Saturday, 23 March 2013

A thousand thanks

I passed a personal milestone on Twitter this week: one thousand followers. It took me a little under five months to achieve. I don’t know if that’s fast or slow, but I’m happy with my pace. Of course, I couldn’t have done it alone – literally – so thank you all for following me. I have spent many interesting moments with you that I should have spent doing other things. I’ve learned new things about tweeting, too, since I wrote about it last. 

© Photographer Jinyoung Lee | Agency:

I have found Tweetdeck and I like it. I can follow all my lists at the same time and I can schedule my tweets too. I was reluctant to try scheduled tweets at first, fearing that they would seem impersonal. But, as I wrote the last time, not many people react to tweets as it is. So I gave it a try. I schedule five or six tweets for each night, mostly links to blogs or articles I’ve found interesting. I select them every day especially, which gives me an illusion of at least some level of topicality. So far, there hasn't been any increase in traffic to my sites that I know of, but I like to do it anyway.

I’ve also learned to react to conversation openings by others. Not very often yet, but the couple of times I’ve joined in a conversation started by someone else has been enjoyable. I intend to cultivate that skill further. And I've learned to write tweets shorter than the allowed 140 characters. I still tend to find it a waste of a tweet if I don't make it as long as possible, but I try to get over it.

I’m still not very good at getting people to react to my tweets. That’s something I definitely have to work on. And I haven’t found the balance between making sure my message is seen and being a spammer. I’m perhaps too cautious. One little tweet gets lost in the multitude so fast that without repetition it’s basically useless. But so far I haven’t been able to bring myself to change my habits.

I think I even have a piece of advice to offer:

Constantly cultivate the list of accounts you follow. You’re only allowed to follow two thousand people until you have that many followers. Don’t let the gap between how many you follow and how many follow you to become too large. I’ve noticed that I don’t follow people who have reached their limit but who have hundreds of followers less than what they follow. Most of the time, the only reward I get from following someone is them following me back. An account like that won’t offer it so I'll give it a pass. Personally, I try to keep the difference in a hundred, and about fifty of those are accounts that will never follow me back, institutions or celebrated authors. I prune those that haven’t responded to my following them once a week; in the fast-paced world of Twitter, I think that's sufficient time for people to react . Then I select a new patch to follow – at least for a week.

That’s it for now. My next goal is to reach two thousand followers. To make things interesting, I hope to achieve that in half the time it took me to reach the first thousand. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

It's here!

Warrior's Heart is finally published. It would have come out a bit sooner, but I suddenly decided on Monday that the book needed an additional scene towards the end. So I wrote about 1.500 words, which I then needed to send to my editor to be checked. Good thing too, because they came out with quite a lot of changes. A huge thanks for Lee Burton for editing  it so fast.

Here's the cover again and the blurb. You can find a longer excerpt here. I hope you enjoy the book. Your opinions are most welcome.

Warrior's Heart. A Two-Natured London Novel.

"Who the bloody hell are you, and why are you here?"

When an apparent human-on-human shooting turns out to have non-human origins, vampire DI Philippa Audley is ordered to investigate. It would be easier, however, if she hadn't been ordered to work with Jasper Grayson, one of the legendary vampire warriors of the Crimson Circle. An old-fashioned relic of a bygone era with very peculiar notions of what a woman can and can’t do is not an ideal partner for Philppa who has made a life’s career of being the first vampire woman in everything. It doesn’t help either that her late father, a Circle warrior himself, was Jasper's last partner.

Jasper Grayson isn’t very accustomed to vampire women, let alone a woman as unique as Philippa who is used to giving orders and being obeyed. His Hunger compells him to protect her, but how is he to protect someone who refuses to listen to very reasonable commands to stay safe? And how is he to gain her trust when he is keeping a secret from her?
Black magic is afoot and a deadly enemy to vampires forces the pair to find a way to work together. But will they be able to put aside the demons of the past for a shared future?

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

New book - new cover(s)

It's finally here, the cover for the Warrior's Heart. It took longer than I expected to design it, mainly because it involved photo manipulation techniques I didn't know how to use and had to learn as I went. I'm very happy with the result and hope you like it too.

Since this is a second book on a series, I wanted it to look similar to the cover for the Wolf's Call, hence the moonlight background and the muscular man. I also wanted it to be slightly different than covers in this genre usually are. Therefore, I was very happy when I found the picture of the early morning moon. It's rusty and striking. I talked about fonts in my previous post, namely the difficulty of finding suitable ones. I chose one called Gothic Ultra for the title. I like the shape of the letter W especially, and the slightly ragged edges of the letters. The texts are mostly in white or in different shades of it, because dark colours didn't stand out at all and light colours made the cover look like a poster for the Miami Vice - not an effect I was going for. 

The design is simple, because the picture is so striking. I had some difficulty deciding on whether or not to use the definite article on the title and left it out in the end, after recommendations from the Writer's Discussion Group on Google+. Thank you for your advice. I added a tag-line too, and I like how it adds texture to the picture.

I made some changes to the cover of the Wolf's Call too. It has new fonts and it, too, got a tag-line. I'll be uploading the new cover as soon as I have time. I have the edits of the Warrior's Heart to go through so that I can have the book for you as soon as possible. Stay tuned.