Guest Post – D.S Smith, author of Unparalleled.

A day in the life of D S Smith (Don) author of ‘Unparalleled’

 I would love to be able to write a paragraph or two about how I structure my day to maximise the creative flow. How I wake up naturally to the sound of birds singing outside, stroll out to the kitchen to flick on the coffee machine before jumping into the shower to energise myself for the day ahead. But I’ll save the fiction for my books.

The Alarm sounds. I’m already awake but in a kind of conscious slumber. I haven’t slept well so I’m not awake enough yet to throw back the covers. I press the snooze button and immediately fall asleep. Nine minutes pass in what seems like 30 seconds and the alarm sounds again. Why is a snooze nine minutes anyway? I didn’t set that. One more snooze and I’ll get up.

 Nooooo, I wake up abruptly, I must have hit the stop button instead of the snooze. I’m running late now, but not so late that it stops me satisfying my new obsession. I pick up the phone and refresh my Author Central page on Amazon to see if I’ve sold any more copies of ‘Unparalleled’ overnight. I’ll do this every couple of hours for the rest of the day and one last time before I go to sleep.

 I managed to avoid being late by skipping breakfast, so my working day starts with a cup of coffee.  As I take my first sips, I look out of the window. I have a corner office with floor to ceiling glass on two sides providing a panoramic view of the neighboring buildings. The towering Ibis Hotel is prominent with its grey and white patchwork facade, behind it I see the Marina Mall peeking out displaying 20-foot high adverts for KFC, Nike and Vodafone.  The glass-fronted tower of the Stanbic Bank reflects the traffic driving by on the six-lane carriageway beneath it. Cars turn right onto a dual carriageway, flanked by Nissan and Mercedes Benz showrooms on one side and Land Rover/Jaguar on the other.  They’re headed toward the Holiday Inn and Hilton. This description probably fits many cities around the world but this one belongs to Accra, Ghana.

 I’ve been working in Ghana on and off for the past nine years. It’s my second home. The people of Ghana are amongst the most friendly, laidback, creative folk you will ever meet. Even as I write this, I am watching a Car Park Attendant dance his way around the parked cars as he patrols. He has some pretty impressive moves!

 Quick look at the watch – I have ten minutes before my first meeting of the day. Grab the phone, refresh the page; I’m in the top 25,000 on the Amazon Best Seller list, up from 57,000 earlier, whoop, whoop, I must have sold a couple of copies.

 The meeting I attend is a weekly update on the status of offshore operation in the Ghanaian oil fields.  The company I manage here provide Subsea Engineering services required to maintain the infrastructure used to get the oil from the wells on the seabed to the storage facility at the surface. We have a ship in the field equipped with two Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV’s) that are used to carry out this maintenance. The ROV’s are about the size of a transit van. They have two robotic arms used to operate valves and disconnect or connect hydraulic and electrical supplies. There are lights and cameras to provide the operator with the visuals needed to carry out the tasks, and they have thrusters to propel them through the water column. All of this is controlled from the deck of the ship by a team of pilots and technicians. 

 The meeting lasts for an hour and all is good…

 Back at my desk I check my emails. There’s one from my daughter, written as she boards a plane at Manchester Airport. She’s flying out to Ghana with her friend to join me for the week.  They are both Yoga Instructors so I have set up a number of classes for her to teach while she’s here. I’m looking forward to joining in. My daughter illustrated the cover for ‘Unparalleled’. It’s a beautiful water colour, designed with the books theme in mind. A lot of writing sites advise against using homemade covers. Perhaps they are right, but I’m proud of the work my daughter did on this so I want to show it off as much as the story itself. 

 It’s lunch time. I’m having a sandwich at my desk and surfing through the BLOG sites to look for feedback for the book and of course to check the sales – I’ve hit the top 12,000, it’s looking like the hard work was worth it after all.   I now have 20 followers on Twitter and almost 50 on Instagram, big time here I come. I never used social media until the book was published, never really saw the point. Oh, I get it now though! I see the importance of spreading the word, getting your name out there, showing the world your book, giving them teasers, follow and be followed, tweet and be tweeted and then re-tweeted, post and …..ok, you get the point.

 All the reviews so far are good. Admittedly, family and friends have posted most of them. One from the BLOG tour really stands out. Thank you Welsh Mummy Blogs. Your review gave me a huge confidence boost. I’m sure the bad reviews will come. My wife read the first printed version of the book when it arrived from the publisher in the post. She has found many spelling and grammar mistakes. This annoyed me at first, I thought I was sending out a polished version. So, I did a bit of research. Many advisors will tell you to write, edit, write, edit, write, edit……………which is very good advice. Then, I read a BLOG by Stephen King. He prefers to get it out there and learn from the feedback. After all, what is a review if it’s not a proof read?

 Half way through the afternoon now and the lack of sleep last night is starting to take its toll. I need more coffee to get me through to the end of the day. I’ve noticed on a lot of the book review BLOG sites that you can express your gratitude for the work they do by buying them a coffee. All you have to do is click on the tag and donate. These guys commit so much to the art and most of them do it for the love of it.  I get tired reading just a few chapters. Imagine reading book after book and then having to comment on them. I’ll will be buying them all a coffee from now on.

 Last meeting attended, last email sent, the working day is over. A quick bite to eat and I’m on my way to pick up my daughter and her friend from the airport. I’ve been looking forward to this all day. I’m really excited to see them but also excited to have an excuse to show off the many interesting people and places I have come to know and love during my time working in this vibrant country. Standing amongst the crowd at the arrivals entrance, I feel like I’m in that scene from the movie ‘Love Actually’. People hugging, kissing, cheering and crying as their love ones appear through the double doors. My daughter and her friend appear, full of smiles and expectation. My daughter is dragging a big suitcase but under her arm is a copy of ‘Unparalleled’, bless her. 

 After a few drinks at the hotel bar, exchanging stories of the journey, my day at work and the plans for the week ahead, we all decide to turn in. It’s been quite a day, dedicated to work for the most part, family toward the end. But now it’s my time. This is when I write, when I go to bed at night. I’m drafting the sequel for ‘Unparalleled’ at the moment and have written the Prologue. The first chapter is going to introduce characters that were not involved in the first book. I’ll spend a couple of hours bringing them into existence, but first a quick check on Author Central. What the……I’ve slipped from the top 12,000 to over 100,000 on the best seller rank. Ahhhh, what is the point.

 Good night.

 

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