Monthly Archives: Mar 2021

I have written before. Unpublished Stories and What Happened to Them?

Ever heard the question: When did you first started as a writer? Some would say since a long time ago or even when I was a child. I felt more in the industry since 2020. But actually, I have written before. In this blog post, I will tell a tale of my previous attempt at manuscript, their ideas, what stopped me writing them and where they are today.

At Seven Years Old

That’s right, my first attempt was when I was just a kid! No sorry, some would hear that word and think ‘kid goat’… cough* When I was just a child. So what was the story about? Well I blame the love and enjoyment of Beatrix Potter having animals in human clothes, walking and talking. Cause as seven year old, I wrote a story about shapeshifters. Or at least the girl was trapped in her dog form and needed to be free. I cannot recall the title, or how the story fully goes. I know the villain was a mad scientist to experiment shapeshifting gone wrong, with mad crazy hair drawings throughout the book. After a telephone conversation with my Grandmother, she said it was sweetest fourteen-page hand-drawn book I created. She, my parents and my another grandmother received their limited edition copies by yours truly! What went wrong, undiagnosed dyslexic spelling mistakes, and stupidly not going beyond three copies only… I am just kidding, I was only seven years old! I was not thinking big career moves then. I think I was at that age considering to be a Princess without the marry the Prince way, that was hardcore career planning.

In college…

If you were writing at seven years old, you are probably not gonna stop there. I had this class project known as Graphic Design. So I was giving a project brief to create a merchandise selection of one product to boost its sales. That will be either a movie poster as the main product, or a book cover. Take a wild guess at what I picked? Book Cover!!! That could not stop from there, if I was go to make bookmarks, Hardcover sleeves for the book, book posters for window shops… I clearly need a story to have. Now I think back, my teachers thought I went overboard to write an actual story, with interior layout as my excuse for the project (yeah, that did not convinced them). Yet I was still shapeshifter crazy, and went all the way to write up to 47-page book with size of 8.5″ x 5.5″. Okay so it was a sketchbook I used, and sellotape my trim size prints out into the pages… not the prettiest interior inside of a book I have seen published. I went to a bird sanctuary to capture a good shot of a hawk as my Main Character, Grey, was a boy who is a Halfling that can shapeshift into a hawk. With a troublesome older brother, Clive, and the poor MC teen highschool crush who doesn’t know of their kind. I remember writing how he first hit mature age to shift, and used a lake to fly over for the first time, by the power of the Blue Moon. Am I gonna leave that there for you? No! I am too generous to show off a Snippet of Taking First Flight! In this scene, the brothers have to face an unbearable problem. Being discovered by Grey’s half toddler sister, Zoe, that he is hiding Clive in the house. I found this scene very amusing and fun to write. Also you are welcome I went over the proof-reading and edited. Man, that’s a lot of grammar mistakes when I was a younger.

Book Cover Design project – Taking First Flight

Snippet from Taking First Flight: Clive shifted into bird form after his shower, Grey heard his brother’s voice through his head ‘Run the taps for me?’ he watched the hawk hopping into the sink. ‘Why?’ Grey asked. ‘Gotta freshen up the feather birds as well as the human body, you know,’ his brother’s voice ran out into his head. Grey did as instructed. He was this struggling with the how arrangement of how this shifter life routine was. Clive shook his feathers once satisfied from his bird bath. With all day Clive lecturing Grey on how to know the ways of being a shifter, Grey thinks it’s payback time. Clive nibbled on some of his winged feathers to self-groom. With Clive now distracted, Grey whipped out a bath towel and wrapped the bird in it. ‘Oi!’ He heard his brother cry through his mind. Grey laughed, ‘Now be a good little pet! And don’t bite the human!’ Clive kept protesting as Grey carried him at out the bathroom, through the hallway towards his bedroom. Grey slowed his pace down when he spotted a shadow at the top of the stairs. Little Zoe had her hands on the top stairs, as she crouched in hiding. The three year old then blinked, spotting Clive in Grey’s arms, ‘Birdie?’ she whispered. Grey heard his brother both screeched as a hawk, and in his mind, ‘If that brat, tattle on us, we are toast!’ Grey rolled his eyes, so much for keeping long-lost brother a secret from his Step-Mum and their Dad. Zoe took in a deep breath, readying her big scream of delight, ‘BIRDIE!’ Clive’s hawk screech rang out in the hallway as the toddler charged towards the brothers. Clive shot out of Grey loosen hands, as Grey tried to dive towards Zoe to hold her off. Clive flew into Grey’s room, darting around to keep out of the sticky fingers of Zoe. Zoe loved this game, she squealed and giggled as she took chase after the hawk. Standing lamp, books and Grey’s collectable figurines went flying as Clive wings knocked them all over. Grey try to jump to grab the fast toddler, landing on the floor with a crash. ‘Turn back! Turn into a human!’ Grey yelled. ‘Oh, and how do you explain that to Dear Old Dad? He doesn’t know I am bloody here!’ Clive yelled back in his head, Grey covered his ears, his brother’s voice rang loud. Telepathy sucked, Grey thought. Unpublished © 2021

Currently that one limited edition of the printed copy of Taking First Flight is sitting on my bookshelf. It is a little amusing to pull out from time-to-time to read scenes like this one I have shared.

I have learned much more in writing in the previous year, and having this post as a reflection of my work will be another milestone in my development as a writer.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog post of past experiences in writing. I am not sure if I would ever consider writing these, or tidying them up to be considerable and presentable to publish. Hit the like button if you enjoyed this post, and comment below: Any unpublished work have you done? Share with us and other followers!

Seen the two previous post in this series? Check them out!

Where will my writing be…

Meet my pit crew…

Breakdown Step-By-Step: WordPress Journey Part Two

Alright, so remember I once heard that you need an online presence before the actual book is published? So the audience can start looking for you, and your Pre-Order book to hit that Bestseller? Ha, I am clearly not there myself yet, but I am too generous enough to show to hit that fabulous WordPress web design and laugh at those downfalls I experienced. No worries, on the laughter. I laugh at it now myself!

Now don’t panic if you already got your book out into the world. This again can help build your brand as the writer.

Also as a lovely disclaimer, I am not going to overdo the how-to questions and answers. WordPress has written several articles to do the step-by-step on the technical side. This is more the presentation side of oneself online. 

So, you have probably had a peek around my own website, as well as authors in the same genre. What are they like? Similar images, a similar style of the menu bar? This won’t be the part about being individual right now. Your books and how you present yourself with your words will get you to stand out. Here’s the thing, most readers that follow other authors in your genre, not only like their books but how they presented themselves online.

Let do a breakdown of the menu bar first. It can be really challenging for someone to view your website if they cannot search or find a clear map. That is what the menu bar going to be. A map. 

I set myself with the main page, known as a Home Page, to welcome followers with open arms. 

Then there’s the bookshelf. This is where all your stories will sit nicely on a…well, a virtual shelf! This main button will be a custom link, that using the hashtag button, can help make the drop submenu of all your books. That way you don’t need to cram all of the books on the main menu. These webpages per book can all link up under the submenu. 

Now you notice I have one webpage as the main platform area for my Short-Short Stories. One, I don’t think my age genre of free reading should be publicly displayed without a disclaimer page to warn anyone if they find the story is too inappropriate for them. You can easily choose to hit the link button to Butterscotch and the few others that will emerge, of your own free will to read. If you have a disliking to it…well, I did warn you. 

Once I have got more published books out there, I can do a how-to-create webpage for it and link it to your bookshelf. 

Then we got the Author section. It’s a brief bio page of me! Hey, there! And of course, my blog in this category. You can mix it up as you please or where things should go on your menu bar. 

After that, I worked on For Readers fun area. This is where I hope to have any readers Frequent Answered Questions, A newsletter archive in case you missed the previous ones, and reassurance of Privacy Policy. Please, follow your own countries guidelines and law on how to deal with Privacy Policy. And make sure it is up to date like your copyright tag at the bottom of your website. 

I got added a link in my menu bar, away from my website and onto my Merch designs! I may have gotten carried away at playing with those designs and products, but look how pretty!

Finally, you got to have a Contact Us page. How else are my FAQs from my followers are gonna get in touch without communication?

Alright class, we gonna have a break! Hit the Like button, Comments are open for any questions or suggestions, or help each other out! The next blog post on this journey will be posted soon, so keep an eye out!

Check out my series of blog posts in Online Presence and Part One of WordPress

Next for this blog series, Razzle, Dazzle, Zazzle Merch post!

Jane Austen time theme collections of reference books – what are they and why I use them

Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

It is happening again! I am having fun sharing you lot of all reference books.

First things, first. This is not to advertise these books or why you should have them. If they are not relevant to your style of writings or theme of books, then relax. I am not the best sales person. Now I am not one for spoilers in what happens in a book. And the same goes for here too. If you wanna know, buy the book. Hey, look! Maybe a career in sales is a potential for me after all! I like the concept that I can share my knowledge, no matter how little the topic is, I can see why I work my day job in a classroom. This is gonna be my new intros for these reference blog posts.

Rebecca Smith wrote The Jane Austen Writers’ Club. Stepping into a world of Miss Austen. Beyond her novels, film adaptations and writing alongside her. Okay, so I am writing on a laptop rather than quill and paper! This book is wonderful from beautiful illustrations, reading snippets of your favourite author’s work, and reading Austen’s own advice and tips on how to write. And granted, we’ve all done the whole cosplay it as dress-up like Miss Austen. So how about we try these exercises and useful techniques?

The Jane Austen Writer’s Club
The Time Traveller’s Guide to Regency Britain

How can you write historical fiction without the TARDIS or H. G. Wells’ Time Machine? Luckily, Ian Mortimer is an expert here! Written a whole series, The Time Traveller’s Guide to Regency Britain book, is what I needed! And yes, I could not wait for the paperback prints, so I went Hardback copy! The illustration pages, the weight of a good hardback book, this is a wonderful book and that is before the relevant texts. Yes, this book has been a sanctuary in my time travel journey. Still waiting on The Doctor to knock on my door to whisk me away, but this is the next best thing.

I hoped you have enjoyed another reading in-between your own novel writing. There are more reference books I want to share! So keep an eye out for future blog posts.

Hit the Like button, comment below and share your thoughts on anything that you enjoy or dislike about these online platforms and presence to help each other out.

Seen the first blog post of the series about Reference book?

Coming Soon! Swoon, Romance and Kissing Books reference blog post!

Breakdown Step-By-Step: My WordPress Journey

Alright, so remember I once heard that you need an online presence before the actual book is published? So the audience can start looking for you, and your Pre-Order book to hit that Bestseller? Ha, I am clearly not there myself yet, but I am too generous enough to show to hit that fabulous WordPress web design and laugh at those downfalls I experienced. No worries, on the laughter. I laugh at it now myself!

Now don’t panic if you already got your book out into the world. This again can help build your brand as the writer.

So, do I write it in order? Or create blog post by blog post on the relevant things that connect…decisions, decisions…

So, got a pen name? Don’t panic if you are using your own legal name. It would be probably easier. Why did I pick a Gmail account? Simple, it looks classy as an email address, I can separate my writing and personal emails, AND FREE Google Drive! I got Google Docs to write my stories on, I got Google Spreadsheet for budget and timeline…well, you got the idea. Plus, most online platforms are easier to log into Google Account when signing in or registering with them. 

Next, I would say, please please please, yes it is that important! Do. Not. Buy. Your. Domain. Right. Away! You are gonna work weeks, months into this project. And whilst is it not live, you don’t want to waste money on anything when you are in drafts of projects. No matter how much anything or sales pitch pleads to you, consider the cost. Would it be useful or wasteful?

Want a decent and Free logo for your website. This is the fun part! You need something that screams you! And to be your branded colour theme, that help builds your website. Canva design has free templates, designs and all kinds of fun. Thank you to my Graphic Designer friend for nudging me to this website. 

Here’s is the scale of what you need for:

Logo: 200 x 200 pixel (or it already got a logo template)

Header Image: 1600 × 230 pixel

Photo by Dids on Pexels.com

Use Canva custom size and it will measure you to your required image size for each one to use ready for WordPress. The number of times my Header Image was too large or too small and the frustrations, haha, good times! It is also a great site to create Instagram posts, Pinterest Pins and anything you feel need and usefulness for your brand!

Gravatar! Hey, it’s you! What a gorgeous profile image to set up to know who is the author of this WordPress. Try and keep a continuous one, so every social media platform you create, they know it’s you! So simple!

Templates. Stick to something FREE! Again, you haven’t made the money. Think of the question, it is useful or wasteful? I picked Twenty Thirteen. I felt this had all my criteria checklist of what I need on my writer website. I wanted it to be simple and easy to manoeuvre around for my followers/readers. 

Hashtag Colour!

Known your colours in your logo? Well, did you know?! That when on Canva, click on the colour, and there’s this hashtag with numbers? That is the HTML colour code! It is a universal online code. Save this! That way you can copy and paste the code into your selection of colours for each layout part of your WordPress. Need to find some colour to suit it? Hit this link, for HTML colour code search and it will give you ideas and suggest colours to match. 

Alright class, we gonna have a break! Hit the Like Button and Comments are open for any questions or suggestions, or help each other out! The next blog post on this journey will be posted soon, so keep an eye out!

Seen the first blog post of the series about Online Presence?

Think this is all? No! We got Part Two here…

My collections of reference books – what are they and why I use them

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Ever had that thought where you think there are too many reference books on how to write? Or courses even? Which ones are best, or relevant to me? First things, first. This is not to advertise these books or why you should have them. If they are not relevant to your style of writings or theme of books, then relax. I am not the best salesperson. Now I am not one for spoilers in what happens in a book. And the same goes for here too. If you wanna know, buy the book. Hey, look! Maybe a career in sales is a potential for me after all!

I like the concept that I can share my knowledge, no matter how little the topic is, I can see why I work my day job in a classroom. 

So which one should I pick as my first reference book? Well, as a fan of their writing and they are really good authors; let’s start here. All Write Already by Gena Showalter & Jill Monroe. First, what a pun! Any catchy title can draw someone in to pick up the book. And to then have the authors that you have in your book collection, another plus. So I have read a lot of both authors’ books, both when they team up and their individual collections. Before I go any further, allow me to say this. If you got an author who you like, that wrote a manual on how to write a book, they are probably the key guidance for you. Let me put it another way. If you are already their reader and have several copies of each story they wrote, then you already have a taste of their style of writing and like it. Maybe you want to write the same theme or sense of humour. This is a wonderful and motivating book for anyone to get write their novel within a year! No pressure, I keep saying to myself.

All Write Already Book
On Writing Romance

I came across an article online around structuring a romance novel. On Writing Romance by Leigh Michaels was one of the books in reviewal. Now after purchasing, this was quite a delivery delay; however, I am happy to report I have it on my bookshelf now. Again, like All Write Already, this book has given the breakout of working on your novel. There is a great amount of information, which sometimes can be dizzy to find in a Google search or lots of replies on Twitter. Not saying, those can’t be useful, but as readers and lovers of books, we just love getting our hands on them. Plus, if the internet is down, a book can outrank Google Search.

I hoped you have enjoyed another reading in-between your own novel writing. There are more reference books I want to share! So keep an eye out for future blog posts.

Hit the Like Button, comment below and share your thoughts on anything that you enjoy or dislike about this blog. Do you have any reference books that you would recommend and help each other out?

Have you seen my next in the series of reference books blog post?

The worst advice we ever heard as Writers

If you heard it before, then you most probably groan or eye-roll at the thought of these types of advice.

Photo by karatara on Pexels.com

Just Write!

Facepalm! Well duh? I am writing right now, okay so it is to make a blog post, but come on! There has got to be a better motivation than this! I like the ones where they suggest a target of say, write 250 words a day. No matter how busy I am, I gotta bust out those 250 words. 

Why write if you are not making money? You should think about paying rent first.

Eek! Ever had a parent or a close person to you say this? No, just me?! Let’s be serious, cause it was tempting to go freelance when you happy dance that you completed your first manuscript. But that’s not how the real world works. Most writers tend to go full-time or self-employed when they at least write, publish and sell their sixth books on average. And I am not saying, sold six books of one manuscript. Has this got you thinking about whether you want to do this or not? Don’t worry, Just Write!

See what I mean? I even facepalm on that last sentence of that paragraph.

In other words, keep the day job till you can safely make rent at the end of the month. If you feel like you cannot bust out a manuscript with your busy life, then you gotta build yourself a timetable or routine to do something. 

Don’t edit before you complete your manuscript

Okay, so curiosity kills the cat. We know this. Yet as humans, we are curious creatures. And for someone like me. I can help but edit as I go along. These aren’t big moves, like cutting scenes or moving one whole chapter in the manuscript to somewhere else. So unless you have this idea that you can switch off the spelling check on your Word Doc, or whatever you write on; there is always a moment where you have edited. Even in your own head before you put it down onto paper. How many times have you said or resaid your sentence in your head before you were happy it made sense to you? That’s okay. When it comes to these moments, there’s no right or wrong answer. Unless you have a job as an editor or you are submitting your final draft of the manuscript to one, then yeah, you gotta make it right and make sense. 

My Home Office Space

Look away from the laptop screen to come up with ideas.

Ever seen the online presence of others say they look in the distance, thinking nostalgically or like a heroic writer with serious intense thought. I cannot help but laugh! My home office space is half the spare room, a chair, a desk, a lamp and my laptop. The other side? Is all the crap I hide for Zoom meetings! I could never look off into the horizon with an intense look, I would have to look down at my laptop and keep on writing. Why? Admittedly I am a coward of tidying and organising and a novice hoarder. The only time I dared to look away, is a reminder of office desk safety training. If you have worked in an office before, you probably had the same one, where HR says you must blink your eyes to not dry them out. The same goes for posture or chair setting and that lovely email from your building maintenance team to remind you of a tidy desk is a safe desk. If you never worked in an office, that kind of a thing we come across on a yearly basis. Look it up! No seriously, think about it. Even if you would laugh at the silliness of the training, however, it is better than having a bad back, tired eyes or sore wrist when your keyboard is not angle right.

Artist – Sharon Wheeler

So there you have, some of the worst advice I have seen, laughed at or eye-rolled. Some would say no advice is the worst advice. True, but my goodness don’t ever use these ones! Unless you want your audience to groan and eye-roll. If you know of any other worst advice, do share in the comments section. I hope you did giggle at some of my reasons, it’s nice to have a laugh in-between writing chapters. Now get back to it!

My Online Presence: web design with WordPress and Social Media

They advised that every writer needs a website. And granted, this may come before the actual first/debut book you’ll publish. So how have I done so far, and what have learnt?

First up is my experience in the past. Back at university, I learnt about web design and online social media platforms to increase my art portfolio. Guilty, I am an art major, not a literary or author bestseller major. It did teach me how to build up a website at least. And well…my art portfolio has been put on the shelf, for many reasons I won’t go into. So there is it, my previous experiences before this year on audience building as a writer.

Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

WordPress. Well, if you haven’t noticed it, this is on WordPress. I have used it before and spent a good six months building the page before launching to the world. My time was spent in designing, choice of colours (yeah I got new design after Graphic Designer friend feedback on the look) and of course, what the hell does someone put as a writer’s website?! That part would be what you can see on mine, have a click around with what I have added, categories and worked on as individuals pages. It’s a large subject to discuss so I may pin a future blog more specifically on my WordPress website.

Newsletters. Every website requires a Newsletter! Okay, so again whilst researching my Website Design, it also influenced my choice of signing up to create a Newsletter account. I went with MailerLite. Again, as this a part of my WordPress website building, I’ll have this added to a future blog post-to-do list!

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

Next up! Twitter. This stuff was a pure accident to get going and flapping about on how to hashtag. I rushed my time out to set up my Twitter account. Connecting my writer’s Gmail account and website. All I can say is please research what hashtag you want to use and say. The downside for Twitter and dyslexic person, spelling error! They are just mean to not give me the right to edit a tweet I put out there! Still having a Twitter webpage to Plan a tweet through the schedule, that’s with a capital P to empathise the importance of Plan!

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on Pexels.com

Then there was the Facebook page. Eek! When I researched my website ideas, I knew I was gonna need one of these pages. But most I knew, and still do, is that writers already got their book out and published. I am still working on the community vibe here. So I won’t tell you how to be an expert here. I can safely say that I have built a Facebook page and there were not many complications to working the platform.

Instagram. This one out of the three was the easygoing platform for visual ideas, and building an online presence for me. That, and the fact my cats already have their own Instagram page. Yes, before you get confused. When coming up with a Writer’s Pen Name, I yelled my cats’ names together when they got crazy playing cat and mouse. Three days saying the name out loud, and it stuck! So I knew what I already was getting myself in for with my writer’s Instagram account, in demands for photos than posting text. And I worked my way around hashtags and following accounts. Now Facebook and Instagram are intertwined together, so I have discovered Creator Studio, so I can schedule not only my posts separately but linking both accounts together. Don’t ask me how I did, the tech-ie on connecting! That was a challenge for me if I am honest.

LinkTree. Ooohh, I love this concept! So many links and online presence, to make a list of them on Bio to get more people to see them. Yet this beauty! I thank the Twitter writers that I follow for giving me this knowledge, my LinkTree.

Finally, though doubt it’s my last social platform building. Pinterest. Simple, and the reason why I love it. I can create boards to build Visualisation. Both for myself as a writer and my aesthetics to my working novel. Let me explain. Most people are visual learners since leaving school…or still in school. Visualising a scene or character can bring them to life! As it is my most recent social media platform, again I cannot quote technical experts set up. Then again, I am not an expert in web design either.

I hoped you have enjoyed another reading in-between your own novel writing. I’ll add a comment section, share your thoughts on anything that you enjoy or dislike about these online platforms and presence to help each other out.