Friday, July 31, 2015

My first guest post (Why I chose to self-publish)

Today I'm over at Rachel's Ramblings doing my very first guest post about why I chose to self-publish. I'm so excited. Rachel is a very cool woman. I just adore her!

Feel free to stop by and check out the post:)  Thanks!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Losing my mind a little

Last night I felt a little crazy. Yes people, I do get a little crazy from time to time. Of course the type of things I loose my cool over might not be what the rest of you might think is acceptable.

Last night I was ready to catch up on blog comments and do some much needed research on self-publishing, when our Internet provider decided that I was not going to do any of it. Normally when I know the internet will be off, I finish things ahead of time and I guess I get my planning right. Last night, for no reason, the internet was off and I could feel my eyes twitch. But it's okay, I got a little reading done and got a few ideas for a book, so I guess it wasn't all bad.

I noticed that when I'm not connected to the internet, or have the temptation to check blogs, or other forms of social media, my concentration is better and I end up getting more things done. I know many bloggers have mentioned that social media can be addictive and a distraction, but I thought I would be immune to social media and other distractions. Well, I'm guilty of getting distracted rather easily.

These days I only check Twitter and Pinterest (which is now only for my personal use) regularly, and of course I check out what is going on in the blogging world (This is where I spend most of my time). I rarely use Facebook, Goodreads and Google+ these days. I prefer Twitter because I can just scan through my lists and know what everyone is up to, without giving up too much of my time. Also, I spend a lot of time reading and replying to emails. See, it's not that bad :)

How do you cope with social media? How much time do you spend using it?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I'm not lazy . . . all the time

Since Monday I had actually worked on how to create an e-book. I followed Misha Gerrick's advice and once I learned how to format my "practice manuscript", things started falling into place and the fear I once had about whether I could actually do my own formatting actually paid off.  Thank you, Misha!

I'm starting to think I can actually publish my book this year. But I'm leaving that thought there. I don't want to get ahead of myself, or jinx it.

Also, on the work front I am still battling those articles for my brother. I had to work with a headache all of yesterday, but I kept pushing on. It's just not in me to do a mediocre job of anything, aside for dieting of course. Okay, you got me, exercise too, but that's another story.

My dog is so much better now. He is back to his playful routine and waking me in the middle of the night every few hours to go do his business. That's unfortunately a side effect of the Addison's medication . . . It makes him drink a ton of water and then he wants to urinate more regularly. At least he goes outside less regularly now than before. Before, I barely slept during the night, because he had to go out so much. But having said that, I love my dog and wouldn't trade him for anything. He's perfect, Addison's and all.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Procrastination station

My manuscript is back with my editor for final edits and even though I should be self-editing my second book, I’m hiding from all things writing. I’ve never been one for procrastinating, but lately I have acquired the bad habit. Even if I don’t want to edit, I could be practicing my formatting, or even thinking, or working on marketing ideas for my book (The Amaranthine), which I still hope to publish this year. We shall see. I just have to be more productive. 

On the day-job front, my brother has handed me a flash disk containing thousands of scientific articles, which I have to catalogue and organize, to make it easier for him to find when he starts reading and referencing articles for his own PhD. At this point my eyes feel like they are throbbing in protest, but it has to get done before the end of the month. See, being a research assistant isn’t easy, even if you work from home.

On the annoyance front, certain extended family members have taken up the task of trying to find me a job, as they feel I’m not doing anything worthwhile with my life. Can you believe that? They don’t believe what I do for my brother is seen as work. My mom and siblings were just as upset as me when they found out. Without realizing it I am annoying people by working from home. Who Knew? Some people can be so nosy.

So, how is your Monday? 

Friday, July 17, 2015

War of Six Crowns Blog Tour (Strong Female Characters)

I am so lucky and honored to have Misha Gerrick on my blog today. Congratulations, Misha! You did it!



This is actually a post that I’ve been wanting to write for a while now. I’ve recently been reading a lot about people — women specifically — calling for stronger female characters.

And… well… rolling their eyes every time some industry exec or (sorry guys) man in general points out that there are oodles (okay I’ve never heard a guy say “oodles”, but bear with me.) of strong female characters out there.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeellllll…. Yes. And most of them are in YA Dystopians of some sort. Which, of course, is a general indication of how hungry women really are for strong female characters. The thing is… I’ve been watching things (because I do. Much more than people think.) and I’m just not always sure if execs get it.

I know for one fact that South Africa’s pre-eminent film critic (who’ll remain unnamed) doesn’t. When Charlize Theron pointed out that she loved acting in Mad Max because there are so few interesting female roles out there, he couldn’t jump on the “oh, but there are oodles bandwagon fast enough.

And I don’t really blame him. Because we live in a world where female characters act as window dressing so often that most people can’t tell the difference. Especially the people who get to make these calls.

They seem to look at the YA Dystopian action girl heroes and think: “Great! So to get the female demographic into this series with the male demographic, we then have a hero, and put in an action girl to appeal to the girls. She’ll be the Strong Female Character.”

A clue:

Noooooooo. *shakes head emphatically*

A female character isn’t strong because she can hit a guy so hard that his aunt gets dizzy.

A female character is strong when she makes a choice to keep going even if everything is stacked against her. A female character is strong when she somehow keeps surviving when people somehow in control of her life try to stamp it out of her.

It’s a woman who escapes an abusive husband.

It’s a woman who has no choice about living with one, but who keeps going.

Yes, I love Katniss. And I think it’s awesome that she’s paved a way for so many strong female characters after her. Who can (and do) kick ass.

I just think that there are so much more to female characters that just don’t get the attention they deserve. So many kinds of strength that get disregarded because for some reason, people don’t think that “gritty” characters will be liked as well. Or because people who make these decisions deem that the more subtle sorts of strength will be completely lost on the audience.

Personally, I’d rather take a chance and write my strong girl who’s scared and unsure, but who keeps on making decisions about her own life.

Instead of the hugely confident, kick-ass girl who’s there, but seemingly only to validate the guy in the story, and who seemingly never has a mind of her own.


Synopsis
After discovering her parents had kept a whole world secret, Callan races to discover her past. Not easy to do with an increasingly agitated entity living in her soul.

Going to her long-lost elvish roots should answer all her questions. Instead, she ends up in the middle of a nightmare.

The elves are on the verge of an apocalyptic war. Their enemy, King Aurek of Icaimerith, will only be appeased if Callan marries his heir. It’s either her life getting messed up, or an entire country’s lives lost. Simple enough, right?

Wrong.

Because when the entity wants the elves blotted out of existence, saving them gets taken to a whole new level of complicated.



Misha Gerrick has been creating stories long before she could write and is currently going after her dream of making a living as a writer.

If you’d like to see how that’s going, you can visit her on her blog, where she also discusses all things related to writing and publishing.

Or, if you’d just like to know what she’s reading and get updates on what she’ll be publishing next (Sorry, no newsletter just yet.):

You can follow her Tumblr (http://mishagerrick.tumblr.com)
You can follow her on Twitter: @MGerrick1
And you can circle her on Google Plus: +MGerrick

Monday, July 13, 2015

Synthetica Blog Tour (Synthetica Playlist)

Today I have the fantastic Rachel Pattinson on my blog. She is really cool. Take it away Rachel.



If you'd asked me a few years ago what my favourite music was, I would've answered Green Day, My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy without any hesitation. I'll admit it – I was definitely an emo in school. If it was dark, had strong lyrics and the band had grungy-looking frontman, I was sold.

But now? My music tastes vary as much as my taste in books – Taylor Swift, Hozier, Mumford & Sons, Christina Perri, The Pretty Reckless, George Ezra, King Charles, Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Of Monsters and Men, anything from the eighties - you get the picture. If it's got a good beat, I'll listen to it. I don't really mind what genre it's from, so long as I can nod along to it (I'm actually listening to Blondie as I write this).

While I'll always love Green Day and MCR, I began to realise that it was only through listening to other songs and genres of music that I felt truly inspired to write. Green Day is great for dark, emotional scenes – but what about my romantic scenes? My happy scenes? The scene where my MC is simply hanging out with her best friend (just before something dark and emotional happens, obviously)? Whenever I switched on the radio, I found myself imagining new scenes and making up conversations between characters to whatever song was playing at the time – and that was when I realised if I wanted to get to the heart of my story, I'd have to change my writing playlist. So it was with this new attitude towards music that I started to write Synthetica.

I also promised myself when I began Synthetica that I would have fun writing it. I knew that if I didn't have fun, I would never get it finished. So instead of pigeon-holing myself into listening to my type of music, I decided to play anything I liked the sound of, and luckily, this gamble paid off. I have never had as much fun writing anything, as I have writing Synthetica.

So, without further ado, here's my (current) writing playlist*:

Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men
Wings by Little Mix
I Am Not A Robot by Marina and the Diamonds
Centuries by Fall Out Boy
Wake Me Up by Avicii
Hey Brother by Avicii
Let It Go by Idina Menzel (Don't judge me - this is an awesome song!)
Are You Satisfied? by Marina and the Diamonds
If I Had A Heart by Fever Ray (thank you Vikings, for this one!)
The Hanging Tree from the Hunger Games soundtrack
Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
Hollywood by Marina and the Diamonds
The Great and the Good by Max Raptor
Do You Hear The People Sing? from the Les Miserables soundtrack
Demons by Imagine Dragons
Solo Dancing by Indiana
Hideaway by Kiesza
Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson
Take Me To Church by Hozier
I Bet My Life by Imagine Dragons
Heaven Knows by The Pretty Reckless
Although I know that I'll probably change my writing playlist again for my new WIP, there are songs that I have no doubt will remain staples for the whole Synthetica series. There were a couple of songs that I listened to, and immediately thought of scenes for the second and third books in the trilogy, so I know I'll definitely be revisiting them while outlining those books.


*I've actually cut it down to the songs I listened to the most - my original playlist is over 2 hours long, and far far too many songs for me to list here...




Rachel Pattinson graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a BA Hons in Publishing Media. Born and raised in the north of England, she shares a love for anything to do with tea, cake, bread and butter, rain, the dark, lakes, fells and Lord of the Rings. She now lives in Norfolk with her partner in crime, and is currently working on several new projects, including the sequel to Synthetica.

Or follow her on Twitter: @REPattinson1

Discover more about Synthetica:

Amazon  |  Kobo  |  Nook  |  iBooks  |  Smashwords  |  Goodreads