Time for a coffee?

Blood of the Bear Online Shop image
The full Blood of the Bear shopping experience, conveniently situated just along from this website.

Take a sip from the mug, wear the t-shirt, and pin on the badge. Yes the official Blood of the Bear Merchandise Store is now attached to the website and open for business. So be among the first to wear the bear with pride.

The designs recreate the cover art and the distinctive bear logo on a range of products, which I'm sure will grow over the weeks and months ahead.

It's been an interesting time since completing the novel and realising that the work had only just begun. This was after realising that writing the first draft wasn't the end of writing the book either.

I remember doing a bit of hillwalking on one of those walks where you keep thinking you've reached the summit of your destination, only to see another stretch to the top, then another, then another. Eventually you get to the goal and reflect on what a brilliant day it's been. You know that a cold beer awaits on your return to sea level and all the effort has been worth it. In the heat of the moment however, the scenery just seems to be messing with your head. Embarking on the author part of my career has been a bit like that.

Seeing the first sales, reading the reviews - Thanks to everyone who has shared their thoughts. I don't know where I'm meant to put a comment like that on Amazon, but I've done it here and you know who you are. - Much appreciated!

Then there's online marketing. Considering I've built a lot of websites over the years as part of the day job, I've never been a great user of anti-social media. This is evident on the size of my following (one for the Carry On film fans!) and the fact I mainly use it to send comments that I find amusing - as confirmed and validated by a small but perfectly formed number of respondents.

I think I prefer the idea of a blog, so the creation of this site became the next task along the way after the writing, the editing, the cursing, the formatting, the sticking to a dealine, the  cursing ...and breathe.

After the research, planning, designing and procrastinating. I got the website, of the author, of the book, off the ground. Again it was time for another cold beer (any excuse).

At this point I want to reassure you that the first draft of book two is well underway and will bring the true love of Artos briefly into the story as he meets her for the first time. At the moment I'm torn between naming her with the usually accepted name of Guinevere, or the original Welsh form of Gwenhwyfar - which I just think looks great written down. You can help me on this. Just let me know in the comments of this post, which one you prefer. I promise I'll use the most popular.

A store for the website became the next objective after the ad campaign setup, the analytics ...aah you get the idea by now.

A few friends had asked me to sign copies that they were giving to others as gifts. I was really happy to be asked and I felt it would be a good idea if I could offer that to anybody that was interested. I only possess two signed items, a cover of the vinyl copy of "Never For Ever" by Kate Bush and a poster of Norwegian singer songwriter Aurora Aksnes, which I won in a competition. I'm very pleased with both and I think it adds something to have that little bit of extra ink applied.

The idea for the store was born out of that, and by the wonders of programming trickery that would baffle Myrrdin Wylde, you can now tell me who who you want a copy of the book dedicated to.

Blood of the Bear Beer Stein image from the online store
The perfect container for your favourite craft beer ...or maybe some soup.

But the summit was still some way off, and if I was building an online store then merchandise was an obvious add. The climb continued ...which shopping cart system (I chose Shopify for those that are interested) suppliers, designs, products... At last, on the top of the hill again, it was now time for a cold beer in a Blood of the Bear Ceramic Beer Stein (not suitable for microwaving).

Time to rest and contemplate the next step along the way of this great adventure.

Oh and if you want to know how to pronounce Gwenhwyfar, then follow the link below.

File:Gwenhwyfar.wav - Wikipedia