The start of a new year means one thing! Yes, it is time to make a load of resolutions that I will fail at during the year! To be fair last year we a strange year and though I failed to meet my goals for the year I did learn a lot about myself, I also learnt not to dwell on the failures so rather than rounding up last year I shall focus on the positives, things like I did my first book signing and I became a grandma, those two things meant more to me than anything else that happened last year so let’s get straight on with our new goals and look to the future.
1. Release Queen Of Ages Book Two; Reawakening
I have already begun work on this book and am hoping to get it finished quickly, I did get distracted at the end of last year by the arrival of my grandson but now I need to focus on getting back into a set writing routine and meet my aim of three books per year, I am really excited to get this series out there especially after the reviews and feedback I have been getting from the first book.
2. Lose four stone in weight
I know I said this last year and while I did not lose weight last year I didn’t put any more on. I need to start doing this not for how I look but for my health I am getting older and obviously the more weight you carry the greater the strain on your bones and organs, I am aiming to take it slowly and yes, I need to lose more than the four I have stated but I want to do it at a rate where not only does it have a better chance of staying off but it also reduces the risk of ending up with baggy skin after. Plus I bought some awesome suits in the next couple of sizes down that I want to be able to get some wear out of 😀
3. Blog at least four times a week consistantly
I tend to either blog every day or not blog at all so for this next year I am going to take the pressure off myself a little, Mondays will still be book/audiobook/dvd reviews, I hope to get back to throwing some author interviews in there as well once more. Tuesdays will be the posts about events and my experiences with the writing/publishing experiences, these will also include my personal feelings about my writing journey. Wednesdays will be WIP in progress and my book promotion days, I will share reviews on the books I have already published as well as discussing the books I am working on and my ideas for future works. Fridays will still be vlog day though I am looking to make changes there as will be discussed later. Sundays will be lazy sunday posts where I will just chat with you fill you in on my week and a little more or my personal life, of course if you want to know more of my day to day goings on my Faceook page or Instagram are probably the best places to keep up with me.
4. Release Queen of Ages Book Three: Redemption
As with the first resolution I am determined to up my output this year and get into a pattern of two to three releases each year, this year I am aiming to get the remaining parts of this trilogy out and possibly look into a hard back ominbus edition for the festive period next year however that ties in with other resolutions so it remains to be seen what the options are.
5. Walk 50k steps per week
Previously I had the target of 10k steps a day totalling 70k for a week however I am now being more realisitic, I struggle on work days to fit in all my steps at times so by giving myself more leeway I believe that this goal is more achievable I am also determined to use the apps on my phone, xbox and my cross trainer more to increase the amount of exercise I am doing and try to add in doing one of my dance/exercise videos once a week.
6. Publish four Quarterly newsletters
I swapped from monthly to quarterly because I was struggling to get the content worth sending out, now I have changed to quarlerly I just need to iron out the timing for the newsletters in terms of tying in with live events which I may wish to utilise in terns of the giveaways be that either collecting things to put in the prizes or offering chances to win tickets.
7. Release Dragon’s Mark, Book One of the Raven Seer Chronicles
This would be the third release of the year and to be fair it is a quarter done already. I had initially intended to do this as a stand alone book however as I worked on it I realied the potiential for this to be an on going fantasy series.
8. Vlog once a week
Like the blogging I have been hit and miss with the vlogs so my goal is this year to not only produce one a week but to also include more footage from my week and make them more interesting, not just me sat talking at a screen for five minutes unprepared. I also want to increase the production quality of the vlogs and make them more exciting for those who supoprt me by watching them.
9. Write 1k fiction every day
This year I attempted NanoWriMo and failed miserably, yes there were other things which affected my writing time but if I want to make this my living then I need to focus and make it happen. By writing just 1k per day I could easily write three books a year, the only person stopping me is me.
10. Fix Office hours for my writing and stick to them
I tend to get distracted, I turn FB on or stop to get up and go do other things so the answer is simple I need to set up my office hours and stick to them, now to be fair they cannot be the same every day as I work different shifts and have other commitments, and once my daughter goes back to work I will also have extra childcare considerations but I have a timer I use which uses the Pomodoro method, work thirty minutes on and then a fifteen minute break so when I have blocks of time I can sit at the computer I will use the timer and only look at FB etc during the fifteen minute breaks, I will also use that time as well to get up from my desk and move around trying to fit in a few extra steps each hour.
11. Work on reducing the minus balance in my accounts
Right now if I were trying to exist purely on my writing as a business I would be bancrupt, thankfully the day job is still there to pay the bills but I need now to step up my writing game. As I increase the number of signing events I wish to attended the greater the expense so it becomes all the more important to start making them pay, this means more books to sell, more swag for sale and working out better ways to do giveaways and swag etc. I am realistic enough to know this does not happen over night, I am just over a year into a five year plan, I might not be in as good a shape as I would like but I have learnt lessons and am working on it, I am still positive my long term goal is possible.
12. Set up Ravens Rest Press
Using Createspace has many positive and negative points, one of the harder pills to swallow is the cost of shipping books from the US I have no idea why they cannot print them in the UK as they print the books bought via amazon here on demand, the main thing about using other outlets is the fact you buy your own ISBN numbers which means you can set up your own print imprint and get your books into libraries and book shops easier. You can also get expanded distribution networks for the books you have with them, I believe there is also the possibility of hardback issues which I would love to be able to do for the trilogy and maybe special editions of other books.
13. Update all published works edits and biograhies regularly
I have got into the habit of updating all my social media posts to match, what I have failed to do is go back and update the also by this other sections of my previous books, alter the odd typo that I find and update the images in the books, this is something that I need to get into the habit of doing more often so that when I have a new book come out I know that the others will only require the minimum of alteration.
14. Meet someone special
So this one is one I cannot actually make come true, and at the minute I am not really in a position to actively seek someone but rather this is more about allowing myself to be open to the idea of meeting someone, to not send out negative vibes when approached and to be open to the idea that a relationship does not have to be negative. I finally feel like I have shed the emotional baggage from my previous relationship, and while it will still take someone very special to make me invest my emotions in them I am not totally averse to that idea any longer, for me that is already a huge step.
Afternoon, you wonderful people.
I am sat here at my desk right now coffee in hand attempting to defrost.
You know I had to get the selfie from Snapchat after all we all love unicorns. Today has been a busy day, I went down to my daughters to bleach her hair ready to attempt a colour tomorrow then when we left there the monster and I headed to a local park Pokemon hunting. First, let me say that the reason he is only just on the Pokemon Go app is that it was not available for my Windows phone so the minute I got a new android phone it was one of the first things he asked me to do. Secondly, let me point out that while this may be a fun thing to do in the Summer chasing imaginary creatures round a park in the cold is not so much fun. My journeys to work and back now involve my being logged into the game to get distance to hatch eggs and to spin discs every time I pass certain buildings to get him balls to catch these creatures with, I don’t really mind that much because it is not as if I have to go out of my way but it is annoying that it is a drain on my battery and I can’t listen to my podcasts at the same time. The good thing is of course that it gets kids outside and exercising and in our case, by default, it means more exercise for me especially on a Sunday when I am prone to be a little sedate. It is also something we can do together though I can only name a handful of the creatures we have caught.
It is now evening I am afraid I got distracted chatting to a friend. My #NanoWriMo stats have not changed since last week, a combination of overtime and illness on top of normal work had a detrimental effect on my focus and I now need to write around 2.5k a day to hit target. It is still possible, I have a week off work at the end of the month so I can make up some words there hopefully.
I have quite a few different things going on in my head at the minute to deal with as well as writing so I am struggling to keep my focus on sitting and getting the right thoughts down. Right now writing wise things are going well, but I think sometimes when one aspect of your life is improving it does make you look at other areas that maybe are not doing quite as well, there are aspects of my life I would like to change but for now they will have to wait, I have far too much going on in other areas that I am excited about.
I picked this up as part of a two for one offer so was not sure what to expect other than it sounded interesting from the blurb…
The Goodreads blurb says about the book…
The reign of Richard II is troubled, the poor are about to become poorer still and landowners are lining their pockets. It’s a case of every man for himself, whatever his status or wealth. But in a world where nothing can be taken at face value, who can you trust? The dour wool merchant? His impulsive son? The stepdaughter with the hypnotic eyes? Or the raven-haired widow clutching her necklace of bloodstones?
And when people start dying unnatural deaths and the peasants decide it’s time to fight back, it’s all too easy to spy witchcraft at every turn.
First, let’s deal with the facts
- Narrated by:
- Length: 17 hrs and 16 minutes
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release Date:14/08/2014
- Publisher: Headline Digital
I really enjoyed this book, first, the narrator, though many of the characters were female the actor reading the book was able to perform each part in a way which allowed you to differentiate between them and not be distracted by the fact it was a man. He read it was enough passion to draw you into the story without distracting from the actual words and I have to say that is something I am discovering to be incredibly important when coming to audiobooks and have already changed my mind about buying some books based on listening to a sample of the narrator’s voice.
I love the overall all story, which I am not going to spoil by telling you, let us just say it is a nice tale of witchcraft. lust and murder. The balance between historical influence and plot is nicely done, I especially like the snippets of witch lore at the beginning of the chapters. The perspective switches from one character to another as you go through the chapters but at no point do you feel like it is repetitive as it can be telling a story from multiple viewpoints, the fact that the speaker is named at the start of each chapter also aids in keeping the story straight.
So the score, part of my wants to give it full marks, but there is something which holds me back, I think it is in part pacing, there are periods where the story moves slower, then you reach the end and it seems to fly through complex revelations, there is a lack of resolution regarding certain characters, which though not affecting the storyline you do wish you had more knowledge of their fates. I decided, in the end, to log it as a four on Goodreads but for this blog, I am going for 4.5 stars out of 5 and would recommend this in audiobook form.
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.
As you are aware this has been a stressful couple of weeks,I am feeling tired at the minute but I also have lots to be thankful for and while I cannot control the things going on with my son I now have to find a way to keep pushing forward with my writing. In an ideal world I will push forward release lots more books and get to a point I can earn enough from writing to give up the day job, write Monday to Friday and then attend a signing event each month, that is the dream and would also allow me much more flexibility in time with my son to take him more places and try to show him more of the world.
- This week I needed things to make me smile and this blog always does that, this post in particular made me giggle I like the bath though not sure it would be good to soak in but I really want the piano water feature https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/06/24/just-when-you-think-you-have-seen-everything/
- The first blog also gets a second post this week and that is because they posted this earlier today and I love it, I could sit for hours watching the stars https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/07/02/the-new-pillars-of-creation-hubble-image-video-is-amazing/
- I love these designs and I hope she can forgive me for messing her about over a cover I wanted when life got in the way and that I can persuade her to work on a series of covers for me later in the year and through next year https://melchelledesigns.com/2017/06/20/new-covers-and-new-gallery/
- Okay I picked this post to share because one the rubber ducks are so cute, my son has a Batman one and we have several other cute duckies, but mainly because I love the paisley shark https://markbialczak.com/2017/06/27/we-cant-duck-our-walk-through-chatham-to-meet-the-sharks/
- The final thing for today is a video, you have my daughter to thank for this, she showed me it when I was having a bad day and this guy is my hero now, he is hilarious. So I shall leave you watching this and catch up next week!
Well it is morning as I begin posting this whether I get through it all is a different matter, it has been quite a stressful week here in the UK due to politics and people being determined to fall out with each other because of it. It has been a week many have felt the need to dive into something stronger than coffee to get through it. On the plus side, there was the fantastic benefit concert put together by Ariana Grande, my rugby team have won again, and hopefully have turned a corner for the season, that will get them away from the dreaded bottom four. So let’s get on with things and this week I have picked things that have a feel good factor…
- I love this first post because it imparts wisdom passed down through generations and in this world where so much emphasis is placed on material possessions it reminds us what is important, my dad’s car advice to me was similar, he was talking about speeding and pointed out ‘there is nowhere you need to be so badly it is worth dying for!’ https://lifewithblondie.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/its-just-a-car-baby-girl/
- The second post today I also love but this time is it is because this fantastic lady has taken a chance, turned her life upside down, taken the risk to turn her back on the normal jobs and do something physically harder but ultimately more rewarding I hope she will keep posting and share her journey in her new job, I want piglet pics https://terahvandusen.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/farm-her-new-job-new-life/
- A special shout out to all those who attended this year’s Annual bloggers bash, I had hoped to get there but childcare issues made it a no-no, however, I am determined to be there next year http://sachablack.co.uk/2017/06/10/winners-of-the-2017-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-bloggersbash-bloggersbash/
- There are some blogs you know when you visit they are going to make you smile and that happens every time I pop over to this one, I especially love the emoticons bit https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/06/10/bookish-delights-13-memes/
- My final post for today is a photo blog but these guys really go out of their way to make sure you know exactly what you are seeing and as a result you experience the places they see on a whole new level as well as learn something new, they also make me want to visit places I had never considered before https://sartenada.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/hanami-in-helsinki-hanami-en-helsinki-hanami-a-helsinki-hanami-em-helsinquia/
As I suspected we are now into the afternoon and it is time for me to head off to the kitchen and stuff the chicken.
I had said I would return to the normal format for resolutions this month, but the events of last week mean I changed my mind. Right now, so many of them seem trivial, lose weight, exercise more etc. I am sure by next month I shall feel more like my normal self again and go back to the format I started at the beginning of the year but this month it seems more important to talk about the reason we make resolutions and how the terrible event of last Monday, then again this Saturday, make them all the more important.
We make resolutions with the idea of improving our lives, a new year, a new me, a better me etc but when these types of atrocities remind us we need to make the most of every day we have. We have the chance every day to make our lives better in the smallest ways, if like me you want to lose weight and get fitter then ,and this applies to me, all it takes is making the choice to get up and walk a little every day, do a bit more exercise and make better food choices. I know I do not do as I preach in this respect but maybe the time to make changes is now.
I have the chance to make the changes I want to happen, there are people who no longer have that chance. We need to start reconsidering our priorities to an extent, make sure we are working for the life we want not simply working for a paycheck, yes bills need to be paid but if your whole life revolves around paying them then maybe it is time to look at what you can cut back on to give yourself time to enjoy life and to live. Something as simple as cutting a trip to the coffee shop can be an hour less you need to work, I know that is putting it in a simplistic way but it can be that simple, I have a million TV Channels (okay an exaggeration but that’s how it seems) and yet I watch only a few, I am considering my options for reducing my cable bill, though I will be honest not quite worked it out yet as we all like channels in different packages lol.
The most important thing though to take forward from the events of the last two weeks is that we will not be scared, we will still go to plays, concerts, bars. We will not fill our hearts with hate, we will continue to care for people around us, in both attacks, in the face of terror there were those who instead of fleeing ran towards the attacks to help those suffering. There is no such thing as too much love, so instead of hate let us pay it forward with a smile, it costs nothing but can make all the difference to those feeling isolated and alone, maybe if we all said more nice and positive things it would spread like ripples, and that those preaching hate, would find there were no longer ears for their words to find.
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.
- 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/
- 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/
- 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/
- 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/
- 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.