My Books

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

83,400 Word Manuscript Complete - The Easy Part Is Done

Yesterday evening I completed the first draft manuscript for the second book in my Melrose series. It weighed in at 83,400 words - a real labor of love. And now I only have the difficult part of the job left to do.

I guess most people who write 80,000 words would think the hardest part is complete, but that's really not so. Before the manuscript can become a published book it will have to go through the following process:
  • Let it 'cook' - leave it and forget it for a month
  • Perform the first 'sanity' edit on the book
  • Send it out to some pre-readers for their feedback
  • Perform the second 'feedback' edit
  • Send it out to early reviewers
  • Perform final editing and proof-reading
  • Design book cover
  • Design promotional materials
  • Convert book to an ebook and re-proof
  • Convert book to a paperback and re-proof
  • Arrange publicity, press release, co-ordinate reviews and organize book launch
Phew! Like I said, the easy part was actually writing the book...

Okay, now it's back to the grind. Time to have a little celebration and take a deep breath before I get on with my next task. There's never a dull moment in the life of an Indie Author.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Supporting Authors One Read At A Time - March 2012

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

No Time for Blogging, Twitter and Facebook

As most of you know by now, I am a big social media junkie! I tweet non-stop, post things to my Facebook page, and write quite a lot of blog posts...

But during the next few days things are going to change (at least temporarily). I want to apologize in advance. So, why is everything changing? Well, I've got to that crucial part of my latest novel, the final 25%, where it becomes a non-stop race to get it all down on paper before I explode. Certain other activities have to stop. What with the full-time day job, the moving plans and the novel writing, I'm afraid I've run out of hours in the day.

Apologies, apologies, apologies! There we go, I've said it. In the meantime, enjoy previous posts on my blog, check out my official author website,, and maybe buy a book or two of mine from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, or the Apple Store.

I look forward to seeing you all again in about a week's time. I am relishing the thought of having another completed manuscript by then...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Healthy Body Makes For A Better Author

I know it seems like an odd title for a blog post, but what the heck? I like to push envelopes.

By the way, how healthy is your body? Yes, right now. Oh, and by the way, how is your writing coming along? Of course the two things aren’t related, are they? Because if they were then successful books would only be written by fit and healthy individuals. And nowadays anyone can write a book. Even people wracked with guilt, stress, disease, and anything else. But can they? Can you write a masterpiece if you are not fit and healthy?

Recently I’ve been asking myself this question. First of all I thought back to those movies where the struggling artist perseveres. Then I thought about those authors, like J.K. Rowling, who rose from difficult times to success. And finally I thought about writers of old like Shakespeare and Mark Twain. They both had pretty tough lives.

But you know what, there’s a difference here. These people may have had tough lives but they weren’t suffering in body. They were fairly healthy people (at least for most of their writing lives).

Earlier this year I decided I wanted to do something about my body and rethink what I put into it. I wanted to become a healthier individual. I wasn’t really ill or anything and I was only a little overweight, but I hated all those little things. I hated that I snored. I hated that I had to take pills for high blood pressure. You know the sort of thing - those little things we begin to take for granted as part of everyday living? So I researched body health, watched several documentaries, read lots of papers and I decided I would give up meat and try and eat a plant-based diet, with as much of it raw if possible. I started with a seven day juice detox and went from there. That was nearly two months ago now.

What did I learn? I learned that my body had a lot of crap inside it. I learned that I could easily lose a few pounds. I learned that I could stop my snoring and lower my blood pressure. And most importantly I found that I could write with clarity and with an approach that I had never experienced before. Suddenly my writing was as alive as I felt inside. It was like years of cobwebs had been brushed away.

Of course the proof of the writing is in the audience reaction, but so far it’s been good. Very good! So, you know what? I’m going to keep my healthier body. I like being a better author. It feels good. Writer’s block is a thing of the past and ideas flood my mind on a daily basis. The words just flow.

So, I thought I’d end this piece on a little practical example. I usually write at between 1,200 and 1,500 words an hour when I’m in full swing, but recently I’ve been writing at about 1,800 words an hour. That’s 30 words a minute. I didn’t know I could even type that fast while thinking! And put another way, that’s an increase in productivity of between 20% and 50%. Not too shabby a reward for looking after myself.

Does a healthy body make a better author? I challenge you to find out!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Project Management for Dummies

Of course I'm not suggesting you are a dummy of any sort whatsoever. But what I am pushing today is my consistent selling project management book, The 10 Hour Project Manager.

I am always amazed at how this book continues to help the masses. I originally wrote the book to try and dispel some of the myths surrounding project management and to help project managers squeeze a bit more time out of their already busy days. And if I can do it, anyone can!

The 10 Hour Project Manager comes from first-hand experience working in the business for over fifteen years! It's a guide to what to track and what you can safely ignore. It's a... Why don't I just list out the chapter headings?

  1. Concepts / A brief introduction to Project Management
  2. Who's Who? - Know the project players
  3. Risks Management - Ignore this at your own peril
  4. Chess Playing - You don't get to be the king or the queen
  5. Project Lifecycle - From dawn 'til dusk
  6. Communications & Reporting - Too little or too much?
  7. How to become an accomplished PM - Taking control of the ingredients
  8. Tips & Tricks - You have to have a tips & tricks chapter!
  9. In Conclusion
  10. Real life examples
And as one of the reviewers writes:
"If you are looking to do a great job as a PM and still have a life, get this book. It is written by a very practical project manager for individuals who would like to be more effective and practical in their role as PM. How do I know this? I worked with him for several years on long term international projects with large multinational team. This book accurately reflects what he preached and practiced on the projects and hence my recommendation. I did not decide to write this recommendation as a favor to the author but as a favor to individuals, who can use a really practical guide to managing project and have a life. This author with his approach made it possible for all the team members to have a real work-life balance even on the road. Under him, our team excelled in every area imaginable on a project. I am glad that he decided to put his thoughts into writing so others can benefit from his approach. This would also be a great book for someone starting out as a Project Manager, as well."
So head on over to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords or the Apple Bookstore and pick up a copy today (It's only $5.99). And if you're looking for a deal on the paperback version, click HERE (you'll save yourself nearly $2).

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Unicorns - An Update on my Writing

It's been a hectic couple of weeks, as I've busily churned out the words to my upcoming book, Unicorns. Unicorns will be Part Two in the Melrose series. It follows on from New Blood, which was launched last November.

So, how am I doing? Well, I'm currently about 50,000 words in. It's a bit of a scramble to try and finish the draft by the end of the month. Only another 30,000 or so words to write!

Why the rush? Well, there's a number of reasons. Firstly, I'm moving house at the end of March. We're leaving Redmond, WA after more than 6 years and headed off to Anacortes, WA. So, there's lots of packing and other organizing to do throughout the month of March.

Secondly, it's time to finish re-editing the first two books in my Southern Lands series, Xannu - The Prophecy and Xannu - The Healing. That's because I want to re-launch the paperbacks in the summer, along with the new third book in the series, Xannu - The Portal.

It's going to be a busy few months! Especially as I have to somehow fit in the launch of Unicorns before the summer is upon us all. Wow!! I still have to get a cover organized and then line up a few reviewers. I don't think there's going to be any peace for me this year.

And finally, as it's a Sunday today, and especially because February is Indie Month, I thought I'd remind you all of a couple of my books that are currently on offer over at Amazon.

Firstly, my A Paul Dorset Sampler is FREE! Yes, FREE! Now you can't get a better deal than that. So, Click THIS LINK HERE and download a copy (Or click the picture opposite).

Then, my novel Xannu - The Prophecy is currently available as a FREE download to Kindle Select members (as a library borrow), or it's available as a purchase at the bargain price of $0.99. Again, a great deal. Just click THIS LINK HERE (or click the picture opposite).

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review: Snug Harbor Resort - Friday Harbor, San Juans, WA

Last weekend my wife and I took a mini-vacation to Snug Harbor Resort, located on San Juan Island, near Seattle, in Washington State. We had four nights of wonderful peace and solitude. Here is my review of our stay:

The Resort: Snug Harbor resort is situated in a sheltered harbor and overlooks the other side of the harbor. Views from the property include the marina and houses scattered on the opposite shoreline. The resort has a small store which was scantily stocked (but probably due to the fact that we visited in the winter), a fire pit, bbq areas, and some outdoor seating. There are also kayaks available and a pier to walk along. If you’re looking for peace and quiet and somewhere to unwind, you will not be disappointed.

The owners / managers worked with us to change our original reservations due to a snowstorm and greeted us cordially when we arrived. There was only one other couple staying in the resort when we were there, but I would believe even when full each guest would be treated as special!

The Accommodation: We stayed in the Tree House, which was set back a little from the other cabins and accessible via a separate roadway. The view makes it very special. You have a completely unobstructed view of the harbor and boating area. There is a small personal deck outside which in warmer weather would be great for watching the world go by. Inside, the Tree House had a bedroom, a small living area, a small kitchen and a separate bathroom. There were sufficient utensils and pots and pans etc. (but no kettle – only a coffee-maker) to do most things, but the fridge was a little small. We were glad we had also brought a couple of coolers with us. The bed was very comfortable and the bathroom large enough to be functional.

There were ample power sockets throughout and everything was well maintained. The TV had limited channels (just local) but that wasn’t an issue for us. The property boasted wifi but unfortunately the coverage was a little spotty and we needed to be patient to maintain connections. Cell phone coverage for AT&T was virtually non-existent. As I say, this is a place to get away from it all! One little oddity was that as it was so quiet at night you could hear all the creaks and groans of the property. The heating ‘bubbled and creaked’ and the water ‘gurgled and burped’. I’m not sure, but I think the Tree House may be directly above the water supply for the resort and there was certainly a little noticeable noise coming from it during the night!

The Good: Peace, tranquility, caring owners / managers, clean accommodations, views, you get the picture!

The Bad: Inconsistent wifi, cell coverage, limited TV, limited kitchen appliances, sparsely stocked store (but it was winter)

Overall: If you’re looking to escape from everyday life and make your own memories, you will love the peace and quiet that is Snug Harbor Resort. If however, you are a towny at heart and want all the mod cons, please book another property and leave Snug Harbor to those that appreciate it! Totally recommended.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy Birthday to an Overcrowded Mind

Yes, today is the one year anniversary of my blog! First of all a few statistics:
  • This is the 319th post
  • The blog has attracted over 250,000 page hits
  • The blog has over 340 comments
  • The blog has over 200 registered followers
  • I have written over 150,000 words of blog material
  • The blog has followed the launches of eight ebooks by Paul Dorset
All in all, that's not too shabby for a first year!

And I couldn't have done any of it without you, my readers. So a big THANK YOU to you all!!

As a gesture of my thanks, I would like you all to have the opportunity to read some of my writing for FREE. My ebook, A Paul Dorset Sampler, is FREE for you today on Amazon and Smashwords. So click the links and pick up a copy. In it you will find samples from three of my novels: Fergus Fedderfeeny's Food Factory; Xannu - The Prophecy; and New Blood. Enjoy!

Here's to the next year...

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Power of Social Media - Paying it Forward

Today I wanted to post a short blog entry about Social Media and paying it forward.

In case you didn't realize, Blog Posts, Twitter and Facebook can (and should) lead to new and wonderful friendships. But it shouldn't end there. If you are really using social media I believe you have a responsibility to nurture and interact with your new-made friends. What do I mean by that? Well let me give you a couple of examples that have touched me recently.

A couple of weeks ago I received a really nice email from someone who had replied to my tweets from time to time, saying that my blog posts about writing had inspired them to write the book they had forever been promising themselves. They even bought my book, How To Write & Self-Publish Your First Novel, and are now busy writing away - A humbling experience.

Then just a few days ago another of my twitter followers again contacted me to tell me that my blog series on juice fasting had inspired him to take the leap himself - Again, a very humbling experience.

The point is, we should blog about things we are passionate about and we should embrace those people that engage with us. If we let our passion shine through then maybe that passion will be used for a little input into someone else's life. And that's a wonderful thing.

I embrace and enjoy all forms of social media and I will continue reaching out and being passionate for as long as I am able.

Have a great day and pay it forward!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Amazon KDP Select - Update 1 - Bleh!

So it's been nearly two weeks so far since my book, Xannu - The Prophecy, went on sale at KDP Select and was available as a FREE borrow on Kindle devices.

So far, it's a BLEH! Sales are about exactly the same as before the experiment and no one to date has 'borrowed' the book. But - experiments are needed from time to time and I'm a believer in them. SO, I'll keep going... I'll report back in another couple of weeks.

In the meantime, if you've not seen the book, take a look. I mean, FREE is still FREE!  (click on the picture to be taken to Amazon):

 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!

Book 1 of 'The Southern Lands' saga
“Listen to the teachings of a wise man. You may not understand all he says but you will surely have nourishment for the future. Be positive and plan for success. Failure to plan is to plan for failure. Worry not at what came before but only prepare yourselves for that which is ahead.” (Pika’Al 10:1-5, The Scriptures of Al’Zaneed)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Raw Sprouted Hummus

For a complete change of pace today, I wanted to post my experience with the first raw sprouted hummus that I've made. The first job was to sprout some raw garbanzo beans for 2.5 days (they taste wonderful and nutty)...

Then it's time to get going...

  • 1 cup sprouted garbanzo beans (chick peas)
  • 1 tbs tahini
  • 1 lime (juice)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • cumin, garlic, salt, pepper (to taste)
  • 4 sun dried tomatoes (optional)
  • water as necessary (max 1/2 cup)

If you are using the sun dried tomatoes, then chop these in the food processor first. Next add the sprouted beans, tahini, spices and lime juice. Pulse on low until chopped, stopping occasionally to scrape the mixture down from the sides. Then add the olive oil and pulse more until absorbed. Finally add water, a little at a time, continuing to pulse on low, until the desired consistency is reached. Enjoy!

And here are the pictures of the yummy end product, Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Getting in a Writing Groove

Well, it’s been over a week now since I got back to writing my second Melrose book in earnest. The early 5am writing routine has been instigated and the words are now flowing! But this time it’s been a little different.

My old routine was to make sure I had a big pot of coffee available for me when I woke up, so that I could write my daily quota as wide awake as possible. This year I have more or less given up caffeine (at least as a morning routine) and so sitting down to my writing with a large glass of water is somehow different. But, it’s working. As long as I get a good night’s sleep the night before, the brain still kicks in and the words come out. There is life after caffeine! And actually my writing has generally been more productive than previously.

Over the years I’ve come to accept that I write at somewhere between 1,200 to 1,500 words an hour when I’m writing a novel. Of course, that presumes on me knowing where I am in my plot and sleeping overnight on what I’m going to be writing the following day. But the last couple of days I’ve managed to knock out roughly 2,000 words per day in my allotted pre-breakfast timeframe. My words per hour have been nearer to 1,800. That’s 30 words per minute. I didn’t even know I could type that fast, let alone think at the same time!

I’m putting it all down to my improved healthier body and eating habits. As you already know if you’ve been following my blog, this year after doing my seven day juice fast, I have stuck rigidly to a High Raw, Mostly Vegan food regime. I feel more alive, have more energy and generally have a much more positive attitude on everything. I guess it’s also rubbed off on my writing habits too. Who knows what’s going to be possible for the rest of the year!

How about you all? How’s your writing routine, and what do you do to maintain the correct environment? Do you set yourself targets? Do you have to write at a particular time of the day? Let me know. I’ll be interested in reading your comments.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Attention All Writers - How Do You Backup Your Work?

As I was out walking the other evening, I thought to myself as always, did I turn off all the appliances at home? Did I turn off all the lights? That sort of thing. It also set me to thinking. What if there was a fire? What if I lost everything in my home? What would happen to all my draft manuscripts and the like? Have you asked yourself the same question recently?

I first tackled this subject in a blog post HERE about using DropBox as a cloud backup tool and today I want to revisit the subject. Many aspiring and established novelists rely on their computer for everything they write and would be lost without it, should something ever happen. Of course, making backups is not a new subject and so some people also make copies to an external hard drive, or a handy memory stick. Then those same people leave that backup device at home!. So, what happens if one day you lose everything in your home? Of course, probably your unfinished book would be the last of your concerns, but one day it may be. What would you do? You'd have to start all over again.

I have been backing my work up to the cloud for several years now and I'm very comfortable doing this. I use Live Mesh, Dropbox and most recently SafeSync (I'll write another comparative review in a few weeks). Whatever happens, I'm covered. If my PC should die, or my house explode, my manuscripts will live on in the cloud, ready for me to download them again (along with my photos, music, and other digital treasures). Furthermore, if I am away from home and suddenly have an idea for my book, I can log into my account and make direct changes, confident in the knowledge that those changes will be waiting for me on my home PC when I get back to it. Amazing!

So there you go, my thought for the day. How do you backup your writing? I trust you're using something other than good fortune and wishful thinking.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Today's Downloads - FREE on Amazon!

Do you want a book to read today? Would you like a FREE book to read today? Of course you would... So, why not head over to Amazon and pick up one of the following FREE downloads.

The first book is my Paul Dorset Sampler, which is a collection of samples from three of my novels. You can download it for FREE HERE!

The second book is my first published novel, an epic Young Adult fantasy - Xannu, The Prophecy. The book retails for $0.99, but if you are an Amazon Prime member and have a Kindle you can read it for FREE! Just click THIS link.

So, there you go. Your FREE books for today. Enjoy!

Friday, February 3, 2012

At Last A FREE Book on Amazon!

Several months ago I wrote a post complaining that Amazon wouldn't let me sell one of my books for FREE! Well, now I've managed to navigate myself around the maze that is Amazon and get one of my books priced for exactly $0.00. Check it out HERE.

Just before the end of the year I decided to create an ebook featuring samples of three of my novels and bind them together as one package. The book was called simply A Paul Dorset Sampler. I launched it on Smashwords and Amazon. On Smashwords I priced it for FREE and linked accordingly to it, but on the Amazon site I had to price it at $0.99. Very frustrating. But - I had a plan! I waited until my book became eligible for premium distribution on Smashwords and then submitted it to Barnes & Noble, Sony and several other ebook stores. Smashwords then did its magic and a couple of weeks ago my book appeared on Barnes & Noble for FREE as well! Now was the time to take action. I hurried along to my book page on Amazon and clicked the link at the bottom of the page that says tell us about a lower price. I then provided links to the Smashwords page and the Barnes & Noble page and waited. It has taken about two weeks, but today - yes today - the book is FREE!!

So, hurry over to Amazon HERE and download a copy of my FREE ebook. Enjoy it and provide me some feedback. There's hope for us all yet!

A Paul Dorset Sampler is an introduction to three of my novels in three different genres. As you know, it can take time to find out if you like the work of a particular author and so I have decided to assemble a set of samples to three of my bestselling books and bundle them as one collection. Then, to make it even more attractive, I've made the whole thing FREE!

So, what are the samples? The book consists of samples from three books:
  1. Fergus Fedderfeeny's Food Factory (Middle Grade Comical Adventure)
  2. Xannu - The Prophecy (Young Adult Epic Fantasy)
  3. New Blood (16+ Young Adult Urban Paranormal Thriller)

Each sample represents approximately 20% of the complete book and will enable you to get a good feel for the book before you buy the complete version. Still undecided? Look at what some of the reviewers have been saying:

"Xannu - The Prophecy is further proof that commercial publishers have no monopoly on writing talent or writing quality." (Scott - Amazon)

"New Blood is a paranormal conspiracy novel that has a wide range of appeal. There is enough romance to bring in fans of that genre, but the story is not overshadowed by sappy teenage love scenes. The relationships between the characters bring the story to life in a believable and entertaining way that everyone can enjoy." (IndieBookBlogger)

"This is paranormal at its finest...This story will have you asking for more by the time you reach the end. I, for one, cannot wait until the second book in the Melrose series comes out." (Eva's Sanctuary)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Getting Healthy, Writing and My Brain

In a slight departure from my usual posts, I thought I'd write about something a little different today. If you've been following my blog then you're probably aware that I underwent a seven day juice fast a couple of weeks ago. It was quite an experience! Since then I've been trying my best to eat as healthily as I can. I've also been trying to write more of my upcoming Melrose series. It's been an interesting experiment.

Let me explain. I was listening to a podcast a little while back that was all about the brain and how information travels back and forth across the hippocampus. It was a fascinating podcast and kept me entertained while I was having a one hour walk along the trail near where I live. Anyway, back to the plot. One of the themes of the podcast was that when we study something that is new, the brain works overtime to process it, categorize it and store it appropriately. As it processes this new information, other more usual work gets pushed to one side. It made sense. Since the beginning of the year I have struggled to get back into writing my latest book. I know what I need to write, I just haven't been able to sit down and write it. Now I understand why. My brain has been too busy processing all the information I've been researching on achieving a healthy body and how correct nutrition plays an important part in all that.

And I have been researching a lot! It's the main reason that's led me to the diet that I am now following - a high raw, mostly vegan diet. And I use the word diet carefully here. According to Wikipedia (and other sources), a diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. It's a way of life, not a food fad. Day by day I am feeling healthier, gaining more energy, feeling more awake, dropping weight and generally feeling more and more motivated. Yesterday I started writing with earnest again. My brain had finally finished emergency processing of all the information I was taking in. I am now breathing a sigh of relief, safe in the knowledge that my body is getting healthier and my writing is back on track. The first draft of Unicorns (Melrose Part Two) is scheduled to be complete by the end of February!

So there we have it. It's good to listen to our brain sometimes. When we take on a new and different project, other projects we have been working on have to take a back seat for a while. After all, just like computers, we all only have so much processing power to manage everything we throw at ourselves. Have a great day!