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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Picture of the Week (#13) - Water, Water, Everywhere

Today I am continuing my ad hoc series that shows my picture of the week. It's just something that struck a chord with me for whatever reason. This week it's a couple of pictures of the effects of flooding and shows the power of water. We live on a planet where 70% of the surface is covered with water and we have bodies that are made up of 90% water. It's no small wonder therefore that water plays an important part in our lives.

I've been reading a lot about the power of water recently and about how important it is to our daily lives. Most of us take it for granted and eschew drinking it for other forms of liquid. Water is on this planet for a reason. We are made up of water for a reason. Please help yourself to look better by consuming more water every day - at least 64oz. Lecture over!

Have a great weekend!

(Click picture for original size)
Pictures from Boston.Com

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Shoutout To My Followers

120,000 Visits! 114 Subscribers! Over 55,0000 Twitter followers. 338 Facebook Author Fans. A thousand plus hits per day! You guys are the best!

I just wanted to take a brief moment today, as we near the end of September and I prepare myself to enter the busiest time of the year, to say a HUGE thank you to each and every one of you. The positive comments and the good wishes make each day a pleasure. I hope that I provide a little something that is worth coming back for, time and time again.

In a couple of weeks my latest novel, New Blood, will be launched and the crazy hectic retail season will start on its run up to the end of the year. I know I am going to be extra busy, as there are already a million things to do. So I just wanted to stop for a few minutes and reflect on this blog. It's been a labor of love and hard work to continue to write as many posts as I have. There have been times when I've been stuck for topics and there have been times when the words have just flown. But either way, there's now a lot of words on this blog! And a lot of comments from you, my readers.

But most importantly I hope I have and am continuing to inspire you all to write, to express yourselves and to get your thoughts down on paper. Writing can be a lonely profession, but the finished written word can be one of the most satisfying feelings in the world. So, get out there today. Write yourself two hundred words, maybe three hundred or four hundred, and experience that inner joy of being an author.

I write my Utterances of an Overcrowded Mind because I have a calling to write. What's your calling?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Reacting To Negative Comments

From time to time there are people that either intentionally or unintentionally hurt your ego. A post here, a comment there and suddenly you react with anger. You want to say something in return. You want your five minutes...

We've all been there and it's the hardest thing to do nothing at all in response. But usually that's what we need to do. The person that posted the original words would love the opportunity to start a flaming war, so step back and be the bigger person and let it go.

Instead, concentrate on those people that have stopped by and said nice things about the work you do. Those people outnumber the others anyway. Remind yourself that, by and large, the world is populated with nice mannered people. There's only a small percentage of the other types out there.

Phew! I feel better already. Take a deep breath and continue to have a great day today.

Friday, September 23, 2011

New Blood - Proofs Arrive!

It was an exciting evening yesterday as the UPS man knocked on the door and dropped off a couple of proofs of my new book - New Blood.

If you've been keeping up with the story, you'll know New Blood is a 16+ Young Adult Urban Paranormal Thriller. I'm excited to release it in the next couple of weeks.

Of course there's still a lot of prep work to do before it goes live, so now it's time to work on all the marketing materials. There's business cards, posters, flyers and the likes to print and a whole box load of paperbacks to order, ready for the first book launches during October in Melrose itself - Redmond, WA (can you tell I'm excited?).

I'll be bringing you all more news during the next few days, but in the meantime, take a read of the back cover and prepare yourselves for the ride of a lifetime!

A single kiss can get a girl killed. But what if he's the most irresistible man you've ever met? What would you do? 

In a world where big corporations are controlled by a secret society, Beau is on track to have everything he ever wanted and more. And there is only one woman that stands in his way - As long as she can resist falling in love with the man of her dreams.

In this contemporary tale of power, greed, ambition, death and love, what would you be prepared to sacrifice to have it all?

"New Blood reads like season one of an addictive paranormal TV series. The premise takes the power of relationships beyond even the vampire thrill. The characters are fleshed out (except the victims, who are left convincingly dry) and we care enough about our heroine Lucy, to dread her migraines almost as much as she does. Add in a paranoia about the people who are really in power and... well, the temptation is to call it a formula for a long and satisfying series. However, Paul Dorset rises above formulaic prose with writing so compelling that only after you catch your breath do you realize the craftsmanship. He tells stories. And as with the best paranormal fiction, the fantasy serves to illustrate some basic truths of the human condition." -reviewer

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How Many Versions of Your Manuscripts Do You Keep?

I was reading another Author's blog post yesterday where he was describing how one of his rooms was full, almost floor to ceiling, of versions of manuscripts. I thought to myself - 'Wow! I'd hate to have to live like that.' But then I got to thinking a little of how each of us go about the writing process. We're all different. Why is the way I do things any better than the way someone else works? It's not.

Artists each work in their own way and it's that uniqueness that makes us artists. I would classify myself as an 'ordered artist.' That is to say given a set of parameters to work within (boundaries if you like), I can then express my artistic self. However some artists, like this author, need an environment of chaos to survive. This author described how each numbered version of his manuscript occupied a portion of the bedroom floor and how he couldn't bring himself to throw any old versions away. It was as if each version was an artistic masterpiece in its own right. Me? I chuck 'em. All I'm interested in is the finished product. How I get to the finished product is, to a certain extent, irrelevant.

How about you? How do each of you work? Do you work off of the printed page, or do you work solely on a computer? Do you keep every old version or do you just keep a latest and move on? It's an interesting question and one I'd like to hear from you about.

But just remember, we are all unique. There is no right way or wrong way. The important thing is to actually arrive at a 'final version,' one that makes it to becoming a real book. After all, as artists, we need to show off a finished product, and not merely leave everything as a work in progress.

Have a great day...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thoughts At Daybreak

Darkness retreats as early dawn claims its place.
Mysterious voices quieten in the far off undergrowth.
A bird ventures forth and calls a quivering song.
Another day is born for all to wonder upon.

A rasping cough breaks the spell of paradise.
Birds break their cover from trees and noisily fly.
The north wind blows and shows its discontent.
And I patiently wait until all is quiet once again.

We live in a potpourri of landscapes.
Wilderness mixed with urban domestication.
Nature's beauty goes more unnoticed every day.
So stop and take a look, my friend, just look.

Raise your head up towards the sky.
Take a breath of nature for yourself.
Reflect upon the wilderness that once was here.
And go about your day in silent contemplation.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Weekend Musings - The Domesticated Human

It's the middle of September and the year, as usual, has run away again. This weekend it's time to have a little downtime and my wife and I are off for a little excursion. We have chosen exactly the correct time too; summer has already decided to hurry off and leave the windy, blustery fall in its place. But we can't complain. It's the very nature of the seasons that keep us waiting and anticipating what is coming next.

Humans are indeed queer animals. Unlike no others, we plan and we dream; watching the seasons come and go and adjusting our daily routines accordingly. We are not bears. We do not hide away when the bitter winter comes. We are not birds. We do not fly north when the summer scorches our toes. No, we are humans, uniquely adapted to stay put and wait it out.

Where did it all go wrong? Why do we not travel like gypsies any more? Have we become so materialistic and staid in our lives that we have lost that desire? We are the only wild animals on the planet to have become truly domesticated. Such a shame.

So, it's time to break out this weekend and shatter those shackles. I refuse to remain domesticated. I want to travel like the rest of the birds and the animals on this planet. Give me courage.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Eating Update: Dr. Esselstyn

Well, it's been nearly two complete weeks now since I switched to the Dr. Esselstyn diet. For those of you that are unfamiliar with it, it's basically a Vegan diet with a few extra limitations - no nuts and no oil. The idea behind it is that it will put your body in balance and lower your cholesterol, triglycerides and generally lead to a healthy heart (even reverse heart damage).

So, how have I done? Well, the good news is that I've managed to stick to it. There were moments, I can tell you, in the first week where I had my doubts. But, I've got to grips with it now and have found lots of really good and tasty things to eat. Of course, it really helps that I like curry! There are so many spicy vegetarian dishes I can cook up (just remember to use plenty of beans/lentils to get your proteins). The other thing I've been doing is to drink more water (with some supplemental vitamins). The results? 4.5lbs lost in 12 days. Of course weight always disappears faster at first, but nonetheless I'm very satisfied with my progress.

For those of you that think I have to eat a crazy diet, here's a sample of my daily meals:

Some Grape Nuts and some shredded mini-wheats with almond milk in a bowl
One cup of coffee

Some seaweed or sunflower seeds

Salad (whatever you can find and try and include some beans) with a mustard vinaigrette dressing
Some fruit (whatever is fresh)

Maybe a Wasa bread if I get hungry

Spicy vegetable curry (add beans and/or lentils) with basmati rice

Slice of bread (very low fat and whole multi-grain) with no-fat homemade hummus, tomatoes and onions

Lots of water to drink all day.

The good news is that I can still have a glass or two of beer or wine if I choose and there are actually lots of things I can snack on if I need.

The fridge has had a total make-over and the blender is now used on an almost daily basis. I also tend to make up large portions and package extra meals for other days.

So, here's to the next few weeks. I'll update you again as I near my next weight goal.. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Trials of an Indie Author

The more I try to become a successful Indie Author, the more I realize just how difficult it is. And not because I'm not getting there.

Having spent the best part of this year doing my own writing, editing, cover generation, synopsis writing, blog posting, marketing, email writing, review requesting, correspondence, and a million other things, you start to get an idea of the amount of work that is actually involved. During the months of February until May I was fortunate enough to have been based at home, without a 'day job.' I managed to get a lot done. Since May, however, it's been a different story. Most of the marketing efforts I started have fallen by the wayside, as I've tried to juggle working 9 hours a day, traveling, writing, editing, and some blog writing. There just aren't enough hours in the day any more to do the marketing stuff. It's at times like these you begin to understand why Indie Authors like Amanda Hocking opted to go the traditional route.

But, I mustn't complain. I just have to regroup and re-prioritize. I'm going to have to realign my priorities over the next few months to spend more time on social networking sites, do more marketing, get more books out for review, and communicate more with the big wide world. The writing will have to take a back seat for a few months. I still have several books to edit, a couple of launches to do, but at least the majority of the writing has already been completed for the year.

And it's not been too shabby of a year, either. I've written two major novels, two reference books, and edited and launched four other ebooks. If I kept up that pace over the next few years, my back catalog would be substantial (I'd probably also be totally gray and lose most of my hair).

So, with that said, today is list-making day. I need to get a lot of review requests out and get back to communicating (conversation) with people again.

And as I do so, why not take a look at my staple book; the one that launched my writing career. First written in 2003, re-edited this year and launched as an ebook, Xannu - The Prophecy is book one in an epic fantasy series aimed at Young Adults. And don't be put off by that. Most of my readers have been adults! Check it out and head over to Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Smashwords and pick up a copy. It's only $0.99!

For fans of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and The Narnia Chronicles, the first installment in a thrilling epic fantasy series…

Would you wake up in a hot sweat if you lived your night’s dreams as a soldier battling un-earthly creatures, witnessing powerful magic and fighting to save your own life on a daily basis?

English schoolboy Terry West does. Frequently. After digging up some rune coins near a roman road, he has been living in another world inhabited by warlocks, seductresses, priests and prophecy. There Terry is a soldier, Teern Truthbringer, who has been tasked with finding the Xannu - 'he who will lead the people into deliverance.'

If only it wasn’t real; but it is. Very real. When it all began it was even enjoyable, but now Terry’s life is getting very complicated. Somehow he involved his best friend Joe and although it had seemed a good idea at the time, the consequences had been dire. Then there is Susan, the leggy sister of klutzy school-friend Brian. Why does she keep sending him messages?

Terry is struggling to balance the two lives he leads and every day he is losing his grip on reality just a little bit more. He’s been forced to kill enemies; his companion, the magical woman Maria, is scaring him half to death with her abilities; and his parents are on his back about his school work.

How will he balance the two lives he leads, solve two sets of problems, and understand the lessons he receives from both? Only time will tell. But time is something Terry doesn't have too much of, as everything is unfolding in ways he could never have imagined!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Inside the Author's Head

Don't you sometimes wish you could get inside an Author's head and find out what they're really thinking? What is it that motivates them, that spurs them on to writing great books? Or don't you really care?

I often ask myself, just how did so and so come up with that idea? Or, how did so and so manage to write a particular passage? Unfortunately, I also sometimes think to myself as I read something, how did this person think this was really going somewhere?

I really hope no one ever wants to get inside my head. I don't believe it would be a very pleasurable experience! My head is always so busy, with so many thoughts and ideas, it's a wonder I ever get anything done. Take today for instance. I'm just a couple of weeks away from the launch of my new book and I still have a million things left to do. I have a manuscript. I have a cover. I have a few reviewers lined up. Heck, I even have a PR company engaged. But, there are still a million things I need to do to get the book finalized. There's all the formatting, synopses to write, book-sites to get to, marketing and PR to kick-off (my own that is). There just aren't enough hours in the day. I sometimes wonder just how does a self-published author ever become successful?

I need to make a list. I need to contribute a lot more on book blogs and websites. I need to... The list is endless. Oh, and in between, I need to write a few more blog posts, finish editing my first two Xannu books, perform a first edit on the new, third, Xannu book (which has sat cooking for nearly 6 months now), do some more PR on those books... The list goes on.

So, without further ado this morning, I'm signing off. I also have my day job to attend to (time to jump in the shower already)...

How about showing me a little love today and taking a read of some of my blog articles (just click around a little)? There's lots to read on all sorts of topics. And to entice you further, here's the cover of my latest book, New Blood. Have a great day.

A single kiss can get a girl killed. But what if he's the most irresistible man you've ever met? What would you do?

New Blood is a 16+ Young Adult Urban Paranormal Thriller set in the Pacific North-West. Think equal parts Twilight, Da Vinci Code and Romeo & Juliet. New Blood tells a story that is liberally laced with power, greed, ambition, death and love. What would you be prepared to sacrifice to have it all?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Lonely Life of an Author - Let's Just Finish Our Goddamned Books!

Authors, like artists, often go through periods of self doubt. How frequently do we write something thinking its fine, only to have self-doubts a day or so later? I know I do. It's perfectly normal.

It's one of the main reasons why many people never actually finish the book they're writing. I mean, if it's finished then other people will read it. And some of those people may not like it! Yes, it feels safe to have an unfinished book.

Well, let me tell you, author, it's not any worse to have a finished book. Quite the opposite. Tying a bow on a book is a liberating experience. Besides, you get the chance to start another, better, book! Who cares if some people don't like what you've written? Does every person in the world think Van Gogh paintings are amazing? Of course not. If a book pleases you, it has served its purpose. As an artist we must create for ourselves, not for others. Creating for others is a slippery slope. Sure, it may earn us some money, but it's not satisfying our inner soul. And come to think of it, if we're creating for others, how different is that to a regular day job? Hmmm. No, an artist creates things for their own pleasure, an expression of something that is important to them and them alone.

If you look at things this way, it actually becomes a little easier to write. There's no pressure to please anyone but yourself. Just get your thoughts down and see where they take you.

Yes, the life of an author can be lonely at times. It can also be scattered with self-doubt. It can seem we are cast alone in a world that doesn't understand us. So, how do we change things? It's very easy. It's actually a two step process:
  1. Finish the book
  2. Write another
There you have it. Let's all promise ourselves today we'll do something about our loneliness. Let's just finish our goddamned books!

Friday, September 9, 2011

WANTED: Reviewers For 'New Blood' - ARCs Available

Yep, it's that time already. I am looking for a select few bloggers to review my latest book, New Blood, before it hits the mass market at the end of the month.

If you've been following my blog, you'll know that this book is a little of a departure from my usual genre (YA Fantasy). New Blood is a 16+ YA Urban Paranormal Thriller - think equal parts Twilight, Da Vinci Code and Romeo & Juliet - It's set in the Pacific North-West, where I have been living for the past eight years, and will keep you turning pages up until the very end.

New Blood tells a story that is liberally laced with power, greed, ambition, death and love. What would you be prepared to sacrifice to have it all? As my hook says:  'A single kiss can get a girl killed. But what if he's the most irresistible man you've ever met? What would you do?'

So, are you interested in reading it with a view to writing a review? Do you manage a blog with an established audience? If so, post me a comment or drop me an email (john at I look forward to your comments. Please Note: The review copy you will receive will be in electronic format (.epub or .mobi).

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

100,000 Page Views - I Thank You All!

Yep, my blog has had over 100,000 page view in a little over 6 months. That's not too shabby for a new blog. And I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all, my readers. Your visits mean a lot to me, and so do the comments and the feedback - which I have to say, has been resoundingly good. So, it's onwards and upwards to the next 100,000.

In the meantime, there's lots of things happening in my little world, not least of which being the upcoming launch of my new YA 16+ Urban Paranormal Thriller, New Blood. Look out for the full details over the next few weeks. And if you've never read anything I've written, why not click on one of the book links that appear elsewhere on this page, or head over to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords and look me up - Paul Dorset. Thanks for your indulgence.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2011 Goal Check (September) and Dr. Esselstyn

Well, it's now September and another year draws closer to an end. The nights will be arriving earlier and the days taking a little longer to get established. So I thought it would be a good time to look at all the goals I set myself this year and see how I'm doing.

#1 : Read 10 Books - I'm glad to say I have achieved this one already and also met my kicker. Good job
#2 : Write 2 Novels - Also done and dusted and exceeded
#3 : Earnings Goal - On track to hit my goal
#4 : Weight Target - Was well on track earlier in the year, but then fell off the wagon and am back to my beginning of year weight. A lot of effort is needed during the last four months of the year.

There we have it. It looks like my weight is letting me down (or weighing me down). Still, I've made a great decision over the last couple of weeks and yesterday my wife and I started on our new eating lifestyle. Over the past couple of years, like a lot of people, my weight has see-sawed between good and not so good. I've tried to find a way of eating that I could maintain and also control my weight. You name the diet and I've probably tried it. So this time around I've decided it's time for a complete overhaul.

I came across a book recently by Dr. Esselstyn that advocates a heart healthy diet that almost guarantees you'll never have a heart attack. Sounds too good to be true? I was a little skeptical too. But I read all the testimonials and studies and it all seems pretty convincing. The diet is pretty strict though, so I didn't know if I would be able to stick to it or not. But, what the heck, I thought I'd give it a try. After all, nothing else has really worked. Dr. Esselstyn's diet restricts food intake to Vegetables, Fruit, Grains, Pulses, Seeds and Legumes (Beans). That means no dairy, no eggs, no meat, no nuts and NO OIL. Tough.

Yesterday, after putting the kids back on a plane to England, my wife and I cleaned out our cupboards of everything that was not allowed on our diet (There was a lot of things that made it to the trash!). Then we went to the store and stocked up on the 'good stuff.' Yesterday was a little weird at mealtimes, working out exactly what to eat, but I'm sure it will get easier over the next couple of weeks. I'll let you know.

Back to my 2011 goals. I have 22lbs to lose in 16 weeks. I'm optimistic I can do it. And if I do, this will be a major achievement for me - hitting all my yearly goals. The possibility of reward is spurring me on. And if I get the added benefit of a healthier heart, lower cholesterol and lower triglycerides, well that can't be a bad thing either. Here's to living healthier...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Picture of the Week (#12) - Hurricane Irene

Today I am continuing my weekly series that shows my picture of the week. It's just something that struck a chord with me for whatever reason. This week it's a picture of Hurricane Irene. From time to time we are all reminded of the power of nature; something none of us have any control over. Wherever we live in the world there is always the possibility of some kind of natural disaster around the corner and we must live our lives as best we can without paying heed to potentials. We share our planet with forces much bigger than ourselves and that's the way it should be.

Have a great weekend!

(Click picture for original size)
Picture from Boston.Com

Friday, September 2, 2011

New Blood - Melrose Part One

It's nearly done... Just a few more weeks now until my latest novel hits the streets. I'm excited. New Blood is a departure for me from my usual epic fantasy fare. This novel is the first in an Urban Paranormal Thriller series, written for the 16+ YA Market. It is set in the Pacific North-West and could be described as a vampire story with a twist. New Blood tells a story that is liberally laced with power, greed, ambition, death and love. What would you be prepared to sacrifice to have it all? As my tag says:

A single kiss can get a girl killed. But what if he's the most irresistible man you've ever met? What would you do?

This weekend sees final edits and then it's off to the proofers and some more early readers, in order to get production-ready. I'm already salivating at the thought of letting you all get your sticky hands on it. As always, this is a novel that works on many different levels. Of course there's the story, but underneath there's something bigger going on (there always is). Will you dig down deep, or just gloss over while getting caught up in the page-turning story? We'll have to see.

Expect more news over the coming weeks as I finalize this hard-hitting novel. I'll finish the post with a quote from an early reader. Have a great weekend.

"New Blood reads like season one of an addictive paranormal TV series. The premise takes the power of relationships beyond even the vampire thrill. The characters are fleshed out (except the victims, who are left convincingly dry) and we care enough about our heroine Lucy to dread her ESP-laced migraines almost as much as she does. Add in a paranoia about the people who are really in power - the Anons - and... well, the temptation is to call it a formula for a long and satisfying series. However, Paul Dorset rises above formulaic prose with writing so compelling that only after you catch your breath do you realize the craftsmanship. He tells stories. And as with the best paranormal fiction, the fantasy serves to illustrate some basic truths of the human condition." (reader comment)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What's To Do? - September

WoW! It's September already and the year is pushing along at a great clip towards its finale. This means it is time to get organized and get some things done. So, what's on my list?

  1. New Blood (Melrose Part One): My upcoming YA 16+ Paranormal thriller has fully cooked and is now ready for final edits and preparation for release. The cover is also nearly complete. This means the book will be ready for ARCs in about two weeks and hopefully for release by the end of the month. I am really looking forward to this new book launch
  2. Xannu - The Prophecy: The first in my Xannu series, The Prophecy, is currently undergoing a re-edit to make it tighter and close up a few things I've noticed over the years. It's a long job but I'm already halfway through and should be done within the next two weeks. Then it'll be a reprint (with a new publisher) and relaunch to the public as a second edition
  3. Xannu - The Healing: The second in my Xannu series, The Healing, is awaiting the same treatment as my first. I'm thinking at this stage this will be an October job.
  4. Xannu - The Portal: The latest in my Xannu series, The Portal, is now fully baked and awaiting final edits and tidy up. It was my original intention to launch this book earlier in the year, but circumstances have moved things around a little. My current hope is to have this book market-ready by December
On top of all this, I have my never-ending day job (helping me put money in the bank), the youngest kids return to England, my oldest son comes out in October, my wife and I are off looking for a new place to live (in a new city - more on that another day), the Seattle Sounders are coming down to the wire at the end of a great season, and it's time to do a check on all my original 2011 goals I set back in January.

We all have things we need to do. I'm sure I am no busier than any one of you, my readers. It just seems that way sometimes. Have a great day!