Tag Archives: Writers

My Darker Side of Fiction Experience

I was on such a high after attending The Darker Side of Fiction book signing event last Saturday, but I crashed on Monday and Tuesday afternoon (I had an appointment I couldn’t get out of on Tuesday morning). Two days of people-ing takes its toll on me:). The event was organized by Hourglass Events ladies Jo Curtis PA and Rachel Brightey PA, and these two ladies did a fabulous job! The venue, The Bull Hotel in Peterborough, was awesome, the organization run as smooth as a well-oiled engine, and the people I met were fantastic!

Getting there

My husband and I flew to Birmingham on Friday evening (leaving our teenaged kids at home for the first time. They didn’t set the house on fire!). We could have driven, but it would have been an eight-hour drive. As my husband still has to work (I’m afraid someone has to), we just didn’t have the time for this, so I didn’t expect to earn our expenses back. The reason for going was to show my face and get my name out there. I did have a pre-order form and had four orders of all the books of the trilogy beforehand which was great. As we were flying, we had a limit to what we could bring, but we managed to bring another five sets, some short story bundles, and some extra copies of Book 1.

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Showing off my wonderful assistant

 

On Friday evening, we arrived in Birmingham, picked up our rented car, and drove to Peterborough. We arrived at the Bull Hotel at 11pm and went straight to bed. I wanted to be ready for the long day. Unfortunately, I didn’t sleep the night before, and I didn’t sleep well that night either. Whether it was caused by the high temperature in the room, the hum of the air-conditioning, or the hard mattress (yes, I’m a bit of a princess in that respect), or plain excitement, I will never know.

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The Bull Hotel

The Big  Day

The next morning we got up at 8am. The signing started at 10am, and this would give us enough time to have breakfast downstairs, get dressed up for the occasion, and set up the table. I was so glad I brought my husband as an assistant with me as he was such a great help. I couldn’t have managed without him! Before the doors opened, I went around the other authors’ stalls, to see what they had and what they priced everything. As this was basically my first signing with more than one book and with accessories, I had no idea about this. I had brought several price tags and put the ones down that I thought were a fair price.

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The Darker Side of Fiction, well… half of it 😀

They had sold ‘only’ seventy tickets (apparently they’re used to more), but there was a continuous stream of buyers walking past the tables. Some bought a whole set of the trilogy, some bought the short story bundle, some immediately walked past as soon as they saw my books were about vampires. It was fun to chat with the people who stopped at my table. My husband, bless him, was a better salesperson than I’ll ever be and often could win people over to buy something. All in all, I sold over thirty-five books which was great! Here are some piccies with visitors and myself.

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In the afternoon, there was a raffle with proceedings going the Samaritans, and many fantastic prizes were picked up.

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The excellent prices of the raffle!

The doors to the signing closed at five and we quickly packed up. I put our names down for the evening ball, but we had a few hours to spare. We headed into the city center of Peterborough beforehand but unfortunately were a few minutes too late to enter the Museum of the Moon exhibition. Instead, we walked around the cathedral and learned about its architecture through the multiple information boards. When we got back to the hotel, I managed to fit in a quick nap before we headed downstairs for pre-dinner drinks. There were a magician and a photographer.

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Our table companions Katie and Ben. Sorry, Lou and John; your photo turned out blurry!

Sunday in Birmingham

The next morning we drove back to Birmingham to visit the Newman Brothers coffin museum. They actually didn’t make coffins there, but the furniture, i.e. the handles and metal plates that they put on the coffins, as well as the shrouds the dead are put in. We had a fun guide and it was interesting. After a quick bite, we managed to meet with a fellow author, Iain Pattison/Jay Raven, who is from Birmingham. Unfortunately, time was short and so was our meeting. We could have talked for hours. Birmingham is a beautiful city and I hope to be back there one day. Here are some photos from this beautiful place.

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Jay Raven and me

Getting Back

Our trip back home was less relaxed as the way to Peterborough. Our plane was delayed for an hour and once back in Aberdeen, it appeared that both the headlights of my car had given the ghost. The ride home hence was a bit of an adrenaline ride, tagging behind people who did have lights, but we made it home safe. All in all, what a ride! What a fantastic weekend!

 

My Irish Writers’ Podcast Interview

When I was in Ireland last month, attending the Dublin Writers’ Conference, I happened to meet Máire Brophe (I think it’s pronounced Moira, but do correct me if I’m wrong, Máire!). We got chatting about orcs and other fantasy creatures, as you do. She mentioned that she did podcasts and asked if I’d agree to an interview. Of course, I said yes!

It was a bit scary at first, the thought of being recorded. I hate my own voice, for one, and I kept thinking ‘what if I get stuck with words?’ I’ve had it before, many times, that all of a sudden I get insecure and both the English and Dutch language try to get out at the same time. Or I can’t find the English word I want to say. Yet, it was surprisingly easy to talk to Máire. The interview is actually twice as long as I remember 😄.

Listen to the podcast here.

The first seven-and-a-half minutes are an interview with Ann Richardson, who wrote a non-fiction book on Celebrating Grandmothers, and then it’s my turn. You’ll also get a ‘sneek peek’ about the next novel I’m writing!

Thanks again, Máire, for the opportunity, and I wish you all the best with your own novella, After the World, and the Irish Writers Podcast. I do hope you get to write that full novel one day!


PS: If you buy the Suckers Trilogy books from my book store, you get a 15% discount!

Object

It’s been a while since I posted my grammar lesson about the subject, but here is the follow-up on it about the object of a sentence.

You first need to know this information on verbs before we proceed on what an object is.

Transitive vs Intransitive Verbs

Verbs can be transitive or intransitive. A transitive verb takes an object (it transfers its action upon an object) whereas an intransitive verb is an action verb, but it doesn’t take an object.

Example 1: Jane writes poetry.

Example 2: Jane sneezed.

In Example 1, what does Jane write? She writes poetry, hence writing is a transitive verb.

In Example 2, you can’t ask ‘what does Jane sneeze. Jane performs the action, but the action has no effect on anything or anybody; there is no object. Sneezed is an intransient verb.

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An object is a noun that is affected by a transitive verb and usually comes after the verb. It can be a noun, a pronoun, a noun phrase (a noun or pronoun with dependent words), or a noun clause (a clause that acts as a noun).

There are 3 kinds of objects:

  • a direct object
  • an indirect object
  • an object of a preposition

Direct Object

To find the direct object, you need to find the verb first (and possibly the subject). Then you ask what or who this ‘verbing’ has an effect on.

Example: I am writing a book.

What am I writing? I am writing a book. A book is the direct object.

Indirect Object

The indirect object only exists if there is a direct object and are usually individuals (human or animal). When you have found the direct object, ask who or what is receiving the direct object.

Example: John gave Jane the book.

The verb in this sentence is gave, the subject is John. What did John give? John gave the book. The direct object is the book. To whom did John give the book? John gave the book to Jane. Jane is the indirect object.

Verbs acting upon a direct object and an indirect object are called double object verbs. In these sentences, the indirect object is always placed before the direct object.

Example: Mother read her children a story.

Her children (the indirect object) is placed before a story (the direct object).

Object of a Preposition

The object of a preposition is an object introduced by a preposition, usually to or for. The prepositional phrase is always placed after the direct object.

Example 1: Jane gave John a book.

Example 2: Jane gave a book to John.

In example 1, John is the indirect object and placed before the direct object (a book). In Example 2, to John is the prepositional phrase in which to is the preposition and John the indirect object. They are placed after the direct object (a book).

Note: Objects are always in the objective case. See the table below:

Subject Case Object Case
I Me
You You
He/She/It Him/Her/It
We Us
You You
They Them
Who Whom
Whoever Whomever

When unsure if you need to use I or me when using a ‘compound’ object; simplify the sentence.

Example: The bookstore manager picked her and me to open the book fair.

Is it her and me, her and I, or she and I? If we simplify the sentence we get:

Example 1: The manager picked she.

Example 2: The manager picked her.

Example 3: The manager picked I.

Example 4: The manager picked me.

Examples 1 and 3 are wrong as the object pronouns are in subject case. The correct sentences are Examples 2 and 4 (object pronouns in object case) and hence the original sentence above is correct.

Light Up The Night!

I accidentally came across this little video by Peter Dinklage. You must know by now I love Peter Dinklage’s work. I collected some of his movies where he plays a major role, like ‘The Station Agent,’ ‘Death at a Funeral,’ ‘Pete Smalls is Dead,’ and ‘Knights of Badassdom.’ It is a fraction of what he has done, but I love his work in these. Not to mention he plays a major role in my books of course 😀 . The text and video below shows his tenacity for doing what he loves and it is a great example and boost for all who want to achieve their dream.

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 The video is about being an actor, but it could just as well apply to being a writer. It gave me the boost not to wait until everything is perfect and advertise my books. I haven’t done this so far as I didn’t think they were perfect yet. They’re close, but there’s always room for improvement 🙂 . Having a chat with another author yesterday evening and hearing how her book got completely changed by her publisher (yes, she’s got one!), I realized that it doesn’t matter my work isn’t perfect. I can advertise it and let people read my work as is. They’ll love it or hate it, but at least they’ll read it. Try and fail, then try again and fail bigger! Reach for the sky and the world is yours 🙂

Enjoy the video.

Discover Ivy Logan

I met Ivy through the One Stop Fiction Authors’ Resource Facebook Page. She contacted me and asked me to write a guest blog for her website about writers and technology. As I was just told by crime writer Wendy H. Jones at the creative writing workshop in Elgin ‘say yes to everything,’ I said, “Yes, of course!”

I had asked Ivy to give me a week to write the article. The next morning I was still in bed when inspiration hit me and I wrote three-quarters of the text. I had wanted to finish it two days later, but my back pain stopped me from sitting behind my computer. It actually stopped me from sitting and I spent most of the day lying in bed. Yesterday, I finally got some painkillers that worked and I was able to finish my article. I enjoyed writing it.

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The article is called ‘Do writers need to be tech-savvy?’ and you can read the full article on Ivy’s blog here.  She also has another website (this one) where you can find out more about her books and the characters in it.

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Ivy is a passionate character that likes a good laugh and lives for her storytelling. As my father took his time when tucking us girls in at night to answer our questions like ‘why does the world turn?’ and ‘how can fish breathe under water?,’ Ivy’s father would mesmerize his daughters with stories of fantastical worlds and mystic creatures (bless our fathers). She has taken all that on board and is now telling stories of her own. Have a browse on her website and find out more about this new upcoming author.

Image by Anton Ponomarev from Unsplash, edited by Jacky Dahlhaus

Anton Ponomarev

Text Neck – A Writer’s Pain?

I hadn’t heard about ‘Text Neck’ until yesterday. I have been suffering a pain in my upper back, right between my shoulder blades, for four days now. It is most painful when I look down. Not only annoying in daily life but as a writer particularly so when you want to position your fingers correctly on your keyboard or text on your mobile phone. I’ve seen a chiropractor for the problem yesterday. She mentioned one of my legs is longer than the other, loosened up my wrists, and stuck her finger in my mouth ‘to clear my sinuses.’ I left with the same pain in my back. Still in agony, I managed to see the emergency doctor at my GP clinic. ‘Take some aspirin,’ she said. I did, and my pain is still there.

I was very disappointed in these health professionals. The chiropractor didn’t do anything to relieve my pain, the GP wasn’t interested in what caused it. Holistic healthcare doesn’t seem to exist anymore. So I did some research online to find out what was causing my pain and what I could do about it. That’s when I read about ‘Text Neck.’

What is Text Neck?

Text Neck is a repetitive strain injury of the ligaments and muscles in your neck and upper back that keep your head upright. It is primarily seen in young people who use their mobile phones frequently.  People have looked down to read books in the past, but using mobile phones has added to this looking down and often for a substantially more frequent and longer period at a time.

What causes Text Neck?

As we look at our mobile phones, laptops, or tablets to connect with our social media, we look down. It’s this looking down that puts extra strain on the ligaments and muscles in our neck and upper back. Our head weighs about 5-6 kgs. Some people boast of having more brains than others, but let’s not go there now. When we tip our head forward and down, the feel of our head weight increases for our tendons and muscles. The image below gives you an indication of how heavy your head can feel to them.

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The more you let your head hang down to look at your phone, the heavier it gets. Some people get neck pain, some people (like me) get upper back pain, some people get (chronic) headaches. The pain particularly happens when you put your head in the compromising position. I must admit I use my mobile a lot. I Tweet, WhatsApp, Hangout, and use Facebook on my phone. I’ve recently been looking at Instagram too. You have to ‘spread the word of your existence and your books’ as a writer, don’t you? The worst part for me is that it affects my writing on my PC as looking down on my keyboard is extremely painful.

How can you treat Text Neck?

The first thing that needs to be done is to treat the pain and inflammation. The pain is the most common reason people seek out professional help and this should be the first thing they should treat (not stick fingers in mouths to unblock sinuses). It is best to see your GP for this.

Next, your posture should be assessed and corrected. A physiotherapist seems to be the best health professional for this. They can do the physical assessment and give you muscle strengthening, posture correcting, and stretching exercises to ease the current condition, promote healing, and to prevent it from recurring.

What you can do (as a writer) at home is the following:

  • Keep your PC screen and mobile device at eye level
  • Keep your ears above your shoulders, your shoulders above your hips when you’re sitting
  • Keep both feet on a solid surface
  • Take regular breaks from your sitting position
  • Do regular exercises to stretch and strengthen your core muscles
  • Limit your time on your mobile device
  • Learn touch typing

It is also worth noting here how sitting for long periods of time affect our bodies negatively in the long run. There are multiple articles on this topic that are interesting and they are sending out a warning to all people with sitting jobs.

So, do you still want to be a writer? 😀

 

Disclaimer: I am not a health care professional (at least, not for humans) and all my information was gathered from the internet.

Sources:

https://www.spine-health.com/blog/modern-spine-ailment-text-neck

https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/neck-pain/how-avoid-text-neck-overuse-syndrome

http://physioworks.com.au/injuries-conditions-1/text-neck

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2014/nov/24/text-neck-how-smartphones-damaging-our-spines

https://www.spine-health.com/blog/modern-spine-ailment-text-neck

 

Banner photo by Clem Onojeghuo from Unplash, edited by Jacky Dahlhaus

Clem Onojeghuo