In The Shadow of the Gathering Storm

‘IN THE SHADOW OF THE GATHERING STORM’ is now available on Kindle.

It”s a compelling story of struggle, courage, determination and love during one of the 20th century’s most turbulent periods.

As the First World War draws to an end, Petty Officer Johann Schettler is embroiled in a mutiny of German sailors. This action turns to revolution as the German people begin to remove the ruling class from power.

Schettler is sent with the interned fleet to Scapa – suffering hardship and turmoil before escaping to Glasgow to reunite with his mother’s family.  He meets Kate A’Herne in the midst of the battle of George Square.

To escape from the security services they flee to Kate’s home in Ireland.  In a short but blissful period, they fall in love. But bliss turns to horror as they endure the brutality of the British Army.

They move to Dublin to help in the struggle for Irish Independence but find they’re still being hunted.  Can they turn this to their advantage?

You can read an account of the four historical events covered in the story here.

 

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How to Devalue Writers – Part 2

Oh. Sometimes I look for writing jobs on Upwork. Most of the time, it depresses me, so I stick to editing and proofreading jobs. They aren’t well paid either, but tend to be from people who don’t expect the same kind of s**t as this dude… (Bold and italicised text mine.)

“I need someone who is already well-versed in the contemporary romance genre. Someone who writes quickly, ideally $15k/week+ and is open to constructive criticism… You must be creative and an exceptional writer. Not only will you be writing contemporary romance novels, you will also need to stay up to date with the market by reading a minimum of 1 book a month (chosen by me – you’ll likely need to read a book between each one you write).

“…Write detailed book outlines before beginning the book. Come up with unique plots for a great contemporary romance book. Write a full standalone contemporary romance book typically 70k in length – minimum pace of 15k words per week. (Exceptions made for outstanding writers)…

“A bit about me, I’ve been on upwork [sic] for about a year now, and I’ve worked with dozens of freelancers. Once thing I’ve noticed is that people are full of shit when they tell me they’re always on time and are easy to contact. I can sniff those people out relatively easily and I will fire them quickly. I’m not here to babysit, and I will not chase you around. I expect you to respect my time, and in return, I will respect yours. With that being said, I’m extremely fair. [Ya think???] If you can’t make a deadline just let me know in advanced and I will do my best to accommodate you.

“I’m not scary, in fact, I’m actually very nice. If you’re doing your job and are doing it well, we won’t have any problems! I’m looking for someone that I can work with long-term and someone who’s serious about wanting this job…

“Once you are paid for your work, the rights to the book will transfer over to me and I will be the owner of the book. You, the ghostwriter, will not receive royalties or anything beyond the agreed upon price.

Please, please fellow and female writers, NEVER apply for jobs like this.

Photo via <a href=”https://www.goodfreephotos.com/”>Good Free Photos</a>

High Quality Content in the Blogging World

Most bloggers will have experienced this – out of the blue, you get a sales pitch from some SEO company, telling you your blog is pretty much invisible, so why not employ them to make it not so?

I got one this week, which is sort of reassuring. If I’m getting spammed by such companies, I must have some kind of online presence. The company listed the things that were wrong with the website, which included “doesn’t have high-quality content”.

What counts as high-quality content in SEO/marketing world isn’t the same as what counts for quality in other worlds. It often depends on links, keyword placement, pictures, videos, text length, coding and other things marketers promise inch us up the search rankings.

Y’know, so that when people type in ‘writing services’, or ‘great chick lit’, I’m their number one find…

So, I didn’t take the lack of high-quality content remark too personally. “Nothing to do with my marvellous writing,” I muttered to myself. “You can shove your offer where the sun don’t shine.”

Well, maybe that’s not entirely true. I did fire off an email to the company, pointing out that as sales pitches go, telling someone their content is basically rubbish won’t endear you to them.

I’ve had no reply, which almost disappoints me. I thought sales folks were supposed to have a come-back for every knockback? That could have been their opportunity to point out that because my copy doesn’t mention ‘writing services’ every hundred or so words (proper keyword density, apparently), it counts as keek*.

Anyway, what I also get on a regular basis are sponsored content suggestions. They bemuse me as they are often from companies that produce goods or services totally unrelated to anything I do or write about. I’ve received propositions from menswear and financial services companies, promising we’ll be a good fit for my audience.

Another person offered me a standing desk review, which was sort of relevant seeing as I use one myself. But reviews of desks… I couldn’t inflict that on anyone and sleep at night.

I’m in some media directory somewhere as a blogger/influencer, which is flattering. But not true. Now, if Cadbury’s/Dairy Milk/Freixenet/Reedsy wish to collaborate, I’m entirely open to a 400-word piece that mentions ‘Dairy Milk/Freixenet etc.,’ every hundred words. Free products and services would be welcomed too.

Either or, is fine.

 

 

*For those unfamiliar with this marvellous Scottish word, it means shit.

 

A Week in the Life of a Blogger

This week I have been…

Writing about sewing machines, keeping your dog safe when it’s Bonfire Night, the changes to Facebook and how they affect businesses, inheritance and virtual reality’s impact on the sport of bodybuilding. Such is the varied life of a blogger. And sending out invoices while wondering about the viability of writing for a living*.

Over-estimating children’s appetite for sweeties. The very well-behaved guisers who called at our house only wanted one or two sweets. Or maybe my offerings (see above) were rubbish. Anyway, as they have a use-by date sometime in the 2020s (ahem), they’ll last another few Halloweens.

Reflecting on the genius of the Duffer Brothers. Seriously, is there anyone who doesn’t love Stranger Things? The second series is even better than the first, and I binge watched my way through it this week.

Avoiding Twitter because I was too busy binge-watching Stranger Things to tune in for the Great British Bake Off final, and saved it up for another night instead. Apparently, I needed to avoid Twitter anyway because judge Prue Leith gave the game away 12 hours ahead of the show being aired.

Wishing my great aunt a happy birthday, her 103rd anniversary… Bodes well for my genes, I suppose.

Trying out new recipes. Like most people, I recycle the same old favourites repeatedly. I bought the Sainsbury’s and Good Food magazines for October and tried out the Budget-friendly Pot Roast, Szechwan Chicken Wings, Egg-fried Rice, Steamed Seabass, and Broccoli, Pea and Mint Soup.

Applying for jobs. My conversion rate is about one in ten. I really need to up the number of applications I make (I do ten a week), but I live in fear that one day all ten (or even five) potential clients will come back at once, and need delivery at the same time.

Looking into BookBub as a promotional tool. More promising than Facebook or Amazon ads, apparently, as your audience are purely voracious readers.

Running. I’ve rediscovered a love for pounding the pavements. When you’ve been inside all day, a run in the dark, rainy weather works wonders.

Writing about vampires, friendship and betrayal. Once the paid work is dealt with, I do what I love – creative writing. (And you can read my stories on Wattpad here – https://embed.wattpad.com/follow/SavvyDunn?type=2) One day, one day, perhaps the stars will align, and the creative work will become the paid work, earning me enough money to make a small income. Nothing greedy. If blogging for a living has taught me anything, it’s how to make do with a lot, lot less.

 

 

*Don’t do it, folks!