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.

Lacking in Virtue

So my proof finally arrived!! It has now been all read and checked and amendments made and mistakes corrected now I’m back to waiting. HATE waiting, I’m told patience is a virtue, one I’m clearly lacking in. It’s weird I have no writing to do the house stuff is moving along nicely it’s like being on Annual Leave, I’m pretty sure that’s probably the point of the weekend!! So I’m attempting to do weekend type things. So I’ve gone for a run (nearly killed me, it gets easier right?), visited the family, which, I have to say has provided me with amazing material if I ever decide to write a comedy, take my sister for example, she spent her Friday night in the Emergency Department and walked out with crutches after she chased after a shop lifter at work and managed to fall down a flight of stairs, seriously she is the most accident prone, clumsy person you’ll meet, she also enjoys falling off ladders, falling over and into large boxes and somehow cutting herself on coat hangers. You’re probably all thinking now how evil I am to find my sisters misfortunes hilarious! It’s the way she tells the story folks, she should be on the stage!!! Maybe I’ll ask if she wants to write a blog for me!!! Anyway I now find myself chilling out with a nice bottle of something fruity and a DVD and although this all probably sounds nice and relaxing I feel frustrated that my mind still won’t settle, I want to be holding my finished product in my hands Now Now Now!! It was such a thrill just to hold the proof copy even now I’m sat here starring at it, admiring how pretty it looks even though I’m still undecided about the cover but I think like any creative process you’ll always be correcting and amending but it’s only you that knows there’s a problem.

So this weekend to pass the time my theme is going to be discover something new, I’ve already discovered a new TV programme, Whitechapel, admittedly I’ve caught on three years too late but nevertheless have enjoyed season one.

So the above was yesterday, as you might have guessed. So today still continuing with the theme of something new, I have every intention of completing the following, discovering a new colour for the lounge wall of the new house, discovering new music, love discovering new sounds, discovering a new book I don’t think I’ve actually got around to reading anything for months and of course I would love to discover a new video game. I don’t believe I’ve shared my little obsession of gaming with you guys yet, so just to clarify I LOVE it, it’s my own little escape, it’s like writing, you can just lose yourself in another world you can even re-load from the last check point if you missed something or messed up, again just like writing where you can delete and re-write (something I’m now quite familiar with!!)

I’d love to say I go out of my way to discover something new every day but I think the sad reality is there just isn’t the time anymore maybe that’s what’s wrong with the world there’s not enough time? Not enough time to do, see and experience everything you would like so this is why I’ve decided to utilising my waiting times by using it to discover something new. Fingers crossed this goes to plan and if you’ve got any ideas or recommendations let me know!!!

Books And Power Ballards

Good Books are a bit like power ballads you either love them and jump around your kitchen singing along into a whisk air grabbing every chance you get (Never done this!) or you hate them to the point where you want to throw your stereo out the window when you hear one. It’s like anything a piece of art, a movie a TV show, poetry oh and Marmite (Hate It by the way!). These sorts of things are an acquired taste and people know what they like. I’m not delusional enough to believe that every person who picks up my book and manages to make it to the end will enjoy it or like it and I completely respect that. My issue is with the people who go on and on about something, lets take art as an example when I was little a good piece of art was a Constable replica! Maybe a Monet or two, do you know what I mean, basically traditional paintings. When I was in my late teens I took an interest in the art world, in fact by then I took an interest in anything creative, art, theatre, dance, writing, acting, singing and I know a lot of these type of people (people looking for inspiration) anyway I was fortunate to see part of the Saatchi collection in ’98 and got interested in Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst and I remember the controversy they caused in the papers and the on going debate as what constitutes as art. Well it was the same principle you either liked it because you got it or you hated it because you didn’t understand it, what I don’t get is why there’s no common middle ground where even if its not your thing you can respect it and the effort that went in to it by the creator of that piece. Like I said I know my own creative piece won’t please everyone but there’s 7 billion people in this world someone’s going to like it.

So the reason for my little observation of people’s opinion of the creative world is, well you’ve probably guessed it by now, my proof has finally arrived, that’s right, I hold in my hand a physical copy of my first novel which I can tell you is very exciting, now like any creative process I have to sift through it highlighting all the errors still left and it occurs to me, I wonder how these creative types really react to their reviews, I wonder if after so many trial runs and proofs and planning I wonder how it feels to them to see their finished article. Do they agree with all the bad press, do they sit there and wonder if they should’ve gone in a different direction, with all the different opinions and tastes in the world how do you really know you did the right thing for you??

50 Hours And Counting

So it’s the weekend and my proof copy of my book hasn’t arrived so I have to spend two days distracting myself from thinking about it.

So distraction number one, as the New Year started I was adamant I wanted to do three things in 2012, one, myself and my partner were going to finally buy a house, two I was going to publish and three I wanted to get fit. So far the latter isn’t going so well! I figured a great motivator was to enter a race, so that’s what I did, I entered this year’s Race For Life, it’s for a good course and it gave me something to work towards, a 5k run!! Now January I was 100% dedicated and ran (well it was more like speed waddling!) two miles five nights a week, well running/speed walking I think I would’ve killed myself if I attempted two miles in one go! But then February hit and so did the snow for a week and a half, then it was far too cold to go anywhere, then I was too poorly so I’ve pretty much spent the whole of February sat on my ass, until my Race For Life runner number and info pack arrived through the post this morning, it was like someone had rammed dynamite up my ass and lit it, so off I jogged, for the first time in just under a month and OMG couldn’t I tell, my throat burned, my legs felt like they were going to snap but a great distraction from being annoyed from where my proof had got to.

Distraction number two, what the hell possessed me to go to a supermarket on a Saturday, it was like a war zone. Trust me when I say NEVER be fooled by elderly ladies with one of those half trolleys slowly dithering down an aisle, the moment you get in their way they’re ready to take out your ankles and don’t be fooled by “Excuse me dear I can’t reach the top shelf would you mind passing me that can of soup” Don’t do it, they snatch and run, no thanks, no kind little smile, nothing, poof they’re gone, so Rude.

So my shopping rage distracted me quite well until we got home and put the shopping away, now I’m bored again, so time for a bit of internet shopping, retail therapy never fails to distract anyone from issues/problems/worries/stresses and the alike so distraction number three ended up being a mad hunt for Mum and Dad’s birthday present, (yes Mum & Dad their birthday is the same day, again how Rude!) Now this was meant to be so much easier than it was, I think it’s mainly because I NEVER leave present shopping until the last minute, I just don’t, I’m always so organised but what with the House and The Book, I am becoming the most disorganised person going.

So distraction number four turned out to be if I can’t check my proof because I don’t have it yet I can at least do some promotional prep stuff for the Book, I need a designated book site so I decided to start on material for that but that lasted around forty minutes before I started cursing and obsessing about how long it takes to ship one’s proof copy from The States to little old me in Cambridgeshire UK.

Meaning I’m now back to square one, obsessing. Now the post isn’t due until Monday and when it arrives I’ll be at work so I won’t know if it’s arrived until I get home at about six. I need to occupy my mind for the next 50 Hours and have no idea how especially when our internet connection continues to do what the hell it likes and just comes on and goes off again willy nilly, although I might start with laying off the coffee!!!