Sarah Potter Writes

Pursued by the Muses of prose and poetry

Monday Morning #Haiku 183, 184 & 185 — January

January rain,
shimmering pathways, blank skies,
and a lone walker.
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January wind,
bending trees, lashing wetness,
and a happy dog.
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January days,
sleeping snails, stirring shoots,
and a hoe at rest.

Friday Fictioneers — Imprisoned

Many thanks to Rochelle for using my husband’s spiderweb picture as this week’s photo prompt for Friday Fictioneers. Some of my blog followers and visitors will already have seen this picture, which accompanied my New Year’s Day Monday Morning #Haiku 181 — Spider, thus to avoid spiderweb overkill, I’ll just post a downsized reminder of the original to go with my 100-word story for today.

My apologies for not having participated in Friday Fictioneers since last October. Throughout November I took time off from blogging to concentrate on penning the first 50K words of my latest tome for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and succeeded in reaching the necessary target to qualify as a winner. December was all about catching up with jobs and squeezing in a bit of writing when time allowed. January was a slow starter, but I’m now on the homeward stretch of the first draft of my novel, with about 15-20K words to go.

So here you have it, a trimmed snippet from my work-in-progress Twicers, which is a satire set in the not-too-distant future. My main character, Japeth, is loosely based on  my MC in The Parable Teller, a short story of mine published in the Aesthetica Creative Works Annual, 2011.

Please be warned that the excerpt contains a profanity but, under the circumstances, I’m sure you’ll agree my MC is being most restrained! Also, note that I use the singular of the word “heel”, as Japeth only has one leg.

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IMPRISONED

By now, his eyes had adapted to the false twilight afforded by a row of high-up windows at the rear of the workshop, each one opaque with grime and laced over with spiderwebs.

With the dogs at his heel, he conducted a search of the workshop and nearly tripped over a tin bucket. Toilet rolls were stacked on the shelf above, with a piece of corrugated cardboard propped up against them. The cardboard had painted on it in white the words “COURTESY OF THE MANAGEMENT”.

“Shit!” said Japeth, which seemed apt. Nobody needed nine toilet rolls for a short stay.

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To read other Friday Fictioneers’ stories for this week, or to add a 100-word story of your own, please click on the blue frog below.

Monday Morning #Haiku 182 — Hydrangea (02)

Shelter for new buds:
dried hydrangea flowerheads
shield against frost.

Help Me Raise £250 For The Dogs Trust By Leaving Me A Link To Your Blog

Many of my blog followers and book readers know how much I love dogs, so I wanted to share with you about my blogging friend Hugh’s most generous fundraise for the Dogs Trust, which will close at just before midnight on 6th January. As you can see, he’s not hounding us with a begging bowl but is the one doing all the donating!

Hugh's Views & News

The Christmas tree is up, but something is missing. There are no gifts under it, and I need your help to put that right.

#charity #appeal #christmastree #christmas

For this year’s Christmas charity appeal, I’m asking you to help me raise up to £365 for The Dogs Trust.

The Dogs Trust, formerly known as the National Canine Defence League, is an animal welfare charity and humane society in the United Kingdom which specialises in the well-being of dogs. Click here to go to their website.

Want to get involved? Here’s what you need to do.

  1. In the comments section of this post, leave the name of your blog and a link to it. This can be a link to your ‘about me’ page, a favourite blog post you’ve published, or the home page of your blog.
  2. If you’re an author, you’re also welcome to leave me a link to any books you have published. So, for…

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Monday Morning #Haiku 181 — Spider

New Year visitor
Spider joins celebrations
Steals the spotlight

My Rebellion Against .99 Price Tags

Evidence shows that consumers are more likely to buy a product with an odd number at the end of its price, but does this make them unwitting victims of psychological pricing?

It’s my belief that this particular price tag encourages people to overspend, as they grab one 99-pence or 99-cent bargain after another in a frenzy of buying. In other words, marketing strategists have conditioned consumers so effectively that they can no longer perceive there is only one tiny coin’s difference between 99 pence and £1.00, or 99 cents and $1.00.

The ludicrousness of this becomes all the more clear when you look at larger purchases. For example, if you wanted to buy a dishwasher in the UK and one cost £299 while the other cost £300, a customer looking for a bargain would most likely pick the cheaper one, even if the £300 one was a better product and cost only £1 more. Even sillier would be the customer who fell for a tag of £299.99 and thought they had a bargain!

Did you know that originally 99 pence/cents price tags were used to prevent cashiers from pocketing pounds/dollars? In other words, if a customer paid .99 for an item, the cashier would have to open the register and give back some change.

I’ll move on to a product close to my heart. Books. When did anyone ever give you a book token ending in .99, and yet most books are priced ending .99?

As a Kindle Direct Publishing author, I’m actively encouraged to sell my books in increments ending with .99, with the sweet point for my length novels at £1.99 ($2.99), which will earn me roughly 70% royalties. It will also entitle me to run countdown deals for one week in every 90-day cycle, during which the starting point is .99 pence/cents but the royalties stay at 70%. The alternative is to opt for fixing your price at somewhere between 99 pence (cents) and £1.98 ($2.98) all the time and earning 35% royalties.

By now, you have probably gathered that I’m sick of .99, which is why I’m passing up the opportunity of the Kindle Countdown Deal to which I’m presently entitled, in favour of offering my two crossover novels at  £1.00/$1.00 each for a whole month on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com until the end of January. Please note that I’ve also adjusted the tags down to bargain prices ending in zero on all the other Amazon marketplaces, so nobody feels left out.

Of course I would be thrilled if some of you, who haven’t yet read Desiccation or Noah Padgett and the Dog-People, support my rebellion by purchasing one or both of them.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year 🙂

#NaNoWriMo 2017 & the Advent of Two Different Author Names!

To put the title of my post into context, I want to share with you the testimonial I’ve sent to the organisers of National Novel Writing Month…

I would like to thank the NaNoWriMo Team for providing the platform for a complete turnabout in my writing and for saving me from quitting altogether.

During the first half of 2017, with five novels under my belt, I had finally accepted that for an author to cross multiple genres was tantamount to committing marketing suicide. Enough traditional publishers and literary agents had rejected my work for this reason, while at the same time complimenting me on my prose, but of course I had to learn the hard way by self-publishing a couple of the novels. The experiment wasn’t a total failure, as a small handful of people risked buying the first book and then bought the second book, too. According to their reviews, they loved my quirkiness and particular brand of British humour.

By the time I reached October of the year, I was suffering the worst case of writer’s block and disillusionment ever. Thus, when I signed up for NaNoWriMo it felt like the craziest act of faith in the world. I had never written as much as 50,000 words in a month and didn’t think I had the hours to do so; plus, I was going to attempt to write a straight science fiction novel, rather than a mishmash of about six genres rolled into one. However, twenty pages into the story I realised it wasn’t science fiction, and that it probably wasn’t in me to write anything suited to diehard fans of the genre. This amounted to a moment of profound enlightenment. What were my strengths? Answer: Quirkiness and British humour. What exactly was I writing if it wasn’t science fiction? Answer: mainstream satire that happened to be set in the not-too-distant future.

Thus with great optimism and to maintain my focus, I have signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo and set my next goal, which is to finish writing the first draft of the novel by 2nd February, after which I will don my editor’s hat and set a revision target.

Now for the bit about author names. I don’t want to dump my old novels altogether, as they have been my close companions on a long writing journey and I’m really quite fond of them. Being an eccentric means that I will always write quirky stuff, and here’s a virtual hug for my highly valued supporters who don’t care a toss about my blatant mishmashing of genres.

Thus, what I propose — unless my literary Muse dictates otherwise — is to self-publish my hard-to-categorise novels under the name of Sarah Potter, but for novels that do fit a category and might prove of interest to literary agents and traditional publishers, I will use the author name Sarah C Potter.

Meanwhile, from now until the end of January, I have on special offer my two crossover self-published novels, but more about that in the next post when I will share with you my reasons for staging a rebellion against particular price tags.

Monday Morning #Haiku 180 — Sunrise (02)

December sunrise
Nature’s answer to Christmas
Heavenly bauble

Press Repeat, Nothing Changes: A Selection of Seasonal #Tanka Poems

Sun cuts low through trees,
Squirrels burrow under roots,
People chase daylight.
Winter solstice then Christmas
Hibernation ~ if only ~

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TinselTownpx

~National Grid alert~
Christmas stomping on the world:
an unwanted gift
their electricity bill
our indefinite future

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OldChristmasTree

Once crowned with a star,
it glittered in the firelight.
Last year’s Christmas tree
dumped, forgotten and homeless,
its chocolate coins melted.

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RainyStreet2px

Besieged on all sides,
chimneys whistle, timbers creak–
December gale.
Beyond, in cardboard city,
lie papier-mâché homes.

Monday Morning #Haiku 179 — Still Waters

Natural glitter
No Christmas decorations
Serene December

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