. The books I have written are unique in the fact that, in my opinion they do not fit into any given genre, not fully. The Col Sec series is a Sci Fi action adventure series. Think a Matthew Reilly Scarecrow book put set in the future, say four hundred and fifty years in the future, that’s a Col Sec book. How do I target that audience? I know it’s out there, and I know I’ll reach it and I’m also sure I’ll do it soon too. Secondly, the other thing that came out of the discussion was my attitude to marketing. I have never been comfortable in pushing myself forward, I have always considered it bragging, boasting or whatever you want to call it and it is a character trait I have always found unattractive in others. What I learned yesterday was something I have always known but chose to disregard in respect of marketing my work, and that is that no one has been successful by standing back and waiting for it to happen. I have always prided myself on my humility but now I have to put that aside if I want to succeed as a writer. I have to be bold in talking about my work. I am extremely proud of the work I have already produced and the 5 star reviews it has already garnered proves that point.

It’ll be difficult, nothing of value is ever given freely but with the help of the talented people who are guiding me I am certain things will change and for the better.

So this is me standing proud, boldly going where I have never been before and looking forward to the challenge.

That’s all for now, see you soon

Jan.

What’s wrong with ‘Normal’?


Hi there,

to be a success in this world one has to stand out, be different. There’s a lot of talk about embracing your differences and learn to enhance them. To be able to stand out in today’s market place you must know what makes you special, recognise your strengths and play to them.

Author branding is about finding your niche and exploiting it. Most successful authors are different from the rest, they stand out in some way whether it be because of their personality or because of the books they write they feel they have to adopt an alternate personality. Whatever it is they stand out because they are different, beyond what is deemed normal.

How many times have we heard that normal doesn’t get you noticed, or that good guys finish last, and I’m using this last one in the same context of normality. Countless times I have had to listen to people bragging about how well they have done in this or that and I have felt uncomfortable by it. I honestly find it distasteful to continually bend the ear of anyone who would listen about your endeavours and I wonder how I am going to get around this obstacle if I want to promote my books?

I am nothing more than a normal bloke who has a day job, a family, has brought up kids and just happens to write books. I have friends, I go out for drinks, I do all the normal family stuff and if someone wants to ask me about the books I would be only too happy to engage in polite conversation with them. It would be a normal response and what’s wrong with normal anyway?

If being normal means I won’t ever stand out in a crowd then so be it. the thought of standing up in front of any number of people to talk about what I write about sends me almost into a catatonic state of pure terror. Book signings are something I would love to do, to meet my readers is something I’ve always wanted to do but at the same time it fills me with dread. I would like to think that some time in the very near future I will be in a position to do this and when that time come I hope I’ll be better prepared for it.

Normal is good, I can see nothing wrong with it. I just hope others agree.

That’s all for now, see you soon,

Jan.

Titles?


Hi there,

The Col Sec series is progressing quite well, there are five full size books already finished plus one novella with another full size book and another novella in the works. I am working with some incredibly talented people to produce a trailer for Ronin and if successful I hope to follow that up with trailers for each successive book.

I recently chose a title for a as yet unpublished book in the series and set it aside. I continued working on the new stuff in the series but at the back of my mind I had this nagging little doubt. At first I couldn’t put my finger on it. I thought it was something with the book, was the villain strong enough? Was the story fast enough, did it have enough twists and turns to keep the reader satisfied? After hours of agonising over it, after revisiting it and going over it time after time I finally realised what it was. I had used a different title than the one I had picked originally. I attempted to get away from the one word titles that the rest of the series used and when I looked back at it it just didn’t fit.

One word titles are snappy, attention grabbing and stay with you long after you have finished reading the book but are a pain in the ass to come up with. To encapsulate all the energy, all the drama, fun, terror, everything you love about the book into just one word, and have that one word convey everything you want about the book to the potential reader is possibly harder than actually writing the book.

I learned my lesson, no more changes to my routine. Stick to what works, as a wise man once said, “If it aint broke, don’t fix it,”

That’s all for now, see you soon

Jan.