Grey and Grumpy day today – Help!

It’s Wednesday. Normally I’d be introducing you to a new writer or one that I really enjoy reading and there are several books that I’ve read recently that are worthy of the attention.

“Enchanted Glass” by Diane Wynn Jones for example. Her last published book , it is everything you expect from her and more. Or maybe Kristin Cashore’s “Graceling” or “Fire”; beautifully written and superbly built fantasy worlds that draw you away from the hum drum of this reality.

There are so many books on my “To Be Read” list. I’m in the middle of M Cid d’Angelo’s “Dark Running” and enjoying it immensely. I’m eagerly anticipating Terry Pratchett’s “Dodger”…

…but to be honest, today I can’t be bothered.

It’s halfway through the second week of September. The kids are back at school and the autumn weather is starting to appear. I’ve been writing and enjoying it, even though I’ve had a few bouts of vertigo and headaches.

Maybe it’s the rain? We’ve had some lovely weather over the last few weeks and now we’re starting to get the chilly winds and wet weather of a welsh autumn. The colours don’t seem as bright under the grey cloudy skies and I can feel myself drifting on that downward spiral.

I’m tired from having to get up earlier than I’m used to, now that NOS is going to high school and needs to be checked before he heads out to the bus. Maybe this is the beginning of the SAD season? It’s possible; I do have more problems with my depression in the winter than I do in the spring and summer. It’s the whole reason my desk is next to a window, so I can get natural light.

It could be my finances. I’m juggling the family’s needs against the little that we get coming in at the moment and finding that there is very little leeway. That’s enough to depress anyone, I suppose…

I want to write and help to support the family, but I’m so scared of mucking it up that I can’t concentrate on the writing enough to make it good!

*sighs*

It feels very much like I’m on a treadmill, running to try and stay in one place instead of dropping backward or moving forward. I know I should be pushing myself to go forward, but it feels like I am on a bungee cord, pulling against me.

So there is only one thing for me to do. Start pushing myself and pull hard enough on the bungee cord to make it snap and free me.
How am I going to do that? Well for a start, I am going to publish a few more things:

“The Heir of The Dragon” is currently in Beta Reading Stage. I’ve drafted and redrafted it enough to be happy with it, but I need to make sure it’s perfect before I put it out there. So hopefully that will be out in the next three months.

I have a collection of Horror Stories that I hope to get out by Hallowe’en, I just need to format and get a cover done for them. That will be under A.E. Churchyard. Watch this Space

I have moved into the last stages of editing for “The Angel’s Crown”, so that should be available in the New Year.

I’ve started writing the next story in the “Tales of Cassius” series. I’ve got my characters all built up, so that will be out there in January as well, or sooner if I can manage it.

I would like some help please though…

I currently have two books out on the kindle shelves:

The Necklace of Harmony

My first story collection… a gentle introduction to my mind.

One of the fun things about being a writer is responding to a challenge. This book is full of the results of such challenges…

From the wedding celebrations of Greek Deities, to mermaids, ghosts and superheroes, a whole gamut of creatures await your eager eyes.

Do you remember this? Well it is currently languishing at #393,998 on the bestsellers listing. I’d like to get it up the ranks a little and for that I will need help. How? Well here’s how:

  •  Have you bought and read it? No? Well please do so! I shall be doing a promotion to aid sales soon, but until then, please buy and read!!!

 

  • Did you answer yes to the above question? Have you written a review of the book on Amazon? No? Why not? It only takes a couple of lines to say if you enjoyed it or not, and if you’d recommend it or not. I’m not asking for an essay (unless you like writing them) just a tip of the hat to tell me if I’m getting it right.

 

  • Have you got friends with kindles? Have you loaned them your copy? You can do that you know… and once they’ve read it, asked them to tell me what they thought of it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Necklace-Harmony-Collection-ebook/dp/B0079HL2FE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1343998081&sr=8-2

The other book I published was this:

Tales of Cassius: Statues of Justice

Cassius Longinus has a long memory. He can remember over three thousand years and in all those memories, he cannot recall an atrocity like this.

New Texas was supposed to be a peaceful place where Reiskinn and Human could live side by side. That peace is shattered by the greed of a few and Cassius must put things right.

Brought back to society by a slave raid on a nearby village, Cassius is sent on a quest to retrieve the tribe’s women and children by the Tribal Shaman.

What he discovers when he finds them is beyond anything he has yet encountered…

Poor Cassius hasn’t even made it onto the seller list… he has however garnered a 4 star review:

“Justice must be served even if you’re three-thousand years old. Having witnessed humanity’s atrocities for that long time the hero, Cassius, puts an end to horrible wrongs inflicted by Earth colonists on the new planet’s natives. Can he bring overcome his thirst for vengeance and build a lasting peace? Can he validate the faith of the one who so touched his heart three-thousand years ago? Be prepared to want to read more.”
– Paul De Lancey, Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Cassius-Statues-Justice-ebook/dp/B008BKGPRS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344120397&sr=8-1

What can you do to help Cassius gain a foot hold? Exactly the same as the list for Necklace of Harmony:

  • Have you bought and read it? No? Well please do so!
  • Did you answer yes to the above question? Have you written a review of the book on Amazon? No? Why not? It only takes a couple of lines to say if you enjoyed it or not, and if you’d recommend it or not. I’m not asking for an essay (unless you like writing them) just a tip of the hat to tell me if I’m getting it right.
  • Have you got friends with kindles? Have you loaned them your copy? You can do that you know… and once they’ve read it, asked them to tell me what they thought of it.

I shall be sorting things out from my end, but please, if you enjoy my work or even if you only like my blog, then can you please go to the Amazon pages for both books and like them? Like the helpful reviews as well, and agree with the tags… It’s only a small thing, but if enough people do it, then I might actually be able to start pulling on the bungee cord, instead of fighting against the pull back.

The thing about the reviews is that we authors like getting them. I suppose that for us small independent authors, it’s a way of keeping score, of knowing how well you are doing and if it’s worth going to the trouble of publishing a new book. We write all the time – we can’t stop, but publishing, now that’s a different matter. As I said in my last post, there are hundred of words on my PC that will never see the light of day as a published book; I don’t feel they’re good enough, so they don’t make it out into the world.

Publishing something yourself, if you’re determined to make a good job of it, requires about ten times the effort of writing the story in the first place… so we keep score. We check our ratings and reviews and make daily decisions about our future as writers on them. It can get very depressing if you don’t have many readers…

*sighs*

The sun has come back out and I’m feeling slightly better than I did when I started this post. I’m going to go getAngel’s Crown” finished and ready for formatting…

Sunday Rambling and other Nonsense…

I just spent an hour cleaning all the dust, cat hair and crumbs out of my keyboard…

Before that I was enjoying the peace and sunshine outside: you know, before it pours down again, got to make the most of the sun while it’s shining in South Wales or it disappears on you…

Before that I was attempting to build up TOH’s confidence and get him working on his final project, because I am so fed up with his self pity party about his artistic talents (which, by the way are pretty big and he just can’t see it) so I had a go at the stone wall he’s built up…

And of course he’s watching Ben 10 Alien Force with the kids which is a distraction…

…Yes, I’m procrastinating.

It’s not about getting any writing done and I know exactly what I am avoiding doing.

Even writing this piece is procrastination in itself. However, I need to get my head into the right frame of mind and writing about what’s bothering me helps me to do that.

Even when I’m not entirely sure what is exactly bothering me!

So I decided to try and work out what was bothering me by starting with procrastination itself – and I found this:

I worked my way through the brainstorm and found that today, my source of procrastination is my own fault.

I’m supposed to be working on my final major project, a piece of shoulder armour Jewellery. The design is fairly easy to make, overlapping plates that curve around the arm and go from neck to the back of the hand. The construction will be simple as well; holes drilled through the plates linked with wire.

Nothing massively difficult to do, I just have to make the plates.

And there’s my problem.

I have high expectations, so I get frustrated when something goes wrong that I get stressed. When I get stressed, I get a headache and I really don’t want to have a headache.  Every piece of the armour that goes wrong builds up the stress. Yesterday, I only managed to complete five plates out of twenty that I made, and I got a mild headache that meant I couldn’t concentrate on any more.

*sighs*

So I this morning I found myself procrastinating. Avoiding doing the work because I don’t want to get another headache. Now I know what I’m doing, I can get on and avoid the headache by taking some preventative measures.

While I was working out why I was procrastinating, I discovered a website by John Perry, a philosophy professor at Stanford University and winner of an Ig Nobel prize for the essay that I discovered in my search for the reason I was procrastinating!

“Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things, like gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganize their files when they get around to it.

Why does the procrastinator do these things? Because they are a way of not doing something more important.

If all the procrastinator had left to do was to sharpen some pencils, no force on earth could get him do it. “

 This was the paragraph in the essay that made me blink and think. I have, in the back of my mind, a list of several important things I need to do. Here they are in order of Importance:

1) My Final Major Project –

The Shoulder Armour which is causing me so much stress. I’ve found several different ways to avoid doing this, all of which are on my list!

2) My Personal Evaluation –

This is a part of my college course that is due in on Monday. Illness and other things have got in the way so I really do have to get it done today…

3) The Washing Up – 

Dirty Dishes are my enemy, in that I will avoid doing them at all costs until I absolutely have to.

4) Cleaning the house form top to bottom – 

We have two cats and two kids. They leave a trail of destruction and cat hair in their wake. As their Mother, I’m supposed to tidy this up…

5) Feed the Family.

Today is Sunday. That means that I have a Roast Chicken to cook. That’s quite a lot of work, especially as I will have to wash up before I can get started…

6) Write an article and an interview for my Webzine.

To be honest, this should have been done over a week ago. It’s supposed to be a part of this month’s edition…

So you can guess what order the things will get done in! No? Well, this is probably the order they will occur in ; #2, #1, #3, #5, #6, #4 – unless I can think of anything else that is more important!

Some Facts from the Tiger Princess’ Life…

I have two cubs (as you may remember) one ten year old  male – NOS – and one six year old female – PT.

NOS on the Right, PT on the Left... just in case you can't tell them apart! (Photo 2010)

There they are… a right couple of mischief makers at the best of times… ahem. Anyway my cubs make life a joy and a hell, often on the same day!

This morning, it was hell.

Why?

Well, PT is going through this phase where she wakes up anywhere between two and four times a night with nightmares. O’course, TOH doesn’t wake up unless she gets past me and climbs into bed with us. And who has to wake up, wake PT up and  get her back to bed every time?

Yup, that’s right, Yours Truly.

*sighs*

Having caught PT once before going to bed last night,  I had to  get her back to bed twice more.  The last time was at 3.30 am (British Summertime) and I lay there, trying very hard to get to sleep again.

But I couldn’t.

Why?

Another fact you may have gathered in the course of my blogs is that TOH snores.  Its not too bad when he is on his side – he can be fairly quiet. Sadly, last night he insisted on sleeping on his back.  That’s when most people I know start suggesting these –

They don’t work though. I can ignore the noise, it’s the vibration that’s the problem… and not in a good way! So I tend to lie there awake and getting a headache. This morning, I decided enough was enough and got up.

At 4.oo am.

I wrapped myself up and disturbed the puddy tats on the way to my writing cubby.

My cats? Oh, well just in case you can’t remember them, they look like this:

Gizmo is the daft orange one and Cleo is the small whitish one...

They came and joined me in my cubby, Gizmo curling up on my feet, which was very welcome because I didn’t have any socks or slippers on and it was freezing this morning!

Now Writing is my life. I teach because I enjoy working with children, but I write because I not only have to (I’d go insane with all the characters shouting at me) but because I love it.

I love the stories that come out of my imagination, I love creating new worlds  and I love the fact that with today’s technology I can share my work with everyone quickly.

Which work did I decide to work on? Well Book Three of “The Tower and The Eye” Series actually.

There were some loose ends to tie up at the beginning and I needed to add a few more words to the opposite end. I also ended up thinking about my characters and the world they lived in, in preparation for writing Books Four & Five…

…a fact that is sure to delight my Editor, Diane Nelson of Pfoxmoor Publishing (as well as all four of my fans) as she is currently having fun wading through her slushpile – what can I say? The lady likes to read!

At 5.00 am, I caught PT in her fourth nightmare. By this time, I’d written 500 words on book 3 and decided it was time to have a coffee and watch the starlings squabbling over the peanuts in the feeder.

It wasn’t long after that (another thousand words or so) when NOS got up, gave me a Good Morning cuddle and demanded breakfast. I told him to get a drink and wait until his sister got up. That gained me another half an hour of peace… and another 250 words, which isn’t bad going before my second cup of coffee!

PT however is much noisier than her brother – her volume control hasn’t kicked in yet and she does everything at the top of her voice. The only way to make the atmosphere in the Den more comfortable, was to give them breakfast and escape to the shower.

I finally got to use my prize today. Which prize? Oh, I…co-won… (is that the right word?) a prize from Jane Alexander’s Blog about scent. It arrived the other day, a big square pink and gold box with a heavy white glass jar inside.

My Prize!

It’s got an odd consistency, nothing like my normal  body creams (I tend to use Body Butter) but it smells divine – I love roses –  and has left my skin so soft that I know I am going to want to buy this one when it runs out… not to mention a few other of their products!

 *slips a quid into the “Ila  Fund” Jar*  

Let’s see how the rest of the day pans out – I feel fairly happy and relaxed now…. can’t say how I’ll feel at the end of the week – it’s half term and I have the children home until next Tuesday!