Black Beauty Has A Beady Eye On The World pic.twitter.com/2lWfIdXcUI #birds

Who’s a pretty boy then?

In our house we’re celebrating the recovery of a favorite ‘pet’ – a wise old crow who’s been coming to our garden for years. Just as the dog in “Alf The Workshop Dog” is a real mutt, ‘The Crow of the World’ from the same story is also based on my real-life bird friend. We call him ‘Hook Beak’ – for reasons you can guess from his photo.

He’s the cleverest and bravest of the crows, always first to come down when we throw out food. He swaggers up, looks right in at the window with his beady eyes and squarks at us when he’s hungry. If food is too dry – he takes it to a bowl of water and sits for a few minutes whilst it soaks and softens. If there’s any left over, he hides it for later – digging little holes in the grass and covering with leaves or moss.

Recently he showed up with a wounded leg, hardly able to walk. The other crows were pecking at him, keeping him away from food. He became increasingly bedraggled and we were worried he wouldn’t survive, especially with the constant bullying. We knew he was braver and more confident than most of his oppressors. We guessed he would approach closer than the others if we stayed in the garden to frighten them away. We made up some pasta (his favorite!) mixed with tinned dog meat. Sure enough he flapped down to feed while we stood guard. The bullies just squawked and postured at a distance. His courage and intelligence got him his three meals a day in peace.  This weekend he’s looking glossy and sleek. His limp has more or less gone and he can once more hold his own in the pecking order. He’s also very busy delivering food to a nest in a nearby oak tree – we think he may soon be teaching a young apprentice all his tricks!

The Great Crow Of The World is a major character in my kid’s book Alf The Workshop Dog which  has been doing great and has reached #1 Bestseller in Time Travel, Pets, and Chapter Books in USA, UK and Canada.  To celebrate, the second book in the series Isabella’s Pink Bicycle is going free 12-13-14 May. Come along and meet another animal – that cool pole cat for a tight spot – Frankie Ferret.  Who needs a Fairy Godmother when you’ve got a Ferret Godfather?

http://www.smarturl.it/IsabellaPink

Emma Thinx: You can’t bully your way to courage.







Give A #Dog A #Free Home – http://t.co/bWCW8z7aMy 11-13th April Amazon Worldwide

You can’t drive a better bargain than free!

There is a long tradition of novelists taking real characters and turning them into literary figures. Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Severus Snape, Indiana Jones, Dorian Gray and Alf The Workshop Dog were all based on real people …..and a dog of course. 

If you want to check out the real Alf  FOR FREE you will able to see him live by using the interactive features in Alf The Workshop Dog which goes free on 11th, 12th and 13th April.

In the story Alf the homeless mutt helps out at a Bus depot workshop by finding tools and sniffing out waste food on a fleet of buses. Do I hear you saying “Aah – poor thing”.  Well, here’s your chance to give a dog a home and learn the whole story. 


Emma thinx: Police dogs work on leads.

Sex Discrimination Scandal. Free Books For Sisters

Get yourself tooled up for love

Shannon’s Law has been out there a week. It’s doing OK but something very weird is happening. At least half the readers are men. Are they picking it up because it is sub-categorized in crime? Have the guys always been would-be  romance readers and the e reader allows them to indulge?

I started some research yesterday. Firstly I made contact with Woman’s Hour, a BBC Radio 4 programme for persons of the XX rated chromosome tendency. I’ve asked them if they know about this phenomenon. Their machine replied saying  they probably wouldn’t answer. 

Secondly I went to Walmart and loitered about near the hot romance display to see if I could spot any hairy hunks snapping up copies of “The Billionaire’s Virgin Underpants”. Not a sausage. By the way – what ever happened to Millionaires? I’m not looking but if I were free anything above five hundred million does add at least six inches  to a man. Even a couple of million enhances the eyes and the general charisma.

Thirdly I am looking for any insights from my readers. Does your man rummage in your Kindle while you are at work? Do the guys sit around with their beers before the boxing on TV chatting about Harlequin’s latest hero?

If you’re an XY Chromosapien, do you have a Sheikh’s Marriage Ultimatum hidden in your toolbox?

The problem of course is that in the old days publishers loved to keep us all classified by genre. Any old cow looking over the fence into another field was soon segregated by the gate keeper. It was always something of a myth. Brothers are doing it for themselves. I do love them for it you know. 

In the pursuit of my research here is an unbeatable offer. If you are a woman romance reader and would like to balance up my reviews here is a link to get you a free copy of Shannon’s Law during the next two weeks. Yes Really! If you do a review I’ll love you for ever and send you a free copy of Cop’s Kitchen as well. Come on sisters, don’t let them grab our stuff. They can play with their own tools. If things like cars are a bit of a mystery, all the pictures of things in the book are on my pinterest board. 

Ladies register here for your free review copy 


Emma Thinx: Stick to what you don’t know. 



Fire Up Your Follicles

Scales fell from my eyes

Ooh – I’ve just been throwing out the junk after all the food-fest. First thing that’s going in the trash is the bathroom scales. That’s the first problem solved. Second problem is that the programme on my righteous virtue training machine has gone wrong. All this bloody software! Computers are like men – you choose them cos you like the look of the  hardware and as soon as you get’em home and try to plug ’em in they develop a software problem. 

Never mind, life is beautiful quand même. I’m missing my home in France to be honest. I’ve been thinking of the river Charente and writing a love poem. Mainly I’m writing a story. I’m terrible really, constantly distracted by love, desire and chocolate. Well, let’s just say chocolate shall we. It’s all research you know. 

I had always said that I was never gonna give it away again. For a few months I have been trembling on a cold street corner of literary virginity. Punters have stopped, sighed, squeezed and occasionally had a nibble. But Hell, it’s Christmas and a wise woman gives out the goods. “Knockout!” is only sex, love, intrigue and police action drama but it’s FREE. There’s a new hot book soon out so take this chance to fire up your follicles in preparation. 

I hope you all had a great Christmas. Next year will bring its own problems of course, but we’re learning all the time aren’t we?  Just think -in 2013 mankind will know more than she has ever known – except what to do with all that knowledge. 

Links to free book:


Emma thinx: Giving it for free is business. Giving it for nothing is love. 






Hot Chick Gives It Away

Now, that got you interested did it not. OK fellow scribes, I’m trying something new. Once upon time in the land of Amazon KDP Select one could paper the house with free tickets and spread the word. And the word was Sales. My own experience was initially positive but with the change of algorithms and a new Amazon recipe containing 3D humble stumble potion, red sales headed for the sunset.

Now has come the idea of gifting your book to people who really want it. Using The Reader’s Guide To E Publishing (RG2E), it is possible to feature your book for the day. This site offers free books. The down side is that the author pays for them! However, much of this money will come back to you via your Amazon sales and the cost is far less than conventional advertising which will only sell you a few books if you are lucky. Of course, you are free to adjust your price in advance of your offer. In the UK such costs are fully tax deductible. 

Another advantage is that you are asking people to choose books they like. With KDP I found that there was a download frenzy like anorexic mackerel swallowing silver paper. A few would then submit reviews within an hour beginning “I hate this kind of book and could only read three pages”.  

Today, RG2E are featuring “The Chosen”, my short tale of roguish aspiration. The idea is to get a bump up the charts. Let us see what happens. You will be among the first to know and I won’t charge a cent.

Emma thinx: Rarely is freedom given. 








Snow way!

Defiance

As the last snow melted I sat in my garden this morning with a cup of coffee feeling the sting of the sun on my face. The furniture is re-assembled and dry. Beneath the snow a hyacinth proclaimed its defiance. New buds were green on the fig tree We are such little things – with all our vanities and petty brief lives. Whatever becomes of us, Nature will win and all our defeats and victories will be nothing.  It is a comfort is it not?


Madame! Of course it never freezes here

I’ve been having a KDP free day. I shifted about 1700 copies of the “serious” short story “Sub Prime” and 800 of the Romance “Knockout”. All in all now I have shifted some 10,000 copies of this book – the majority for free. I am not a marketeer or any kind of business person. To be frank, I am happy even if the book gives pleasure to just a few readers. I have never wanted to charge any money for “Sub Prime” because it is an unashamedly socialist story about exploited powerless people. The fact is I guess that in my old bed-sit “sincere” writer days, if I had sold 10,000 books I would have been able to work for a year – yes if I had sold them! The fact is that a Mills and Boon “title” used to sell about 7,000 copies before it is pulled off the shelves and pulped. I guess those days are gone. My own mistake is to have pushed out a single book without a series or stable of similar books already off the production line. If you just have the one book, so much effort and promo to get it noticed will create nothing but a brand vacuum. My advisors and I do clash a little over this. My view is that free days are great if it leads on to sales…..if. 


Amongst the many regrets of my life is that I have always scrapped all the manuscripts that came back as rejected. I have always figured that the next one would be worthwhile and someone would like it. The danger was  I may have been tempted to waste more time on the rejects rather than trying to improve. You think that posh educated experts must be right about you. You learn these lessons too late. I hope these rather dour words may get to you if you are a younger struggler out there. Do not throw it away just because a few publishers and agents sneer at it with remarks about inconsistent genre targeting etc. Soon enough you will have run out of time, your energy will be failing and younger better writers will be nearer those golden control buttons. My heart felt advice to all writer/marketeers out there is  – get a bus or truck licence.


I hope I don’t sound too miserable – I am not. I would like other writers to tell me their take. I really would like some feedback on where you guys as writers think we are going and what are realistic ambitions? 


Emma thinx: If the snowball gets too big you can’t see the glacier.



Oxymorons Run Amok in Free Sales Orgy


You know that insecure feeling when you come downstairs after the party, slithering on a wine soaked crushed samosa that obviously missed the eloquent mouth of some unknown drunk, who at the time, was the wittiest and most flattering intellectual in the world? For a moment you gaze around wondering how cobwebs could possibly suspend so many popper streamers until you remember that the spiders have had several months of freedom to weave silk ropes that could catch an anchor chain. And all because the lady is a novelist and does not do dusting. She also does not do ironing or checking of sell by dates on mundane produce. How can a pickled onion be out of date? Who did not know that 2007 was a vintage premier cru champagne year for bloody pickles? 


This is a long way to explain that I had a bit of a party and that I know my life is being sucked into a femaelstrom of microwaved Swedish meatballs. Apparently Edgar Allan Poe first introduced the masculine form of the word into literature. I must start to get a grip. I get up in the morning in my furry dressing gown and check my sales, my blog comments, my facebook likes, my triberr karma rating, my Amazon chart position, my twitter re-tweets and my Goodreads reviews. I am become  Electro-Fem, a Joan of Story Arc, a Romantic Grovelist at the keyboard shrine. Then I put on my woolly pully and go out driving my bus. Good job all the other motorists don’t know that the huge vehicle in their rear view is being driven by a neurotic self doubting ego maniac on a cobweb and pickled onion literary guilt trip. This life would not have happened to Jane Austen.


Oooh – I’m glad I got that lot off my chest. The party was on account of having some 3,000 folk reading my book Knockout! by Saturday. By the end of the weekend I had shifted 8,000 books. Of course, they were all free on Amazon’s grand KDP Select Adventure. My serious “mined from the sorrow of life” prize winning etc. short story Sub-Prime had shifted 328 copies. You know, I always bear in mind that I sell the Romance for 77 pence in the UK which is less than a candy bar. When it became free, there was an exponential increase in interest. And I bet you that someone who got it for nothing reviews it and says it is a soppy formula written load of sex, cops, robbers and slobbers. (Oooh, I love it!) I do hate it when people miss the point. As I hover on the publish button, Amazon have just started tweeting me as a “mover and shaker” and I’m still high in the rankings with sales increasing if anything. Does this make me feel secure? Of course not. See my thinx today. My future sense of security rests on the continued real sales.  I think there might be a few bad hair-trigger days.


 Somewhere in the fog of the party, an intellectual goatee beard type is reading the sell by date on my pickle jar and asking me what year it is. “Look”, I exclaim, “I’m an artist – how the hell should I know?”


Emma thinx: From the ground you see the mountain. From the peak you see the drop.