Welcome to my author's passions

This blog, is what I am passionate about, where I can share with you. Reviews, tips, hints, real help if I can, where you can share what you are passionate about!

Monday, 30 August 2010

Goals, pledges to self, good tools for writers! 1st book!

Last week I made myself the goal and a pledge to you my readers that I would complete my ebook and have it ready to publish by the 1st September.

The Good news is that not only did this work and spur me on but I have finally written, edited and rewritten, formatted and converted into a PDF file my first ebook.

I am now working on sales and thank you page as well as gearing up the publicity for said book.

Sales and thank you page giving me a few gray hairs even with Nick Daws The 10 day ebook course as guidance. Still when I have mastered this it will make it so much easrier for the second, third and beyond. Please note I am being positive here I will write more books and it will be easier.
Well best I give you the title of new book, it is a how to book, how to control your pain and guess what book title is Take Control of your pain.

A guide to assist you the reader to take control of your pain, be that a headache to back pain, arthritic pain to cancer pain. I strongly believe there is no such thing as uncontrollable pain just you do not have the tools to deal with them.

The book aims to give you the tools to be in control and not feel helpless against your painful condition.
I strongly believe with "knowledge comes power" you should be able to feel empowered to take control, develop a better relationship with your doctor or health professional.

It looks at alternative therapists and how each of them can help you.

Well I will tell you more once I finally have sales page etc written so If I have whetted your appetite, you may decide to buy!

The big point here is if I can do it so can you if you so want. There are loads of information out there and sometimes you need to filter but as well as Nick Daws, there are others who have helped along this journey. Gary @bubblecow and Joanna @creative penn, business link here in the UK have been very helpful regarding the practical stuff, how you set yourself up as self employed etc. Websites and how to promote through Twitter and Facebook all things I have learned along the journey.

If any budding writers/authors out there want to know more please do not hesitate to get intouch.

Once book available will let you know how to get your hands on it and for those who buy through the blog a discount will be available so get in quick!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Writer's routine

So it hit me this morning, in the shower of all places, I was actually starting to get back a good routine. This was reminscent of the days I rushed out each morning either in uniform to the hospital or in suits to the high powered, high energy and at times high stress sales career!

For those of you who read my earlier blog this week, you will know of the pledge I made to myself to complete my ebook and have it ready to publish by 1st September. Yes I do mean this year!!

So far it is working, i was able to sit and write, edit and rewrite nearly half of the book yesterday. Although a quick review of the second half, might take a little longer.

So my epithany this morning, Do other writers have a routine? Yesterday I felt able and comfortable not doing any housework. I did manage to retrieve some meat from the freezer to defrost for the making's of the evening meal. No I did not manage to make it, have it lovinly prepared and on the table for when husband came home.
Was he bothered, no he was pleased as I had achieved a good writing day and it gave him the opportunity to fetch the cookery books. He used to enjoy cooking, which we shared when I worked full time but since turning my back on the long hours driving to working from home; he has had less opportunity.
He has already decided on a Jamie Oliver recipe for tonight, my input required, some nice fresh baked bread to go with his culiarny delight. So the bread is in the bread maker, the coffee pot has been refilled ready to start my writing day.

The routine I had set myself in order to discipline and focus my efforts on my writing, set me thinking what do other writers do?
We work from home, we set our own hours but do you have a set routine or do you wing it?
Do you have a favourite pen?
A particular mug for your brew? Mine's a mug I treated myself to from the Literary company " Go away I'm writing". When I bought it, I thought it was sending a message to the family, not to distrate me but the truth is I believe it is a message for me to focus on my writing.

If I want to focus this as my third career, I need to treat it as such. So feeling confident with freshly blow dried hair and even a bit of lippy on I am ready. I may not wear the suits anymore but if I treat my new career casually, how can I expect anyone else to take it seriously?

So I ask the writers/authors out there, what's your routine?
How do you focus and separate home from our work, our writing?

Love to hear your thoughts, Please leave a comment below or find me on Facebook or twitter as Sloanwriter.
Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Focus on writing time!!

I am sure it happens to us all, it seems to happen to me all the time.

I try to make TO DO lists and neatly cross them off as each completed but the list seems to get longer and I seem no nearer to completing a my list and b and most important my writing tasks of the day.

I Twitter and check Facebook, promise myself not to read every blog or listing that catches my eye and I am getting better at that, pat on the back!

The distractions start with a phonecall, the doorbell, the workmen who fail to turn up when arranged, then before you know its hunger, so you stop to eat, vacuum left in middle of the floor from when you answered the phone and have not yet got back to finish it. Worse you think I will multi task hahaha! I will eat lunch and check emails, Twitter and Facebook and you look up, food has gone cold as well as coffee, need to make a fresh one and it is 3pm and the day is racing away.

Congratulations are in order if I somehow manage to write my blog, at the moment this seems a huge task after not writing at all for over 3 months. If you have read previous blogs, you will have seen I doubted my ability ever to write again, yet here I am.
So why am I struggling to get that first ebook finished and published I lack focus and do not place it as a high enough priority thats the underlying problem.

The excuses I find are endless, housework, washing, drying, walk the dogs or just check Twitter again in I missed something, then an alert pops up from Facebook, so must check that and the hours whizz by.

The promises I have made to myself and failed to keep, I never fail in a promise to others so why do I do it to myself?

Well today a pledge I write to you is that once this post is published to retrieve the paper version of my ebook, and edit away, tomorrrow type revisions, send to my mentor and work on Sales page. I am going to give myself and everyone the deadline of 1st September to have it ready for publishing.

According to a fun article posted my Nick Daws, we both write like Dan Brown well if I am ever to reap any rewards a firm kick up the butt is required. Today I read another blog stating how much writers make, well this is not to be a part time hobby but a full time career.  I am extremely lucky to be supported whilst writing by my loving husband but that does not mean I can't more than supplement our income.
So as I reminded self, dust will always be there long after I am gone to worry about it; the family will not starve if meal  is not on the table but I will have regrets if I do not achieve my writing aims and goals.

One thing noted today is that Penquin have opened thier doors for new submissions, well I have a synopsis of a novel or two and I am going to dig them out brush them up and send at least one off. 
I have outlined a series of ebooks but they will be out of date if I don't pull my finger out or fingers across the keyboard. On top of that I have 3 novels in outline, synopsis stage. So if you don't see me on Twitter or Facebook fear not I have not died but starting to focus, starting right now!!

I will keep you posted!!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Funerals, one certainty in life, my top ten of how to make it easier!!

As many of you will knw we have been hit by multiple breavements this year, no this is not me talking of my struggle as a writer but more to pass on my tips on how to manage them the best you can.

It seems we can talk about anything and everything in life but not death and how it effects those left behind.

1/ If it is at all possible talk to your family about it, your parents, your siblings, your children, your partner. Do you know what they want? Do you know what you want and have you told them?

2/ Have the conversation with them if you haven't already, talk as if you had died yesterday or they had,( don't tempt fate) do they know what you want and are you clear on how they would like thier funeral.

3/ Do the want a creamation? Or a Burial? Is there a burail plot? Where do they want there ashes to go if creamated. A religous cermonary? A wake? Hymmns?? A favourite song? Flowers or a charity collection.

4/ Remember you are not being morbid, This is the one certainty in life, we are all going to die at some point. Nothing else in life is a (excuse the pun) dead certain than death.

5/ Take the fear out of it, for example what do you want to wear in your coffin, if you do not provide clothing for your departed loved one, they will probably end up in a frilly shroud! Is that what you want, is that what they would want?  My husband has decided he wants to go in his winter wetsuit, he rather likes the idea of the struggle the funeral staff would have with that one! He even told one firm recently and they laughed and said they would start collecting the jars of Vaseline now! I want to go in one of my glamourous ball gowns, made up to the nines looking my best. How about you?

6/ Having never arranged a funeral before we floundered a little, this blog if you take it on board is so you do not have to. What notice do you want to put in the paper? Do you want to put the announcement in the paper? Well traditionally most of us do and it is a good way of informing some extended friends or ex colleagues you may have lost touch with. We found it a good way to cover the bases, as you can never be sure you have informed everyone and would you know everyone to inform of your loved ones departure.

7/ Be aware of the costs involved, sadly even dying has its expence. To place an announcement in a paper will cost an average £100 to 200 plus depending on how much you want to say. We thought we had kept it brief but including children, grandchildren and great grandchildren cost £175.00. This has to paid on placing the annoucement. Papers do not wait until an estate has been settled.

8/ You will probably need to pay at least 25% of the cost of the funeral before it takes place, could be more for a burial. This could be at least a £1000.00 An easier way around this can be if your loved one had purchased a funeral bond, it is certainly something we will be looking into. A funeral bond means purchasing at todays prices and you can even express how you want you funeral to take place but please discuss it with your loved ones. Recently attending a funeral of a family friend, he had expressed he wanted it quick and simple, you might say we all do but we did not realise, he meant no vicar, no religous cermonary, no hymnns, no euogoly nothing, just a piece of music chosen by himself played before, a few minutes silence to say goodbye and more music of the same tune to file out to. Personaly I think this was awful, it might have been his wishes but he did not discuss it with his family. A funeral is your loved ones time to say goodbye but it is also time for your family and friends to say goodbye and remember the good memories. People want to pay thier respects, they need time for this, so remember this when discussing yours with your family.

9/ You may think a life assurance policy is the way to go, remember these can take time to pay out, maybe held up by Probate in England and Wales or Confirmation of Estate in Scotland. If you want to go this way, go small, just enough to pay for your funeral and immediate bills. Including copies of multiple death certificates at current rates of £9.00 each, bank accounts, polices, investments all want to see an orginal copy of a death certificate. Very few places accept a certified copy of even a photocopy.
A larger policy usually anything over £20000 has to go through the court for Probate or Confirmation. So if you have a larger one maybe to leave something behind or pay off your mortgage, consider a smaller one separetly or look at the Funeral bond previously mentioned.

10/ A wake or not to have a wake, I have been to both and personally prefer a small wake. Just a chance to take it all in, have a bite to eat and drink, no it does not need to be a massive party  but if you want one then please provide for it, don't expect your breaved loved ones to find the extra cash.

Lastly a good tip I can pass on, if you are invited back to the breaved persons home, be supportive but don't outstay your welcome, they are going to be exhausted and need sometime to themselves.

I hope you have not found this post morbid just something I have had a more experience than most of recently and wanted to share some tips, to make what can be very stressful and distressing time a little less so.

Russell Brooks: The Official Website

Russell Brooks: The Official Website

Russell Brooks is publishing his first ebook, he is a Canadian thriller author with his debut novel, Pandora's Succession, the short story.

Have a look, you might enjoy and you never know he might return the favour sometime.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Writers Block!!

This blog has been quiet since May with good reason.

I had a severe case of writers block, some will say no such thing, some will say distract yourself and the ideas will flow. Unfortunately I have had too much distraction. As a writer nobody could have prepared me for mind numbing feeling that comes from breavement. Sadly this past year we have been affected by too many, some of them friends and servicemen but since May my husband's parents passed away within 24 days of each other. Since then three more, lifelong family friends and sadly another serviceman.

Nothing can prepare you for how death in a family effects you, we are all different, to me as a writer my voice in my head might as well died with them. I thought it temporary and it was in the scheme of things 3 months is temporary.  It was  going from a head that woke each day bursting with new ideas, not always good ones but always something buzzing in my head to silence. It felt a deadly silence!!

At first I described it as a head full of cotton wool, it was as if my head was at saturation with everything else going on, helping to organise funerals, managing our grief we were a team, my husband and I but many expected us to support them in thier grief too.

They describe it was one of the most stressful things we as humans go through, up there with moving house and divorce. Believe me I have been through divorce ( twice and both painful) and house moves too many to mention, price of being married to the service life. Breavement of this magitude makes the previous experiences seem like a walk in the park and believe me; neither was ever a breeze.

On bad days I thought I would never write again but every now and again I would get a glimmer of an idea, it would never last long. I truly thought I would have to job hunt again and go back to stress mill of sales again.
Well slap me down for such lack of faith in myself, I just needed to give myself time, be kind to myself. So if you are ever affected by writers block, don't ignore it, maybe it is your brain just looking for a rest, maybe you are just a little overloaded.
My advice, step back, listen to yourself, if you truly can't hear anything, then do something else for me recently it has been baking. I started on Sunday and today baked some more, bread of all things maybe kneading the dough was therapy for the brain but at least it allowed me to sit and write this blog.