Highs and Lows · Schedules And Lists · The Muse · Thoughts on thursday

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.

4. Thursday · Highs and Lows · Schedules And Lists · The Muse · Thoughts on thursday

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Okay first thing this morning I climbed on the scales and updated my Road to Health page, I am not going to go on about it here lets just say today we have a smiley face 😀

First thing I want to share with you today is a recipe I just found for Oatmeal Breakfast Cupcakes, I will definitely be having a go at making these they look delicious and healthier than some of the shop bought alternatives and can be used for breakfast or for morning snacks.

I have also been watching a few other Vlogs to get some ideas for improving mine and I have come to the conclusion I really need to get my editing software to work properly very few Vlogs seem to work being done in a single take so I am going to start working on one for next week keep fingers crossed.

My Facebook page finally hit another milestone this week as I passed the 300 likers mark, I do wish it were easier to get more interaction going on there but the new way FB decides to share posts is making that really hard unless you are incredibly famous of course but despite this I am still feeling very positive and have been doing more background research into various things related to my writing resolutions.

Hope you guys are all having a good day and speak to you tomorrow x

4. Thursday · The Muse · Thoughts on thursday

Contests – Worth the investment?

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Recently I seem to have been hearing the same advice everywhere, blogs, podcasts, magazines they all say the same thing enter competitions.

I do have writer friends who do enter lots of contests, partly in the hope of getting a little financial remuneration for the hours at the keyboard but most of the time I think for the sheer fun of it, but there is a more serious side to contest entry.

This is where the advice comes in, it is suggested that if you do enter and win or if it is one of the bigger more prestigious contests are short-listed that this achievement on your writing CV or cover letter could seriously enhance your chances of an agent or publisher actually taking the time to read your work.

Now no way am I going to be entering anything this side of Christmas life is far too hectic but I have taken the time to actually look though a couple of my Writers Forum magazines at some of the contests in there.  It is eye opening to see not only the range of contests out there but also the range of prizes from dictionaries and a smile to publishing deals.

The other thing which also varies is the cost of entering, while there are free ones there are also a range of contests who charge for entry, I think the thing to do is actually consider very carefully whether you really want to enter these and what they offer in return.  Some offer detailed critiques of your entries for an extra fee of course and the cost-prize ratio also is something to take into account is is worth entering a competition which charges you £10 to possibly win a hundred when if you had researched better you could have won a thousand.  It can also be worth keeping an eye out for who judges which competitions, it costs £15 to enter the Ruth Rendall competition which she judges herself but if you write in that genre being able to add her vote to a cover letter by winning or being short-listed in her competition cannot do you any harm.

I really don’t have the time to do this this year but as one of my writing resolutions for next year I am going to enter at least one competition per month fingers crossed if I could win one or get a couple of places it would cover the cost of the rest lol

Highs and Lows · Schedules And Lists · The Muse · Thoughts on thursday

Away Days and Thoughts on Challenging Oneself

admin-ajax.phpIf everything has gone to plan then in a few hours I shall be wondering round a stately home being totally over whelmed by the grandeur.

Does this look familiar?

Yes I am visiting Castle Howard one of the locations used for the filming of Brideshead Revisited as well as for other films and series.

I shall do a full post along with a few pictures next week, but I did remember that Stately home visiting is on my 50 before 50 so therefore deserves a proper post and that I really need to do a couple of the other in the near future.  I had actually forgotten a couple of the things on there like stopping smoking.  I mean how long before I can tick that one off?  I have not had a cig since the 31st of October last year, does that mean I can tick it off or does the fact there are still days I want one mean it would be tempting fate? I am tempted to say I get to mark it off on my one year anniversary of stopping but I am sure I read you must go two years before it counts.

Some goals we set for our selves are easy to say we have achieved.  I say on my list I want to visit more stately homes and in theory one more is still more and could be ticked off but unlike the wish to run a marathon it does not have a finite cut off point.  You run the marathon and it is run it does not matter where you finish or how long it takes (unless you have set your self specific targets) but for things like learn to believe in myself how can I ever tick that off.  Some days I might believe in my abilities yet the next I may delete whole swathes of writing dismissing them as rubbish.

I have realised I will never cross off all my 50 before 50 but I have also learned that by the time I get to 60 before 60 I will know to chose things that are more specific and achievable.

What have you challenged yourself to do that you realised after was totally impossible to quantify?

The Muse · Thoughts on thursday

Freebie Trials

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As you all know a little while ago I had a trial run at getting some bookmarks done, I was really happy with the quality of them the only failing was design wise on my part which I will remedy with future orders when the time comes.  While I was trying out various sites I signed up to Vistaprint who subsequently sent me various email offers to try our their products.  So with future give-aways in mind that’s what I have done and I thought you might be interested to see a few of the products that I have received and my thoughts on them (I have also bought a couple of extra items as I felt guilty just bagging freebies).

So firstly lets look at the two pen types…

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Both pens write black the top one (the blue one) was a freebie I did just use their basic background because to try to put the picture on this would have resulted in eye strain. The front pen I actually paid for (technically I ordered it by accident but I could have changed it and didn’t) I actually like this pen it is simple script engraved into it I just chose my name and the title.  Would I buy these again? I actually would buy the engraved pen again but I would do it when they had a deal on them as they are quite pricey unless buying in real bulk but they are a nice weight and feel nice to write with.

Next up..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis has possibly been my favourite of the freebies.  You do have to pay for your designs to be uploaded initially but again it is worth a few visits as they have different offers going at different times sometimes free delivery, sometimes free design upload.  The mug is good quality and the image is clear and bright.  They are not exactly cheap to order and because of the design space it did mean chopping my name off.  Would I order more? I probably would for a prize if it was something people wanted otherwise I have one now hehehehe I might consider them if I could alter the design a bit to fit better.

And next up…

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The book bag…. I am going be honest when I first unwrapped this I was disappointed.

I included my I-pod in the shot to give you an idea of size.  The size is perfect, the quality of the bag is good but I was not thrilled with my image on it.  I felt the picture was to blurry and to hard to discern compared to the other products it arrived with.

It has however grown on me, I actually got two of these one free and a second at half price one of which my daughter grabbed straight away when she saw it.  I also paid extra to have Vistaprint’s advertising removed under the image though I am not sure if that applies if you are paying full price.  Would I order more?  Initially I would have said no but now maybe.

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The T-shirt this I am not thrilled with.  Unless you want to pay a lot more for the thicker material then I am pretty sure T-shirts can be sourced somewhere else for better quality.  I ordered one of the largest sizes as I figured if it was terrible could always wear it in bed as a night shirt, the image is not brilliant and as you can tell from the picture if you are in strong light you can see straight through it.  Would I buy more? Nope sorry this one was a big miss for me, if anyone wants T-shirts try Zazzle or shop around you can do better than these.

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Notecards
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Postcards

Notecards and postcards, I will deal with both of these together.  Both are single sided though the notecard does come with a message on the back whereas the postcard is blank unless you pay extra for the address lines.

The notecards come in nice glossy card rather than the matt finish of the postcards though of course if you pay more you can have them glossy.  I was not thrilled with the postcards they have grown on me a little but not much.  Would I order more? I would order the notecards again I might even consider buying the folding ones to match but I would not buy the postcards again from here I think I can probably get better quality cheaper elsewhere but then again the notecards do the same job so why bother.

Final item for now..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPosters, these are a little smaller than A2 size and again I got one free but aid extra for a second one, because of the design there is half a centimetre top and bottom that needs cropping off but overall the quality is very good and they were reasonably priced.  They are made of thick glossy paper and look great.  Would I buy more? Yes just as soon as I have somewhere to use them lol but for anyone doing book fairs definitely worth a look.

What have I learnt

Don’t feel guilty about grabbing freebies, if I had simply order postcards I would have been put off using the company again and felt aggrieved at paying for the image to be uploaded when I wasn’t going to use them again.

Do take into account when deciding on freebies how your image is going to translate on various media, the mug I could use one of the images I already had uploaded cropped down so I didn’t need to pay a third image upload fee.  Better still if you are paying for an image created as if they can create a package for you to use for various merchandise and social media.

Freebies are not always free remember there will be costs for images uploaded and postage, some freebies you pay extra to remove company advertising or for better quality products.

Have a play around, try out different things then leave them go back and look again another day before you decide, you never know in the meantime they may send you more offers.

If you like your freebies you are more likely to re-order they will make money from you in the long term if you are happy.

Highs and Lows · The Muse · Thoughts on thursday

Random Thoughts And Storylines

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I am afraid it is sheer randomness for todays post, part fantasy, part rant, part insanity a little like my life lol.

First let me get the little rant over with which is to do with Charlie’s petition, you would not believe how hard it is to get 100k UK citizens to sign to help save lives, trying to get a celeb to RT on twitter can be like pulling teeth even those who have lost someone to cancer themselves are reluctant to sign something they believe means they are criticising the NHS well news flash the NHS is doing a good job of its own bad PR at the minute, this petition is actually about trying to get parliament to discuss cord donation and make the funds available for it to be made a countrywide option,  I get really annoyed at people arguing it will cost too much I would like to see them put a price tag on their own childs life, facebook and Twitter are full of posts from people desperately trying to raise money to take children abroad for life saving treatment, shouldn’t we be ashamed that we are so far behind the rest of the world that this is needed?  I am sure those people would happily raise money still for hospitals who offered treatment here infact in lieu of flowers Charlie’s parents asked that donations be made to the hospital who cared for Charlie so many times in his short life, with gift aid added it came to over eight thousand pounds, false economy seems to be a fixture of modern life taking the cheapest solution short term even if it gives the least long term benefit.

Right rant over!

Next would you believe it is possible for a writer to have an over active imagination?  No I know to an extent we need one, that’s how we create characters and stories but my problem is that idea just keep coming.  There is no way I will ever be able to write everything which presents itself to my mind.  I get distracted at times by the fact new characters and plots force their way into my thoughts demanding attention. For example after my post a couple of days ago about Doctor Who podcasts I then read a post from someone else about fan fiction and got thinking ramdomly about that.  No harm there you would think? Wrong!  I know have an idea for an gothic/timetravel story stuck in my head demanding attention which I really don’t have time to give it at the minute, last week it was the coma story that ended up as a flash fiction that interrupted the limited sanity that I have, so many people commented on what could be done with it but never will be which leads to another quandry…

What is my Genre?  My novel is dark/medieval fantasy, my short story collection ghost stories and another novel idea I have is Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian so where do I see myself going?  I love being able to write what takes my fancy yet I know that I really should choose one direction to follow.

Schedules And Lists · The Muse · Thoughts on thursday · Vlogs

No Vlog Today

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Am having a few technical issues (okay I haven’t worked out how to use the video edit bit on this new computer yet) which I am working on so sadly for today no vlog.  It is not necessarily a bad thing as I have a stonker of a cold and have a nose Rudolph would be proud of.

So what to do instead well I thought just a general catch up chat post, I know you all seem to be enjoying my Tasty Tuesdays post and I have another quick tip for you that I will share, unless you are lucky enough to be capable of growing herbs then like me you will end up buying them by the bunch then end up with some left over,  two options for the leftovers is to either dry them out for either use in cooking or a herb pot pourri for the kitchen or my personal favourite…

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Use spare jars rip or bruise the herbs to release the flavour then fill the jar with extra virgin olive oil and hey presto lovely flavoured oils for use when you don’t have any fresh herbs in. I really hate waste and though with the various pets we don’t have much herbs were one thing that did get thrown away now I just need to get a compost bin for the potato peelings and any other peelings the dogs or Guinea Pigs don’t eat.

I took collection of my business cards today as well, I didn’t get as excited about those as I did the book marks don’t get me wrong they look great am just not sure right now who I would actually be handing them to so they will sit on my desk until I figure out what to do with those.

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I had a busy day shopping on Saturday with my daughter I actually managed to spend money just on me without coming home with things for everyone then my daughter and her fiance took us out for tea.  The top I am wearing was one of my bargains for the day that I bought in the sales, don’t you just love sales when you find something you love that you would have felt too guilty to buy at full price.

Hopefully other half is getting us tickets for a 1940’s themed swing evening for Valentines I realised recently that I would far rather go out less and go to different things than just go sit in a pub every weekend, there is a Faerie Ball I fancy in the summer but will save that one until I catch him in a good mood as it will involve an expensive taxi or a night in a hotel.

The final thing I will share with you is sort of a teaser for the ghost stories collection, but only that it explains my love of the paranormal I do not see ghosts nor do I feel them, in fact I am jealous of those who do, what I do seem able to do is capture things on camera, this was taken in the older part of the graveyard where my Grandad is buried.  I felt nothing but my little boy who was with me and aged around two and a half at the time did not like that area at all.  I did not see anything at the time I was just snapping away at the old stones, I was drawn to zoom in on this area during editing the photos and was at first just trying to read the writing on the gravestone in the foreground when I saw this…

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I have been back trying to explain it away or replicate it have failed.  Is it a trick of the light? Is it something more? I know what I think but then again I believe, do you?