And Life Goes On

The random bloggings on what gets my goat!

Archive for the category “Writing”

Self Publishing – To Buy or Not?

Does it really matter as to whether a book is self published or has gone down the more traditional route?

Do you the reader not read a book due to the fact that the writer has themselves self published?

“I think readers are more focused on a good story that they can enjoy instead of where the book was published,” said Mathewson, of the self-published authors’ success. “Thanks to the internet they can research books before committing time and money on them. Flashy advertisements really don’t mean anything to most avid readers. They care more about reviews, ratings and recommendations than they do about ads telling them what to read.”

As Mark Coker said, “It’s a big deal to see a single Smashwords author on the New York Times Bestseller list, let alone four in one week.  A year ago, it was unheard of.  A year from now, it’ll be more commonplace.  Tomorrow’s global bestsellers are at Smashwords.  Maybe the next bestseller will be the title uploaded to Smashwords two minutes from now, soon to be visible at the top of the Smashwords home page.  Or maybe it’ll be one or more of the nearly 9,000 new titles uploaded to Smashwords in the last 30 days.  Or uploaded three years ago….maybe tomorrow’s bestseller is languishing on an undiscovered writer’s computer, still waiting for a publisher to give it a chance.  Maybe that writer will now realize they don’t need the blessing of a publisher to become a published author, or to reach readers.  Maybe they’ll realize that that the tools to publish and distribute a book are available at no cost, and the knowledge to professionally publish is available for the taking. It just takes effort.”

Twitter for me has really opened up my reading world as I now buy e-books from authors that I follow, whether they be self-published or not.

For me it is about the story, does the blurb grip me if so, I buy with not a thought as to how it has been published. It does annoy me however when there are lots of spelling mistakes or other glaring errors which is just sloppy and should not happen under any circumstances.

So go on, the traditional route is becoming harder and harder to break into so give the self published writer a chance, you will be pleasantly surprised.

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NaNoWrimo – Second Time Around?

I tried to do my first NaNoWrimo last year, but failed miserably. I had too much going on in the way of College, family, school tests and general day to day living to really get into it and once I had not written for a few days I became too disheartened and decided to leave it.

NOT THIS YEAR!

I have been plotting my attempt already, I have a good grasp of the characters and I am hoping that with this attention to planning ewach detail I will find it easier to complete this year.

A few points that I am doing this huge task with are:-

  • Tell your family what you are doing, that you will need this month in order to complete it, if they understand then you are more able to lock yourself away in order to write
  • Start at midnight on the 1st November, therefore you will have the first 1600+ words in the bag on the first day, and hopefully stay in front
  • If you are unable to sit down for long periods of time, break the time up, maybe doing 5 sessions of 15 minutes a session and really write all you can down, you will be surprised how much you will be able to write in the alloted time.
  • And lastly, enjoy the experience as you may have a masterpiece on your hands, or at the very least all writing is good practice, a great way to learn the craft of writing well, is to write, write, write.

Good luck fellow NaNoWrimo’s.

Add me as a buddy if you like Hayley_DM, I am going to need all the support I can muster.

My First Short Story Competition – Glutton for Punishment

Last week I entered my first short story competition. Are you bloody mad? I ask myself. Well maybe seeing as how I have never written one before, but I never do things in half measures, so I jumped in all guns blazing, so to speak!

I stumbled upon this in a Twitter chat room on Sunday night, #Writechat, Emily Suess the organiser of this great competition mentioned it there and I wanted to give it a go.

 We were given 50 writing prompts on the Monday morning and we were to hand in our finished piece by Friday at midnight, the writing prompts can be found here http://blog.emilysuess.com/2011/09/12/writers-week-writing-contest/. You can also read the 50+ entries that were submitted. This was a great first time exercise for me, I don’t expect to win, but I found the exercise a great learning experience and I intend to have a go at a few more of the prompts in order to polish my craft.

So thanks Emily, I will definately be doing this again next year.

The Three Musketeers – Writers Week Official Entry 2011

Oh. My. God. I wasn’t going to say anything, but you have left me with no choice. You walk around with your head in the air looking down at the rest of us when it is your life that is the farce!

 

We have known each other for years since our group were all in school together back in the day when we all had our whole lives ahead; the three of us were like The Three Musketeers, Reece, Rhea and me, Sienna. We thought we could do anything and for a time there at school that is just what we did, we had no cares, no worries; we did what we wanted and when we wanted to.

 

But whereby we all realised that we could not go on like that, you have carried on believing that the world owes you a favour and that you can do what you want, whenever you want.

 

All three of us are now grown up; Rhea has a flourishing career as a Facilities Director for a large International Advertising Agency, no children, but she travels all over the world living a very glamorous life that we are all more than a bit jealous about.

 

I am a full time Mum with a fantastic husband and lovely children, I have given up work in order to look after them and that suits me fine, people often make comments on what good children they are and that makes everything worthwhile.

 

Reece lives the life, I can tell you. She has a massive house that would not look out of place on the pages of Hello Magazine. Her husband is a trader and is earning upwards of £10,000 a month and that is without the bonuses he accrues.

 

***

 

We are having our usual monthly get together tonight; it is dinner at Reece’s house this evening which no doubt will be the usual lavish affair. Reece really pushes the boat out when it is her turn to host, private caterers are called in, you get the gist?

 

What the hell am I going to wear? I am standing in front of my wardrobe and it is boring the hell out of me, so God knows what Reece and Sienna will think about it.

 

An hour later and my wardrobe is now either scattered all over the floor or the bed, I could scream!

 

“Get yourself together Sienna” I tell myself as I settle for a pair of skinny jeans, a nice sparkly top, this partnered with a pair of sexy high sandals should do the trick, sexy, but it looks like I haven’t really put that much thought into it, yeah right!!!

 

I sit on the edge of the bed, looking around the room, picking up the clothes that I have just thrown all over. Yes, Reece has everything, but she is not happy, her husband Riley is never at home, he is always at work, entertaining clients or the other women in his life. Oh yes, although Reece never admits to it but everyone knows.

 

***

 

“Right I’m off Tony, have a good night”

 

“You too love, you wont be late will you?”

 

“Not if I can help it!” giving Tony a kiss before I head out of the door. He is such a good husband and father, I may not have the money that the other two have but are they happy? Smiling to myself, I get into the taxi that is outside waiting for me.

 

As the taxi pulls up the long drive that leads up to Reece’s house, I look up at the house that is all lit up like a Christmas tree. Eight bedrooms, all en suite, what they need all those bedrooms for, who knows?

 

The gardens are tended to by their live-in gardener, they are glorious, and now whilst dark I can hear the crickets coming into their own as they realise their time is now and they are not likely to be disturbed. The only other sound I can hear is the distant trickle of water from the water feature that lies in the middle of the garden, I can just about fit in a pool for the kids to have a splash about in the Summer, how the other half live!

 

“Sienna, there you are, we thought we heard a car pull up, what are you doing standing there gazing into the distance?”

 

“Just admiring your garden, you are so lucky, such a beautiful house”

 

“You do this every time you come here, it is not as if you have never been here before” Reece barks back. No, I think, I have been here before, numerous times, but you don’t appreciate it and that is what gets me.

 

As we enter the house, I can see Rhea has already arrived in the kitchen at the end of the vast entrance hall.

 

“Champagne okay darling?”

 

“That would be lovely, thank you” I reply, when really I am thinking a vodka and coke would suffice.

 

“Evening Rhea, how are you? How is work?”

 

“All great thanks sweetie, it is lovely to see you. How are Tony and the kids?”

 

“All good, all good”

Reece is running around like a headless chicken as we sit down at the table that she has even placed name cards on, even though it is only the three of us tonight.

 

Dinner was exquisite as usual, and whilst we are eating the cheese course, we are all rather merry as a few bottles ofChampagnehas now passed our lips.

 

“Anyone for coffee?” Reece asks

 

“No, more Champers!” Rhea drunkenly shouts.

 

Reece comes back to the table with another three bottles of Champagne, my head is going to be banging in the morning on the school run, but we don’t really get to be together often and Tony said that he would do the school run, he is such a love, all my friends tell me what a great guy Tony is, and believe me, he is I am a very lucky girl and I know it.

 

The night was getting messy and we had all taken to dancing around the room screaming into our hairbrushes

 

“…… and push it real good…….. Reece was now doing her usual drunken rendition of the Salt and Pepa classic, she sounded terrible but she was convinced that she was the mighty Salt herself, my face aches from laughing, these nights are great, we all have so much fun and we have been doing this once a month from as far back as I remember.

 

***

 

“So Sienna, how are things with the girls and Tony?” asks Rhea as we have crashed onto the sofas all fairly inebriated and more than ready to call it a night. Rhea and I were just waiting for our cabs to arrive.

 

“Great thanks Rhea, and you, all okay with you?”

 

“Yeah great thanks, I have been so busy at work I have not really done much else”.

 

“Riley is having another affair” Reece blurts out, neither of us had noticed that she was quietly crying by herself on the other sofa.

 

Rhea and I both ran over and sat at either side of her.

 

“What makes you say that?” Rhea asks.

 

“I just know, come on, it won’t be the first or I doubt the last” Reece sobbed.

 

“Oh honey I am so sorry, how long has it been going on? Are you sure he is having an affair and not just busy at work as he usually is?” I asked.

 

“I know the signs hon, he is, this one just seems to be different, I have watched him over the years having numerous affairs, I just accepted it, and he always came back to me. But this time, it seems different, I think this time he has found someone he really likes, he is distant with me and we haven’t made love in months” Reece was sobbing by now, she was usually so strong, neither of us had ever seen her cry as far as I was aware .

 

“Oh darling, I am so sorry” Rhea comforted her.

 

I didn’t know what to say or do, seeing her in this vulnerable state had shaken me up a bit, she looked almost fragile with Rhea practically cradling Reece in her arms.

 

“Do you know who it is that he is having the affair with?

 

At that point, I noticed Riley standing in the doorway, Rhea and Reece both looked up at the same time.

 

“Are you going to tell her Sienna, or shall I?”

 

And with that, my life would never, ever be the same again.

writers' week

SUNDAY TIMES EFG AWARD 2012 NOW OPEN!

The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award is now open for entries for 2012.

£30,000 first prize! Up £5,000 from last year!

Stories may be previously unpublished, or first published/scheduled for publication after 1 January 2011.

All entries must be under 6,000 words and entirely original.

Closing date is 28th October.

This year you can also enter online.

Click here for details http://www.booktrust.org.uk/Prizes-and-awards/Sunday-Times-EFG-Private-Bank-Award

NaNoWriMo has yet to begin……….

Well, I have taken the plunge and have signed up for National Novel Writing Month which begins on 1st November.

I am now asking myself if I have gone insane!

Why I hear you ask?

Well here is a list :-

  • I have 2 young children
  • I work all day
  • I have 1 husband
  • I have 1 house to run
  • I have 1 puppy
  • I have no time

So, what was I thinking? Well, I have been wanting to write my book for a long time, I know like millions of others, I am screaming “I know I have at least one good book in me!”. Instead, I have just been researching for what seems like a mini lifetime, so I thought if I do NaNoWrimo, even if I did not reach the 50,000 words that are needed between November 1st – 30th, at least I will have started it!

I have spent the last week planning and trying to get some sort of plot going for my project and thus far I am looking forward to it, ask me again this time next week, or the week after when I am tearing my hair out, the kids have no clean knickers, I am late for work, my husband has left, as well as the puppy, the house is in disarray and I am bald!

So, with that in mind, I am now eagerly waiting in anticipation at the starting block, I do not know whether I will be able to commit to the word count, I figure if I do 2,000 words a day, I can take at least 1 day off a week!

So wish me luck fellow NaNoWrimoers. Have you signed up?

http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/619149

Can I Really Write a Novel – Part 2 – Research & Preparation

At the moment I am trying to research my novel, it is about domestic violence and therefore I feel I need to get it right. I want people to believe in both of the characters and maybe even identify with their plight.

I have taken to carrying a notebook in my bag that I write all my ideas in, character development, dialogue or any scenes that I have going on in my head.

And eavesdropping, boy, I have become the nosy cow sitting on a bus, the park, the pub, a restaurant to try and learn how to write  good dialogue.

Can you do too much research though? I have a pile of papers on my office desk that is bulging under the weight of it all! So, I have taken the decision to sift through all of this and then start the actual process.

I figure if I can get a rough draft down then I can go back and make all of the amendments that I know will be present.

I am excited and scared, then what? What happens next? Do I have the ability to be a published writer? We will see.

Twitter’s Litchat – A Taboo Subject?

I have recently stumbled across Litchat on Twitter which is a discussion forum every week that allows writers (and me!) to talk about the process of writing, publishing, editing etc. A ffew weeks ago, the topic had been part of a week of Taboo topics that authors and readers may not be comfortable with dealing with.
One particular Litchat guest was Elissa Stein who has written a book entitled Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation, which is a book about menstruation, Macmillan quote “Flow answers such questions as: What’s the point of getting a period? What did women do before pads and tampons? What about new drugs that promise to end periods—a hot idea or not? Sex during your period: gross or a turn-on? And what’s normal, anyway? With color reproductions of (campy) historical ads and early (excruciating) femcare devices, it also provides a fascinating (and mind-boggling) gallery of this complex, personal and uniquely female process”.
 
Stein spoke about the book passionately, as did others who were making comments on what is deemed taboo and why. Stein commented that she had done a recording with Dr Oz to promote her book that has still yet to be aired! It seems people still do not want to talk or hear about this frankly natural process. TV executives are deciding what we will or will not be allowed to watch and discuss, surely this is a form of censorship?
This is sheer lunancy, which seemed to be the status quo from all the comments that were made, one lady tweeted “our bodies as objects, acceptable. Our bodies as functional, not acceptable“. The UK and other countries tax us on our sanitary products, tax is suuposedly meant for luxury products, how are tampons and the like a luxury? Amazingly, after the launch of the IPad, ITampon was the number one on the tweet trending topic after the IPad launch, much to the ambarrassment of Apple!
It is painful to think that mensruation is something that most women endure as part of their lives , however it is treated  as something so shameful, many comments were that sexual repression was a huge part of the problem, we learn very early from our parents and then from society, we must as parents change this perception.
Stein gave us a brief history rundown on how Priests used to shut women away during a period as they were deemed unclean, whilst midwives were considered witches. Their knowledge of childbirth and their understanding of menstruation was deemed evil. Whilst men were so afraid of menstrual blood that they created all sorts of theories as to what was really happening to women.
Many of us will have heard many euphemisms, my Nan used to call it a “Red Letter Day”, whilst my mother recounts the story of her first period to me believing that she was dying as she had never been told by her strict Mother what menstruation was. Girls even today believe that they are dying because they have no education on menstruation.
It seems we can talk about anything but not the way a woman’s body works. One lady suggested that Northern America was very stuffy, I commented on the furore that was Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” at a music awards ceremony, with the view in the UK being “All that fuss over a breast!”.
Whilst I have not read the book, I am off today to get my copy and I am going to leave it strategically placed around my house in order that the subject can be talked about freely by my friends and family and hopefully then onto others and have this ridiculous taboo subject tackled head on!!! Until we begin to tackle these issues and talk about them freely then we will forever have people with antiquated ideas controlling our free speech and our childrens ability to have a more free and liberal existence.

Can I Really Write a Novel? A Glutton for Punishment – 1

I am in the throws of writing my first novel, well when I say that, what I really mean is I am just starting to research my book after throwing ideas about for months about what I wanted the novel to be based on.

So, I have made a decision and now I am jumping in starting the research.

I have never been to a creative writing class or anything and I am wondering if I can really do this?

I have started to carry around a notepad in my bag that I can add any thoughts, timelines, character analysis etc in, so maybe if I start to act like a writer, the rest will flow?

Here’s hoping!

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