Dog days

It’s been a while. Longer than I realised, to be perfectly honest. Where does the time go?

I haven’t been doing nothing, although the frenzy of writing, editing, cover design perfecting, book blurb fretting, wrangling with new stuff such as ordering ISBNs, setting up my first ever KDP account for publishing on Amazon and all that jazz has passed.

Now is the season of dog days. As I wait for my ARC readers to read. As every now and again I receive a comment or question from one or two of them. As I think ‘hell, reviews will be happening soon’ and ‘I really hope I haven’t oversold and under-delivered on Instagram’… you know, the usual doubts that creatives indulge in when there’s nothing else to distract them.

But – here we are. The last day of July. Only a few weeks until I publish. I’m not convinced past me ever thought I would get to this point. Actually, I’m convinced that past me thought I wouldn’t get to this point. It’s been a long old road, with life throwing a fair few spanners in the works. You know how life is, right?

I was going to redesign my blog into more of a website today, but having thought about it and taken a look at a few other authors’ websites. I’ve decided to wait until Anti-Virus is published. More for the sake of efficiency than anything else. I don’t want to revamp it now and then have to revamp it again once my novel is out. That seems like a waste of time to me. And time is precious.

Anyhoo… I am now set up on Goodreads as a Goodreads Author and Anti-Virus is on there, marked as ‘to be published’ – do look me up, Freya McMillan is the name! That’s exciting, because my ARC readers can post reviews on there before publication, which is great from a marketing point of view! Goodreads also kindly linked me to Jessica, for which I was one of the contributing authors back in 2014. I hadn’t forgotten about that, but it hadn’t occurred to me I would be linked to it on Goodreads, so that was a lovely surprise. I am still proud of the piece I wrote for Jessica, called The Magpie’s Tongue. It’s dark. There’s death. And destruction. No surprises there.

It’s time for me to have some lunch. I’ll sign off now and leave you with the cover of Anti-Virus, created with the design skills of the fabulous Platform House Publishing – thank you James!

So close, I can almost taste it

Although, what do books taste like?

I imagine the boys in J2 could tell me, as they used to chew up pieces of paper and spit them at anyone within spitting distance (except teachers). Charming, but then nine year olds are pretty uncouth and (literally) unwashed, aren’t they? Or maybe that was just the 1970s. Or just Birmingham. I dread to think. Although having said that, I am reliably informed that it wasn’t just the Wumpty buses that had ‘No Spitting’ signs painted on the interior walls…

What’s a Wumpty bus? Ahhhh… So, here’s a bit of history. The Transport Act of 1968 created Passenger Transport Executives in four major British conurbations. Each PTE was managed by transport professionals carrying out the policies of a Passenger Transport Authority made up of elected representatives from local authorities. Their task was ‘….to secure or promote the provision of a properly integrated and efficient system of public passenger transport to meet the needs of that area….’

The initial tools were the municipal bus undertakings in the relevant areas. The West Midlands PTE absorbed the Corporation buses of Birmingham, Walsall, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton with effect from 1 October 1969. The largest contribution to the new WMPTE came from Birmingham City Transport, accounting for around two-thirds of the new 2,100 strong fleet and 8,500 employees. Birmingham’s dark blue and cream buses were well constructed and maintained so the new PTE operations began life in good condition. (I found this information on the Transport Museum Wythall website, in case you’re a fan of public transport!).

So, WMPTE becomes Wumpty, and Wumpty was also a cheerful bus conductor mascot for the transport executive, as you can see (I remember him well!). I found him in the comments on the Beauty of Transport blog. Ah, the 1970s, when bus conductors were still a thing… (along with power cuts and three day weeks). How times have… improved…?

Anyhoo… back to my initial reason for picking up the blogging ‘pen’ again. I’ve finished my final post-editor edit. There’ll be just one more read through to check for those sneaky typos that seem to regenerate when your back is turned (I know, right?), and then Anti-Virus will be winging its way to the magical Becky at Platform House Publishing who will be waving her formatting wand and making it look professional on the inside (thank goodness for Becky, I have minimal patience for that kind of task). Her husband James is the marvellous book cover designer – they are a dynamic duo between them and I highly recommend them!

So, this is the state of play. It’s getting closer, ever closer, this publishing my first novel lark.

Gulp!

The good, the bad and the ugly

I’m not a fan of Westerns at all, but I love that film. You can hear the music right now, cant you? You have an earworm don’t you?

You’re so welcome…

Actually, the title of this post is a little off. There’s no bad (sorry to disappoint if you’re a fan of high drama), nor is there any ugly, unless you count my anxiety going off the scale at various points in the last couple of weeks for no reason whatsoever.

Good – my editor had wonderfully positive comments following her review of Anti-Virus. No major plot holes were revealed, no ‘eh, it’s OK, I suppose’ (a lukewarm response would have been worse than a ‘this is absolutely awful’ to be honest), nothing requires major reworking. Hallelujah!

Double Good – the book cover design is done! I had such a brilliant experience, loved working with the designer and he just ‘got it’. This, my friends gave me such a boost. The book is starting to feel really real, not just real. I think of Anti-Virus and I picture the cover – how cool is that?!

Double Plus Good – I’ve taken the vast majority of the pain of the formatting side of things out of my hands and will be paying Someone Who Knows Things to do this for both ebook and paperback formats. You know, I could learn, but quite honestly, I don’t want to and also don’t want to devote the time to it, not right now (if ever, to be even more honest). I know I’m lucky to be able to do this and am very grateful, definitely.

So, things are moving on. I’m in the final stages of the final edit before handing over to the Someone Who Knows Things. And then I can find something else to worry about, like, I don’t know, what will my ARC readers think?

Until next time…