Looking towards the future!

Over the last couple of months while I have been suffering from lethargy in terms of posting I have been working away behind the scenes and I thought today I would take the chance to fill you in on some of what is going on in the background.

The first thing is I have signed up for a course on Exploring Copyright: History, Culture, Industry it is a free 4 week course, just 3 hours a week. you might wonder why I would take on doing extra study when I am already snowed under and I am not gaining a qualification from it but I am looking at it as a chance to gain knowledge which may be useful going forward. We all know in this Internet age that cyber-piracy is something many authors are coming up against, work plagiarised or republished on pirate sites where they are given away for free, and while some will argue that gaining readers this way is a counterbalance to the loss of earning on that book, for others it is a loss they cannot afford. We all write the copyright notice at the front of our books but how much of it do we understand, what actual rights we have and protections are offered by it. If you are interested you can find more details here.

The other thing I have been looking into is publishing options, it was brought up on FB a couple of weeks ago that there were other options for print on demand other than KDP and Createspace, so I took a little time to look into it. The most popular way is the use Createspace however I have found a suggestion that long term it may be best to use a combination of Createspace and Ingram Sparks, you can read the article I found helpful here. The trilogy I am working on at the minute will remain on Createspace as setting up the other requires money to invest in buying ISBN numbers but I have begun the process of getting ready for this for future series. When you buy the block of numbers you register them to an imprint name and I have decided to go with Raven’s Rest Press, I have set up an email, FB and Twitter to grab the name there, I will be adding the logo to my other books and I would not be averse to perhaps collaborating with other indie authors who want to publish under the name and help promote each others work. I am not going to  go too much into things here as obviously I am still setting it all up but I will keep you up to date with my experiences. Right off to the day job now after all until the books start selling I have to fund the present as well as investing in my future.

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Resolutions 2017 – January

So the first month has flown by and I hold my hands up, it has not been the start to the year I would have wished for but O really want to concentrate on finding the positives so let’s see how I did…

01)  Lose weight, yup this old chestnut again, I lost a stone and a half in the second half of last year so just set up a fresh spread sheet and new targets, while I know I have a lot more weight to lose than my target weight I am simply being realistic about losing weight in a healthy way.

Well at the end of the months technically I am down but would have been better if I had not had the blip in the middle, the problem is nights out and stress have both contributed this month to that pound put back on but I want to just focus on the positive and the 2lbs lost. I really want to be losing a pound a week so I did half of what I wanted this month lets hope next is better.

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02) Publish the remaining two parts of the Queen of Ages trilogy

I have started on the second part but am well down on where I wanted to be by the end of this month, however I am determined the first draft will be done before the middle of March so time to get stuck in this month and make up for lost time.

03) Exercise more

I have not made it to the pool this month at all, just bad timing with other things I have had on but next month I fully intend to start getting back into the Monday morning swim at the very least. As you can see I did not hit my 10k step target very often, it is annoying that I cannot get it to show the full month rather than the 28 days but as I can’t change it just have to work with the stats we have. as they were all set at zero on first of last month the increase looks fab but the important thing will be to keep that figure going up, the one thing that is obvious is I need to do more than just housework on Sundays.

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04) Blog at least four times a week

If you are reading my blog you know I failed this terribly but I promise you it is going to get better, family issues and commitments as I discussed earlier in the month have had to take priority but am now getting better organised and balancing everything better.

05) Get out more

If you get my newsletter or follow me on social media you will know I did get out twice this month, once with friends and the second time with the monster (it counts for now okay) both times to the Chinese Buffet, which actually accounts for that pound put back on lol. No actual nights out planned for this month but do have a lunch planned with my lovely friend Debbie and hoping to arrange a coffee meeting with another friend. I am also working on a special outing the month after which I will tell you more about nearer the time.

06) Write every day

I did not manage to write daily but what I did do was write when I had chance and also sort out several old folders with different bits of short stories, as you can see this actually is providing the basis for two very different short story collections potentially, well actually you can’t see both just the one but not going to say which one will come first lol, at the minute one looks like it may be family/relationship based and the other horror, just out of curiosity please answer in the comments do you prefer themed short story collection or ones that are a complete mix of genres?

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07) Work on my self belief

This month I have taken on a new mantra ‘It is what it is!’ By this I am looking at accepting my failings without judgement upon myself, I will not rip myself to pieces because I did not achieve all my goals, I will not waste energy fighting the tide on things I cannot change and I will embrace situations and make the most of them. It does not mean I shall not strive to push myself but it does mean that I shall have faith that if I fail there is a reason and it is not always myself at fault.

08)  Time management

Well obviously I as have not been hitting my targets it would seem I have been failing miserably however it is not quite true, because I have been making more time for family and to spend quality time with my son. I do need to focus more and be more productive during the daytime hours I have spare for writing and that will be my focus for the next month.

09) Update my wardrobe

Well obviously two pounds is not enough to justify a new wardrobe but I have been thinking about what I want my look to be, I recently added some purple to the pink in my hair and I am tempted to move more towards purple than pink, I am rather liking the idea of a ‘steam-punk’, Victorian ‘Gothic’ I like the idea of the corseted structured look with maybe the long bustled /layered skirts however with a butt the size of mine that may not be the most flattering look to go for.

10)  Publish the newsletter each month

The February newsletter went out on time and I am pleased to say I had plotted out half of it during the month, with the exception of a book to my friend Heidi and the January prize sending out I am now caught up on the mailing situation so that is a huge bonus. I am hoping to have more exciting things to discuss in the newsletters as time goes by because it is hard to make it so they are more than a rehash of FB and Instagram posts and not just pushing the same book over and over again.

11) Work out what I want in my personal life

This month my personal life has not taken a step forwards, backwards or in any other direction. My son has been my priority and my one night out was not exactly the sort of night that was going to give the opportunity to meet someone. At the minute I have so much on making time to met new people is going to be hard, I don’t really want to go down the on line route and just talking to people on line because you can’t judge if the chemistry is there via text or even on the phone, it is a physical reaction, I did meet someone last summer but due to other issues it did not work out but the chemistry was off the chart and the memory of how alive that spark made me feel means I am not about to settle for anything less.

12) Keep my website up to date

I am technically behind by one post as I write this, mainly because I struggle to think of interesting things at the minute to put on up there, I also am due to add another today as I am finally finishing this in the Sunday despite the fact it has been on the go since Wednesday but it has been a rather chaotic week personally so I am going to forgive myself as after all ‘It is what it is!’

Trying something a little different!

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

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

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

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

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

The Journey To #TheDarkerSideOfFiction2017 Starts Here

I am hoping the ladies won’t mind me using their graphics but it make more sense to make the pages I shall be sharing more recognisable.

So where does this journey really begin or did it truly begin here, The Masquerade Ball, the fact is attending that event made me more determined than ever to make writing my career, I was incredibly jealous of those who had attended as authors and the people I met at the ball that evening made me realise I too could do it, it would time time and patience, and of course a lot of hard work but I knew I had a realistic destination to aim for.

So when the forms appeared for #TheDarkerSideOfFiction2017 I filled it in, nothing to lose, so why not?

Then they started announcing the authors and my heart sank, I had thought I had no chance, that though I have plenty of stuff in the pipeline which will be out before the event, I thought my lack of published work right now would count me out, I had resigned myself that I would be attending as a guest once more next year and comforted myself by the knowledge it would be a good day/night out and I could network and meet more amazing people.

Then I got the email! I read the email, I read it again, I forwarded it to my daughter and got her to read it just to be sure I was  not misunderstanding it and that they actually wanted me as a writer not just to attend. Then I sat with a silly smile on my face as I replied to the lovely Rachel, who along with Jo, run Hourglass Events that host these fantastic signings. A few days later everything was signed and sealed and then something that was so incredibly difficult, keeping my mouth shut, I am sure I scared a few people that weekend by grinning insanely at them without telling people why.

The Monday night came and I was introduced to the Facebook page, and if you are on Facebook please come and join the group, not only will you learn more about the event there but you also get to interact with lots of fabulous Indie authors and get the chance to get involved in lots of give-aways and receive some freebies #TheDarkerSideOfFiction2017.

So what else to say for today, this is a list of the authors involved so far, however I am writing this Monday afternoon to schedule for Tuesday morning so there will be a couple more names added to the list by then. I will however keep updating the list each week and at a later date will make a proper list complete with links to all my fellow signing authors pages.

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Book Review – The Innocent Murderer By Michael Griesbach

I should first point out that prior to reading this I had not only watched the Netflix series Making A Murderer but I had also listened to numerous crime podcasts where the case and evidence had been discussed at length by various professionals and that knowledge did impact a little upon my reading of this book.

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The Goodreads Blurb…

The story of one of America’s most notorious wrongful convictions, that of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man who spent eighteen years in prison for a crime he did not commit and now the subject of the hit series Making a Murderer. But two years after he was exonerated of that crime and poised to reap millions in his wrongful conviction lawsuit, Steven Avery was arrested for the exceptionally brutal murder of Teresa Halbach, a freelance photographer who had gone missing several days earlier. The “Innocent Man” had turned into a cold blooded killer. Or had he? This is narrative non-fiction at its finest and the perfect companion read for fans of Making a Murderer.

First thing that has to be said is that the author is not a writer, he is a lawyer and occasionally it shows, but that can be forgiven in parts though you cannot help but think that occasionally he could have cut some of the repetition of facts and credit us with being able to retain information or flick back through pages to double check if we need to, I guess it is because he is used to drumming facts into jury’s.

The second thing you should know is that the first three quarters of this book focus on the crime for which Steven Avery was wrongly convicted and his subsequent appeals and exoneration, the last quarter deals with the murder trial and conviction and I have to be honest you might think the two sections had been written by different people.

The first section dealing with the wrongful conviction is full of details, it goes in depth and questions the process which led to this travesty of justice, likewise the author pulls no punches in his own part of this story where he is instrumental in the process of setting Steven Avery free. Disappointingly in the last section he acts the same way as he accuses the documentary of acting and cherry picks the facts he likes to create his version of the story.

Now I am going to say at this point I still cannot say I am sure either way if Steven Avery is guilty of the murder of Teresa Halbach, what I am sure of is the the evidence was not as cut and dried as this would have you believe, nor is the idea of the conspiracy as flimsy as this books would like to believe. I get it, the author cannot allow himself to believe the system would prove to be corrupt twice but given the same players were involved in both cases is that really such a far stretch.

Now the big question of ratings and recommendations, I would suggest reading this as part of a general interest in the case and to learn more about the wrongful conviction, but if you are looking for more information on the murder charge and trial you will not find it here, I also recommend you watch the Netflix documentary before you read this as the author does make the assumption you have seen it. So based on the overall book I am giving it 3 out of 5 stars, I knocked off half for the writing style but the rest for the last quarter which has extreme bias against the documentary which I believe clouded the authors ability to examine the evidence without prejudice. The sad thing is that there are no winners here, if Steven Avery is innocent it means the law is corrupt once more, a guilty man is walking free while an innocent one is locked up and Teresa Halbach’s family will be dragged though hell not knowing the truth. The other side of that coin is that if Steven Avery is guilty with way the investigation took place and the subsequent documentary’s and books will always raise question marks and may even one day see him walk free again on technicalities. I have my own possibly alternative theories on the case, questions that have not been satisfactorily answered, if I have them then so must others and until they are all answered it is hard to see Teresa ever being allowed to truly rest in peace.

 

3 stars

Vlog Time #68 – Some Exciting Times Ahead

Apologies for colour settings on the vlog, I had been messing with the camera and forgot to change settings back, only realised after I had uploaded…

Amazon UK

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Last day free today….

Free On Amazon 14-18th June(1)

Now Available on Kindle for Pre-Order

Now Available For Pre-Order on Amazon

Lazy Sunday #13 & Vlog Time #67 – Getting Back In A Rhythm

Well let’s be honest still struggling with the rhythm otherwise you would have got the vlog on Friday, however it was actually filmed in time this week I just forgot to edit it then there was writing, and football, and the day job, well you get the drift.

So it is Sunday and I have been up since silly o’clock despite the monster having a lie in, why is it when they finally do lie in you are always wide awake, I have had a coffee and now have a diet coke opened, however I have invested in some different Twinings herbal infusion things to try including the nettle one which the monster really wants to try after I told him all about nettle tea, I will be more careful what I talk about on the walk to school in future. I don’t actually like tea, and I have always had a mental block when it comes to the fruit tea type things but I am trying really hard to think of them as fruit infusions, if you want to take a peek at the range you can find them here.

I just went and made myself a pomegranate and raspberry infusion so lets get a move on with this weeks blog posts and I will let you know how I do with it once it cools a little…

  1. The first blog I am sharing today is by someone whose black out poetry always blows me away but today’s selection from sharing is an update and a reminder that sometimes you have to walk away from a project to be able to come back with fresh eyes and enthusiasm https://cbwentworth.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/back-to-the-novel-front/
  2. This blog has featured here a couple of times for various reasons, today there are four reasons this post qualifies, first she is the only person I know who takes as many photos as I do when she goes places, secondly she goes to quite a few stately homes I have not visited yet so I can see them through her eyes, thirdly the bakery van reminds me of when I was a kid growing up in the village and we actually used to have one come round (slightly bigger it was in the back of a box van, you stepped in and it was lined with shelves) and the final reason there is a dalek, need I say more? https://lucywilliamspoetry.wordpress.com/2016/06/05/lucys-diary-05062016/
  3. Now this one is actually something I should do, it would make so much more sense to organise the people I follow into authors, Doctor Who related, charity related, celebs etc just need to find the time, maybe this post will give me the final push https://mundusmediaink.com/2016/06/06/get-organized-with-twitter-lists/
  4. Book covers are becoming a big business, everyday I see more people who have just grasped the basics of photo-shop launching themselves as cover artists but I believe that some of the best covers are those that authors turned cover artists create and non more so than this lady, I maybe bias because she did the Voices cover for me but I am in the process of buying a design from her for The Dragon’s Mark so when I recommend her you know I am putting my money where my mouth is https://msfowle.wordpress.com/2016/06/11/new-covers-at-melchelle-designs/
  5. The final one is a little different, I love the idea of interior design, of course the reality with pets and kids will never be those rooms looking back from magazine pages but this blog is actually a really great way to take a peek at how those rooms get designed, about the influences in colour choice and design, this post is about the influence colour in nature has in the design world https://valentinaexpressions.com/2016/06/10/bring-nature-in-flirtatious-mix-valentina-cirasola-interior-designer/

So before I go let me tell you this infusion smells great, however it tastes strange warm to me and I can’t help think it might taste better ice cold, I might leave a little and try it that way later just to see, but I think this might be ne I could get used to drinking in time. So now a quick vlog and then I shall see you next week…

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?