OCD Log 1

This week, first of my new OCD updates and FREE eBook Offer: Eighteen, Blue

OCD Log 1
To make it easier to find my updates on OCD, I am starting from today to name them Log 1, 2 etc. Too often, these posts might get lost among other subjects and I am aware there are many sufferers out there.
In my last OCD update, I announced my first OCD-Free day. It was really just an experiment and I didn’t expect it to work. But it seems to have worked.

OCD-Free is a strong term however. I think it would be more accurate to say that I have ‘broken the back of my OCD’ or ‘turned a corner’. The OCD is still there; every day I catch myself doing something that I call ‘OCD behaviour’. I just stop myself, say, “That is OCD behaviour. I am not going to do that,” and then ignore the impulse.

This tactic doesn’t always work. Strangely, it works better for physical events than purely mental ones. I am still prone to moments of hesitation or what I will call ‘colour blocks’ – a distaste or guilt, if you like, for looking at cert.

But on the whole, things are much better. My partner is over the moon and suddenly I can eat what I want, and I have much more time each day to focus on writing and practical tasks. OCD was a big waste of time and I knew it.

So how have I made this leap forward?

1. There are complex factors but I think the biggest is the boredom I suffered after giving up music full time in the early 1990s. Music really absorbed me. I was passionate about it but to earn enough money to survive, and produce albums, I had had to busk and this physically exchausted me. At the end, I had severe back pain, so bad I could only sleep on the floor, and I was too tired to move. It was then, I decided to go into IT. I don’t denigrate IT at all, I earned a good living from it for almost 25 years but it was not so interesting as music for a very creative person.

2. My last job, in IT, was extremely stressful. There was a lot of ‘office politics’ totally unnecessary for the job at hand, and this drained me.

3. I must say a word about my partner. She has been a mountain of strength. Her patience and understanding are LEGEND as far as I am concerned. She has definitely been one of the biggest factors in helping me overcome OCD. If you are a sufferer, never underestimate how much support your loved ones can give you. And if your loved one has OCD, never underestimate how much support they need.

I should also mention The OCD Work Book. I am not sure how much help this book was, but I know some of its exercises were so mind-numbingly boring that they gave me a big incentive to ‘make a break’! You can find a link to the book on my OCD page.

So if you are an OCD sufferer, or think you might be, have patience. I had it for 20 years, 18 of those without acknowledging it and without help, and I have managed to make progress.

If you have something you want to say about OCD, please don’t hesitate to comment here and I will do my best to give you an answer.

FREE eBook offer!
To celebrate my progress with the OCD (and because I need the publicity!) Eighteen, Blue: (Short Stories Volume I) is FREE from 24-26 May on Amazon. Here is the link: http://bit.ly/19xmNJq

I have rarely offered this book free and in fact, this may be the first time so make sure you grab a copy. It will be the only chance you have to read the short stories, Eighteen, Blue and the romantic science fiction tale, Another one for No. 19.

Eighteen, Blue
On the Rebel held wastelands of North American in the 22nd Century, biker bounty hunters choose their victims according to their playing card rank. But in this life-or-death game of poker, one player holds the trump card.

Another one for No. 19
Machine 19, the last Janitor bot still moving, travels on to its last assignments as Isha and Danel in NewYork District of Central City wonder how to change their meaningless lives.

This book may well soon become available on Amazon because they have banned one of my books which has forced me to seek other outlets. But more of that next week.

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My special offers this week and: How do you market your books?

This week: OCD Update, special offers and: How do you market your books?

OCD Update
I am proud to announce that today is my first OCD-FREE day of this year (and for about 20 years for that matter!). It is probably just an excersise but if it works I will stick to it.

Basically I woke up this morning, took a long, hard look at things and decided I didn’t have time for the OCD any more. Anyway, my fear of getting fatal diseases (like AIDs for instance) simply haven’t come true, probably because I have been very careful. For whatever reason, now seems a good time to try this. I already feel I have burned my bridges somewhat so there may not be any way back in the short term.

No doubt, my mind will try to take over and my ‘OCD-self’ will try to gain the upper hand so watch this space. But if you don’t hear any more about my OCD, then I am free of it. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed.

In order to achieve an OCD-FREE state, I need to be very focused on something; I get bored very easily and I have a hyperactive mind, so expect me to be working very hard on the books and promoting myself in the near future. Read on, if you are interested in the promotion and please do buy one of my books if you are at all interested in my views or stories. I really appreciate the support of all of you and I would love to sell more books!

To mark the occasion of my OCD-FREE day attempt, I have changed one of the eyes of my twitter and Facebook header’s. It now represents blue sky, for optimism.

How do you market your books?
This question has plagued me recently. My sales almost stopped after 10 March. I could see no reason why. My sales were good for January and February. I was beginning to sell books at a higher price so I was happy. Then, the slump! I have thought long and hard about it and I conclude that the only possible cause must be that I am marketing less hard lately.

So I have created some new marketing images (see below) and I will be trying a few tools other than the infamous Facebook adverts over the next few weeks.

I have discovered these 2 tools:
https://app.adroll.com/dashboard
http://www.advertisingwebservice.co.uk

I will be spending half of my profits (after personal hours spent writing!) on adverts so I will let you know how I get on.

If anybody has tried either of these tools or knows anything else I can try other than Facebook or Google ads – both of which I have tried and had limited success, please let me know.

I have found that although I can achieve a fairly high CTR (click through rate) of 0.08% on Facebook, these simply don’t convert to sales. This may be because my blurb about the books doesn’t appeal or because my ads don’t relate clearly enough what I am offering. If anybody has any interesting views on this that they wish to share, please do.

Special offers
A reminder: Inchoate: (Short Stories: Volume I) is FREE if you are in the States and I have added Vampire Beneficence to it. Get it here: http://bit.ly/IRGYaE
Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate will be 99c from Friday 2 May until Tuesday 6 May. Get it here: http://bit.ly/15R1xOL

Below are the new marketing images, including my first attempt at a Lazlo Ferran logo. Please let me have your opinions and any other ideas I can try for marketing.

The new Lazlo Ferran logo in red

The new Lazlo Ferran logo in red

The new Lazlo Ferran logo in white

The new Lazlo Ferran logo in white

Ordo lupus and the Temple Gate advert image

Ordo lupus and the Temple Gate advert image

The Devil's Own Dice advert image

The Devil’s Own Dice advert image

Attack Hitler's Bunker advert image

Attack Hitler’s Bunker advert image

Will replicants inherit the Earth?

This week: OCD update and Hot off the Press: an extract from my forthcoming sci-fi novel Worlds like Dust, about replicants in a battle to save Earth.

OCD Update
I finished my course of therapy over a month ago but that is not where the treament ends. My therapist recommended a great book for me – The OCD Workbook: Your Guide to Breaking Free from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. There is a scheme in the USA and now in the UK to get copies of this from your library. It’s called Books on Prescription so go to your library and find out about the scheme, if you need the book. I can recommend it. A link to this book will be available from now on if you go to my OCD page.

I managed the first few chapters without difficulty over the last 2 weeks but when it came to ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) I hit a barrier. My belief that something bad will happen is way higher than the book accepts as practical for this exercise. Too bad they only told me that after I did the exercise. Ha! Ha! THe book recommends a limit of 70% and I am 90%.

So the book then recommended that I skip to Chapter 7 and try Imaginal Exposure. I have never heard of this but it sounded great. I always feel that I have fears I simply am unable to articulate, even to myself. In this exercise you have to write down the situation and outcome you most fear. I won’t reveal my own fears but the document does make pretty grim reading! I am not easily shocked but I was surprised by what I wrote. You then need a means of reading it back to yourself, for an hour each day. I chose to use the Windows application Narrator although I had to slow the speed down a bit to get maximum effect (I need time to visualise each event). This then needs to be repeated until the belief comes down to about 40%

So far, mine went up slightly and now has dropped to 70%. I have a long way to go. The books suggests that this should take about 2 weeks but I guess there is no limit. It’s hard to imagine I will drop to 70% in 2 weeks, but I hope so. At the moment I am finding it really tough. This exercise is, without doubt, the hardest thing I have tried, during my battle to kick OCD. It is putting a strain on my relationship. But I must continue. I hope I will have good news in a few weeks.

Hot off the Press
What is it like to be a replicant? Will replicants inherit the Earth? These questions I explore in my forthcoming Science Fiction novel Worlds like Dust. For any that have followed the Iron Series you will remember that in Iron I: Too Bright the Sun, Jake Nanden started out feeling persecuted and isolated as an alien. All that changed. Now the story continues. The story has expanded somewhat, from my original draft, so Worlds like Dust will be published in two volumes. Below is an excerpt from near the end, where I am in my last but one edit. This is so hot off the press, I revised it between writing the last sentence of the blog and posting it!

Exiting onto Deck 41, we encountered three Ischians guarding the approach to the recycler section. However, their backs were turned to us. I drew my knife silently from its cloth pouch and stealthily crept after the rearmost alien. The noise of battle covered my approach but even so it swung to face me just before my blade reached the jugular vein in his neck. Two of my grunts were right behind me. Grabbing my Ischian as it turned, I drove my blade as deep into his neck as I could. The Ischian’s weight and strength were enough to send me spinning with it as it continued to turn. Orange blood sprayed my face as we crashed into the wall. The alien grabbed my arms and tried to push me away. I released the blade, leaving it in his neck; an old trick I learned in my frontline service days on Io. The Ischian let go of me and grabbed for the blade which was futile. The damaged was already done. I stood up and kicked his arm as it grabbed for the blade, wrenching the blade into his neck at an angle. Something grabbed me from behind just as my victim bellowed in agony and went into convulsions.”
“Got him!” somebody shouted behind me. Suddenly the huge arms released me and I fell to my knees. I glanced behind me to see two men sitting on one dead alien and three more on the other, which was still struggling. As I watched, both aliens managed to get to their feet. Both were cocking their lasers and it looked like it would be all over for us. I searched wildly on the ground for my Ischian’s laser and found; a clover leaf carbine. I wrenched it from its position, half under the alien, cocked it and fired wildly at the aliens. Both went down with gaping holes in their chests, but not before one of my grunts was wounded in the leg.
“Never seen it done sir!” said the nearest grunt to me. “Read about it. We never thought you really could kill an Ischun this way but you showed us!”
“Alright!” I said, gasping. “Let’s keep moving. Give that man a hand!”
Things became a little hotter as we neared Dragodes position.

Do you think its inevitable that replicants will inherit the Earth? Have your say by leaving a comment.

Do you wash your hands when you come home?

I have now created a survey to ask people about hand washing. What I want is to get a feel for whether people without OCD wash their hands when they come home or not, and if they only do it sometimes, when?
If you don’t have OCD and would like to take a moment to help the OCD community, please complete the single question: it will only take you a few seconds and you won’t have to leave any personal details. Please only complete this if you do NOT have OCD.

I want to answer the question.

This survey link will always be available on my OCD page in the menu at the top of this page.