Gone baby, gone.

Just recently Man/Boy went on his first trip far away from me and Hubby.

Previous to this he’d been on the usual camping trips with the school or with Scouts but to places between 30 mins and 4 hours away and for times ranging from overnight to a week.

This trip was only a week but it was to a whole different continent.

Big ol’ milestone!

He was nervous, we were nervous, his fellow students were nervous, I’m sure his teachers were nervous…the whole plane could have flown on sheer nervous energy alone.

There were a lot of positives – he has a great relationship with both the teachers who were leading the trip – it was drama, which is a subject he loves – it was from SA to the UK which is a journey he’s done with us a few times – and finally it was affordable because we could pay in instalments.  We’re Scottish – it’s genetic for shit like that to rate high with us.

We had the usual amount of African fun getting foreign currency but that’s for another blog.

We made sure he packed enough pants and I was pleasantly surprised to find that all but one pair had been worn – result!  We also made sure he had a toothbrush, shower gel, deodorant etc in case he remembered at any point to clean himself to any degree.

I’m sure he managed to have a shower or two during the week but it was all kind of negated by the fact he threw up in his hands on the plane home and so by the time I got him he could make your eyes water gently.  And of course, it’s an experience that his teacher won’t forget in a hurry.

All in all, he had an amazing time.  How could he not?  He was away from his parental overlords with a pocket full of flash money and no-one to tell him how much Haribo is too much Haribo.

(the answer is ‘more than a handful’ just so’s you know)

The only downside he could come up with was that at the end of every day he didn’t get to come and home and chat to me.  Which was very very sweet and almost made my heart grow a few sizes!

Most people seemed to be more concerned as to how Hubby and I would cope without him.  Various people took great delight in telling us that this was the beginning of the end and the next thing we knew he’d be off living his life as far away from us as possible.  They seemed to think we were at the top of some Slippery Slope of Doom and all they needed to do was grab some popcorn and watch us crash and burn.

We – as usual – disappointed people.

Hubby and I got along fine on our own.  We had time to chat and go out to dinner and for long walks.  We laughed and argued and watched TV just like everyone else and have decided that we’ll probably be fine when Man/Boy finally leaves for good.

The thought of Man/Boy leaving home doesn’t seem to scare me the way other people think it should.  I want him to.  I want him to head off and do stuff I know nothing about with people I know nothing about in places I’ve never been.

(if it’s anything like my young adulthood then the less the parents know, the better!)

That’s a big part of my job as his parent, isn’t it?  To get him ready to bugger off and leave me.  To make sure he can survive and hopefully thrive out there on his own.

I want him to want to leave me.

But hopefully, by giving him love and support and listening to him, he’ll want to come back and tell me about it.

Hopefully, we can chat and laugh and catch up like other adults who enjoy each others company do.

Except of course I’ll feel the need to constantly wind him up about the time he threw up in his hands on an 8-hour plane flight…that’s the other part of my job…

 

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Tongue-tied (for once)

Marketing.

It’s the work of the devil and I don’t understand it.

I’m also shit at it.  I can’t work out what to say, which has never been a problem for me before.

Apparently, once you’ve written a book you have to market it.  Unless you have people who have people who know people who can do that for you.

I don’t.

So I have to market ‘Horizon’ myself and can’t help but feel like a failing and inadequate parent.  My child deserves better!

I’ve spent hours getting my tiny brain around things like price promotions and countdown deals.

I’ve set up the book and myself on Goodreads and attempted to be as witty, approachable and charming as I can.  None of these things is even in the same hemisphere as my comfort zone and yet I give it my best shot.

I’ve nagged, cajoled and begged people to leave reviews and tried to see the whole process as ‘sharing what I love with people who will appreciate hearing about it’ rather than ‘blowing my own trumpet right in your ear’.

It all comes from the inherent dislike I have for people who show off, and that’s what marketing feels like.  It was frowned on when I was growing up to talk about your achievements and I can’t shake off that same feeling now, as an adult. Whenever I go to type something as simple as ‘you might like this’ I can feel my toes curling in embarrassment!

Also, it doesn’t help that I’m such a lazy cow.  I’d really rather people got to know about ‘Horizon’ by osmosis.  If hordes of avid readers could just make sure they stumble over it and then remain faithful to me no matter what complete rubbish I write, well, that’d be just dandy…ta very much.

But I’m learning.  I’ve got my bio off to a fine (short) art.  If pushed I can sum up ‘Horizon’ and even talk with some kind of adulting prowess about things like my ‘inspiration’ and ‘method’.

(My ‘inspiration’ is to get the voices out of my head and onto the paper so they’ll shut up and leave me alone and my ‘method’ is to get my arse sat down at my desk before 9am or it ain’t gonna happen.)

So if I could just say what I feel then my marketing would look something like this:

‘Horizon’ is quite good.  It’s also short and cheap so you can read it

and then get on with other stuff. 

I’m not bad at writing.

If you read it, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy it.

Then again, you might not.

Whatever…

The End

Yeah, I know, it makes for an inspirational masterclass…sign up quick!

 

The morning after…

So yesterday was a bit of a surprise.

I expected my novella to take a lot longer to go live and then suddenly there it was…!

I spent the afternoon shoving it in people’s faces on FB and Twitter – mainly FB because I suck at Twitter – and woke up this morning to lots of supportive comments and people saying they’d bought it and were planning to read it/had started it.

For some reason, this came as a surprise to me.

I’ve lived with this book and this character in my head for about a year so the realisation that it was now being made available to other people was…confusing.  I almost felt like I’d been cheated on.

‘Oh yeah, that’s fine, just run off and let anyone read you, see if I care.  I thought we had something special…(sniffsniff)…’

Ah, the madness of writers!

One of my friends in Ghana has finished it already and was saying how much she enjoyed it…and I hadn’t even offered her money or the blood of my first-born child yet.

So, just in case any of you want to have a wee look and see…here’s a free preview:

Hopefully.

If the link-thingy works.

Let’s face it, I’m not known for my technological prowess!

(An Update: according to Hubby the link only works if you go to the blog site – not if you’re reading it in email mode.  I may need more chocolate for this marketing/technology lark!)

 

The fing what I wrote…

So today started much like any other day.

I nagged Man/Boy until he dragged his lazy arse out of bed.

I checked with Hubby that he had his keys/phone/pants/wallet before he left for work.

I cleaned the toilets.

I bought fruit and new underpants for the lads.

I ate too much chocolate, regretted it and felt sick.

Then I got an email from Amazon…

‘Congratulations, your book is available in the Kindle store’

Well alrighty then!

After initially writing the first draft for NaNowriMo last year I’ve edited it, mentioned it,  ignored it, used it as a coaster and generally cleaned the house to an eye-watering shine in avoidance of it ever since.

Then one day I just sat down and did it.  Well, with some help from Joanna Penn’s book and a quick internet search of ‘how to upload a book to KDP in really really easy steps’.

To be fair it was a pretty simple process and only made my brain hurt about half a dozen times, which is pretty good when you’re my age.

And now it’s there…on Kindle.

My words.

My idea.

For everyone and anyone to read and have an opinion about.

To be honest – it’s both exciting and terrifying.

What if people hate it?  What if they all leave reviews that suggest painful ways I should end my miserable existence?

But it’s okay – someone’s bought it already!!  Oh, does it count if it’s a member of my family?

Well, it’s done now…no going back.

Deep breath. Be brave. Remember it’s not life and death, it’s just a novella.

Now to get started on the next one.

Feel free to go and have a look at it – it’s called ‘Horizon’ and I’m Ali Gallo.

If you like what you read then feel free to leave some kind words as a review.

If you hate what you read then feel free to keep your opinions to yourself…ta very much.

And look….someone else just bought it….oh, wait, that was me.

IMG_6124

The muse is upon me (aaargh! get it off!)

I am part of a writing group.

Now, those of you who know me in 3D (or have chronic insomnia and regularly read my blog to get to sleep)  will know that I am not a joiner.

Not that kind of joiner.  I’m actually pretty handy with carpentry tools.

I mean that I am not the kind of person who joins in or joins clubs and stuff.

Like that quote, about not wanting to belong to any club that would have me as a member.

(step away from the comment box, I know that’s not quite right, just take a deep breath and get over yourself okay?!)

But being a writer is a solitary profession and even someone as anti-social as me needs company sometimes.

It’s only an hour and a half every other week so I grit my teeth for that long.

Anyway, last night we were talking about poems.  One of the other members writes them and it’s something I’ve always admired and yet been confused by.

I was taught in school that proper poems ramble on for about 12 pages and are about nature, or emotions and all that shit.  They’re written mainly by misogynistic buggers with ruffled shirts and a bloodstream full of opium or women with big noses, their hair in a tight bun and chronic depression.

As the Pope once (kind of ) said – I don’t know much about poetry but I know which poems I like.

I just don’t know why I like them.  Most of the time I’m not even 100% sure what they’re about.  Some of them just sound nice.

My own efforts in poetry have always sounded more like they were written by The Cat in The Hat with a hangover.

Here’s one I wrote just now…

 

In Praise of Leggings

Available in every size,

Helpful with your diet lies.

Made to fit you, fat or thin.

Just breathe out, they’ll hold you in.

 

Available in every colour,

Be you bright or be you duller.

Black will go with everything,

And show off nicely all your bling.

 

Available in every store,

Bought one pair?  Buy one more.

You can never have too many,

And they don’t cost too much penny.

 

Available in every place,

If you fall flat they’ll save your face.

No more flashing of your pants,

Though the paparazzi rants.

 

Available in every home,

And take them with you when you roam.

They’re perfect for ev-ry occasion,

For everyone of all persuasion.

 

They truly are a gift from heaven!

I think I must own thirty-seven.

So sing their praises, sing it loudly…

Wear them often – wear them proudly!

THE END

 

(cue tumbleweed rolling past in silence)

See what I mean…?  I’m sure Poet Laureate’s everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief.

The most important thing is that I enjoy it.

Well, maybe that’s the second most important thing…

…the most important thing is that I don’t share them with you again!

Bit of a twit(ter)

I may have told you that a while ago that I joined Twitter.

Having managed quite happily without it for all these years you may wonder what compelled me to join now.

Marketing.  And other various branches of Beelzebub & Co.

The aim is to e-publish my NaNoWriMo novella in early May and apparently if I upload it and just leave it to sit there like an ugly ornament on the shelf then it won’t sell.

People won’t just magically know that it’s there and go buy it if I don’t find a way to tell them about it.

Lazy buggers!  Have I got to do everything for them?  Sigh…

So in an effort to be more socially active and aware, and other shit that starts with ‘a’, I joined Twitter.

I still don’t get it.

I have 280 characters to say whatever I want.

Most mornings my first 280 ‘characters’ consist of things like ‘whassa’ or ‘not now’ or ‘whhhh’ over and over.

Even once I’m up to speed it takes me at least 150 ‘characters’ to get halfway to the point I’m trying to make.

The chances of me sounding charming, erudite, and intellectual in only 280 characters are zip, zero, nada.

Not even in 280 minutes.

280 days maybe…

Perhaps I should just quietly slip out the Twitter back door and make a break for it before anyone notices?

I’m not sure I want to make a big fuss about my novella anyway.  If people know it’s there then the following will happen:

They’ll like it, forget to leave a review and go on with their exciting and glam lives.

or

They’ll hate it, leave a review full of absurd and maniacal hatred for me, my writing, my haircut and my life choices then go on with their exciting and glam lives.

Maybe I’ll just stick to tweeting about what I had for dinner last night (curry) or what I’m having for dinner tonight (mac&cheese).

Don’t need anyone else knowing what a twit I am.

Just don’t you lot go telling anyone…okay?

 

 

Random musings from a writer in edit mode…

Can I just stop now?

Why do some of my sentences read like I just fell asleep in the middle of writing them?

Did I just decide to use the ‘fuck it why not’ version of applied grammar?

I just seem physically unable to not, insert, a, comma, all, the, bleeding, time.

Too many exclamation marks just mean there’s shouting in my head!!!!!

I am addicted to the word ‘just’….it’s everywhere I look!

I don’t talk with an American accent so why do I keep using so many American phrases?

My eyes hurt.

Is it practice or practise?

Will I ever be able to spell cozy/cosy/cosey?

Does it even make sense?

What was I thinking?

My neck hurts.

Can I manage to re-type this last bit before I wet myself?

What time is it?

Will my Amazon reviews consist solely of a woman called Maureen pointing out to me that I can’t spell apocalypse?

Why do I have to look up the word apocalypse every single time?

I can still wiggle my thumbs really fast.

Will the friends who agreed to be my readers ever speak to me again?

Grammarly is not always right.

If editing my 44,370 word novella is this much of a pain in the bahookie maybe I should give up on the idea of a series of epic novels so epic that people can use them as stools to reach shit on high shelves…?