A Fortune Teller’s Luck Available on Amazon/Kindle

I uploaded this months ago, but I have done pretty much zero marketing (stupid, I know). Writing is a vastly different skill set than publicity and social-media savvy, but I do have to face that it’s the latter that will sell more books.

So here is the link for the Kindle edition. I looked into one promotional option and because I’m in Canada it wasn’t available, but I’ll keep looking.

Kindle version of A Fortune Teller’s Luck

 

 

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When to write down ideas

When I first started writing, I tried to jot down pretty much every idea that came to mind – characters, bits of dialogue, a story idea, rhyme, you name it. Unfortunately, although I was in the habit of carrying a pen at nearly all times, I rarely kept a notebook handy. So I wound up with piles of receipts or gum wrappers or whatever was available when inspiration struck. Also, my handwriting is nearly unreadable (one of my professors said it resembled Hittite. AFAIK, Hittite has never been deciphered).

So I got more disciplined. I invested in a notebook (small, with a durable plastic cover) that I carried in my purse. However I’d frequently misplace said notebook (often under a pile of papers or books) and so I bought a few more so I’d always have one close by.

You can see where this is going, right?

I’d write down random snippets and then forget which notebook I’d put it in (and as the pages filled up, where in the notebook I’d written it). Worse, half the time I’d nix the idea altogether, delete the scene a particular line had been written for, or decide that no, I was never going to get around to that novel about an alien landing on Earth during the Viking era or that semi-autobiographical story of a person landing in Guyana in the aftermath of the Jonestown massacre. Of the ones that remained, for about half of them I’d waste half an hour puzzling wtf was I thinking at the handful of words that, at the time, I’d been convinced was a stroke of genius. Provided I went back and read any notes at all while I revising any particular story.

Finally, I decided, keeping notes was largely a waste of time. The best ideas seemed to stick in my memory regardless. Only on one single occasion among the dozens of stories I’ve worked on do I regret forgetting to jot down something. It was a Terry Pratchett-type pun for a YA Fantasy I’ve been working on. Oh, well.

That isn’t to say the habit is entirely useless. Nowadays, I try to limit what I bother jotting down to either premises that I could hang an entire story and characters onto (and wouldn’t involve a solid year of research), or plot points I’ve been struggling over on nearly-completed works.

There are also times when I am bombarded with so many ideas I cannot concentrate on the task in front of me, whether it’s a writing project or making sure the bills get paid. On those days I feel like Hwel from Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters:

Particles of raw inspiration sleet through the universe all the time. Every once in a while one of them hits a receptive mind, which then invents DNA or the flute sonata form or a way of making light bulbs wear out in half the time. But most of them miss. Most people go through their lives without being hit by even one.
Some people are even more unfortunate. They get them all.

Writing the lot of them down (even if it never goes further than a notepad document) clears the proverbial clutter in my mind so I can get on with whatever project at hand.

And eventually one of them becomes a blog post on WordPress.

What I’m reading: Girl in Disguise, The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief

My goal on Goodreads for this year is to read 100 novels and I’ve read 56 so far. Plenty of them are older books I was only just getting around to reading, a few couple were re-reads, and I do try my best to read at least one novel a month that was published within the past year or two.

With so much to choose from out there, and being a somewhat fussy yet adventurous reader, I spend a fair amount of time scanning titles and reading through blurbs on myriad lists.

I wound up reading two books back to back that were remarkably similar. Both were set in the Victorian Era, starring female protagonists who’d become private detectives. The Girl* in Disguise centered on the first ever female detective employed at the famous Pinkerton agency. This one was based on a real person, who’d supposedly assisted in protecting President Abraham Lincoln from an assassination plot. Although I enjoyed it and the writing was quite clever, it unfortunately never felt that true to the era. The character still seemed overly modern, as was the writing style. The main plot also took a while to get going; the earlier chapters were more like loosely-connected short stories. Overall it was an enjoyable book, though. I also found the connection of the railways being laid down, and the war effort, quite interesting.

However I did prefer Lisa Tuttle’s novel The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief. The writing style mimicked that particular era (1800s) more closely, plus I often do prefer stories with supernatural elements of some kind or other. (along with those who are skeptical or debunk psychic phenomena, such as my own story A Fortune Teller’s Luck) Although I tend to avoid books set in London (especially if they aren’t written by English authors and especially Victorian London) – I made an exception for this one after reading The Mysteries by the same author. She has a knack for pacing and keeping the reader hooked.

The neat thing about reading both novels within a short time period is the reminder that you can take a nearly identical premise and two authors will spin two entirely different stories and worlds from it.

 

 

*PLEASE, publishers, can we already end this trend of protagonists over the age of 18 being referred to as girls? Even Wilkie Collins, back in the mid-1800s, named his book The WOMAN in White.

How people sabotage themselves and get in the way of what they (supposedly) want… Part II

In an earlier post, I’d skimmed over the ways people sabotage themselves when trying to find someone to settle down with. The same is often true for one’s career as well, though I’ll save that for some other time.

Now, I know from experience what that’s like, because that was me in my twenties. I went a long stretch were I was constantly single and didn’t want to be. At least, that’s what I’d tell my friends. It’s what I thought I wanted …

Looking back now, I’m not so sure. In all honesty, I don’t think I wanted my life to change, even though I wasn’t that happy with it. New relationships can be stressful. People who are accustomed to being single can find it hard to adjust to taking some near-stranger’s feelings or wishes into account. As a singleton, you don’t worry about if your date is going to get along with your friends, or can’t stand spicy food, or prefers staying in on weeknights.

Many of my currently single friends crave steady companionship, and yet …. how willing are they, really, to make room in their lives for an entirely new person with their own wants, needs, habits and interests?

A Fortune Teller’s Luck now available

The hard copy is now available on createspace here: A Fortune Teller’s Luck for $10.99. It wound up being pricier than I wanted, as most of that is eaten up by printing costs. The e-book will be $4.99.

Here is the preview, where the first chapter is available for download: https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1218176

It’s currently under review on Amazon where the e-book will be $2.99. Once that is up, I will provide a link and also look into paperback versions on there.

Business at Madame Lucy Zharakova’s psychic shop has been struggling all summer, and her love life is non-existent. Despairing and hoping to foresee an end to this streak of bad fortune, she does a Tarot Card reading. She draws the dreaded Tower card, portending disruption and chaos.

Her luck appears to turn around when a distressed, but gorgeous, man arrives in her store. He claims his house is haunted and he desperately needs her help. Though contacting the spirit world can be tricky, it would help cover her mounting bills. She crosses her fingers, hoping this gig will turn into something more.

Unfortunately for her, she’s right …

As co-host to The Debunkers, former magician Thomas Janssen has been sent to expose Lucy’s sleight-of-hand tricks by getting her to conduct a séance in front of hidden cameras. He quickly becomes enchanted with her but cannot risk losing his job. When she learns the truth about him, she inadvertently conjures the very destructive force the Tower Card had warned her about.

Each participant becomes lost in a world where they’re forced to contend with their most deeply-rooted fears. It’s up to Lucy to vanquish it, or face the possibility she is a fraud after all.

Page Count: 246

Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 6″ x 9″
Language: English
Color: Black and White
Related Categories: Fiction / Fantasy / Paranormal

Cover for A Fortune Teller’s Luck finally complete

I originally designed a cover that I was never quite satisfied with. While I liked the overall concept, which was based on a flower of life pattern, I was never happy with either the colours or the font. Time for a redesign, I figured, so I re-started from scratch.

I downloaded and modified Tarot card images in the public domain via Wikimedia commons. For the border, I tweaked my own version of one I’d found on Freepik.com.

Since a Tarot card reading was what launched the overall story, I used that as the focal point for the cover. The cards I chose correspond loosely with the progress of the story as well. Originally, I picked the planetary spread more for design purposes than anything else. However as I went through myriad interpretations, the eventual layout fit closely with how the story played out.

Getting the shade of blue I wanted was the biggest challenge, since computer screens rely on RBG for colors and printing of course, is in CYMK. This online conversion tool is handy giving you a preview before wasting paper and ink each time: http://www.rgb2cmyk.org/

I used Gimp, an open source design tool similar to Photoshop. On my YouTube channel, I have saved several instructional videos I found useful.  For vector graphics, I recommend another open source graphics tool called Inkscape. I’m only just learning to use it by fiddling around for now, have had fun making spirograph-type patterns with it.

For various reasons I have chosen to go the self-publishing route for this one. Oddly, according to a post I saw on Twitter, someone was commenting about a ‘mini trend’ in fake psychics, so I shall see if this novel, A Fortune Teller’s Luck, becomes part of it when I send it off into the aether later this week.

front med

Fingers crossed…

My ‘brother’ site

Currently I’m querying this project and while one top agency said it stood out from the rest, I still got the old ‘not right for their list’. The story is the first in a series I’d like to do, though only the first one has been written so far, but I envision as sort of Harry Potter meets Game of Thrones by way of Terry Pratchett. For now the protagonist and his two sidekicks are teenage neophyte wizards at Archon Castle which, as they soon discover, has its share of worldly corruption.

Ivan McRae Writes