Archive for the ‘blogging’ Tag

New Year Reflections

The start of the year is a time to reflect on what’s past, on where you find yourself at the present, and where you want to be going in the future.

We are now a couple of weeks into 2016 and I find myself, on the whole, to be in a pretty good place. I have several publications under my belt including three novels and another coming soon (SUFFER THE CHILDREN, my first novel, due for re-release from MuseItUp Publishing later this year). I’ve got two more novels in progress, and ideas for a few more. The day job is going well, and I’ve seen significant improvements in my health since taking the decision to drop twenty pounds in 2015.

However, my life is also pretty packed. The day job pays well but works me hard, and I spend not only eight hours a day five days a week there, but three hours a day commuting to and from London. I have my bass guitar lesson once a week and am doing regular open mic gigs with Hubby. I am trying to develop a regular exercise routine, we play Dungeons and Dragons twice a month, I run the T Party writers’ group which meets once a month, and this is before we start talking about fitting in the writing, the promotion, the conventions, and holidays.

Don’t get me wrong – this is not a whine. I am where I am in my life because I chose to be there, and I do not regret anything. However, there is always room for improvement, and the start of the year seems to be a good time to look at what I  can do better.

First of all, this blog has been neglected for the last couple of years, and I am going to endeavour to change that this year. Monday will still be the guest blog feature Monday’s Friends, as it has been for some years now. Wednesdays will be a writing-related post, cross-posted on the WriteClub blog. I hope to pick up the Ten Commandments of Writing feature, which rather tailed off halfway through last year. Friday Fears will feature with more regularity, and I would welcome contributions of two-sentence horror stories from anyone who feels inclined to send me one – credited, of course.

In addition, I’d like to feature other posts on the blog, about more general subjects. I can’t promise this will be weekly – it’s more likely to be once or twice a month. But when I started the blog, I was talking about commuting and London and weather and travelling and all the things that I deal with in my everyday life. And because I don’t want to be the kind of writer that only comes online to say ‘buy my book’, I’d like to get back to this again.

So, that’s one resolution: more regular blog posts. A second, more personal one, relates to the aforementioned weight loss. This was something that I didn’t really discuss on the blog, but those who follow me on Twitter will be aware of it, since I was Tweeting about my weekly weigh-ins.

This was something that came about when I went on a short holiday to France in June and couldn’t get the zip of my favourite summer dress done up. Coming at a time when I’d lost several family members and friends to cancer within a fairly short period, I was more mindful of needing to look after my health and decided the time had come to get a bit healthier. The weight loss was all about trying to shed bad habits, as well as a few pounds. I hate the gym, I hate vegetables and I love all things sweet and sugary. But sometimes you have to do things that are good for you, whether you want to or not. I aimed to get back to ten and a half stone (that’s 147 lbs for the Americans amongst you), which is what I was when I last lost weight, in 2009. The intervening years had apparently seen a gain of over twenty pounds, which I wanted to lose again. I managed to hit my goal just before Christmas, but then came all the eating and drinking and not moving from the couch for two weeks that accompanied the holiday season, and I’m now a few pounds above that goal again.

However, I resolved at the beginning of this year to try and go back to the good habits I’d adopted at the end of last year: regular exercise, more fruit & veg, fewer sugary treats, fewer takeaways, less red meat. I’ve ridden this whole weight-loss roundabout before. The weight comes off, I go back to eating what I like to eat, it comes back on again. This year, I want to try and keep the weight off – especially since Hubby bought me several new dresses in my new smaller size for Christmas, and I want to be able to keep on wearing them.

It can be quite difficult as a writer to stay fit, since writing generally involves sitting on a chair for hours at a time, moving only to get more tea and another couple of biscuits (favourite food of The Muse, apparently). And I am inherently quite lazy. I have no trouble getting up early to write, especially when my early morning writing sessions involve a yummy breakfast muffin at the coffee shop I set up in, but I am much less inclined to get up early to go for an early-morning swim.

There, then, is Resolution Number 2. And then there are the writing resolutions, which I discussed in the December round-up post. I have two novels to finish. I have to crack on with them.

There’s an additional resolution that comes in to help me with all the others, and that’s to be more organised. I’ve got a rather anally retentive personality anyway, and I love lists. Lists are the key to staying organised. I have to do lists for every week, involving both writing and non-writing related goals, and they get dutifully ticked off as I complete the tasks. Finding time to write, or to exercise, equally involves noting appointments in my diary and making sure I turn up when I say I will – even if not doing so lets down no one else but myself.

It’s always dangerous to declare one’s intentions in a public forum, since you have a lot of people to answer to if you fail to fulfil them. But it also provides a good motivation to sticking to your resolutions.

Hence, I start the year full of good intentions. I guess we need to come back here at the end of the year and see how well – or otherwise – I’ve managed to do!

Whatever you wish for this year, I hope 2016 delivers.

2014 in review

WordPress have provided an overview of activity on my blog for 2014. Thanks for reading! Here’s to 2015.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 50 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Another Promotional Roundup

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

This blog has been a bit quiet of late, and for that I apologise.  We had an unexpected burst of Spring here in London last weekend, and we all went rushing outside to make the most of it.  Sadly it seemed to have been a blip, with normal UK weather restored in time for the working week.  After basking in the garden in a t-shirt on Sunday, I was obliged to get back into my coat and scarf on Monday.  Still, at least the rain has been holding off of late.

And in the meantime I’ve been very busy in cyberspace, with two more guest appearances in the last week or so.

First up, I was interviewed by Pete Sutton for his BRSBKBLOG blog, which is described as ‘Adventures in Publishing’.  We talked a lot about the creation of my amateur sleuth Shara Summers, and the forthcoming re-release of DEATH SCENE, and you can find the interview here.

This week, I’ve been visiting ‘Waibel’s World‘, blog of fellow MuseItUp author Mary Waibel, and talking about how being a writer is both a curse and a blessing.

And finally, it’s just over two weeks until the Sci Fi Weekender in Wales, my first Con of 2014.  This year, not only am I going, I’m on the programme.  I’m very excited to have received preliminary details this week about the panels I’ll be on.  All will be revealed soon!

In the meantime, if you’ll be at the Con, do stop by and say hello.

2013 in Blogging

So I’ve had a summary of activity on my blog in 2013.  And it got 2,300 views – not too shabby!

There’s no doubt that having guest bloggers attracts more traffic to my blog, so I won’t be stopping that feature any time soon.  The most commented-on posts have been from guest bloggers.

Except on 10 September, when nothing in particular was going on, the blog was viewed 53 times and apparently the post with the most hits was the Fashion Fix post from four years ago.  Not quite sure what was going on there.

Anyway, if you’re interested in more stats regarding Imaginary Friends, the link is below.

Click here to see the complete report.

Here’s to more blog activity in 2014!

More Guest Bloggery

I’ve done guest posts on two blogs this week I’d like to tell you about.

On Monday I was on horror writer Fiona Dodwell’s blog talking about horror and ‘The Evil Within’. Take a look here.

Later on in the week I was the first guest blogger on Annie Seaton’s new feature “Friday Friends” (I think I inspired her). On her blog I talk about that favourite topic of mine, e-books versus print books. Take a look at the post here.

I’ve got other guest posts lined up for October, so keep checking back to keep up with the publicity train!

Latest Publicity Roundup

I’ve featured on three more blogs in the last week.  Firstly, I contributed to Lindsay Below’s series on “The Inspiration Behind the Book”, talking about what inspired me to write DEATH SCENE.  You can see the post on her blog here.

Second, I was interviewed by G L Drummond as part of her “e-book author” month for July. We talked about Stephen King, blasting zombies and getting crumbs in the keyboard.  Take a look at the interview on her Feral Intensity blog here.

Finally, today I am the featured author on Sandra Sookoo’s “Author Folk Friday” spot. Take a look at her blog Believing is Seeing for the interview.

It’s been a busy old week, and it’s all to do with promoting DEATH SCENE.  The feedback I’ve had on the novel so far has been positive, but it takes a long time for a book to establish itself (and to be honest I don’t think I can count the rave reviews from my mum and dad as valid endorsements…).  After all, it’s only been out a couple of weeks, and I haven’t even had the first royalty statement for it yet.

I find waiting for that first statement agonising. The suspense is killing me…

Guest Blogging at Lyrical Press

I’ve got a guest post up today at Lyrical Press’s blog, talking about how you have to be nosy to be a writer.

Come and take a look here.

Guest Bloggers Wanted!

I have decided to open this blog up to guest bloggers. A lot of people have been generous in letting me post on their blogs, so I am returning the favour and inviting people to post on mine. I think cross-pollination of blogs is an excellent promotional tool for writers.

My plan is that the guest blog posts will be on Mondays, under the title of “Monday’s Friends”. I would be happy to hear from writers of any genre who want to post, and you can write about anything vaguely writing-related, including plugging your latest book or your own blog.

So, if you’re interested in a guest blog slot on “Imaginary Friends”, let me know.

Guest Blogging at Julia Knight’s Blog

Author Julia Knight is running a series of guest posts on her blog, “Turnips at Dawn”, on the subject of “How to…” for writers.

Today, I am the guest blogger with a post regarding what I’ve learned about “How to Keep Your Editor Happy“.

Happy editors make for happy writers…

Guest Post at Natasha Bennett’s Blog

I am blogging today on author Natasha Bennett’s blog, as part of her “Author Blog Month”, talking about crossing genres. Take a look here.