New book! Podcast! Excitement!

I’m thrilled to announce my next venture – a collaboration with Stephen O’Connor. It’s called The Other Shoe, and it tells the story of some very unusual people and their fight for what they think is right.

I’m serialising the book in both written and audio podcast form over on Patreon. If you’re a supporter, you can access the podcast automatically through whatever podcast software you use; if you aren’t, you’ll be able to listen to each episode as it’s released on the site. The text version, as usual, is available for supporters only.

Listen to the first episode now.

Deadish book 7 is out!

Dead in Paradise hit the shelves early this month! Much excitement for me, because I’m still pinching myself when I realise that this is book 7 in the series. You can get hold of the ebook on Amazon and in all good ebook retailers. Also!! There’s a paperback edition! It’s available in Amazon’s US and UK stores – wider distribution will follow later in the year. If you’re in Australia and you’d like to buy a copy of the paperback: shipping costs are ridiculous from either. Let me know you’re interested, and if I get enough interest I’ll set up pre-orders here on the site and then do a bulk order from Amazon.

When I wrote DEAD(ish) ten years ago, my goal was to get 500 people to read it. It seemed like a huge target back then. Within six months we smashed that goal, and then Amazon made it a freebie and boom – everything exploded.

It’s been a long and windy (sic) road, folks. So much has happened in my life, and no doubt in yours, in the last decade. My marriage broke down. I picked up a new job, then took a redundancy package when the company decided that writers were obsolete. I started freelancing – a decision that comes with its own stresses, but has been a freaking lifesaver lately. I started dating again. And then the guy that things were getting serious with… went into hospital. And had kidney failure. And then we both had medical dramas galore. Because of course.

Regardless of the drama, though, there are lots of bright sides in my life. One of those is my readers. I love you folk. It never occurred to me when I was starting out as a writer that it was one of the best ways for me to find like-minded people in this huge crazy world. Thanks to Linda and Trent, I’ve met some awesome peeps. Thank you all for sticking around, and for being you.

Sneak Peek: Dead in Paradise

Recap:
[spoiler title=”See minor spoiler for Renovation: Hell”]Linda was on an (unofficial?) mission to help out the ruler of Hell when Flavius, Sephenia’s ill-mannered and condescending replacement, gave her a new task. Linda refused, and was dumped into a Heavenly prison to reconsider her position. In light of such an argument – and a timely reminder that she had all the time in the world – she agreed to take on the job. Now she has to follow through.
[/spoiler]

(Linda)

I’m lying on the beach, just thinking about death and the weirdness of the afterlife. I mean, I never really gave all of this stuff much thought when I was alive, you know? I guess I just accepted the churches’ teaching that there was a Heaven and a Hell, but I don’t think I ever quite believed it. Especially not in a Heaven and Hell like these, where Heaven is a big do-what-you-want fest for the most part and Hell is full of counsellors giving crap advice. Like, most people just think of angel wings and harps and clouds, not sand and surf and gorgeous men wearing very little in the way of clothing… excuse me a second.

It’s easy to get distracted from deep philosophical musings, I guess. Ahem. Anyway, sex aside, Heaven was full of surprises. I think the biggest one – but kind of the biggest relief, too – was that there’s work in the afterlife. Yup, doesn’t stop just because you die! But work in Heaven is different to work in Hell. It’s more rewarding, for a start. No money, because Heaven doesn’t deal in money except for work down on Earth.

I hear a little *tink-a-ling!* beside me and stifle a groan. Hercules is nauseatingly cute and cheerful, but he’s also helped me out a fair bit in the last little while, so I should probably can the attitude. Imagine a classical rendition of a fat cherub angel, but about ten centimetres tall and covered in glitter like a Twilight vampire.

“Hey there, handsome,” I say. “What’s up? Does Prick-Face have a job for me?”
He coughs, possibly smothering a laugh. “He already gave you one, remember?”
“Oh yeah,” I say, remembering the time-space co-ordinates so rudely thrust into my head a while back. “I should really get onto that, shouldn’t I?”
“You really should,” he says, wings twinkling as he slowly flaps them. “Not that you heard it from me, of course.”

I grin. This little guy is turning out to be quite the rebel. I’m such a good influence on Heavenly denizens.

“Thanks, Herc,” I say, and magic up a Tim-Tam. “Here. Because I love you.”
He snatches the biscuit with an expression of glee and disappears in a shower of glitter, forgetting to add the irritating sound effect. I snigger. I’ve only just recently discovered that he’s nuts for Tim-Tams – I guess that Aussie treat just hadn’t hit the big-time in Heaven until I got here. Then I sober up. If he’s delivering a sneaky reminder, that might just mean that Flavius is on the warpath. And I really don’t want to spend time on that pesky archangel’s bad side unless I actually have right on my side. Right now, I only have laziness, which isn’t quite the same thing.

Fine. Time to get to work. I think up an outfit that’s a little more Earth-friendly – jeans and t-shirt – then pause. I don’t know where these co-ordinates will actually be, or whether I’ll be dressed appropriately. I mean, what if I materialise (should that be ‘spiritualise’?) in an Egyptian city, and I’m showing off too much skin? Or worse, in the middle of a black-tie event, and I’m dressed far too casually? Huh. Maybe I should just use the stealth approach.

You know how little kids think that if they can’t see you, you can’t see them? Well, if you’re dead, there’s this odd trick where if you think you’re invisible, you actually are invisible. Tricky, because you need to keep your mind on the idea – and weirdly, some people can still see past that. On my last Earth mission, I ran across a preacher and a few of his congregation who could spot me no matter what I did. Everyone else? Couldn’t see a thing if I didn’t want them to. Weirdest thing I ever experienced. I still don’t know how they did it. Anyway, I’m fairly sure that was an isolated occurrence – the trick works with everyone else. So I close my eyes, think myself invisible, then phase out to the co-ordinates in my head. Geez, I hope they’re still right. Wouldn’t it suck if I’d transposed a few digits?

I open my eyes and… I’m on a beach. At first I think I’ve stuffed up royally – but wait, the sand’s slightly lighter and the people are less pretty. In Heaven, dead people work out fairly fast that appearance is just a state of mind, so we often aim for an idealised sculptured bod, just because we can. Until people work out that they can grow tentacles, at least – then things get… weird.

So, I’m standing on a beach, wearing jeans and t-shirt. I look down – no shoes. Well, at least I got one part of the costume right. Thank God I chose to stay invisible; I’d look a right dork dressed like this. I get rid of the offending clothing and add a bikini and a light filmy robe. There. Perfect. I let go of the invisibility and someone nearby swears.

“Holy fuck – these drugs are good!” he says to his friend, staring at me.

I pretend confusion and walk away. Hmm… that was an Australian accent. Does Heaven only send me to Aussies? Pity. I was hoping for something a bit more exotic. Oh well. Next step: find my dead person. The beach is long and narrow, and there are towels galore spread out on the sand. Some of them bear sunbathers; the others wait forlornly for people splashing in the clear shallow water or surfing out past the breakers. Surely my deadie will be on the sand somewhere. Can dead people swim on Earth? I suppose we can – it’s just like floating. Damn. That means they could be anywhere here.

One of the joys of being dead is that walking on sand gets a lot easier. So I waft along the shoreline, hoping that no one notices my lack of footprints. They rarely do notice that sort of thing, you know. Someone’s subconscious might give them a bit of a poke about something being amiss, but they rarely consciously pick it out. Too ridiculous to be believed, I guess. So I wander along, searching for my new mentee. I come to a sign indicating a rip nearby and pause. Weird – it’s in what I think is Indonesian script first, then English, then what might be Chinese. I narrow my eyes in thought. Why would they do that in Australia? I can’t think of anywhere that gets lots of Indonesian tourists. Odd. Anyway, I need me a dead person…

Then I spot him. A person – male? – with light skin and dark brown hair done up in dreadlocks, wearing Thai fishermen’s pants and a tie-dyed t-shirt, sitting cross-legged in the shade of a tree on the borderline between sand and grass. Geez, could he be more of a clichéd hippy? But the clincher is that he’s also floating a couple of centimetres off the sand. I roll my eyes but head over to him. I guess hippies deserve an afterlife too – as long as they keep their peppermint teas the hell away from me.

“Hi,” I say to him. “I bet you’re feeling a bit confused.”

“Shhhhh…” he says, eyes closed. “I’m meditating.”

I wrinkle my forehead. That’s not exactly the response I was expecting.

“You’re dead,” I point out. “I can understand that might be a little overwhelming.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” he says, eyes still closed. “Now, do you mind? I think I’m close to a breakthrough. This time I might just touch Nirvana.”

I try to dismiss a persistent mind-picture of this guy groping Kurt Cobain. Does he think the idea of being overwhelmed by death ridiculous, or the idea of being dead?

Holy shit, does this guy even realise that he’s dead? Nah, surely he does. The whole ambulance-taking-away-his-body thing had to have been a dead giveaway. Get it – dead giveaway? OK, I know – bad pun. But this guy has me kinda freaked out. I think hard, but I can’t come up with a single way to deal with him that doesn’t start us off on the wrong foot. Picking him up, carrying him to the ocean, and holding his head under the water until he accepts that something weird is going on here, for example: totally the wrong approach.
Then again, circumstances have been conspiring lately to remind me that time is immaterial when you don’t have a meat body. I sigh, realising that there’s only one logical response. I sit down, cross my legs, close my eyes, and take a deep breath. Might as well meditate until he’s willing to jump aboard the reality train.

Hours of silence later, the sun is starting to set, and the air temperature drops a little. Not really a problem when you’re dead, but it’s enough to bring me out of the trance I’d somehow managed to get into. I open my eyes. The hippie bloke is staring at me.

“Who are you?” he asks.

Finally. A question. Progress.

“I’m Linda,” I say. “Think of me as… your guide to the afterlife.”

He screws up his face in a look of confusion, then waves a hand through me. Ugh. I hate it when people do that.

“You’re my spirit guide?”

I roll my eyes. Geez freaking Louise. “That’ll do,” I tell him.

“Whoa,” he says. “I’m so glad I came on this spiritual retreat. It’s been so rewarding.”

“Might have been more rewarding if you hadn’t died,” I point out.

“Huh?”

“You’re dead, dude.”

He shakes his head. “Nah, I just managed to slow my biological processes until I appeared dead. It’s a common mistake that the unenlightened make. Awesome progress, huh?”

I rub my temples gently. This guy is giving me a headache. “You’re also see-through,” I point out. Now that’s a common mistake that dead people make.

He looks down at his body – and the strands of grass clearly visible through it – and gasps. “What the hell?” he yells.

Thank all that’s holy, the majority of beachgoers have wandered off to find dinner or alcohol or whatever. Otherwise we’d have some seriously freaked-out onlookers right now.

“Sorry,” I tell him. “Life’s a beach, and then you die – am I right?”

He summons the ghost of a smile.

Fancy separator graphic - retrieved from https://openclipart.org/detail/282698/ornamental-divider

Want to read more? I’m serialising the first draft of Dead in Paradise over on Patreon – and patrons will also receive the completed ebook before it’s available in retail stores.

Preorder Deadish book 7!

Dead in Paradise is the seventh book in the Deadish series. Linda and Trent are taking a bit of a break from the usual gritty scenery of Sydney, Australia and moseying off to Bali, party island for Australians but also an incredibly beautiful place in its own right.

Pre-ordering available on Amazon and – soon – a number of other ebook retailers.

For the next week, you’ll be able to pre-order Dead in Paradise at the bargain price of $1.99. Then the price will increase to $3.99.

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(Note for those unfamiliar with pre-ordering protocol: most retailers only charge you when the book is made available for download, but they charge the price that you pre-ordered at. In this case, the price when released will be $3.99 – but if you pre-order in the next week, you’ll only be charged the $1.99. Any questions? Feel free to ask!)

Woohoo! Renovation: Hell done

It’s 9:30pm on a Friday night. I’m at a slightly loose end. I’ve just sent out copies of Renovation: Hell, the latest book in the DEAD(ish) Allsorts series, and now – for a brief few hours – I don’t have a primary work in progress.

Of course, that will change tomorrow. Then I flip over to the next book in the queue – something new and a little scary for me. It’s a book that I’m co-authoring with my partner Steve. It’s called The Other Shoe, and it’s set in a world where people can have superpowers… but only if they’re disabled. That should be… interesting. 😀

Me being me, I’ll also be working on a DEAD(ish) project. I have a long-term background book that’s a little bit odd – with any luck I can unveil it early next year.

Patrons, I hope you got your Renovation: Hell ebooks without dramas! People who haven’t signed up as patrons: it will be released in all the usual retailers on 2 December.

Pre-order now:

Amazon US

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Early Access from $1/month

I love to write fiction. Lovvvvvvve it. But a sad fact of life is that making an income from writing books can be… iffy at best. Sales rise and fall, retail outlets collapse, all sorts.

Regardless, I want to devote more time to writing the stuff that I love, especially the DEAD(ish) and DEAD(ish) Allsorts books. So I signed up with Patreon. It’s a subscription service that allows people to support their favourite artists with a monthly dollar amount, and in return, get special rewards.

This is my Patreon page:

patreon.com/naomikramer

I’ll be serialising books as I write them, then adding the ebook files (EPUB and MOBI, plus PDF if anyone desires) once they’re complete. Two or three months later, I’ll publish the books on Amazon et al. In other words, you’ll get weekly book instalments plus early access to the completed ebooks. All from just $1/month.

I figure this is my best bet for creating a win-win situation. I get a regular income – you get regular DEAD(ish) and DEAD(ish) Allsorts content before everyone else!

The Art of Asking Questions

‘Questioning’ is an admirable trait, right? It brings to mind someone who isn’t happy with their current view of the world; someone who is always wanting to know more. So why is that honest questions are sometimes answered with outright hostility?

A sense that you’re not 100% sincere

Some people – intentionally or not – use questions as weapons to push someone into acknowledging the questioner’s own reality. Rather than being a sign of the questioner’s desire to be open-minded, they can be a signal that the questioner is feeling overly challenged and would like you to return to the party line, please, now.

Crafting answers can be hard work

Teaching is a difficult job. Figuring out exactly how to phrase something to make sure someone (potentially with a completely different learning style to your own) is hard work. It’s even more difficult when you’re trying to teach about something that is intensely personal and/or opens you to public criticism, abuse, and/or violence – like race, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. The key take-away point here, though, is this: the mere act of asking a question requests that the answerer use their energy to respond to the questioner.

You’re not a child anymore

Kids need to ask questions. All but the grumpiest adults understand that. We understand that a 5-year-old child has very few resources on hand apart from the people surrounding them. So adults will often stop and answer a child’s questions to the best of their ability. Adults, on the other hand, often have many, many resources at our disposal. We have the internet, libraries, knowledgeable friends, expert consultants, university and TAFE courses, Siri and OK Google on our smartphones… and a host more. I tend to respond differently to children and adults simply because I assume that the adult a) has resources other than me and b) is choosing not to use them. Sometimes that assumption is wildly wrong. Most of the time it’s correct, and the person has chosen the lazy option.

You’ve just displayed a prejudice of some sort

Most prejudices are inbuilt, and a lot of us don’t realise we even have them. Ask a roomful of average people if they’re racist, and 99% will generally say “NO!”. But the vast majority of that 99% will actually say and do racist things without realising it. Likewise, other prejudices you have against people – prejudices you probably don’t realise you have – often come out when you ask them questions about their life.

How to ask questions

So let’s just say that I have a question that you want to ask someone. What should I do? Here’s a quick, general list of things I should ask myself first:

  • Why am I asking this question?
  • How might the person feel about hearing this question?
  • Is this question respectful?
  • Is this question important for my or their safety?
  • Do I need to know the answer?
  • Can I learn the answer to this question in any other way?
  • Has this person invited my questioning?
  • Is my timing appropriate?
  • Does my phrasing expose my opinion that they are wrong/different/not as good as me?

Having a good hard look at our motivations and unspoken assumptions before asking questions of those around us doesn’t just decrease the number of hostile responses – it also helps to improve the lives of those around us… just a little bit.

Like to know more?

Here’s a great articles that might help you get a wider perspective: Carly Findlay talks about the questions people ask her.

 

How to Publish an Ebook

  1. Write a book.
  2. Edit it thoroughly.
  3. Edit it thoroughly again, bemoaning your lack of thoroughness in step 2.
  4. Give it to someone else to edit.
  5. Swallow your pride and actually make the changes suggested, if they’re good ones.
  6. Carefully hand-code the book in HTML.
  7. Convert to ebook format.
  8. Upload.
  9. Wait, and bleed.

DEAD(ish) Book 6 and my nerves are a bit frayed

I’m happy, I’m nervous, I’m thrilled and scared stiff.

(rebounding) DEAD will be released on the 17th August – just two weeks away. I’m happy and thrilled because I love writing and putting it out into the public eye. I’m nervous and scared because OMG what if y’all don’t like it?

As you can probably imagine, my writing style has changed a bit over the years. But when I started writing (rebounding) DEAD, I swear it wasn’t just a tendency to get more verbose that was going on. Nope, the characters took up residence in my head and decided to tell me a story way more involved than usual. So instead of the short and sweet novelette that you usually get with a DEAD(ish) book, this one’s more of a… novella. Actually, you know, I think it might be the longest book I’ve ever written. Let’s face it, I’m not generally the wordy type. But this book has a number of characters who all wanted to get their points of view across:

  • Linda, of course. A bit more mouthy, and maybe a bit kinder.
  • Prudence, who is doing her best to follow the rules and is a bit disconcerted at the lack of said rules.
  • Trent, long-suffering and devoted to helping out with whatever wild scheme Linda might bring him.
  • Reverend Jones, the holiest man in existence, except for most.
  • Grim, a female demon with a soft spot for Linda.
  • Barb, a hostile damned soul who can’t bring herself to believe in Heaven.

I think most writers suffer from ambivalent feelings whenever we release a book. They’re little bits of us, exposed to the world, which can make it bloody nerve-wracking! But I wouldn’t be releasing (rebounding) DEAD if, logically speaking, I wasn’t fairly sure that this is another awesomely fun book that you’ll enjoy reading. I just… need to take a few moments occasionally to wibble uncertainly. 😀

Welcome!

Hey there, and welcome to DEAD(ish) Online! It’s pretty new, but let me tell you what I have planned:

  • Exclusive content that you won’t be able to get elsewhere.
  • DEAD(ish)-inspired games.
  • A section where you can upload your own DEAD(ish) fan fiction – or read other people’s.
  • Q&As.
  • Behind-the-scenes sneak peeks at the mind that created DEAD(ish).

I’m hoping that this site comes to be an awesome resource for you, as well as a great place to meet like-minded people. I’ll certainly be doing my best to make it so!

Love,

Naomi