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And a note on my birthday


I did say there would be more newsletters this month, didn’t I?

This newsletter is primarily for two things, a bit of personal news, and a bit of marketing — a shiny, all-free, group promotion to be precise.

Today, the eleventh of May, is my birthday. This point is actual the second of the two. I am telling you this now to segue neatly into the first point, and return to this fact later.

This month I am increasing my marketing for my stories. Back in February, I began with soft launches for Only One Death and Death & Taxes, with only minor fanfare. There are a number of reasons for this choice, such as the fact we were living in a camper van, traversing France, Spain, and Portugal, in search of a new home. That takes time. In the near future, I shall be talking more about my Plan, with a capital P, what comes next, what comes soon, what comes in a few years.

Only One Death, and Death & Taxes also have bonus tales, available to anyone who has a copy of either, simply by clicking a link. I did a lot of research into the best place to host these bonus tales, their home on the internet, and Bookcave came out as my favourite.

Not only is the hosting exactly what I needed, but I also appreciated the possibility of extra marketing tools, such as the ability to have my books featured, whether individually, or in a group.

And this is my first point. This month, I am part of a group promotion, entitled Brave New Worlds. If you follow the link, you can find a range of books — all of which are free, all of which fall into the deliciously-varied category of Sci-fi and Fantasy. All you need to do is select which book you want and click on it, then follow the simple instructions.

You also have a chance to win a $20 gift card for your favourite ebook seller.

Needless to say, Only One Death is a part of this promotion.

I’m rather analytical when it comes to marketing, choosing what I like and what works, discarding what does not fit my needs or fails to deliver. So far, however, I have to say this group promotion seems to be working and I am pleased with the number of new newsletter subscribers (hello and welcome! Expect this place to be full of all the little things that make up a writer’s notebook).

I shall send another message or two this month, also discussing promotion and marketing but, as a short heads-up, I’m Reddit’s Fantasy Writer of the Day on Monday the 18th of May. If you use Reddit and want to know, well anything, really, save the date and join in. I’ll send more details soon, but as the name suggests, it’ll be on r/Fantasy.

Right. Yes. Birthday. This message, like all the recent missives, comes to you from Alentejo, in the south west of Portugal, where I’ve been living for all of lockdown, all seven hundred and twenty-three years, give or take. A year ago, although rent was paid in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I actually woke up on the France/Switzerland border, hopped over to Geneva and caught a train through the mountains to Grenoble, to eat far too much sushi. The year before, I woke up within Sherwood Forest, really not too far from the Major Oak, an outlaw challenge awaiting me. Three years ago, I was on a plane, watching a bright and fierce dawn, somewhere above Burma, as I set out on adventures.

Imagine that? Travel! I am sure there will come a time when the world is once more open but, in the meantime, we can furnish our minds with memories and derive joy from these.

Birthdays, like all anniversaries, be they shared or personal, are a time for reflection. I generally utilise the whole of the month of May for this, rather than just one day. I like to ponder all that has passed, and all that might come to pass in the year (and years) ahead. As such, my thought process is incomplete. I have ideas about what will happen in the next twelve months, and I have musings about what has happened in the last twelve, but this is not the time to share them. My very first post here, still stands as a “what’s happening” list, as does this missive, with more details of the stories themselves. There’s more, of course, but until I write another, it still serves.

One thing I will mention, however, is that on my last birthday, I had no newsletter. The process of setting this up and sharing thoughts, observations, snippets and snappets, rambles, joys, and hopes, has been one I have learnt from, and continue to learn from. I hope you enjoy reading these words, and I hope you continue to do so.

Finally, if you want to send a birthday present of sorts, check out the group promotion, or maybe download Only One Death , Une Seule Mort, or Death & Taxes, see what you think to my fiction. And do please remember — if you know someone who would also enjoy this newsletter, send a copy their way.

One last thing, on the subject of reflection and thinking about what was and what might be. May might be my birthday month, but September marks two very important personal anniversaries. Firstly, it shall be twenty-five years since I left Orkney, as a fresh-faced eighteen year old, bound for university (the first time), and all manner of experiences. Secondly, it shall be ten years since I left my last “proper” job and quit the city I had called home for nearly ten years, catching a train or three, to then walk out into the wilderness, where I would spend the following three months, alone, thinking, living in a shelter I built myself, gathering food, fuel, and water. And writing, pondering the direction I wanted my life to take.

I am thinking hard about how to mark these anniversaries. I know I should do something, but what? I am, as yet, unsure. Watch this space.

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