Well, it’s been a little while since I posted on here, and I apologise for that, to start off with.
Life, over the last eighteen months has been kinda surreal, for us all, and I know it has taken its toll on me, in so many ways.
I’ve been battling through the understanding of remote teaching and learning in school, what with the closures.
I’ve become a master at organising mass covid testing in the house, what with two teens and me needing twice-weekly tests.
I got promoted, which, though is a wonderful boost to the ego, comes with its own fair share of ‘AAAARGH! 😱’ moments. So now, on top of being the class teacher, I am responsible for the whoe EYFS unit, meaning two nursery classes, two reception classes, three other teachers, 8 Teaching Assistants, and four lunchtime supervisors. And we are in the midst of change within the department, due to a new Government Framework change Oh, and the Ofsted threat looms heavily, this year, because we are due!
And my son had his GCSEs this summer, which was a stress in itself.
Then we moved house. You know the score.
What’s this got to do with words?
Because since I have had all the above to deal with, it has been nigh on impossible to have the energy and time to write what I want to be writing. And, to be honest, the last few months, I didn’t want to.
I seemed to have fallen out of love with my story.
And with reading.
And that was a biggie. Here is me, usually reading 5-10 books a month, barely finishing them because I couldn’t even get into these wonderful fictional worlds.
However, reading was the thing I needed to get my head round. Reading books gives me the inspiration I need, to get back to writing. And the last month has seen me read just shy of twenty books!
One was a book with some content similar to the theme I am writing about, and as I read it, I began to ruminate. Through my mind, thoughts ran, along the lines of “I think I can do better than this. No, I KNOW I can do better than this.”
And I did open my manuscript.
I didn’t write much, but I tweaked, and I also found a whole new sub plot to add to the story.
Then I reread the beginnings of another story I had begun to write in the first lockdown. And a skeleton plan of a third.
And I looked at the cover for this one I am writing now, to spur me on.
Words want to come out now. That’s a feeling I haven’t had for a long while.
Now, it’s just finding that balance, betweem, the new commute (we moved a little further away from my work, and the kids school), work itself, and the kids after school commitments.
I have no excuses. I am even blessed to have a whole writing room now, in the new house, complete with reading nook! Here’s some photos of my special space.
Wish me luck. I hope many more words flow in here!
And on to the sale…
As it’s my birthday week, Marriage Unarranged is discounted for the next five days on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk!
Birthday week Sale!
#MarriageUnarranged is 99p/c for the next five days!
Monday 30th August, until Friday 3rd September.
If you fancy a little spice in the end of your summer reading, because, let’s be honest,it’s getting a tad cold out there, be sure to download it, and I’ll consider it a birthday wish from you, to me, too!
Well, I can’t quite believe it. Here we are, finally in 2020. A new decade too.
And this is the year I will officially become a published author!
Pub Day is not far off, around 6 weeks, and the nerves are jangling like crazy.
In my last post, I announced the offical publication date, of 9th February 2020, and it felt like an age away. But time has a habit of running away with you, when you have something lined up, doesn’t it?
So, I have my book, officially on preorder, kindle version, and the paperback to be available from the publication date. Right here – getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged
There was a slight kerfuffle with the cover. Somehow, even using all the information KDP give an author and cover designer, the first wraparound, or print cover, fell short by 0.088mm! And it all makes a difference, so after tweaking, and resubmitting, we finally got the measurements right.
I was so excited. This meant I could order a proof copy, and finally see what my book baby would look and feel like in a reader’s hands.
Then I pressed Publish Now, instead of Save.
I woke in the morning to an email from Amazon KDP congratulating me on my new live paperback!
That wasn’t meant to happen!
Thankfully it had only been live for minutes, so I managed to ‘unpublish’ it and order my proof…
It came, yesterday, on the 31st of December. What a wonderful present 2019 gave me, on it’s way out.
I sat, stroking it, flicking through the pages. I mean, look at it. It’s a real book! And it’s mine. A lot of time was spent sharing the news on social media, because you have to keep that buzz going, and I have had such lovely comments from people all over the world. (I just hope they buy the book, too!)
But that is not it. There are still a lot of little niggly things that need doing. My next job is to proof read the print copy. I have to make sure there are no errors that have missed my eye in all the other rereads – spelling mistakes or formatting errors. And I’ve been doing the same with the ebook version too.
But, that’s not all.
There is also promotion to do, and I have been contacting and organising a blog tour to coincide with the release. I believe I have got responses from pretty much all the bloggers I approached…now to write content for the posts!
And I have arranged for a social media Book Blitz too, where the cover and blurb will be showcased across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for the week preceeding the release. I feel rather pleased with myself, but I’ll be happier when I actually get that content written!
And what of the rest of the year?
Well, there is no time to sit back and rest on my laurels! I still have a life to lead, and I am hoping that you readers might want more, so I have my goals for 2020, writing wise, set out.
And there you have it!
Wish me luck, my dear Peeps!
“Described as Chickpea Curry Lit – Chick lit with an Indian twist, and not jsut for chicks, you Chap(patti)s too!“
It all started ended with that box…
Aashi’s life was all set.
Or so she thought.
Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.
But then Aashi found the empty condom box…
Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.
Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.
And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…
It’s been six weeks (or just over, actually) since I submitted my manuscript to a publication house. They said they aim to reply to all queries within around six weeks.
And in that six weeks, I have started back at school, and felt the most deadening exhaustion ever. I haven’t been able to get creative at all.
But, if I had the right energy levels, what could I be doing? What could any writer be doing?
Start thinking of another project to take your mind off the current situation
Take a little mental break
Read – both fiction and non fiction
Take part in little challenges (or big – I signed up to NaNoWriMo this year, but whether I could actually write 50,000 words in November, is anyone’s guess!)
Build up your social media audience
Consider starting an email newsletter (Still thinking about this…)
Read some of your older work – you may see something new in it.
Aside from trying to get my energy back, I have read a lot (when I don’t fall asleep with the book in my hands) and invested in some new craft books to help improve my writing. And I have been looking for my plans for book two and three too.
But honestly, my creativity has taken a real hit with this tiredness. And not hearing back from the publisher yet, has me on edge.
What is keeping me going, keeping me for letting go of my dream, is the encouragement from others who have been with me on this journey. My beta readers, who know what my story is, and one in particular who was so excited to hear that I am planning a couple more stories involving the characters in my first book.
Surely that must mean something, that someone wants to know more about these figments of my imagination?
Hearing back from this publisher in a positive way will be a certain type of validation for me, but if that doesn’t work out, I’ll be heading on that Indie trail, with the confidence that at least 5 out of 5 of the people who read my manuscript enjoyed it and were excited by it.
If you ask someone who doesn’t write, their image of a writer at work, would be someone surrounded by books, a computer or paper to hand, tapping on a keyboard, or scribbling ideas down furiously.
Or gazing out of the window at a picturesque writers retread, pencil at the ready for any ispiration that might hit.
Or that other chestnut, the writer taking up a table at the local coffee shop, empty cups strewn across said table, and laptop set up, ready for that literary greatness to fill the screen.
That’s exactly how all those books out there came to fruition.
A few hours or days to write or type, and a perfect story is created, ready for publication.
The writing journey, along with the subsequent editing process, is an arduous one. And though you may spend a lot of it on your bottom, you use up your mental energy more than you realise.
When I decided to really ramp up the writing of my first draft, I used the month of August in 2017 and created my own mini #RiNoWriMo, as November and #NaNo WriMo is beyond me, what with being a teacher in my other life.
So August, that sacred month for teachers, where you get time off, was sacrificed for my writing.
And write, I did!
But I didn’t know how much writing 2,500+ words a day would take out of me.
I started back to school in September an emotional wreck. Not the best way to start the academic year, I’ll have you know. Although pushing myself to write hit word count goals, it zapped me of any energy, and the ability to function emotionally for a few weeks. Writing had become too much.
And the draft still wasn’t finished. I wondered whether this writing malarkey was really for me?
So when I decided that this August, two years on, would be my month for editing, I had to keep my emotional wellbeing in mind too.
#RiNoEdMo has nearly come to a close, and I have worked my pudgy behind off (not literally, because if I had, that would be wonderful, but I digress…) to go through this manuscript with a fine tooth comb. It took me 10 days to finish the first of my ‘final’ edits.
Once it was off to beta readers, I sat back with a light heart, and one heck of a headache.
That mental tiredness had kicked in. It had officially become too much.
So, I scheduled time for me, time with my children and family, time to read.
And, yes, I have revisited my draft, as and when feedback drips in, tweaking easy bits, but I have put it on the back burner so I can get back into my other life mindset. (I hate to call it real life, because writing is part of my real life too, it’s just my alter-life… By day wife, mother and teacher. By night writer and sleeper.)
One week until school beckons to me. One week to get some of that r’n’r. One week to maybe add a few more tweaks Stop it woman, you are meant to be resting!
I have compiled a list of things I do to help me get that ‘me’ time as well as being as productive as possible, within a short timespan.
Take regular breaks and hydrate.
Give yourself a time limit for how long you will spend on your manuscript every day.
Treat yourself when you reach a goal. A bubble bath, a manicure, a drink…
If your head hurts, listen to it, and step away for a while.
Always have a good book handy to read as a reward.
Plan a day out.
Change the scenery around you – write in the garden one day, on your bed on another, take your laptop for a trip to a different place. It’s as refreshing as a break.
All little things, but they do help to keep your wellbeing from sinking, as you swim through the ocean of Getting That Book Out There.
Do you have any other advice for keeping sane while writing and editing?
Well, for some, it is to allow feelings to be released. For others, it is part and parcel of their job.
And for authors, it is because you have stories we wish to tell, and share with the world.
Now, anyone could write away and create a tale which they send off out into the big wide book world.
Self-publishing platforms have made it that simple. As long as you have access to a computer, you can write, download and press Publish, and that’s it.
You are a published author.
Plenty of writers out there have done that. There are over one million titles published worldwide, every year.
And if you have been trying, you know it is nearly impossible to land a traditional publishing deal. So, that’s where self-publishing, or independently publishing comes in.
But how many of those books that are self-published are successful?
If you market right, you’ll make some sales, then your book might get buried under the waves of newer books hitting the shelves.
There are some authors, though, who have smashed the Indie Author market.
And it’s not just by some fluke. (Maybe it is sometimes. I’ll name no names, but there are a few self-published books over the years that have become huge, yet the writing leaves a lot to be desired! But I digress…)
Those writers spend time on their books. They don’t just churn out reams of text, give it a quick glance, then press that Publish button.
They write, and reread, then write again. They use the eyes of beta readers as well as editors, to help their book baby grow. They take time to create a world within their book that will transport a reader. They want the cover to attract you. They want the blurb to hook you and reel you in. These writers want you to become fully immersed in their story. They want you to be thinking of the characters, long after you reach The End.
They want you to think of them; of buying any future books they may write.
They want you to want to readtheir books.
That’s why I write; to be read.
In my heart, I know my story is worth telling (fictional, not my life story!) I know it is a tale that would be enjoyed, providing I give it all the love and attention it requires.
That’s what the last few weeks have been about.
Reading, rewriting, getting feedback.
It’s taken me nearly 20 years to get to this stage, you know. That’s how much I believe in my story.
When I reached the last page, after this final set of revisions, I felt ready to send the manuscript out to my team of Beta Readers, and that’s where my book baby lies right now.
I sit here, nervously awaiting feedback now.
Will my baby be ready to be set free in the literary world?