Let’s Talk Clothes!

Okay so you are lucky enough to have got a place at a signing event, you have the books, the swag and are ready, so what is left? Well, what are you going to wear?

So the night do is usually easier, it is normally formal and many times has a theme to help you decide on your outfit this was me with my daughter at the Leeds Event last year…

But it can get expensive, as you start attending more events you will meet up with the same people numerous times which means you cannot invest in one little black dress and re-wear it.  On the other hand, unless the day job pays really well or you have hit the jackpot with a best-selling novel you probably don’t want to be buying new dresses every few months that you can only wear the once or at least only once for now and then put to be rotated in a wardrobe. So the alternative as I have been looking into is eBay,  as I mentioned on Sunday I have found it to be a treasure trove of dresses bought for weddings, cruises and other suave social occasions that one has the excuse to dress up for. Worn once or twice these end up going for a fraction of the price of the new dress, likewise new clothes with tags show up in abundance, I am guessing like some of the clothes in my wardrobe these are bought but don’t fit and kept with the intention of fitting them one day or they just don’t get round to returning them within the correct time frame.

However, it is not just the ball/evening dress you have to consider, let’s start with travelling, you obviously need something comfortable but also some thing that will make the right impression at the hotel when you show up, then the evening prior to the signing you will need to eat, probably meet a few of the other authors in the bar or just hang out with them.

Then the big one your signing outfit, now I am pretty sure smart casual is the standard, it has to be comfortable enough to wear all day and practical, you don’t want to wear linen and look all crumpled after five minutes. There is though a secondary consideration, and that is your brand, does the way you dress reflect your work and personality? I am not for one second suggesting fancy dress, but if you write medieval fantasy would your readers really expect to see you in a floral, floaty dress. just as you work to bring your image together in terms of covers complementing each other, business cards matching other PR materials then you want to present an image of yourself that will both stick and be engaging. In some ways, it seems to me that it is almost like creating your own personal work uniform, it is the clothing you wear to put you in author mode when you are public.

I have bright purple hair, or to be fair this week it is the end of a dye cycle so it is more a mix of lilac and grey, so I am not what you would consider to be conventional, however, being plus size I am also acutely aware that not all clothes suit me or look good on me,  I am also aware that some of the things I might like the idea of wearing would not fit with my writing. While I am not saying that you should role play your characters I do think common sense comes into play, I write medieval fantasy, wearing Steampunk style clothes would possibly send confusing messages even though I love the style.

So what am I going to wear? For me I think it is looking like trousers suits with shirts or blouses, I like the idea of the traditional tweedy look against my purple hair, it allows me to show my personality with my hair but the suit gives a level of professionalism, and, rather than go for plain black, the idea of the tweed or possibly brown pinstripe appeals because it is the twist on the expected.

Of course, I don’t rule out the thought that I am over thinking this, but for me, I like the idea of having separate mix and match type items for wearing to signings.

Live Event Catch Up!!!!

Hi guys, so I decided today I would post a quick round up of the events I am signed up for over the next couple of years so far! Now I know with a few of these it might seem like they are so far away but people have to book time off work, save up and lets face it find the perfect dress for the evening do lol. Even if you cannot make it to an event then I highly recommend joining the FB groups, there are loads of cool things and giveaways going on in these groups so it is worth the time to pop in and visit them.

First before I start a couple of weeks ago I did the Thirty question challenge you can read my answers here but the wonderful #Darker author Joey Paul has taken up the gauntlet and you can read her answers to the question by clicking here.

So let’s begin and take the events in order…

The Darker Side of Fiction

Hosted by the wonderful Hourglass Events Ladies Jo & Rachel

There is a promotion running at the minute on remaining tickets…

***Summer Mayhem Competition ***

Do you want to win an Amazon Gift Card?!

This is our last offer before the Darker Side of Fiction Event on the 7th October!!
So we KNOW you love reading crime, horror, fantasy, thriller, sci-fi , paranormal and dystopian books which means you’ll want to win the £15 Amazon voucher we are giving away!!!
All you need to do is buy your Darker ticket before midnight on Tuesday 29th August and be entered into this fabulous prize draw.
You know there’s always room for a few more signed books 😈

Just click the Ticket Link
https://thedarkersideoffiction2017.eventbrite.co.uk/

You can join the FB group here and I am going to be hosting a takeover there on Wednesday evening 19th July from 9pm BST

The End of Year Indie Masquerade Party

This one is not a signing but a party to celebrate all things Indie, it is open for readers, authors and bloggers and has been organised by the amazing C.A. Bell you can find out more here in the FB group and apply for tickets, I would say if you want to come book sooner rather than later it is being held in Birmingham on 25th November 2017

Leeds Author Event 2018

Again hosted by the lovely Hourglass Events ladies on Saturday, 3 March 2018 from 10:00 to 23:30

You can get tickets and find details of the evening event here  

The FB group can be found here  I will be doing a page takeover there this Thursday 20th July at 10pm

Shenanigans West Midlands Signing 2018

Hosted by the delightful Maria Lazarou This event will be held in Telford on 14th April 2018, tickets go on sale later this month and if you would like to find out more then the place to find out more is the FB group here

The Heart Of Sheffield Signing Event 2019

Hosted by the fabulous Yvonne and Helen this is a new new signing event and the first they have hosted though it is lining up to be a fantastic event. You can find out more booking details here and keep track of things at the FB group here and there is a prize draw running until the end of this month for people buying tickets

 

There maybe one or two more things in the pipeline that I cannot talk about yet and I prmoise to go into events in a lot more detail in weeks to come.

 

Thirty Questions – A Challenge to the #Darker Authors

I have decided that I need to get back to my schedule, Tuesdays are about live events, #Darker, and Leeds first, then, #HOSSE and others to follow.

I saw this over on Martha Reynolds page and decided what better way to get to know myself and hopefully some of the other Darker authors, so you can read Martha’s answers here, and if any of the other authors rise to the challenge I shall reblog them here.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?  Well of course the first thing I wanted to be was the Doctor’s companion, then an athlete until I realised that I was never going to be as good as I wanted to be. I always knew I would write a book, and considered being an English teacher, but honestly I think it is tough expecting you to work out what you want to be when you are a kid.

Which Friends character do you relate to most? Why? I would be the genetic lovechild of Monic and Pheobe, I am a bit of a hippy and free spirit like Pheobe in many ways but there is an innner Monica that is a bit of a control freak, likes lists and plans.

Do you like your name? Why? No! I ended up with the name Paula by default, I was supposed to be a boy, my parents were so convinced that I was they only picked the boys name it was the midwife who suggested adding an extra ‘a’ when they couldn’t think of anything else on the spot.

Are you messy or neat? I would love to say neat but with kids and pets I fight a losing battle, however my desk is organised chaos whic maybe is a truer reflection of how I operate lol.

How tall are you? I’ve always said 5ft 5 but recently I got measured during a medical appointment and they said 5ft 6, I did wonder if it was due to the spinal surgeries, maybe they made  stand up straighter?

How tall were you when you were ten? I would take a guess at about 5ft 2, I grew in height really quickly for a while and until I was about 14 was taller than most of my friends and classmates, then I seemed to stop growing and they all went past me.

What is your guilty pleasure? I am not sure I I have one, don’t get me wrong, plenty of pleasures but none I feel guilty about unless maybe it is buying more books when I still have loads waiting to be read.

What are you saving money for now? Darker of course, I know there are a few books I want and I need to spend an afternoon with the pre-order list choosing which books I want.

How many Pringles can you eat at once? What flavour lol but seriously if you are asking in one sitting about half a tube if I do not restrain myself, I only put one in my mouth at a time though but you know how it goes, you are watching a good film not paying attention to the tube and before you know it half are gone.

Tea or coffee? Coffee in the morning, then pop or water for most of the day unless I am editing in which case more coffee is required.

Are you an introvert or extrovert? By nature probably an extrovert, I have always been fairly confident loved dancing, can chat to anyone, however there are times when because I have gained a lot of weight I can be quite self concious and introverted.

What will be your Hallowe’en costume this year? I have brought a dress for Darker which will double as am amazing vampire or witch outfit, I love dressing up and am lucky enough to have a day job that lets me occasionally.

Sweet or salty? A bit of both, preferably in the form of salted caramel!

Favourite social media? Facebook for keeping in touch with people, though I have to say I love Instagram for all the pretty pictures without the other political stuff you have on FB.

Who is the last person you kissed? My son, that counts surely? Romantically? Last summer I kissed a guy I went on a couple of dates with, it didn’t work out but damn those kisses were good.

What is your favourite breakfast? It depends, I am not a big eater first thing on a morning so normally it is breakfast biscuits dunked in coffee, but if I can take my time or if I am at a hotel then I do like a full english, the only time I make it at home is Christmas day, I do bacon butties sometimes on a Sunday morning.

When is your birthday? September, I am a Libra and yes I do have the traits.

When did you start your blog? I first started a blog on my birthday 2011 over on eblogger but it was a few months after that I moved here to WP and have never looked back.

What is your opinion on the Kardashians? Not really spent a lot of time thinking about them, I guess savvy business women with lousy taste in men, attention seeking but I do like the fact that Kim does not fit the stereotype size zero.

How would you describe your style? Casual, don’t get me wrong I love to get dressed up and I love a lot of the steampunk clothes but at the size I am now I am very self concious about what looks okay, plus with my spinal issues comfort is also something I consider for everyday dressing, plus I have to wear a uniform at work so I love lounging in yoga pants and baggy t-shirts at  home.

What colour is your hair? Purple!

What colour socks are you wearing? No socks at the minute, the ones I had on this morning got soaked on the school run so I took them off, will put on more later.

What is your dream job? I want to be able to quit the day job and make my living from writing, I see author friends travelling the country doing signings and while I might never be an international best seller (though of course I live in hope) I want to be able to make writing my career.

Dogs or cats? We have both, two cats one dog, technically I am a dog person but I am also a sucker for sob stories which is what both my cats are, one Molly mog is a stray that came to live with us and we have no idea how old she is but we know she is not young, the other two pets I expect to have for at least another ten years.

What makes you weird? Me weird? Probably, what makes me weird, I am a geek, I watch very little TV and spend half my life with characters inside my head, occasionally my thoughts can only be described as sick and twisted.

Celebrity crush? Jason Mamoa is the current crush, there have been a couple of WWE wrestlers at different times and John Taylor is my life long crush from being a teenager.

Opinion on cigarettes? Oh dear, Hands up I am an ex-smoker, I will have been smoke free 5 years on Halloween, the last cigarette I smoked was the morning of my last spinal surgery, I have come close to breaking twice, once when my gran died and the second last week when I was under stress due to my son’s issues.

Do you want/have any children? Was never really fussed either way about kids, then I got pregnant and had my daughter, she was enough, then years later her brother came along and I started over again.

Three favourite boy’s names. Jack (my son), Michael, struggling to come up with a third, guess it is something I never really considered, maybe Baldrick, of course I would never call a child that but would love a horse called Baldrick.

Three favourite girl’s names. Samantha (my daughters name), Isabella, Ecaterina (After Ecaterina Szabo the gynmast)

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.

Join Me At The Darker Side!!!!!!

Well guys the countdown really is beginning and over the coming weeks I will be bring you more from the other awesome authors who will be joining me in Peterborough next year at the first annual Darker Side Of Fiction event hosted by Hourglass Events. At the minute I am under no illusions I will be one of the lesser known authors there but I would of course love it if any of you can make it to either the day signing event or the evening ball, there will be lots of fun, give-aways, raffles and craziness.

So last night at ten this happened…

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Yes the tickets went on sale, now if you are interested the link you will need is here… https://thedarkersideoffiction2017.eventbrite.co.uk

The event is being held at the Holiday Inn in Peterborough this is the ballroom though I think the decor shall be a little darker or course for our event, and anyone who does decide to come along to the evening event please let me know and we can arrange for you to be at my table should you wish

peterborough-moat-house-peterborough_210520101312083125In the next twelve months as we countdown to the event there is so much to look forward too, my dark medieval trilogy will be coming out with the first part out this year and parts two and three next year, the print version of Voices Across The Void will be out for Halloween and there will be give-aways to come with that both here and on FB. For those of you on FB please come and join us on The Darker Side Of Fiction 2017 page where you can keep up with events and also grab yourself lots of give-aways, freebies and enter some cool competitions.

Q & A with Darker Side Signing Author Hemmie Martin

This week I am honoured to be able to share a Q & A session that the very talented Hemmie Martin was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to complete, IMG_0357Hemmie is one of the authors I shall be joining at The Darker Side of Fiction signing event, next year in Peterborough and is and has an impressive array of work under her belt which can be found on Amazon here. For today however she has paused writing and agreed to answer a mix of questions that I hope will both entertain and let us get to know Hemmie a little better, so without further ado…

1) I did consider starting with when did you start writing, but I think most of us started at a fairly young age and carried on until we could string coherent sentences together. So instead I will ask it a different way, when did you realise you had stories you wanted to share with the world?

My English teacher at High school commented that I had written a book over the years about a World War 2 fighter pilot called Hayden Moss, due to using him as a character in every story I had written. I thought then how cool it would be to have a book published, but life took me in a totally different direction, and I didn’t consider this to be a realistic goal until 2004.

2) How did your nearest and dearest feel when you first announced you were publishing a book? Has their reaction changed as you have released more and become more successful?

When I first began writing, my husband thought getting published was a pipe dream, but he saw how happy writing made me, so he continued encouraging me. When I received news from a publisher that they wanted to work with me, my husband and daughters were very excited. I now have seven books published with Winter Goose Publishing, but I’m not sure it impresses my family much anymore. The first book was exciting, now it seems a normal event. In fact, my husband sees it as my job now, so no need for praise! I do wish more was made of my publication day by him (daughters are now at university), but I’ve accepted not to expect too much, or anything at all!

3) Have you ever been in public, maybe on a train or plane and seen anyone reading one of your books? If so had did you react, if not how do you think you would react?

I’ve not had the pleasure – although if someone was reading the kindle version, I wouldn’t know! If I did see someone reading my book I imagine I would feel ecstatic and embarrassed, and definitely far too shy to say anything.

4) Everyone has that one character that when they write him or her they fall in love with, mine is my bad guy from my as yet unpublished trilogy, who is yours and can you tell us a little bit about them?

Mine is DI Eva Wednesday, from my crime series. I originally wrote ‘In the Light of Madness’ as a stand-alone crime novel, but Eva touched me, and I found myself missing her and wanting to get to know her more – hence a four book series, with the next one due in September 2017.

I love the fact that she has an internal anxiety about becoming mentally ill, as her mother suffers with schizoaffective disorder. She has a half-sister who has always dominated Eva in the looks department, hence Scarlett always finds herself in a relationship, yet Eva struggles to even trust a man if he did pass her way.

5) If your books were going to be made into films do you have any ideas in your head who you would like to see play any of your characters?

Ruth Wilson would make a wonderful DI Eva Wednesday, as she has a hidden quality when she acts, that suits Eva’s persona. Ruth Wilson has the ability to be aloof, which Eva comes across as with strangers, and Ruth’s look is how I imagine Eva to be.

Interestingly, I would also cast Ruth Wilson in the part of Lilith Fields in ‘Attic of the Mind’, as she would play the role of a tormented, anorexic, hell-bent on seeking revenge on the charge nurse who abused her whilst she was in a psychiatric hospital, very well. As you may have noticed, I’m a huge fan of Ruth Wilson, since seeing her in ‘Luther’.

6) Now a bit of a silly one, as frequently seen on FB the zombie apocalypse has begun, stick your hands out and tell us which two items you grab and how you are going to use them to fight off the starving hordes.

Jelly babies – I would throw them into their mouths to stave off their need for my flesh.

Cuticle cream – I would smear it along the ground between us so they would slip over.

7) Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, and as a bonus give us the name of the song that would be the perfect theme music to it?

My latest release is the fourth in the DI Wednesday series, called ‘What Happens After’, where a murder occurs during a Parting Ways weekend in a hotel in Cambridge. Four couples are attempting to divorce amicably, but when one person is found dead, DI Wednesday and DS Jacob Lennox are faced with a widow, sparring couples, the group facilitators, and the hotel staff, many of whom appear to hate the victim.

The case strengthens Wednesday’s negative views on marriage, and brings Lennox to a place of reflection as he analyses his past and contemplates his future.

The song would be ‘It’s Too Late’ by Carole King.

8) One of the hardest things to take as an author can be the reviews, have you ever had any negative ones, if so how did you deal with them and what advice would you give to people starting out?

Thus far, the only negative comment I have received said that the denouement of ‘Attic of the Mind’ was a little rushed, and I have to admit, I believe they are right. I was so keen to tie all the loose ends together that I rattled it all out with a rapid intensity, when I could have taken more time over it. It was only my second novel, and I still had – and have – much to learn. I’m aware of the comment in my head each time I write a denouement, so it has served me well.

For authors starting out I would say don’t take negative comments personally, and try to learn from what has been said. It’s important to see what the readers dislike so you can improve future novels.

9) Do you have any writing rituals, for example, I have one author friend who has a bowl of a certain type of sweets on her desk during edits as a reward for hitting her targets, do you have anything you like to have handy during any part of the process?

I always eat jelly beans or jelly babies when writing, but I’m now fearing for my waistline, so I’ve started nibbling on sweet and salty popcorn. Hopefully my body will appreciate the change! I also wear cotton fingerless gloves when I type in the warmer weather, and cashmere ones in the colder months.

10. What is the last sentence you wrote in your current WIP?

A text from Oliver interrupted her reverie.

11. Do you have a secret talent or claim to fame you are willing to share?

I speak fluent French after living in France for six years. In my youth I played the clarinet, classical guitar, and the piano, but I think those skills may be lost in the ether of time. I’ll happily sing Carly Simon songs at Karaoke events, after a couple of drinks!

12. Final question, if you had to choose between writing something really popular and making a fortune or writing a literary masterpiece that was highly acclaimed by academics and critics which would you pick?

I’d like to be able to say the latter, as I somehow think it would reflect a more altruistic side, but in today’s current climate, I would have to say the former. Money may not bring happiness and good health, but it would certainly make life easier in so many ways.  It’s not a dream I cling to though, as so much luck is involved in being discovered.

Many thanks for interviewing me, Paula, I really enjoyed answering your diverse questions. The music question was great fun!

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If you would like to find out more about Hemmie and her books here are the links…

http://wintergoosepublishing.com/authors/hemmie-martin

http://hemmiemartin.com/

https://www.waterstones.com/books/search/term/hemmie+martin

http://thewritersroom.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/HemmieMartinNovelist

Welcome To The Dark Side

The clock is counting, literally, I have downloaded an app on my desktop that counts down to various events, but the big one is 416 days until the Darker Side of Fiction 2017. You have joined me on the process of publishing my first two short story collection but now it is time for you to join me on a longer journey, one that will see my full length novels sent out into the world, all into the lead up to my first major book signing event. 13769599_1112537118806833_4336781662454501331_n

This journey will see me not only publish more books but also try to get a grip on all the things that go alongside signings and appearances, what swag to give away, what you can sell alongside your books, banners, blogger packs and setting up order forms.  For a lot of people further along in the process a lot of those things will seem like things you should know but I want to share the whole process here and more. I will be doing Q & A sessions with other authors who will be attending the event, most of whom are well versed in making a living from writing and have impressive bodies of work behind them.

mortality-401222_960_720For the next 14 months each Tuesday there will either be some sort of an interview or an update on how things are going, I mentioned previously that one author has been making her own character pop funko’s so I hope I shall get a few lines from her regarding how she found that process, I have ordered a couple of product samples to discuss the promotional stuff available out there, and of course there is a whole issue there with costs, who much do you invest and what can you do DIY. Other things to consider is the table itself, and by that I mean how it is going to look, do you buy display stands, if so what type.

Now obviously, these are not all things I am going to need to do now, some stuff may not even be needed for a first signing but it is all a learning curve and that is what I want to look at, but along the way I hope to pick up some hand tips from other authors that I can share here for anyone else just starting out on the road to self publishing, I am sure I will make mistakes, but if I do I will share those with you here as well, I may even find I have to try to fit in a few extra hours at the day job to fund some of the experiments, but however it goes I know we are heading on a very exciting leg of our journey together.

So if you are ready let us begin our descent into the darker side of fiction, but be careful not to wander from the path…

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New Trailer

Hi guys sorry for my silence but I have been busy putting the final touches to what will be the final edit of Voices Across The Void, it is available for pre-order on Amazon and although letting go of this book has been really hard I am finally pleased with the book I am putting out there, the stories are more about the voices of the ghosts than traditional ghost stories so while I finish up and have a couple of days to chill while it goes through the approval process enjoy this trailer, and if you listen carefully you might just hear a familiar voice.

The Journey To #TheDarkerSideOfFiction2017 Starts Here

I am hoping the ladies won’t mind me using their graphics but it make more sense to make the pages I shall be sharing more recognisable.

So where does this journey really begin or did it truly begin here, The Masquerade Ball, the fact is attending that event made me more determined than ever to make writing my career, I was incredibly jealous of those who had attended as authors and the people I met at the ball that evening made me realise I too could do it, it would time time and patience, and of course a lot of hard work but I knew I had a realistic destination to aim for.

So when the forms appeared for #TheDarkerSideOfFiction2017 I filled it in, nothing to lose, so why not?

Then they started announcing the authors and my heart sank, I had thought I had no chance, that though I have plenty of stuff in the pipeline which will be out before the event, I thought my lack of published work right now would count me out, I had resigned myself that I would be attending as a guest once more next year and comforted myself by the knowledge it would be a good day/night out and I could network and meet more amazing people.

Then I got the email! I read the email, I read it again, I forwarded it to my daughter and got her to read it just to be sure I was  not misunderstanding it and that they actually wanted me as a writer not just to attend. Then I sat with a silly smile on my face as I replied to the lovely Rachel, who along with Jo, run Hourglass Events that host these fantastic signings. A few days later everything was signed and sealed and then something that was so incredibly difficult, keeping my mouth shut, I am sure I scared a few people that weekend by grinning insanely at them without telling people why.

The Monday night came and I was introduced to the Facebook page, and if you are on Facebook please come and join the group, not only will you learn more about the event there but you also get to interact with lots of fabulous Indie authors and get the chance to get involved in lots of give-aways and receive some freebies #TheDarkerSideOfFiction2017.

So what else to say for today, this is a list of the authors involved so far, however I am writing this Monday afternoon to schedule for Tuesday morning so there will be a couple more names added to the list by then. I will however keep updating the list each week and at a later date will make a proper list complete with links to all my fellow signing authors pages.

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