Books

I’ve Joined Wattpad!

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So I joined Wattpad. Um, what is Wattpad, you may ask. You mean aside from that thing Margaret Atwood was tweeting about last year that made no sense to me? Good question!

It's where readers get free stories to read yes, free! and writers get to post their new, unpublished or published stuff for feedback, constructive feedback, not the usual lame “good book”! Not that I'm complaining about “good book”; it's just that when you’re looking for what works and what doesn't in your story, you need more. Some writers use Wattpad to crowdsource their stories. But that’s not my thing at all. I write my own stuff, and that's how I like it.

As a reader, Wattpad is easy. You download their app after briefly getting acquainted with their website. The app has all the discovery and reading features of the website plus a much-better display of the stories. You can read anything for free and without logging in. But if you want to vote for your favourite books and/or comment on the stories of writers you'd like to support, then you need to login. You can do that through Facebook or create a new login.

For writers, Wattpad is friggin’ obtuse. Luckily, there are friendly Wattpadians who welcome you and guide you to helpful resources like Wattpad for Dummies. In fact, Wattpad is so bad at even offering basic guidelines on how to publish a story or explain how their tags work (single words only, I just discovered), that there is a whole plethora of user-created guides. Google for them. Don't bother trying to search within Wattpad. Very inefficient.

To create a story, you must login. For once I was smart and decided to get acquainted with the writer side of Wattpad by publishing my short story collection first, a collection already available for sale and one that is easy for me to copy and paste into Wattpad’s Create A Story page and then publish for public consumption — once I got past Wattpad’s insistence I wasn't writing in English.

When that happened, I saw in the community forums that others had had the same problem. But unlike other sites, no one from Wattpad seems to monitor the forums, and so the poor person’s question about what to do went unanswered. I emailed support who replied the following Monday. Meanwhile, I’d logged out, fed up.

Apparently, that’s what it took to make Wattpad behave. Log out. Log back in. Voilà, I am writing in English. Over a week later, I became comfortable with the way Wattpad works, and in about a week, I’ll begin uploading the book I wanted to join Wattpad for in the first place. I need feedback on my novel Aban's Accension because though Beta Readers have opined on it and I’ve revised it, I’m still not sure about it. Look for it soon on my Wattpad profile page and post your comments! Meanwhile, head on over to my Wattpad page and read and vote and comment on Eleven Shorts +1. I post a new story from the collection every day.

Lifeliner

Read An E-Book Week Is Here And So Are Hot Deals On My E-Books!

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March 4 to 10 is Read An E-Book Week!

To celebrate, Smashwords is running a promotion all week, and I’m pleased to announce that I’ve enrolled all my ebooks in it.

To participate as a reader, all you have to do is go to Smashwords, choose any or all of my ebooks, enter the appropriate coupon code given below, download, and read. It’s as easy as looking up at the stars…or, well, in the city, looking at your local streetlamp.

All Smashwords ebooks are available in every ebook format so that you can read my ebooks whether you have a Kindle, Sony Reader, kobo, Nook, smart phone, or computer.

So what are you waiting for, get browsing and downloading!

She: coupon code REW50

Lifeliner: coupon code REW50

Eleven Shorts +1: free with coupon code RE100

A Nibble of Chocolate: free with coupon code RE100

The Job Sessions: Why Do The Innocent Suffer?: free with coupon code RE100

News

Eleven Shorts +1 is Out!

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Eleven Shorts  1 Shireen Jeejeebhoy 600px 20 Aug 2011

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve just published a new ebook! But to backtrack a bit…

I wrote short stories and poetry all the way back to elementary school and up until my brain injury. In the 1980s and 90s, I got serious about writing shorts. Poetry not so much. After my brain injury, that flipped. Anyway, back in those days, there was no digital publishing and much of the mainstream press had long since stopped publishing short stories in their pages. A short story writer submitted stories to small literary magazines for the most part and to contests. If you were lucky, an anthology may publish an unknown. Established short story writers also had a chance to be published in the big American magazines or papers like The Atlantic. One of my stories received Honourable Mention in the 1988 Hart House Short Story contest and appeared in WORDSCAPE 3 in 1997. Another was accepted by the editor of a local literary magazine but nixed by the publishers. Not sure who was more upset by that. I developed a system of sending out, recording rejections, sending out again. They were usually rejected for “not the right time” reasons and “please submit again.” Give me a break. And though it’s taboo to say, after having a racist run-in with a publisher (you know how racists look through you) and attending a bookseller’s convention, I started wondering if my “foreign” name was getting in the way of me being published in Canada. That convention was rather like stepping back into 1960s Toronto where I was the darkest person around. (For those who’ve never seen me, I ain’t that dark. My skin tans deeply but is deceptively fair.) It was all rather disheartening. After my brain injury, I stuffed them away.

And then I published Lifeliner on Smashwords. I followed up a year later with She, A Nibble of Chocolate, and The Job Sessions. And I got to thinking: I could package those short stories into an ebook. I could make them available directly to readers. There’s something rather freeing about going around capricious publishers and getting your work into the public realm at last. All I had to do was go find the files (easier said than done as most were still on floppies) and shoot a photo for the book cover.

I trotted down to Sugar Beach, shot hundreds of pictures, looked up into one of the pink umbrellas, and thought, simple is best, and clicked. That became my cover.

I then formatted it for Smashwords and discovered that their Meatgrinder — which converts Microsoft Word docs to ebook formats — now includes an ePub Check, which failed my book. Although I always use their nuclear method, as I know how sneaky Word is in introducing codes that muck up documents, I had made the mistake of copying Author info and other standard text into the document after nuking out all the codes. At least the second time around went quick. And while I was at it, I uploaded it to Kindle publishing too.

Eleven Shorts +1 is now available on Smashwords as a multi-format ebook and Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.de as a Kindle ebook.

I am awaiting approval for distribution to other retailers, and distribution can take a few days to a few months, depending on the retailer. I will be uploading it to Goodreads too in due course and creating a page for it on my website.

These stories are unlike my books. Several are literary, a couple are creepy, some have funny bits, and they’re all a nice-sized bite for a quick read. I have also included a bonus, a romance short story that my grandmother wrote back in 1919. I hope you will check it out!