Time flies – whilst I crawl!

7c1553bdf17c535a325e003e6a677855--fly-quotes-daily-motivational-quotes

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…

vamps cover

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!

Blog pic 2

 

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!

 

gallery-1461620311-53701

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…

mark-twain-author-its-no-wonder-that-truth-is-stranger-than-fiction-fiction-has-to

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….

 

Humps and Bumps

Apparently, they call Wednesday ‘hump’ day! I believe that this is because it is the middle of the week and once you are on ‘the other side’ you can see the weekend. I could be wrong – so please feel free to correct me!

This is a short post because as I make my way through ‘hump’ day I am not only getting closer to the weekend – I am getting closer to a deadline too (I know! How professional does a deadline sound?!?) Hopefully I will have some exciting news regarding this ‘deadline’ very soon…

So I have spent the last few days pouring over paperwork, writing and re-writing, deleting, adding, writing and re-writing again in order to meet my deadline and complete it as well as I possibly can.

What has been interesting for me is that I have done this before for other pieces of writing. I don’t have a ‘set’ way of doing it. I just read it, mark it, retype it, save it, read it, delete…you get the picture. It seems to have worked in the past but when I started this project I split it up into ‘parts’.

Each section is neatly stapled in the left-hand corner and I now have a large piece of work in easy bite size chunks and surprisingly enough I have found that it has been so much easier!

I kick myself as I write this – it’s common sense that when tackling anything it easier to break it down into manageable pieces rather than try and attempt to ‘eat the whole cake’ (which I am sure I could by the way).

Whilst I am a bit ‘miffed’ at myself for not trying this approach earlier, I am also quite pleased that I have now ‘learned’ a better way of doing something -and that makes me think…

When I was a child (which I can just about recall, and yet some would say I still am!) and I went to school I ‘assumed’ that once I bade farewell to the institution I would never need to learn anything ever again. My learning would be complete and I would be set for life.

I realised a few years after leaving the safety of the school walls that what I learned at school was simply a foundation, sufficient enough to get me through life, but a tool to build on should I wish.

Since being on my path of writing I have learned so much, and its often easy to forget about how far you have come when you are pursuing a goal that seems impossible or very far away. As I have said before in previous blogs I know that I don’t know everything, and it is very unlikely that I will ever get to know ‘everything’ in my relatively short time on this planet, but today I can congratulate myself.

I learned something relatively small which has had a big positive outcome.

And that is one of my ‘humps’ – OK so the road map in front of me looks like the Himalaya’s and what I stepped over today was a pebble – but it was something. And if I take note of the pebbles on the way to my mountains I won’t stumble and perhaps my journey will be a smooth one!

 

 

 

 

 

Horrifying Weekend! Mwahahahah!

Well, it’s Monday and those two days of freedom are but a distant memory to most of us. To those of you who downloaded my book for free over the weekend I want to say a big thank you and I hope that you are enjoying it (I have a cramp in my fingers and toes from keeping them crossed!)

Whatever you did this weekend I hope that you had a wonderful time. Unfortunately, my best laid plans went awry when I awoke on Saturday morning. Feeling somewhat ‘under the weather’ I resolved the best thing to do would be to stay in bed and spend the day watching old horror movies.

I have a confession. Despite my penchant for these films and the fact that I do resemble something that crawled out of a freshly dug hole most days, I am in fact a wimp. One of my friends fondly refers to me as a ‘Wimpy Goth’. I accept the mantle – because it’s true.

Last year that I was at a well-known theme park in the UK and ran off a ghost train ride half way through. Much to the dismay of my partner, my step son and his girlfriend, and much to the amusement of the other passengers who watched a grown woman visibly shaking and scurrying off down the back stairs. At the time I didn’t care – I needed to get off – I was petrified!

Now I feel I must exonerate myself. The ride was scary…but it wasn’t ‘that’ scary. It wasn’t the components of the ride that made me run up to an attendant and request a swift exit – it was my imagination. Rationally I knew it was just a ride. Rationally I knew that I wasn’t going to be harmed. Rationally I knew it was all make believe.

However my imagination successfully managed to wrestle my rationale out of the ring – and I legged it!

I have always been a wimp. I didn’t go on a ghost train until I was 14!  I never watched a ‘horror’ film until I was at least 18 and when I studied Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for ‘A Level’ I made my Dad take the book out of the house when he went away for the weekend. I have no idea what I thought was going to happen if I was alone in the house with the book, but it scared me.

Then I started to get into the ‘macabre’ and started to watch the old Hammer Horror films, and I realised they weren’t as bad as I had expected. In fact, I quite enjoyed them – they scared me but they gave me a ‘thrilling scare’. So I decided to try out some of the old Hollywood Horror films – like Frankenstein with Boris Karloff and The Wolfman with Lon Chaney Jr –  and I became hooked!

I loved the acting, the music, the atmosphere, I loved the anticipation as I waited for the ‘aarrghh!’ moment, I loved the sinister settings – I loved everything. I was a horror convert.

I resolved that perhaps I was OK with them because they were from a different era. So I stuck with my ‘older’ horror films and began devouring anything with Vincent Price, Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing in it.

Then one day I faced a dilemma. I had no choice but to watch a scary ‘modern’ movie – I won’t go into details but I couldn’t form any excuse. I put on my big girl shoes and resolved that I could close my eyes if the worst came to the worst. I sat with baited breath and waited for the moment that was going to petrify me. I had visions of everyone switching the light on at the end and I would be sitting in the chair, frozen stiff, dead. Death by fear.

I waited, and I waited.

I cringed at the blood and gore scenes. And I waited.

I waited a little bit more and relaxed my grip on the cushion.

I cringed again at the blood and gore. And I waited again.

Then the ending credits rolled.

What?!?!

I had spent the whole film cringing as intestines and limbs flew across the screen but I didn’t feel ‘scared’. I just felt repulsed. If that wasn’t as bad as I thought perhaps I could watch other ‘modern’ horrors?

So I did (admittedly there are still a few I will steer clear of) and you know what? I wasn’t scared. At all. Everything was so graphic and clear – it left little to my imagination – and that was the problem.

It’s my imagination that has the power to make me run off a ghost train ride, it’s my imagination that made me force my Dad to remove the book from the house (which funnily enough is now one of my favourite books), it’s my imagination that sees figures flitting around in the garden in the darkness as I lock the back door each night. I need my imagination to develop ‘fear’ and if everything is so graphic then my imagination takes a well-earned break.

That is what I find so ‘delicious’ about the ‘old’ horror films. The crescendo of music that builds up to a lurking shadow, or a shot of an old house as a scream is heard – you can’t ‘see’ whats going on – so your imagination fills in the blanks! And my imagination is certifiable!

I am pleased to say that after my weekend binge watching Mssrs. Karloff, Lugosi, Price, and Co. I am feeling much better and suitably macabre! And speaking of macabre I have some exciting news about a Horror Anthology which is due to be published in September. If you like Horror then be sure to keep an eye out for The Corona Book of Horror Stories – you can use this link to visit the ‘countdown’ website http://www.coronabooks.com/corona-book-horror-stories/4593955189  and they also have a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CoronaBookofHorrors/

I was very honored to have a short story I wrote accepted into this anthology – so if you want to see how far I have come in my foray into the world of horror then this is for you!

Mwahahahahahahaha!!!!! Have a wonderful day!!!!!

 

 

 

What do you do? Plus a free book promotion!

This week has been one of the most daunting and fulfilling weeks that I have had in a very long time! As the week draws to a close I want to say a big thank you to those of you who have read/followed or liked my posts – it means a great deal to me.

If you read my ‘Expanded Introduction’ post or my ‘About’ page you will see that I have been writing fiction for a while now. I was given the amazing opportunity to spend more time at home and immediately I knew that I wanted to use this time to write and follow my passion.

Yet when I meet people in real life and they ask ‘What do you do?’ I NEVER reply with ‘I am a writer or an author’ and I have often wondered why this is.

OK. So I don’t earn bucket loads of money from my writing (if I did I would have hired some clever, slick PR professional to write this blog!) I probably never will, and that’s fine. I didn’t start writing to become rich. I write because I enjoy it. I write because it gives me so much excitement and contentment to see characters and plots that originated in my head spring out onto paper and come to life.

I’ve often thought that it’s a ‘milestone’ thing. I will become a ‘writer/author’ after ‘x’ amount of books or ‘x’ amount of short stories have been published. The problem is I am not sure what the value ‘x’ is  – I knew I should have paid attention to algebra!

Whenever anyone poses the dreaded question my mouth goes dry, I shuffle awkwardly on the spot and force a smile, my eyes flit back and forth as I wonder if I am brave enough to say it. I am not 100% comfortable using the term in the virtual world but at least the outward display of awkwardness created by the inner turmoil is not visible behind a screen!

My friends and family all know that I write and they enjoy reading my work. They have belief in me…

Ah….another BINGO moment.

Could it all boil down to belief? Could it be that I need to have more belief in myself? But what is it I need to believe in? The quality of my work? My ability to write fiction? I know that I am not an ‘expert’ writer and I have huge mountains to climb before I even get quarter way to that – if I ever do. I know that I still have so much more to learn – and I may never learn everything I need to in my relatively short time on this rotating rock.

What I do believe is that writing is my passion and I want to follow that passion. I believe that I want to get better and better and I will do everything within my power to do so. I believe I want to write stories that people enjoy.

Can I do this?

I believe I can.

I am not naive enough to think that everyone who reads my writing will enjoy it, some may hate it and think it is the worst thing they have ever read (I shed a tear at this point) but that’s life and everything is subjective.

So next time I am asked the dreaded question I should be able to respond, quite confidently and without hesitation – ‘I am a writer!’

Hmm – watch this space!

P.S: My first book ‘Silence Pushed’ is available to download for FREE all weekend on Amazon. Please share and tell your friends – and if you like it or if you don’t (*gulp*) please leave a review to let other readers know your thoughts. Wishing you all a very happy weekend! 

https://www.amazon.com/Silence-Pushed-CJ-Riley-ebook/dp/B01KIFOMBE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expanded Introduction!

This morning I decided that undertaking one daunting task (the blog) wasn’t enough for this week so I embarked on another one and sent a Mailshot (I know!). If you are one of the Mailshot recipients and have taken the time to read this – thank you! I hope you enjoy the blog.

I must confess that after I pressed ‘Publish’ on the post yesterday I spent most of the afternoon and evening with the following questions:

  1. Has anyone read it?
  2. Will I have trolls?
  3. Where have all the chocolate digestives gone?

I opened my computer this morning and had some answers:

  1. Yes they did (thank you!)
  2. Phew! No trolls!
  3. I ate them whilst I was wondering what I should write in my first blog.

Following on from yesterdays post I thought I would expand on my introduction and tell you about my writing.

As you can see from the header on this page my first book Silence Pushed is available to download from Amazon. It is a thriller about revenge and retribution and I have been overwhelmed by how well it has been received.

My second book is currently ‘in progress’ and I am hoping that this will be published late 2017. I may have some exciting news about this – so please watch this space…

I am really excited that a short horror story I wrote is to be included in a Horror Story Anthology due to be published in September 2017 –  I will post more information as soon as possible.

I have several other short stories out for submission and will keep you all suitably updated with their progress.

I have also written a few ‘flash fiction’ stories on the Commaful website and if you would like to read those you can follow this link: https://commaful.com/play/gemma2212/

I think that about covers the ‘expanded introduction’! Thank you for reading and if you have any questions then please drop me an email.

P.S: I had hoped that my second post would be a breeze – but unfortunately, the blinking cursor and the hovering fingers have made a dastardly reappearance today (and today I have no chocolate digestives!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A nervous first blog…

I love to write… which is handy because I want to be a writer! So why have I been sitting here for the past ten minutes watching the cursor on the screen blink and staring at my keyboard as if it will shock me if I touch it?

To answer this question I suppose I will have to explain why I have decided to buy a piece of cyberspace real estate and start a blog, and I sort of covered it in my first paragraph. I want to be a writer. Wait! Please don’t stop reading! Give me a chance to explain…

I have written a book, in fact, two books (one is still ‘in progress’) and I have written several short stories which have been selected for anthologies. I didn’t just wake up this morning and decide that I want to be a writer. That would be naive! I woke up one morning last year and decided I wanted to be a writer. So I wrote a book and I self-published it on Amazon and I waited for readers to find it. And I waited. And I waited…

Then I joined a couple of groups on social media and read the accounts of fellow self-publishers. It began to slowly dawn on me that readers will not just come to the book – you have to take the book to the readers.

For several months I have pondered on the problem and have been putting off the inevitable. The inevitable being that in order to be a successful writer it is necessary for me to ‘self-promote’. After all, everyone in the UK knows of the existence of John Lewis yet every Christmas they ensure that they promote themselves as a reminder that they are there. So if no one knows I am here I will have to promote myself so they do. OK. Fine. Understood.

But promote? How on earth do I promote myself? I can feel myself breaking out into a cold sweat. How does one promote oneself when one is British? Too much promotion would be seen as cocky, too little promotion would seem self-deprecating. What would be the middle ground? Keeping in mind that the purpose of this blog is to engage with possible readers? Aaaaagggggghhhhhh! Damn that blinking cursor!

Not only am I fruitlessly searching for ‘middle ground self-promotion’, I am also nervous about the future of the blog. What am I going to write about on a regular basis? Obviously my experiences in writing – but what else? My hobbies? My favourite food? What happened when I put the bins out this morning? (Nothing by the way…) My thought? (even they scare me sometimes!) I am not an expert in any field – I have little amounts of knowledge about lots of things, and even then the little amounts of knowledge are often ‘weird’ (thanks, Dad).

This isn’t me. Ask anyone. I am methodical. I am tenacious. I set a goal and I aim for it. So why am I over complicating this? Why am I so nervous and unsure. I feel as if I am going for an interview…

BINGO!

Here I am an ‘unknown’ introducing myself for the very first time and I have to convince you, my reader, to follow my blog. How can I ensure that I ‘engage’ you? How can I convince you that you might enjoy what you read? If I am too cocky you will immediately exit the page. If I am too self-deprecating then why should you have confidence in me? So here goes…

Hi there, how are you? Welcome to my blog. I am new to this and will learn as I go. I am not sure what I will write about on weekly basis but I will endeavour to be honest, funny and engaging regardless of the topic. I do hope that you will give me the opportunity to prove myself and I will work hard to ensure that I live up to your ‘blogging’ expectations.

There. And breath….