Two Weeks On Kindle

                                                 Joan Miro - Still Life With Old Shoe

I have now had my two books available for Kindle for exactly two weeks. It has been unbelievably exciting to have my books available to such a large audience (getting them to read it is another matter though ;-)).

Here are some observations I have made:

- The feeling I got when I sold my first book was completely unexpected. The unabashed joy was a little disconcerting as I am not normally prone to bouts of giddy excitement, but it was certainly a pleasant feeling.

- Be wary of spending too much time promoting your book and not enough time writing your next project. There are so many ways to promote your book (Twitter, Facebook, a blog, numerous message boards etc.) that one can get lost in trying to promote one's books as often as possible.

Yes, it is important to establish an infrastructure whereby you can communicate with your readers, but this should not come at the expense of your actual writing. We live in an age of instant communication, but it is worth remembering that the best books are timeless. There is a reason that the best Victorian novels have never gone out of print.

Therefore, I would suggest the best form of marketing is to write a really good book. And once you have done that, write another one!

- Beware of trolls on certain message boards. Before jumping in the deep-end on some of the message boards I was recommended to check out, I decided to read some of the threads - and my word did I find some paranoid, rude and extremely hostile people lurking about. Therefore, I may avoid quite a few of the message-boards for now - there are almost as bad as the horrible comments you find under the most popular Youtube videos.

Having said that, there are some very nice people too who are playing a crucial role in spreading the word about books by indie authors. And one particular board, Amazon's own KDP board, is far and away the friendliest message board I have ever frequented. There is a small community of authors there who are all trying to help each other out and are happy to welcome all newcomers.

- My new addiction is checking my sales. Thanks to the wonders of technology, the sales update every hour. Which is terrible for someone who cannot help checking these figures every time he jumps on a computer! I am hoping the novelty of this wears off as it is fast becoming an all-consuming endeavour.

Speaking of sales, I am selling close to two books a day at the moment, which is very cool indeed. However, I have no idea if this is just friends and family picking up my books, so I will have to wait and see if I can sustain, or even increase, this amount of sales.


Camel On An Ashtray Excerpt

The following is the second chapter from my novella Camel On An Ashtray:

Is This It

Sonell sucks his saliva as the corrosive ethanol whirls around his mouth; its texture is grimy and thick and actively attacks his gums. It tastes of nothing, yet leaves an abhorrent aftertaste. The vicious smell of morning-after alcohol is so pungent he motions to open his bedroom window, but falls back into bed when he realises he is still significantly intoxicated.
He sneaks a quick peek under his cover; he can see his genitals, the only item of clothing he is wearing is his shirt from the previous night. As he attempts to recollect the evening’s events but struggles to piece together a linear narrative, he realises that he must have been extremely drunk. Therefore, the technique of ‘remembrance after an acutely drunken night out’ is initiated. Simultaneously, he blinks continuously and works his way through the displaced fragments of the night that project in the cinema of his mind.   
Pulling a sock up his left leg, his mother reminding him to wear a jacket, a stranger avoiding eye contact with him, Jagdeep shoving a wad of fifty pound notes under his nose, (he immediately realises these two events are not in chronological, and places them correctly), Prada white boots, a rabbit serving Tequila, a large nose almost poking him in the face, shoe, a black shoe with skinny laces. Blank.  
He remembers little else and realises a lot of the evening is missing. He rummages under his quilt, finds his mobile phone near his left foot, it is a quarter to five.  
            Water; his thirst awakens, sudden and sharply. This desire is so acute that it is as if he has been lost in a sweltering hot desert for days.
He sees that his bedside jug of water is empty. Begrudgingly stumbling upwards and awkwardly locating his centre of gravity; he hobbles into the bathroom, which is half a foot away from his bedroom. Gently; the door is locked, the tap is opened.
Streams of unfiltered light sparkle through the large window on the north side of the bathroom, exacerbating his headache, while the sudden sound of the stream of water reminds him of consuming unpleasant spirits the previous evening.

Eleven thirty. They will all be up now; time to find out what happened, he thinks.
“What the hell d’yu want? I told you, we’re not on speaking terms,” Pamdeep yells.   
“Eh?” is all Sonell can muster. He has rarely heard Pamdeep raise his voice at him. “I barely spoke to you last night dude. How can we not be talking?”
“Nish was right; you can’t remember a thing, can you? Who dropped you home last night?”
“To be honest mate, I’ve no idea, but I’m guessing it was you?” Sonell replies, stating these words in as humorous a tone as possible, attempting to manipulate the ire bent against him.  
“When you get stupidly drunk, I can hack it. When you chat shit, I can hack it. Even when you dance so vulgarly that you embarrass all of us, I can take it. But when you open my car door, when I am driving at seventy miles an hour, you’ve crossed the line!” Pamdeep states before hanging up on him.  
Sonell’s guilt compels him to call Pamdeep back.
“Look dude, put the phone down if you want, but only after hearing me out. I am shocked and appalled at my actions, and hereby solemnly swear not to touch another drop of alcohol when I am with you guys. If I break this solemn oath, never utter a word to me again.”
“Good on you. Come on Sunny, what would you’re parents say if they saw you in that state last night?”
“Yep. Are you coming over for the Spurs testimonial game?”    
“Definitely! I’ll be there two-ish. Is Keane gonna play?”
“Before we go in to all that - do me a favour dude. Tell me what happened last night. I remember seeing a shoe…”
“Don’t lie. Sukhbir was looking for his shoe all night! Some lafunga took it off while he was on the can. Poor guy was taking a piss, when someone pulled his shoe off. He was so angry; he left half an hour before us! Ha, you should’ve seen his face, he went skitz! You were even more of a joker! You approached a load of hot girls - they all completely blanked you, but you carried on anyway! Then you went into the middle of the dance-floor, made the whole crowd make a circle, as you attempted to dance Billie Jean!”
“So, uh, I’m no Michael Jackson?”
Pamdeep chuckles heavily.   
Sonell cuts off the conversation and moves on to the next account. He dials Sukhbir, who picks up after three rings,
“Sonny, how you doing man?” Sukhbir states with an over-emphasised huskiness to his tone that he assumes implies that he had a great night out.  
“Dear me! You sound like I feel. What’s the matter dude?” he feigns, already aware of what his response will be.  
“Some twat nicked of my shoes last night. I mean, who steals a shoe? They’re my lucky clubbing shoes!” Sukhbir laments.
For all his vanity, there is something undeniably endearing about Sukhbir, Sonell thinks. He realises that he himself is being simple-minded in merely focusing on all the pitch-black parts of the tribe’s palette; he must bleed all of the colours from their very root.    
“Did you get it back?”
“Nah, I had to hop for five minutes till I could find a cab to go home in – and I was having such a good night as well. Free booze, pulling this amazing looking girl! Don’t tell anyone else, but I was getting off with her in the men’s bathroom - that was when my shoe got nicked!”
Sonell instantaneously remembers what happened.
“If I found that idiot, I’d have given him a big slap!”    
“Cheers mate. But enough of that. Mate you were hammered last night. How did you manage that, you started drinking really late. And you were at your funniest as well, you kept reciting some shit in Latin, or was it Greek? What the hell does it mean?”
Sonell immediately knows it can only be one phrase as it’s the only one he knows by heart.  
“Of all the ills there are, Rumour is the swiftest. She thrives on movement and gathers strength as she goes. From small and timorous beginnings she soon lifts herself up into the air, her feet still on the ground and her head hidden in the clouds. It’s from…”
“OK enough of that - how did things go with that girl last night?” Girl, what girl? All Sonell can remember is a pair of Prada boots.  
“No comment.” 
“Come on, I told you about my thing.” Sukhbir protested.  
“How come you didn’t tell Pamdeep about it, he thinks you were taking an innocent piss when your shoe was taken?”
“Don’t change the subject. But you know why, it’s my personal mantra. You have friends for different reasons. He comes into the category of talking football and playing computer games with. Don’t get me wrong he’s a great bloke, but for me that’s as far as we go.” 
“So what category do I fall into?” Sonell enquires.  
“Oh mate, you shouldn’t need to ask that."
“I’ll tell you what happened - what you think happened.” Sonell states with over-emphasis; he is still unsure if anything did, but a white lie would do him no harm.    
“Nice one.”

‘There is so much of everything,’
A sudden pause. Sonell surges through the pathways of his mind, looking for an ending to this semblance of a half-sentence. He types the letter Y, yet his thoughts stumble again.  
He is now sitting on his leather swivel chair while he tries to start writing a short story on his large desktop computer while nursing the mother of all hangovers. Although it is now mid-afternoon his yellow-burgundy curtain remains fully drawn as his hangover has transformed him into a vampire that is incapable of tolerating natural light.   
Unable to focus, he opens iTunes and skims through the thousands of songs on his playlist until finally deciding to listen to Elvis’ ‘Return to Sender’. As it plays, he starts to dance in his chair, whispering the words of this song which he only half knows.   
That rare opening of the channel of any productive thoughts has once again been closed as the banality of inaction returns. He goes on onto Google and searches for potential Elvis sightings, there are 287034 matches. Scrolling down the page, he finds a match. All the supposed sightings are outrageously hilarious. One in particular strikes a chord. Someone claims to have spotted him in Surrey, England on the Seventh of March in 2003, much to his humoured surprise,
‘We was at the supermarket when we noticed a Cadillac in the disabled slot when we’s was picking out potatoes. We saw Elvis with a trolley of fish fingers and everyone knew it was him’.  
            He pictures the character who would have told this tale; a slightly overweight man with a rapidly receding hairline, Homer Simpson belly and exaggerated Cockney accent.   
It is all far too funny not to be shared with someone, so he picks up his mobile phone and calls Jack, four and a half rings later there is an answer,
“Yes yes,” Jack mumbles. His voice is extremely groggy, rarely have words required this much effort.  
“You absolute clown, I’ve woken you up haven’t I?” He replies, in an absurdly over-exaggerated voice.  
“Nope, just lying in bed.”  
“And how long’s that been happening?”
“Let’s see. Well, it’s about quarter to two now, so almost fourteen hours.”  
“Fair play. Anyway, I’ve just seen the jokesest thing on the net.”
“Ha, you’re so damn predictable. Cheers mate, you’ve just won me a fiver,” says Jack with a sense of triumph.  
“You’ve lost me, what are you going on about?”
“How’s that short story coming along, the one you’re entering in for that internet competition?”
“Urm, written about a line so far. Anyway, as I was saying...”
“Don’t change the subject. The deadline’s tomorrow night; let’s be honest, it’s not gonna be sent or written today.”   
“I think it will.”
“It won’t and you know it won’t - and the reason I said you’ve won me a fiver is ‘cos me and Nick have made a cheeky little wager on whether you’d get it done by the end of the week.”
“Thanks for having so much faith.” he replies faintly, the last word is mumbled. “So I’ve got almost two days to win Nick a fiver?”
“Don’t tell me that, go do it then!”
“OK, but can I tell you something really, really funny first?”
“No, you can’t.” 
“Fair play, speak to you in a bit.”
“Yes yes, call me when you’re done.”  
            As he presses the red button on his phone, he closes his connection to the internet and reopens the document where he was writing the short story.
‘There is so much of everything, yet so little of anything’.  
            A combination of relief and delight encompass his understated smile. He has spent weeks working on what he considers to be the perfect opening line.
He had gone through every opening line in every book on his shelves, typed them up and tried to work out a pattern. After hundreds of failed attempts, he at last chanced upon a line he was satisfied with. The problem now was coming with a story to fill up the rest of the blank page.


Three games in and he was already on auto-pilot. Each year the graphics of this game become more realistic. Yet every once in a while he can see all that is really there, a collection of binary numbers propped up by a complex graphics machine.
            He is losing by two goals to nil to his younger brother Jeevan and is feeling exasperated. This frustration stems partly from the game, but most of it is from the list of ever-growing problems manifesting in his mind; writing (his lack of it), four months free with nothing planned…
“Do you want to do something this summer?” he states after three minutes of silence.  
“Ask me after we finish playing, stop trying to distract me!”
“When else do we get time to talk about it? When we’re downstairs with everyone else in the house, when I’m out in the evening and you never bother coming with me?”  
“Fine, you want me to…” just as Jeevan is going to react to Sonell’s outburst, Sonell scores a wonder goal from outside the penalty box. Sonell cannot hide his delight and thrusts his newly-clenched fist upwards.   
In response Jeevan pauses the game and proceeds to lecture his older brother.  
“No more talking in any matches, ever! Whenever you do, you always score! And so you don’t have an excuse and no, I can’t go anywhere this summer because I have to build that website for dad…So you we’re distracting me! Ha!”    
            Sonell simply nods his head and plays on. He ends up winning the match and the next two as well while sticking to his brother’s rule of maintaining silence.
He considers writing a story about a man who has a video game addiction, but fears the competition judges would not take such a subject matter seriously.

2032 Excerpt 3

The following is the third and final excerpt from my book 2032. The book is split into four sections - the following is from the third section: 

18th August

“Glad you could join us tonight! Gosh do we have one heck of a show lined up for you: it’s the 100th episode of the Death Lottery! I’m your host Kate K and for those of you tuning in to finally lose your Death Lottery virginity let me give you a quick rundown of the rules:
“We’ve taken this Seventh Circle mall and filled it with all our contestants. In a few minutes time one of them will receive a text message informing them that they are the original ticket holder...our cameras will then locate this person, hand them this 18 carat gold ticket; then, I will announce to the entire mall this evening’s checkpoint...the goal is to cash in the golden ticket by handing it to me at the checkpoint.
“The twist is that any one of the contestants can win because anything goes – apart from using weapons of course – you can kick, punch or assault the ticket holder in any manner. The advantage of being the ticket holder is you’re granted a ten second amnesty at the very start where only you can move.
“Now for you seasoned viewers out there we’ve gotta few surprises for tonight’s anniversary edition. Instead of the usual five hundred competitors we’ve got one thousand people here. You just know we’re gonna smash are all-time record of two hundred and forty seven deaths! And as we’ve yet to have the original ticket holder cash in his ticket, we’re gonna give him or her a little help, which’ll vary depending on their location. And last but certainly not least the prize money is doubled to twenty million Stronts!
“I’m gonna hand you over to the greatest damn play-by-play commentators in any Sector on the Globe: please wolf whistle at your screens in appreciation of Alvey A. Adee and Francis B. Loomis! Woo!”
“Could there be a better way to kick off this historic show than with the sweet words of the gorgeous Kate K?”
“I’m lost for words Alvey! Only kidding...man I gotta tell you I’m psyched about the little tweaks to the new rules; I know the question on all our viewer’s minds: what the heck is the O.T.H. gonna get to help him or her become the very first person of all time to cash in that golden ticket as the original holder. What’s your guess Alvey?”
“Well it all depends you know? I mean, if, and it’s a big if, they allow this person to break the rule of having a weapon...”
“A knife?”
“Oh no, I reckon it’d be something more lethal.”
“A machine gun!”
“That’s going a little too far...our fantastic sponsors G-FORCE wouldn’t want a total bloodbath.”
“You know me, I’m the over excitable one!”
“Don’t be too hard on yourself Francis, you’ve just got a wild imagination and gosh darn it the viewers love to take a peek in to that hair-brained mind of yours. But yeah, I reckon it may be something non-violent but still devastating, like a stun grenade.”
“Bang! Pow! If that doesn’t get your juice s flowing I don’t know what will.”
“It’s time to start the countdown people, here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. Count us in Francis.”
“In under a moment’s moment’s time I’m gonna count us in the most eagerly anticipated event since Cain and Abel rumbled in the jungle with that two legged alligator. Whether you’re in a bar, at home or on cloud number nine get off your seats and get the party started! Ten-nine-eight-seven-six...you count in the rest people...louder now I can’t here you...two-one-here we go!”
“The ten thousand plus cameras are live as we give you our O.T.H...back to you Kate.”
“I’m on the seventy fourth floor and I’m nearing our O.T.H. I’ll just follow the hollerin’...what’s your name sweetheart?”
“Yes! Woo, my name’s Ursula; I’m nineteen and I’m a window cleaner.”
“Well isn’t that the prettiest name? I can confirm that you are the youngest O.T.H. we’ve ever had! Gosh you can just tell it’s gonna be a special night where all sortsa records are gonna be smashed.
“It’s time to find out what floor the checkpoint is on. You hoping for higher or lower?”
“Higher for sure, I’m a great climber.”
“Well Ursula, sweetheart, as you can see there are seven boxes to my right. I need you to pick one so we can find your final destination.”
“That one.”
“You sure?”
“Positively certain.”
“I like your confidence. Let’s take a look at what’s behind box number five...second floor! Baby girl you’ve got yourself a slobber knocker of a fight...I can confirm that’s the third largest gap in floors we’ve ever had. How you feeling?”
“All I can see is the new place I’ll be able to buy me and my folks when I see you next.”
“You’ve got a sweeter tongue than a politician. Good luck. This is where we head into unchartered territory for this show...rather than kicking the lottery off right away we’re gonna head back to the boys for half a minute or so while we fit Ursula with her gift.”
“The signing of the Magna Carta, Columbus landing on the shores of America, Neil Armstrong’s first footstep on the moon, Michelangelo painting the final brushstroke on the Sistine Chapel, Shakespeare conjuring ‘to be or not to be’, Jesse Owens winning his fourth gold medal in the Berlin Olympics, the tearing down of the Berlin Wall and now the mysterious introduction of a hidden weapon in the 100th Death Lottery.”
“You just lit the fire in every viewer’s belly Francis; you’ve even ruffled my usually implacable demeanour, this is as good and as big as it gets.
“I just wanna point you in the direction of a viewer’s poll we ran online where we’ve asked the fans to guess what the surprise could be and the most popular choice is an invisibility cloak. Do they even exist yet? You can tell I’m getting on a bit!”
“Lord almighty that is a berserk, stupendously brilliant idea. I think you’re right we don’t have ‘em yet but could you imagine the publicity the manufacturer would get if they introduced such an awesome product on the 100th episode of the Death Lottery?”
“Indeed. We now return to the seventy fourth floor where we can find Ursula...remember as soon as the camera hits her face her ten seconds begin...and we’re off.”
“Alvey look, look! She’s gotta red helmet and a large rucksack. What could this all mean...and she’s running with frightening speed towards the balcony...four seconds left...and she’s jumped...unbelievable! Diabolical! A parachute! Ingenious; but wait, time is up and look! A ton of people are jumping off their floors to try and stop her...and one of them nailed her – and now, oh my God we’ve got two people on top of her as they plunge to the ground floor but wait! Alvey!”
“Resolute Ursula, just before hitting the ground spun round and landed on her two assailants. We’ve gotta pull up an instant replay of that.”
“Bam! But the show goes on and Ursula has taken her helmet off and is using it as a weapon but she’s crowded and in big trouble...snap, oh God you could hear her arm break from here...and what’s this...unparalleled madness...there are hundreds of people jumping from the higher floors, the drive to win the Death Lottery surpasses the fear of death and we’ve got us a growing pile of dismembered bodies. But where’s the ticket? Where’s Ursula? The suspense is killing me Alvey...”
“The Death Lottery never fails to surprise but this has gotta trump everything that’s gone before as I can confirm that nine hundred and ninety two of the contestants are in that pile. The other eight are all waiting for lifts on the fifty third, ninety fifth and thirty seventh floors but we cannot cut away from the shot in front of us as we see people writhe in agony while others lie dead.
“Wait just a goddamn second it cannot be, look, it’s Ursula! Zoom in, closer, would you believe it! The window cleaner lives! And she’s kicking and clawing her way from the bottom of the pile. A blow to her head but Lazarus endures, unbelievable! How Alvey, how?”
“I can confirm six of the eight have got into lift and the earliest ETA to the first floor is fifty seconds.”
“She is out of the pile but two large men have just slid down the top of the pile and have her surrounded...a punch is thrown but she ducks so the other guy is taken out and boom! Damn that’s gotta hurt as she nails the other guy with a knee to the groin; now she’s limping towards the escalator...she’s gripping her broken arm and she makes it!”
“And remember folks that the people in the lifts are now going to the wrong floor and even though as you can now see on your right hand corner the first one has arrived surely they are too late. We are well on course to have our shortest Death Lottery of all time!”
“Time is inconsequential when you are in the presence of the sublime and make no mistake folks this is a conscious-altering, jaw-shattering moment that radically alters the parameters of this beautiful game. This just in, according to the green sensors six hundred and forty four people are confirmed dead making this far and away the highest death count and confirming this as the greatest show we’ve ever had but let’s return to our pictures as we see Ursula near the computer shop where Kate K lies. She is stumbling along and she looks over her shoulder and she can see two of the others on the escalator and she is now running in the most dignified elegant manner I’ve seen and yes that is the sound of a grown man crying because this young girl just blew the world’s mind and I’m humbled that it’s me and Alvey relaying these unforgettable timeless moments to you.”
“She’s leaning against the big glass doors and she’s pushed herself in and she’s done it! The images speak for themselves, wow!
“Stay tuned as the heroic Ursula speaks to our Kate K after these messages.”

2032 Excerpt 2

The following is the second excerpt from my book 2032. The book is split into four sections - the following is from the second section:

15th June

Lucetta’s white parachute descended onto the moistening snow with the measured elegance of the train of a wedding dress stroking the white marble floor of a gothic cathedral as the snow wrapped around her many layers like a ball of cotton wool.
The snow covered ground was indivisible from the sky, which was as white as an unblemished canvas; they were joined together by the thickening mist and like the unexpected appearance of a camera trick in an otherwise straightforward genre movie, this skewered her sense of perspective as a distant star penetrated the blanketed sky, emitting an aureate blade of light that was scattered by the blanched haze into a thousand shards of light that appeared to her as if a large galaxy had been shrunk and transported to her immediate gaze.
She peered at an apricot floating in the distance and followed it with the enthusiasm of a child chasing her first butterfly, but as she drew nearer the optical illusion corrected itself as the apricot transformed into a steel behemoth.   
            As tall as a double-decker bus with eight grey wheels turning hypnotically in unison, the machine stopped alarmingly close to her feet. A tall man lent out his hand and helped her onto the machine, his face was covered by a balaclava but his eyes gleamed at hers. They were minute green eyes with greying lashes. 
“Sorry I’m late - the storm. Were you waiting long?”
“A little while, that’s all.”
“The resemblance - its remarkable.”
            She already knew a great deal about his personal and professional life. Martin had been sent to the South Pole nineteen months ago to fix a leak in one of the twenty one generators that were positioned on the South Pole. They generated power for over a third of the Sectors; knowledge of their location required a Level 5 Security Clearance in order to prevent the insurgents from uncovering its location. In fact, when the problem was initially discovered, it was suspected that they were responsible for the generators’ technical problems. The ensuing riots only seemed to confirm this.
            Although Martin had been able to repair the problem within a few hours, the South Pole was so difficult to reach that the cities affected by the generators’ technical problems were without electricity for five days. Therefore the authorities decided to station Martin at the South Pole permanently. With annual temperatures averaging -18°C, the nearest Sector being four hundred and twenty miles away and with a population of zero, they thought they would have some difficulty convincing Martin to move to the South Pole.
            Martin had never seen snow before his excursion and struggled with the shivering temperatures. When he was informed that the authorities wanted him to manage the generators on a permanent basis, he instinctively informed them that the only way that he would remain in the South Pole was if the movie star Brigitte Bergman moved with him. To his surprise, the authorities consented.
            Lucetta was not told how the authorities had managed to convince Brigitte to join Martin, but the major story of her disappearance after a plane crash now made much more sense.
She was Brigitte’s replacement, but unlike Brigitte, she came from a modest background. Three weeks ago, she was seized from her studio flat by the police and was flown to Sector 2743889. When her blindfold and handcuffs were removed, she found herself in a room with twelve other girls who looked strikingly similar to herself and Brigitte Bergman.
They were informed that they would receive a large sum of money if they agreed to undergo surgery to look like Brigitte and move to the South Pole. However, only one of them would receive that sum of money, the rest would walk away empty handed. Seeing the zeros at the end of the number on offer, each girl accepted the offer without hesitation.
Lucetta underwent less surgery than the rest of the girls. She had an abdominoplasty, a brow lift, a suture facelift, microdermabrasion to remove a scar on her left inner thigh, pinnaplasty to pin back her ears and a nose job.
She was informed that although two of the other girls may have ended up being better Brigitte’s than her, as her surgery was completed far faster than theirs, she would be the new Brigitte Bergman. She received ten per cent of the payment immediately to shop for her trip. However, she was only allowed to purchase clothes from designers that Brigitte wore. Four days later, her trip to the South Pole began, the final leg of which involved her parachuting to an undisclosed location where she would be collected by Martin.
The last question she had asked her minders was, ‘what happened to Brigitte?’ They told her that she had become increasingly agitated with the hermetic lifestyle of the South Pole. At first, the financial package had compensated for her new surroundings; she even took a liking to Martin and was happy to marry him. Then, when she saw the eulogies she received from people who had openly despised her, she was pleased that her star burned brighter than before. But in the last few weeks, she would tell her video diary how bored she felt as well as admitting to having suicidal thoughts.
When Martin was informed of this he reluctantly agreed to let her return, but the authorities did not concur. Martin reported her death to the team two days after her green sensor switched off and refused to remove her from the small igloo where they spent their weekends. The igloo and his truck were the two places that the authorities had no access to, so they did not know what he had done with her. 
The only reason, they said, that they were informing Lucetta of this information, was to quell her curiosity but more importantly to ensure that she did not make similar inquiries to Martin.
Martin had not asked for a replacement, but the sharp decrease in his work output meant that they were forced to develop this innovative and drastic measure. They had hoped that she would subdue his grief and help him return to his normal productivity levels.
What they didn’t tell her was that if and when she was successful, they would send a new engineer who would be trained by Martin to replace him, and then she and Martin would be disposed of. If she did not succeed, an AI robot prototype would have to replace him five years earlier than scheduled, but the end result for Martin and Lucetta would be the same.
As she sat self-consciously on the large white leather chair that devoured her petite frame, she gazed at the generators in the distance; their largesse gradually suffocated the surrounding landscape of its albescent splendour.   
“They only told me you were coming here two days ago, after all of your luggage arrived. I thought it was B’s stuff, but then they told me what their plan was. I was angry, but now you’re here, I can’t say I’m displeased. Even with all those layers on; that figure of yours, it’s almost identical.”
“Would you like a tour of the generators or do you want to head straight to the house?”
“I really don’t mind.”
“Are you sure? B always knew exactly what it was she wanted.”
            His eyes now wore an expression of sadness coupled with desperation.
“Oh, in that case...”
“I wasn’t complaining. Your attitude is the opposite of hers, which may not be the worst thing. I’m just so used to her mannerisms and temperament. Those buffoons are so idiotic - am I correct in assuming that they ensured you looked like her and didn’t give you any briefing about her personality. And don’t worry - they can’t hear a word of what we say in here.”
“They made me watch Hail the Size of Apples and The Glass Book. They said they were your favourite films of hers.”
“Bureaucrats have the intellectual and imaginative curiosity of a pack of lemmings. They had thousands of hours of film of her in the generator and in most of the house. And...”
            She took two of her jackets off so that she was only wearing her tight red jumper.
“Let’s go straight to the igloo.”
“Sounds great.”
            They sat in silence for the fifteen minutes it took to drive to the igloo. As they stopped a few metres away from the igloo, Lucetta put her jackets back on and tied up her hair in the pink elastic band she had tied around her right wrist. The igloo was half the height of the vehicle and its entrance was so low they both had to crawl through it.
            The snow was softer than it had been when she had parachuted to the ground earlier; the snow now crumbled beneath her knee-high boots, yet it was also much colder as her cheeks blushed with a deepening red, like the metamorphosis in pigmentation of an autumnal leaf.
 Hesitantly, she crawled through the narrow passageway. Returning to her knees as she reached the other side, the first thing she saw was the bright green Valentino Garavani dress that Brigitte had worn when she collected her Oscar for the film This City.
Next, she marvelled at the bright copper bath tub that lay in the middle of the igloo. It was instantly recognisable: it was the famous Archeo Copper Bathtub and it cost more than most sports cars. Her fascination with the tub meant it took a few seconds to realise that Brigitte was lying naked inside. Her first reaction was of intrigue rather than horror, as she observed that her own abdominoplasty meant that their waist shape was identical.
Martin crouched by the bath tub, with his drained eyes fixated on his wife.
“I need you to help me embalm her feet. As you can see the rest of her is already embalmed, but for some reason I cannot go near her feet. And now, they’re decomposing – if she was here she’d be furious with me. Seeing you in that jumper, it was as if I was looking at a holograph of my deceased wife. For the first time, I realised she was gone – I need you to help me complete her last wish.”

2032 Excerpt 1

The following is an excerpt from my novel 2032. The book is split into four sections - the following chapter is from the first section (I have deliberately chosen not to upload the opening of the book as this will be available to all Kindle users if they download a sample of the book.):

9th February

Like a sadistic but patient serial-killer; the ocean waters had hummed gently for over a week before rising and twisting with ferocious rage as darkness plunged its shapeless dagger, acting as an accomplice to the feral waters. The ocean is an enormous Venus Flytrap that eventually devours those who spent the majority of their lives at sea, as Emilia’s racing yacht crew found to their peril as their boat split in two and the irresistible gravitation pull of the bed of the ocean switched on and exerted its malevolent force, like the sudden transformation of a star into a black hole.  
The curling waves hissed as if they were ravenous snakes on Medusa’s head, dragging their victims towards their mother’s tomb, the white-coated waves provided the only glimmer of light to aid Emilia’s attempts to reach her lifeboat but like the highest point of a rollercoaster they only signalled the imminent frenzy. However, Emilia’s fear of her surrounding whale-infested water trumped the logic of chaos as she rode the waves like a human surfboard and grappled onto the lifeboat. This only deepened the ocean’s howl as it formed an expanding vortex that resulted in the boat gyrating involuntarily like a cowboy riding an unrelenting bull.    
Emilia tied her left leg to the hemp rope that had earlier attached the lifeboat to her sailing yacht and wrapped her body around the wooden plank that ran across the middle of the boat. Eventually, the ice-cold water galloped over the boat’s rim and flooded her eardrums and nostrils. The incessant pounding of the water loosened her firm grip of the plank.
The elevating fluid quickly submerged her horizontal figure as she struggled to elevate her body amidst the constant bombardment of the ceaseless deluge. As she focused her attention on untying the lineman loop’s knot she had used to ensure she remained attached to the boat, she heard the front of the lifeboat screech against a hard surface.    
Emilia ignored this development and persisted with untying the damp hemp rope from her left leg. After methodically unwinding the rope, she set herself free and peered upwards. She then removed her hiking boots and socks as they were overflowing with water.  The darkness remained but a constellation of stars dimly lit her surroundings; hanging over her like a large crystal chandelier, refracting streams of light that bounced in the sky like anarchic lasers.
Above her stood a steep, barren hill on top of which stood a black lighthouse that was twice as tall as the gnarled ash tree it stood next to. It was a strikingly odd and unsettling combination; it was as if the Tree of Life stood next to the Empire State Building.   
She hopped off the boat and briskly ascended the slope, ignoring the weight the sea water had burdened her clothes with. Her sense of unease deepened as she reached the slope’s summit. The lighthouse stood so close to the summit’s edge that she was able to open its flimsy wooden door seconds later.
“Hello? Anybody there? Hello.”
            The lighthouse was lit by a solitary red candle rested on a cream ceramic plate that stood upon a polished mahogany drawer, above which stood a painting of a tall, dark-haired woman who stood on the doorstep of a red brick house. Emilia lifted the candle in search of a route to the top of the lighthouse. To her surprise, rather than encountering a spiral staircase, she found four sets of interconnected platform stairs. 
            With a degree of awkwardness she gradually climbed these stairs while ensuring she kept hold of the ceramic plate and candle.   
Upon climbing the final stairs, she entered an open archway that led to a room that had the appearance of a hastily built tree-house; its one redeeming feature was a large, marble fireplace; on top of which rested a black hardback book entitled The Collected Ghost Stories of M.R. James. Her bare feet felt the pinch of the warmth emanating from the fireplace as she hurried towards its glowing lights, ignoring the book and placing the ceramic plate on top of the fireplace.  
            Adjacent to the fireplace was a smaller room. The upper half of the door was glazed while the lower half was covered by black cardboard, she attempted to peek through the glazed glass and saw a white bathtub, but little else.
She tried to open the door, but it was locked. She was about to remove her clothing so that it could dry above the fireplace, when she noticed two uncorked bottles of port and a large plastic decanter filled to its rim with the fortified wine on a table near the room’s small balcony. Having suppressed her parchedness for hours, she hurriedly lifted the decanter and guzzled at the port, failing to notice the jug’s surprising weight. It was only after four mouthfuls and the half emptying of the decanter that she noticed a beating human heart at its bottom.    
She dropped the decanter at her feet and kicked the heart into the fire before rushing towards the archway. Just as she approached its entrance, she heard a screeching sound overhead. It sounded like a large body was being dragged across the lighthouse’s ceiling. The resulting sound was as if sharp nails were being scratched across the back of a new born baby.
With her back now turned to the fireplace, she now heard the pounding of a heavy footstep from the direction of the archway; it was moving away from her, until it finally faded into silence.
Suddenly, the half-glazed door slammed open. She turned round to see the bath overflowing with blood and excrement. Trickles of lines of these substances rushed towards her bare feet, yet she remained motionless as a dripping sound emanated directly above her.
As she looked upwards she noticed a colourless liquid splashing drop-by-drop from the ceiling. Three of these drops fell upon her forehead, one on to her left ankle and the other one landed in front of her right foot. They burnt through her skin; she was unable to conceal her pain as she screamed thunderously. The voices and sounds ceased, giving way to a solemn stillness as Emilia found herself covered in blood, excrement and acid yet still unable to move.
A distant, phlegmatic moan which bore a striking resemblance to that of her crew member Timandra unbound the invisible chains tied to her feet as she grabbed the candle from the fireplace and scampered down the platform stairs.
Despite her hastiness, she was compelled to return to the painting that lay near the foot of the stairs, as the woman who stood facing the brick house was crawling on all floors, bloodied all over and staring miserably in her direction.
She flung open the wooden door at the front of the lighthouse; only to find the ground littered with tarantulas, all of which were heading towards her lifeboat. It was as if she had stumbled onto the set of an arachnid-centric horror film and the CGI projected onto the green screen had somehow escaped onto the set.
Searching for their origin from the relative safety of the lighthouse, she tilted her neck to find that they were rushing out of a gaping hole in the middle of the ash tree.    
Emilia tip-toed out of the lighthouse and sidestepped her way around its base until she reached the side of the island she had not previously seen. Here, there was no slope between the lighthouse and the water so she jumped without hesitation.
While in mid-air she glimpsed at the water, spotting the nearby blue whales only when she was in mid-air; she tried to reverse her action but this resulted in her hitting her head against one of the large stones protruding from the cliff on this side of the island, killing her before her body hit the water.

Going Live - Release

Over the last few days I have been busy getting my two books ready for release on Kindle; yesterday, I took the big step of uploading the books onto Kindle. In regards to formatting, I followed the steps laid out in an earlier post. I still had a few problems with the title page, but otherwise the process was as simple as I could have hoped for.

It takes a couple of days for Amazon to approve the books and actually publish them, but that does not lessen the high I have experienced since clicking the Publish button. I am under no illusions as to how hard it is going to be to attract readers, but the mere fact that the books have now been released into the infinite realm of the World Wide Web is pretty darn exciting.

As you can see, I have now added separate pages for the two books. Over the next few posts, I will be uploading extracts of both books.

There will also be a big post discussing marketing in the near future. There are endless avenues to pursue in trying to capture a reader's attention so I will try and make better sense of which tools are most effective.