A New Year approaches, and Christmas is now just over the shoulder.
For the first time in many years, I felt a little nostalgic for Christmas past.
Yule in Africa is something that takes some getting used to, especially for an ex-pat Brit, raised on mince pies, frost, snow and the obligatory James Bond film featuring at some point over the holidays (when I was young, it was always Christmas Day, but I'm sure times have changed.) And Kampala suddenly decided to pile on the heat, weeks of rain gave way for two sweltering days... something else to shock the system of a European. One would have thought that after all these years away I would have adjusted, but there is just something decidedly strange about Christmas Day at 35°C
So 2016 is just around the corner, and as always, hopes are high that it will be better than 2015, (always the same thoughts at this time of year). But 2015 hasn't actually been that bad. The family and I relocated from Kenya at the beginning of the year, settling in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa. I have found plenty of time to write, even though I am mostly forced to work at night, as in Kenya, Ugandans love their music, unfortunately for me, it's not an atmosphere conducive to concentration, added to the fact that every church here (and there are many) insists on amplifying their seemingly never ending services despite the fact that the congregation numbers only two or three. It all adds to the jumble of noise!
2015 has been a prolific year for me, several books written, Gondell's Quest, Finding Justine, The Red Trade, Harvester 7, and quite a few started before finding themselves on the shelf, some temporarily, some indefinitely.
Traffik: The Stolen Girls, published in November 2014 made it onto the Amazon UK Top 100 bestseller list (in genre) during February, and has been there, or thereabouts ever since, it also visited the bestseller list in the USA briefly, so I'm claiming international status!! But still, not too bad for an author who was totally unknown just over a year ago.
It's also nice to see that Amazon have been advertising my books, it feels good to get a little promotion without having to instigate.
While Traffik has done well, other books have been disappointing. Peninah's Passion underwent a serious re-write, and on occasion it has flirted with the top 100 on Amazon.com, but is still to break through.
I have always been a fan of Wilbur Smith, and his novels set in Africa. Maybe that is why I began writing about a beautiful Ethiopian historian, Ayana Regasa. I wanted to begin a series of books set in different African countries, starting in the Ethiopian highlands, before moving on to the Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe (The Fountain of Saba and Tokoloshe). The reception for these first two books has been decidedly lack lustre so far, more promotion necessary I guess!
On a more upbeat note: The Red Trade has begun to gain a little momentum now, especially paperback sales. My second Human Trafficking themed novel, it explores a disturbing market in sub-Saharan Africa for albino body parts, and organ harvesting for illegal transplant surgery.
My third Human Trafficking novel, Finding Justine – Libertine is very much an unknown quantity as yet, having only been published for a few weeks. This is a darker book, and explores the minds of a sexual sadist and his submissive slave (a victim of trafficking). Inspired by the writings of the Marquis de Sade I feel compelled to give advance warning of some language and scenes of degradation and torture. Definitely 18+ reading but not erotic.
2015 also saw the release of Gondell's Quest – Destiny. The first half of an epic tale, a sword and sorcery fantasy that is receiving wonderful reviews (even being compared to works by Tolkein). Because of the sheer length I have been forced to split the tale between two books, and even divided it has proven to be a printing headache and a struggle to format within the 740 page maximum of both Createspace and Lulu.
Book 1 is making some sales on iTunes and Kobo, but no impact so far on Kindle or Nook, one of the reasons that I am investigating crowdfunding options to facilitate marketing. The feed back that I have received so far is that Gondell's Quest has the potential to become a classic, but only marketing and a general raising of awareness will prove or disprove that theory!
My Science Fiction introductory story, Harvester 7 will remain Free for the time being, the first part of the trilogy, Rise of the Kressa is due to be published later in 2016.
I am still looking for reviews for all of my books, so contact me if there is something that you would like to read for free in exchange for an honest review on Amazon.com.
All that remains now is for me to wish you all a belated Merry
Christmas, and an early Happy New Year.
Christmas, and an early Happy New Year.