WordPress what are you playing at?

I woke up one morning last week to about thirty notifications regarding pending comments from WordPress. I thought wow a new subscriber who has been reading my posts, or maybe, a few subscribers reading a few each, I scratched my head and opened my email folder then realised the WordPress hated me. For some reason best known to themselves, they had decided to turn off the spam filters overnight, most of the spam was in foreign languages so I have no idea what they were trying to tell me but to be fair most of those in ‘English’ were a mystery to me as well.

So I decided that it would be amusing to see what my spam says about me, I also have chosen a couple from my normal email spam as well just for your amusement. So first up from WP spam…

“Creating a hangover emergency system handy won’t look extremely important today, but when the time will come you’ll be happy to have the needed what to remedy a hangover. Making a hangover emergency system is a simple method that everyone can carry out. Additionally you can include those things you’ll need or don’t add the items you will not likely use.”
vegan hiking boots

So as you can see, I think I am supposed to create and emergency hangover kit, how do they know how bad my hangovers are? Why do I need hiking boots for a hangover? Why should my boots be vegan? Do vegan boots cure your hangover quicker? Judging by the writing a do suspect the writer may have been drug and was planning their own hangover kit for when they got up the next morning.

Next…

“My spouse and i too feel a new mommy that did not need to be expecting a baby. Not really because of its physicality, which i may handle needlessly to say. Things i couldn’t handle has been the romance patient or perhaps don’t have thereof which i recognized I needed however did not acquire. The actual shipping has been worse, using feuding loved ones with an unsupportive”

Okay, I have no idea what this person’s issues are! Maybe the wife got pregnant and he isn’t getting laid, maybe he thinks his relatives should make his wife sleep with him or they should sleep with him? Let’s just say this poor man has issues and I cannot think of anything that could be shipped to him that would be of any assistance.

Next up…

“If this sounds like your circumstances, contemplate going for a crack through actively trying to conceive for a couple of a few months. (Which may be easier said than done in case your grow older making you feel as if you are rushing from the time.)”

Okay, I am single, and even if I were I certainly would not be cracking on to conceive. In fact given my medical history getting pregnant would be just about one of the worst possible things that could happen to me, but this one does worry me slightly because there are people out there who can’t have kids and this would be an extra slap in the face if it slipped through a spam filter.

I probably gained weight already Mary looking at your coffee cakes. I can’t pick just one but all of them ahhah. thanks for the roundup and for the gi!vawayeHappy SUnday!”

I think this person may have been out on the beer with the first person and may need a hangover kit. I have no idea who Mary is but I am partial to a nice piece of coffee cake so if you know her, send her my way with it. and I think maybe the next two were with them.

“More posts of this quytlia. Not the usual c***, please”

“Your answer lifts the ingleeitlnce of the debate.”

I know they want people to click on their links but calling my normal posts crap is really not going to do you any favours, however, I have to say compared to some of the posts in my normal emails that is quite tame.

“You know what! Go fuck yourself. Shithole. How can you be that evil to me? Evil bitch.”

It would seem I have upset Claire, I have absolutely no idea what I could have done to her though the fact she has to ask how I can be that evil does rather give the game away that she really does not actually know me. The other thing I get a lot of is the fact the spam bots cannot work out I am actually female, I imagine the first four letters of my name flag me as a man, given the amount of mail order brides they think I might need, as well as the Viagra to cope with them, but what does amuse me, is this thing of trying to insult someone into clicking, using things like this,

“Hey YOU,

Please stop emailing me your photos. I am engaged now.
We broke up a long time ago. MOVE ON!”

“Hey Scumbag,

Stop stalking me and my friend or I will report you. You piece of shit, cock-sucker douche. I do not know why you are doing this! You slept together once, only once. It does not mean anything. Have not you heard of hook up?

So, f*** off and leave us alone”

“You mad bitch! You made me hate my guts last night. You are an ASS. You disgust me. It makes me wanna puke when I think of you. YOU SON OF BITCH. Do not you dare to do that to me again, sucker.”

Now you see it is actually a good job I am single and spam savvy because if not I might have thought that my bloke had been up to no good on my computer. I would have assumed as my computer always has my accounts signed in that he had used my email to pick up said women from dubious sites. So while I pop off now and check up on the numerous giftcards I have won to American stores we do not have in the UK, I hope I have at least given you a giggle, I may be a mad bitch, and occasionally, I may be evil but I swear I don’t have one night stands lol.

Trying something a little different!

As you are aware I am launching Ascension next month, the first part of the Queen of Ages trilogy, that means the next couple of weeks I shall be busy doing final edits and playback to catch those silly little errors we so often miss that spell check cannot spot, where we put in rather than is for example.

So in an attempt to stay off FB and other social media when I should be working have switched WiFi off on my computer 💻 and will only be accessing it via my phone, I intend to try to post everyday and hopefully the fact they will be brief daily blogs will be interesting to you and hopefully by the time I am ready to be back all over social media the passions regarding politics may be dying down and the name calling stop.

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One thing I do still need to do is the blurb for the back of the book and also for the description section of various places, I must be honest it is one thing I do find difficult, how to sum up a plot and a story in a few lines, giving enough to draw the reader in while not actually revealing anything important.

I also tried firing up my old phone this week in the hope of using it do do fb live and snap chat, however it seems the phone was more useless than I remembered so that plan is down the drain, I had thought it was just the battery that had gone on it but seems to be the whole android processor.

Will leave it here for today and finish eating my porridge, then the morning will be spent editing the afternoon at the day job. Catch you all tomorrow.

Thoughts On Thursday – The Learning Curve!

You write a book, you put it up on Amazon, your done, right? Wrong!

I have decided to run this, a new series of posts on a Thursday discussing the things I learn about the self publishing journey as I go along.

There are so many things now that you have no idea about when you start out as a self published author, things that you might think should be simple but oh no there are a thousand pitfalls awaiting you. So what I am going to do over the next few weeks is discuss some of the things I have learnt about so far on my publishing journey, some mistakes have been more costly than others.

Lets start with a pretty basic one, a business card. Everyone who has any type of business needs to have a card they an hand out, you can get them from a thousand printers on line and in your local area but getting it right is a whole different ball game, and one I got wrong the first time round.

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Now at first glance you might look at it and wonder what is wrong, it looks okay but then think bout what it tells you.

It tells you I have written one book, the book featured on the card, a ghost story book, it does not tell you that my novels I am realising are a completely different genre, or even that I have other books.

It gives you some information about the places you can find me on social media but misses out the website, now to be fair I did not have the website when I designed these but because I was naive I ordered a few hundred cards I then had a website and no one knew about it and I had a pile of cards so did not feel I could buy new ones until I used the ones I had up.

The next thing was the price and quality, I could have bought them cheaper but I heard from various sources that some of the ‘offers’ I had seen advertised turned out to be poor quality, I found somewhere I thought was fairly cheap and spent extra on the glossy finish and thicker card, and they were good in that respect, but there really are so many companies now that it is impossible to check them all out so a couple of things I learnt along the way…

  • Ask other people, both personally and online about the companies they have used, most people if you ask politely and respectfully will be happy to help with information like this.
  • Go onto the various sites and take a look, run through the process of designing or uploading your design, see how easy their system is to use, check out the pricing options and shipping remember just because you put the stuff into the computer does not mean you are obliged to buy them just stop before you hit the pay button.
  • Check out on their website if they offer samples, I sent to two different companies for sample packs, these give you an idea of not only the size of their cards but generally other products like flyers etc you may wish to consider at a later date and allows you to feel the different card qualities and finishes before you commit to ordering.
  • Make sure you save your design somewhere safe on your computer, just because you order from a place once does not mean you are tied to them, I would suggest ordering the smallest amount option for your first order, you can always order more at a later date if you are satisfied with the product and service.

So as you may have glanced on my vlog this is my new business card…

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Now the one thing you might notice I have included on this one is a phone number and this is another tip, at a small cost you can get a skype phone number, the great thing about this is you can literally set yourself business hours, I am at my desk Monday to Friday mornings most weeks, I tend to do blog posts, read emails, for the first couple of hours each day then afternoons and evenings are reserved for friends, family and writing. The great thing about the skype number is it goes to the computer and means I do not have to give out my personal mobile or my home phone, I chose to add it because as a chose dark colours for the background and a glossy finish, scribbling it on individual cards as need was not an option, plus if anyone abuses the number it is very easy to block using skype as I have to do several times a week with scam contacts. I would also say if you try to contact anyone via a skype number make sure from the message you send they know who you are and why they should add you to their contacts. Generally  business cards ware only given out to business contacts so unwanted calls should not be too much of an issue.

Okay so hope someone might have found something useful in this post and I shall do another next week if you enjoyed it.

So Thoughts On Thursday!

I haven’t really done one of these for a while so it seemed like a good way to have a quick catch up.

Lets start with the fact it is 12 months to Peterborough and #TheDarkerSideOfFiction2017, I am so excited and now really it is my main focus for the future, I had planned on doing The Dragon’s Mark as stand alone book next however as I worked on the project it became clear it has the potential to be a series with a various characters taking the leads at different time, this means I am going to go straight ahead with the Queen Of Ages Trilogy, I shall be doing a cover reveal next Monday as well as announcing the launch date next in next weeks vlog.

OF course the writing is the most important thing but I cannot help but take a look for ideas for swag and of course the search for the perfect ball dress has begun.

If you are on FB you can keep up with the Darker Side event here…https://www.facebook.com/groups/1433818133602201/

And the 2018 event here (as it stands I am not signed to be a signing author at this event but I will be there at the evening event for certain it is just too good to miss) https://www.facebook.com/groups/1541707772746487/

And if you are interested in coming to see me in Peterborough then this is the link you need… https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-darker-side-of-fiction-2017-author-book-signing-event-tickets-24955322040

I am so excited about the future and feel more positive than I have in a long time, make sure you sign up to the newsletter for your chance to get your hands on some bonus give away prizes and be first to know what is happening, I know I have not been very good at keeping up to date with them but I will be sending them out from now on the first of each month and every month one person who opens their newsletter will win a prize though the prize will change from month to month, so anyone opening the November newsletter will go into a draw to win a signed print copy of Voices Across The Void.

Right need to finish editing tomorrows vlog, had a slight technical issue as my memory card slot on the computer decided to die this morning so had to find the camera cable, I will not say how many wrong cables I picked up before finding the right one but I will say I swore.

Take care and if you dress up for Halloween post your pictures to my FB page I will set up a Halloween thread there.

Always playing Catch Up

Every year we begin the same way full of good intentions that fall to the way side as life continues to get in the way. Some times the distractions are real and justified, family time, illness and emotional drams but sometimes it is simply a case of distraction, too much time on social media playing games.  This week I have been incredibly busy as you know with Sports Relief stuff for work, but what it has made me realise is just how much I can get done when the pressure is on, I have spent days editing various video clips, enhancing photos and generally attempting to do a weeks work in a day or two and for the most part managing it. So why then have I not done two monthly round ups or sent out newsletters? Why have I failed to write daily or to get extra blog posts in the bag? I realise the reason is that I am not accountable to anyone else for them!

The downside to being an self published author is that you make your own deadlines, there is no one shouting at you to get a move on, no one waiting for that next book, well not when you start out anyway though I have no doubt further down the road there will be if I am lucky. So this last couple of days I have been looking more into ways to improve my productivity and to set myself goals, both professionally and personally that will help me get to where I want to be. That means first of all catching up with some housekeeping on the blog and doing a couple of round ups, a couple of posts that should have been done already so they are out of the way before A – Z starts and finishing up the editing for the work stuff.

With all that said I need to go get on with it lol I also have tomorrows vlog to film yet and I need to think of something interesting for that or you will just get me waffling lol

January Round Up

Feeling a little violated by Microsoft

When I bought this new desktop computer I bought it as a windows 10 computer, so you might wonder why I am a little upset with Microsoft this morning, well the truth is they have upgraded me against my will.

I brought home a shiny new computer last October rather than having windows 10 already installed it turned out it was windows 8 but windows 10 ready. I did not think too much of it my laptop had been windows 7 and the upgrade to 10 had gone smoothly why would this be any different?

That night I went to bed leaving it upgrading over night, excited about the prospect of playing with it the next day, if only life went that smoothly. I got up waited the eternity it takes for it to configure those final settings, then fired up my various apps and gradually the smile slipped from my lips.  Things would not load, I could not access half the internet, pages would begin to load but not quite manage it.

I walked away, I made a coffee, I breathed into a paper Bag (well okay not actually but you get the picture). Then I remembered an issue I had with my laptop ages ago to do with broadband frequency width or some such technical mumbo jumbo. I phoned the man at Virgin, for nearly an hour I made his life miserable while he tried everything to fix the problem. He couldn’t fix it.

I finally thanked him and told him I was going to try removing windows and rebooting, you guessed it, I reverted it back to windows 8 and everything worked.

Roll forward a few months and the suggestion box for windows 10 starts popping up more frequently, I hit ‘No Thanks’ and carry on with my life, it gets more persistent and begins appearing daily.

Then last week it starts getting more pushy and asking me to set a date for an upgrade, I keep hitting no thanks and carry on.

It decides to set the date for Wednesday night I hit I will arrange it later.

It ignores me.

I wake up last Thursday morning to find I had been upgraded.

Okay it does work okay this time and obviously whatever issue was there last time has been resolved but damn Microsoft I said no!

I have been upgraded a week and so far no real issues although it does keep making me have to reset my default programmes constantly, so much for saving your settings. It could have been much worse and they do seem to have fixed all the bugs that caused issues previously but the bigger more worrying thing is if they can update my software despite me hitting the no button, what else can the see, do or install without my approval? I have nothing to hide, well unless they look too closely at my browsing history in which case I am screwed, but what if they can put things there? Maybe the conspiracy theorists have a point, or what if someone has a personal grudge and works for an IT company?

I am pretty sure there is a story or two there about what could happen if the wrong person is at the other end of the technology.

 

Special Treat

Okay so the only feedback I received on the book trailer confirmed my own gut reaction, the computer generated voices are not quite right, now don’t get me wrong I am not saying they will never be used again but I do need to spend more time learning how to modify the inflections etc which apparently should be possible with the programme I have, I just need time to learn how to use it lol. For today another premier this time a human voice narrating a story from Disintegration & Other Stories which is continued into Voices Across The Void.

It’s Here! #LupusAnimus Yay!!!!!!!

In case you could not tell I am a little excited!

Just after Christmas I submitted a story to a Charity anthology raising money for Artisan Rarebreed, a charity which rescues animals here in the UK as well as breeding some rare breeds.

Today sees the launch of the E-Book version, with a paper version to follow in the next month so lets do the ‘official launch’ bit…

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Can’t afford a donation to help out a charity? How about a book?

 

‘She was just eating her meal when she smelled a male wolf nearby – not one of her own. She watched him warily as he came slowly toward the three pups that were out the enclosure again.’ Lost Mate, Terry Spear – US Today Bestseller

Featuring poems, stories and haiku with the theme of wolves and the truth as each author perceives it.

Discover wolves in a sci-fi setting, followed by in character views of wolves in their natural settings and in conflict with humans.

All proceeds go to Artisan Rarebreeds.
Registered Charity Number
HMRC XT37297

With stories, poems and haiku from Ylva and Rose DelaWulf, Sherrill Willis, Zakira Salem, Krystal O’Brien, L. Anne Wooley, Shelley Walsh, Eleanor Musgrove, Delbert McGill, Michael E. Herman, Melina Turner, Caio Henrique Tavares, Yanick Zolnerciks, Paula Acton, Philip Tolhurst, John C. Scott, Jessica Kuilan Gonzalez, Dee Martin, Danielle Newman, James Don and Lisa Miller.

Right enough of being official please excuse me while I dance round the room. (No I am not wearing my shimmy belt and I am not videoing it before anyone asks.)  I think one of the reasons it is so exciting to be published in something like this is obviously firstly knowing you are helping a worthy cause but the second and more personal reason is vindication as a writer.  Doubt is a companion for most writers, but I think even more so for those who have or intend to self-publish, if you go down the traditional publishing route then at least one other person is saying they believe in your work, even if it is a small company or they just see pound signs in your writing but for the self-published it is a case of putting yourself out there and hoping.  By submitting and being accepted for this type of project or journals you get the support of others out there who are saying ‘yes you are good enough’ and by donating a story you both provide something the other holds of value and benefit each other.  So for me seeing this…10439225_10154207205205576_739493400_o

means just as much as the extra funds will to the good folks over at Artisan.  If you want to see more of the good work they do check out their Facebook page here.

I shall be reading my copy on my kindle heading to Stratford tomorrow, I shall grab a few postcards to send to friends around the world as well as posting a few pictures to my Twitter and Instagram feeds but the main thing is fingers crossed I am to film for this months Vlog from the birthplace of Shakespeare, if you would like to grab a copy of Lupus Animus here are the links and don’t forget the funds go to a good cause so if you love it tell your friends about it as well.  Right off to get dinner ready as daughter is staying here tonight prior to her birthday outing tomorrow.

Buy links

US: http://www.amazon.com/Lupus-Animus-Anthology-Jennifer-Don-ebook/dp/B00KWL0GGA

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lupus-Animus-Anthology-Jennifer-Don-ebook/dp/B00KWL0GGA

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22351432-lupus-animus

Leaving it to the last minute

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I am a terrible procrastinator!

This is a fact there is no denying it and yesterday my dithering nearly cost me my sanity.  A while ago I spotted a call for submissions which sounded interesting, immediately a thought started to germinate in my mind for a story.  Did I sit down and write it? No, I waited letting it blossom, following all the various stems in my imagination deciding which I would cultivate and which I would allow to whither.  During this period time ticked away until I found I had only a few days left to actually write the story if I intended to submit it.

At this point it was the last few days of the Easter holidays and I was working so I decided to leave it until Monday after all three days to write 3000 words no problem, except Monday came and some how the story didn’t I sat staring at the screen and managed around 800 then promptly deleted 700 hundred of them.  Tuesday I faced the keyboard with determination, Windows had finished upgrading the previous evening so my computer would be running nice and smoothly. I sat and the words flowed right up until it was time for the afternoon school run.  My word count was around 2400 so not much to finish and edit I saved it then put an audio book on iTunes played a few games before going to sleep, the computer still running playing the audio book to me (it was Terry Pratchett’s Mort if anyone needs that information lol).  Next morning I awoke and began planning my day when I noticed a white message in the middle of my black screen, and error prevented….I hit a button nothing, no spark back into life, no sign of anything happening.  I had saved my work so thought nothing of pressing the button to shut it down fully and restart it after all what could go wrong.

Have there ever been more ominous words uttered throughout history?

The computer restarted, everything was going so well, right up until I opened word! There was my document in the retrieval pane, but not the 2400 I had saved but the measly 100 with which I had begun the previous day. I panicked, I cried, I confess I may have sworn just a little.  I had no time to dwell on it I had writing to do but I couldn’t I had dancing, then work, I posted my despair on Facebook got the monster reading for school and headed out trying to plot how I could achieve the impossible.  I stood at the bus cursing my own stupidity for leaving it till the last minute then tweeted a slim glimmer of hope that I could still manage it.  I got through the day one half of my mind on the tasks at hand the other trying to work out what time I needed to hit certain word counts at to make it.

I got home sent a few requests on games while I ate my dinner, rung my daughter who gave me the same lecture about not being negative and believing in yourself that I have been giving her the last few weeks as she completed her final essays. Just before 7pm I switched Freedom on and the world disappeared it was just me, the story and the word count.

9pm Freedom switches the internet back on and I am at 2000 words, I enlist daughter for some quick editing and a second opinion on where the story is going, she provides both, I message a friend in the States and persuade her to stop paying attention to her job for a few minutes and have a read through, she agrees.  Both of them love the story and tell me off for leaving them hanging and tell me to get on with finishing it.

10.20pm The story now stands at 3004 words I email a copy to daughter and friend to check out while I go double check the submission details.

10.25pm I have a nervous breakdown after reading that the word count is between 4k and 8k and realise I have mixed the number up with another submission I recently considered.

10.30pm Daughter delivers a virtual cyber slap and tells me to pull myself together and begins trying to work out how I can expand the story without spoiling it, I threaten to just send it as it is, friend is leaving work but promises to cheer-lead from home computer.

11.15pm Am sat with windows wide open trying to clear my vision which is becoming increasingly blurred am still 500 words short and my fingers are ceasing to work.

11.40pm Two hundred words away from target and it has never seemed like a more impossible task.

11.50pm Send 3900 words to daughter to quickly look for major mistakes while I find a last couple of places to add a sentence or two.

11.58pm Submit 4012 word story then email to daughter and friend before collapsing into bed.

1.48am Still laying awake get message from friend saying wow, finally smile and fall asleep.

Lesson learnt, I will never put myself in that position again. I will remember to constantly back up to second source every time and not wait until deadlines are due.  Today I am very, very tired and still have work to go (I might have a quick nap later).  The most frustrating thing is of course the long wait now until I hear whether the story has been accepted or not.