A – Z Reflections 2017 – #AtoZChallenge

I had hoped to have been posting my survivor badge and talking about how well this years challenge has gone, well truth it 2017 I FAILED!!!!

I did manage about a third of the posts they were posted late and I did not feel I really wanted to get stuck in. The truth was that my normal exploits in A – Z have been planned ahead of time, I pick a theme research a couple of options for each letter than go with the one that interests me the most. This year I was already chasing my tail, theme reveal day arrived and I had not even given it any thought, I should possibly have stuck with my gut reaction at that point which was to skip this year but instead I thought I could wing it. I made a snap decision to do the dictionary thing without considering how it would play out. I mean fair enough I did drop lucky with the words I got, partly I suspect due to the dictionary I was using being one I have a had a while that maybe fell open at pages I had previously use, but that luck could not have held out for the whole thing, in fact the next word I had picked for M was mandible which would have ended with a post on wrestling.

So what did I learn, well first I need to be prepared better, I need to pick a theme ahead of time which excites me and makes me want to write about it. I need to begin preparing the posts well in advance, research and write them with at least a week in advance so I don’t end up falling behind when life gets busy. Secondly I learnt that when I fall behind I have a tendency to want to quit, and while knowing when to call it quits is not a bad thing I need to learn not to talk myself out of doing things because it might involve knuckling down and focusing my energy. Some times we can actually learn more from our failings than our successes, they teach us our own strengths and weaknesses, and we all have plenty of both. I find that when I am doing badly in one area of my life I tend to find everything is going badly and becomes hard work, for example being tired and stressed at work makes me grumpy at home and makes it harder for me to focus to write, this gives me two options to either try to be happy all the time, which I am pretty sure is impossible without serious drugs, or to learn to compartmentalise more, and to force myself to sit at the computer and write no matter what my mood even if it means writing something completely different to the piece I an working on at that time. I have also been struggling to fill my journal in lately which again goes alongside this lethargy I have been feeling in general.

Some times it does us good to really stop and think about what is going on with us, why we are struggling, are we taking too much on? Are outside influences having a negative impact? In my case I think it was simply poor time management skills combined with a lack or direction both in terms of writing , blogging and life generally, hopefully the writing of this post it actually part of me turning this around.

Vlog Time #60 – Busy Days

Well no Lazy Sunday yesterday as basically that was what I had lol, sorry for the delay in the vlog going up as well I have had a couple of technical issues with my editing software but hopefully it is reselved now, just have to fix the DVD burner issues…

Without further ado here is the vlog plus a look at what has kept me so busy all week…

How To Avoid Getting Your Hopes Up?

At the end of the post on Sunday I mentioned I had submitted my novel to a publisher, or at least the first 15 pages. Their website and submission guidelines tell you to expect to wait 2 -4 weeks to hear back from them while they decide if they want to read the rest of your manuscript.

So I had taken the plunge hit submit and immediately afterwards realised I had failed to include the word count. Obviously the first thing I did was slap myself for my stupidity, one of the main things you are taught as you go through education is read the questions in exams, well for writers the thing you drill into your own mind is always read the submission guidelines and do as they tell you.

Slightly disheartened I went off to make dinner for my kids and watched TV for a couple of hours, by the time I returned to my computer a few hours later I had convinced myself that I had screwed up my chances completely and that everyone wishing me luck had wasted their breath.

Then I looked at my emails!

Now, I debated discussing this, would it be tempting fate? But I decided you guys have shared so much of my journey with me and been so supportive I cannot imagine keeping it quiet, well I didn’t exactly a few people got squealing messages or calls that night but I get ahead of myself and make it sound like more has happened than has actually occurred.

The email sat there had been sent within a couple of hours of me submitting my first fifteen pages and basically was a request to read the rest and to know a little more about me as an author (everyone be on your best behaviour in case they read this!).  I scanned through my novel, corrected a couple of issues in synopsis and sat staring at the screen. I hate writing bio’s, ask he to write one for someone else I will make them sound like a Nobel winning rocket scientist, but the minute I have to write one about myself I turn into a five year old trying to do cursive handwriting with a crayon! I suspect I am not alone in saying that I am a failure as my own cheerleader, part of me wants to read back through all my blog posts and remove anything vaguely personal or ‘unprofessional’, remove evidence that I am human and had a bad year last year, but part of me thinks it is a frailties and how we overcome adversity that makes us who we are far more than our successes and I like who I am (well most of the time).

So once I managed to string together a few sentences which hopefully made me sound at least competent I sat back and now a wait really will ensue, 6 to 8 weeks for a decision on whether they want to go forward with me. I can hear you asking why this is different, after all I have submitted before and done the whole waiting game. I should know better by now than to get my hopes up only to have them crushed with yet another rejection letter but this time it feels different.

The more I looked at the website for this publishers the more convinced I am that they would be the perfect fit for me, they like publishing series so would most likely take the whole trilogy not just one book, the sample pages included one of the first scenes of graphic sexual violence (I class it as dark medieval fantasy so raping and pillaging has to be included but friends have suggested I may still have issues lol), they read that and still wanted to read more.

Every other publisher I have submitted to I have done so while thinking that they were not going to be right for me, that they would either just see my book as erotica or want me to go full fantasy and cut the sex. It scares me that this feels different, that I might get my hopes up only to still receive that rejection email at the end, I fee like a kid waiting for Christmas, I have sent my letter off to Santa but am nervously awaiting that special present and not really able to believe I will get what I want but desperately hoping nevertheless. It is like meeting Mr Right but secretly being convinced he is too perfect and therefore must be gay or about to dump you, you are scared to think of it in terms of having a future but then you risk sabotaging yourself through fear.

The next few weeks are going to be hell, at least for the next couple of weeks I have the Voices launch to look forward to but once that is done my finger nails may suffer!

Moving Forward.

Okay so it is the time of year where everyone gets annoyingly lovey-dovey, it is also almost a year since I joined the ranks of singledom index2though hopefully with far more grace than Ms Jones.

While I am certainly not in a rush to get back out there in the dating world I have recently started considering what I am looking for in a future partner and I have realised that I am looking for a person who certainly does not exist. In fact I think of the spell made in Practical Magic to find the true love with a person who could never exist to stop Sandra Bullock’s character from ever falling in love.

So let’s examine my impossible man…

imagesLets start with looks, and yes as I say I fully accept not only am a shallow but I am also aiming way above my own level, and yes I know I am not quite hideous but I am no supermodel either so Brad Pitt is aiming high, but I am even fussier than that as I like the young pre-Angelina Brad, you know long hair Legends Of the Fall Brad, I would also accept Thelma and Louise Brad or Interview With a Vampire Brad but not Fight Club Brad.

I like my guys tall so over six foot is a must, and as well are in fantasy land here he of course will have the perfect body, not for me that is something like this,Awesome-Body-Of-Wade-Barrett think rugby player, wrestler, preferably with the tattoos. Actually any type of sportsman with muscles will do, as long as they stop before the veins pop out, that makes me feel a little queasy.

Right so far seems fairly simple, I need to find a sporty model who doesn’t mind a girl with plenty of curves, except this is where is gets really complicated, you see what I want mentally from a partner is not something that is as easy to match up. You see in many ways the things I am looking for in terms of personality and compatibility are far harder to find.

I need a guy who gets quotes like this without me having to explain it…

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I want someone who understands this world without me needing to tell them about it…

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I want I guys that will love me as much as this man loved his Elizabeth…

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I want someone who has the brains and mental complexities of a genius…

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And on top of all this he has to understand my kids will always come first, that he will find me sat at the computer at silly o’clock because I can’t sleep and so I am writing or chatting to friends on the other side of the world.  They need to understand when I sit staring off into space that sometimes it is better not to ask what I am thinking as the answer may be disturbing and involve a gruesome death.

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Sometimes I think the only way I would ever find my perfect man is if I wrote him as a character, but then he would still not be perfect, after all perfection gets boring very quickly.

As I said at the start I am not seriously in a place right now to start a new relationship and maybe my wish list is indicative of that but should you have the phone number of a wrestling, geeky, sci-fi nerd then feel free to send it my way lol but until then I think the only men in life will be a monster and a timelord from Gallifrey and you know what I am okay with that.

Vlogged Out

I have to apologise but for this week the vlog is cancelled!

So basically what happened was this, I filmed the vlog, but then I picked up my new computer from the shop,it actually arrived four days earlier than it was supposed to. I then wasted two days downloading windows 10 and my various programmes I use, the I tried to log into my Microsoft account to sort out my Office 365… nothing, just a blue circle of death until it eventually decided it was exhausted and timed out. I thought it might be my internet connection as some pages and upgrades had loaded, half an hour on the phone to Virgin media technician, still no resolution. Called the Knowhow team for PC world, he couldn’t understand what was going on either but agreed with my suspicion McAfee might be to blame. I decided to hang up on tech guy there would be a lot of sitting in silence during un-installing the programme and I could hear him making strange noises on the other end of the phone. So half an hour later programme un-installed I try a few sites again still no luck.

At this point I recall that though Windows 10 had worked perfectly on my laptop that had been upgraded from Windows 7, everyone I knew who complained about having issues had upgraded from Windows 8.1, queue genius idea!

I would use the recover previous version feature, it sounded so simple, I sat there waiting for it to do what it needed to and reboot, then it went to restart – and I got an error message, and I got it again and again. Finally I hit a button in panic which brought up a couple of options. I chose to try refreshing while saving my file. I had a melt down and posted a status to Facebook about wanting to cry, I picked the nail varnish off my fingers as I waited, then the moment of truth.

And yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It came back on, however I now needed to sort out all my stuff again so the vlog I filmed is sitting on a memory card and I really feel the moment has passed for it, but no fear because I have a couple of things up my sleeve, and next weeks vlog will include some footage from a very special day out I shall be having with the kids.

Right back to downloading software now and finding the licence codes for them, then some writing to be done before bed.

Vlog Time #41 – The Ups and Downs of Life

Basically back to me sitting and waffling in front of the camera, a few focus issues as I was not using the tripod on a firm surface rather I had it on the bed with me ( I will not do it again I promise) and a bonus feature of the monster and a horse.

Goodreads Giveaway

Amazon UK Link

Amazon.com Link

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…

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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 😀