Thursday, 14 November 2019

Christmas is coming!

A FaceBook post made me think that I should be doing some Christmas book promotions, maybe even an advent calendar. That may be a bit too ambitious though!

But I have spent some time this afternoon creating an advert:
Canva is a really useful tool for conjuring social media posts out of nothing. I really like this advert and it took me less time than it took for me to get the Peaky Blinders theme tune as the ringtone on my new phone.

I tried again with This Time Next Year but so far haven't managed one I'm happy with. The colours on the cover don't seem to be as background friendly somehow.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Juggling the books

After a bad morning - unrelated to writing - I managed to write nearly 2,000 words on my WIP this afternoon. 

Once again my characters start to tell their own story. Always lovely when that happens and I don't have to struggle to think of what happens next.

Having decided against doing NaNoWriMo I feel a bit up in the air about writing and where i'm at with it all. 

I have self-published two books. I have re-issued the first one, This Time Next Year, with its amendments, but I still need to update the ebook version. I also still plan to serialise as a podcast.

I have amendments to make to the second one, The Dog-walking Club, in both paperback and ebook.

My third novel, completed, will sit on a shelf for another year or so. It is very different from the others.

My fourth novel, Tabitha's Table, needs beta readers. How do I go about getting them? Ask on Twitter and Facebook for volunteers maybe? Then it will need editing.

My fifth novel, my WIP, is a sequel to This Time Next Year. I am roughly halfway through it at 40,000 words.

Novel 6 in my head is very much alive and active, but in a state of constant flux. I don't have any notes written down anywhere for it. I should probably start to ground it and begin to fix on characters if I want to develop it at any time in the near future.

And as all wannabe writers know, it's all about your media presence these days. Trying to keep up with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest is beyond me, and, to be honest, I'm not entirely sure of the point. 

It's no wonder I get confused.

In case you're interested you can find me on FaceBook @LizHinds99, on Twitter @Liz_Hinds99, on Instagram notanotherwannabewriter, and Pinterest Not Another Wannabe Writer.
You may have to try variations on these 'handles' as I don't know what I'm doing.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Decision made

I am not doing NaNoWriMo. 

Tempted though I was I realised I would be putting myself under a tremendous amount of pressure at a time when I am seeking to ease the stress, to learn to say no, to relax more.

I have, however, achieved a lot writing-wise this week. On at least four days I managed to write more than 1,000 words on my WIP (sequel to This Time Next Year) and I am very pleased with that. I'm nearly halfway through and have reached the 'this is rubbish, why did I think I could write?' stage. I managed to do this much writing by staying in and not doing anything strenuous with the excuse that I was poorly. (I mean I actually was poorly, but it was also handy.)

I suppose there's no reason why I couldn't do my own version of NaNoWriMo at a time more suitable for me. Maybe over Lent. I tend to need some sort of focus, a reason to do something, and just sitting down and saying, 'okay, I'm going to do this,' doesn't work. Just compare how unsuccessful a dieter I am unless I attend a class.

Yes, I'm thinking Lent might be a good incentive. (In case you don't know Lent is the six weeks leading up to Easter in the Christian calendar.) Sometimes I give up playing solitaire on the computer for Lent; sometimes I do a gratitude post a day. And I always keep it up. So ... I'm going to write it in my diary now for next year. 

Done. 

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

A really stupid idea

I'm thinking about doing something stupid. Something really stupid. I've done it before and said I wouldn't do it again but here I am considering it.

And the something stupid is ... NaNoWriMo.

For those who don't know what that is let me explain. During the month of November you set yourself the task of writing 50,000 words of a novel. It's as simple as that. And as stupid as that.

My birthday is in November as is my granddaughter's. November is also Christmas prep month not to mention Guy Fawkes night. This year we're also going to London for a few nights as, ages ago, I booked tickets for the new White Christmas musical. So it's a busy month. Not the sort of month you want to set yourself a task that is hard enough in a boring empty month.

I've done it at least twice before - and have benefited from it - once it's over - but each time I say, 'Never again.' But ...

I have an idea for a new novel. I'm currently working on a sequel to my first novel, This Time Next Year, but I have ideas floating around in my head for something completely different. I fear that unless I do something drastic it will stay, forever, as an idea in my brain.

The thought that I could perhaps take part in NaNoWriMo came to me at the end of September. I told myself if I got organised and did my Christmas shopping early it might be possible. Ten days later I am no closer to getting organised.

Actually that's not true. I have got as far as asking my children what they want for Christmas, however, getting answers out of them is as impossible as doing NaNoWriMo.

On the plus side I have had three almost consecutive days of writing more than 1,000 words on my WIP so that's good. 

What do you think? Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo?

Thursday, 3 October 2019

A local connection for National Poetry Day

To celebrate National Poetry Day here's a little local flavour. 

In 1883 the crew of a German shop was rescued by the Mumbles Lifeboat, which then got into difficulties itself. Two of the lifeboatmen died but another two were pulled ashore by the two daughters of the then lighthouse keeper. Jessie Ace and Margaret Wright were never acknowledged by the RNLI but did receive brooches from the German Empress as a thank you.

Clement Scott decided their story was worth a poem.




The Women of Mumbles Head
Bring novelists your notebook. Bring Dramatists your Pen:
And I'll tell you a simple story of what women do for men.
It's only the tale of a lifeboat, of the dying and the dead,
Of a terrible storm and shipwreck that happened off Mumbles Head.

Maybe you have travelled in Wales, sir, and know it north and south:
Maybe you have friends with the 'natives' that dwell at Oystermouth.
It happens, no doubt, that from Bristol you've crossed in a casual way.
And have sailed your yacht in summer, in the blue of Swansea Bay.

Well, it isn't like that in winter when the lighthouse stands alone,
In the teeth of Atlantic breakers that foam on its face of stone:
It wasn't like that when the hurricane blew and the story-bell tolled, or when
There was news of a wreck, and lifeboat launch'd, and a desperate cry for men.

When in the world did the coxswain shirk? A brave old Salt was he!
Proud to the bone of as four strong lads, as ever had tasted the sea.
Welshmen all to the lungs and loins, who, about the coast twas said,
Had saved some hundred lives apiece - at a shilling or so a head!

So the father launched the lifeboat in the teeth of the tempest's roar,
And he stood like a man at the rudder, with any eye on his boys at the oar.

Out to the wreck went the father! Out to the wreck went the sons!
Leaving the weeping of women, and booming of signal guns;
Leaving the mother who loved them, and the girls that the sailors loved,
Going to death for duty, and trusting to God above!

Do you murmur a prayer, my brother, when cosy and safe in bed,
For men like these, who are ready to die for a wreck off Mumbles Head?

It didn't go well with the lifeboat.  'Twas a terrible storm that blew!
And it snapped a rope in a second that was flung to the drowning crew;
And then the anchor parted - 'twas a tussle to keep afloat!
But the father stuck to the rudder, and the boys to the brave old boat.

Then at last on the poor doom'd lifeboat a wave broke mountains high!
'God help us now! ' said the father. 'It's over my lads, good-bye!'
Half of the crew swam shoreward, half to the sheltered caves,
But father and sons were fighting death in the foam of the angry 
waves.

Up at the lighthouse window two women beheld the storm,
And saw in the boiling breakers a figure - a fighting form,

It might be a grey-haired father, then the women held their breath,
It might be a fair-haired brother who was having a round with death;
It might be a lover, a husband, whose kisses were on the lips
Of the women whose love is life of the men going down to the sea in ships.

They had seen the launch of the lifeboat, they had heard the worst and more,
Then, kissing each other these women went down from the lighthouse, straight to the shore.
There by the rocks on the breakers these sisters, hand in hand,
Beheld once more that desperate man who struggled to reach the land.

'Twas only aid he wanted to help him across the wave,
But what are a couple of women with only a man to save?

What are a couple of women?  Well, more than three craven men
Who stood by the shore with chattering teeth, refusing to stir - and then
Off went the women's shawls, sir: in a second they're torn and rent,
Then knotting them into a rope of love, straight into the sea they went!

'Come back!' cried the lighthouse keeper, 'For God's sake, girls, come back!'
As they caught the waves on their foreheads, resisting the fierce attack.
'Come back!' moaned the grey-haired mother as she stood by the angry sea,
'If the waves take you, my darlings, there's nobody left to me.'
'Come back!' said the three strong soldiers, who still stood faint and pale,
'You will drown if you face the breakers!  You will fall if you brave the gale!'

'Come back' said the girls, 'we will not!  Go tell it to all the town,
We'll lose our lives, God willing, before that man shall drown!'
'Give one more knot to the shawls, Bess!  Give one strong clutch of your hand!
Just follow me, brave, to the shingle, and we'll drag him safe to land!
Wait for the next wave, darling!  Only a minute more,
And I'll have him safe in my arms, dear, and we'll drag him safe to shore.'

Up to their arms in the water, fighting it breast to breast,
They caught and saved a brother alive! God bless us! you know the rest—

Well, many a heart beat stronger, and many a tear was shed,
And many a glass was toss'd right off to the 'Women of Mumbles Head!'

Monday, 30 September 2019

Meeting Anne

That wonderful human being known as Anne Williams was at Narberth Book Fair this weekend, simply 'to support authors'. She writes about books on her Being Anne blog and is such a fabulous encourager.

She took part in my blog tour and later wrote a review about The Dog-walking Club: you can read her glorious review here.

And here we are at the Book Fair.

Post Book Fair de-briefing

It wasn't.

On time. The book delivery that is. But it didn't matter in the end. I had enough - just - for the Book fair, and to prove it here's my stall.
The weather forecast for the weekend had been quite bad but as it turned out there were only intermittent showers. The town's food festival was happening next door so Narberth in west Wales was the place to be on Saturday.

Where to begin? Two big surprises. The first was that all day parking next door to the hall only cost £1.50. As you can pay that for an hour's parking in Swansea it was a pleasant surprise. The second surprise happened when I spoke to Judith Barrow, co-organiser of the event. For some reason, known only to my psyche, I had expected her to sound like a posh English woman even though she had lived in Wales for forty years. She actually spoke with a strong northern English accent.

When she first came across and spoke to us I was astounded - and told her so.

Anyway those two things are irrelevant really. There was good footfall (which I have learned means people coming through the doors) and I sold nine books, which may not sound a lot but is good for an event like this.

It was wonderful to be to put faces to bodies to names that I know from FaceBook and Twitter, and there was a generally lovely supportive and encouraging atmosphere.

A few odd things. At one point a couple stood in front of my stall, spoke to each other, and laughed. The woman then said, 'How's your husband? We read about him in The Bay magazine.'
I said, 'Oh fine.'
Her partner then said, 'That's exactly the sort of sympathy I'd get if I had a heart attack.'

We laughed some more and shared stories of how hard done by husbands are during labour when we make them stay with us when they could be sleeping.

It was odd because The Bay only covers a small delivery area in the west of Swansea - where presumably this couple were from - and Narberth is some distance away. 

Not long after that two women approached my stall. One come towards me saying, 'Liz Hinds! we meet at last!'
We hugged and all the while I am thinking, 'Who is she?'

Quite soon the penny dropped and I realised this lovely lady was no other than my editor on The Bay, Lesley. We have only communicated by email and more recently on FaceBook - where she has a photo admittedly ... Anyway, I think I got away with it.

Two more coincidences. One woman stopped, picked up a copy of The Dog-walking Club, and said, 'I've already read this.' That's odd because I haven't sold that many so she probably read it for free on kindle unlimited but still she'd read it.

Another woman picked up a copy of A Cop for Christ and said, 'I gave this to my son years ago, 'and 'what's it got to do with you?'
'I wrote it.' I showed her my name in small letters on the back cover. 
She said, 'Oh, the cover was different on mine, and it was a smaller book.'
I said, 'Yes, Hodder re-issued it.'
I still don't think she believed me though.

The organisers gave us a goodie bag including sweeties - always a plus - and a sign to put on the stall. I've pinned it to my notice-board now so when in future I begin to doubt myself I just have to look up to remind myself.