Editing · Marketing · Plots · Research · WIP Wednesday

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 😀

 

 

8. Vlog Time

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…

3. Wednesday · Marketing · WIP Wednesday

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…

Screenshot 2015-07-01 09.42.58

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.

 

Editing · WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday – More Rejections

Just a quick post today as I am getting for the monster’s birthday which is tomorrow as I write this but today as you read it.  I am hoping he loves his presents and I can get some footage of him opening a present in the morning and his cake in the afternoon.

I am determined to keep positive in the face of adversity at the minute so the latest rejection has not phased me, infact I was positively delighted by it!

No, I have not lost my final marble, let me explain.  I decided that I should as they say reach for the moon in the hope of ending up amongst the stars, so I submitted my story to what I consider one of the best Sci-Fi magazines out there, (should you be part of a different Sci-Fi mag don’t take it personally I am sure I will get to you) this is an award winning magazine so as a totally unpublished writer I fully expected to be rejected.  Now let me tell you why I was so thrilled, firstly I did not receive the form email, I actually got a personal response from the editor then as a bonus he pointed out that although my story was not what they were looking for at the minute I had actually not got the right format they like for submissions and he provided a link showing how they like work submitted for future reference.  I want you to bear in mind I was physically shaking last week when I hit the submission button, though why I am not sure it is not as if they were going to come to my work and scream in my face I was rubbish and never to write again but I guess that is what nerves do to you.  I could get really down this is the second rejection for this story but I really like this story and believe in it, for me it is a case of finding the right place for it and I will keep submitting it until I find a market or until I decide to use it in a different way as part of an anthology or collection.

With reference to the competition I mentioned last week I did message them for more clarification on certain points and do feel a little more comfortable about their responses, the reason for not dates announced was they expected to have to extend the deadline (I am guessing to get enough entries to cover the prize money) I have not decided if I am going to enter yet mainly now as the story I was writing took a path I am not sure is right for the competition but we shall see, I may take a chance with it knowing even if it gets no where I have another piece for submission to other areas.

Okay better go get stuff organised and let the dogs out, then towel them off as it is throwing it down here once again and I am sure the fox has been back in the garden judging from the smell of the spaniel when he comes back in.

Telly Box Tuesday

Tellybox Tuesday – Death of an Icon

Television

This week we return to a programme I featured a couple of weeks ago and that is Autopsy.  The subject of the show I watched this week was Marilyn Monroe and I have to confess the conspiracy continues as the first five minutes of the show failed to record! I started watching this ready to scream at the television even though I do know this show is good at sticking to facts and is not one I would expect to be part of any possible cover up but given they have to work with the available documents I was not convinced we would get any closer to the truth of her final hours.

The conclusion he reached was accidental overdose as a result of her doctor prescribing her drugs that should not have been given at the same time especially to someone with the insomnia issues she suffered.  While this might fit to evidence and he does make a convincing argument it does not totally convince me nor does it explain everything.  Why did the maid call her psychiatrist before the doctor, why did the both arrive so quickly?  Why did it take to medical professionals over an hour to call emergency services? Okay they say they were in shock but an hour and if they were covering up their own complicity why not remove one of the two medicines which should not be prescribed together?  He rules out foul play due to lack of evidence in the autopsy report but I have to say that does not really mean a lot as far as I am concerned as I am pretty sure that the coroner would have omitted anything that he was told to omit after all this did possibly involve the President and his brother.

I don’t think we will ever really know exactly how Marilyn died and I don’t think we want to.  For 50 years people have shouted conspiracy and cover up, the rumours do not die and no explanation has ever been produced that covers all the facts, like her beauty the mystery of her death seems destined to last.

Now the writing part and it fits rather well into plot points, the facts fit numerous scenarios as long as you only show the ones that fit. the minute you throw in a random plot point then it becomes more difficult to sell the story you want to.  It does however give the opportunity to give differing solutions but in fiction the reader prefers a firm final solution.

 

Film

Well actually this week we are talking theatre instead.  As you will know from my various social media sites and the vlog the Saturday before last I went to the local theatre the LBT to see The Mist in the Mirror adapted from the book by Susan Hill, author of The Woman in Black. Firstly I am going to share the trailer they produced for this production…

And I am going to share a far more professional review than mine which it really is worth taking a quick peek at before I start….

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/reviews/the-mist-and-the-mirror-oldham-coliseum-theatre-woman-in-black-sequel-doesnt-take-itself-too-seriously-10040523.html

Now the first thing I want to comment on is the theatre experience I love going to see plays but this one was the first I had gone to see alone and it was lovely to note I was not the only person who decided just because their friends weren’t up for it they weren’t going to miss out.  In some ways it is a liberating experience going alone as there is no one commenting during the play however the downside is there is no one to discuss it with after, well unless like me you have a blog and a wonderful audience. Like the previous production I had seen by this company they mix live acting with film using a minimum of scenery. In fact this is the trailer for Hound of the Baskervilles the previous production I had seen

I really wish there was a way for you to experience these but I cannot find anywhere that has the performances themselves recorded, The Mist in the Mirror has far more in the way of humour than The Woman in Black and if I had to pick fault with it, it would be the same issue I had The Woman in Black and that would be the ending. I write ghost stories and to write an actually scary ghost story is hard, it is about creating a tension and suspense, a questioning of our own senses and is not a form suited for a simple straight ending in some ways.  Now a few people did jump in the audience at certain points, I was not one of them, and I understand that time constraints also play a part in adapting a novel to film or play, (and I confess I have yet to read either novel so I reserve the right to change my mind lol) but I felt the ending was rather abrupt and was a little predictable.

However overall I really did enjoy it and will certainly be going to see any future productions this company put on.

 

Youtube

Okay I will let you watch the TED Talks video before I discuss it not really writing related this one…

Okay they have great voices and the song is moving but that is as far as it goes with me.

Dannielle Hadley – Accomplice to Murder

Debra Lee Brown – First Degree Murder

Theresa Battles – Accomplice to Murder

Diane Metzger – Helped Murder her husband’s ex-wife

Thelma Nichols – Murder (beat a woman to death)

etc.

Now I am sure that some of the women have stories of horrific upbringings and maybe were even unwilling accomplices I do not know how horrific a crime a 14 year old girl would need to commit in the States to get life as the system is different here, but I think we can all honestly say if they were a group of men with the same records no one would care if they could sing or not.  I know I sound unsympathetic but the saying goes if you can’t do the time don’t do the crime and at least three of the women obviously were not bothered by someone else being denied a life as I say accomplice can have many definitions but beating a woman to death has only one.

I love watching crime programmes, I am fascinated by what makes people tick and I do believe in the right circumstances (or should that be the wrong ones) everyone is capable of killing another, if you think I am lying just imagine someone is choking the life out of your loved one right in front of you, your partner, your child or grandchild are you telling me you wouldn’t do whatever it took to stop them and save the one you love?  We would know there would be consequences and you might argue that you would not be thinking of those at the time, but if you did would it stop you acting? I think not, I have no doubt that these women may be sorry but that does not bring back the people that are dead or take away the pain of the families and a very big part of me thinks until they can do that they have no right to feel sorry for themselves.

A - Z Challenge 2014 · Blog Challenges

F is for Fuji – Places I Dream of Seeing

Cherry-Blossoms-And-Mount-Fuji-Japan-1-1600x1200
Photos via Google images

F  Now I do know this one is probably not on many bucket lists but I have always been fascinated by volcanos so the idea of climbing one seems perfectly logical to me. Mount Fuji in Japan stands at 3,776.24 m high, so possibly a little chilly at the top, and has not erupted since December 16, 1707.  It is not however extinct and that is part of the appeal to me.  There is something I find seductive about the raw power of nature, like my fascination with the sea, it is knowing that at any time mother nature could show you just how insignificant you are.

Photos via Google images
Photos via Google images
JA_011_large
Photos via Google images

Now there may be a few of you who will ask why I would be scared off from Egypt as I mentioned yesterday by the risk of human violence yet I am willing to take this sort of risk… well firstly lets face it the chances of me ever managing this sort of hike up a mountain are astronomical.  Even before two spinal surgeries I would have struggled now it is very much likely to remain a dream.  There are of course the same issues as so many places of the rich cities contrasting with the peasant villages but Japan does have such a rich history and beautiful temples even in areas like this.

mount-fuji-crater
Photos via Google images

And the bonus that most of the treks that take you up the mountain take you to the crater at the top.  Now I will confess I would prefer in some ways to visit a volcano with an open cone so you could look down and see the raw power, however that is not a particularly safe move and the kids would object unless I left them a fortune, so this is the next best thing.

Some locations are about the beach, some about the history and others about nature and for me this one also represents a challenge to myself, if I do ever get the chance to go to this location it will not only be nature that I battle but my own body to reach that summit.

A - Z Challenge 2015 · Blog Challenges

E is for Egypt – Places I Dream of Seeing

E  People that know me well will not be surprised by this selection for E on our places I dream of visiting but I can imagine a few scratching their heads and saying ‘well it’s not that much to go to Egypt these days.’  The problem is the type of holiday I would want.

Photos via Google Images
Photos via Google Images

These days the package holidays to Egypt consist of staying in an all inclusive resort with possibly a day trip or two thrown in but as usual I want the freedom to do more.

Egypt.original.1369
Photo via Google Images

Of course I want to start my dream holiday off with visits to the pyramids.

Now I would love to visit not only Giza and Luxor but also the Valley of the Kings now this is actually one of the things that puts me off as well.  Sadly tourists heading to these location have increasingly become targets for terrorists and though in an ideal world this would not be an issue, in reality it is a consideration which has to be taken into account.

Photo via Google Images
Photo via Google Images

Surrounded by the very monuments to those who fought to create the ancient civilisation that we seek to understand and appreciate, it is difficult to accept that history and the present can clash so violently.  But then the truth is this area has always been an area of controversy.  The archaeologists that discovered many of the tombs did take artefacts out of the country but many more were sold on the black market by grave robbers over the hundreds of years since the tombs were created.  The very tombs themselves have brought large amounts of money into the country but as so often with tourism the money does not filter down to the majority of the people living in poverty.Egypt-banner

Cairo is now a modern metropolis full of high rise buildings and neon lights a compete contrast to those ancient tombs laying amongst the sand and I would love to visit there as well but really only for one reason.

photo via google images
photo via google images

The Museum!

While many artefacts are still spread round the world the museum in Cairo is beginning to lead the way in the scientific study of mummies and the history of it Pharaohs.  My dream E holiday would start here wandering amongst the exhibit gaining more of an insight to make my pyramid experience more real and allow me to put the history into a perspective that you can try to understand in your own mind.

From there I would want to travel to the pyramids the same way those ancient people did via a trip down the Nile.nile2_2821222b

Once more that houseboat I had for the Amazon could be airlifted to provide the perfect vehicle to float down the Nile (avoiding the crocodiles).  What it most sad for me is that it is not my physical limitations that prohibit this dream, even the financial aspect could be fixed if I went on a river cruise rather than my houseboat, it is the fact that it is fear of my fellow man and the way we treat each other that will probably prevent me every seeing more than the quick day trip an all inclusive resort will offer.

6. Saturday · Lizzie Bennett Diaries Watch-a-long

Lizzie Bennet Diaries Episodes 93-96

043 (5)

We are nearly at the end less than ten episodes remain plus a couple of specials so on we go…

Lizzie discovers that it was Darcy who stepped in and saved the day, it does raise a really interesting question regarding the purchase of websites, distribution of videos etc in this digital age where nothing is really gone once it has been posted.  Had the video gone live, as has been proved by several celebrity cases, there is not much that can be done. A few years ago the Pamela Anderson tape with her then husband Tommy Lee which was stolen from their home could not be removed once it was out and if my understanding was correct the only way to stop other profiting from the tape,was to get copyright on it.  It seems crazy that there is no way to stop these things but the reality is once out there you cannot track every download, screenshot or other method that can be used to copy. Sadly another aspect of this is the ex sites who profit from people exploiting relationships which have ended and manipulation and blackmail of young girls who are foolish enough to fall for the lies and lines delivered by a stranger from behind a keyboard miles away and perform acts they are not capable of understanding the consequences of.  This is not the post for going into this in such detail but I really do believe that we as parents have to take responsibility here, too many parents want to be their kids friends not parents, it is up to us to firstly teach our children to respect themselves and demand others treat them with the same respect but also to know what is going on in our kids lives, if your child is kicking off over you looking at their phone or on their computer then there is even more reason to look, there should be nothing you should not be able to look at, there should be no secrets they have to keep from you.  And I know people might not agree with me on this one but if they have a problem with you picking up their phone take it off them, simple, it is not a necessity it is a luxury that they too often take for granted if they want something secret then they can wait until they grow up get their own job to pay for it and live under their own roof.  Don’t get me wrong I am not saying you need to be checking on a daily basis but lets face it chances are if there is no problem with you checking you probably don’t need to actually do it!

Rant over lol

5. Friday · Me And Mine

A Year Passed

Tomorrow is the anniversary of little Charlie gaining his angel wings and heading off to play amongst the stars, I decided to post today rather than tomorrow on this because it was at this time on the Friday last year I was sat writing at the computer and decided to have a break and mess about on Facebook for an hour before I had to get read for work.

A little after 2pm came a heartbreaking message from Ellie Charlie’s big sister that surrounded by his loving family Charlie had been released from the pain he had fought through for so long and was at peace.  For his family their pain was only just beginning, I cannot imagine the pain of saying goodbye, of birthday candle left unlit, an empty chair at Christmas, for Fiona, Joey and Ellie it was the first day of the rest of their lives, but they will always be days with one special person missing.  In his memory they have gone on to set up a charity Cords4Life in an attempt to ensure no other parents share their pain.  They have done his memory proud and created a Legacy which will carry on for years to come.

And what did Charlie teach me?  Never to give up, that no matter how hard things get that determination will carry you further than you ever thought possible.  That life is too short to settle for anything, that if you are not happy then you should make changes to take control of your own destiny where you can.  And that what is really important is making every day as special as it can be, you never know how many tomorrows there will be.

When children face death they do it with a dignity, resilience and spirit we adults can learn so much from, they never give up fighting to the last breath because they never learnt to quit.  If you need to see real strength of character look into the eyes of a child who has fought for their lives, those old eyes in young faces show the truths we would all do well to learn.

2c398757b0f441dcf2d09fe93b6233f6

4. Thursday · Me And Mine

Road To Health

I have added a new page to the blog today specifically to share my journey towards a leaner healthier me.  I have been putting off this post all day but if I intend to stick to daily blogging I cannot procrastinate any longer.

You see I knew when I climbed on the scales it would be depressing, I even pretty much knew how depressing but it is one thing to be depressed in the privacy of your own home and another to share you shame on the internet.

I am not going to put my start weight here, it is on my Road to Health page for any who really want to know and maybe once those number come down I won’t feel as bad about it.

It would be easy to lie, none of you were in the kitchen this morning (scales work more accurately on a hard floor) I could have knocked a little off and pretended that it was not as bad as it is.  But eventually you would notice that the figures didn’t add up and to be honest I just don’t do lying.

So instead I have taken a deep breathe and prepared…for what?  I know the people who come here and read my blog are always supportive, while others have suffered from trolls it is an issue I have never had here.  Maybe I am worried if you see those numbers you will think less of me but I know that not true either.  I think the truth is that by putting it in black and white I have to go through with it, I have to prove to myself I can shift this weight, I can get through the pain barrier of exercise, I can get back to being the person I was before my back op.  But in truth I am also scared, scared that I might discover I cannot get back to that person, scared the physical limitations will still be there no matter how much weight I lose.

The future can be scary but some things are worth facing your fears for, watch this space…it could get interesting!!!