June & July Resolutions

I know I said I would be back to the proper resolutions set up but to be honest the last couple of months have been a nightmare.

First, there were the issues with my son which I discussed in a post you can read here, then my dad was in the hospital.

There have been times the last two months where I have felt like throwing the towel in, my writing has suffered, most of what I have written over the last couple of months has basically just not been good enough which leaves me two months to complete two novels before Darker. Can it be done? Well. yes, but it is going to take a lot of focus

Can it be done? Well. yes, but it is going to take a lot of focus because it is the school holidays on top of everything else. The reality is this means so much to me that I really don’t want to fail. I have worked out if I write 4k a day then I can still do it, this will mean some late nights no doubt, as given the speed I can type it will equate to around three hours a day on top of other things I need to do.

What does this mean, for me overall, first less time messing about doing other things, I am also guessing a build up of house work lol and less chatting on social media, though I will still be around for various events and to promote #Darker. You will probably get shorter blog posts, though there is a good chance you might get more on time as it will be in my interest to be organised and schedule ahead. There are times I find I work better to a deadline and right now life has given myself a bloody tough one.

I have put some weight back on, so that is something else I need to address, when I am stressed I eat or rather I don’t eat properly and nibble on crap, I lose faith in myself and look for comfort in the wrong ways, it is also school holidays so I don’t have the school run for exercise, struggle to find time to swim and dancing is sporadic. I need to make a point of getting up every half hour/hour and walking about even if only a hundred steps or so at a time.

The last few months life has run away with me but now it is time to grab hold of the reins and regain control.

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Lazy Sunday #39

Okay so Sunday is almost over as I write this but to be fair my daughter has been here most of the day and I cooked Sunday dinner so it did not turn out to be totally lazy. The world was a darker place for a little while this week and things like writing and blogging seemed foolish and frivolous, as I titled the vlog this week ‘No Words’ sums up my feelings still but I will talk about that later in the week in a separate post. So on with a few posts to little the mood a little I hope and spread some love and light in the only way we can, by carrying on with life as normal.

  1. I love this post, admittedly I do spend half my time thinking in terms of medieval technology but what we consider an antique was once cutting edge  https://quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/devon-county-show-technology-vs-crafts/
  2.  There are some blogs I follow because they provide a quick fix of joy and this is one of them, I love this photo they have shared and would love to dive into that glorious blue water https://wanderlusttina.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/split-view-waterfall-jamaica/
  3.  One of the other things I love about reading blogs is you get to see places that you would never get to in real life, let’s face it the world is a big place, so much to see and do and for most of us we lack the time, resources and freedom from commitments to get to a fraction of them, so seeing others journeys is almost as good https://exxtracts.wordpress.com/2017/05/28/jew-town-kochi/
  4.  I had a wonderful interaction on another bloggers post regarding colours that compliment my hair now it is purple, she has followed this up with a really cool post about the fashion of going a little crazy with your hair and how to manage your wardrobe to match https://valentinaexpressions.com/2017/05/28/balayage-and-ombre-hair-valentina-cirasola-designer/
  5. Some times we just need a little light relief, something that we click on and it just makes us smile https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/05/19/eleven-wishes-for-you/

The one thing these posts all have in common is they span the globe, they remind us of the fact we have more in common with 99.9% of people than we have differences with that 0.01% who seek to destroy the way of life we love, they will not win unless we let them poison our heart, take care of each other and remember a smile to a stranger can create ripples that might be what is needed to heal our world.

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

Lazy Sunday #14

Well the birds are singing and I am sat hugging a double choca-mocha, the weather is undecided and I am hoping the school uniforms dry quickly just incase mother nature decides she is not going to co-operate with my plans for catching up with the washing today.

Because this is the one blog post of the week I write in real time rather than scheduling it does give me the chance to share things that grab my attention right up to the last minute, it is Father’s day here in the UK so I have just posted to FB as I know my dad rarely reads my blog, though he does surprise me occasionally but I will just take this chance to wish all the dad’s out there a Happy Father’s Day.

Now on with the business of the day which is of course blogs…

  1.  Now I have to say I learnt to say no a long time ago, but then again I have always been slightly opinionated and strong-willed, I have also never really cared what other people think of me, and I have to say I am not sure if that is a sign of intelligence or psychopathy? Take your pick! However Sarah discusses some interesting research about cake and chocolate, personally I am rather suspicious of anyone who says no to either right from the beginning strikes me they may be a fake rather than intelligent because who doesn’t like a bit of cake? https://sarahmichellelynch.net/2016/06/17/its-okay-to-say-no/
  2. Next up a bargain summer read, or if you fancy leaving a review you can contact the author for a free digital version, I loved her First Series and fell a little in love with one of her characters but have not read this latest one yet so you know who will be getting herself a copy https://msfowle.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/summer-sale-on-my-book/
  3. As I mentioned it is Father’s day and I just read this post from the lovely Dallas, you get to know people by interacting, eventually you know them, their family and their history, people you never met in person become part of a huge virtual, global extended family, and sometimes they share pain as well as joy. Reading posts as the man so proud of his allotment experiences the indignities of failing health and age is heartbreaking but even more so knowing how helpless those who love him are, this latest instalment, that of finding the right care home is especially poignant on a day like today, because sometimes loving someone means doing what is best for them even when it breaks your own heart, https://crazytraintotinkytown.com/2016/06/16/the-long-road-home/
  4. A new blogger this week, and he also happens to be another of the Darker Side authors so I am sure he will feature more in future, I cannot do micro poetry, I tried the six word story thing at one point but I accept my failings, even 500 word flash fiction is hard for me a tend to be more wordy though I like to think I stop short of full blown purple prose, but here is the perfect example of how to say much with only a few words https://cameronlincoln.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/hard-time-micropoetry/
  5. You might recall the other day I mentioned trying the pomegranate and raspberry tea/infusion, well I saw this in my inbox and it seemed like fate then I discovered I live in entirely the wrong climate to grow one, I am gutted but once I make my fortune and have a house with a huge conservatory you better believe I will be growing one in there https://tjsgarden.com/2016/06/12/pomegranate-is-1-in-our-top-10-heat-resistant-plants/

 

So that is your five for this week, I am going to go pull out al the furniture in my bedroom in the search for the missing fitbit before I accept defeat and buy a new one next payday, enjoy the rest of your Sunday xxx

The Hard Work Starts When The Writing Is Done

When you get an idea for a story, when you feel inspired by the voices in your head to sit and write, your biggest challenge is getting your fingers to keep up with the words. You sit and hammer on the keyboard as fast as you can, hundreds if not thousands of words flowing from you at each sitting. Eventually you reach the end and then the real work starts.

I think it is fair to say right now I hate editing, I am more or less in the process of editing voices from one document to another because despite hitting a clear formatting button something is wrong with the file and it keeps resetting things I don’t want. To be fair this is working in my favour in the long run though as with each pass I am doing I am picking up on more silly errors. You know the type, the silly typos spell-check misses because nothing is spelt wrong you just intended to type on and ended up with no. But even this is not the hardest bit, because you know this is the necessary evil you have to go through to get that book out there.

The hardest part for most of us is the next stage.

You have your book, it looks all pretty, you have editing, double checked, banged your head against the wall, edited again, bought proof copies, spotted a couple of error you still missed and fixed them, then you hit the publish button and any confidence you had disappears.

You now have to sell your book, it sounds so simple, Twitter is full of people selling books but be honest how often have you every clicked on a link? You share to your Facebook page but unless you have already got a few books out there selling well most of the people seeing the posts are friends who either believe you should give them a copy for free or they want to support you but they are not really interested in buying or reading your books. Even when you do a give-away and people read it so few leave reviews that it makes it impossible to bump your books up the Amazon logistics chain to get it to a point where they get recommended.

Amazon are also now taking away the cheque option for payment, no I admit the idea of waiting until you have earned enough to receive a cheque was frustrating but more frustrating is trying to find a bank account here in the UK where you will not end up paying the bank more than you are receiving from Amazon.  The cheapest one I have now found is going to cost me £2 for each overseas payment received which means I need to earn at least that each months from book sales before I cover the costs and that goes for each market.  I don’t know if the decision to change this policy was due to people taking too long to earn enough to receive the cheque and it was messing up Amazon’s books or whether it is a way to reduce the number of people who decide to self publish but it does mean that instead of moving on to the next project the amount of time taken up doing marketing will have to increase.

Of course it is not all doom and gloom if you can just stick at it and increase the number of titles you have out there up for sale, and that is may aim for the next six months, life is going to get hectic and I might miss out on some of the summer sun by being sat at my desk but I want this enough to make those sacrifices.

Does the change to the way Amazon pays effect you? Any tips for marketing?

WIP Wednesday – After The Ball

First let me say what a wonderful time I had , and highly recommend if you get the chance to attend one of the Hourglass events you should. In fact next October they are going to be in Peterborough, The Darker Side of Fiction event is looking for authors and bloggers to attend so you should certainly consider it, I hope to be there as an author but if not shall be there as a guest so we can meet for a coffee or something a little stronger in real life.Check out the Facebook page here

Now back to the weekend just gone, I have filmed the before and a clip of the ballroom but not much on the night, I was too busy enjoying myself but I shall intersperse a few pictures in this post. So let’s start with a selfie…

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The camera on my phone is not brilliant for photos in low light as the flash is on the rear facing camera only but I do like the rather gothic feel it gives this photo.

First thing to discuss is the stress of getting ready in a limited time frame, rather like leaving your novel until a week before a deadline it means you have to cut corners and are not quite as prepared as you would like. Okay the shortcuts taken in getting ready may be seen quicker but they are at least fleeting, whereas the cracks in your work can pervade your whole writing career.

The first thing I realised after leaving the house was I felt incredibly overdressed, another reason the arrive the day before and stay at the hotel next year but stepping out of your comfort zone is a good things sometimes and I definitely went with the old maxim of if you do not feel confident fake it, and so upon arriving at the hotel we entered the foyer and moved towards other masked and gowned people.

No the one slight negative I would say is that most of the getting to know each other seemed to have been done during the day at the actual signing, the evening event is more social and although I still chatted to a few people and met some amazing authors and readers, you feel a outsider, like you have been invited to a party but you do not really know anyone and they all know each other, it also does not help that no one looks like their author profile picture in the evening, I certainly don’t look like mine…

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And no the cleavage is not that impressive in real life it was just the camera angle and the dress. The thing is unless you are really confident in yourself these events can be daunting, there were women of every age and shape there but you cannot help but to compare yourself and your dress choice to others, I still felt fine until we had official photos taken, one of which I shall be posting on the kitchen door to keep me out of it for the next year lol but seriously by the next one I attend I intend to have the most glamorous before and after shots ever.

This is the one and I know you are all going to tell me how good I look because you are all far to lovely to be realistic but seriously there is far too much junk in that trunk.

You are also treated to a rare photo of the daughter which she will probably demand I remove so enjoy it while it lasts, though as she does not read the blog she might not notice if no one tells her.

But anyway back to lessons learnt, and the fact is I learnt more about myself than anything else, about which of my insecurities are holding me back and make me self concious, that I really want to be parter of this type of creative community and that I need to really focus and stop procrastinating to make it happen.

I am my own worst enemy!

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There was of course entertainment and I did do a little video of them so you will see that on Friday, we failed to win anything in the raffle and left before the disco was really in full swing (I had been at work that day) but here is a little food porn to excite the taste buds, I did not take a picture of the starter because basically I was starving at that point but I did take photos of the main and dessert…

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I realised that when the last book launch did not go off how I wanted it to that I have become disillusioned and allowed it to effect my belief in myself, how can I expect anyone else to believe in me if I do not have it in myself. So next month I shall do the A – Z challenge again, at the same time I shall be reworking a couple of parts of Disintegration and Voices then I shall be back at the start of May ready to push both while working on The Dragon’s Mark, if I want to make this my career and earn an actual living from writing I need to push myself and find the faith in myself that I had at the start of the year.

At the end of the day yes, luck and fate play a part in success but we cannot complain if we fail to push ourselves and do everything we are capable of to achieve our dreams. Part of that means sacrifice, in my case spending less time chatting online to friends or wasting time playing games on FB when I could be writing, the morning after may not look pretty,

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But it will be worth it to reach your goals and get the life you want, so I shall leave you with a final picture, until the next event, and know how incredibly lucky I am to know you all have my back and are always willing to gove me a shove forward when I feel myself falling back, I know I am already ahead of the game in that respect xxxx

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

WIP Wednesday – Dragon’s Rule!

I haven’t done an actual Award post for a while but this one dropped in my comments last week and I decided you know what lets go for it so…

dragonloyaltyaward

I mean it has a dragon so how could I resist!

Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the giver and link their blog to your post.
  2. Pass the award on to other bloggers of your choice and let them know that they have been nominated.
  3. Give 7 facts about yourself.

So first things first a huge thank you to Ravyn Whyt at Random Acts of Writing you can check out her lists here and learn more about her and the others she nominated.

Now 7 things about me that you don’t already know, well instead I decided to tell you seven thing I have learnt about myself through the self publishing process…

1) I could have a degree in procrastination, the closer I got to finishing the harder I found it to actually focus on the task at had.

2) Despite my bravado I have very little confidence when it comes to my own abilities and am actually now bracing myself for a stream of negative comments once people read my stories.

3) I realise the last one is irrelevant because I do not believe anyone will actually read my stories unless they know me and are trying to make me feel better.

4) I am becoming convinced I should go into PR rather than writing because I am pretty sure I can plan an awesome book launch if I put my mind to it but not as sure about producing the book itself.

5) Over the last twenty plus years I have suffered depression on and off, basically ever since post natal depression following my daughters birth, I am very good at recognising the signs of its approach and taking evasive action. I know compared to the black dogs that stalk others mine is generally more like the andrex puppy version but every now and again it grows fangs and turns into a huge hound, my grandmas death and the end of my relationship triggered that response.  I know I hid it well and only a few people very close to me would have known the signs but while in its grip I found writing almost impossible, especially Voices with its obvious themes of death and afterlife, writing Disintegration became my therapy, and while I wanted it to be longer than it is, I had to accept some of my work in it was just not good enough. (Don’t worry the demons are back to chasing rolls of toilet tissue once more)

6) I have found an extra strength in admitting my failings to myself and accepting them and where previously it would have defeated me I have now learnt that because I cannot do something today does not mean I cannot do anything today and that I will not be able to do whatever I set my mind to tomorrow.

7) I make the mistake of looking at other people projects that diminish my confidence further simply because they are so awesome for example, this trailer is for my FB friend Claire’s latest project, it has absolutely nothing in common with my own stuff but I find my self thinking I will never manage anything this awesome

Now who to pass this to? Rubs hands together, lets see who has been quiet for a while…

1) Rhonda

2) Heidi

3) Emily

4) Actually you!!!! If you are reading this and have a blog then you have also been nominated, after all the fact you are reading this proves your loyalty 😀

 

 

Vlog Time #35 – Disintegration is Coming!

It has been an eventful week and for me today is a painful one as it would have been my grandma’s birthday, it is the first since her passing which makes it all the harder, but I know that she would want me to focus on the positive not dwell on the upset so…

Click for the giveaway!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Available for pre-order – Disintegration & Other Stories.
Amazon.co.uk – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Disintegration-Other-Stories-Paula-Acton-ebook
Amazon.com – http://www.amazon.com/Disintegration-Other-Stories-Paula-Acton-ebook

And just incase you want to find me anywhere else…

Places to find me

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/PaulaActon

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Paula_Acton
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Paula.Acton….
Website – http://paulaacton.co.uk
Instagram – http://instagram.com/paulaacton
Blog – http://paulaacton.com
Snapchat – paulaacton71
I also have accounts on Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+

If you want to read my work you can find the Charity Anthology I am featured in #LupusAnimus here
Amazon.co.uk – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lupus-Animus-…
Amazon.com – http://www.amazon.com/Lupus-Animus-An…

WIP Wednesday – Balancing The Books

So the last couple of weeks I have been talking about the other side of preparing to publish, the setting everything up and getting all your social media, website and Amazon looking professional.  Today I want to talk about another part finances!

Now the first thing I have to point out is not only am I not an accountant but I am not really expecting to make millions from my writing, though of course it would be nice.  What I do want to do is eventually make enough money to not have to do the day job, and if I want that to be a realistic aim I have to be realistic and that means taking stock and learning to keep track of the pennies.  Everyone says if you want to make a living from writing you have to treat it in many ways like any other business and that means keeping track of the money going out and the money coming in, though at the minute in my case it is all still one way.

I am going to share with you my spreadsheet or to be truthful the one I found online and changed the name on…

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I started it in April which is of course start of the tax year here in the UK and at the end of June I stand at £88 and change in the red in terms of what I class as writing expenses.  I thought it would be interesting to discuss a couple of them here.

Duotrope – I pay a monthly subscription of £3.39 each month, roughly $5, this gives me access to a market that lists journals and magazines actively seeking material as well as details for a whole range of others, it gives me details of their rates of acceptance, turn around, speed of initial response, as well as rates of pay.  It also has a really good online submission tracker where you can enter details of each story and submission you make, which is very reassuring when you are waiting to hear back and it feels like you have been waiting months and in fact it has only been a fortnight.  I think this is a really good resource for anyone wanting to get short stories or poetry out there.

Office 365 – I have had a nightmare with this, I decided to go with the 5 machine option at £7.99 per month, mainly as I thought it would be good to put my daughters laptop on the same account for when she was having a read though for me but also I hope in the near future to invest in a desktop set up as well as the laptop and I even considered putting it on the tablet.  First they have messed me about a couple of times over the subscription but I did not want to shell out for 12 months at once even though it would have worked out a couple of pounds cheaper, then I discovered I cannot put it on the tablet because the tablet does not have windows.  I think I may purchase a windows tablet for writing but to be honest that is not in the near future. The plus side of having the Office 365 is all the bonus features for online storage, templates and other things you don’t know you need until you do. As a writer Word is a must this ensures you have all possible versions available according to submission guidelines.

Skype – As part of my Office package I also get 60 minutes of international calls, I took out a yearly number rental which worked out a lot cheaper than doing it monthly and I also decided to add on a UK calls subscription for £1.55 a month which to be fair I don’t really need unless I am doing interviews online but as I hope to start doing those soon then it is worth it plus the combination of that with the number gives me a purely business number rather than using my personal ones.

Phone – now this one is probably wrongly labelled as maybe internet should be a better label, I used the amount as a round up figure taking both my broadband and mobile internet expenditure into account, however this is where things start to get more technical as I will explain in a minute.

Obviously there are other things I have paid for that are not in there, ink and paper for the printer, pens, journals, these are things I can actually put in but hadn’t thought to add in but will in future.  The larger purchases such as domain names and websites, editing software for videos to make vlogs and also things like the camera and laptop.  These are all things I had already paid out for, I cannot now add them into this year however things like my wordpress domain name and website domain name will be added in when I renew them and an new software or hardware will be also added which will take me further and further into the red.  Several articles have mentioned if you write at home you can claim back for your office space but you need to work out exactly what proportion of your home in terms of square feet vs rent you can actually claim for. Likewise to fully claim for internet I would have to work out the exact amount of time spent on writing related online time vs leisure time for a percentage of the bill. You could also claim back for clothes to wear for book signings likewise possibly beauty treatments such as a trip to the hairdresser to do a public appearance.

The thing with all these things are you have to be making money before any of them become an issue but I have had it pointed out to me that getting into the habit of tracking these expenses now before they start building is a good practise to get into.

It would be nice if this time next year I could be starting the year in the black rather than the red.