Lazy Sunday #30 (I know it’s Monday but it seems it did not publish despite me hitting the button!)

Good morning, I am trying to get back into the habit of posting this earlier in the day once again, however I keep getting distracted by Roger Federer bending over in front of me, and no don’t worry I am not delusional just watching the Australian open final as I write this so if you do not get it till after lunch it is his fault. I am a huge an of Federer, in an age where so many sports stars have become arrogant he remains a gent, there are no tabloid front pages of tantrums, affairs or drug scandals, I think he should be the sporting hero we show as a an example to children of what you should aspire to and though I am not a fan of Rafa Nadal I have to say this match has been a Tennis master-class.

So I haven’t spent much time this week at the computer again but I do need to seriously get stuck in to the various projects I am working on and that also means getting my routine back in place as far a blogging and everything else. I find once I start neglecting one aspect of my writing I neglect all, the slippery slope is very steep for me, so today I will be working on the newsletter for Wednesday, and don’t forget if you choose to sign up whether here, via FB or my website every month when you open the newsletter you are entered in a prize draw for that month, the prize changes each month and is announced in the newsletter. So let’s get on with a few blogs for this week…

  1. I can honestly say I have never considered writing nonfiction, I read lots, especially true crime but writing it always seemed so much like hard work to me, all that research and fact checking and then trying to make it different to all the other books on the same subject, So when I spotted this post on a blog I follow I thought hmmm this might be an interesting journey to follow, it might not be to everyones taste but I am in on seeing how he does in this class https://thevelveteenmaraca.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/serious-nonfiction/
  2. So, you have written a book, think the hard work is done, think again, it is only just beginning! Actually persuading people to read your book is tough, you give the ebook away in promotions it sits on kindles untouched but even if people read it getting them to leave that all important review is even harder. While I am not sure the classes are right for me I do think the articles on this blog are always well worth a read https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/how-to-sell-your-book-first-what-is-it/
  3. Next up is one that made me stop and think, about friendship, what it means and when it is not really friendship but something else which is hard to define, and how sometimes the only option we have for our own sanity is to walk away from a situation, I confess I have had some myself where I really should have followed her example in taking the practical steps a lot sooner than I did https://blessedwithastarontheforehead.com/2017/01/28/a-real-friend-knows-when-it-is-time-to-let-go-of-the-friendship/
  4. The next one is a photo blog, I love to travel but don’t get to do as much as I would like, damn that bank account lol but I do get to see places through the eyes of others here on WordPress and it is not only the sunny days that can give you a taste of a new location https://briangaynorphotography.com/2017/01/28/the-shroud-of-the-city/
  5. And lastly we go full circle, I talk about how for me to be more productive I must be busier and more organised for others the opposite is true but I love this description of being called back by the muse, I also fell in lose with one of my characters but not saying which one lol https://artistpath.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/enchanted/

As you may guess from the fact this is landing in your inboxes after one pm the tennis went to a fifth set, Roger distracted my by being awesome and he won so I am rather happy about that. off now to top up the coffee and update the website before cleaning the bathroom, what glamorous lives we authors lead!

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Have You Googled Yourself Lately?

Have you googled yourself lately, I just did it thankfully wasn’t too bad lol

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Googling ourselves might seem like a fun thing to do on a rainy day, but it’s actually a smart thing to do if you’re building a brand or running a business. What will people find if someone does a Google search on your name? Will it help or hurt you?

WHY SEARCH FOR YOURSELF?

As writers, we are told we need to get a head start on our platform before we can be seriously considered by literary agents or publishers. This means we need to get going on blogs, websites, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and a partridge in a pear tree.

To further develop our brand, we are expected to build relationships on sites that belong to other people. We leave comments, post images, ask questions, or seek advice across a score of sites and forums.

That’s a heckuva lot of places where your name—and information associated with your…

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Lazy Sunday #29 and Vlog Time#88 – Glossybox Unboxing

A little different lazy Sunday today as I have really not read any blogs this week, I hope by next week a semblance of normality will be returning but I do feel you are owed a slight explanation for my recent absence.

I am not going to go into details but most of your are acquainted with my children via my blog and social media, you know that the monster has not had the easiest of starts to life, fighting of meningitis as a baby, having to have adenoids removed etc. However the one bit I do not really discuss is that he is awaiting assessment for autism, he is incredibly intelligent but he struggles with the social aspects of school, this last month or so beginning in the run up to Christmas he has been having a tough time.  His confidence and self esteem have hit rock bottom, nothing caused by anyone else, simply issues where he cannot perceive the world in the same way as those around him. There have been dark days, days where I have cried, frustrated I cannot make everything okay for him, days where I am angry at a system that has meant we had to reach rock bottom before anything starts happening. The most important thing has been spending lots of quality time with Jack, okay the house looks like a bomb has been dropped in it, the washing pile is huge but using a mixture of positive and negative reinforcements for behavioural issues I am hoping we are through the worst.

I was not going to say anything but then thought you know what, it is what it is, you are here not just for my writing, you could just check out the website for that, but because this is the place you come to get to know me, and this is part of me and my life. I am not perfect, neither are my kids but we are all doing the only thing anyone one can do and that is get through life as best we can and hopefully leave a legacy of love, respect and smiles. Yesterday I took the monster for to a Chinese buffet here and if you missed the photo on instagram here he is discovering a new favourite, crab claws…

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So As I have no blogs to share I am going to share a couple of other things I have been watching…

  1.  One of my favourite vlogs, yes it is morbid but also totally fascinating https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8DxI8Pn1Uw
  2. I finally got round to watching this, and as divisive as it has been to fans I have to say even as someone who prefers the Marvel Franchise I loved it  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmRih_VtVAs
  3. I know Bunny is not to everyone’s taste, she can be loud and over-exuberant but I love it when she does these first impression videos and the Does this thing really work video’s not sure I would want to try this but I always try the masks in my Glossybox and occasionally they do not work out so well and the prices are ridiculous https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6jD0p2lyaM&feature=em-uploademail

So last thing today a quick unboxing vlog

Book Review – Doctor Who; Time Lord Fairy Tales By Justin Richards

I did wonder if I had already done this one but apparently not…

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Goodreads says…

WE ARE ALL STORIES, IN THE END…

Fifteen tales of ancient wonder and mystery, passed down through generations of Time Lords.

Dark, beautiful and twisted, these stories are filled with nightmarish terrors and heroic triumphs, from across all of time and space.

There are times when you get incredibly excited about a book and for me this was one of them, I thought it would be a fun read and was looking forward to some unique fairy stories, however what you actually get is mainly a twist on traditional fairy tales. Now don’t get me wrong they are well written, entertaining and I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I think the problem is it was not quite what I expected. I would love them to have taken things further and made the tales more alien. I think one issue is also who the book is aimed at, while I enjoyed it I am not so sure the monster would have understood everything in it, Doctor Who is a family show and although this is certainly not an adult book it is certainly aimed at older readers. I think my favourite story was Cinderella and the Magic Box, and one other good aspect of this book is it does feature a mix of new and classic Doctors.

So it needs a score and I am going to give it 4 out of 5 stars, good but not quite great.

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No Vlog Today

Normally Friday is vlog day and technically I have filmed one, unfortunately I can’t get it off my camera. A while ago I damaged the memory card, it still works perfectly well in the camera however when I put it in the computer it no longer registers, this has meant that to get the videos from my camera I have to connect it via the usb cable. While tidying the other day I put the cable, yes you guessed it ‘somewhere safe’ which of course means I now have no idea at all where it is. If I find the cable over the weekend I will post the vlog if not will post normal schedule next week. Have a review scheduled for Monday but am taking a few days off to concentrate on a personal issue so back in a week.

269 Days To Darker

I am thrilled to announce that it became official this week that The Darker Side of Fiction will be an annual event to be held in Peterborough. While there is of course no guarantee I will be invited back each year I can see me attending on a regular basis even if only as a guest, I love the fact Hourglass not only were willing to take a chance on me personally but that they work tirelessly to support and promote independent authors and give them chances they would struggle to achieve on their own.

I have done small signing event in my friends shop, I have done an on-line book launch but proper signing events are very hard to organise, I believe it is possible to arrange to do them in your local Waterstones but like everything it costs, and of course so does this but here is the big difference. You publish your first couple of books but are still struggling to make your voice heard and get your books read, all those people that promised reviews somehow never quite got round for it so you and trapped in the undercurrent of Amazon’s logistics, so how do you make you voice hear, get your work seen, well in steps an angel or in this case a couple of angels.

Hourglass events is run by Jo and Rachel, and they decided to combine their events business with a love of reading and create first the Leeds event then the Darker event, this gives smaller authors like myself the chance to sign alongside others with established followings, it provides the possibility of reaching a wider audience, that someone looking at the next stall might pick up your book and decide it looks interesting and worth taking a chance on. Kindle give-aways are great for getting you book onto peoples kindles what they can’t do is get that person to actually read it and post a review if they enjoy it, someone picking up a print version and investing their own money is more likely to at least read it, the review well that can come down to numerous other factors but you do stand a higher chance if they loved it.

I would really encourage anyone who gets the chance to go along to one of these book signing events, they are a fairly cheap way to pass a few hours, and even if you don’t by a stack of books you get the chance to meet new authors, get their cards and follow them on social media so you can find out more about them and maybe buy the books at a later date, but more than anything give them the support to continue following their dreams in an industry where so often you can be left feeling like you have banged your head against a million walls.

Book Review – Me and the Fat Man By Julie Myerson

It has been a while but I do have a pile of books waiting t be reviewed so lets start the new year with getting back to it…

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And as always we begin with the blurb taken from Goodreads…

An unlikely romance, a psychological mystery, an erotic thriller–Me and the Fat Man is all and none of the above, eluding categorization as skillfully as it limns its characters’ desperate, love-starved lives. In Julie Myerson’s third novel, Amy waits tables in a small English city and in her spare time turns tricks for reasons she can’t quite articulate, even to herself. She’s married, but without love or lust or much of anything else. “I like you because you don’t expect anything,” her husband tells her when they first meet. An orphan born in Greece, Amy grew up in a foster home that was “creepy and electric,” where she was treated with ostensible fairness but always made to feel just how lucky she was that they took her in. “What’s flesh and blood? Not blood and string and fat like on a joint of meat, but just this person smiling and smiling at the stupidest things about you,” she muses, and thinks, “I’d have given anything for that.”

Then a stranger named Harris walks into the restaurant and promises to give Amy back her past, claiming to have known her mother. Slowly he draws Amy into his life and introduces her to Gary, the gentle fat man of the title. Prompted by Harris, the two find themselves in an affair; what’s surprising is that they fall in love, the last thing either of their lives has led them to expect. But Gary has secrets of his own, and is strangely in Harris’s thrall. The key to both of their pasts lies on the Greek island of Eknos, where Amy’s life comes spiraling together in a way that seems both improbable and true–like everything else in this novel, from its offbeat eroticism to the painful physicality of its prose. Me and the Fat Man is bleak and magical in equal measure. –Mary Park

I did not actually buy this book, it was one which came free with a newspaper and if I am honest I did not have high expectations. The story is a very strange one, none of the main characters are ones you feel sympathy for, in fact it is easier to dislike them which makes sticking with the story quite hard at times. It is a very strange plot in many ways with the real interesting elements not coming in until you are over half way through the book, to be honest several times I came close to putting it down, and if you are looking for a happily ever after or even just a definite ending this is not the book for you. It is well written and some of the descriptive passages are brilliant at evoking the places and events, it really does come down to whether you feel the need to relate to characters.

I did sort of enjoy it but felt at the end I was left wanting more answers, it was a little like catching a glimpse of something happening through frosted glass, you get the gist but feel the details are lacking, without giving away spoilers I feel like there was so much more to tell at the end. Deciding on the score for this one was hard because in places it is engaging where as at others it is hard work finally I decided on 3.5 stars out of 5, maybe I would not recommend rushing out to buy it but if you come across it then it is worth picking it up and giving it a go.

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Lazy Sunday #28

I want to say this is the first Sunday of 2017 but technically it is the second however as you got a vlog then it is the first Lazy Sunday. So have you got your coffee ready? For most of the posts this week you will notice the theme is resolutions, you can read my post here but I just want to take a minute to talk about why I make resolutions each year. I am later than usual publishing this but I went out last night so am slow getting my thoughts together today lol.

If you have followed me for a while you know each year I post a set of resolutions at the start of the year and then follow them through to differing degrees of success. Last year I was terrible at doing a monthly update, this did not actually mean all the resolutions failed, for example Ascension and Voices were both published. for me the actual act of writing my resolutions post is a way of actively focusing my mind on what I want to achieve in the coming year, both personally and professionally, the updates allow me to see whether I am on track. It is worth noting that missing out on writing the updates does not mean things are not going well but rather sometimes I feel that there is nothing new to add to a previous month although I am still moving in the right direction. for many of us our lives are so busy that giving ourselves targets and reference points we can refer back to helps us maintain a focus on some aspects that it is easy to lose in the chaos of everyday existence. Making time to exercise seems like something that would seem simple but until it becomes an established part of a routine it is easy to neglect, having told the world you intend to do it can be the motivation needed to make it happen.

Enough of me anyway and onto some blogs…

  1. The first lot of Resolutions come from Emmy Leigh I especially love the one about creating an environment in which all can flourish, I frequently find myself getting stressed trying to balance everyday house work etc against writing time and need to find a better balance https://emmyleigh.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/new-year-again/
  2. The next one really does embrace the idea of learning from each experience and moving forward https://blessedwithastarontheforehead.com/2017/01/02/new-year-time-to-renew-and-redo/
  3. The final lot of Resolutions is from Ellie and are quite similar to some of mine I love the idea of an office but until I move one day that is not an option https://quotidiandose.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/new-year-new-plan/
  4.  There is going to be another Annual Bloggers Bash  in London this year and they are running a competition to help fund it, I have the date pencilled into my diary and am hoping to be able to attend this year http://sachablack.co.uk/2017/01/01/the-big-bash-competition-2017/
  5. And the final blog for this week is one I hope you will all follow, not only as I am one of the signing authors at two of their forthcoming events but also I hope to be at many more https://hourglassevents.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/2017-the-year-for-darker/

That is it for this week hope you enjoy xxx

Glossybox Review – November 2016

The first review for this year brings us almost up to date so here we go…

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Initial thoughts were this seemed like a good mix of everything, beauty, make up and they threw in a choccy so time to take a closer look…

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This Works Deep sleep Pillow Spray

Now I have to confess I did not test this, I have no problem falling asleep, slaying asleep occasionally but never falling asleep but predictably it smells mainly of lavender and I passed it over to my daughter to try out. She did try it but could not honestly say it aided her in falling asleep though it did not hinder her, at £16 it is hard to recommend it without being able to say more definitely that it works.

Next up…

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Wilkinson Sword Quattro For Women Raspberry Rain Disposable Razors

I was a little miffed at first to see razors again especially as it only seems like a couple of boxes ago we received the Venus one but lets face it hair removal is a big thing for us ladies so I gave them a go.

dsc02226There are as suggested four blades and the handles are quite long and nicely shaped well for access to all those awkward to reach areas like the back of the ankles etc. I especially like the bobbly bits on the end grip…

dsc02227they stop it slipping out of your grasp as easily. I cannot say I was impressed by the smell. yes you could smell it as you got it out of the packaging but by the time you use body wash, shaving gel, the fragrance is lost and a waste of time and I have to say at £5.69 for three they are quite pricey for something you are going to use once and throw away, I liked using them but would not buy them.

And Next…

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DE BRUYERE BEAUTE Jumbo Eye Pencil in Bubble 07

The card describes this as a Khaki-grey, and looking at it initially it does look that way…

dsc02222but I have to say the true colour is more of a gold. it goes on well and I am rather taken with it. At £15 it is not overly pricey but I have to admit I have not tried this on a night out yet which is the true test of a creme eyeshadow, though I like this, it goes on well I cannot honestly say whether it will show creases during a night out.

Next up…

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Ruby Professional Large Tapered Blending Brush

I already have a couple of brushes that are my go to brushes for blending shadows so initially I was not over excited to the see this how ever I was curious to try it out.

dsc02231The ones I have are flatter and angled slightly but like this one they are quite fluffy feeling. The rounded end of this make it really good for blending the lid shade into the brow shade, I did find it not quite as good for blending crease colours simple as it almost blends a little too well and removes a little bit too much of the definition between colours. Overall the brush quality is great I used it doing fancy dress make up as well so I also know it responds well to washing. at £8 it is a decent price for a brush and I would certainly recommend it and look forward to maybe trying more brushes from the range,

And finally…

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111SKIN Bio Cellulose Facial Treatment Mask

Now I have to confess this sat around for a while before I got round to trying it…

dsc02283As you can see when I opened it it had slipped off one side of the mask, however as it is a sealed unit it did not effect the product just made it harder to get on…

wp_20161218_21_30_03_prothe first thing you notice is it is gold. It adheres to the skin quite well, it almost has a wet rubber feeling, it does slide a little so as you have to keep it on for twenty minutes it is better to be able to lie back while wearing it. There are however a couple of issues with it…wp_20161218_21_30_28_pro as I have noted previously with these types of masks the never seem to fit well, on this one the eye holes as small and set wide apart, I am not sure whose nose the measured to create  that hole but as you can see it is around twice the width of mine and a lot longer, in the end I folded the end back because the sensation of it flapping against the end of my nose was driving me crazy, and the mouth it set too low. I could I suppose have crinkled the mask more to try to squeeze the holes to fit better but it does say the mask should be smoothed over the face. The actual results from the mask were pleasing, my skin looked brighter, felt smooth and hydrated and the results lasted a day or two. The big issue for me with this is the price, they recommend you use the masks three times a week and at £20 each that is a very hefty hole in anyone’s wallet, even as a one off this is pricey. I would use them again if I had them given but not likely to buy them.

And an extra…

dsc02224Normally I love chocolate but this reminded me of Ferrero Rocher which I don’t like, my daughter did try it but was not impressed however bonus points for the thought!