tv

Television Tuesday – Rewatching but still ending up in tears.

Television

This week it seems there is a theme as everything I have watched that I decided to talk about here is something I have watched before and yes blubbed over more than once.  So the television programme this week was…

I purposely only included a clip because I don’t want you to hold me accountable for you spending an hours sitting watching it but most episodes are up on Youtube.  I love this show! Now as someone researching their family tree, I know that no way is it this easy for us mere mortals to find our family records but it is interesting to see the different resources available and to see what they find out.  The clip I included was one that did make me tear up, knowing the stories is one thing seeing the evidence in black and white is totally different, and knowing that had it not been for one quirk of fate your own existence would have never been, must have been incredibly difficult to think about.  The thing is it is the same for every single one of us, had my granddad not been a prisoner of war he would not have contracted TB then my grandma would never have met him, bang one side of my family gone and there are similar what ifs at every stage.  The same is true for the characters we create, and while our readers may not need to know every single thing about their back stories I do believe it makes us write better characters if we know why they act the way they do.

Film

I am pretty sure this film needs no introduction…

My daughter made me rewatch this and for the millionth time the tears flowed as the King dies, ooopps spoilers!

The thing about this story is really about the complexities of characters, the King is what we would consider a barbarian, his way of life is different to our own but more than that the values he upholds are ones we cannot condone.  When you think about it is is a debate which still rages through the world today, in some countries it is caste systems, in others religion and in many gender is still the main cause for sections of certain societies being mistreated.  The King and I is a story about hope and redemption, proof even the barbarian has his endearing qualities and can be prevailed upon and hope that younger generations will step forward and make changes for the better.  In writing it would be easy to write a bad guy who is simply that, bad with no redeeming qualities, someone born evil.  But what is more interesting is the guy who does bad things, the guy who could have been the hero had things taken a different path.

Youtube

Okay this may have a few of you scratching your head, how can a video of someone’s shopping in a Lush store relate to writing well bear with me, I promise you it is not just that I love their bath products…

The reason I picked this is when it comes to writing there is one thing we often forget to go into and that is smell. we talk about what our characters can feel, see and hear in almost every sentence but it is the addition of the two remaining senses taste and smell that often get neglected.  Taste is harder to convey unless a character is eating or drinking and then it has to be done by using basics such as sweet, sour, or by referring to foods which everyone is likely to have tasted but smell allows for much more.  If you mention Lily of the Valley to anyone my age most of us will think of two things, grandmas and childhood perfumes, the smell evokes certain memories and many people will automatically understand our meaning.  But it is not just floral scents if you talk about the acrid smell of burning rubber immediately the reader identifies and can almost smell it themselves.  The sense of smell can be one of the most provocative and as a writer it can be a powerful tool for drawing your readers into a story.

WIP

WIP Wednesday – Branding Social Media

Sorry I have not posted so far this week, but I promise I have been busy.  I have read a few different blog posts and articles over the last few weeks with some really good advice about preparing for marketing your book once you actually send it out into the world.  Some of it is perfect common sense when you stop to think about it, like using the same image of yourself across all your social media to make them more easily recognisable, yes I did have different pictures for everything lol.  Other things have been more surprising…

First of all writing a bio!  Apparently I should have two of these, one single paragraph one and one longer more detailed, or one long one that can be shortened so just the first paragraph needs using.  Oh and it should be written in the third person, now if I went round talking in the third person they would lock me up so trying to write about yourself in it is no easy feat.  It was also at this point I learnt about two other things.  First the idea of a media kit available if anyone requests it, again it makes perfect sense, if of course you have the self confidence to believe someone will care, to have a nice file of bios, photos and reviews ready prepared for any local newspapers that decide they are interested but I think for most of us this is something for the future not something to worry about now, the second was having an designated email for websites.  I use my gmail address for everything which explains why sometimes the computer screams when I open the inbox but the suggestion was that you should have one such as info@paulaacton.co.uk sadly though I set up my website via Wix and they do not provide or support those types of email addresses so gmail will have to suffice even if some people may consider it slightly less professional.

Okay the final suggestion I read about was the importance of having a newsletter, there is a form for this for the website so I thought okay lets set it up…nothing is ever quite that simple.  While filling in my details it required a physical address as well as email etc so of course I put mine in and thought nothing of it.  Thankfully a lovely friend of mine was my guinea pig and signed up to check it all worked.  Two minutes later she contacted me to let me know it actually gave out my address when she signed up, where I thought it was for there records it turns out they want to add a mailing address.  For now I have altered it enough that though it satisfies the form it does not actually give my address out now.  Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind you lovely people here having it, just what happens if books start selling and lots of strangers sign up.  I did have a quick look at the costs for a PO box or a private mail box, that costs about £120-140 and the Royal Mail one will not take parcels or letters from couriers apparently.  Another option would be a mail forwarding service which was about half the price but I feel a little uneasy about stranger receiving my mail holding onto it then forwarding it to me but then again I guess that is just what the post office does.  But again that is something to consider for the future when all the fan mail starts piling up (just kidding), but as with getting a Skype number to keep my home phone number and mobile private then I may have to look into option for a mailing address as well.

About the newsletter, well I have decided it will be monthly sent out on the last day of the month, it will have some exclusive content and I will try to do it so there are special give-aways and perks for subscribers, now it might take me a month or two to master the formats of it but if you are interested in signing up click here.

 

Available on Pre-release!

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Here is the blurb bit…

A series of short stories about when the fairy tale ends and everything falls apart. Love, death and revenge all feature in these tales where not everything is as it seems…

You can find me and the book on

Amazon.co.uk here

Amazon.com here

And the book is available across all Amazon market places.  If anyone speaks French or German and wants to check out the translation on those pages please let me know if Google translate has done a good job.

As announced yesterday the release date will be… drumroll please…

Saturday 1st August 2015

I thought these stories would make quite a good beach/holiday read.  They are short enough you can pick it up read a page or two and put it down without losing your thread and although there are no happy endings, well there are a couple that will make you smile. Please give me your feed back, does the blurb need more? Does the bio on my author pages read okay?

WIP

WIP Wednesday – Headaches and Confusion

This week I began my first foray into publishing on Amazon, I am going to go into more details of actual release dates etc on the Vlog on Friday but today I want to talk about those few tentative clicks, scratching of the head and banging of the head against the wall which I believe I cannot be the first person to have experienced.

First lets start with KDP I went I filled in my details, I spent an age filling in some strange tax form which may mean I have signed my life away to the US then I tried to fill in my bank details, first brick wall.  It was asking for an IBAN number and a Script number I looked on my account and could not see them so called up the building society I bank with and you see that there is the problem ‘building society’! I talked through with the very nice girl on the phone the boxes I could fill in and she informed me that the money (if I ever make any) would not reach me with the information they were asking for, it would reach the clearing bank but not my account so I fired off a message to Amazon.  Several hours later they confirmed their system was not set up for that and I will have to receive any funds by cheque, of course that means that they will probably arrive in time for my funeral given the amounts that have to build up in each currency before they pay.

So I now have the royalty details sorted so on to uploading the files, now the file I uploaded was not the finished manuscript but it is a first draft so allows me to see how it is going to look. First this I learnt was that in future I will avoid long words in my book titles, turns out Disintegration is a difficult word in a title page to get to fit to all formats, I have just about managed it except for android phones, as the owner of an android phone I have now decided books should not be read on one.  Next up filling in all the details of the book itself, I have done this though I am not sure whether I should add more tags, but what should a book of stories about break ups come under I picked Romance as there was not an anti-romance option, I also considered satire or black humour but not sure I am actually funny so that might not be the best choice but I have time to consider that yet.

Next up pricing I went for the 35% so I could charge less as these are short stories and I doubt this will make a hefty book but I have decided to do a paper copy after and give the kindle version free with the print version. I know lots of people recently seem to have been a little down on the KDP programme but I decided to give it a go with this as obviously the hope is to get as many people reading my work as possible then hopefully they might decide to pick up more titles at a later date, the free days will also come in useful when Voices is coming out to tempt readers in but this will also add extra years on to the time a cheque falls through the door from any part of the world.

Then comes the biggest frustration you see you would think you could just fill on one author page and it would link to your book no matter what market but no that would be too simple so first you do the UK one, not too bad, next up .com again no problem then you realise you cannot remember a word or French or German and you never knew Chinese/Japanese to start with. I managed through the French and German pages with the aid of Google translate, I just have to hope that it was not in one of those moods and decided to turn my innocent bio into an insult filled rant.  The Chinese/Japanese page would not even let me log in to attempt to make a page so I gave it up as a bad job maybe if I become famous enough for it to be an issue I will have made enough to get someone to sort it for me.

I have to say overall despite the frustrations of having to repeat actions over and over again I think this pre-release option is a good one for me as it gives me a firm deadline to work to but I shall talk more about that and the actual date in Fridays Vlog.

tv

Television Tuesday – Stepping back in time!

Television

This week saw a flashback to the past with a special anniversary show from TFI Friday for those who have never seen this here is a clip (it is a little long but five minutes should give you a taste of what the show was about)…

Back in the 90’s I watched this every week, it was a mixture of madcap fun and interviews and because of the laid back style people quite often gave away more than they meant to.  Not to mention they also had some amazing bands playing live.  I deliberately showed a clip from the original series rather than the one off simply so anyone who wants the chance to see it can find it on 4OD.

What I take from this in terms of writing is the importance of acknowledging the passing of time if you want to return to something you did previously.  You cannot write a story set in the now publish it wait ten years to write the next instalment without explaining the missing time, of course for works set in other time periods this is not an issue but if you want the reader to believe the events are happening in their own time frame then it must be explained.

Film

The film for this week was the Kingmen lets start with the trailer…

I loved this film, first just look at the cast list how could it be anything other than amazing but the characters they play are also brilliant. It was funny having just the right blend of humour along side action and a little gore but done in such a way that you smile as you squirm over it.  It is reminiscent of Bond before the franchise started taking its self so seriously and becoming action rather than a spy thriller.

My only concern for this film is the ending, I don’t want to spoil the film for those who have not seen it let us just say there is a high death count and I am not sure I would want to see a serial without some of the characters killed off however it is of course possible others could be brought in to fulfil the same role in the story but I hope the film studios leave this alone as a brilliant one off.

In terms of what can be taken forward to writing I think it is that sometimes it requires confidence to do what is best for the story as a whole rather than just create a show case for your favourite characters, I know writing the novel I struggled at killing off a certain person in the book earlier than I had originally planned but it was what was right for the book.

Youtube

I am a bit of a geek, okay if you have been following me long enough then you know that but this is a new RPG from Wil Wheaton this is episode zero which introduces the characters and the backstory…

I don’t have to explain to you where this relates to writing because in many ways it this the exact same process as writing a story and reminds me very much of books I read as a teen where the story gave you options and depending which you picked you turned to a different page.  The one thing however this does do is make you consider the options for your creativity and ways in which you can diversify from the straight novel format if you can team with others who can complement your own visions.

 

Anyway that’s it for this week as I am busy writing and getting very excited.