Monday, 20 February 2017

You don’t know me…

This afternoon I was sitting at my laptop, writing my little heart out, when Amazon sent me an email. Pleased of the distraction, I eagerly opened to find that they thought I would be interested in the latest releases in Sports and Outdoors.

Yes, you read that right. Sports and Outdoors.

Now, I’m not judging if that’s the kind of thing you like (oh, yes I am, I am so judging, can’t you feel me judging from here) but I didn’t even know there was such a section on Amazon. Let alone that it contained such esteemed titles as the Baseball Prospectus 2017 that I’m now obviously dying to read. I didn’t know this because I’VE NEVER CLICKED ON SPORTS IN… MY… LIFE…!!!

Amazon is meant to know what I like based on past purchases. Using this data, it should then send me emails making recommendations of things I might like to try. Secret algorithms and computer database magic govern the process, or so I’ve been led to believe.

What they’re not meant to do, is send me recommendations for Spanish-language novels when the only books I’ve ever purchased are in English (and, let’s face it, I sometimes struggle with that). They’re not meant to send me recommendations for Book IV in a series when I’ve never so much as dreamed of thinking of clicking on Book I. And they’re definitely, positively, not meant to send me recommendations for titles listed under the Sports and Outdoors section.

I’m fairly certain that where I live, there isn’t even an outdoors to begin with. If it’s on the other side of the window, it’s make-believe.

So Amazon, it hurts me to say this after we’ve spent so much time together, but it appears we’ve grown apart.

As an aside, in another real way, Amazon doesn’t know me any longer. This is because I’ve changed the name I publish under from Katherine Hayton to Lee Hayton. This was meant to be a name change to define books I was publishing in another genre, but I’ve discovered the joys of having a shorter name on a book cover so I’m not going back. If you want to stay abreast of any new releases, feel free to follow me on Amazon under the new pen name:

https://www.amazon.com/author/leehayton

You’ll find the below joys** already waiting for you there 🙂

**Joy not guaranteed

Saturday, 14 January 2017

At a new angle

The clothesline broke last week. I was mid hanging-out-all-the-washing and turned it past a spoke, then hung up my brown skirt. The whole thing lurched to one side. I’m quite sure it wasn’t the weight of my skirt. Even with the unnecessary detail of beads on the end of the draw-string, because Ezibuy want you to know I’m a GIRL (in case the skirt wasn’t enough), the whole thing probably still weighs about the same as a hand-towel.

When I say broken, it’s not unusable. As long as I don’t mind the hideous angle of the clothes, and hang up only short garments, it’s perfectly fine. Sure, I’m scared to hang out the bath towels, but when has that not been an issue?

So, just about usable. For some things. Completely beyond repair, though.

The lovely invention of Hill may contain many benefits, but anchoring a metal structure into a concrete one at the end of your back yard path doesn’t offer many opportunities to fix things up with number eight wire. Usually, we’d just go out and buy a replacement, but in this case we’d also have to dig up a wedge of concrete and then pour some replacement concrete. Somehow. While holding the clothesline upright, in place.

Yeah, we’re not that handy.

I pointed out that since we can hang lightweight garments on it, we could continue indefinitely with the agreement that we don’t wash the towels or the sheets. Hey, it’s probably time we bought new ones. Each week, if need be. That’s easier all round, isn’t it? Who likes the slap of a wet towel in the face on a windy day when they’re hanging out washing?

Yeah, okay. In summer it’s quite refreshing. Guess we’ll just leave it be.

[Edit: I spoke too soon. New clothesline required.]

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Meet Mike Miracle

Today on the blog, I’d like to introduce you to Mike Miracle. Lucky husband, fortunate father of two great kids and the caretaker of many different monsters.

Originally from the east coast, Mike and his family now reside on a farm in the Midwest. Mike was able to use his programming skills to start his own small business from home, where every day is casual Friday. Mike has always searched for ways to express creativity and imagination. Through music, art and now the printed word. Mike’s childhood love of science fiction has never been stronger. There are plenty of crime dramas in the office library, but science fiction still dominates.

Mike wanted to create a plausible dimension outside of anything anyone has read before. To grab the reader by the hand and walk them through the bright light and show them what happens in the realm known as The Next.

So, first up. I guess Mike Miracle is a pen name?

I get asked that all the time. Is that a stage name? But Mike Miracle is my real name.

When did you first discover your passion for writing?

I think everyone has a story to tell. I used to do mine back in the day through music. Several garage bands, I’d write original songs that were just mini stories. Mostly about painful stuff. I think most music came from something bad that happened. But writing this book was not like that at all. It was exciting and difficult and stressful all at the same time. It was like letting a creative monster loose on the world.

What genre are your books?

It’s Sci Fi in the middle with drama/thriller wrapped around it like a chalupa. Maybe a little Sci Fi comes out in the end? That’s a strange analogy, but entirely accurate.

What draws you to this genre?

The ability to create. There also have to be some checks and balances of what you write. But it’s also good to leave somethings up to the imagination of the reader.

Have you ever considered writing stories for other genres?

Yes. Young adult. My 13 year old son is a voracious reader, and I’ve tried to encourage him to write a little bit. So we’ve collaborated a little bit on a story featuring a former US President as a stand-up comedian. It might go nowhere, but I enjoy him laughing at the nonsense I come up with.

What is the best part about being a writer?

The ability to be creative. To come up with an idea and let it run.

And what is the worst?

Keeping your day job. I’d rather just write, but the lights must be kept on. Writing usually gets put on hold until after work, late in the evening after everyone else is in bed.

Do you have a favorite author?

That’s tough. If you forced me I’d have to say my favorite is Michael Connelly. I also look forward to Jim Butcher and Lisa Gardner. There are probably 10 authors I could put into a hat and the one I drew out would be just fine as my favorite.

Tell us about the book you’re currently working on?

One character lies in wait to seek revenge for his wife’s accidental death. I have a book trailer at the top of my twitter feed @_mikemiracle or you can see it via youtube - https://youtu.be/AvYfuGuHIyA

The Sci Fi part is an alternate version of the afterlife called The Next. Where the newly arrived clients find out that they have a choice of what happens to them. They can move on, go back to their previous life or let chance decide.

I’m working on getting my first book out of the hands of the publisher so it can get into the hands of readers. But I’m also writing the second book in the series The Next. I don’t really know how many books there will be, I guess until the story plays itself out like so many others.

Do you dislike any of your character(s)?

Out of the six or so earthly characters, I’d say there’s only one that’s a decent person. The others all have their issues that would make me not like them.

And last of all, where can readers go to learn more about you and your work?

Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Instagram!

Thanks very much for joining us today, Mike. I hope you pop back when your book is available and we’ll keep our eyes peeled 🙂