Why Writers Should Use Twitter (and HOW to USE It Effectively)

Yesterdays post was all about me wangling the art of Twitter and here it is, today when I open my WordPress, all the reasons why I should. If ever I needed any motivation, now is the time and this has motivated me. What a great blog and great to hear from a dab hand of the tweeting world… Now what do I have to say to twitter that’s of interest.. mmm 🙂

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 8.51.29 AMFor the last couple posts, we’ve been talking about how to use Twitter effectively. Too many writers are like Stormtroopers—lots of shots fired  tweets that hit NOTHING.

I can admit, when I got on Twitter (when it was invented) I didn’t get it. I would—KID YOU NOT—freak out when people I didn’t know followed me. WHAT? Are you, like, a stalker? Yes, I was missing the ENTIRE point of Twitter. Hey, we all start somewhere.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 8.32.45 AM

Do you have to do Twitter? No. No one will take you to writer jail because you didn’t. Is it wise to use Twitter? ABSOLUTELY.

I strongly recommend Twitter for two main reasons. First, couple Twitter with a good/consistent blog and this is your best formula to go viral. Secondly, Twitter helps us find READERS (and helps readers find US).

Going Viral

We will rarely go viral from Facebook because the nature of…

View original post 1,359 more words

Advertisements

“If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality.”

Well hello!!!

Long time no chat! How have you been? All good I hope.

Today I woke in a bit of depressed mood, I love Halloween and getting dressed up but I am billy no mates today and have no one to play with as everyone has work and family commitments.

It’s blowing a gale and spitting rain so what do I do?
Sit down and spend the day watching ‘The L Word’ and turn my brain in to pile of hazy mush?
Nah
Sit down and catch up on expenses and other paperwork for my business?
Mmm… much better use of time and I can put ‘The L Word’ on my phone to keep me from extreme boredom
OR
Self publish my novel that was finished in January to Kindle seen as no publisher wants to take it but so far anyone who has read it has enjoyed it, however biased they may be…
Now there is an idea.

So I did just that… it is now published and I am eagerly awaiting my first download but at the same time dreading the en masse of bad reviews that may come in for it…

I’m seeing the literary version of The X Factor with people saying… did their families not tell her it’s just awful, put it in the recycle bin and press empty immediately…

Time will tell how my little baby will fare out in the big wild world of extreme criticism and harsh reality…

If any of you would like to have a little read, it is now available for download on Amazon… be gentle 🙂

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00P2NDIBI/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_0

Take a leap int…

Take a leap into the unknown and know that where you land, is where you are meant to be. Author unknown

This  statement can apply to a lot of circumstances in life and I for one and a firm believer in just going for it and see what happens. If it doesn’t work out and least you tried right?

That’s the attitude I took when starting my mobile beauty business… what was the worse that could happen? If it failed I’d get a job elsewhere and know that it didn’t work but at least the niggle in my head of “What If?” would be gone. Luckily the gamble paid off and I’m coming up to a year in business and it’s going from strength to strength.

Today I think back to October 2012, I was travelling to the ferry from a weekend with my family and the thoughts of going back to my then job were depressing me. I was getting to the point where I didn’t see myself sticking out there much longer and self employment seemed like a far fetched dream. I was voicing these thoughts to my mum who said ‘Why don’t you write a book? Your good at making up stories and you see lots of different people everyday why not write about it?’

 

Mmm… not a bad idea. So I sat down with an A4 pad in my dressing gown and got to work. The words just flowed out and before I knew it, I had three chapters written. My friend then suggested I type it rather than actually write it making it easier for him to read and easier when it came to time of publishing… yea right, one can only dream.

14 months later, the book is finished! Wow I actually did it, pat on the back for me. SO I chance my arm and send it to the first professional looking publisher I see on Google, Pegasus Publishers and I send across a sample expecting to hear nothing back as how would I be that lucky?

Well would you believe it, they asked for the entire manuscript, that’s a good sign right?

I then received an email saying it will take four weeks for the initial review and they would let me know.

 

Today my partner called in briefly from work and handed me my mail, a big white envelope which I didn’t really look at just chatted a I opened it having no idea what was inside.

What followed was reminiscent of the you tube videos of little children being told they are going to Disney land.

They want to publish my book!!! OH MY GOD!!

 

My partner being the sensible and less excited out of the two of us took a look at the contract.

“Ahhh, no see….” These words deflated me like a lead balloon. I slowly walked over to see what it was that was wrong with this too good to be true scenario… If I wasn’t receiving any profits, I wouldn’t care, I’m a published author… Ah yes, they’d publish it for the bargain price of £2,300! I would be fully reimbursed if said piece if writing was a failure within 30 days.

 

Well that’s that then. So now I have had the rude awakening of I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to publishing, I really don’t know where to go from here now… do I self-publish? Do I save all my little pennies to allow Pegasus to give it a go? After all if it fails I’ll have my money back and I could just class it as savings…

I then found a very interesting blog about advice for authors who are hoping to publish and I was reading it, I just realised I have no clue where to go from here… http://janefriedman.com/2011/08/09/5-things-beginners-need-to-know-about-e-book-publishing/

As I say I am self employed, it’s just little old me going from week to week saying a little prayer every weekend that the next week will busy up so I really am stuck for investing money in to my little piece of work, having it proof read, paying for a design for the cover etc so now I am in the dilemma of where to go from here.

If anyone would like to invest in The Lies That Bind us… please send your offers to whatdoidonow-desperateauthor@gmail.com

Letting it out…

“Come on, let your colours burst
Make ’em go, “Aah, aah, aah”
You’re gonna leave ’em all in awe, awe, awe”

Katy Perrys song Firework came out at a time when I was restarting after being ditched by a cheating ex while he went on to munch on greener pastures… 

Rather than being a screwed up mess sitting in a dark room reading ‘The Bell Jar’ I decided to start living. I no longer had to worry about what I looked like, how I dressed, what I ate, what I said. I could be me again. I lost weight, I partied hard, worked hard and had a ball and whenever I would hear this song I would dance my little ass off and directed it at the people who were waiting for me to crumble in to self pity.

Now I am a self employed mobile Beauty Therapist with my very own little business, I have a novel being reviewed by a publisher and I have just had a message from an editor of a magazine who should be enjoying the sun rays in Mexico instead of texting a little old amateur in Wales, asking if I was still up for writing an article for them. 

Now this is not a look at me, how well I’m doing post its’s more a motivational post.

I have always been an avid reader and loved writing stories, the more imaginative the better. 

I will never forget the day I was in primary school, I’m guessing 10 or 11 years of age and I was asked to write a piece about a monastery. So I let my creative juices flow thinking this will set my piece of writing apart from the rest of the class, so rather than saying, There is a place called Clonmacnoise. It is old. It was built by the Vikings yadayadayada… I decided to tell it as a story so I started with ‘Once upon a time on a great big hill there was a monastery… now I don’t remember the rest because as I eagerly had started to read out my piece my teacher at snatched it from me, read it out in a sarky tone, got my whole class to laugh at me for my stupidity and I was told to re-write it all again… I was humiliated. Funnily enough the next year we had to retell the story of ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ and I got top marks… same teacher!

Now all she probably remember me as the quivering little child who wouldn’t say boo to a goose and cried when she was shouted at for not being able to get her head around basic Math but I will always remember the teacher who tried to put me down and my dreams of becoming an author.

When I got to High school, I was set free, I was allowed to be as creative as I liked and English was my favourite subject, so much so I thought of Journalism as a career but as a person who likes to be liked I opted out.

Then as it does young love intervened and partying, late nights and lazy days overcame me. I still read but lost my imaginative streak and the guy I was with always poked fun at my attempt at humour and constantly reminded me I wasn’t funny and had no common sense. I was book smart and could only regurgitate what I had learnt or been shown…

Seven years later I was a free independent woman and did I enjoy it. I made the concious decision to let others words and thoughts effect me and anyone who tried was immediately was cut from my life never to return and their absence is only marked by the success I have achieved from it.

 

So the point… I do have one I promise… is look back to your dreams as a child? Have you accomplished them? They may have seemed impossible to the adults around you but why should they be? The innocence of a child saying ‘I want to be a princess when I’m older’. Well why not? You want to be a princess, be a princess, wear a tiara, wear a pretty frock, who’s going to stop you? As long as you don’t try to jump the wall of Windsor Castle no one can touch you or your dreams!!

 

Shrug off the criticisms, constant let downs and focus on you and your wants, you don’t have a right over anyone’s just as much as they don’t over yours!!

 

P.S As a child, I wanted to be an author and a hairdresser… I nearly made it 🙂  

Magna Intuitum

Magna Intuitum

So in my ‘real’ job, I meet lots of interesting people who share their stories with me and I learn about their life’s in general. As I get to know them better and feel comfortable with them, I share anecdotes about my own life but nothing too personal just things I would put on my Facebook or right here on my blog.

 

I have one particular client I see weekly and we have got to know each other very well, the funny thing is I know her from my last job and I didn’t like her after she complained about me… water under the bridge 🙂

Well we discussed my writing and the fact a publisher has asked for the rest after I had sent them a sample (BIG MOMENT), she is also a writer with a published book and writes for her own online magazine to which her husband is an editor…

 

Now I am confident in my real job, but my writing not so much… so when her husband said his wife was reading an article about the benefits of massage for overall health, I immediately thought great he’s going to have a massage one day… well blow me down he asked me to become a regular writer on the magazine writing about my work and the benefits of the treatments… I was almost speechless. It is a non-paid gig but my writing and knowledge will be published and read by thousands… wow!!!

 

I got one like on Facebook for this bit of news and a ‘cool’ from my partner and brother but for all you fellow bloggers, writers, authors etc out there… have you any advice, any inspiring words or even a confirmation to say yes you are right to be excited here 🙂

My first offer for submission….HELP!!

Image

Ok, so the book/novel/random pages of writing that hopefully resemble a story is finished…

I took a risk by sending a sample to just one publishing company, just for the laugh, just to see what might happen. I imagined it making it’s way cosily in to their inbox and then moving quite rapidly in to the recycle bin, in to the feared ‘slush pile’ never to be thought of again, just another failed attempt by a hopeless author with an impossible dream…

Well bugger me I’ve just received an email saying they want more…. they want the whole manuscript!!!

It is not an offer of publication but they want more… my writing sparked an interest… it effected someone who reads, what I’m guessing, hundreds of samples a day, mine stood out…

As proud of my little accomplishment that I am, that’s all I thought it would amount to… a few family members reading it, saying yes it’s good, I enjoyed it, then changing the subject rapidly when I ask what their favourite part was as they hadn’t yet got that far as it had bored them to giving up any hope of polite obligation.

So now what do I do?

I have got in touch with a proof reader who charges $1 per 400 words as I do not want to taint my changes giving them a self-edited pile of trash…

Can anyone recommend another proof reader or any tips on how to proceed before I pack my precious achievement off to be critiqued and  hopefully put in to the published hall of achievement?

Finished!!

The book is finished.

It’s such a relief and an amazing feeling to have finally completed it.

Now the hard stuff starts…. I have to get it out to the world. Where do I start?

There is a gold mine of information, advise, publishing routes and information. But as a rookie writer and publisher I haven’t the first clue where to begin…

I’ve seen talk of manuscripts, slush piles, create space, lighteningsource and Kindle publishing.

Any golden nuggets of advice and success stories would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any comments…

The Importance of Research

I am having what you would call an understatement of a lazy day!

Woke at 11 stayed in bed until 3 and then rose with the intention of doing much needed housework… I tidied my bedroom made my way to the kitchen where I flicked the kettle on to prepare breakfast/lunch/brunch and sat to eat and picked up Russell Howards Booky Wook as I am no longer able to stare in to space, I have to have something taking my attention… a possible reason for my insomnia.

5 pages in, I immediately get the urge to get back to my own book.

Because of the excellent writing?

Something he said triggered a light bulb effect of inspiration?

Or a line that showed complete and utter lack of research and just another ploy for celebrities to make more money from their fan fare, not worried about such an important thing as detail!

“I’m a bloke from Grays with a good job and a terrific haircut who’s been given a Wonka Ticket to a lovely sex factory ‘cos of the ol fame’ and while Augustus Gloop drowns and Veruca Salt turns blue I’m cleaning up. I’m rinsin’ baby”

Any Roald Dahl, Gene Wilder (I googled that as I wasn’t sure took two minutes!) or Johnny Depp fans will be hopefully as I was in utter disgust as this error.

If you are going to use a children’s classic to make your point, at least get the characters right.

It was in fact Violet Beauregarde who turned purple.

I’m guessing in all his eagerness to get his book out on the shelf to outshine the hard work and dedication of us true authors who take the time to research and make sure we are grammatically and factually correct, a little thing like going on to google was at the back of his mind.

I am now more determined to get my book out there that I have slaved over for a year… checked the facts, edited, re-edited and edited again. Whether I will continue to read this lackadaisical attempt at writing remains to be seen but I will be taking extra time to research, research research!!!!!! 

Morbid but a thought provoker…

Everything happens for a reason!
How many times have we all heard this?
Break up, missed out on a job, car broke down, missed bus/train/plane?
I’ve been told this by a clairvoyant and she says it takes a while, maybe years to see but then one day it will all make sense..
Now I have lost some very special people in my life and it still isn’t fair and I see no reason for it BUT I do think they tried to open my eyes and fix my life to get on the right track… this has just occured to me this second.
Summer 2003: first boyfriend, very exciting and nerve wracking time. Introduced him to the family all is good. Summer 2005 my uncle of 45 years old is winding me up saying I should stay away from my boyfriend I was worth ten of him… he was one for banter and pulling peoples legs, I also was only half listening because I was making sure my boyfriend was staying away from lets call her Shirley as I had the suspicion he’d cheated on me with her and she was always trying to get up on him like a dog on a bitch… but he’d never admit it and I was a naive 17 year old.
6 days later my beloved uncle passed away. I still to this day regret not paying him the respect to have a proper conversation with him and listen to the warning he was giving me while he had the chance!
He was missing for 9 torturous days and I was a wreck but my boyfriend was my rock although didn’t understand my need to be sitting on a beach from break of dawn to dusk waiting for him to come home, something we argued about incessantly but when I needed him he was there.
Then came the day my uncle was found and he was taken from the lifeboat in a coffin, all my family and myself included are hoping to wake up from this nightmare.. my boyfriend is holding me up for the weight of the grief causes my knees to buckle… what can be going through your head at such a time when a loved one is in such agony?
What was going through my boyfriends head was… I would like to be an undertaker what a cool job…. (I know right?) When he told me this was why he was, a few months later looking up funeral directors courses I was in awe and disbelief how a person could detatch themselves from that situation to that extent! So I supported him fully in his decision proud of what he was doing for grieving families but still wary of what had brought on the idea and at the time it had.
He went away for months of work experience, about 10 months in to the course and we split up. He said he didn’t love me anymore and I was deveastated beyond words.
What drove the knife in further was his work experience was in the same place Shirley lived and they had got back in touch. He denyed any relationship saying they were ‘just friends’…
After two months he came crawling and begging me to take him back and admitted much to my disgust that he had kissed Shirley and that had made him realise he wanted me and no one else forever more!
Now whether it was an ego boost or a band aid over the wound.. I agreed! We were together happily for another two years in which I got pregnant, unfortunately I was one of the unlucky 25% and it wasn’t to be but during scans a cyst was found and removed from my ovary, a blessing in disguise and my baby in heaven is my guardian angel.
Then he got offered a job which meant a relocation, which I was fine with, ever the supportive girlfriend and always up for a new adventure. 
In June 2010 I received a text from my mum that I never expected, a good friend from school had died. I was again deveastated and immediately made arrangements with work to go home for the funeral in another country.
He was somewhat less than impressed as I had given my weekend off away to say goodbye to my dear friend and I got the silent treatment for it.
The funeral day was as trying as you can imagine and I spent the day reminiscing with my school friends and I left my closest and best friend crying asking me to stay as he couldn’t handle the grief alone. I boarded the ferry with a heavy heart and enormous guilt at leaving my friend behind but with a promise to call him every day. As I sat remembering the day and my friend, I couldn’t help but cry and reached for my phone to speak to my boyfriend.  I was answered with a very formal ‘hello’ I said ‘hi where are you?’ Thinking maybe he was with a client and was interrupting hence the tone. I was answered with, ‘I’m at home but I’m a bit busy with company at the moment I’ll have to call you back’
I said ‘who is company?’
‘Claire, but she’s just leaving,  gotta go’ dial tone!
Now Claire had been described to me as an overweight 30 something year old who was constantly complimenting him on his looks and had also added him to her ‘list’ but I wasn’t to worry because she was 30 odd and overweight. ..
So what the hell was she doing in my house and why as a fellow funeral director wouldn’t she understand that her colleagues girlfriend needed emotional support after a loss of a friend not to be hung up on in favour of her company! 
I don’t think I need to tell you what happened when he called back but I got some stares from fellow passengers lets put it that way… what was worse is she knew I was away so decided to pop in for a cuppa… mmm…
Now I hadn’t mentioned before just what I had to do to make the funeral. ..
I woke at 8.15 Wednesday morning went to work then came home had dinner and prepared for the dreaded journey. .. got a 3 hour train ride to the ferry and then tok a four hour boat ride arrived in Ireland at 6am Thursday morning,  had a cup of tea with my family not allowing anytime for caught up sleep as before I knew it, it was time to get ready. .. I spent the day as I said previously.  Hope to get some kip on the ferry home was quickly dashed by the adrenaline from my rising temper .
When I arrived in the harbour I realised my train would arrive in the main station an hour and a half earlier than my train home leaving me sitting in an empty station at 5 in the morning  unless my boyfriend would come get me,seen as I hadn’t seen bed in over 43 hours and it was going to be 7.30am Friday before I would, unless he drove 10 mins to come and get me considering I was due in work at 10.30am Friday I didn’t think therecwas much in the decision. No it was imossible because he too had work so would rather sleep cosy in bed and leave me freeze on a train platform for hours than take 30 mins out of his beauty sleep (why didn’t I turf his ass out I hear you say?)
Things were a little rocky from then it has to be said…
September 2010 I receive a call in work, another uncle has passed in the exact same manner and place as my uncle before!
Another mad dash home for a funeral and I don’t care what he is doing, I don’t care about work I am gone.. I received the call at 11.15, I am 2 and a 1/2 hours drive away from the ferry. .. I’m on it by 1.30!
He suprises me… he’s on the next ferry over to be there for me in my hour of need! Making up for a few months ago I think to myself…
It’s all a bit surreal and hazy. De ja vu and no one can quite believe we’re here again. Everyone comments on how marvellous he is being, but then that’s what he’s trained to do!
November 2010 he comes home with a bombshell… he’s cheated! Slept with someone who works in the crematorium… how creepy….
That does it… I’m gone out the door never looking back. I to this day haven’t seen him since!
One night about a year later, I’m bored so I peruse the Internet and hack his Facebook just to see what other lies he told me just for closure and pure curiosity….
Guess who he’s been in touch with despite being engaged now to Crem slut… Shirley!  Oh and here’s the kicker. .. when they were meeting up as ‘just friends’ he was actually going out with her after splitting from me AFTER cheating on me with her!!!
Well you can again imagine my annoyance and pure disbelief!

Now your probably sitting here thinking I thought this was a philosophical blog post not some boo-hoo about an ill fated relationship. ..
Well lets map it out shall we?
2005 the idea comes in to his head to be an undertaker in the presence of my beloved uncles corpse just resumed from the sea… work experience for said job led to cheating and should have marked the end of our relationship (my dear uncle would be pleased) but it didn’t something brought us back together… I then got pregnant and a cyst was discovered…(maybe my uncle, maybe my nan who knows?)
2010 My dear friend passes and events occur from that, that should have had me running for the hills (I didn’t see what my lovely friend was pointing out to me so clearly)
Then my other uncle gets up there, they must have all had a chin wag and would you believe it, he slept with Crem slut on Halloween (the night of the dead) need I say more?
I truly believe that those close to me tried to show me the way and tried to arrange things to happen so I’d be led on the right path. It just suddenly occured to me tonight that the day my uncle was pulled from the sea he planted a seed that would prove him evidently right in the end. He always had to be right and the rest that followed has all interlinked!
Now that I was a single gal obviously I was keeping a keen eye out for my next beau and I seen someone that I thought was quite nice. I  hadvnever spoken to him just watched from afar…
Then one night while out with a friend we got chatting and he later added me on Facebook but nothing came of it…
April 2012 another dear uncle passes and my family are over with me to collect his remains.  My mum is on a man huntfor me but nobody catches my eye even from the twenty odd she points out… after having it all day and exhausted from yet more grief all I want to do is go home to bed BUT my aunty begs me to pop in for a drink…so I do. The first person I see is the guy I have my eye on and we say a polite hello but speak no more.
I’m here to support my aunt and mum after the loss of their brother so I sit at the bar and secretly point him out to mum who is less than impressed with my choice but I still sit and take a few sneaky peeks.
The next day my family travel home and I dread being left alone so I travel to my friend who I mentioned earlier who I had left grief stricken. We have a few drinks and I pluck up the courage to message the guy… a year and a half on we are living together and planning a family… yet again my higher forces are at work and my dear old uncles can’t help but meddle just a little 😉

A picture paints a thousand words

www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqWig2WARb0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Ok so it wasn’t a picture but a song that formed a picture in my head…
Lily Allen ‘Somewhere only we know’
The John Lewis Christmas ad… at first it was the usual that’s sweet, it’s Christmas,  it’s coming whether we like it or not and another clever marketing ploy by a retail chain to get us to part with our hard earned cash in their store.
But the song played is now a chart topper and is invading our airwaves like flu germs on a bus…
I’m the type of person who has to find meaning in a song in order to like it… hence why when ‘What does the fox say’ was all over Facebook I had no clue what was going on until yesterday when it was played in the top forty charts!
So driving home today, the song came on and I actually like it, it has meaning,  so I turned up the volume and really listened, I have heard it is making people cry, making people excited for Christmas and reconfirming their love for animals…
For me? It made me push my foot down and race up to complete my final chapter of my book… I still have three or four chapters left to write to tie it all together but I was just overwhelmed with this eureka moment and I properly felt like an author as rather that relating the song to my own life, I thought of my characters and I got so excited at the thought of my readers face when they read that chapter. It also gave me a kick to get it finished before Christmas so it’s still relevant in peoples minds 😉