Up until a few weeks ago, I was always observed while I was writing. Spock, my sixteen-year old cat, would sit at the window on the other side of the room, and if I looked over at him, he’d turn and stare at me. A couple of weeks ago, he took to coming over and pushing himself against my leg, while I wrote blogs, or promoted “My Temporary Life”, or worked on my new novel. He hadn’t done things like that since he was a kitten, so, I pulled a chair beside me, and put him in it so that he could be closer to you. Yes, that’s right, I said, “you”.
Now, those of you who write, probably had no problem at all with that last statement, and you know that when we write, we’re never alone. We have our reader, our confidante, our keeper of secrets, always with us, within earshot. But, those of you who don’t write may wonder what the heck I’m talking about. There’s an old Ian Hunter album called “You’re Never Alone With A Schizophrenic.” It’s probably appropriate background music right now.
At any given time there are between five and eleven different things happening in my head. Really, there are. They range from work related concerns, to dialogue that my characters are going to have, to story ideas, or even the colour of shorts I’m going to wear when I go for my next run. Other than sleeping, the only ways that I’ve found to calm those internal chatterings (if I want to calm them), is to go for a run, or to write. When I go for a run, I phase out the chatterings, and drink in the scenery, and my mind becomes calm. And, when I write, there’s only you and I. Yes, I said it again-“You and I.” I know that you’re here. You’re always here when I write, after all, who else would listen?
I ran my second free promotion for “My Temporary Life” a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately there was a technical glitch on the first day, but it was ironed out quickly by the good folks at Amazon and we got back on track for the second day. Over 16,000 folks downloaded my novel during the two days. Yes, I know, I gulp every time I think about the numbers too.
During the promotion I was at my computer for approximately twenty hours each day, and I’ll tell you why-I can talk to the people, like you, who read my book, or are thinking about reading it, while I’m sitting at my computer. Whether it’s through Facebook groups, or Amazon Author Discussion groups, or being directly messaged on Twitter, there are many ways that I can connect with readers, and I love doing it.
I’ll give you some examples. In the past few days, I was emailed a barbecued salmon recipe from a lady who enjoyed the recipe that one of the characters in my book spoke about, and I was able to speak to her, online, about it. I instant messaged with a reader who called in sick to work because she’d been up all night finishing my book. And, I spoke to two different people who are sure that my book is an actual account of a specific period of their lives. Plus, there was the gentleman who enjoyed the book so much that he told his wife she either had to read it or pack her bags, (I’m sure he was kidding). There’s more, much more. In fact, I suppose there are over 85,000 different stories, because after promotion number two, over 85,000 people have now downloaded “My Temporary Life.” Yep, another huge “gulp”.
Also, during the promotion, I took time out to do an online presentation, via this very cool system, that Kim Mutch Emerson from Masterkoda.com, a Facebook group set up. I was able to sit at my computer, and talk about self-publishing, while some interested folks sat at their computers, in different parts of the world, and listened, and watched, while typing their comments and questions into a chat bar. And, as though that wasn’t enough to make me feel super-important, there was more, too. Yep, I told you, it was an incredibly busy few days. At the same time as the promo, I was awarded a medallion by the Book Reader’s Appreciation Group (B.R.A.G.). I was fortunate enough that “My Temporary Life” was included alongside some other really good books, and I’m now one of their initial honorees. Plus, I was interviewed via Skype, by a journalist in Montreal, for a story that is going to be in our national newspaper, The Globe and Mail. Yes, I know, I can’t believe that I just typed that, but it’s true.
It was an amazing experience, all of it. I kept saying, “thank you,” over and over, as I watched the numbers of downloads add up, while people went here http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006O2P13O and took a chance on “My Temporary Life.” And, at the same time, I had the opportunity to become friends with people who had read it already, like the salmon barbecue lady, and the lady who was up all night reading, and many others, and, I’ll tell you something, I was really glad that you were here with me, because my other writing observer, Spock, the cat, passed away a few days before the promotion.
Life is funny and you end up in so many places that you never would have imagined. I’m not an animal person, never have been, but through a series of events that involved a relationship ending, and the girl leaving me with her cat, that I didn’t really want, I inherited Spock. I still don’t think I’ve become an animal lover, but I did become a Spock-lover, and I’ll tell you something, just between you and me, I’m very glad that I had him, because there were times in the last few years that I don’t know where I would have been without him. I even wrote a short story about how he became my cat instead of the cat. It’s right here in case you’d like to take a look at it http://www.thewriteplaceatthewritetime.org/fiction.html
Just keep scrolling down and you’ll find it.
I still look over at the window once in a while, and expect to see him turn and stare back at me, with his deep, wistful look. I suppose I’ll look over for a while yet, and that’s okay, because I’m not really alone while I’m writing, because, as I said earlier, I’ve got you. And, I know that you’re here with me, eagerly waiting, hanging on every word, wondering what’s going to come next, right up until I type in that final period, and click on “Save”.