Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Lonely & lost in Cyberspace: An Indie Author's Return to Networking

A year ago I was announcing the nearing launch of my first Young Adult novel, 'Units'.  Unfortunately there was a huge delay in my commitments to finish the book and at one point I wondered if I would ever look at it again.  And for a long time, I didn't.  But you know how a good story grips you and you simply can't put it out of your mind?  'Units' was exactly that.

I have fallen back into my text editor, where life around me stops for a short time whilst I indulge in the life of my protagonist, Pearl.  I have finally found the new journey in which the book is about to embark on and I can't wait, myself, to find out what happens in the end for my girl.  I've somehow connected with the characters in a way that actually surprises me.  They are clearly figments of my own imagination and yet I feel that I know them as beings in their own rights.

What's been hugely difficult for me since returning to writing is not so much the story.  In fact, that part is refreshing and growing more mature as the recent days pass.  It's networking that i'm struggling with now.  I had already began building a small audience for the release of my first dystopian works and have since lost them over my long drawn out break.

Returning to Twitter, I am seeing the same familiar Twitterers I remember from a year ago, but I'm now feeling somewhat like a ghost, unable to reach out to them and I'm afraid I'm already forgotten.
It's not a good sign for my book, which last year had people excited, curious and waiting patiently to be the first to read my dark & daunting book.  When I started networking about my upcoming novel, I was surprised to see the level of interest.  It confirmed I was on the right track, that perhaps I could release a story that would be loved by readers all over the world.  Queue celebratory music.  I imagined the potential future of 'Units' being a success after seeing several people had added it to their 'to-read' list on Goodreads and few had already commented expressing their interest in what I had to offer.  Tweeting a sneak peek into the first chapter of the book had quickly escalated into more than few re-tweets and here I am now, desperately hoping it can pick up again.

I wonder now how I pick back up with all of this, finding it increasingly difficult to find a spot in cyberspace to lay down the roots of my future as an indie author.  I'm conflicted by which face to address my fans.  Should I blog and tweet from here, my blog that's all book related, or do I start a blog for my book alone and network from there?  Do I tweet as myself or as 'Units'?

So for now I feel that whilst I regain my audience, I'm best to stay put here, where it all began with a love of reading and connecting with other like minded people.

I'm here *waves* and waiting for my welcome back parade, but until then, i'll settle for a cup of tea and a natter.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

A favour?

I'd really appreciate it if my lovely followers will also follow my personal blog.  It's brand shiny new so it's looking pretty lonely out there!

Hugs to those of you who pop over there!


Sorry I was gone for so long!

I never intended to stop blogging for such a long time.  Paper Dreams had became a great way for me to enjoy some 'me' time away from the stressors in life.  But whilst I was happily blogging and reading in my own little world, I had no idea that my real life was in jeopardy.

The day after my last post, my husband left me.  I was completely unaware that he was unhappy in our marriage & I felt stupid for missing the signs.  You see, we had recently moved to a new city for his work and the pressure was on.  Instead of building a social life in our new location, I was losing myself in many online communities and he was working way too much.  Result? A grumpy husband and a 'busy' unresponsive wife - "Not now, honey! I'm reading."

I wasn't there for him when he needed me most.

Shortly after he ended our relationship, I moved back to my home town with the children.  I couldn't stand the thought of continuing our new adventure without my husband and needed the support of my friends & family.

Thankfully, a few months later, and after some outside help, we got back together (and are very happy to this day).  Hubby has a new job and we are both super glad to be living back home, away from the stress of the city life.  But unfortunately everything I was previously working on, including my at the time soon-to-be-published novel, completely stopped.

I couldn't focus on anything and I certainly couldn't enjoy reading a book.

After moving back to my home town, I put all my efforts into my photography business.  I needed the income more than ever at this point and it was a great way to get out of the house and be productive.

Since finding my happy ending, I have been so pre-occupied with my family & business that I still neglect my hobby of reading & writing.  But I miss it so much and I hope that in time I can creep back into this wonderful community and pick up where I left off.

For those of you who would like to see what i've been up to whilst away, take a peek at my photography website/blog


I've missed it here!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Fun things to do with Pinterest

I haven't used Pinterest for months.  I originally started using it to showcase my photography and then I grew bored.  However a lovely lady and author, Carlyle Labuschagne, from Twitter had this beautiful board that was dedicated to her upcoming series, The Broken Destiny.  See it here

The pictures are striking and really helps portray the imagery for the series.  I know many prefer to be left to their own imaginations when reading, but I actually really enjoyed seeing the inspiration and Carlyle's own vision for the books.

I felt excited at the idea of sharing my visions for my upcoming novel, Units, too so I spent a lot of yesterday searching and pinning images that represented the dystopian world and characters of my book.

Words alone are powerful but I love seeing the colours and style of my book in pictures too.

See it here

Finishing a Fifty Shades last night and Uglies a few nights before, I was left reeling with images in my head of how I imagined the books would look and so I started another two board today for them.

Many in this community post their desired cast for books they hope will turn into movies and this is a similar concept except you don't just showcase your idea of the characters.  You can share their surroundings and your feelings and I think this is a great way to connect with others.

I think my new addiction will grow and soon enough all the books i've read will come with their own Pinterest board and I would love to find others who do this too.

Fifty Shades of Controversial

In the voice of Gossip Girl, 'Busted!' - Oh yes, pictures of celebrities and the public with their noses between the pages of the Fifty Shades series.

This post comes shortly after my not so brilliant review.  I awarded the controversial novel with just 3 stars, however, it doesn't mean I can't be obsessed with the book.

Regardless of E. L. James' writing skills, the book has been a huge success.  They say bad publicity is good publicity and I think Fifty Shades is a perfect example of that saying.  Banned from libraries and ridiculed by many, there is no denying that E. L. James has opened the doors for more controversial adult reads.  After all, sex sells.

Not only is the novel discarded by some because of its content, it's also been the centre of plagiarism speculation.  The book - originally a fan-fic for Stephanie Meyer's Twilight - for sure gave a new twist to Bella and Edwards depressing love story.  This has enthralled some Twilight fans whilst others have had their minds corrupted.  I won't question the rights and wrongs of that, but E. L. James is for sure one gutsy, genius woman.

It's quite possible that women have found new confidence having delved into this super sexy fiction. 

 Everybody is curious!  

The hype has spread and I, for one, had to know what this mysterious Mr Grey was all about.  
He was as expected from the title, but all whilst reading the first in the Fifty Shades trilogy, I couldn't believe a BDSM erotica had became a New York bestseller. 

 That is a huge step for the industry and for book fans and I'm pleased that something of such a taboo nature has found some acceptance.

I wonder and even hope that this is the start of an array of erotic reads for young adults.  Yes, young adults, not young teenagers as many confuse the two.  I'm not trying to corrupt your 13 year old daughters and i'm sure that was not James' intention either.

I would like to know if those of you that have read this saucy piece of drama felt embarrassed?  Is this the sort of book you would happily read in public without concern for what others may think?

{review} Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

My Review

I had no idea this was originally a fan fic for Twilight. I'm glad I didn't because i'd have never bought this book. I'm not a Twilight hater at all, but I've already stepped inside that world and when I start a new book I want a new story. FSoG was indeed a new reading experience and I honestly don't know what I feel about this book in an overall way.

Firstly, the writing style for me is so immature considering the book's adult content. A HUGE turn off. Let's talk about Ana.

Her repeated use of the same phrases over and over again well and truly grated on my every nerve. It became so bad at times I squirmed. I should have been squirming because of other things but most scenes instantly lost their power when Ana muttered in her childish mind 'Oh my'.

How is it that this man with so much depth and so many shades of interesting has found himself 'beguiled' (a word so overused through out this book) with such a flat and boring woman? I could see her lack of experience being a new and exciting thing for Mr Grey. It's a control freak's wet dream. But still... *YAWN*.

Ana does surprise me at times - especially during her emails - with her witty sense of humour. But in every scene in which Ana was in the same room with Grey, I could only see her as dull and I fail to see why Grey is so caught up in her.

As for the nature of this book, I get it. I really do. I understand the mechanics behind BDSM and the connection between trust and control. I didn't find him to be a monster at all, which many do. I guess at times his actions bordered on abusive but a book is such a great tool, allowing readers to experience things. Not every book has to be about good guys and good girls. I'm not ashamed to admit I enjoy a book with a controversial subject at hand. For those reasons, I found this book extremely interesting.

Grey is your cliche rich guy with a dark secret but every character is based on a cliche of some sort, so that did not put me off at all. He refers to himself as fifty shades of fucked up and that for me made him vulnerable. I'd be smitten with him in the real world too so I completely understand how Ana is so head over heels. Shame she's such a bore. Though saying that, at times near the end of the book, Ana became stronger and more powerful and I enjoyed that side of her.

As for James' writing style, it isn't for me. I enjoyed her story, but I find it incredible that she was published. The book appears to have not been edited at all. The overuse of words, phrases and descriptions desperately needed seeing to and had they have been, the writing would have flowed better. James' writing broke every rule of Good Writing 101 and whilst i'm all for breaking rules, in this case, it reduced the quality and maturity the book deserved.

The sex scenes were explicit although i'm sure they could have been much more graphic if we'd have been delved into the darker parts of BDSM. It was the right amount though. I did find towards the end I was breathing a sigh of relief when a scene didn't include them being intimate but I guess that's what erotica is all about.

I always wish that the love interests in YA book were a little spicier but couldn't stand to read a book that was completely based on graphic sex scenes so FSoG for me was a nice even ground. There was a story behind it to some extent.

Overall I have given this book 3 stars and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. It has lost a star for the poor writing skills and another for Ana's character. She could have been more well developed.

This book is worth a read, if only for the new experience but it could have been better.

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345803485
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345803481

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Units - Chapter One - Sneak Preview

I have been eagerly working on Units and thought it was time to share the first chapter with you all.

Please stop by and have a read and don't forget to leave a comment and let me know how you found the introduction to the book.

Take a peak - Here