June & July Resolutions

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.

Let’s Talk Clothes!

Okay so you are lucky enough to have got a place at a signing event, you have the books, the swag and are ready, so what is left? Well, what are you going to wear?

So the night do is usually easier, it is normally formal and many times has a theme to help you decide on your outfit this was me with my daughter at the Leeds Event last year…

But it can get expensive, as you start attending more events you will meet up with the same people numerous times which means you cannot invest in one little black dress and re-wear it.  On the other hand, unless the day job pays really well or you have hit the jackpot with a best-selling novel you probably don’t want to be buying new dresses every few months that you can only wear the once or at least only once for now and then put to be rotated in a wardrobe. So the alternative as I have been looking into is eBay,  as I mentioned on Sunday I have found it to be a treasure trove of dresses bought for weddings, cruises and other suave social occasions that one has the excuse to dress up for. Worn once or twice these end up going for a fraction of the price of the new dress, likewise new clothes with tags show up in abundance, I am guessing like some of the clothes in my wardrobe these are bought but don’t fit and kept with the intention of fitting them one day or they just don’t get round to returning them within the correct time frame.

However, it is not just the ball/evening dress you have to consider, let’s start with travelling, you obviously need something comfortable but also some thing that will make the right impression at the hotel when you show up, then the evening prior to the signing you will need to eat, probably meet a few of the other authors in the bar or just hang out with them.

Then the big one your signing outfit, now I am pretty sure smart casual is the standard, it has to be comfortable enough to wear all day and practical, you don’t want to wear linen and look all crumpled after five minutes. There is though a secondary consideration, and that is your brand, does the way you dress reflect your work and personality? I am not for one second suggesting fancy dress, but if you write medieval fantasy would your readers really expect to see you in a floral, floaty dress. just as you work to bring your image together in terms of covers complementing each other, business cards matching other PR materials then you want to present an image of yourself that will both stick and be engaging. In some ways, it seems to me that it is almost like creating your own personal work uniform, it is the clothing you wear to put you in author mode when you are public.

I have bright purple hair, or to be fair this week it is the end of a dye cycle so it is more a mix of lilac and grey, so I am not what you would consider to be conventional, however, being plus size I am also acutely aware that not all clothes suit me or look good on me,  I am also aware that some of the things I might like the idea of wearing would not fit with my writing. While I am not saying that you should role play your characters I do think common sense comes into play, I write medieval fantasy, wearing Steampunk style clothes would possibly send confusing messages even though I love the style.

So what am I going to wear? For me I think it is looking like trousers suits with shirts or blouses, I like the idea of the traditional tweedy look against my purple hair, it allows me to show my personality with my hair but the suit gives a level of professionalism, and, rather than go for plain black, the idea of the tweed or possibly brown pinstripe appeals because it is the twist on the expected.

Of course, I don’t rule out the thought that I am over thinking this, but for me, I like the idea of having separate mix and match type items for wearing to signings.

Lazy Sunday #44

It has been a stressful week, my dad is in hospital, am not going to go into the whys on here just know it is one of those weeks where you feel like you are banging your head against a wall. On the plus side, I have won a couple of dresses for really good prices on eBay! You might wonder what that has to do with writing but the fact is that a lot of these author events have an evening do to go with the actual signing, many of them will be ones where I see authors I have previously met and hopefully become friends with. You see the problem here, a girl cannot possibly be seen wearing the same dress each time! Now if I had actually lost the weight I have been threatening to for the last couple of years I might be happy investing in dresses to wear then recycle a couple of years down the line but so far I haven’t, but I still want to, so instead of spending £90 a time n a new dresses I have been checking out ones on eBay and I have to say looks like a lot of others already did it. There are so many dresses bought for weddings, trips to the races, cruises and other events, worn once then selling for a fraction of the price on there so it makes sense for me to  save money and spend it on the accessories, plus after they have been worn if I lose weight I won’t feel guilty trying to alter them because if it goes wrong I am not wrecking an expensive dress. I am going to talk more about that on Tuesday so don’t miss that post.

For today let’s get to the blog sharing…

  1. The first one is something I have been thinking about this week, it is easy when everything is getting to you to doubt yourself, wallow in self-pity and basically give up, this post is about believing your fate is in your own hands https://lindaghill.com/2017/07/22/socs-setting-a-ceiling/
  2. I love the sea, I would love to go diving in various places, so I am really jealous about some of the photos in the post, however, relating back to the first blog post I shared I know there are always going to be physical limits on doing things like this because of my spinal surgery but I love in the hope of finding ways to get round that http://www.tmupchurch.com/2017/07/22/wearing-the-sea/
  3. The next post is a little about pushing your boundaries but this time for me it is about stepping out of my comfort zone. I studied art at college, I love classical art, my favourites are the Impressionists, I can understand modern art often on a conceptual level but it does not grab me and evoke emotions in me, one thing I am trying to do more is to try to see things through the eyes of others and blogs are a great way to do this  https://andytownend.com/2017/07/22/in-wetin-you-go-do/
  4. The next one is an article rather than a blog post as such, when you first start out as an Indie author it is easy to feel overwhelmed and disheartened by the fact everyone else seems so far ahead of you in the game, remember it is a earning curve and evntually you will catch up, I have been lucky tohave a lot of good people will ing to help but sometimes you still don’t want to ask questions for fear of looking stupid but here is something that helped me finally work out one of my questions today https://www.justpublishingadvice.com/promote-your-book-better-with-universal-buy-links
  5. And I am going to change things up from now on and the final link of the day is going to be a FB page or group, usually it will be one I am actively a part of so today I am going to start with the one for my first live signing event, The Darker Side Of Fiction 2017 if your not in the group come and join us, the giveaways are piling up over there plus it will be the place to see photos and videos from the event as it happens https://www.facebook.com/groups/1433818133602201/

Taht is it for this week sorry it is so late I just kept getting distracted lol

Live Event Catch Up!!!!

Hi guys, so I decided today I would post a quick round up of the events I am signed up for over the next couple of years so far! Now I know with a few of these it might seem like they are so far away but people have to book time off work, save up and lets face it find the perfect dress for the evening do lol. Even if you cannot make it to an event then I highly recommend joining the FB groups, there are loads of cool things and giveaways going on in these groups so it is worth the time to pop in and visit them.

First before I start a couple of weeks ago I did the Thirty question challenge you can read my answers here but the wonderful #Darker author Joey Paul has taken up the gauntlet and you can read her answers to the question by clicking here.

So let’s begin and take the events in order…

The Darker Side of Fiction

Hosted by the wonderful Hourglass Events Ladies Jo & Rachel

There is a promotion running at the minute on remaining tickets…

***Summer Mayhem Competition ***

Do you want to win an Amazon Gift Card?!

This is our last offer before the Darker Side of Fiction Event on the 7th October!!
So we KNOW you love reading crime, horror, fantasy, thriller, sci-fi , paranormal and dystopian books which means you’ll want to win the £15 Amazon voucher we are giving away!!!
All you need to do is buy your Darker ticket before midnight on Tuesday 29th August and be entered into this fabulous prize draw.
You know there’s always room for a few more signed books 😈

Just click the Ticket Link
https://thedarkersideoffiction2017.eventbrite.co.uk/

You can join the FB group here and I am going to be hosting a takeover there on Wednesday evening 19th July from 9pm BST

The End of Year Indie Masquerade Party

This one is not a signing but a party to celebrate all things Indie, it is open for readers, authors and bloggers and has been organised by the amazing C.A. Bell you can find out more here in the FB group and apply for tickets, I would say if you want to come book sooner rather than later it is being held in Birmingham on 25th November 2017

Leeds Author Event 2018

Again hosted by the lovely Hourglass Events ladies on Saturday, 3 March 2018 from 10:00 to 23:30

You can get tickets and find details of the evening event here  

The FB group can be found here  I will be doing a page takeover there this Thursday 20th July at 10pm

Shenanigans West Midlands Signing 2018

Hosted by the delightful Maria Lazarou This event will be held in Telford on 14th April 2018, tickets go on sale later this month and if you would like to find out more then the place to find out more is the FB group here

The Heart Of Sheffield Signing Event 2019

Hosted by the fabulous Yvonne and Helen this is a new new signing event and the first they have hosted though it is lining up to be a fantastic event. You can find out more booking details here and keep track of things at the FB group here and there is a prize draw running until the end of this month for people buying tickets

 

There maybe one or two more things in the pipeline that I cannot talk about yet and I prmoise to go into events in a lot more detail in weeks to come.

 

Thirty Questions – A Challenge to the #Darker Authors

I have decided that I need to get back to my schedule, Tuesdays are about live events, #Darker, and Leeds first, then, #HOSSE and others to follow.

I saw this over on Martha Reynolds page and decided what better way to get to know myself and hopefully some of the other Darker authors, so you can read Martha’s answers here, and if any of the other authors rise to the challenge I shall reblog them here.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?  Well of course the first thing I wanted to be was the Doctor’s companion, then an athlete until I realised that I was never going to be as good as I wanted to be. I always knew I would write a book, and considered being an English teacher, but honestly I think it is tough expecting you to work out what you want to be when you are a kid.

Which Friends character do you relate to most? Why? I would be the genetic lovechild of Monic and Pheobe, I am a bit of a hippy and free spirit like Pheobe in many ways but there is an innner Monica that is a bit of a control freak, likes lists and plans.

Do you like your name? Why? No! I ended up with the name Paula by default, I was supposed to be a boy, my parents were so convinced that I was they only picked the boys name it was the midwife who suggested adding an extra ‘a’ when they couldn’t think of anything else on the spot.

Are you messy or neat? I would love to say neat but with kids and pets I fight a losing battle, however my desk is organised chaos whic maybe is a truer reflection of how I operate lol.

How tall are you? I’ve always said 5ft 5 but recently I got measured during a medical appointment and they said 5ft 6, I did wonder if it was due to the spinal surgeries, maybe they made  stand up straighter?

How tall were you when you were ten? I would take a guess at about 5ft 2, I grew in height really quickly for a while and until I was about 14 was taller than most of my friends and classmates, then I seemed to stop growing and they all went past me.

What is your guilty pleasure? I am not sure I I have one, don’t get me wrong, plenty of pleasures but none I feel guilty about unless maybe it is buying more books when I still have loads waiting to be read.

What are you saving money for now? Darker of course, I know there are a few books I want and I need to spend an afternoon with the pre-order list choosing which books I want.

How many Pringles can you eat at once? What flavour lol but seriously if you are asking in one sitting about half a tube if I do not restrain myself, I only put one in my mouth at a time though but you know how it goes, you are watching a good film not paying attention to the tube and before you know it half are gone.

Tea or coffee? Coffee in the morning, then pop or water for most of the day unless I am editing in which case more coffee is required.

Are you an introvert or extrovert? By nature probably an extrovert, I have always been fairly confident loved dancing, can chat to anyone, however there are times when because I have gained a lot of weight I can be quite self concious and introverted.

What will be your Hallowe’en costume this year? I have brought a dress for Darker which will double as am amazing vampire or witch outfit, I love dressing up and am lucky enough to have a day job that lets me occasionally.

Sweet or salty? A bit of both, preferably in the form of salted caramel!

Favourite social media? Facebook for keeping in touch with people, though I have to say I love Instagram for all the pretty pictures without the other political stuff you have on FB.

Who is the last person you kissed? My son, that counts surely? Romantically? Last summer I kissed a guy I went on a couple of dates with, it didn’t work out but damn those kisses were good.

What is your favourite breakfast? It depends, I am not a big eater first thing on a morning so normally it is breakfast biscuits dunked in coffee, but if I can take my time or if I am at a hotel then I do like a full english, the only time I make it at home is Christmas day, I do bacon butties sometimes on a Sunday morning.

When is your birthday? September, I am a Libra and yes I do have the traits.

When did you start your blog? I first started a blog on my birthday 2011 over on eblogger but it was a few months after that I moved here to WP and have never looked back.

What is your opinion on the Kardashians? Not really spent a lot of time thinking about them, I guess savvy business women with lousy taste in men, attention seeking but I do like the fact that Kim does not fit the stereotype size zero.

How would you describe your style? Casual, don’t get me wrong I love to get dressed up and I love a lot of the steampunk clothes but at the size I am now I am very self concious about what looks okay, plus with my spinal issues comfort is also something I consider for everyday dressing, plus I have to wear a uniform at work so I love lounging in yoga pants and baggy t-shirts at  home.

What colour is your hair? Purple!

What colour socks are you wearing? No socks at the minute, the ones I had on this morning got soaked on the school run so I took them off, will put on more later.

What is your dream job? I want to be able to quit the day job and make my living from writing, I see author friends travelling the country doing signings and while I might never be an international best seller (though of course I live in hope) I want to be able to make writing my career.

Dogs or cats? We have both, two cats one dog, technically I am a dog person but I am also a sucker for sob stories which is what both my cats are, one Molly mog is a stray that came to live with us and we have no idea how old she is but we know she is not young, the other two pets I expect to have for at least another ten years.

What makes you weird? Me weird? Probably, what makes me weird, I am a geek, I watch very little TV and spend half my life with characters inside my head, occasionally my thoughts can only be described as sick and twisted.

Celebrity crush? Jason Mamoa is the current crush, there have been a couple of WWE wrestlers at different times and John Taylor is my life long crush from being a teenager.

Opinion on cigarettes? Oh dear, Hands up I am an ex-smoker, I will have been smoke free 5 years on Halloween, the last cigarette I smoked was the morning of my last spinal surgery, I have come close to breaking twice, once when my gran died and the second last week when I was under stress due to my son’s issues.

Do you want/have any children? Was never really fussed either way about kids, then I got pregnant and had my daughter, she was enough, then years later her brother came along and I started over again.

Three favourite boy’s names. Jack (my son), Michael, struggling to come up with a third, guess it is something I never really considered, maybe Baldrick, of course I would never call a child that but would love a horse called Baldrick.

Three favourite girl’s names. Samantha (my daughters name), Isabella, Ecaterina (After Ecaterina Szabo the gynmast)

269 Days To Darker

I am thrilled to announce that it became official this week that The Darker Side of Fiction will be an annual event to be held in Peterborough. While there is of course no guarantee I will be invited back each year I can see me attending on a regular basis even if only as a guest, I love the fact Hourglass not only were willing to take a chance on me personally but that they work tirelessly to support and promote independent authors and give them chances they would struggle to achieve on their own.

I have done small signing event in my friends shop, I have done an on-line book launch but proper signing events are very hard to organise, I believe it is possible to arrange to do them in your local Waterstones but like everything it costs, and of course so does this but here is the big difference. You publish your first couple of books but are still struggling to make your voice heard and get your books read, all those people that promised reviews somehow never quite got round for it so you and trapped in the undercurrent of Amazon’s logistics, so how do you make you voice hear, get your work seen, well in steps an angel or in this case a couple of angels.

Hourglass events is run by Jo and Rachel, and they decided to combine their events business with a love of reading and create first the Leeds event then the Darker event, this gives smaller authors like myself the chance to sign alongside others with established followings, it provides the possibility of reaching a wider audience, that someone looking at the next stall might pick up your book and decide it looks interesting and worth taking a chance on. Kindle give-aways are great for getting you book onto peoples kindles what they can’t do is get that person to actually read it and post a review if they enjoy it, someone picking up a print version and investing their own money is more likely to at least read it, the review well that can come down to numerous other factors but you do stand a higher chance if they loved it.

I would really encourage anyone who gets the chance to go along to one of these book signing events, they are a fairly cheap way to pass a few hours, and even if you don’t by a stack of books you get the chance to meet new authors, get their cards and follow them on social media so you can find out more about them and maybe buy the books at a later date, but more than anything give them the support to continue following their dreams in an industry where so often you can be left feeling like you have banged your head against a million walls.