It’s started….. the nerves

BLOG 1I’ve done it, I’ve started the, approaching agents process. It’s strange, I feel incredibly sick!! I actually feel like I do before a job interview. Which is crazy because I’m not going for an interview. I’m not talking directly to these individuals. I’m simply sending a covering letter, synopsis and the first three chapters of my new project, Ward Five. (I know, I’ve revealed nothing about it to you guys until now and for now that’s all you’re getting, the Title!!)

So why do i feel so nervous? If I had to guess I would say it is because of the nature of the work. It is not Fantasy/Sci-fi which we all know I geek over as a way of life. It is just normal life stuff, no other worlds, no special powers, no weird creatures. Just regular human beings, a drama I guess, very different to my self published works of The Break and Concordia. They were an element of my imagination and fun; Ward Five is my heart.

I would say the experience of self publishing has taught me a significant amount, not only about the process of publishing but about my writing. Ward Five has allowed me to use a different voice for the protagonist that i would never has normally have chosen. It allowed me to know them more and this has made me a better writer. Even I see, not only a new style to my writing, but a higher quality.

I will revisit fantasy again at some point but I thought to be a good writer, you should be able to explore different genres and different styles. Find your own voice as well as your characters.

I think that’s why I feel nervous putting it out there to be judged by agents because it means something to me and it should. Everything that makes you feel passion, should mean something to you.

I just wanted to update you all on where I’m at. Watch this space for more updates, maybe even a snippets of Ward Five or maybe just ranting and off loading about all the rejections that inevitably come with this process. There’s going to be some some blood and tears on the way folks.

As always thanks for reading!!!

Book Trailers… Seriously?

So now the Car drama is over and Yes I did get the wing mirror fixed and no I didn’t do it myself my better half did!!! Anyway it’s now time to get back to business. The writing business!! Now, amongst all my research for a good marketing strategy and preparation for the release of The Break there is one thing that keeps flashing up everywhere and that I keep blatantly ignoring and trying to avoid and that would be the crazy notion of The Book Trailer. I remember seeing a book trailer on TV for the first time and my first thought was ‘You’ve got to be kidding me, why?’ But on further reflection my second thought was ‘What an interesting concept why isn’t everyone doing it’ and I kind of came to the conclusion that it’s a little odd to present imagery to the reader before they’ve read the book. I mean I enjoy reading because it’s my interpretation of the story and each reader takes out of a story what they will, what’s personal to them and their view of what’s significant and their own imagery, surely by presenting them with images of your own perception is manipulating your reader before they’ve even read your work. It’s different to movie trailers and obviously movies as a whole for that matter because we’re viewing that Directors interpretation of the script and there’s hardly ever any room for personal interpretation.

I have to admit though the concept of Book Trailers intrigues me still so I had a Google and found a few people who’d shared their experience of making such a trailer, now naturally my first reaction to the idea was Oh My God do I need to start casting actors and getting them to act out scenes from the book? I now chuckle at the idea! And the answer is certainly not, I typed Book Trailers in to You Tube’s search bar and trawled through the many listed from the amateur to the professional and found not one single actor in sight, which is probably good news as I doubt  Johnny Depp would’ve been available!!!  Now one of my many passions as a kid/teenager/young adult was film making, my first real shot at this was when I made a promotional video for a local education centre which they used to send to primary schools to promote what they did, I was seventeen at the time and I was all about the cinematography, I was always so excited about everything but unfortunately a passion which died once financial responsibility started and I needed to pay the bills!!! So now, I’m thinking why not relight that little film makers spark hidden away and experiment with a Book Trailer, I still think the idea is crazy but I’m all for crazy it’s all part of the adventure after all!!!!

It Comes In Three’s

Yes I know I go from Not Blogging Mid Week last week to Blogging on a Monday this week this is because I’ve had the most hideous Monday for a very very long time. So firstly it starts off there’s no internet connection (AGAIN) so I can’t check my bank or urgently transfer the money I need to. Then the Wife takes out her toe on the stone fireplace and I have to say it was pretty gruesome she’d somehow managed to wrench the nail of her second toe all the way back to where it joins on to her foot and smash in the one next to that and then I go to get in the car to go to work only to discover some inconsiderate, disgustingly destructive excuse for a human being has completely taken out my passenger side wing mirror, it’s not even like it was forceively bashed so it was bent back, I mean completely taken out, it doesn’t even exist anymore, it’s like someone apparated it away (OK so I know the act of apparating only exists in Harry Potter but still if it was real that’s what it was like), the only sign I ever had a wing mirror on that side of my car was the lone blue piece of plastic laying on the road, fifty feet away (How’d it get over there?). So I have to put in a crazy panicky call to my Boss explaining I’m going to be late as I need to take Fred (That’s my car!) to a Garage to hope and pray it can get repaired pretty sharpish as it’s MOT is in a week and a half and I can’t afford it to fail let alone randomly payout for parts I didn’t know I was going to need because some idiot is BLIND or either can’t see a huge car sat there or alternatively he/she saw perfectly well and it was intentional. Anyway I think my poor manager now thinks I’m mental (if she doesn’t already!), good job she didn’t witness the reaction that occurred when I discovered this little incident, I think there would’ve been Police and men in white coats involved But she’s pretty awesome and has let me take the day as holiday. Which I think in my ranting I foolishly said I shouldn’t need the whole day!! Ha ha ha ha, how wrong I was. Why is it when you need something specific nobody has what you’re looking for yet someone you spoke to three weeks ago got the same thing sorted in a matter of hours?? Call it Sods Law, call it fate, call it what the hell you like because whatever it is, it doesn’t like me much, I drove to six different garages that I knew of, they all said they couldn’t help out, they either don’t do wing mirrors, they don’t stock the part, they don’t do my make, they only do exhausts you name it there was an excuse. So having become paranoid I was about to be stopped by Police and fined for driving around in a maimed car I head home to try my good old friend Google completely forgetting THERE’S NO INTERNET, so I have to surf on my phone. Now my phone is four years old now and its internet capabilities are limited at best so naturally I see no sense in having an internet bolt on with my package. Twenty One garages Googled later, I never want to see my phone bill next month, I’m going to get the other half to check my E-mails when I know it’s due so I don’t have to look. Anyway finally the best I could do was eventually find somewhere that can supply me with the part but not until tomorrow, I’m so desperate right now I’m taking that option (Watch this space for the adventures of me trying to fit it tomorrow!!) and that’s only because my neighbour gave me the card of the dude he uses to get parts. Which was a very nice random act of kindness as I’m pretty sure he hates us!! But then, his wife is stood the other side of the fence “That’s what you get for parking on the road” She screeches, DO YOU THINK! Obviously didn’t say this but the degree of self control that went in to not throwing the lonely left over piece of blue plastic at her head was so exhausting all I want to do now is curl up and go to sleep. Also, probably would’ve been highly inappropriate as her husband was incredibly helpful, Maybe it’s just her that doesn’t like us, She does remind me a little of Professor Umbridge from Harry Potter, only a bit more toad like. So It’s now three O’clock, the next bus that would get me in to town is in ten minutes and the bus stop is just over a mile away so I would never make that one, the next one now isn’t until ten to four which will get me to town about quarter past four and I’d get to work for twenty five past four only to finish at five which clearly is a waste of time so I’ve had to waste a whole days worth of Annual Leave because of some thoughtless, selfish, inconsiderate IDIOT. So to calm myself I will be indulging in Beer and Takeaway this evening.

The Secrets Out

Out Spring 2012

So my second proof arrived today and guess what, it’s perfect! So all that’s left to do is OK it then it’s back to waiting but this time waiting for it to come out for real!!

I guess at this point I should really start by confessing that it’s not really a big secret I need to reveal but as I draw closer to the launch of my book, The Break, I feel I must explain something to you guys. This book is being published by ME!! I have ventured in to the realm of self publishing, a realm I must admit I was very sceptical and apprehensive about especially considering the stereotype and reactions that go with self publishing.

I guess there’s two pinnacle moments that has lead me to this point in time, the first is way back in the day when my thirst for writing began and the moment when I was eighteen years old and had some success with a screenplay I had written, which piqued the interest of a casting director, a producer and a commissioning editor at Channel 4. I couldn’t even begin to describe the rollercoaster ride I continued on, which unfortunately lasted all of four months as the project fell through due to funding. What I can describe to you is the devastating effects something like that has on the soul of an eighteen year old, to have all your dreams handed to you in a stroke of fate only to experience a mere smell of them before they’re whisked away just as quickly as they arrived. With the exception of journalism pieces for the student magazine of which I was editor of whilst at college I didn’t write a single thing for four years. I think this is why I get so annoyed at reality shows like the X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and American Idol etc because some of the contestants are too young, you can’t possibly comprehended the manipulative ways of the entertainments industry at the ages of fifteen to eighteen. Grown adults seem to find it amusing to play with kids hopes and fears. Anyway that’s a different rant for a different day! So once I started writing again I still couldn’t find my “Mojo” I was continuing to write screenplays still because that’s what I had had success with before but none of those projects felt right. Incidentally, I now have a huge pile of them I now use as a door stop!

Then the second pinnacle moment occurred just after I turned thirty, I started to lose my hearing. Now without meaning to sound incredibly clichéd but it is incredible what we take for granted. I never expected in a million years to hit thirty and start going deaf, over the course of a year I completely lost the ability to hear out of my right ear and now wear a hearing aid in my left, without out which I’m a little useless to you!! It was in this moment that I sat down and started writing, writing an actual story, a novel, not a screenplay. Why do people need life altering moments to motivate them to do something they would never have dared try? I’ve always loved crazy, wild, unbelievable stories based in imaginary worlds and fictional crazy characters ultimately the fantasy/Sci-fi genre so that’s where my crazy imagination took me, to a complete fantasy.

After finishing my first completed draft, I went back and started to focus on the first three chapters and formatted them in accordance with “industry standards”, I wrote a covering letter and started sending them to literary agents, I figured I didn’t need to know the ins and outs of the world of publishing I’d get an agent and they’ll do it all for me. I was so naive back then I look back and I’m convinced that attitude belonged to a different person. The thing is everyone said no but the annoying part was it wasn’t because they didn’t enjoy the work. I think it was because of the genre I was writing in. I think nowadays if you’re writing a fantasy novel and you’re not on Team Vampire you don’t stand a chance.

It seems in this current economic climate nobody wants to take a risk everybody wants a sure thing. I was on the verge of scrapping the idea completely to attempt perhaps something more main stream a romantic comedy maybe!! Or to conform and throw in a vampire or two but I’d grown a little attached to my characters and to not see it through to the end would’ve reminded me of how close I’d come before and writing and telling stories is the only thing that has stayed with me since I learnt to read, write and draw, it’s the only thing I’ve never kept changing my mind about, I’ve always wanted to be an author. Then somebody suggested self publishing and to be honest I turned my nose up. I spent about an hour Googling and realised it consisted of dodgy looking companies with dodgy looking websites asking you to give them about fifteen hundred quid and they’ll print your book and get it in the shops (yeah right), it just all looked like one big SCAM. Then my partner suggested I do some more research “Buy a book about it”. So I did I purchased a book called Self Printed: a sane person’s guide to self publishing by Catherine Ryan Howard. I think it was the “Sane” part that was the biggest selling point for me! Anyway as I read it, it just all made sense and there wasn’t a dodgy looking Scam company in sight, it’s become my bible and the biggest thing it opened my eyes to was, self publishing in this way is much like running a small business, basically you have a product you would like to sell and that was my problem before, how could I expect literary agents and publishers to take a chance on me financially if I wasn’t willing to do it myself. So I have taken a leap of faith, for the experience, for the understanding, for the business woman in me, for the creative woman in me, for the deflated eighteen year old still left in there somewhere. I will always continue to go down the traditional publishing route (this is the dream after all!)  but now, I’m better armed with better knowledge, I am my own boss and I’m not scared of the hard work, the hard work I’ve already put in and the hard work that’s still to come, I’ve got a strong stomach and thick skin and I can’t wait for the new challenges around the corner, I’m not delusional, I’m not going to suddenly quit my day job and expect to be in the top 20 of The Times best sellers list in The Saturday Review but I’m up for an adventure and I hope you guys will come along for the ride.

The Ball Is Rolling

So you know those incredibly happy people, who walk around smiling all the time, who think everything is amazing and beautiful blah blah blah? Well I think I’m becoming one of them! I’ve gone from wanting to punch the above described type and being incredibly grumpy to grinning like a lunatic 24/7 and frankly it’s making my cheeks hurt.

You know people say the three most stressful things you’ll do is move house, get married and have kids, I’m going to add a fourth, publish a book and I’m going to tell you I’m currently in the process of doing two of these, Gee I bet you can’t guess which two by now! For those of you that are visiting for the first time it’s the house and the book!! Yes, I am a self confessed Nutter.

So what’s happy about being stressed? Well for one, the Hell Hounds (Estate agents!) came back with their tails between their legs, which means we got the house we wanted which equals celebration number one! And then my book went live on Amazon Kindle which clearly equals celebration number two! And despite the headache of formatting, proofreading, endless editing, crazy sleepless nights thinking how to tell your editor you’ve made yet more changes and they’ll need to read the infernal thing again, not to mention it’s bound to still contain errors that everyone missed so I’ll look like a complete Idiot, I’m still Ecstatic and despite, the crazy estate agent negotiations, depressing solicitors’ fees, having to sort out surveys and mortgages and loads of other stuff I haven’t a clue about, I’m STILL ecstatic.

I remember when I was younger and all grownups were so serious about everything, I vowed never to be like that but now I’m way too old for that and it’s weird because now I’m here, I’m loving the grown up stuff, I’m sure there’s people out there who’ve been like, “Buying a house? How ten years ago!” Well then you must surely remember the rush of your offer being accepted, meeting with your solicitor, making it official, getting the keys, (I’m going to be a nightmare when this happens!). As someone who is only at the beginning stages of this adventure I can tell you already it feels like it’s Christmas Eve everyday!!!! And that’s why I never wanted to grow up and do grown up things because I never wanted to lose that feeling of excitement, that every day is an adventure and it wasn’t that grownups were so serious it’s just that when we grow up our adventures change.

I’m sure you’re probably thinking “what about the book? She’s barely said anything about it. tell me about the book” Well people, I intend to, just not quite yet, I will start breaking out the balloons and party poppers, especially when we go live on ibooks and obviously we have the printed paperback, so watch this space for more info it’s coming soon!