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Posted By Michelle Birbeck

There was a monumental occasion last night in my house. And another one this morning.

After a bit of a rough weekend involving ambulances, emergencies, and goodbyes to friends who are leaving the country, both these occasions have brought a much needed smile to my face.

The first was that I got paid! An actual payment of actual royalties from something I wrote. My first royalty payment for making stuff up. So what did I do with the money I got? I spent it. All of it. In about twenty minutes.

As it wasn’t a huge amount of money and there’s no chance of me having to pay tax any time soon, I decided to treat myself. Not to shoes or a new top, and not to a holiday or anything expensive. I got five new books. They’re all for my collectible cabinet, and though I spend very little on them, they’re worth about seven times what I paid. They’re also all books I’ve read in the past, and the copies I’ve bought will not be getting read. But I bought them with money I earned for making up my own book, so it seemed fitting that I spend it on books. Also, I’ve been working on a couple of the collections I’m now adding to for years, so I’m even more excited now!

The second thing that happened is the book trailer for The Last Keeper. It’s here on youtube, and was the second book trailer I ever made. Now, I’ve been watching the numbers go up a little bit at a time since I posted the video. And over the last few weeks I’ve been watching it inch closer and closer to a big target of mine. 1000 views. Not just 500, or 700, but that extra digit of 1000. This morning, when I logged on, there it was, 1000 views exactly!

So there we have it, an exciting couple of days!


Posted By Michelle Birbeck

If you missed the announcement earlier this week on my twitter and Facebook, then here it is again.

I am very excited to announce that I recently signed the contract with TWCS (publisher of The Last Keeper) for the second in the series. It’s called Last Chance, and it will be released next year!

And secondly, I recently published Isolation (a short horror story) via Smashwords, and I also put Survival Instincts up there, too. The latter is a free short story that’s been available as a PDF on my site for a while. The first is the short story I wrote to celebrate the release of The Last Keeper. And it’s currently on sale! As part of the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale it is now free until the end of the month!

So grab your copy whilst you can and let me know what you think!


Posted By Michelle Birbeck

It’s been an interesting end to the week this week. Having recently moved, a lot of things have changed, including the house insurance. The new insurers want a list of all my books. I think part of it is that they don’t believe anyone in this day and age can own almost 1000 books. But part of it is that if anything happens, which it won’t, then they need to know what I have to it can be replaced.

There’s just one problem with that. I do have somewhere in the region of 1000 books. And I’ve never catalogued them in my life.

Fortunately I enlisted the help of my very good friend Angela in writing down the list of them. Author, title, year published, hardback or paperback, special attributes, and ISBN. Whole lot of information for a whole lot of books.

So far it’s taken two of us two days, and I still have a day of work left.

During the marathon of clearing and restacking shelves, I learned a few things. The first being that before about 1970, ISBNs weren’t something that was used. This might be interesting for the insurance to see on the list, because I have about 300 books that are pre 1970. I even have a couple of books that are more than one hundred years old.

The second thing that I learned is that even now, books aren’t actually required to have an ISBN. Sure, if you want it listed in all the hip hopping book shops, then you need one. But they’re not actually mandatory.

Lastly, whilst I was going through book after book after book, I picked one up in particular. I noted its author and title. Then I turned it on its side and went to open it, looking for the rest of the information. What was there? A nicely sized spider. And a very white blob.

Yep, a spider and her nest. Right on the side of one of my books.

I may have panicked and thrown the book, and then panicked some more when the spider moved. I also may have agreed to my friend taking the book from me to get rid of said spider and nest. The nest didn’t survive. The spider was thrown into the garden.

So the last thing I learned this weekend whilst cataloguing books was exactly what a spider’s nest looks like.

Safe to say, it wasn’t something I really wanted to learn.

In the meantime, there’s another 2 book cases, the cookbooks, and the rare and collectible cabinet still to catalogue. Hopefully there’ll not be any more spiders, or nests. But I do know there are a couple of very old books. And at least one that’s old enough only the ten oldest living people in the world were alive when it was printed.*

I love my books.

*Update: We've been taking the inscription in the front of the book as its publication date. I've just found out that it was actually prublished 15 years before that. So the oldest people in the world were 14 years of being born when it was printed.

p.s: cyber cookies for anyony who can guess the date of publication.

Posted By Michelle Birbeck

I haven’t blogged in a while, and there’s a whole bunch of updates to let you know about, so here it goes.

The first and biggest one is that I’ve finally taken a trip into self-publishing. It’s a short story called Isolation, that I wrote to celebrate the release of The Last Keeper. The two are unrelated, but I had the idea of having something new to offer at the launch party and events. It worked well, and the printed copies were limited to 100 (published through lulu), and at first that was all I was going to do. 100 copies in print, then no more after that. However, I like the idea of ebooks (though I’m not a fan myself), so I set about getting it onto smashwords. One afternoon of reading and formatting later, and it’s there. All self-published, priced, formatted, checked, and ready for people to go buy.

Second is that I’ve been working on a new blog. Don’t worry, this one will be staying. This is going to be my writing blog, for all my writing adventures, new books, and other exciting things. But I’ve been toying with the idea of a book review blog for a while. Basically, I like books. I like signed books. And if I can get more signed books by reviewing them, then why not? Also, when Consequences came out, I couldn’t find anywhere that was willing to review it, because it is a short story. So my new blog, Short, Sweet, and Snappy, is going to focus mainly on short story reviews. There will be a full book review section, manned by my wonderful friend Ange, but the focus will be short stories.

It’s not ready yet, but if you’re a writer of short stories and would like yours reviewing, then please use the contact form on my site or drop me a tweet.

We’ll also be hosting blog tours and guest posts there, so if you want help promoting your book or short story, drop us a line!

The blog should be up and running by about the end of July, but there will be an official announcement nearer the time.

And lastly, The Last Keeper. We’re two months in now, and things are going well! I’ve got events booked in until the end of November, including a few fundraising events, and I’m hoping to fill my calendar in the run up to Christmas. There’s also work being done on book 2, Last Chance (2013), and its trailer and book cover. I’m very excited over both, but I’m keeping it close to the chest until everything is in place.

Stay tuned, though! Because things are going to get dark and dangerous, and so very exciting!