Random stuff

Negative Feedback for a BLOGGER

So this is an interesting perspective! Book fans attacking bloggers for not leaving favourable reviews. I understand fandoms. I’ve ever been involved in a few and trust me when I say that SOME fans can get ALL KINDS of crazy. Why would you attack a blogger for not liking a book you never wrote yourself? Well, I wouldn’t personally, but I can see why ‘some’ fans would. Passion and obsession do funny things to people … But let’s be honest: it’s just an opinion and yeah, it might not be one that you agree with, but wouldn’t life be dull if we all liked the same shit? (And I say this coming out of a day of opposing views in the UK where 16 million people are pissed AF, me included).
My advice: know where to draw the line. Disagree, sure. Debate even. But don’t resort to name-calling, abuse and downright offensive behaviour just because someone disagrees with your point of view. Otherwise you’re one step away from being known as Trolly McTrollface.

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Dark Sanctuary · Wattpad · Writing

Wattpad: 28,000 WordPress: 7

Hello bloggers, readers, friends and weirdos.

You might have noticed my absence recently…..or possibly not, but I have somewhat neglected my little blog lately.

Now you might be a little bit miffed by that, well at least you would if you were one of the three people who read these random posts of mine. It’s fair to see I’m falling out of love with WordPress a bit.

You see, I have a new love. It’s big and it’s fun, and yeah I’m probably hanging out with One Direction fans, but it’s captured my heart all the same.

WordPress meet Wattpad. Wattpad meet WordPress.

It’s fair to say I’m addicted. I have uploaded all 47 chapters of Dark Sanctuary to Wattpad and so far it’s amassed over 28,000 reads. Don’t let that figure fool you though, that’s not technically 28,000 reads of the whole thing, although I’m hoping it will hit that eventually, but it actually means that it’s received 28,000 reads across all 47 chapters. As far as I can tell, every time someone clicks onto a chapter, it registers as a read so 28,000 might be a tad misleading, however it’s still way more hits than I’ve ever received on WordPress.

And you know what I think the key is?

Teenagers. Wattpad is simply teeming with them. They are literally everywhere over there and what’s more, they definitely have the power. I don’t think I ever truly thought about that market before other than to try and veer away from it. For some strange reason I always had a slight issue with who the books might appeal to. I didn’t want to write for teenagers, not because there’s anything wrong with doing that, but because I always thought my writing swayed more to the gritty side and in my head gritty meant adult. I wanted to reflect what I had grown up reading. In essence, I wanted to write what I like to read. I’ve even blogged on here about how I feel more comfortable writing more horror based short stories and felt slightly less sure about whether Dark Sanctuary is where I feel most confident as a writer.

But after checking out free e-reader Wattpad and deciding to throw Dark Sanctuary to the Wattpad wolves, I have to say I have completely changed my mind about where I think I should pitch it. And the more I re-read and edit each chapter before I upload it, I wonder why I never pitched it there before. Yes, I think it’s heavier than standard YA but it still seems to appeal to the teen reader and why not? After all, if I was reading classic horror at aged eleven, it stands to reason that many teens want something that’s a bit meatier.

They get it. I’m not saying my adult readers don’t get it because I know they do, but I’ve discovered that Dark Sanctuary definitely appeals to a younger audience and for once I feel completely comfortable with that. I love how they throw themselves into it. They live, breathe and eat the characters. They get angry. They fall in love. They jump for joy. They shed tears. They get totally passionate about what’s happening. They don’t care about showing they care. And okay, so my vampires don’t sparkle, but most of my Wattpad readers seem to think that’s a good thing.

So after three years since I finished writing Dark Sanctuary, I think I have finally found it a home. And today, when fabulous YA novelist Michelle Muto referred to me on twitter as her ‘fellow YA author’ I think I found myself a home too.

Note: by the way if you were wondering what the WordPress: 7 referred to, it was the number of blog views I received the day I started writing this post. No contest really 😉

Random stuff

Writing, Blog-Fear and Mr Self-Doubt…..

I’ve had one of THEM weeks. You know the ones. You’re sitting there, minding your own business, doing a little bit of writing, a little bit of blogging, probably too much blog reading, and all of a sudden Mr Self-Doubt invites himself into your home, takes over your favourite seat on the sofa and steals your TV remote control.  Not only that, be he also demands a cup of tea AND possession of the biscuit tin.

He’s one of them unwanted guests I talk about quite a bit. Once he’s made himself comfortable, it’s quite hard to persuade him to leave.

However….on this occasion, Mr Self-Doubt actually talked a little bit of sense for a change.

Now, before you all look sternly at me under heavy furrowed brows, this isn’t going to be one of those ‘Woe is Me’ posts. I’m still writing….just. But I have decided to take a slightly different view on what I want to do with my writing.

As I said above, I read too many blogs.

I read blogs by aspiring writers like me, from which I always take a lot of inspiration. It’s always great to know I’m not the only one who feels the way I do and it’s empowering to know there are others out there who can empathise. The writing community, I have found, can be incredibly supportive of one another.

I also read blogs by published and experienced writers. Some blogs inspire. Some blogs frustrate me. You know the ones: The ‘This is how you MUST write’ Blogs. Annoying. And I’m not disrespecting any established writers out there, whom I’m sure have oodles of valuable advice to hand out to the newbies. But some blogs are incredibly preachy, which I hate. And then there are the blogs that scare me. The ones where everyone who reads and comments on the posts seem to know so much about the business and it makes me just want to slither back under my rock and stay where it’s dark, quiet and peaceful. This happened to me at the beginning of the week and I ended up having a mild panic attack and posting a cry for help on twitter.

Two very kind writer friends answered my call. And their words led to something of change in my perspective on things.

I would like to be published one day. Of course I would. Surely it’s every writers dream? When I was younger I would fantasise about seeing my books on a shelf next to my favourite authors. Obviously, that’s one heck of a pipe dream, but it’s a lovely one and right up there with dreams of marrying Eddie Vedder and living in a cabin by a lake somewhere: By day Eddie would write songs, I would write novels and by evening we would sit by the water’s side and he would serenade me on his guitar. Half-naked. Yeah, see? Pipe dreams.

Anyway, I would still love to be published one day. But I have to be realistic. I don’t have time to learn the first things about getting published. Okay, so I know a little about traditional and e-publishing, but not nearly enough. And even if I did know, I just don’t have the time to devote to that kind of project. It’s time-consuming. It’s soul consuming. And if I really want to do it with some gusto, then I need to be devoted to it. I hate half-hearted attempts and making promises that I can’t keep.

The more I thought about this and the pressure I put on myself to learn more, understand more, do more….the more the very thought of it crushes me and I’m worried that the more I stress about it, the more it will wear away the edge of my passion until I just don’t even want to write anymore. And for me, that’s more than I could bear. A life without writing? No. Not on your nelly. But a life without getting published? Yes. And so what?

I have written two novels and am in the process of writing the third in the series. I get fabulous feedback from my band of merry readers, and this much-loved group of beta readers grows larger every week. It makes me so happy knowing that people enjoy reading my mad ramblings and knowing that people connect with and love the characters almost as much as I do. But rather than chase the dream, I am going to focus on book 3. I may do something with my short stories; maybe find an avenue in which I can publish these, but again I don’t really know where to start, so I need to do some research for which I need some valuable spare time.

Something has to give. I write or I try to get published. The brutal facts are that I don’t have time for both right now.

So I choose writing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Random stuff

Tumblr Diving

It’s funny what you find when you go delving through the murky depths of your Tumblr archive.

Yep, that’s right. I do have a Tumblr account. Two to be precise. One is solely dedicated to Jim Morrison and The Doors (click on the No One Here Gets Out Alive link on my blogroll) and the other (Little Cinnamon) is a blog patched together with pictures of rock stars, pictures of spooky woods/forests/buildings and the odd old piece of writing.

These days I don’t browse Tumblr as much as I used to, mainly because I’m inundated with pictures of One Direction, which makes me feel old, and pictures of cakes, which makes me hungry and I’m on a diet. So it’s sort of a no go area, although I did have a sneaky flurry of Kings of Leon posts this week out of sheer boredom.

I do, however, love pawing through the archive and catching up with old posts. The old posts are definitely interesting, mainly because I was suffering from PND at the time so I often come across one that seems to scream ‘The End of The World is Nigh’ (rest assured I’m not mocking PND sufferers here, I am a PND veteran and I find the only way to deal with it now is often to make light of my own experience).

But it’s also interesting as I sometimes come across old pieces of writing that I started and discarded, as was often my way when I used to write. Today I found an old post called ‘The Body‘ which I posted back in April 2010. It’s pretty lame to say the least, but caught my eye because it contains a scene which I later appropriated and inserted into Dark Sanctuary. If you’re one of my Dark Sanctuary readers, you might just recognise it so check out the next post. And if you’re not a Dark Sanctuary reader….well, read it anyway, it will kill a couple of minutes of your life in between looking at pictures of One Direction and eating cake.

Random stuff

Birthdays, cake and epic fails.

Good afternoon, friends and beloved readers.

My regular visitors will have realised by now that I failed miserably at my promise to post on #MusicMondays, #TasterTuesdays and #WriterWednesdays.

In my defence I do have an excuse, or excuses, and it’s nothing along the lines of ‘My dog ate my wordpress blog’ or ‘I was abducted by aliens’. Although the second option might give me something exciting to do next weekend.

Basically the week before last, I went on my holibobs. I packed up the suitcase, the husband, the little one and the dog into the car and we headed to the Norfolk coast for a week, where I ate my own bodyweight in food designed to horrifically torture my arteries and did little else apart from take in a bit if sunshine and watch late night horror films. I wrote a short story called Angie, Banjo and The Bogeyman that I then posted on here when I returned (go read if you like your serial killers who live in suburbia and tend their gardens at the weekends).  But there was no wi-fi access – SHOCK HORROR – so blogging was a no-no.

Then upon our return we were greeted with great streams of Union Jack bunting and threw ourself whole-heartedly into the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations with a street party, enough cake to induce a sugar coma and much mirth (and a little bit of undisguised horror) about Cliff Richard and his salmon suit at the Jubilee concert.

This continued all the way through to the Tuesday of last week and then we’ve been back to work, had a family wedding (which consisted of more cake) and last, but definitely not least – MY BIRTHDAY!

13th June – unlucky for some but obviously not for me, as how on earth could you deem the number 13 unlucky when you were born on that date? Of course, possibly unlucky for those that have the misfortune to cross paths with me and definitely unlucky for the squirrel that met an untimely death under my wheels a couple of weeks ago (and yes, I did cry and no, I’m not ashamed to say it, despite never having had a good opinion of these critters previous to this incident).

So of course, yesterday meant yet more cake followed not only by indigestion, but by a warm and fuzzy feeling generated by a gazillion Facebook and Twitter messages wishing me happy birthday, visits from much-loved family, flowers from much-loved friends and a day off with hubby and the little one. Good times.

I can only apologise about the epic fail of living up to my promise of blogging on a more regular basis. I probably should have warned you that I am the Queen of Epic Fails. It is a rare occasion for me to come good on something I’ve promised to do or committed to. I was always the same as a child. Brownies lasted all of six months. I never even earned one badge (well, that first one was something about going to some woman’s house and making her a cup of tea and doing her ironing and there was no way I was going to do that!). Disco dancing didn’t hold my attention. Mum bought be a rather sparkly jade green catsuit and once I achieved my bronze medal (for a rather wonderful routine all danced to the soulful sounds of Kool and The Gang’s Get Down On It) I decided that I would rather play in the fields behind my friend’s house and have crab apple fights with my brother. Horse-riding didn’t progress much further than a rather lazy trot through the Bedfordshire country lanes. It clashed with Little House on the Prairie on TV and that was far less tiring to do.

So you see, I’m what you might call ‘flighty’. It’s not so much that I get bored easily, it’s more that I get distracted too easily. I’m distracted by life, by people, by twitter, by something at the corners of my vision, by the ghosts of dead squirrels whispering ‘murderer’ in my ear, and most of all, quite clearly distracted by too much damn cake.

Damn you, cake. Damn you to hell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer Wednesday

#WriterWednesday Dean J. Baker

I have decided that I am going to try to get on here and blog on a more regular basis – famous last words, I hear you cry! But I know I neglect it and my time here is sporadic and hard to follow, so I am going to try (with the best will in the world) to post on a weekly basis. Mondays will be #MusicMonday highlighting a particular band or song that I am currently into. Tuesdays will henceforth be called #TasterTuesday and give excerpts taken from The Dark Sanctuary books and any other works. And Wednesdays will be #WriterWednesday, giving shout outs to other writers who inspire me, whether they be my all-time faves or new finds and indie writers. I haven’t quite worked out what Thursdays and Fridays will be yet. Bear with me as I fear I am being slightly ambitious to think I’ll blog three days in a row anyway…but its always good to have ambition, right?

This weeks #WriterWednesday is a shout out for Dean J. Baker, a poet I found via wordpress.com and twitter. If you have gauged anything from my posts you will have realised that I have a soft spot for poetry, although I am not particularly skilled in writing it myself. At school I had the biggest writer’s crush on Ted Hughes and I always harbour a fondness for those writers who are able to harness words in a way that I never could.

Dean’s words capture great sensuality, romance, passion, anger, torment, soft sentiments about family and love. They always reel me in and I could literally hit that ‘like’ button over every single poem. Hell, screw that, I need an ‘ADORE’ button.

Below is a taster of what you should expect from Dean…..this is a poem he posted on 20th May:

HORATIO SAYS NOT ME

I’m not falling: that’s too silly
I’m not writing poems for you

I’m not staring at your picture
imagining how you move, hearing

Your voice, softly smooth –
what your scent must bring to mind

How you shine differently now
mornings, and southern nights

No, not me: I did not –
I won’t write this either, finally

Please, please go check out Dean’s work, you can find him hanging out at the following places:

http://deanjbaker.wordpress.com

@deanjbaker on Twitter

http://www.facebook.com/#!/DeanJBakerPoetAuthorComposer Dean’s FB page….I hope this link works as I copied and pasted it like the simpleton I am, but if it doesn’t I’m sure you people with more brain cells than me can find him on FB 😉

Anyway, you get the picture, go look him up and enjoy his wonderful words. Or I’ll set the hounds on you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Random stuff

Wading, writing and inflatable armbands.

When my writing and I first dipped our pinkies into the shallow waters of the public pool, it was not done without some weighty trepidation and a massive urge to run back to the safety of land where we could feel nothing but the comforting feeling of warm sand beneath our feet.

I have mentioned before that I wrote for years without ever uttering to a single person that I did so. I don’t doubt for a second that I’m probably not alone in doing that; whether you have love for writing, painting, singing, design, whatever….I’m sure many of you have done the same as me and hidden your passion away, for fear of a negative reaction from your nearest and dearest.

Well that hurdle was well and truly climbed a couple of years ago now and there was only one road that I could really take and that was the path down to the murky waters of the public world. I already had an open twitter account which I basically used to talk to* (*stalk) celebs in the hope one might reply and so it just took a few advanced twitter lessons to learn how to connect with other writers and soon my follower count began to grow quite steadily.

I created this WordPress blog, spent ages staring at the laptop screen, scratching my head and looking suitably confused as I tried to work out what the hell I was doing. A few more lessons from another well-versed WordPress devotee and soon I had the blog looking exactly how I wanted, had linked it to my Facebook and twitter accounts and set about thinking about what I should write about.

My first post (go check it out: Book-writing, Bloodlust and Blogging) focused on my rather nice but dim foray into the world of blogging and how I knew very little about life as a blogger. To be honest, ten months down the line and I still know and understand very little about the world of blogging, and it seems, even less about writing.

Okay, so I can write, but ten months worth of blogging and wading through the waters of the writing community, and I can pretty much say for certain that I don’t understand the writing world at all.

I write because I love to write #thatisall as we like to hashtag on twitter but really that is not all. In fact, it seems a simple love for writing is very much far from all these days. As a writer and one who aspires to get their work out into the public domain and acquire a readership wider than their friends and family, I have discovered you need to have a much wider understanding of the world beyond the written page.

Blogging is something I am still coming to grips with. For a start, I rarely find the time to sit down and come up with a post. I’m not here that often, so I’m already facing a barrier in the sense that random, rare blogging is never going to attract a wide range of readers. Blogging isn’t just about posting your thoughts on-line and wandering off into the sunset, pleased you got that out of your system. It’s about dialogue. It’s about striking up a conversation between yourself and your blog followers. It’s about posting an opinion or a story or poem and asking your followers “So what’s your take on this? What do you think? How did this make you feel?”.

If like me, you don’t blog very often, your dialogue is going to be limited to a few supportive comments from family and friends and if you’re lucky, the odd constructive comment from someone who you don’t have dinner with on a Sunday lunchtime. Hell, I still get excited when someone hits that ‘like’ button.

Secondly, there’s the twitter writing community. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have been lucky enough to meet some amazing writers through twitter but out of over 1000 followers, the majority of whom are writers, I probably talk regularly to maybe just thirty-forty of those. Is that usual? I just don’t know. Maybe I jut don’t make enough effort to connect with people, but the truth is the writing community scares me a bit.

I see people who are completely on top of their game and know exactly how to master the twitter and blogging world. Most of the time I’m in a daze, baffled by everyone’s ability to self-promote, self-market, blog, re-blog, blog-hop, blog-tour and review without batting an eye-lid. People talk about writing groups, beta readers, editing, cover designs, writing forums, e-publishing and traditional publishing with such knowledge and expertise, that I’m completely bedazzled by it and embarrassed that I know practically nothing.

If anything, I find it all very daunting and pretty damn scary and I’m tempted to go scuttling back into my shell and pretend the outside world doesn’t exist.

But, the truth is that I can’t. If I want more people than my dad, brother and close-knit group of friends to read my work (and I really do) then I need to keep dipping my feet in the shallows until finally I’m ready to tread the waters like everyone else.

I will do it. Only excuse me if I happen to be wearing an inflatable rubber ring and matching armbands just in case.