Lazy Sunday

My Year So Far!

I should have started recording episodes for the podcast by now but I am still trying to get my microphone set up again so I thought I would share a few photos from the last week and a half since the start of 2021.

This is the cover to this years journal, the last year I had a rose gold glittery one and given how the year went I decided on this one this year that is a little plainer with a classic feel to the floral enhancement. Let’s hope this year I get to write about a couple of signings.

This has been my life for most of this year so far, either mud or the ground is frozen and every hoof print filled with ice.

Sunday the 3rd we brought Preeya out of the field for the first time, she handled it really well, she is almost as big as mummy now can’t believe she is only nine months old.

Monday I headed to my daughters, I thought I would share these with you so you understand why I usually take photos with my head to one side, if you look at the first photo you can see I have a fat and thin side to my face. Other people can tell you it doesn’t look as bad as you think it looks but one you have it in your head no one will tell you otherwise.

Tuesday saw me back at work, we have these t-shirts, we play messages over the tannoy but guess what people are still not staying back, I get not everyone believes there is a virus, I am not getting into that but even if you don’t believe does it really hurt you to keep your distance from people, I want my life back, I want to see my family and friends, that can only happen if people apply common sense.

Wednesday morning just who ended up sat in the mud while dragging straw down the field to where the horses stand to have their hay. Maybe I should buy waders rather than wellies!!

Thursday morning I was debating what I could share and I thought I would show you the odd random item from my house that I love, this is my dream catcher that hangs above my bed. I normally remember my dream and it is very rare I have a bad one, I have had this for years but lately it is beginning to lose the odd feather.

Coming home from work Friday night it started snowing but it is hard to catch the snow on your mobile camera lol,

I was thankful to have my hat with me though as it was cold.

Saturday we had snow but not enough to really slow the pace of life, helped my friend take two of her horses out for their feet trimming and for a quick walk round the block as the roads were clear.

Saturday night lockdown style and the only affection I was getting was a nose rub from the cat. 

Hope you all are staying safe and making the most of each day in any way you can. 

Resolutions 2021

2021 At last! Thank Goodness 2020 is done.

A new year means a new start, and of course, resolutions about making the new year better than the previous, and I am no different. Last year I allowed events in both my personal life and the world in general distract me and wear me down until I lost my writing mojo. I made an attempt to rally however, I failed there after a couple of good weeks it all went back downhill, but I took a different approach and decided to prepare to make 2021 my best year yet. So here we go with this years writing resolutions…

  1.  I will blog at least five times a week. I previously had quite a good following on here and plenty of interactions, I will work on regaining that audience and rewarding those who have stood by me for whom I have the greatest respect and affection.
  2.  I will publish a minimum of four books this year, I have a couple already well under way and want to get the rest of the Queen Of Ages Trilogy published so I can move on to the two other series that I have floating around in my head.
  3. I will make sure all pries are posted out within two weeks of them being won unless I am waiting for a postal address.
  4. I will get the podcast back up and running and be consistent at that, I will also arrange for interviews with author friends as part of that.
  5. I will get the Raven’s Rest Press website set up to allow readers to order print copies of my books, which can be signed and shipped to them if they cannot attend signings.
  6. Once the trilogy is finished I will look at creating the special hard back trilogy version.

So just half a dozen resolutions to get by backside back on track, let me know in comments, do you make resolutions? If so, what are they?

Happy New Year to all and remember…

Fact Vs Fiction

NanoWrimo 2020- Time To Begin…

It is half past seven, on Sunday morning the 1st of November and I am about to start my Nano campaign for this year, now to be honest every time start this something happens, but this year everything has happened already.

I have actually planned ahead, I have two projects I intend to get finished during Nano. one only needs a couple of thousand words, the other is a project I am really excited about though I have set myself really strict timelines.

I had picked the start of November for a mental reboot, I have bought myself a nice new productivity planner, bought some Slimfast to replace the toast dripping in best butter that I had been having since my back went. The first couple of weeks after my sciatic nerve went with a ping I lost weight, to be fair I was barely conscious and drugged up on morphine, then of course being unable to move tends to lend to self pity and also eating a lot of crap, especially when you have no appetite but have to eat to take the painkillers to get you moving again.

I know a lot of people wait for new year to make a fresh start but this is more getting back into habits that I have settled into on and off the last year, now is the time to pull it all together and get some books out.

I will update you on my progress twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays, Wednesdays I will talk about the projects themselves and Sunday will be more about the numbers. Right I need to go, I have the family coming for Sunday Dinner before we go back into lockdown as I need some furniture moving, and I need to get some words down first!

Book Reviews

Talk to Me by Roseanne Beck

The last thing Laura wants is a relationship.

The only thing Austin needs is his independence.

Sometimes love sneaks up on you when you least expect it.

Austin’s car accident shattered his life and his leg. His main focus is on proving his independence. Figuring out how to shut up the new voices in his head would be an added bonus. They like to converse at the most inopportune times.

Laura’s built a wall around her heart. Everyone she loves ends up leaving her. She’s still reeling from the death of her brother and business partner. Seems like he might not be ready to completely give up the ghost yet, though.

And then there’s Aunt Marge, a world-class meddler with a penchant for oversharing. Can she manage to nudge Laura and Austin toward each other? Or will her recipe for love fall flat?

If you like sparkling, witty banter and strong characters with a hint of the paranormal, you’ll fall for TALK TO ME, because humor and love conquer all.

 

I flew through this book, it was easy to read and fun. The main characters are relatable and likeable, you find yourself rooting for them even when you get a little exasperated with them.

The plot is interesting and the paranormal twist adds to what is more or less a rom-com. This is a great choice for a beach read, or would be if anyone were getting near a beach this year, however, it will work just as well sat out in the garden. I read it on Kindle which I find myself doing more and more lately with these sorts of books, it is not a book you are likely to read over and over again, so buying the paper version is not a must.

I give this 4.5 stars out of five, the only reason for the drop of half a point is that it has been a while since I read it and it really did not stick in my mind enough for me to write this review without going back for a quick scan through.

4. Thursday · Highs and Lows · The Learning Curve · Thoughts on thursday

Thoughts on Thursday – So You Want To Be A Writer Part Two

If you missed out on the first part of this new series you can catch it here. I know this should have gone out yesterday but technical problems left me frustrated and on the verge of throwing the computer through the window yesterday lol.

So, you finally have an idea for a story, you sit at the computer and begin writing so far so good but then you find the next thing that people say to you.

Well, anyone can write a book, it’s just words.

Now, to an extent this is true. anyone can write a book but let’s look at what actually goes into writing a book that people really don’t understand. First the time! I don’t know about most of you reading this but my WPM (words per minute) have dropped significantly since I learnt to type at school. On a good day, I can type 250 words every fifteen minutes, that means 1000 words per hour assuming the ideas are flowing and I don’t need to stop to think or consult notes. The average fantasy book is 95,000 – 120,000 words this means to write one book you are looking at 95 – 100 hours. Now, there will be people who will look at that and say, well that’s okay you can write a book a month, and yes if you are lucky enough to be able to stay home and make a living writing you might, but most of us still have day jobs to accommodate to fund our writing. Personally, I am lucky to write 5 – 10 k words per week, that means if nothing else happens to slow me down or distract me that the first draft will take three to four months.

It’s only writing down words in sentences, it can’t be that hard!

Yes, I have actually had that said to me, and to an extent it is true, or should that be it is true for the first draft. What a lot of people fail to realise is just how many different edits you do on books, you don’t just write the perfect book, hit send and it is out there in the world. Generally, I edit a book around four times more in some places if it needs it, there are read throughs checking for continuity, and any holes in the plot, there are general grammar and spelling checks. I also use an automated voice reader programme to let me hear it back with helps me pick on things spell check misses, those silly errors where you type on instead of no.

If you are lucky you can afford to pay proofreaders to pick up on some issues, pay editors to fix them, oh, and remember to check what your editor offers, because you may need to hire more than one. If one only does general edits then you need a second to do line edits.  Now, if like me you don’t make enough to pay for all these things, then there is help out there. I use the free version of Grammarly to pick up on some of my mistakes but be advised that it often wants to change things that you want to write for creative effect. Use the word checker on your computer and check the settings to see what you can turn on to help you.

All these edits take time so the chances are if you are doing it all yourself you will be doing well to get out one or two books a year, if you have editors you can maybe get a couple more out, but just words, I don’t think so.

Next week we will look at what happens once, you have a story more or less ready to go.

The Learning Curve · Thoughts on thursday

Thoughts on Thursday – So You Want To Be A Writer Part One

I just want to state categorically that I had been thinking about this series before I read the brilliant post over on Samantha The Reader’s blog you can read her post here.  Her post is aimed at the advice writers receive about their craft mine is about the things we hear when we mention we have published a book and the realities of being an indie author.

Everyone Tells Me I Should Write a Book/I Always Wanted To Write A Book

I have lost track of the times I have had this response from people when you mention that you have written a book. First, let me say I firmly believe anyone can write a book, I don’t think you need a certain educational level, you don’t need a degree and you don’t need to have taken creative writing course but there are some things you do need to have. While I do think anyone can write a book, however, I dont believe everyone should try to write books or that everyone is capable of writing a good book.

There are so many aspects of the writing process people simply do not understand or do not want to see and this series is about that who process, the misconceprtions and overall the hard work that is involved with producing a half decent novel.

Where do you start?

There is a good chance if you are asking that question it means one of two things, you are either not ready or you are over thinking it.

If you do not have an idea for a story you want to tell then you are not ready to write, most stories start with an idea, a persistant nagging idea in your head which plagues you at random moments demanding you take notice of it. This is the first part of writing and it is the one that cannot be taught you either, have this type of creative imagination or you don’t and without it no matter how much you might like the idea of writing a book your really will not be able to. Don’t get me wrong you can put word on paper, write cohesive sentnces but if you do not have those ‘voices’ in your head that demand you listen to the totally weird and wonderful offerings they decide to throw at you as you are trying to get to sleep then the chances of writing something original and captivating are very slim.

The second group of people are the over thinkers, these are the ones who believe you must know every element of the story, and have everything completely planned, organised, and  ready before they start writing their masterpiece. In some cases they boos they could produce might indeed by pieces of litarary brilliance but we will never know because much like having children there is never a ‘right’ moment. There are times when it may be better, finacially, healthwise , timewise, fitting in with a day job wise but if you are waiting for all the starts to align it is probably not going to happen. Even if, by some miracle, it happen then the problem comes that stories are organic, they grown on their own and refuse to be constrained by our plot outlines. If you have an idea by all means outline if you need to before you start writing but don’t let the idea fester in your head.

If anyone has enjoyed this then let me know in comments and next week we will talk about actually putting pen to paper.

1. Monday · Book Reviews

Book Review – My Journey: Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer. By Lavinia Urban

*Disclaimer I have met this author and do consider her a friend however as always the review will be 100% honest.

5

The Goodreads blurb reads…

2017 was one of the hardest times of my life. It was the year I was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer.
In this book I lay everything bare and tell you what it is really like living with cancer.

I met Lavinia last year at Darker, by that point she was already fighting cancer. She was talking about it a little on social media however the things she relates in this book are in many cases far more personal yet show the amazing sense of humour and courage which has endeared her to so many people. When you get any serious illness there are so many little things that only other people who have suffered it can tell you, sometimes you are scared to ask in case it is just you or people will look at you differently. This is not a book about the drugs, given the conversations with doctors, or a deep philospophical discussion on the meaning of life. this is so much more. This is a no frills look at the realities of living with this terrible disease and the way this affects not only the person receiving the diagnosis but also those nearest and dearest to them.

It is a story of hope, love and laughter but there is a glimpse of the darkness threatening this remarkable family lurking in the background. I am biased not because I have met this author but because I admire her spirit and strength and believe she is truly inspirational. Almost every person I know has been touched by Cancer one way or another and thiere are parts of this book that will make you laugh, and cry. If you know someone just starting a fight against this disease buy them this book, let them know that they can fight it but also that they should never be afraid to ask anything. I can only give this book one score and that is 5 out of 5 gold stars.

You can learn more about Lavinia and her fiction here https://www.facebook.com/LaviniaUrbanAuthor/

8. Vlog Time

Vlog Time #115 – Getting my image together

I don’t know how I managed to add a load of dead air after the video but sorry just switch off after the thank you, actual video is about seven or eight minutes long xxx