Baking the books…

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It’s midweek and as usual, the list is growing rather than shrinking – I hope all of you are having greater success at achieving your goals!

When I first started to write I thought that would be the hard part. I naively thought I could write a book, self-publish it and then wait for readers to find it. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would have to dip my toe into the uncharted waters of statistics, marketing, networking, and market research just so that I could guide possible readers to my work.

I was a fool (I still am in all honesty), but I never realised all the work that goes into ‘getting a book out there’.

I compare the process to baking a cake you have to follow the recipe to make sure that the end result is at least edible. Otherwise, you have wasted valuable time and ingredients making something that will go straight into the bin and be forgotten about or laughed at by your partner for years to come!

 

So if I follow the recipe and instructions then the cake should be edible? I could try it…but it would be hard for me to judge as I have just spent the last few hours mixing, cracking, stirring and cursing to create it. So I need some taste testers!

My taste testers are my readers and I welcome honest reviews. If you don’t like it then please let me and the other readers know why you didn’t enjoy it. If you did like it please leave a review letting other readers know that they might like to try it too.

So if you have tried a slice of my cake and you think that I need to leave it in the oven a little longer, or you enjoyed that slice and are waiting excitedly for another piece then please leave a review over at Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Silence-Pushed-CJ-Riley-ebook/dp/B01KIFOMBE

All that talk of metaphorical cakes has made me hungry….

 

 

Happy (belated) Birthday Hitchcock!

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Hello, everyone! I hope that you are all fine and dandy and had a wonderful weekend!

Yesterday Sir Alfred Hitchcock would have been 118 years old! He died in 1980 after directing more than fifty films in a career that spanned six decades. Now I am a bit of a mega fan so I could talk about him all day, but I will keep it short and sweet!

There are many many reasons why I am a big fan – and it would be an essay if I listed them all, but here are a couple that spring to mind.

The first is the story behind the making of Pyscho. He faced many struggles, yet he never gave up and this film is undoubtedly one of his most famous. If you don’t know the story and would like to find out more then I recommend that you watch the 2012 film, Hitchcock. Although a dramatisation of events it does give you an idea of how much he had to fight to make the film that he believed in.

When I’m struggling with things such as a bad review, or a rejection and I wonder whether I should keep trying I always remember this story. I tell myself that I should never give up trying because if you believe in something eventually (or hopefully) you will succeed.

Another reason – and without going into too much detail – is the way he had the ability to ‘create’. In ‘Rope’ he creates the claustrophobic atmosphere by only using a few sets, in ‘Strangers on a Train’ he creates paranoia in the ‘tennis scene’, and in ‘Pyscho’ you never ever see the blade enter the body, but it feels like you do. He had the ability to not just ‘tell’ the story but to ‘create’ the story.

I always remember this when I am writing – what do I want the reader to experience, see or feel? I imagine the scene in my head and I try my best to translate that into words so that I can take the reader on a journey with me.

So if you haven’t seen any Hitchcock films I strongly recommend that you put at least one in your ‘to see’ list. Undisputedly he was the ‘Master of Suspense’ and I am glad that I discovered him many many years ago! So Happy Belated Birthday Sir Alfred Hitchcock!

A bit of a tenuous link, but a link none the less- if you do like suspense and horror can I recommend that you pre-order The Corona Book of Horror Stories. My story is number 14 in the anthology – and I am so excited for its release on the 01st October! You could say I am in suspense!

Have a great Monday and I will blog again soon!

 

 

Happy #BookLoversDay!

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I know – I used a hashtag! Just over 48 hours on Twitter and I am beginning to learn the ropes (I think).

So according to Twitter today is #BookLoversDay. As you all know I love books and my love affair with them started at a very young age.

We used to hold second-hand book sales at my primary school and I would go in with my £2.00 and pick up as many books as I could. Much to the horror of my Aunt, I would always buy the old books with yellow pages and a distinct musty smell when you opened them up. I imagined all the eyes that had skimmed those pages over the years and escaped into the imaginary world that the author had so lovingly and carefully created.

That hasn’t changed, I still love my musty old books, but I also love the accessibility of books over the internet. Whereas years ago you would think of a book and then pop it on your list for your next Library visit or Bookshop visit – now you can think of it, jump onto the world wide web and have it at your fingertips in no time!

This accesibility is not only great for readers but also for authors. I had always wanted to write a book and when I found out about self-publishing I took the leap and this has led to my second book being picked up by a publisher – details to follow soon!

So whether you are a ‘book lover reader’ or a ‘book lover writer’ I hope you have a very happy #BookLoversDay!

 

One small step for man, one giant tweet for me!

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Happy Monday Everyone! The start of a new week and for those of you who were wondering I have climbed out of the rabbit hole albeit with tufts of moss in my hair! I am hoping the ‘series of unfortunate’ events have concluded – but I refer to an earlier post of mine – Truth is Stranger than Fiction – so I stay cautious…

Today I have done something I never ever thought that I would do – you know how phobic I am with social media sites! Wait for it…

I opened a Twitter page (is that even what you say?!?).

Please feel free to follow (is that it?) @cjrileyauthor. I promise I will not tweet constantly, I promise that the ethics of my ‘tweeting’ are mirrored by the ethics of my blog and I promise that I will learn what a ‘hashtag’ is and I will start to use it correctly.

The internet is a truly amazing place – but as I recall watching my Dad trying to turn the TV on with the cordless phone – I promise myself that I must try and learn how to use it!

 

Short and Sweet!

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So today is the day that ‘hopefully’ the series of unfortunate events should come to an end. I say ‘hopefully’ because I am trying to be optimistic, but the pessimist in me has already thrown the glass out!

Perhaps one day I will share these strange events with you – perhaps they may feature in a future book! When life throws you lemons – write it down!

So today it will be short and sweet and I just wanted to thank all of you for following my little ol’ blog. I cannot tell you how excited I get when an email pings to me and I look down and it says ‘xxx is now following you’! I was so nervous that I would be releasing words into an echoey lonely cyber space, so truly thank you all.

I hope you enjoy what you read and if any of you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to let me know – either email or comment.

So whatever you are doing have a great weekend and I will be back on Monday, fully refreshed and ready to blog again!

All you can do is try…

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As you all know, if you have read my earlier posts, I am not the most confident person in the world. This has its upside, of course, it means that no matter how much I receive criticism it will never be as much as I give to myself! The downside is I often build my own ‘obstacles’ so that I don’t try because I am afraid to fail.

So on my journey through social media, I joined several ‘writing’ groups on Facebook. Some of these are really fantastic and I couldn’t have achieved what I have so far without them. Yet some of them give me a cold shudder.

There are often hundreds and hundreds of posts from people who say that they want to write but cannot find the opening line, or they ask for critique on a piece that they have written, or they ask for ideas for storylines – which all in all is fine if the advice that comes back is constructive, but alas, some is not. The typical response is;

“You shouldn’t be a writer.”

Whilst I am an advocate for ‘everyone is entitled to their own opinion’, I often wonder how I would feel if I received this advice. I have always wanted to write, and as I have said before, I am by no means a ‘seasoned writer’ nor do I ever expect to wake up one morning and feel as such. I have a HUGE amount to learn and every time I write something I learn something new. It’s the doing that creates the learning.

I feel nervous every time I check my Amazon Report and see a number of downloads – I wonder what someone will think, I hope that they like it, and I panic. I could avoid all that of course if I just didn’t do it in the first place!

But if I didn’t do it, how could I learn? How brilliant would it be if we could ‘hatch’ from an egg and know everything and be at the level we all want to attain? Firstly there would be no programmes that featured people ‘Before They Were Famous’ if we could!

I worry that some people might give up on their ‘dream’ because they are told to do so by a stranger who lives millions of miles away, who may, or may not, have the experience to be able to make such a statement. I picture a forlorn figure packing away text books, pens and laptop because they have been told they ‘shouldn’t be a writer’.

I know that some people will hate what I write (shudder and sniff), I know that some people will spot mistakes that I have missed, I know that you can’t please everyone all of the time, but you can please some people some of the time. Most importantly I know that I enjoy writing. I enjoy creating characters and worlds from my head and then seeing them come to life on paper. It gives me such a thrill and I love it.

If you are passionate about something – go and do it. Always have your mind open to new ways and always be open to learning new things. Then even if you only achieve half of what you set out to do, at least you can say that you tried.

So when you feel like giving up it’s always best to have a quiet word with yourself and ‘try’ – that’s all you can do. After all, I have never met anyone who said;

“I am glad I never failed, purely because I never tried.”

 

 

 

Time flies – whilst I crawl!

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It’s Monday again! Can you believe how quickly the weeks roll by? Not even the weeks, the months even. Tomorrow it will be the first of August and then we only have five months left of the year (including August)! Where does the time go? Why is it that when you want more time you have less and then when you want less time you have more?

Looking back on this year I can’t believe we are eight months in. Waking up on the morning of the 01st January I had a list of items that I wanted to achieve in the year 2017. I had good intentions and I had a full twelve month year spanning in front of me…

Even at the half way point in the year, I knew that I hadn’t hit the half way point of my list, but I didn’t panic – I still had time. Now I am starting to panic – so much to cram in, so little time, only one of me…hyperventilate, breathe, hyperventilate.

And deep breath.

So I haven’t managed to tick off all my well-intended goals, but I have managed to hit goals I hadn’t planned for. So I have a choice.

I could try my best to cram it all in and hope for the best OR I could keep going and tick off what I can and not focus on whats left to do but focus on what I have done. So that is my ‘ponderation’ for this afternoon.

Perhaps if I only sleep for two hours a night…once a week…

 

 

 

Never give up on your dreams…

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It’s the end of the week – I am still waiting for my invite to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party but have been told I have to wait until the Caterpillar arrives…

Anyway, I had promised that I would share some exciting news with you, so as promised…

The picture at the top of this blog was a book I wrote when I was nine years old (so please excuse the spelling and grammar – although I do still struggle with that…Also please excuse the green label – I write under a pen name now, back then I didn’t!)

Despite my wimpiness, I was always a fan of vampires – my first vampire book being ‘Gruesome & Bloodsocks’ – if you haven’t read it then you must!

I wrote it around this time of year – during the six week holidays –  and I wrote it using unused pages from one of my exercise books (probably Maths). I wanted to be a writer, I loved reading and I loved to write, but this was my first ‘book’. I even did the illustrations!

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Now – ‘cough, cough, cough’ years later I have a publisher for my second book! I cannot believe it and am still pinching myself. I can’t go into too many details just yet but I can confirm contracts have been signed and we are discussing titles and covers!!!!

It goes to show that you should never give up on your dreams – no matter how impossible they may seem –  because sometimes if you work at them they can come true.

I will keep you all updated with the progress and give more information as and when I can, but in the meantime have a wonderful weekend whatever you are doing! Just off to pinch myself again!

 

The pen is mightier than the sword…then the keyboard must be an atomic bomb!

 

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Well, it’s that half way point in the week and I am sorry to say that the ‘strange but true events’ are still ongoing and becoming weirder and stranger by the day. To say I feel like I have fallen down a rabbit hole would be an understatement – but hey I am looking forward to the Mad Hatters Tea Party!

I am doing my best to ensure that I keep on top of everything. All being well I should have finished a short story today and I am meeting my ‘social media’ goals.

Social media was a bit of an enigma to me, I have Facebook but haven’t really ‘used’ it and you all know the pain I went through starting this blog. So I am a very pale colour of ‘green’ when it comes to social media.

What has truly shocked me is the ‘arguments’ that take place!

One person comments and another person reacts, the first person responds even angrier, a third person gets involved, then a fourth, then the first person seems to disappear and person’s 10 and 24 are now at each other throats!

In the ‘real’ world when arguments take place, it happens over a short period of time and then it disperses (or escalates into something worse) – but on social media, the feud can go on for hours, if not days!

In the ‘real’ world when you are angry you don’t have time to ‘choose’ your words, so often you end up in a garbled mash of shouting “Arrarargh umba trareeer!”. Or you revert back to the playground and shout something like “Well I hate your shoes!”. On social media, there is that ‘time lapse’  and you would think that this would allow for clarity. It doesn’t, there are still people who shout “Well I hate your shoes!”.

As entertaining as it is being a fly on the wall of a full-scale social media fall out, it also makes me very sad to see the amount of hatred and anger between people that have never even met. But every villain has a superhero and there are also many acts of kindness and love on social media between people who have never even met – so there is always a positive to a negative!

Edward Bulwer – Lytton said ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’, but after being witness to some of the arguments on social media I think I have come to the conclusion that the keyboard must be an atomic bomb!

Have a good Wednesday and I will be back on Friday with my exciting news!

 

 

Truth is stranger than fiction…

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I was a blog post short last week because something cropped up which meant that I was unable to meet my blogging obligations! I won’t bore you with the details, but the events that occurred (and are ongoing) were utterly unbelievable and that got me thinking about a quote I once read from Mark Twain.

It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.

And this got me thinking…

When I write fiction there is always an element of ‘truth’ to it. If it’s set in a certain time or a certain place I have to ensure that the facts of the ‘truth’ are real. For example, I couldn’t say that a character in 1820’s London used his mobile phone to book an Uber. Well, I could if it was a strange, quirky time travel tale – but if it was a fictional story set in a ‘true’ era then I have to stick to that.

I am sure that people who know me would agree that I have an ‘overactive’ imagination. In a Supermarket, a few weeks back some teenagers were messing around and one let out a blood-curdling scream and my first reaction was Zombie Apocalypse! See what I mean?

Based on these recent events  I can honestly say that in comparison my ‘imagination’ is actually tame, level headed and not at all ‘overactive’ – the events have been flabbergasting and unbelievable.

So as I start the new week with a head full of stories and a pocket full of characters I am not only pondering this question – I am also quite frightened that reality is far ‘stranger’ than the deep dark caverns of my imagination…

P.S: Please don’t forget to keep an eye out on the story reveal website for the Corona Book of Horror Stories – not many announcements left….

http://www.coronabooks.com/corona-book-horror-stories/4593955189

PLUS keep an eye out for my posts later this week, an exciting announcement to follow….