Posts Tagged ‘t’

Having Some ‘Me’ Time

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

After returning to full-time self-employment I confess I am enjoying some ‘Me’ time. Not much work on at the moment so I am taking it easy, which my cardiologist is no doubt happy about. I tend to be my own harshest critic and drive myself pretty hard; something I need to ease up on.

Yesterday I enjoyed a coffee with my parents and a quick trip to the locksmith to get a second key cut for my Land Rover Defender. I was beating myself up over the fact I wasn’t at the keyboard ‘working’; but in fact I was working. I was thinking about several projects at once, more or less. You have to put value on your ‘Me’ time because it is valuable creative thinking time. Ghostwriting is not like a 9-5 job where you swap your hours for someone’s dollars. You can produce a lot of money in a short burst of brilliance but forget it took hours to get those thoughts together.

On the weekend I worked on the Sunday presenting one of my community college course. I forget it is work as I enjoy it so much. It is work and it does drain one, but it is a lot of fun, too. It also pays the rent and as a freelance one must keep in mind your income will come in at different times and in different amounts. Some weeks there will be a cashflow issue and others money is everywhere. Managing it is the trick.

Lately I have put away a couple of academic jobs and am bidding for a major textbook re-writing project that will see me out for the year, even provide work for my two sub-contractor writers. I have had three college courses run this term and will soon bill for them, so the cash flow will not be a problem… for the moment. I am teaching myself not to look too far forward but to live in the moment with an eye on the future. Whenever I have needed money, something has turned up and it always will. so have faith, I say.

I tried that 9-5 ‘steady job’ thing over Christmas and I must say in hindsight being retrenched was the best thing other than a regular payday. Now, I am focusing on some new Philippines related eBooks and the third in the Sarah’s Child trilogy, hopefully out by July with the three volume omnibus set in time for Christmas. This time it will have me listed as the author ‘with Paul England’ as the supplier of the original idea and content which will more accurately reflect who did what. I am confident I can market this and make Paul and myself a tidy sum, split 50/50, to help us get over next Christmas. Stay tuned, the eWriter’s life is never dull.

What I Wrote In 2014

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

2014 was a solid year for writing with two novels and two self help books written and published. I can’t tell you the titles of the two self help books, but one was a martial arts book, the other a financial success tome. The two novels were ‘Sarah’s Child’ and ‘Sarah’s Turn’, based on original information given to me by Paul England. Both books have been selling well and I have some ideas for #3, ‘Sarah’s End’ I have discussed with Paul. I might write that one ‘on spec’ and get it out there just to finish off the trilogy.

I edited and published several books, ran a few community college courses and even taught some creative writing. As well I produced a ton of web site content and got a few short stories and other projects started, but never finished as paying work got in the way; as it does. Now I am back to being self employed and planning to stay that way, I might be able to get a fair bit finished!


Filling The Funnel

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Since my last post in October of 2014, a lot has happened. First of all I was offered a job in sales and marketing which I took up on the 20th of that month. I was working for a small, family run security company; lovely people and the potential to grow with the business however, fate took a hand and I find myself back doing what I know and love. Ghostwriting. In a nutshell the company had a lot of work come in over Christmas which they did and paid their staff but the clients have yet to pay them. Consequently they can’t carry on without the money to pay wages and bills, so they had to let staff go. It is a pity as I enjoyed working with the owner and they were good to me over Christmas when I had a heart attack and needed a few days off. Still, I confess I prefer the uncertainty of working for myself but having my time to use as I please to the regular, if rather small, pay cheque.

So what now? How do I recoup the lost 14 weeks of no funnel filling? I have poured nothing in the way of prospects into the sales funnel so there is no new projects dribbling out the bottom. I need to start filling the funnel, getting out there online and pitching my services to potential clients. I did this for the company I just worked for, so why not do it for my own business? It is how it is done and without it you aren’t a freelance writer, just a writer with a lot of free time to fill. I will be looking at my marketing mix, editing my existing products, creating some new ones, making things happen. Stay tuned!

Keeping Busy

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

As a freelance writer I only make any money when I am writing for other people… and they pay me. Cashflow is always a balancing act in any business and none more so in the writing game. Ghostwriting/co-writing a 60,000 word novel can take months and you don’t usually get paid up front. Getting paid is the key, of course. I know very good writers who have full order books and work 12-14 hours a day but forget to put enough focus on getting paid for all their hard work.

At the moment I have two ghostwriting projects that I hope to complete before the end of October and get paid for… which should carry us over the Christmas-January period which is always pretty slow. I have two or three regular gigs writing articles for web sites and the tutoring but the college lecturing has fallen flat this year. It seems fewer people are enrolling in community college courses all round, not just the ones I offer. Fortunately having several income irons in the fire helps to flatten out the cashflow peaks and troughs.

When it comes to what I call ‘investment writing’, those books and publications I write for myself as the client in the hope they sell down the track (what most people refer to as writing a book, being an author etc); I have several projects still bubbling away on the back burners. The trip to Malaysia and the Philippines in April still needs to be written up as do the many story ideas that were generated by having flip flops on the ground over there. I have a couple of books that need editing, re-writing, up-dating and re-publishing, not to mention lots of web site maintenance. A writer’s work is never done!



Sarah’s Child Getting Rave Reviews

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Slide1My latest novel, ‘Sarah’s Child’ is getting rave reviews over on  and even better reviews at I co-wrote this with Paul England; he supplied the true events and I wrote the narrative. It is a fictionalised account of events that affected his family in recent years. While the theme and plot are accurate, the characters have been radically altered to ensure they can’t be identified as anyone living or dead, except perhaps by the individuals themselves; if they choose to so identify.  That would be a mistake as I have applied considerable literary license to the novel to make it entertaining and fiction. The ending, for example, is total fiction but gripping nonetheless.

What is very true is the social issues it addresses such as; postpartum depression, single parenting, controlling relationships and so on. There is already a sequel planned, ‘Sarah’s Turn’ and that should begin pre-production as the movie types say, tomorrow. I am very pleased with the reaction so far and am looking forward to writing even better for the sequel. Paul has given me more information and direction as to where he wants the novel to go and I am confident I can weave another enjoyable read from his material. The book will be released on tomorrow. So far it has had 915 downloads of the beta reader, or review copy. The first few hundred were of the pretty raw first draft, followed by several hundred of the 80% edited version. The feedback from beta readers was crucial in getting the plot holes ironed out and any confusing bits repaired. Then I sent it to my  proof reader, Jeff Kennedy for final editing. Jeff is a lot slower typer and reader than me and misses nothing, as well as being a talented writer in his own right. If nothing else, his corrections prove once again, if any further proof is necessary, of the value of having your manuscript proofed and edited by a fresh set of eyes.

I hope readers will surf over to Smashwords and buy a copy, just US$4.99 in eBook format and as a paperback only US$14.99 plus shipping.

Blog Tour? Wazza Blog Tour?

Monday, May 26th, 2014

The Tale Of The Ancient MarinaI have been invited by Aaron David, the well-known Bolton bon vivant and author of ‘The Tale of the Ancient Marina’, to join his blog tour. Aaron, by the way, was discovered by me and I published his very funny first novel to international acclaim (some might dispute the details of this allegation). If I had the five thousand quid to enter it into the Man Booker Prize I would, but sadly funding issues and all that. Lame excuses aside, the blog tour is a way for writers to network and have some fun and hopefully draw some attention to their writing and their blog. Given I have been flat strap since my last post, this is one of those good things we all need from time to time to kick start us into doing something.

So the thing is, I answer four questions about me and my work, link to other writers and they do the same and all of a sudden we achieve the fame and fortune we deserve. So here goes!

1) What am I working on?

I have several projects going at the moment. I am ghostwriting three books, editing two, publishing one and trying to get some of my own short stories written for the ‘Postcards From Pudu’ anthology inspired by my recent tour of Malaysia and the Philippines with fellow author and business partner, Frank ‘Currywolf’ Green. I have quite a busy schedule of work, interspersed with tutoring sessions and the odd lecture course at college but it keep sme busy and the wolf from the door and as a self-employed writer, one must have multiple streams of income.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?Photo: Designed the cover of the anthology that is planned to emerge from our trip to Malaysia and the Philippines in April. 'Postcards From Pudu - Short Stories From Singapore To Cebu' by Curry Wolf and Satay Bear. Ten ripping yarns from each author that are all set in the Malay archipelago in the tradition of W. Somerset Maugham and Louis L'Amour!It will be available sometime in the second half of 2014, so get your pre-orders in as stocks will be limited to a few hundred thousand only...

If we are talking about my Street Lit Trilogy, ‘The Cool Side of the Pillow’, Twenty Seven Seventy’ and ‘Never Be Unsaid’, I think it is that I try to bring a higher standard of literary application to topics of contemporary and everyday mundanity! Mundanity is the noun of mundane. I just made it up but you can use it, introduce it to your personal lexicon, get it out there. Discussing deep topics in ordinary language everyone can understand is no easy task and I don’t always succeed; at least not if success is measured by the number of copies sold. But I do try. And I love trying. short stories attempt to entertain and intrique and most of all, make the reader pause, ponder and process. I love the short story format because you can get the job done and see the end of it, unlike the long term commitment to a novel. Shorties are coming back into vogue because we have more platforms to read them on with eReaders, blogs, eBooks and of course, mobile phones.
3) Why do I write what I do?

Because (with my novels) I have something I want to say. I believe I have said it all for now and have turned my back on novel writing. I prefer to pursue the short story and help revive it with the new platforms eWriting is offering in blogs, eBooks and so forth. I personally believe an anthology of short stories is better for someone going on a journey than an airport blockbuster they may or may not finish, not to forget the sheer weight and bulk of those things. I write what I write for my own enjoyment as much as anyone else’s. Just as Aaron wrote in his blog, I am my own best audience, my biggest fan but also my most strident critic.
4) How does my writing process work?

With short stories I usually have an idea for a title, a snatch of dialogue or a plot twist; most often drawn from something I have observed first hand in real life or that has morphed from one idea to another. By this I mean I have a random thought that trots off on a path in one direction, then takes a side street, then a short cut, then doubles back and so on. Very rhizomatic one might say.

With novels and non-fiction work I plan it out using Excel to give me chapter headings, outlines and word count. I have Scrivener, which is a superb software program however I can’t be asked to invest the many hours it would take for me to be able to use it as well as I work my own method. Once the Excel scaffold is laid out, I use Word in Notebook format to give me a tabbed page for each chapter, then I collate them in Print View and edit, format and publish. My only whinge is you can’t check word count in Notebook format, so you have to copy/paste to Print View to check if the chapter is hitting the planned word count. More for non-fiction than fiction writing.

So now I have to upload this, add the links of course and then perhaps try and get stuck into something that pays me to write it! I’ll let you know who my three writers are when I attract them, entice them, coerce them or blackmail them into joining the tour!



Writing Retreat Planned For April

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

IMG_1319This Easter I will be spending two weeks travelling through Malaysia and the Philippines with fellow author and StreetWise Global business partner, Frank Green. A major objective of the trip is to actually meet after over a decade of online friendship and nearly three years in business together. We have shared many hours of  VoIP conferencing (Skype) and email exchanges but nothing beats spending time face to face. Frank is an Englishman who lives on an island off the west coast of Ireland with his two children. A superb writer in his own right, Frank handles a lot of the ‘grunt’ work of running an online writing business.

StreetWise Global is one of the StreetWise group of businesses, but separate to my personal StreetWise Publications. SWG handles the factual self-help series of StreetWise Guides and Language Courses that currently focus on the Philippines. One of our goals is to explore Malaysia a little more than we already have on previous individual visits. (I was last there in November 2012 after attending the Singapore Writer’s Festival). We both believe there is a lot of potential in providing StreetWise Guides for those looking to retire to Malaysia, especially those who can’t quite afford the superb ‘Malaysia My Second Home‘ retirement scheme. We have some unique insights to develop on how expats can enjoy everything this fabulous country has to offer, but at a more affordable retirement budget.

IMG_1274While in Malaysia we will be undertaking a road trip, not quite as epic in length and duration as the one Scott and Greg enjoy in ‘Never Be Unsaid’, but epic nonetheless. The plan, so far, is to drive from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan on the East Coast, then north to Kota Bharu, across to Alor Setar and then back down to KL before flying on to Cebu. In Cebu we will circumnavigate the island as we both believe road trips are ideal for focusing one’s thoughts and giving us plenty of time to talk things through in detail. While on this trip we have pledged to write at least 1,000 words per day of short fiction. The theme will be decided but the setting will be wherever we are that day. The resulting anthology will be published online and in print.

Another objective is to scout out various WW2 and Malayan Emergency (1948-60) battlefields and add them to the planned tours of Singapore. Once the focus on Gallipoli, Flanders and WW1 dies off and everyone has done the Kokoda Track and Vietnam, I think there will be interest in the Malayan Campaign, Fall of Singapore and the Emergency and Confrontation with Indonesia (1964-67) as a place of military historical value to visit. In the Philippines I have to visit my inlaws and make sure they are getting back to normal after the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda, meet up with old friends and refresh a lot of material for my existing titles. While you can update many things via the Internet and forums, there is nothing like boots on the ground (or sandals in my case) to get you genned up.

When we return there will be a lot of writing to be done and no doubt some new publications to be promoted. I can’t wait to challenge Frank to a Satay Eating Contest!

Awesome Result In 24 Hours

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Screenshot 2014-01-13 00.54.48In the first 24 hours of being available for sale on, ‘Out of Stock, Sir!’ has made it to a ranking of 172,187 in the Paid Store! I am stunned. I did push a free coupon download to facebook friends last night and so far two dozen half availed and a few have written great reviews. I have sold one copy on but I still have no idea how come it is ranking so well, so soon. Stay tuned!.

Update 24 Hours Later: Within 30 minutes of publishing this post the ranking sank to 180,000. The following morning it was at 230,345 and now, 24 hours after first checking and finding it at 172,187 the rank is 115,522! Will it crack five figures? Who knows, stay tuned!


Guest Blogging’s Good For The SEOul

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 11.35.11 AMI have had a blog post published over at The Writer’s Shack. Guest blogging can be a very positive way of improving your ‘brand’ for various reasons. First of all people you would otherwise not be read by get the chance to learn of your existence. They might click the link you leave in your author-bio box, visit your site and decide they  like what you have to say. That could lead to them buying one of your books, then becoming your biggest fan. You never know.

Guest blogging is good for your SEO (search engine optimisation) and site ranking. These days, ‘black hat’ SEO boosting tricks are pretty much a thing of the past and getting ranked well relies on social influence and relevance of content. Being out there on blogs other than your own says you are considered worth reading by other people and so your rank is increased. When what you post has a lot of views then it adds to the social influence and relevance of the blog and by extension those blogs and sites your post links to.

Guest blogging is also good for you because it is giving something back. Your host gets some great content to add value to their blog and entertain and inform their audience as well as a hike in ranking and relevance. Their audience gets a fresh viewpoint and the chance to discover a new voice. Everyone wins. Of course, like guests everywhere, behave appropriately. Consider your host blog and their audience. Tune your post to suit, there is nothing to be gained in upsetting anyone for no return other than a brief moment of smug contentment that yeah, you showed ‘em! As a writer and a professional, keep the objective in mind and don’t burn bridges. Nothing helps your own brand and ranking like a guest blog except being asked to come back and blog again!


Never Be Unsaid Now Available!

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Screenshot 2013-12-22 23.32.11At last! ‘Never Be Unsaid’ is now available in paperback through and soon in paperback and eBook on and as an eBook through Apple, Kobo, Sony, BN and Smashwords and wherever quality literary fiction is sold.