Its that time of year again, where most of us look back at the year gone, and look in hope to the coming New Year. I think there will be a very large amount of people around the world this year praying for something to change, as 2012 has been for just about everyone a very turbulent and difficult year. The global financial melt down of a few years ago has finally kicked in, and this year all of us felt the bite as people of the every nation have had to pay for the mistakes and greed of the very rich few. Talking as I do to people online or on the streets, the feeling of injustice is rife, and I think it is warranted, although knowing how the bankers have used their influence over the years, I think that they will wriggle out of it as they have in the past.
For everyone its been difficult, and for myself personally it has been a bit of a roller coaster year that started with some terrible news of a family member struck down with the threat of a terminal illness that had a very profound effect on me deeply, and changed some of my ways of thinking. That was followed up with troubles for my mother that stretched throughout the year making life at times very stressful to deal with, and for a while in the middle of the year, I lost my ability to focus and write, something that has never happened to me before, and that really tested my limits of endurance, as I fought my frustrations to redefine my focus and continue with the writing. There has been a lot more than usual for the shredder this year, poor thing, I think I have pushed it to the limit.
Summer was wet, again a frustration that encroached on my time outdoors in the garden, although I was still able to walk with the trees above my head, and watch my children splash in the puddles. I spent a great deal of time watching the rain run down the windowpane making notes for the moment when I could focus my mind on reaching the climax to the series of Heirs to the kingdom.
The landscape in the book world has changed again this year, and in the early part of the year printed books sales appeared to die, casting a bad omen for every writer. Like all other writers, I thought about digital books, and when I was emailed to inform mw that the Moby site had been taken down, I contacted my Publisher to discover that I no longer had digital copies of my books available. Over the month that followed and subsequent emails the New Digital Kindle editions were made available via the publisher, and I was pleased to see that in that first week quite a few copies were being downloaded, I must confess I am not a fan of Digital, and was sceptical as to whether or not the books would look decent on such a small screen, and although I am not 100% happy with how they look, the feed back from those who bought them was positive and gave me a lift.
Early winter saw a big change for me, as my wife took the Jaded Opals stall out on her own for the first time, its not been the best of years for bookings, but when the chance came up to run it for seven weeks, she took it and left me at home to look after the kids and focus on the writing. It felt so strange not having her there as I wrote to comment on my thoughts, and although I had written a few new things, I made the most of the quiet moments to look at HTTK and think of ways to improve on we have available to date.
Income has been hard to find this year, creating the largest frustration of all for me, as I have not been able to get the fourth book in the series out. Behind the scenes I have gone through a wide spectrum of emotion as I stressed myself out trying to force an issue that was not going to happen. I was bent all out of shape not wanting to let the readers down, and it did me no good as it just added to my frustrations, but finally with a few calming words from my wife, I accepted my fate and found I had clarity to move forward. With no book out, I have had to focus on promotion, and so for the last quarter of the year that has been my plan. On Facebook there has been an increase in what we post, which has included excerpts from the first three books, and behind the scenes I have worked on changing some of the pages to the website, as well as including some new ones.
I think a more positive outlook had a big effect on the world around me, as I saw my family member who had fought all year with ill health grow steadily stronger and better, there is still some way to go, but I feel positively thrilled that they have come through the worst and have it under control. My Mum who has struggled in terror, has moved to a new house, and that has solved most of her issues talking a huge load off my shoulders, and the best thing of all is that I found my stride and continued with a renewed vigour on the final book in the series, completing a full 24 chapters to date, with enough notes to write possibly another six books (Just joking this is the last one).
Feeling a lot more at ease and more creative than I have been in a long time, I took my notes and began work in mid December on a new aspect of the web site. On Boxing Day I put up the first of a series of interviews and situations experienced by a man I have named Gordon Waggstaff. He is a writer who runs the postal service out of Mottram on the edge of the Peak District. The idea behind this project is that this allows me to run a blog like newssheet from the heart of the woodland realm. I know I run the blog from the HTTK website, but this news letter known as the Tribune Today, allows me to give a view of life directly from the woodland realm at the moment the story happens. I have a quite a bit of work to do back dating some of the articles, but this also allows me to fill in the time gaps between some of the books, as well as provide more details and information of the life our hero and those around him live.
Editing HTTK always sees the loss of a few things, so the Tribune is a way of including them using the website as a vehicle to do so. Its still very early days, but hopefully it will bring another fun and interesting aspect to the whole of the HTTK experience. In my mind, I can only try and hope that you all enjoy it. Some early feedback has been positive, so I can only hope it continues that way as the articles open up and expand on the storyline.
Facebook has been difficult this year, they have made a lot of new changes of which most of them have restricted the way in which I send out posts and updates. They are starting to show their corporate credentials as they push to make page holders like myself pay for the content I post. I have to confess that if that becomes the case, I will not have the income to continue on Facebook, and so I have tried and will be trying a few methods to help get round the difficulties. The most obvious first attempt is with the free books giveaway, The Kingdom Christmas Giveaway, which although is still quite small scale, has proven that there are a lot of people out there who are not aware of the books and would be interested in reading them, hopefully over the coming year I will find a few more ideas that will do something similar. It has always been the goal of my wife and myself to try and get the books into the mainstream to attract the attention of the public, as I do believe there are a lot of people who would enjoy what I write, so each time a books sells we are one step closer, and can only hope that they recommend the books to a friend or two. It is a long-term view of things, but for a relatively unknown author such as myself, it is the only way I can move my work forward. I have been given a great deal of hope this year, as I have seen authors similar to myself make giant steps forward in the book world by using social media to promote, and so at this point I must say a very special thank you to each and everyone of you who has given a moment of your time, to like a post, comment or recommend my books to a friend, I really cannot put into words how grateful I am to those who have supported me, and helped me spread the word of my writing. There have been some pretty dark moments for me this year, and it is through your efforts that I have felt the greatest encouragement and resisted the urge to throw in the towel and get a proper job, so thank you to all of you, it really is a heart warming aspect of my long days sat here at the desk.
So the New Year is almost here, and what do I have in store for you all? My priority is the fourth book, I want it out like yesterday, and so my attention and focus is to drive hard and do everything in my power to get the book out there and continue the story for all of you. I personally think each book has a feeling all of its own that is very different to the previous book, Dunnottar as those of you who have read it know was quite dark at times, so I am really excited about the fourth book, which was for a long time my favourite book to write. The book is very bright and quite fast paced compared to the previous books, and I think its quite emotional in parts as our hero has many changes in his life to deal with, Jade and Jett take on a whole new depth, as more of their future’s is revealed and some of those characters around the edges will come forward and shine as you learn more about them. There a some new villains to personify the evil ways of the Knox family, and as always the Dark One has been cooking up a few new frights for the Woodland fighters. So hopefully I will be able to bring it all to you as quickly as possible, and in between I will be posting on the Blog, Facebook and the website to hopefully thrill and entertain you to the best of my ability. Behind the scenes I want to finish the series and then look at a few other things I have plotted out, and maybe if things run a little smoother than 2012, I will be able to introduce you to other realms and other people living life in a whole number of differing ways.
As always I thank you for staying loyal to HTTK, and I hope that as we turn the corner of another year, that you all find peace and happiness, and enjoy your life in safety. My very best wishes to you all for 2013… Robin.