As a big believer in the power of positivity I have been listening to some fantastic audio books by Esther, Jerry, and Abraham Hicks. Click HERE if you’d like to check them out (turns out their books are what The Secret was inspired by!). The downright basics of the idea is that, if you feel good and think good, life will be good. I realise that may seem horribly simple to many, but for me, I love it. So to remind myself to keep my head in the right “space” I created this lovely printable. If you can print it in colour then you’ll see the Sacred Geometry design is actually overlaid with a universe design. It’s subtle but beautiful 🙂 Grab this lovely printable HERE at Book Geek Chic, and I hope it helps you to remember all the good things in life, especially the small stuff!
After posting photos on Instagram of all the beautiful lemons I’ve picked from my nana’s lemon tree (which she’d thought was on its last legs – it must have heard that ’cause it’s gone NUTS this season!) I finally got around to recreating the delicious iced lemon tea we drank daily while on holiday in Singapore this year. It took a few attempts before I got the balance quite right. Just normal “gumboot” tea (as my Kassie refers to it as) is too strong, while I didn’t want to use Earl Grey because I know too much of that can give you a tummy ache. (Earl Grey tea contains the essential oil Bergamot, which is very strong acting while not tasting too overwhelming). After much examining of the tea area at the local supermarket, I spotted Lady Grey tea, which is flavoured with real lemon and orange peel. It sounded ideal, and it really is! The next step was getting the balance of sweetness right. Singaporeans love sweet drinks, and given the steamy heat they live in I honestly believe their drinks act like electrolytes. I know the day I ended up with sunstroke (one of those days where the distance on the map looked easy, the reality – not so much…) the two glasses of Bandung (rose syrup & milk/soy milk) Glenn managed to convince me to drink actually pulled me around quicker than I expected. Which was much appreciated!
Here in NZ, however, we don’t have that steamy heat. We have sharp, vivid (you’ll never see skies as blue as NZ/Aussie skies) heat that BURNS, so excessive sweetness in a drink can be unpleasant (or so I find). I started with a cup of sugar, and we’ve whittled it down to 1/2 cup, although I did think 2/3 cup was that nice level of “treat”. The most important part though? The glorious fresh lemon juice! I can’t get over how delicious it smells, and the gorgeous yellow colour. 1 cup per 2 litre jug makes this iced tea just sing. We did quickly discover that this tea only tastes good cold. So if you are crazy impatient to taste it, fill your glass with ice cubes and pour it over then let it sit for 5 mins. Otherwise do what I do and make it up the night before so the jug has plenty of time to chill.
Grab your own beautiful printable of this recipe HERE at my Book Geek Chic store. Just use the code FREEBIE at the checkout. And please let me know if you try it! Or if you have your own favourite recipe of iced tea do share it!
NaNoWriMo… For those not in the know, it stands for National November Writing Month. Really it is very much an international movement now, but the name is rather catchy just the way it is *grin*. The basic idea of this harebrained scheme is to knuckle down and write a novel in a month. Let’s keep in mind that this is the first draft of a novel. Not a perfect, publishable novel. That’s a pretty important detail!
Can it be done? Well I’ve written three first drafts in a month (each in one month, not all three in one month – are you insane!?!): Awakening, AfterBurn, and Prometheus. So I do know first hand that it can be done. But the actual process of doing it – well I’m not going to lie, it takes some serious determination and knuckling down. Below is my list of helpful things for those tackling this year’s NaNoWriMo – whether it be your first time, or tenth, these are all things you occasionally need to remind yourself of when you get into the thick of it all. I’ve also popped a fantastic printable of this list (shortened so it’s quicker to read/glance at) on Book Geek Chic that you can grab for free right HERE.
- Don’t overthink it. Remember this is all about writing a first draft not a perfectly, polished, publishable, piece. So ignore the little hick-ups and just keep writing
- Oh it is just so much fun to be a pantser, especially when the almost paralysing, inevitable writers-block hits. The best way to avoid this? Plot. It doesn’t need to be big, it doesn’t need major, but if you know where your characters are in Chapter One, where they are in the middle of your book, and what the end result is, you’re going to find it a heck of a lot easier to just keep writing
- Writers-block. It’s more about a lack of inspiration, or brain burn out. For both the easiest thing is to take a walk, look at Pinterest, watch a documentary, basically just get your brain off it and give yourself a chance to reboot. Make sure to limit this to 20mins or less, otherwise you’ll lose out on precious writing time. Oh, and just keep writing
- Talk to your characters. When you’re not writing (doing the dishes maybe, or walking to catch the bus, making the bed, doing anything where it’s not likely people are going to be directly listening to you) talk to your characters. Ask them how they feel about where they are in the story, what they’re worried about, what are their likes/dislikes. It sounds outright weird, but this is one of the most helpful exercises to help you just keep writing
- Take inspiration from those around you. Stuck for a quirky protagonist? Take a snippet of a personality of someone near you and shape it into a fully blown character. Say your mother hates the sensation of tennis balls (true story…). Let that create a character who is sharply aware of textures, and how would that influence their thoughts/feelings/actions. With the multiple characters in your life, be they real/literary/screen, you can use this technique to create endless more characters. Which will help you just keep writing
- Turn a cliché on its head. Take a story that makes you roll your eyes in irritation. Rewrite it. Write it the way YOU want to read it. Burn away the irritation by writing the story in a way you’ll love, and just keep writing
- Above all, no matter what, no matter how little, JUST KEEP WRITING
You got this!
Do you have a suggestion you’d add to your own list? Let me know in the comments, after-all, we crazy writers need all the help we can get!
I love bees.
Ever since I was little I’ve always been fascinated by the constant busyness, the fuzzy little funny bodies and the way they fly so curiously. You may have noticed in The Arrival that I have a scene with a funny bee that flies curiously. If you hadn’t guessed by now, the product I’m talking about on my store is the geometric bee pendant.
When I was little the kindergarten I attended was straight across the road from where my Nana lives. This meant after kindy each day I would go across the road to Nana’s house and spend time with her until my parents picked me up. This was a fantastic combination for me. At that time my Nana was breeding her pet fox terrier, so there were lots of tubby little foxy puppies out in her backyard to play with every day. When I wasn’t playing with the puppies, I was following the fat grouchy bumblebees around the backyard. I was extremely entertained by the way they could get grouchy if you pinned them in a flower then letting them fly off in ever enlarging (grouchy) loops . This probably then shouldn’t be surprising that the only thing I’ve ever been stung by is a bumblebee, and given I have actually run over wasp nests before (and into them) yet not been stung by one: it’s fairly impressive. When I saw the bee pendant at the supplier’s store I couldn’t resist putting it on my store.
Did you know bees are dying in greater numbers every year?
Did you know that without bees life as we know it will cease to exist? Bees are the great pollinators of the world. Without bees we won’t have our vegetables, fruits, or plants in general as almost every plant needs bees in some way to provide pollination. There are multiple reasons as to why bees are dying off. From the simple reasons such as climate change, to the more nasty reasons such as mass use of insecticides. If you would like to be able to help the bees in your area, here are some really easy ways to help out.
- Bees need water. Have you ever noticed in summer that when you hang fresh washing out you’ll often find honeybees and bumblebees clinging to it? This is because they are drinking the water off it. Collecting pollen is hard work, especially in the ever increasing temperatures. An easy way to help bees is to put out a shallow dish of water. Keep it shallow so they don’t accidentally drown. Remember to refresh it every day.
- Bees need nectar. A bumblebee on a full stomach can only fly and collect pollen for about 40 minutes. After which time it will start to burn out, and this is when you will often find them on the ground looking confused. If you find honeybee or a bumblebee in this state then the best way to help them as to very carefully pick them up (not with your hands, use a piece of card or a small plastic lid, you don’t want to be stung) and move them into the shade. Put a shallow dish of sweetened water (30% honey/sugar/jam mixed with 70% water) beside them. If you can put them on the edge of the dish that’s even better. It may take them about 20 minutes to recover, but you should find they have flown off not long after that.
- Plant flowers. In general most cottage garden types of flowers are useful to bees. If you’ve ever fancied having a herb garden, now would be the time to plant it. Herbs like rosemary and lavender, and some mints are fantastic for bees. Plants that flower through summer and into autumn are also fantastic.
Below is a voucher for 50% off the bee pendant on my store. Take the opportunity to grab this beautiful necklace for yourself, or somebody else you know who loves bees. Just click the image to be taken directly to Book Geek Chic, with the discount automatically added – easy!
Check out this gorgeous photo I took near our cabin, I’ve always wanted to get a shot of a bumblebee on a scotch thistle and the contrast between the colouring was just as good as I would have hoped for.
Have a great week, and if you have a great pic send it to me! I’d love to see it.
As always it’s been awhile since my last post. And if you watch my social media accounts, you’ll likely have an inkling as to why. I’ve been working away madly, re-releasing my store Book Geek Chic (BGC) (for technical reasons) and setting up my jewellery store. This is turn has required Instagram accounts for each, and a Facebook account for BGC. It looks like I’m crazy busy at the moment. Which I am.
But what about my writing??
For the full explanation we have to dial back to this time last year. When I had been studying my butt off for weeks to apply for the role I now have. This time last year I was tackling several intense interviews, with my stress and adrenalin levels running high. I knew the hardest part of the whole thing would be making the people, who’d known me for almost eight years as the receptionist, see me as a potential Publishing Manager. Thankfully, having six novels under my belt, plus nailing the tests they set helped.
I got the role, celebrated and dived into it.
Then I got hit with a nasty bout of depression.
Now I’m going to be honest, not even those closest to me were really aware of it, other than Glenn of course, who walked on eggshells around me for those three months. Yup, the first three months of my brand new job, my “Everest”, I spent in a nasty state of anxiety and depression. Unable to make sense of why I kept bawling my eyes out on the drive home from a job I was so utterly exhilarated to have. The short and skinny (for me at least, everyone who deals with the D word has their own triggers/solutions) was that I’d not let myself breathe. And then changing roles in such a way, within the same company left me with a serious case of imposter syndrome. Where I felt like I couldn’t relax because otherwise it might all come tumbling down.
Along came August. August and February are the crazy times in the Financial world here in NZ, when companies are reporting their results for the year/half year. It meant 1am starts (seriously) and sleeping in the lounge for the month because of it. Add to that coming down with a cold, plus my other half suffering from debilitating IBS and it was one hell of a month. But the final kicker came at the end of the month. In the form of an email from Amazon informing me I had fake reads on my KU books (the books people with a Prime account can read). Bewildered I replied my shock and concern, asking what I needed to do to fix this. Their reply was short and succinct. Even when I took the extreme measure of emailing Jeff Bezos himself, then ringing their special team, I still got the same response.
This is YOUR fault, you’ve done something dodgy.
Now, I had set up several email send-outs with advertisers before August, knowing I wouldn’t have time to think of it during the month. So I started googling, trying to make sense of this accusation, and the complete loss of my August sales. What the heck are fake reads? Why are they happening to me?? Googling showed this is a growing trend. The short and skinny (as I can make sense of it) are that bots set up by people (why? Who freaking knows, but somewhere along the way someone must be making money out of it) jump on KU books that have a sudden spike in reads. Why? Because it helps to make their accounts look legitimate. So those of us who’ve put through advertising which has resulted in a good response unfortunately attract these nasty little things. Amazon, being a business, cover all ends by attacking us (the authors) first, and then I presume cancelling the Prime accounts associated with the fake reads.
I did what I thought was the right response. Pulled all my books from KU. But it didn’t make them happy. Amazon left my books floating without rankings in their digital ether. Having read numerous blog posts on others suffering the same situation, I knew it would be a hard fight to get my rankings back.
And then it hit me.
I didn’t need Amazon anymore.
Thanks to my new role, my income had shifted enough that those monthly cheques were no longer a requirement. And that meant something exciting.
It also meant one heck of a learning curve. But, a month or so later and I had my own gorgeous book store. People were still downloading the first book, and buying the others. And no longer having to watch my rankings/reviews lowered my stress levels a heap. Suddenly, I enjoyed being a true indie author again.
The whole situation opened my eyes to ecommerce which given I’ve already been selling my books for years really shouldn’t have been a big surprise.
As I mentioned earlier, my other half suffers from IBS. In a very serious way. It’s frustrating, devastating, and challenging and leaves him often feeling like an 80year old, with aching joints that means even just lying in bed hurts.
The hard part for him is that to look at he looks fine. So people don’t seem to realise the severity of the situation. It breaks my heart daily. My eyes are literally welling up as I write this. There is nothing so frustrating and painful as to watch the one you love in such pain, when you can do absolutely nothing.
So I decided to work towards something.
Stress is a major factor of IBS, so add that to the missed days from work due to the illness, the effect on the income because of that, and it’s a nasty perpetuating cycle.
I can’t make him better. And every time I try to help food wise I seem to end up poisoning him… and unlike an allergy, IBS symptoms can take weeks and months to go away. One little mistake can literally take him a month to recover from. Not surprisingly, when this all began in earnest (six years ago or so) it got to the point that he was scared to eat. We stuck to the FODMAP diet as strictly as possible, but it’s still being created/understood so one month we’d be told a food was safe then the next month it wasn’t. He lost 40kgs in six months. It was so extreme his family thought he was dying from cancer and we weren’t telling them. So all in all, post infection IBS is really f#cking shit.
Which brings me to my new goal.
I want to create income streams that I control for myself. I want to earn enough money online so that he can quit his job, and work on our house like he so desperately wants (adding to those stress levels, because at the moment achieving a day’s work is a big deal, let alone coming home to do more work). Yes, eventually I want to be able to work from home fulltime bringing in enough income to provide for us both. But in the immediate, I want him happy and healthy.
This has been met/is being met by curious levels of dismay by some people. Apparently it’d be fine if he worked his arse off so I could not work, but if you reverse it then it’s just wrong…
Given most of you reading this will have read my books, thus understand my fairly obvious belief in equality, I bet you can imagine my response to such an attitude *evilgrin*.
Which is where Book Geek Chic, my book store, and my jewellery store comes into play. Eventually there will be other stores (or maybe just a store, we’ll see) as I find my way along this bumpy new road. Very soon I am looking forward to diving back into my written worlds, and the craving is getting stronger and stronger. But my desire to get my stores up and running is stronger at the moment. Every time I see him suffer, it hurts me. It hurts me more than I would have believed possible. And if I can’t fix it (and my goddess, do I wish I could!) then I will do everything else in my power to make the situation as good as possible. Including learning a bunch of new crazy ideas to make our lives, in the long run, easier.
So I make you this promise, you long suffering readers 😉 I am working back towards writing. I do have those worlds in my mind every single day. And the voices only get louder. Soon, ideally sooner than I know, I’ll be diving back into them and dragging you all along for one heck of a ride.
I ask you very sincerely, to continue hanging on. To continue getting in touch about the books, because your words always make my day. And to continue in your support for the worlds you love that I’ve created.
You guys are awesome. You help create more light in my world, and I am so very grateful for that.