Sunday 31 December 2017

The 'R' Word

It's that time again - whether you love making them, whether you make the same one every time or whether you are highly vocal about not making them at all - it's resolution time!

But before I make mine for 2018, let's look back and see how 2017s went.

2017 - Write more.
Well, I certainly managed that. I have endeavoured to write regular weekly blog posts. I have tentatively started to write weekly poems and flash fiction for my Wattpad profile - check them out if you haven't already, perfect for that five-minute coffee break. I had two short stories published, Underground Scratchings in the sci-fi & fantasy anthology Tales from the Underground and Patient Data in the Sci-Fi Knights of the Roundtable anthology The Quantum Soul. I also self-published a humorous collection of short stories, plays & blog posts with Tales from Suburbia and of course, my humorous fantasy, The Rose Thief. I also managed to 'win' at NaNoWriMo with 50k words for The Gaia Effect sequel.

2018 - Write more.
It's a great resolution or focal point. Whilst many words were written last year, they did tend to be in fits and starts rather than a daily commitment to continual writing. It will be hard because I do love a good procrastination, I have excellent writer's self-doubt and I have a new baby plus her big brother to entertain/keep alive. But if I can commit to 1000 words a day, and I do have a lot of projects in mind, then I think 2018 can be just as productive as 2017!

2017 - Read more.
It's no secret that I love Goodreads and I love setting up reading challenge shelves and giving myself a goal. 100 books read was the target and somehow I made it! The big question is, what will I realistically be able to read next year?

2018 - Read.
I think I ought to play it safe next year and just try to read books. I belong to a real-world book club who read 1 book a month, plus 4 for Dec/Jan (which I haven't even started yet). I belong to a Goodreads book club who read 1 sci-fi and 1 fantasy book a month. I belong to a Facebook book club who have set 12 books for the year challenge that I accepted - and also failed at last year. I also want to get stuck into some series, I'm constantly reading the first in a series and loving it, marking up the rest to come back to and then 56 books later I still haven't read a single book 2 yet. Slight flaw in my plan there. I've also committed to buying and reading more indie books next year. Maybe I'll have a moveable goal, set it to 50 and see how I'm doing in the summer. All that extra writing might take up the miniscule amount of spare time I think I'm going to have.

Don't forget the golden rule when reading a book!

2017 - Bake more.
I think I rather let the side down this year. I mean I can talk a mean cake but I didn't really bake that many. Truth be told I seem to have fallen out of love with the kitchen. I don't really feel like cooking or baking much of anything at all. I basically exist on toast and crumpets at the moment. Plus gallons of tea. It is a valid life choice but just imagine all those cakes I could've made! More effort needed methinks.

2018 - On your marks, get set, BAKE!
While I am not Bake-Off candidate material, I do love a challenge - at least I did - so my goal will be to get back in the kitchen and stop making the same old, same old meals & bakes. Let's try something new. 

So on this New Year's Eve let's raise a glass - wishing you all a happy & healthy 2018, may it bring you more good than bad, more fun than regrets. Have a good one!

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Some of you will know that my baby girl was due on 26th November, well, she decided to arrive fashionably late. As Mummy recovers just in time for Christmas, I wanted to send festive greetings out to you all and hope you have very happy holidays.

I will be back, hopefully on top form, in January 2018 with the rest of The Organised Author blog posts and of course my usual Sunday Blog musings. There are some very exciting writing projects coming up, 2018 is going to be a great year.

As we come to the end of 2017, I thought I would share with you the top ten most popular posts from the blog this year - if I've missed any that you thought should make the top ten or you have a personal favourite then don't hesitate to let me know.
  1. Whatever You Do, Write A Review
  2. The best things about being pregnant
  3. Tales from the Underground
  4. Saying Goodbye
  5. How To... join in with #sparklybadgersunite
  6. The thing about sequels is...
  7. The Quantum Soul
  8. New Horizons
  9. The Gaia Effect - Book Blog Tour
  10. You're only a writer if...
Wishing you all the best for 2018!

Monday 4 December 2017

The Organised Author #1

This month I am taking part in a fantastic series of daily challenges created by my esteemed indie author colleague, Cindy Tomamichel, as part of our Sparkly Badgers Unite indie author writing group on Facebook. It's designed to help you focus on becoming more organised as an author and will also act as a handy guide to make sure you haven't forgotten anything crucial to your marketing efforts.

So far we've covered the following topics:
1. What is your platform?
2. To Do Lists & Planning
3. Platform focus and author brand
4. Using your author brand focus

What is your platform?
Create a list of every social media platform you currently have a presence on as well as the number of followers. Then consider which ones you don't like using or are relatively inactive on. Is it worth maintaining platform? Would your efforts be better spent elsewhere?

Knowing where your followers are will also show you areas you may wish to build your following. It's also a great way of checking where your followers are growing and where they are not.

Make sure you have a list of all your social media links in one place, easy to copy and send out to future interviews, articles, blog posts - anyone who asks for them.

Now that you've decided which social media sites you use the most, make sure you've created an email signature with those links included so that every time you email someone they know how to get in touch with you.

To Do Lists & Planning

Whether you love them or hate them, lists are handy. Choose what works for you - pen & paper, tick lists, a diary, the latest phone app, google calendar - just make sure you use it properly and that you don't fall into the procrastination trap.

Don't spend ages writing a list of all the things you think you need to do because it will take forever, it will depress you and writing the list takes you away from actually doing the tasks.

Platform focus and author planning

Ask yourself the following questions:
  • What is your snappy tagline to describe your writing?
  • What is your genre?
  • What images best suit your brand?
  • What else are you interested in? It's important to be able to talk about interests other than 'buy my book'.
Joanna Penn has a helpful article - 7 Best Ways To Build An Authentic Author Brand - that you might like to explore further.

Using your author brand focus

Now that you've spent some time focusing like a laser beam on your author brand it's time to make sure all that good work gets distilled into your author bio. Think about whether your bio reflects your author brand, would you buy your books?

Kindlepreneur has a helpful article - How To Write A Compelling Author Bio - that you might like to explore further. 

If you've found any of this helpful and would like to know more, get involved with The Organised Author event over on Facebook, all indie authors are welcome. Or perhaps you'd like to join our Sparkly Badgers Writing Group. I will, of course, post again next week with the next batch of activities. Let's get organised!

Monday 27 November 2017

My NaNoWriMo17 Adventure

Last year I did NaNoWriMo and wrote The Rose Thief. Admittedly I had 20k before I went in so felt a little bit smug at reaching target. And then it took me a good year to get my editing butt in gear but the book was finished and now it's out there in the verse.

So when November rolled around again I figured I should give it another go. Despite not having 20k of anything hidden under a pillow somewhere. I was going to go in fresh. It would be fantastic. I would write and create and build and it would be wonderful. After all, I was going to write a sequel, how hard could that be? I refer you to my post 'The Thing About Sequels Is...'

I decided early on that I wouldn't be shooting for the 50,000 words goal. After all, my baby was due on 26th November so I should really give myself a break. Instead, I aimed for 1000 words a day. The first three days went great then I missed a couple, then hit goal a few more days, then missed a few. Then realised at this rate I probably wouldn't even make it to halfway.

Do you know what has been different about NaNo this year? The fantastic, amazing support I've received across Facebook and Twitter from fellow writers. All churning out hundreds and hundreds of words AND encouraging others to do likewise. But the really interesting thing is that despite everyone working to a different schedule, with different life obstacles and differing motivation, whether you've written 1000 words or 75000 words everyone is there ready to throw you a little party. It feels great!

And you know what? I might not make it to 50k and that's ok. I'm currently hovering around the 38k ish mark with two days to go. Who knows what will happen? The storyline is snaking around wonderfully, I have vague notions of what will happen next and no idea as to how the book ends. The characters are only being reticent in groups of two and so I get to rotate storylines regularly. It's exciting.

As for the baby, well, apparently she'll get here when she gets here and I'll just 'know' when I go into labour. Fun times.

Monday 20 November 2017

You're only a writer if...

Which ones have you heard? If you write prolifically every day? If you read within your genre substantially? If you work through as many how-to guides as humanly possible?

You're a writer

I'm afraid I'm going to put the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons and say, quite loudly, piffle!

If you are writing, then you are a writer. Sometimes life is not conducive to writing huge volumes on a daily basis. Sometimes the very thought of trying to edit your first draft leaves you in a cold sweat, hiding under the duvet, thinking that facing the monsters from the Upside Down might be easier.

If you read regularly then kudos to you. Some adults don't read at all. Doesn't mean they can't also be writers. Just means they aren't looking to see what else is out there or indeed how well others have done it before you. I happen to be a huge book lover so I would always recommend reading a good book but some people are just not wired that way. Obviously, having a good grasp of literature equips you with a decent vocabulary and if you're really lucky, a semi-understanding of the basics of grammar.

If you have the additional time to work through how-to guides, the ability to attend writers workshops, a local writing group, access to writer conferences and even the opportunity to escape from it all to a writers retreat then quite frankly, lucky you. Take full advantage of all those opportunities and make the absolute most of them. It may be that you come away from all of them with some half decent writing.

I am six days away from the due date of my second baby. I have been plagued with killer heartburn, total brain and body exhaustion that honestly leaves me wondering how I'm going to get through the day, a swollen disc in my back reducing me to tears of pain and hobbling everywhere on a pair of crutches. So no, I haven't written every day. I have done what I can. After the birth of my baby, I expect I won't write every day either. This does not make me a non-writer.

I am a published author. I intend to write more books. I plan to continue to be a published author. And despite my somewhat leftfield approach to writership, I am dedicated, I do put in as much as I can and I most definitely take it seriously. I do, however, refuse to feel guilty for not conforming to the 'You're only a writer if..' mindset.

By the way - if you do write every day, read expansively and attend all manner of writerly courses and events then I doff my hat to you, well done, have a piece of cake.

To keep up to date with my writerness during new motherhood, sign up for my newsletter. I will be giving books away!

Slice of cake

Monday 13 November 2017

The thing about sequels is...

Where do I start? No really, where do I start? And I'm not even talking about movie sequels or follow up TV seasons. I'm talking books. More specifically, my book. My first book, The Gaia Effect.

The Gaia Effect

The definition of a sequel is the 'published, broadcast or recorded work that continues the story or develops the theme of an earlier one.'

So we must have continuity. If I were a clever little writer girl I would've written The Gaia Effect trilogy as one long book then split it into three and gone aha! Look at how awesome my continuity is. But I didn't, so I haven't and I can't.

Not only am I attempting to write a sequel nearly three years after the first book was written, I am also pushing myself to be a winner by doing it through NaNoWriMo. Because we all know there's nothing like pressure to reach a daily word count to keep you highly focused, motivated and on track. Ahem.

Well, it's day 13 and I should be on something ridiculous like 21667 words. I'm looking at 9693 and my own inner personal target had been 1000 a day so it should look more like 13000. Clearly, everything is going very well.

In my rough draft of 16 pages, I currently have at least 5 pages of me typing in caps, vomiting out my inner questioning monologue. This is a good thing because my memory is terrible at the moment so there could be some excellent gems of story development in there. Or at least some highly critical, pertinent points that I must not forget to include.

In addition, I may have made a rather large error today. I re-read the reviews I've received for The Gaia Effect and made a note of everything everyone asked for. Now I am really bricking the sequel. It's not something I can just sit down and write. I have a duty to the characters I've already created, the world they inhabit and the events that have proceeded. I can't just go in there, willy-nilly, and turn everything on its head. I have to try and emulate the same style, the same pace, the same atmosphere. And most importantly of all continue to avoid all the dystopian tropes.

No pressure then.

Wednesday 8 November 2017

The Rose Thief

This Friday - the 10th November 2017 - is the official launch day for my new novel The Rose Thief.

The Rose Thief

It's a humorous fantasy set in a world where magic and fae exist and nefarious going-ons occur. Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher, has a problem. Someone is stealing the Emperor's roses. But that's not the worst of it, in his infinite wisdom and grace, the Emperor magically imbued his red rose with love so if it were ever removed from the Imperial Rose Gardens then love would be lost, to everyone, forever. It's up to Ned and his band of motley catchers to apprehend the thief and save the day. But the thief isn't exactly who they seem to be, neither is the Emperor. Ned and his team will have to go on a quest defeating vampire mermaids, illusionists, estranged family members and an evil sorcerer in order to win the day. What could possibly go wrong? 

Watch the book trailer here:

I'm having a launch party on Friday 10th November at 7.30pm GMT on Facebook - everyone's welcome! There'll be snippets from the book, a competition to win a signed copy, author chat with me and fellow indie authors plus lots of cake of course! Please do drop in and say hi, I'd love to see you there, click here to join in. 

The Rose Thief Intro

Early reviews are starting to arrive on Amazon and Goodreads. If you haven't read the first chapter yet, it's available here on my website.

You can buy the paperback right now on Amazon and the ebook is available for pre-order which means it will download to your Kindle device on the 10th November.

I had a lot of fun writing this book and can't wait to come back to this world for future instalments. I really hope you enjoy reading The Rose Thief as well, get in touch and let me know what you think. Happy reading!

Monday 30 October 2017

The best things about being pregnant...

1. Heartburn

Now, if you've never had heartburn then you may leave, go on, off you go. 

It's a singular experience. It begins with a vague uncomfortableness that grows and grows into a burning column of fire. Bending and lying down will often trigger it but so does eating and drinking. Now the 'professionals' will say there are only certain types of food that set heartburn off however, I can reliably inform you that water does the trick just as well as anything else. Although if I were you, I would steer clear of any and all pastry. I know. 

But surely you can just take some medicine and all is well with the world, I hear you ask. Indeed, that is a pleasant theory. Four Rennies and eight dessertspoonfuls of Gaviscon later, heartburn is still kicking my oesophagus so I'm going to say no, not so much. And let's discuss this medicine. Rennies. Imagine eating minty chalk that dries your mouth out and leaves a nasty taste behind. Gaviscon. It's a thick, white liquid that is hard to swallow. I'll let you decide what it sounds like. But yes, you're right, it does come in mint flavour so really there's nothing to complain about, is there? And you can always wash it down with some water. Because that doesn't give you heartburn. 

2. Cankles

Cankles are a thing of beauty, aren't they? That wonderful feeling of having lost your ankle within swollen flesh and the odd pain that comes with it as you try your best to flex the hidden joint. Socks have become your enemy, they will leave deep slices in your flesh that don't fill out again for quite some time. And it's one of those odd things that you don't really notice as being all that uncomfortable until you take the sock off. And then you have to brazen it out, sitting with your deformed flesh on show. My favourite part is when you can't move your toes anymore because your foot is so swollen. I mean, we shouldn't grumble really. You don't get to see your feet that much during the later stages of pregnancy so at least when you do see them, they've made an effort.

3. The Waddle

Is it a duck? Is it a goose? Is it someone who's ridden a horse forever? No - it's a pregnant woman trying to walk. It's like watching Mr Wobbly-Man move in a forward direction. I'm fairly certain the roiling gait does no favours to the swollen ankles and feet but at least it keeps the heartburn moving. I also love the way other members of the public don't move out of the pregnant woman's trajectory. I mean, of course, she can suck it in and, let's not forget, she's highly agile. Able to change direction at whim. Oh and, you don't need to get up to let her sit down. She's only walked a mile on swollen feet to pick up her other progeny from school. You know, that classroom you're sat outside of. Oh, your child is in year four, whose door is on the opposite side of the playground? How nice. So thoughtful. 

4. Emotional Range

Let's just say it's vast and has an impressive turn of speed.

I really think these are the creme de la creme aspects of being pregnant. I could go on about losing the ability to bend, but really, who needs that highly specialised motion in this day and age? As for getting in and out of bed well, some things should be kept private.

Monday 9 October 2017

The Quantum Soul

I am thrilled to announce the release of the new Sci-Fi Roundtable Anthology - The Quantum Soul - currently available on Amazon pre-order and due for release on 19th October.

The Quantum Soul anthology

The reason I am so pleased about the release of this sci-fi anthology is not just because of the brilliant indie-writer talent it showcases, but because I am very fortunate to be one of the authors included in this book, with my short story 'Patient Data'.

The Blurb
What is Life? Is it awareness of the ability to interact and understand the world around us? As we dig deeper into reality, what will we discover about ourselves and what it means to be alive? When we stare into the mirror, are we really sure that we see staring back is the only definition of life in the Universe?

Sixteen talented authors of The SciFi Roundtable each come up with their own unique answers to this challenging question. The Quantum Soul is a collection of short stories destined to leave you wondering if there isn't more that humanity has to learn about the ultimate meaning of life.

I hope this anthology captures your imagination, don't forget to let me know which story you enjoyed the most and to leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon - you'll have sixteen new best friends!

Tuesday 3 October 2017

Tales from the Underground

I am very excited to announce the release of the new Inklings Press anthology - Tales from the Underground - currently available on Amazon pre-order and due for release on 6th October.

Tales from the Underground

The reason I am so excited is not only that there are some fabulous indie authors included in this sci-fi & fantasy anthology but I am honoured to be one of them - my short story 'Underground Scratching' was selected to be part of the book.

Underground Scratching

The Blurb
Under our feet lie countless realms of possibility. Join twelve writers as they explore those realms - discovering lands of fantasy, lands from our far future, land of mystery.  There are places full of wonders, full of terrors, full of visions of what could be. Join us, down here, in the dark.

Watch the trailer here and let me know which tale gives you the biggest chill. Remember to leave a review once you've read the anthology, all twelve authors will love you forever.

Tuesday 19 September 2017

New Horizons

It's not writing news, but then again it might be in a few months time... I've moved. I've gone from the outskirts of East London (ish) to the Essex coastline so my evenings should look a lot more like this:


So far I've had to put writing to one side whilst I open a mountain of boxes. This is a slow process as I am also heavily pregnant so moving, bending, stretching, lifting, carrying and decision-making of any kind is just not happening.

But then again, I get to go and have lunch whilst looking at this:

More beach

I'm banking on all that fresh air resulting in bags of inspiration. Either that or I'll build a cardboard box fort. Fun all round really.

Sunday 10 September 2017

Cover Reveal - The Rose Thief

I am thrilled and delighted to share with you all the cover for my new book, The Rose Thief.

The Rose Thief cover

Designed by the very talented Ian Bristow, you can view his portfolio on his Deviant Art page.

The Rose Thief is a humorous fantasy novel. Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher has a problem. Someone is stealing the Emperor's roses. But that's not the worst of it. In his infinite wisdom and grace, the Emperor magically imbued his red rose with love so if it was ever removed from the Imperial Rose Gardens then love will be lost, to everyone, forever. It's up to Ned and his band of motley catchers to apprehend the thief and save the day. But the thief isn't exactly who they seem to be, neither is the Emperor. Ned and his team will have to go on a quest defeating vampire mermaids, illusionists, estranged family members and an evil sorcerer in order to win the day. What could possibly go wrong?

You can read the first chapter here - make sure you sign up for my newsletter for future updates.

The Rose Thief will be released on the 10th November 2017 - save the date!

Sunday 3 September 2017

Yay it's Autumn

Autumn Leaves

Whilst we may not have the crispy leaves to kick about in wild abandon yet, I'm fairly certain the Christmas decorations are in the shops so it shouldn't be long before we get our gingerbread lattes (we don't really do pumpkin spice stuff in the UK) and everyone will be talking about who they're dressing up as for Halloween.

It's also a great time to reflect on what has happened in a year. This time last year I was an unpublished author. Today I have two books available to buy, The Gaia Effect and Tales from Suburbia; two short stories coming out in anthologies, A Quantum Soul and Tales from the Underground; and my new book, The Rose Thief, due out late Autumn. And there was me thinking I hadn't been very productive! Sometimes you just have to take a moment to step back and see how far you've come.

The Gaia EffectTales from Suburbia

I've read 79 books so far this year, well on my way to achieving my 100 book total for the year and I have read some fantastic books this year by traditionally published authors and indie authors. You can follow me on Goodreads to see what I'm reading right now and of course let me know if you agree with my reviews or not! 

For someone who reads so voraciously, I actually find reviewing books quite difficult. I know how important it is, especially for indie authors, to get reviews of their books but I want to make sure I'm being helpful as well. It's a learning curve so I am constantly trying to improve. Read my post from February, 'Whatever You Do, Write a Review' to see how you can help support your favourite authors. I also decided to add a new vlog segment to my YouTube channel with a monthly round up of the books I've read and reviewed.

My latest book, The Rose Thief, is with beta readers and I am really looking forward to hearing their thoughts and getting my teeth into the next editing round. I have had some difficulties with finding the right person to create the artwork for my new book but I hope to be able to share some fantastic artwork with you all soon. 

Share with me your favourites things about Autumn and I promise not to mention the 'C' word again until at least December!

Monday 28 August 2017

Piled High Plate

At the moment I have several large non-writing events waiting to happen in my life. I'm trying to move house, get my son enrolled in a new school, move hospitals for my prenatal care and prepare for a brand new baby. It's quite a hefty plate. And it's driving me insane because I can't get stuck into anything. It's like having a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts that you can only look at and never touch. Not even sniff.

Things you want but can't have

The one thing that has managed to hang together quite nicely is my work life. I've managed to pick up all those balls I dropped (Dropping the Ball May 2017) and I'm even managing to achieve some new mini goals.

I've entered a few competitions, submitted a couple of pieces for online publication and began to write a new short story. I'm reading articles, sharing tips and even, finally, getting onto the podcast trail. Just listening at the moment but you never know what the future will bring.

The more items I tick off my writing to-do list the more in control and focused I feel. There is still a mountain of work to conquer, I have grand plans but in the last week I've had two new story ideas and begun to think about the bare bones of a possible series. Clearly having a full plate is good for my creative brain.

I hope that when things start moving on the regular life front I won't have to lose this motivation and focus in order to achieve those goals. I can do both - can't I? Share with me your coping mechanisms, any and all cake recipes gratefully received.

A million and one ideas

Monday 21 August 2017

I love you Beta Reader!

Do you think that will work? Or will a more substantial bribe like some kind of cake do the trick?

Beta reader bribe

I have finally, finally finished editing The Rose Thief. Most of the time between now and when I finished writing it has been filled with a multitude of procrastination and the odd bout of illness. But now, now it has been edited. To the best or worst of my ability.

Self-editing is tough. Being critical of your own work tends to lead to downward spirals of thinking I can't write, what am I doing, this isn't a book it's toilet paper and so on. Writers are delicate flowers you know.

Writers doubt

Enter the beta reader. They are, more often than not, someone you know who enjoys reading and isn't afraid to speak their mind. If you're really lucky they might be indie authors themselves or have some other writing or publishing experience. The important thing is that they're not your mum. Mums are great, don't get me wrong but they might not be the best person to ask for a critique of your latest masterpiece. They're your mum, they're going to tell you it's amazing no matter what.

And so I have released my newest creation to my betas. I hope they enjoy it and even though I'm not sure I really want it, I hope they are brutal in their evaluation to help me release the best version of my latest book that I can. But not too brutal because you know, delicate flower.

Have you had good or bad experiences with beta readers? Share your experiences in the comments below and have a sneak peek of The Rose Thief here.

Sunday 13 August 2017

Flashing for the first time

Before you get all excited I did not run starkers across a sports field of some kind. No, what I'm talking about it flash fiction. Something I knew about in a sorta, kinda, yeah yeah yeah way but not something that I'd actively got involved with before.

Recently I was offered the opportunity to write a 500-word piece for a guest blog spot and I could no longer punt leisurely round the outside of this new exciting vortex of words. I had to take the plunge.

Flash Fiction

So what exactly is flash fiction then? Sadly it's not writing from the perspective of Flash Gordon or indeed The CW's lovable Barry Allen. According to Wikipedia (yes, I know):

Flash fiction is fictional work of extreme brevity, that still offers character and plot development, including the Six-Word Story, 140-character stories, also known as twitterature, the dribble (50 words), the drabble (100 words), and sudden fiction (750 words).

Sounds super easy and straight forward. I instantly remembered an idea I'd had that I thought might work and when I mused upon it to my beloved he piped up with - yes, but how are you going to write that? And so instantly writers doubt crept in, making itself at home, settling down and refusing to budge.

Suddenly 500-words felt like an insurmountable amount. Not wanting to give up, I did what I always do. I ignored the problem and had some cake. But I also let my subconscious do it's thing and wrestle with the concept until something coalesced. I look forward to sharing it with you soon.

In the meantime, here is the link to the wonderful blog that is Working Title Blogspot where you can read other flashes of literary genius as they share their own snippets.

Sunday 6 August 2017

How To ... join in with #sparklybadgersunite on Twitter

Myself and fellow indie author C.H. Clepitt host a #event on Twitter on Monday evenings at 9pm (UK time) called #sparklybadgersunite:


You can of course just follow both of us on Twitter for all our insightful writing updates and daily life tweets. I'm @Grasshopper2407 and she's @BadgersTweetToo. But if you'd like to get involved with #sparklybadgersunite then read on!

We talk about our own current writing projects & encourage other indie authors to share, books we have read, promote indie author news and generally chat about all things sci-fi & fantasy related that occur to us. We'd love to have you join us but first you may be asking what exactly is a #event?

What is a #event?

The use of a hashtag makes tweets and the people who use them a teeny bit easier to find because you can search for particular ones. However, if you are at all familiar with Twitter you will know that the live feed moves faster than the speed of light and often it is purely by chance that you happen to see something you want to see.

One way around that is to search for a specific hashtag. You'll then get a page with the following options - Top, Latest, People, Photos, Videos, News and Broadcasts.  You now have everything related to #sparklybadgersunite at your fingertips.

Latest feed on Twitter

Ok, great. But how does that help you join in? If you choose the Latest tab you will be able to follow the feed in real time. So at 9pm on Monday we kick off with a welcome message and prompt everyone to join in and chat with us. If you leave this tab open, Twitter will automatically refresh it as the #event goes on so you can see all the comments as they happen.

To join in just do what you'd normally do on Twitter - like it, share it and reply to it. 

BUT if you want your response to be added to the event feed you MUST use the designated hashtag #sparklybadgersunite in your tweet.

You still have the big tweet button on the top right of the screen so you can write your own unique tweets as well.
Tweet button

BUT if you want your tweet to be added to the event feed you MUST use the designated hashtag #sparklybadgersunite in your tweet.

It can move fast but don't despair - although our #event only lasts an hour the tweets will always be there and if you decide you want to come back later and join in that's great. All you have to do is search for #sparklybadgersunite and get liking, sharing and commenting.

We'd love to see you on Monday but if you have any questions in the meantime you can always ask them in the comments below or contact myself or C.H. Clepitt directly on Twitter. Happy Tweeting!

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Raven Award Winner

I am so proud to announce that The Gaia Effect has won the 2017 Raven Award for favourite fantasy/sci-fi book.

Raven Award Fav Fantasy-Scifi The Gaia Effect

I am extremely grateful to everyone who took the time to vote for me. It means a great deal to receive recognition for my book.

The awards were run by Uncaged Book Reviews and the winners from each category were mentioned in their August newsletter. Congratulations to everyone who was nominated and to all the winners.

If you would like to buy a copy of the award winning book, The Gaia Effect, it is available in ebook and paperback on Amazon. If you'd like a signed copy from the author then get in touch in the comments box below.

The Gaia Effect book cover

Monday 10 July 2017

Finding a Mistake

I probably shouldn't admit this but..... gosh darn it all to heck, we found a mistake in the new book.

Now, I know nearly every book probably has one - at least that's what I'm telling myself. You can only go over your manuscript so many times. At some point you have to pack its lunchbox, pat it on the head and let it go. But that sinking feeling when someone else points out that you've made a mistake is absolutely soul crushing and you're convinced that it is the only thing that everyone will see and judge you on.

But then it got me thinking. Is it actually possible to do anything in life without making a mistake? Mistakes teach us the things to avoid, the advice that doesn't work, the people that can't be trusted and apparently the complete lack of proof reading skills I possess.

I just have to keep telling myself that I won't be judged .... won't be harshly judged.... won't be stoned in the town square.

This comes on top of a mixed review for my previous book. The Gaia Effect. The reviewer said - as most people do - that's it's not their usual genre pick and hasn't dystopia already been done to death but actually, this one is different in that it's hopeful. So that's good. But they went on to wish the book was longer and the grammar more grammarly. I'm paraphrasing obviously.

My first reponse to any review is always to look at what the reader has said and make sure I understand what they mean. And I have to say - yes it is a short book. It's my first. I think there was a lot of fear in actually writing a book and fear affects you in so many ways. As for the grammar... well, I make no claims to have any deep grasp of complicated terminology - I just did my best. My proof-readers did their best and together we made a book.

It's a lot like being a parent. You can only do your best and if you spend all your time worrying about whether your best is enough (or even right) you'll end up frozen in indecision and nothing will get done or enjoyed.

I would like to clarify that I am beyond grateful for all my reviews and cherish each and every one, thankful that the reader has taken the time to comment on my offering.

Saturday 1 July 2017

Cover Reveal: Tales From Suburbia

I am delighted to be able to share with you the cover artwork for my new book Tales From Suburbia, a humourous look at life in the suburbs with short stories, plays and blog posts. Coming Soon!

Monday 26 June 2017

Projects Update - Mid Year Review

It's so serious doesn't it? But I thought you'd like to know what I've been up to and if I write down what I hope to achieve by the end of the year then maybe I'll stop procrastinating my butt off and get it done!

The reviews for The Gaia Effect continue to arrive and I am chuffed to bits that my debut novel has been so well received. Thank you to everyone who has a) taken the time to read the book and b) been amazing and left a review. You can read them via my website.

Now I'm going to mention some dates but these are just ball-park guidelines, you can't hold me to them. Those who know me well will know I am a big fan of 'ish' so...

July (ish)
I shall be releasing a collection of works entitled 'Tales From Surburbia'. This will include short stories, humourous blog posts, a couple of plays and a monologue. It's designed to showcase my writing style and encourage new readers to come back and pick up new books. It will be ebook but I am tempted to also create a a paperback version for fans (Mum) to have a signed copy available to put on your 'I know an author' shelf.

July/August (ish)
I will have short stories in two different anthologies.

  • 'Patient Data' will be included in the Sci-Fi Knights of the Roundtable Quantum Souls Anthology 
  • 'Underground Scratchings' will be included in the Inklings Press Tales Of The Underground Anthology
Both of these will be available in paperback and ebook and look to be summertime so as soon as I know more, you will of course be updated.

September/October (ish)
The Rose Thief will rise victorious from it's languishing pit of editing and be officially released, hopefully in both ebook and paperback version. It's a humourous fantasy a la Terry Pratchett, bordering on the line of fan fic but it has been crafted with much love and if it's received well there are plenty more tales from that universe to come. I just need to come up with a name for the main city. Truly stumped.

November (ish)
The newest member of the Buss family will arrive - rejoyce, rejoyce. I shall be taking a small break from writing - at least I think I will. It may be that in my sleepless state I am driven to write more, you never know.

January 2018 
I will start working on The Gaia Effect sequel and despite the enormous pressure I already feel to bring my readers a sequel that satisfys their thirst for more, I am actually quite excited to begin work on this project. That's why it's a fixed date. There is no 'ish' for this!

Wish me luck! All donations of cake are gratefully received.

Sunday 28 May 2017

Running the Half Term Gauntlet

Now, to clarify, my little man is still relatively little so at least I don't have the added pressure of entertaining cynical, disinterested in everything, know-it-all, self centred, selfish & just plain mean teenagers. But.... half-term is still the equivalent of swimming in shark infested waters with bloody cuts on your arms and legs. And here's why.


Apparently guilt is not a feeling that exists naturally within the human body's natural chemical makeup. It is an entity that we apes with extra capacity brain power decided to invent because someone, somewhere clearly thought it was a good idea.

As a parent you generally feel guilty about something 99.99% of the time and it doesn't matter how many times people tell you you're doing great, parenting is hard and at least you only half filled the recycling with wine bottles this week - you still feel like a total failure.

Half term is meant to be this magical break from school where children get to spend 100% quality time with a parent of their choice doing super awesome fun stuff all the time and eating yummy scrummy food all week. Those with rich parents will be swanning off somewhere fabulous. The rest of us will be desperately scrabbling around on Woucher & Groupon trying to find money off deals that actually work financially to at least give the kids some kind of treat.

I barely remember what happened last week, let alone what happened in the half terms of my childhood but I do know that much of my school holidays were spent on my grandparents farm in Wales and subsequently upon the Welsh coastline. Very fond blurred memories.

This week I have planned several excursions - going to see the dinosaurs at Crystal Palace Park (free), going to see the helicopters & aeroplanes at the RAF Museum (free), going to one or several of the City Farms (free), going to the seaside on the train (40 mins, train ticket) and possibly doing the old faithful and going to feed the ducks in the park. Luckily for me picnics are a big thing at the moment so if we pretty much sit on any outside piece of grass and I produce a peanut butter sandwich, crisps, pear & flapjack - I'm on a winner. And yes it has to be those four things.

Still it's only a week right? It's not like if I don't tire him out he won't go to sleep in the evening or that even if we're all bone weary at the end of the day he's still going to bounce out of bed at 5am ready to play. 'Mummy - come!' The dulcet sounds of trains being shushed up and down laminate flooring is so loud. It's the downstairs neighbours I feel sorry for. Except they have 5 kids so maybe not.

Monday 22 May 2017

Saying Goodbye

Losing a loved one is always going to be hard but does it actually get easier or do we just get numbed to it? Or is this sense of c'est la vie just our mind's way of protecting us from exploding into a thousand little pieces?

My Nana passed away last week. We knew it was coming. I mean obviously we didn't know the exact date and time but we knew this admission to hospital would be the last despite the valiant rally that had us all hoping against all hope that maybe, just maybe she would come home again. It's a really difficult topic to think about, to talk about, to share your thoughts about.

When my Grandad passed, seven years ago this Christmas, I was more involved with the ending. I was physically there for much of the decline. It is terrifically painful to watch your beloved family member decline before your very eyes. It was my first real death. I didn't handle it very well. Grief it seems was too massive an emotion for me to process and locking it away in a box didn't really work. I would spend hours with tears rolling down my face and simple, everyday things like travelling on the train became these immense undertakings with so many possible outcomes, I couldn't possibly account for them all so I became panic stricken and immobile. I had some counselling. I'm not usually one for talking your feelings but on this occasion it seemed to really help.

Now I have lost my last remaining grandparent and the generation line has moved up one. I am no longer third gen - now I am second. It is an incredibly sobering thought and has really impacted upon me that life will continue to steamroller along at its own, predetermined pace and you can either make the most of each and every second or you can waste your precious time and allow it to fritter through your fingertips.

I have had so much going on in my life recently that I don't even know whether I've realised that she's gone. I mean, I know she died. But I don't think I've realised that she's gone. Since my Grandad passed it seemed to me that we lost a large part of my Nana at the same time and, to me, my relationship with her was never as strong or as vibrant as before. In the beginning it was incredibly difficult for me to see or talk to her on her own so I cannot imagine what it must have been like for her. We still had some great times though - discussing recipes and the latest craft project, the various TV programmes that we all watched, who we thought was going to win Bake Off and of course chatting about her Great-Grandson, my little man.

My Nana taught me how to bake, she instilled within me the importance of a cup of a tea and biscuit in bed first thing in the morning. Both her and my mum brought me up to appreciate the importance of good food and looking after everyone. I shall miss her dreadfully. I just hope that when the reality hits that she's gone, I'm ready.