Saturday, 28 December 2013

Writing goals for 2014

So, all you writers and illustrators out there, have you made your new year goals yet? I have, and here they are. There might be a few more to come later in the year.

1. Finish writing and publishing both my YA 'Guardian Angel' series and adult romance series 'Geraldine's Gems.' Have edits to work on the penultimate Angel ebook, and two more romance ones to write after I've published the current wip in the new year.

2. Try writing poetry. I have an idea for a book of poems. We shall see. If I manage it, it will be my life with Asperger's in poetry.

3. Enter more stories for magazines/competitions.

4. Write more non-fiction, and submit to magazines both in UK and overseas, inc competitions. I have one competition in mind already, and got the Writers' Market book from my brother for Xmas with US magazine markets in.

5. Get a publisher for my 7+ children's books. Waiting to hear from a publisher at the moment. Wait and see if he likes my work enough to want to publish it as a graphic novel.

So, there you have my new year goals. What are your goals?  Let me know.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Character names - are yours similar?

When I was thinking about all the ebooks and books and stories I've been writing recently, it occurred to me that most of the names of the characters I've created are very similar. In my YA fantasy series 'The Guardian Angels' there is Lizzie and Danny. In my 7+ magical school series I'm writing there is Billy and now Charlie. In my first attempt at writing for middle-grade, there is Rosie and Allie (short for Alexandra). I am trying to put in characters with different sounding names, really.
I do wonder if it is because my name is Julie and has the sound at the end.

So, was wondering, do any of you out there give your characters similar sounding names like I've done? Let me know, so I feel not alone in doing it. Look forward to hearing from you all.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

An Aspergirl reviewing an ebook about an Asperboy

I have just read a really interesting ebook about a mother finding out her son has Asperger's Syndrome and how her and her family coped with bringing him up. The book is called 'David's Gift - Asperger's Syndrome' and is by Sally Thibault (I think that's how it's spelt). It is a memoir based on her life of finding out her son, David, has Asperger's and how her and her family coped with it as he got older. At home, at schools and colleges. Reading it, a few things struck me that were how I cope with it. Here are the things:

1. When David had to think, he went into their garden and walked round their tree. Connecting with nature. I have found this does help me when I start to get a sensory overload. The air and space frees my mind and calms me down. This piece of the book has given me the idea for an article I want to write about how nature can  help sensory issues. Still finding a magazine who might want such an article.

2. When David had a project to do that he liked, he concentrated and focussed on it with intent. I know I do that. This is one that that Aspies are good at, as I have already mentioned in blogs and videos.

3. This focus on something that you like can get good results with jobs that interest you. In the book, Sally tells us that David is now wanting a job to do with videos and computers, something he is really interested in. For me, that would me writing and marketing. Both which I know I focus on when I am doing it. I know with writing, when I start to get into the flow, I don't want to be interrupted (maybe that could be the same for all writers).

All in all, this was a really interesting book for me to read. From personal experience and my memories of my own childhood, I feel that boys with Asperger's react differently to things than girls with Asperger's do. Please correct me if I am wrong.

If you have Asperger's or a child with Asperger's, I recommend you read this book.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Eating dinner out with food intolerances

Continuing my series about eating with food intolerances. Last month I went out twice and had dinner out. The first time was for a social (where I met the publisher). I actually looked on the pub's website to see what they cooked for food intolerances. There was only a few things that were dairy free but I decided to try the skinny steak and chips. I didn't know what the chips were cooked in but I like steak and chips. Here is the photo of what I ate.

I only had slight side effects from it but nothing major like I  have had before when I've eaten a lot of chips. I didn't eat the greens in the bowl on the plate, as I can't eat those, but I did eat the cherry tomatoes.

Next was a SCBWI masterclass. We preordered from a set menu. I chose the handmade burger with chips, without a roll. I enjoyed the meal, when chips finally were served to me, but was disappointed with the service which I thought was slow esp when the burger was served without the chips, like it had been on previous classes. No side effects from that at all. I was meant to have bacon with the tomatoes below but that never came, which really was a good thing as it made the meal a bit healthier to eat.

So, there you have it. What I ate on two events, and how it effected me or not. I think it is a good idea that pub's have their menus on the web so people can decide what they can eat before they go there. So well done both pubs for this.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Graphic novels - an early memory

Continuing the theme of graphic novels. I am now going to talk about my early memories of reading them. When I say novels, I mean comics, as they are thin graphic novels. I remember reading Beano and Dandy at the same time as my older brother. I don't recall reading things such as Jackie and My Guy. I liked annuals, too. I do remember reading the small graphic stories by Jackie etc. I used to collect them. They were a bit like pocket novels. Does any one remember what they were called? There is one I remember well. It was about four girls who liked different things eg reading, sports and they all went to jobs they thought were suited to them. The girl who liked reading ended up reading books instead of working and went to another job.  There was only one time that I did buy My Guy, and that was when they reprinted the story with Tony Hadley in. I was a huge fan of Spandau Ballet at the time, and anything with them in I collected.

So, that is my early memory of graphic novels. What is yours? What did you like best? Let me know.

Monday, 28 October 2013

A writer networking - an interesting conversation with a publisher

Last Thursday evening I made my way by bus to Holborn to a pub where members of SCBWI-BI were having a social get together. I don't normally like pubs and going to social events, but when it comes to meeting up with other writers, I don't mind because I can talk away about what I do happily. Anyway, after a while there and having eaten a nice steak with chips and cherry tomatoes, another member whom I'd met before arrived. His name was John Anderson. When I last met him I didn't know that he was a director of a small publisher. Well, I got to talking about my book for 7-9s called 'Boring Billy and the Strange Socks' and he said to me 'Have you thought about getting it published as a graphic novel?' I replied, no, don't know how to do that. He said to just write it. When I told him all about my book, he said he was interested in it and to message him on Facebook. I'd never thought at all about getting it published as a graphic novel just as a normal mainstream series book, but all the way home on the bus, that's what I thought about, and I realised it had great merit. Thinking about my book, I could see that lots of it was visual and would be great in graphic. The more I thought about it, the more I came to realise it had good potential. So on Friday, I messaged John asking what to do. He replied Saturday to say send them the usual partial. So that is what I have done. Now I wait to see what he says about the partial. I can't wait. The partial is still with one agent and two other publishers. I am now excited about the series again, and want to get working on the next book about Charlie and his dyspraxia. I need to finish a short story first and send that out.

Watch this space...

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Eating out on a day trip - then and now.

This is one of the posts I will write about food intolerances and travel. When I was able to eat certain foods and now that I can't. I shall start with day trips out to the seaside.

Years ago, my mum and I would go to Eastbourne for the day, a couple of times, during the summer. Way back then, I was able to eat dairy. So, during our day out, although we'd take our own lunch with us to eat, we would pop to the sea front and buy ourselves Magnum's. I used to love the caramel choc ones. So yummy. I'd enjoy sitting on a bench, looking towards the sea, and eating it with relish. One of the other foods I used love to buying and eating was fudge. It was one of my fave sweets. I loved the creaminess of it. It never used to last long when I got it home. But that was then, when I was able to eat dairy.

Now is a totally different story. The last time we went to Eastbourne was in 2005, when my mum passed out and broke her wrist. We've not been since as Mum hasn't done any long train journeys, and doesn't know how she'd cope with one. Anyway. in 2005, I knew I was dairy intolerant, so I couldn't eat what I used to. We still took our own lunches, but we'd take snacks with us, too. We'd have crisps and fruit bars to eat instead of buying ice creams and sweets. This is what we take when we go out for days now. How I miss those Magnums. But I know I wouldn't be able to eat them because they'd give me bad IBS, and I don't what that whilst I'm out.

So, do you have food intolerances? Do you have memories of what you could eat before you were diagnosed? And what are they? Let me know. I might do an article about this some day.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

An Aspergirl helping and inspiring others with and about Asperger's Syndrome - another video

Welcome back to my Aspergirl series. Again, I am going to cross promote with being an Aspiepreneur and post about another video. When I first started making videos I didn't know what to talk about but then I had an idea - if affiliate marketing had helped me with my Asperger's (first video) then it could help others like me. So why not make videos to explain how it can help and why. So that it was I have done, and will keep doing as part of being an Aspiepreneur.

Here is my second Aspiepreneur video about why affiliate marketing is suitable for Aspies:

Enjoy, and let me know what you think by commenting on here or on my YouTube channel. I do hope that it helps and inspires you.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Cross promotion - An Aspergirl being an Aspiepreneur and making videos

Today I am going to start cross promoting with my other blog, which is about affiliate marketing and how it can help people with Asperger's Syndrome, like me. I became an affiliate marketer in May when I joined Elite Marketing Pro. It wasn't until August, when they fully launched, that I made my first video. It is all abut how EMP has helped my communication skills. To watch it, you can find it here:

It took a few attempts to get it right and on YouTube. I tried doing it on the software on my laptop, but it was useless. It kept breaking up so people couldn't understand what I was saying. I ended up doing it on my digital camera, which is how I am now doing all my videos.

Let me know what you think.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Coping with IBS at home and leisure

Back to my series about coping with IBS, or not. Today I am going to post about how I have coped, or not, with IBS at home and leisure time.

First, at home. I am talking about when I am at home and about to go out shopping. For quite a while, earlier this year, I would have breakfast, get ready, then go shopping with my mum to get the weekly food shopping. Mistake. As I've said in my previous post, it is a good idea to sit and rest for 20 mins or so after eating because your food won't digest properly. I know this now from experience. When I did this, and started walking round the store, half an hour in shopping I'd say to my mum that I had a stomach upset and needed to go somewhere. Feeling that I was spoiling the shopping trip, made me anxious and made my stomach feel worse. I hated this happening. Not only because it spoiled our experience shopping, but due to having Asperger's Syndrome I'd get anxious about not finding my mum when I came out. (That is another post about coping with AS). Thankfully, this hasn't happened for ages, and I intend it not to happen again. If it does, my mum and I have a strategy to meet up.

Secondly, leisure time. I am talking about when you are going out to meet friends. I often go out and meet writer friends for talks, or brunches and lunches. There was one occasion recently when the weather was v hot (in the 30s) and I was going to be meeting friends for brunch and had to sit outside. I got really anxious about this and ended up with a stomach upset from IBS. I didn't go in the end, with the excuse that sitting in the heat was bad for me and my heart (I have a hole in it, and was said that people with heart problems shouldn't stay in the heat), and wasn't well. I get nervous about going to talks in general, but try to stay calm and relaxed before hand. I think in that instance, it was a case of going into the unknown as well as going to a place I'd not been to before that set it off.

So, if you have IBS, how many times has it stopped you enjoying pleasant experiences such as shopping and meeting friends? With me, lots of times.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Young at heart Masterclass - writing for 5-8 year-olds

On Sat 7 Sept I went to Charing Cross to a SCBWI-BW Masterclass about writing for young readers. That was after a long journey of getting a train to New Cross Gate, then a replacement bus to New Cross, another train to London Bridge, and a final train to Charing Cross. Due to works on the line, there were no trains via New Cross to London Bridge. I got there on time, which surprised me. Anyway, the workshop was taken by the publisher Stripes.

First we were asked what made young fiction different from say MG. Vocabulary, short chapters, you are being kind eg no parents arguing, and subject matter. I also thought that with young fiction, parents are always there in the background.

You have to think who is the reader? Are they on their own or are they being read to by their parent? Ruth, from Stripes, said not to worry about the story being related to the real world.  Give the character a sense of individuality. With 7-10,000 words you have to have points in everything.

Then came an exercise. We were given a choice of three opening lines. I chose the one about not being able to run, and wrote about a girl who had dwarfism and was about to run around a track. (Maybe part of my new series of special needs children meeting magical worlds).

Ruth then said that the reader must like the logical world and that it ties together.

Then we had to write a character profile. I wrote about Charlie, who will be in the second of my special needs books. I will use that to write the story when I do. Then we had to write a scene where we put the child in a different scenario. I wrote about Charlie and his dyspraxia going to a hairdresser. It gave me the idea to write short stories like this in between the main books.

We were given homework of writing an exercise, which I might do later on. I am thinking it might be the premise of another series I have in mind about special needs.

Ruth then told us how to write a cover letter and a synopsis. I have used this info to write the cover letter and synopsis for Billy to send to agents again.

What she did say that interested me was that if you are writing a series, you should prob wait until Book 1 is accepted to start Book 2, unless you want to do it for yourself.

Then we got our feedback from our first chapter. Mine was liked. It just so happened that Ruth's husband had read it because he works with people with autism, and thought it was a good description of someone with Asperger's. I gave her my card for her husband.  I did think of querying Stripes with Billy, but have since found I'd already sent Billy, the old version, to them, so that was out.

Overall, I learnt quite a bit, and it gave me ideas for future stories to write later. Can't wait.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Coping with IBS whilst working, or not

Having IBS really affected my life when I worked. In the morning I sometimes had IBS after breakfast, so it would delay my leaving time to get to work. If there is one thing I hate it is being late to anywhere (something connected to my Asperger's, I think). I remember a time many years ago when I was on what was then the Youth Training Scheme (one thing that I feel should be still available today to youngsters leaving school. Esp young ones who are like me quite shy and not sure about working straight after school), there was a period when I had pseudo diarrhoea. That is when you feel you want to go to the toilet time and again but can't go. Later on when I worked properly, just before I found out I was intolerant to dairy, it really affected me like that again. I kept going in and out of the toilet (I know it's not nice to talk about, but that is what IBS is). It really affected my work performance, in that I couldn't do all the work I had to. It affected me on and off over the years until the last time it really affected me again was due to stress - after I was told I was being made redundant from my job of 20 years. I found this really stressful, and it didn't help that a colleague wasn't very nice to me. When we had this altercation, it really stressed me out, and brought on IBS again, v badly. So badly that everytime I did a number two I bled.

So it appeared that stress made my IBS flare up badly when I worked. Next time I shall post about IBS, it will be about how it has affected my home life. But my next post will be about the workshop I attended yesterday and what I learnt and what I did. Until then...

Saturday, 31 August 2013

How to cope with IBS - all other meals

Today I am going to tell you how I cope with IBS for lunch, dinner and supper. I do have tablets half an  hour before meals to help with my IBS, but these things also help me. Never rush meals. Sit still for a couple of minutes after eating and before you get up. Don't move around too much after eating. Don't bend down after eating. If you want to, leave at least half an hour. I have found this disturbs digestion and therefore gives you a stomach upset. Chew your food properly. Don't rush eating eg wait until you have finished one mouthful before putting another into your mouth. (I know someone who does this, and I don't know if they can taste their food at all). There is one bit of advice that is important at all meals - always sit a table to eat, not in an armchair watching TV. The straighter you are sitting up the better the food will digest. So, if you must sit in an armchair whilst eating, make sure you sit up right as much as possible. And sitting at a table, with your family, is also a good way to catch up with family stuff and be a proper family.

So, don't rush your meals. And sit at a table to eat. These are two of things that I've read recently that do cause IBS, and I have experienced this myself. If you don't have IBS, and I can assure you that you don't want it, please take heed of what I say as I know from experience that these things aren't nice and do great effect my life. Saying that, has given me an idea of what else I can post here about IBS. Next time I will let on how it is has effected my life.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

How to cope with IBS in the mornings

I have suffered with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) for years, but mostly in the mornings. Over the years I have found ways to cope with it, and to make it less of a problem.  Here are my few tips.

1. If you are going out anywhere after breakfast, always put your shoes on before eating. Bending down after eating causes digestive problems.

2. Again, if going out after breakfast, sit and rest for a couple of minutes at the table after eating before you get up to go. This does help.

3. If you have time because you don't have to go out straight after eating, then sit and rest for at least 20 minutes before getting up to go out. I have found this really helps, esp before a shopping trip. I used to get up and get ready straight after breakfast, then walk round the shops. It ended up with half an hour into shopping, me telling my mum, 'I need the toilet'. I hate having to go while I am out shopping, esp a number two. This used to happen a lot to me when mum and I went food shopping during the week. Mum would carry on with the shopping. When I came out, I couldn't see her and panic (the Asperger's kicking in). Now I don't have this problem.

So, those are my tips for coping with IBS in the morning. Next will be about coping with it at other meals and during the day.

Let me know if you have any other tips about IBS and eating.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

The Snakeskin Boots is now on Amazon KDP and Select

My new urban fantasy 'The Snakeskin Boots' is now available on Amazon. As mentioned before, I am experimenting with this ebook, it being a new series, and putting it on Amazon Select only. I am going to keep tabs on it to see how many sales I get up until Nov 13, when the enrolment ends. If it sells well, I will keep it there for another 90 days, if not, then I will not enrol it again and upload it to the other digital platforms. I will post here again in a month's time to see how it is going then.

Keep you posted....

Sunday, 11 August 2013

An Aspergirl and Sensitivities

As someone with Asperger's Syndrome, I am sensitive to a lot of things, the main ones being noise and messiness on people. By that, I mean if someone is eating and leaves food round their mouth. This makes me feel ill.

Noise - When I was a child, I hated the noise of trains going over the subway. I always either used to wait until they went past or run through the subway to the other side. Now, I don't mind as I have had to get used to it over the years when I went to work and had to get trains. I still don't like the noise of balloons popping, and someone scratching the surface of a table or board. That squeakiness puts my teeth on edge.

Also, I have become very sensitive to people talking loudly in a small room. This is sensory overload for me, and I have to either go into another quiet room or upstairs or in the garden.

Food - I think this sensitivity comes from years ago when I was at primary school. I knew a girl who was bullied by others and one day she was so sad that when she ate her dinner, her hair hung in her food and the food stayed there. This really made me feel ill. I still can't abide people leaving food on them, esp their mouths.

One other thing I am sensitive to, is when someone I know cries, I cry too. Most of the time I can't sense other people's true emotions having Asperger's, but when someone cries you can certainly and I find this upsetting and get tearful too.

So, what are you sensitive about? Let me know, and if it has anything to do with having AS.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Love Food Not Waste - How to not waste baked beans

In these economic times, I hate wasting food and try to compost as much as I can. There are some foods that I used to waste, and one of those is baked beans. Tell me someone who opens a can of beans, eats some of them and throws away the rest. My mum and I buy large tins of beans to eat between us. We used to eat 3/4 of it and throw away the rest. Now I have come up with a way that we don't waste any. If we have a meal with baked beans in then on our menu for the week, I put down a couple of days later to have a second meal with them in. So, the first meal we have half a tin, and the rest we pour into a plastic container and put in the fridge. Couple of days later, we have the other meal and the rest of the beans - no waste. So there you have it. A way to not waste any baked beans.

Let me know if you have any ways of saving foods, be it baked beans or other things.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Elite Marketing Pro - a fantastic opportunity to learn about marketing

Some of you have probably found out that I have been messaging you personally on Facebook about Elite Marketing Pro, wanting you to join. If you have any sort of internet business, be it publishing ebooks (like me) or selling items as a company then you need to read this.

Why Internet Marketing is a Pipe Dream

It makes me mad to say it...
But for most people, internet marketing and creating multiple streams of income is nothing but a pipe dream.
Because the "system" is rigged and the odds are stacked way against you when you follow the conventional "guru" advice.
It's designed to keep you stuck, struggling and dependent on THEIR next bright shiny object like a heroine addict in need of a fix.
Feels good for a moment, but it's slowly killing you.
You know how to AVOID these landmines that can go off anytime.
It's all outlined in the report I told you about the other day.
Did you read it?
If not, then stop what you're doing.
Go download this and read right now.>>><<<
Your business life and the size of your bank account depend on it.
Here's the link again. >>><<<
My best,
I am still learning different ways to market myself from this. You can too.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

A publishing experiment - KDP Select

When I first started my indie publishing career with 'The Railway Angel' I told myself the best way to reach as many readers as I wanted was to publish it across all the digital platforms as possible. I have been doing this ever since, but this year, when I get to publish 'The Snakeskin Boots' I am going to experiment.  I have been hearing good and bad things about KDP Select. So I decided I shall give it a try myself to see what all the fuss is about and if it works for me. I have a while yet before 'Boot's is ready to go because I have just got the second edits back from my editor and have lots of thinking and editing to do. Then I shall send it to her again for a final edit. I plan now to publish it early August.

When I publish it on Amazon, I shall blog here. Then after say a month, I shall blog with results of what is happening. I seem to earn more from Smashwords, but it looks as though I get more downloads on Amazon. We shall see. The rest of my ebooks I will continue to publish everywhere.

Watch this space...

Let me know if you have used KDP Select, and what results you got. I will categorise Boots as urban fantasy I think.

Look forward to what others have to say about it.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Elite Marketing Pro - What it has done for me.

A couple of months ago I entered a new business venture: attraction marketing called Magnetic Sponsoring, Elite Marketing Pro being one of their products. I first went into it on their 10 day trial for $10 (about £8). As from a previous post, you can read that I got three leads from that period, which amazed me. I was then going to exit it out of it, but read that you can get results if you stay in it. So I stayed for another month. Then I took a gamble and decided to stay for a whole year paying a lot more money. I am pleased that I did, because not only have I learnt a lot, but things are just hotting up there, with EMP about to go into real business - it has only been in beta mode until now. If you have seen any of my posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc (I've been getting about), you will have seen me promote it. If you have and still not sure what to do about it, here is my take on what I have learnt from being an affiliate of EMP.

1. I first went into it as a possible way to earn residual money to support my writing. I haven't earned any yet but it's early days since I started my new campaign (another post). But I have learned something else - how to brand myself using FB and PInterest (another post) from an idea from Rebecca Woodhead (fantastic coach). This will be a special document for anyone who joins my team.

2. The other thing I have learned is that it is a great team of marketers I belong to, and they are always inspiring and encouraging us newbies that we can do it if we try. I have made a few online friends there, and really like being on the FB group. You can too, if you join now.

3. It has given me the courage to possibly try new ways to market myself and my brand. Eg FB ads and videos (yet to do that but will soon). As someone with Asperger's Syndrome, I find it hard to communicate with people inc on the phone, but last week on a coaching phone session with Rebecca Woodhead, I spoke lots about marketing. My mum said to me afterward that she's not heard me talk so much. I replied I can if it's something to do with what I like doing eg writing.

So, if you have heard all the buzz about EMP on the net and not sure about it, go for it. I did, and have made friends, learnt more about myself and marketing and how I can help others. This is the main reason I am staying in EMP because I want to help others with marketing, esp online being an indie author of ebooks I know some about it. So, come and join a great team. Have fun, make friends, learn about marketing. See you at

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Book review - Colin Fischer by Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz

In my research about Asperger's and how others see it, I begun to read books/ebooks, both fiction and non-fiction, about children with Asperger's/autism. One of the ebooks I have read is Colin Fischer about a teenage boy with Asperger's who solves a mystery at his school. I jotted down notes on similarities between Colin and myself, and here are my notes.

School subjects - when Colin works on a school topic he really goes into it and does research. I did this at school. One topic I remember doing was about sealife world. I wrote lots about it and even stuck in little cards with pictures of sealife to show the subject more.

Another thing was Colin hates PE. I did, too. I was always the last one to be picked in a team and I never was able to catch a ball.

Colin is picked on at school for being different. I was too. Spoiler alert. At the end of the book, he has made friends with one of his bullies. This can be said the same with me. A girl at school, esp in history, always threw things at me when she sat behind me. She later apologised to me, and is now my one and only friend I have I still see.

I like reading these books, as it tells me how others see what children with Asperger's/autism are like. From what I've read so far, it is accurate. So well done, Ashley and Zack.

Have you read any books featuring children or adults with Asperger's or autism? Let me know if you have and what you thought of them. I have a few others I have read and will review on here.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Mouthwash - a healthy alternative to after dinner mints?

Last week I went to the dentist and saw a dental hygiene student. She told me that I shouldn't use my mouthwash in the evening after cleaning my teeth but to use it during the day and after meals. This got me thinking. Usually after meals, esp lunch and dinner, I have a Murray mint to freshen my breath like an after dinner mint. These are sweets and are v sugary, so not good for the teeth. I thought what about using my mouthwash instead, it has a minty taste to it. Also, mouthwash you don't actually swallow, you spit it out so it doesn't stick to your teeth like sugar does. So, once all my mints have gone, I am going to do an experiment and try using the mouthwash as an after meal refresher and see how it goes. I think it can be a good thing as mouthwash gets rid of some plaque, which usually stays there after eating. Shall let you know how I got.

Do any of you out there use mouthwash after meals? If you do, let me know how it goes.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

New business plan for new business venture

If you have read this blog before you will know that I have begun a new venture - attraction marketing it is called. So far I have 3 leads but no commissions yet, but I am working on it. Which is why I now am working on a business plan, inspired by a suggestion from Rebecca Woodhead. Thanks, Rebecca. It started yesterday when I upgraded to the annual level of Magnetic Sponsoring and its companies. Now I have to get promoting. So, here is my plan (only in my mind but will write it down later). Once a week, starting with this blog, I will aim to promote my business to others somehow in a major way whilst still messaging on FB. This includes learning how to do a FB ad and how to make videos of myself now I have got the Webcam working on my laptop.

Now that I have been upgraded, there are more higher level products to advertise. For instance, if you want to be great at blogging and want to get leads to it try
Or, if you want to learn how to be a better marketer you can check out Now on offer at a reasonable price.
For other products where you can learn how to build good relationships with customers, there is 'My Affiliate Page' on my website.
Come and learn with a team led by someone special and different - me. I have Asperger's Syndrome and this is a challenge for me to be a leader. Let's be challenged together.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Summer Book Crush - Get a book boyfriend this summer for only .99 cents

Hot sun, hot sand, cool drinks, dark tans. Ahhhh. But your summer won’t be complete until you land a new BOOK BOYFRIEND, right? Lucky for you, we’ve got you covered!

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SUMMER BOOK CRUSH offers 50+ titles in many genres. This means 50+ chances to (fictitiously) fall in love. And the best part? Each of these gems is only 99¢, but for a limited time only. The SUMMER BOOK CRUSH event starts on June 26th and ends (yes, even the best things in life end at some point) on June 28th. So don't wait up! Mingle with our BOOK BOYFRIENDS and invite all your friends to participate too. There are plenty of BOOK BOYS to share!

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Find your summer’s fling between the pages of a book. And don't stop on one - after all we have many BOOK BOYFRIENDS for you to mingle with.


Saturday, 22 June 2013

Woman's Weekly Fiction Workshop - Part 2 of what I learnt

We had lunch in their nice canteen on the 11th floor. I took my own as I have various food intolerances.

Back to the room, we had a talk by Susanna Ahern whom is their regular serial contributor.
They do 3, 4 and 5 parters, although the 5 parter is a new thing, with the others more common. 3 parters have 3400 words each part, 4 parter has 3300 words and I'd say 5 parter has 3200 words each.

Susanna said that she writes the first part with good end and a brief outline of the rest of the series. Send the outline first! She needs to know the end of it all. If you get stuck doing it, then it's not worth trying with it.
Don't be precious, if told the story is not working then it's not.
Be prepared to take advice.
Be aware of the audience, on the other hand don't think of it just write it.
Likes to know the end - have a loose structure.
At start of each part, work out the end of the last part. So that the readers know the characters are OK after a cliff hanger.
Be personal. Use your own voice.
Stick to things you are inspired by.

Characters - Susanna can't go forward until she knows the characters. She has 2 main protagonists, usually related. Going through similar situation but who face it differently.

1st pov works with mystery.
Splits sections into different povs
Gaynor is not too keen on too much present tense. Don't change tense.
Find out about characters background: clothes, food smells and feel of place.
Characters are human beings and feel real
Character has to have motive. Has to have a reputation. Has to have a network - family, colleagues etc as they are not an island. Have habits and patterns. Talents and abilities. Tastes and preferences. Physical appearance

Plot - We were given a sheet called the Story Mountain Planner (which I might use when I write my next story for them).
Plot for 3 parter goes likes this@
Part 1 - Beginning of story. End of this part has something to change story to happen. Fraught situation.
Part 2 - Middle: Same point at end of last part. Explain cliff hanger. Characters are OK. Peak and dilemma. Things happen and characters are put to the test.
Part 3 End: Fulfill promise to readers. Round up characters. Give solution.

Then we had to interview the person next to us about their background. With that info we had to write an outline of a story. Mine incl a librarian who writes history and is taken into a historical scene by a cat. A scene that she is writing. Then was another exercise where we had to choose three words and write a story outline. I chose a Xmas theme. We had to read our outline out loud. I might change mine around and send it in sometime.

Then we had a chat by Laura Longrigg of MBA agency. Didn't take much notes for this. She did say though not to write with a publisher in mind, and describe your book in one sentence.

We were given several handouts which are useful. Said goodbye. I told Gaynor that I had learnt why my rejected story was rejected and will prob try again.  Was so pleased I went.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Woman's Weekly Fiction Workshop - What I learnt about how to write for them

On 7 June I went to Southwark Street in London (near London Bridge) to a workshop by Woman's Weekly. I had recently had a story rejected by them so wanted to find out what they look for. Here is what I learnt.

They publish/write for all walks of life. The stories are information and entertainment but not shocking. They accept a variety of stories, but not horror with blood etc and no sex - has to be behind doors.  Crime has to be done off stage if it is a crime story. Mystery/crime still has to have warmth, think cosy crime.  Characters have encounters that changes lives. Characters have to have a problem. Don't get too attached to your story as you might decide to change things.  The one question you should ask yourself, and what I now think when I want to write for them is Is this likely? If it's no, then the reader won't believe in it, if yes or could be, then reader will and they could accept it. This is why my story was rejected. It was magical realism and wasn't likely to happen in real life. Your story mustn't be too tame or predictable either.  For weekly issue they accept stories of 1000 and 2000 words; for the specials they want anything up to 8000 words. Hurrah for me, as I like writing long short stories that length.

Room for experiements. Strong plots. Each part has to have a cliff hanger at end of it. Have authentic background (real life again). Don't let background be story. Fairly happy endings. Character is essential. Write their background so they can appear to behave consistently.
Style/language not too matter of fact. Not overwritten with too many words. Cross out too many adverbs eg like that. (I thought oh dear, I know I do that.) No repetition, stating the obvious. Don't sign post things.

Rejection - as I said above, has to be realistic for the reader to get lost in the story. If it isn't, you have lost that reader. Know your market. Write in your own voice. Be nosy.

We had an exercise next. Write an opener about a letter. I couldn't think what to write, then read the exercise sheet where it said think about what happens later in the story. So I did, remembered a story I had in mind to write and wrote the opener. We all had to read our exercise out. Gaynor Davies said they were all good.

I learnt that WW stories gets to dilemma in the first sentence.

That is all for now. Back again with more about serials etc next week.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Asperger's Syndrome and sensory overload - What is it?

At the weekend I had sensory overload. I think this is something that could be connected with my Asperger's. So what is sensory overload? For me, it was when my brain can't cope with any more senses and shuts down. I feel my brain shutting down when I read or go on the computer. After a couple of minutes, it goes all foggy and I can't cope with what I am seeing and have to put down the book or shut off the computer. It first started on Saturday afternoon. I had been to a goal-setting brunch in Holborn that morning and didn't get home until 1.45pm. An hour later I went to bed for a nap. When I woke up, I felt worse. I began reading and felt my brain shutting down. I thought that having dinner would help. It did for a while. Until the following morning. I was all right when I got up, went over the road to get the paper. When I got home, I browsed the paper and started browsing the magazine. It was then I felt my brain begin shutting down again.

So how do you cope with sensory overload? I now know when I have it, so don't fight it. I rest either sitting quietly in my armchair, or usually go to bed for a while on and off during the day. This is what I did on Sunday. I felt so tired and washed out. I ended up going to bed really early just before 8pm.

Sensory overload normally happens to me when I have done too much, and includes too much travelling. This time I had been to a day workshop by London Bridge on the Friday (two trains), and to a goal-setting brunch in Holborn (two buses). The fact that I had travelled two days in a row, and had taken in lots of information on both days, my brain found it hard to cope with any more so shut down. Told me I needed a day's rest.

So that is what sensory overload is and how I cope with it. If you have any questions or advice, please don't hesitate to comment here.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

New Business Venture - The First 10 Days

Last time I posted about this, I had only just begun this new venture. I hadn't any leads/customers to help or promote to. Now things have changed. Within the last week I now have 3 leads. One of them I have been in contact with, but she is busy working on edits of her book to do the course and wants to do it later on. I said OK, but gave her the link of the course I was promoting anyway. The other two I have emailed to introduce myself but not heard back. I have just read the book 'How to Build a Home Business on a Budget', one of the products I am promoting. A great read and very helpful. In that, I read that they keep in contact with their clients (me) leads after the initial contact from me. So I hope that is the case. Meanwhile I keep on emailing and putting messages on FB about the products I am selling.  There are two things that I have learnt most from the ebook above: 1. Be yourself when emailing 2. Customers are interested in what it can do for them not about you. So, in future I will be myself by mentioning I have Asperger's as that is me, and appeal to others interest in wanting to learn.

So, I will probably post again in a few weeks time about this. By then the trial will have finished, and the proper price will take affect. I have decided to stay with it for a while, as others have said that is when you can earn the money. I am in it to learn from others, and hopefully earn money to help support my writing career.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Me, Asperger's and Creativity

In my quest to write about and inform others about living with Asperger's Syndrome, I have discovered that people with AS come in two groups: arts and science.  I definitely fall into the former being a writer. Looking back over the years since I was a child, I was always interested in different arts. I remember when I was little, I used to love colouring in colouring books and making the pictures come alive with colour. As I got older, those books turned into pattern books with spirals and swirls, and I loved colouring them in too. In one of my last years of primary school, I got interested in tapestries, the cross stitch ones, and the first one I did was of a simple man and woman. Later on, they changed to more intricate ones of animals and cute characters. I still have a few I've finished in my mum's wardrobe to put up after my bedroom was redecorated. I also have a few that I've not done yet, and might in the later years of life.

But all through that, there was writing. I remember writing a true story in primary school which the teacher read out for me. My AS kicked in, and I was too shy to read it out myself. I also wrote short stories about different things, I can't remember what though. It has always been there, writing. When I started work, I wrote a short romance story about me having a crush on a man I once knew. Embarrassing. I don't have it anymore, thank goodness. Then way back in the 90s, when I ended up having to go to lunch on my own (one of the co-heads of dept, a nasty person) didn't like us all going together and said they had to go without me. I began writing then. That turned into my first romance novel, which is now in my wardrobe waiting to be rewritten. Since then I have written several novels, mainly romance for adults and  few for children. I can't think what to do if I didn't have my writing. It takes me out of my normal world and lets me forget about who I am and the hassles I have to live with.

So, that is how creativity has become part of my AS. Let me know if you have autism and are creative too. Be interested to know more people who are.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Another new business venture

As someone with Asperger's Syndrome I don't normally take risks, but I had to do with a new business venture, thanks to Rebecca Woodhouse who referred me. It is all about selling and promoting different courses that appeal to online businesses and home business owners, and that can include writers like myself. I was referred by Rebecca (I always like reading her articles in Writing Magazine) when this business was going for a special offer trial for 10 days. You have to pay the full amount for each month after that, but if you get commissions, it pays off and you can break even. So what are these courses you are asking. Well, here are the links.

The first one is about how to build a home business on a small budget, and shows you videos on how to do this in 7 steps.
If you like these videos, it gives you a chance to buy the ebook, which I am going to read this afternoon. I think this is a great idea because in these economic climes anyone wants to know how to do something on a small budget with things costing so much.

The other course I have been promoting to others is

Again, if you like the videos you can buy the course, and if you buy it having read my link, I will get commissions.
There is another course called Elite Marketing Pro, which this is all about. We all want to be a pro at marketing and be good at it. So do check these all out and let me know what you think. That was a call for action. If you want to know about building a home business, even if you are a writer, contact me on here. I am going to mention this on FB and Twitter today so you can find me there, too. So, let's build a home business on a budget. Let's all make some money to support ourselves.


Friday, 24 May 2013

Question Time - Need ideas

I have lots of ideas for pitches of articles about living with Asperger's Syndrome, but my main ideal would be to have a column for a year or so in a magazine. I have thought of 8 ideas already on 'how to cope with AS and anxiety' but need a few more if I were to have a year to do it.   Here are the ideas I've come up with already. How to cope with AS and anxiety ...

1. At Christmas
2. If you get lost by going to a new place
3., Going to social events
4. At primary school
5. At secondary school
6. Starting work
7. With family at home
8. If you are bullied
9.  With friendship

Would be glad to have more ideas so when I come to pitch a column later on I have plenty to give and impress.

Look forward to hearing from you all. I will be putting a message about this on FB and possibly Twitter.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

SCBWI Retreat - What I did; being brave

I forgot to say in the last post that on the Saturday afternoon I had a one-to-one with Lucy Christopher. I told her that I'd now added a new angle of the main character, Billy, being autistic. We talked about it all for 20 mins, and I had an encouraging chat with her about it. So encouraging, that the following morning, when I found myself sitting next to Rebecca Frazer of Orchard Books in the bar, I approached her about Billy. I asked her outright if she took submissions for 7+. She said yes, they concentrate on series fiction. Then I talked to her about the book and what I'd planned. She was v interested in it. I was heartened about it, and decided that weekend I wouldn't self-epublish first but query it with publishers again. We did writing in the morning. I drew family trees and shop layouts for the village Singleton. It helped me flesh out the series more.

In the afternoon we had a talk by Lucy Christoper and how she writes her books. Then more writing. By that time, my head was going a bit fuzzy so I decided to do some highlighting of Life instead of writing. Much easier on the brain.

We had dinner in the evening, which was gorgeous as ever. I think I had vegetables with cous cous, but added new potatoes and veg with it. I had fruit salad for dessert, and was the only one.  I have to say that the food they provided was delicious, and very helpful to me and my dairy intolerance. So much so, that during the afternoon when I asked if they had dairy free biccies, they took out some nice Freefrom ginger cookies, and later on some choc chip ones.

That night, we had a pj party. A few of the others did change into their nightwear. In a circle, (I was on the outer circle so I could sneak away), we had to read out something that we'd written that weekend. I read out a dark magic piece where the trees and the weather got rather windy when the character went through them to go to work.

Monday morning, and last day there. I worked on Billy, starting to get it ready to email to Rebecca. Then Rebecca gave a talk about Orchard Books. She told us what they did, what they were looking for, and what interested me was someone asked if they were interested in taking on authors with packaged series ideas themselves, and she said yes. After that, I told Rebecca my pitch for Billy, which I had just worked out, and she told me to send it to her when I'd finished it. So that is what I've been doing this week, and plan to email the synopsis, 3 chapters and outline for series next week.

All in all, I had a very heartening and successful retreat. Although I know others didn't.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

SCBWI Retreat - What I learnt and did Part 1

Last weekend I went to Dunford House in Surrey for a writers' retreat. I went on the Friday and returned Monday afternoon. Friday was just socialising and dinner as we could only check in at 5pm, due to another group leaving.

Saturday - we had a talk by Lucy Christopher about settings. Here is what I learnt, and what I did about it. Lucy researches the senses. Think of the tension. What might happen in the place. Place can shape relationships. Settings can show all that is needed to know. Be specific. Then we had an exercise where we had to write down our own settings from our work and write what it was, what it looked like, what we saw, what it sounded like (descriptions eg bird songs), what it smelt like, feels like. Here I drew a rough sketch of my magical village Singleton, and I drew the park in the middle. I wrote as though I was the main character in the park and what she felt like being there. It really brought the village and the park to life for me, and I had a great idea how to bring the story more alive when I wrote about it next. For me, the magic I wanted to write about got darker. We had to think of the textures under our feet and in hair. (Later on in a break, I went outside and felt the gravelly path to do this, and later wrote it in as part of what the character feels). What tastes evoke the place.

Emotional tension. Fear and excitement. Sources of fear - what does she fear. What excites her about the place. I wrote that she fears she will live there forever like all the elders in the village, but is excited about new people coming to live or see the place. This then came me an idea how to flesh out the whole series, bringing in new people to meet the residents who work there, so they fall in love. So more places would be coming - by magic, of course, when couples fall in love.

We had put create a pull for our character to go out of it. Paula, my main character, goes to work in the next village. This then gave me more magical ideas to put in the story. Weather was mentioned. By this time, the end of the talk, I had lots more ideas to improve the story and make it seem darker than I originally planned, but I am loving writing it.

After that, we had writing time. I got down to it, and wrote and wrote new storylines for Snakeskin Boots inc the darker magical side of the village. I also began writing family trees for each character in each book, which helped me flesh out the characters and the businesses there. I believe this is what my editor was commenting about in her letter to me about it.

In the afternoon, was more writing time and I wrote some more on 'Life'. After an  hour my fingers went crampy and I had to stop and I went outside to get some air and do some senses research for Boots.

We had dinner later on. We had chicken on mash (no butter) with new potatoes and veg, which was gorgeous. Followed by meringue with forest fruits. It was pavlova, but as I can't eat cream, I just had meringue. V nice it was too. After that, I went back to my room cos I was v tired. I read for a while then went to bed. I slept better that night than the night before.

Sunday next....more writing and getting a publisher interested in Billy.

Monday, 6 May 2013


I have read that some children with Asperger's/autism have digestive problems, and I am one of them. For years I have suffered with IBS on and off and most recently it has flared up. So, I have been trying a new food regime. I have also read about FODMAPs, and don't ask me what they all mean as I'm not sure. I know the F stands for Fermentable (things like apples, honey), and the P stands for Polyols which are foods, mainly sweeteners that end in 'ol' like sorbitol. I know that I can't eat apples and I sometimes can't eat lots of sweeteners, also dark green veg, which are meant to be good for you, not me.  I read others on the list are wheat (which I can't eat too much of in a day) and onions. So, I have cut out wheat and onions for the last couple of weeks to see what happens. My IBS has been up and down since, but not as bad as it was when I ate onions. I have cut out chives, which I usually have nearly every day. I am away this coming weekend and will prob be eating wheat then, so shall see what happens when I do, having not eaten it for a while now.

I shall blog the results next week when I come back.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

An Aspergirl writing about ... autism and Asperger's Syndrome

Two years ago, when I was part of a critique group, I mentioned to one of the group that I had Asperger's Syndrome. She suggested that I write about it. I didn't do anything until last year when I started blogging about living with it over the years. As I did this, like the autism symbol of a piece of jigsaw, it did all fit into it like a jigsaw puzzle. Then this year, I decided to take it further and do what the member suggested - write about Asperger's and autism.  I submitted an idea of a memory piece to a website called Disability Now,  and they rejected it. But they did ask me if I was interested in reviewing a play of the novel 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'. I said yes. My review is now up on the website for all to read, and here is the link:
I got free tickets and a free programme. And, I found out yesterday that I will get paid for it. Success! Well, that was my second freelance success. 

My first was a feature all about how I realised and was diagnosed with Asperger's in the Australian Autism Awareness Network magazine, which I have yet to receive in the post. I've seen the digital version. I found out about this network on Facebook and sent them a message asking if they had any guidelines for their new magazine. I got a reply from editor with a link and read them. I emailed them the idea and they said yes, would do it as a two-part feature. It is now out and I can't wait to read it in print. My reward - a year's free subscription of the magazine (4 issues).

So far my freelancing attempts have borne fruition and have been paid with money and free magazine. Now, I want to go further, and have been reading an ebook all about going freelancing called 'No Contact? No Problem' by Catherine Quinn. I've just read the section about how to pitch with different styles and will try out two of them next week. I am planning to specialise in writing about autism and nature/wildlife as they are the two areas I feel confident about writing on, esp autism with my personal experience. Wish me luck. Will let you know how I get on.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

London Book Fair - What I learnt Part 3

Here is the final part of this blog, and it will be much shorter.

After lunch I went to another talk, this one by Daniel Cooper of Amazon KDP Europe. Most of the talk was about what they do for indie authors and what I basically knew. He gave stats for KDP in UK and Germany last year. UK - 15 of top 100 were self-publishers, whereas in Germany it was 2 of the top 100. It was during this talk that I noticed another RNA author standing listening, Freda Lightfoot. I knew she was going to be at the fair and had been looking out for her. After this first talk I went up to her and we sat next to each other and chatted about being an indie author, and Freda told me something interesting. She told me that her ebooks were paying her more than her trad pubbed books. I then mentioned to that she is prob an APE: Author, Publisher and Entrepeneur. Which was new to her.
Then came another talk by Libre Digital about digital chain supplies for ebooks. I quickly managed to write down a few lists: metadata, discovery, sales, automated distribution, control, it is what selling it.
Another one: alerts, details, confirmation, persuasion, inspiration and accuracy. All are important. The slides were moving too quick to get more info, but after the talk I went up to one of the speakers, gave him my card and asked if he could email me the presentation. He took my card, wrote a note on it and said yes he would. I await it.

After that, I visited Amazon KDP stand and asked if they were likely to do an annual report of royalties as well as monthly. No, they're not as they don't have the technology. I picked up a sample of their Createspace books. Then I went to the Kobo stand. I asked the director if an author doesn't earn enough money to be paid automatically (you have to earn $100 to do this) when they will get paid. He told me six months and it would be this month and I would get confirmation from them beforehand. Just what I thought. Then I went to Overdrive stand and picked up some leaflets about them, which I have yet to read. Then I went home, tired but happy I went.

I look forward to going again next year, when I will look for talks in the Digital Zone again.

Monday, 22 April 2013

London Book Fair 2013 - What I Learnt Part 2

I am book with the second half of my post about last Monday (can't believe it was a week ago today).  I was talking about the talk by the Alliance of Independent Authors (whom I will join).

They mentioned editing - the average cost is £2000-£3000, which was discussed between a few editors there. Editing is needed by writers as we are blind to everything in the ms and can't see it all. I know I can't. If you are approaching a new editor, get samples.  Designers - the same as editors, they are all different.

Then we had to write down how much time we thought we could spend in a week on our project. I wrote 3 hours, 30 mins a day for writing, and half an hour a day for other stuff. Then we had to write our deadline for our project.  I put that I wanted to finish my current romance ebook by end of May, then have edits done in 2 months, then launch in July, which would take one week. With it being published end of July.

Reaching readers

Each plan is different for each book. Think about reader, and we had to write down the genre of readers - mine is fiction, romance and magic. What does your book do for your reader? I put - enjoy light read, feel hopeful in life, feel hopeful that romance is there for them. Feel happy.  For my YA I put feel hopeful. Then we had to tick if our project was either inspirational, educational or entertainment. I ticked the first and last ones for romance, and all for YA.  I also wrote that my Asperger's articles are inspirational and educational. Who is my reader? Female for romance, and teens for YA. What age range are they for? I put all from 20s to 60s (each main character is a different age). What ethic? White. Reader should get happiness and hope and want to read love.  For my Angels series, the reader is teens and both boys and girls, and for all ethnics.  You have to know what online they reach your readers -for romances I put FB, Twitter and PInterest. For YA, I put FB and need to look at Wattpad.
Think about subject: we had to write 3 for our project. So I wrote, romance, magic and ghost via photo. Know where to find reader online eg romance blogs, romance writer groups on FB. Magic - fantasy blogs and groups on FB. For YA, paranormal and fantasy groups etc.

Then it was time to go to the café to meet others. I thought I would meet Anita, but found out later that she was too busy at talks to come, instead I bumped into Donna Reid Vann and Paul Morton. Donna and I had a good chat about books and ebooks. It was thanks to Donna having a brochure of all the talks that I found out there were more talks I was interested in. So after having lunch I made my way from one court to the other to find the relevant theatres. Tomorrow I will blog about what I learnt there and how an Aspergirl was brave to talk to Kobo and Amazon.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

The London Book Fair 2013 - What I Learned

On Monday this week I travelled by myself to the London Book Fair at Earl's Court. I was aiming to get there for a talk at 10am but the trains were so slow I ended up arriving a couple of mins late. Thankfully I didn't miss much and heard most of the talk. The talk was by the Alliance of Independent Authors about self-publishing and what you have to be to be one. Here is what I learnt.

It was by the owner, Orna Ross. The first thing she asked us to do (yes, we had to do some writing), was to write down what you have risked in your life. I wrote learning to drive. Then 3 things we have done that we felt were risky: I wrote, going to new places, meeting new people and volunteering. They are risky for me having Asperger's Syndrome. Then we had to write down a current project we were working on and list risks for that. Mine was for my current Geraldine ebook, and the risks I put were self-publishing it, putting it out into the world. I also wrote about writing about autism, and the risks for that were putting it out there for people to see who I am and what I am like. Going freelance and being rejected.

Then we had to list things we felt we had been proactive with and I wrote: joining organisations/societies, going to their talks etc, going on line with FB etc, going indie, having a website and blog. Then we had to write down 3 things that would move forward our project. I wrote to find a cover, write more, edit it.

Then it was about the stages of writing which are: first draft, final draft, edit, design, production, marketing and sales.

Then it was all about reaching readers for whom your book is written. You have to work hard and smart. Be entrepreneurial and share and cooperate.  There has to be a team. You can't do it all yourself as you don't have all the skills at that level. (I know I don't). Then you had to write what skills you do have and at what stage of the process of writing. Mine were writing at stage 1 and 2. Production and marketing. I hire a professional editor and a cover designer for all my ebooks as I know I can't do those two things properly.  Then it was about budgeting. You have to budget for what you are going to spend, got to spend and the cost. We had to work out the cost of all our current work.

I think I shall leave the post there and finish it tomorrow so it won't be too long to read here.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

An Aspergirl and Birthday Celebrations, Or Not

Asperger's Syndrome is often called social awkwardness because we find it hard to socialise with others. This is definitely true for me when I was a child, and more so when it came to birthdays. As a child, I never had any birthday parties (I didn't really have any friends to invite), and I never went to anyone else's parties, either. I was a very shy child, and in some ways I still am that shy child. As I grew up, I didn't mind celebrating my birthday, receiving cards and presents and telling people it was my birthday. I liked people saying 'Happy Birthday' to me.

I remember the only adult birthday party I had for my 21st. I had it at my home and invited close family and friends. I put myself in charge of the music, in the corner the then dining room, and there I stayed. I was asked to dance with relatives but said no. I didn't even go and socialise and chat to the relatives and my friend's family in the other room. As I think back to that occasion I cringe and am embarrassed. I know I couldn't help it then, but I still feel that I could have made the effort just to say hello.

Now as an adult, I don't mind celebrating my birthday. Not with parties, but by going out for meals with family and friends. I went out for a meal for my 30th with work colleagues. I went out for a meal with family for my 40th (not that I really want to remember that one as it was spoilt by someone – not me). Although, I know at these meals, I still don't mingle and chat to family on the other tables.

So, that is how Asperger's affects my birthday celebrations, or not. I am blogging about this as April is Autism Awareness Month and I want to spread awareness.

Julie Day

Blog: An Aspergirl and Birthday Celebrations, or not at

'Don't Get Mad' is now available for $1.99. Book 4 of Geraldine's Gems romance series

Available at Smashwords: Smashwords:

Don't Get Mad: Sandra is sad about her failure of her marriage to control-freak husband, Jim. Until her aunt Geraldine arrives and tells her 'Don't Get Mad, Get Even'. So Sandra joins the local gym and meets hunk Troy, and gets fitter and healthier and falls in love. She also gets more confident, and finally stands up to Jim in pubic, and wins.

For more authors taking part in this Birthday Book Blast, please go to Stacy Whisenand's blog at

Sunday, 7 April 2013

March stats for all my ebooks

I thought I'd do a table of stats of how many ebooks I sold in February, so here I go.

At the end of Feb the stats were as follows:


Railway Angel =   5260
Racing Angel    =  49
One Good Turn  = 26
Quest                  = 9
More Fish           = 7
Trouble Shared  = 18
Railracing Angels = 12
Don't Get Mad      = 6

The end of March they were as follows:

Railway Angel = up 37 to 5297
Racing Angel   = the same
One Good Turn = the same
Quest                 = up 1 to 10
More Fish         = the same
Trouble Shared = up 3 to 21
Railracing Angels = up 4 to 16
DGM the same

On Kobo I sold 1 copy of The Railracing Angels, which makes me happy as I know that people do like it.

On Amazon I sold 3 copies of Quest and 1 of Railracing Angels, and got 89 free downloads of Railway Angel.

So, I am very happy with these stats. I have now earned $37.04 on Smashwords. Not sure about Amazon, although royalties have started to trickle in to my account. Hurrah.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Seeing the play 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'

On Easter Saturday my mum and I went to see the above play at the Apollo Theatre. For free. I had agreed to review it for the website/ezine Disability Now as I have Asperger's Syndrome like the main character in it.

We managed to find the theatre, thanks to a woman who was going there too and had seen us looking lost. We came out of the Shaftesbury Avenue exit thinking that was where we were, but not. Realised then we should have taken the map with us. There were lots of people around us, which surprised me as it was Easter. We got our tickets and a free programme, as I was considered press reviewing it. We had to wait for a short while before the stage was ready and could get to our seats. We were three rows in front of the stage, which was smaller and more basic than I expected. I was thinking of a proper stage with curtains. Some of the cast came up the aisle and onto the stage via the steps by the stage, so close that I could touch them being on the outside seat. Being so close, it was rather loud at times. The play was excellent and the cast were great. I don't know how they all remembered their lines as they played different characters a lot of the time. The graphics were amazing and the performances, esp by Luke Treadaway who plays the main character, Christopher, was moving and powerful. We left on a high. I still can't forget it now. I wouldn't mind seeing it again.

I haven't said much about the scenes as they will feature in the review. And I have just typed up a piece about travelling for a competition. Watch out for the review on Disability Now website.

I would recommend going and see it. I dare you not to be moved and touched by it all.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Making a living from writing - the practical side

I am now back with the last of my blogs about the 'Making a Living from Writing' series. Today is about the practical side of it all with Jane Clarke and Lorna Ferguson.

Jane has put down her prices for school visits. Lorna has had people say they can't afford much. She works it out according to hours and mentions lives (sorry, couldn't read my writing there) and then she is paid for travel. Be able to price for value. You work then ask for that.  Jane now has 1/4 days for schools. One before lunch then after, otherwise if it's 9am - 1pm then they class that as half day.  Jane has had 28 visits so far this year, most of them this month as it's World Book Day etc.

How do you come to terms with doing work that comes to nothing? Jane wrote a novel first before writing shorter books. She can get other projects out of things that aren't accepted. Can come up with other ideas for publishers, Keeps note of what book is where. Her only flat-rate was for Battersea. Dinosaur Cove series bought her a car. Her figures are: Dinosaur = 4000, Cat = 2000, Gilbert = 3000, Stuck in Mud = 2000. Royalties can go up and down.

Lorna said that a few years ago she went to see Anthony Horowitz talk, and he said to diversify into other media than just writing. Lorna has turned her book into a film script but agent declined it. It is good discipline. When you monetise your writing think of other writing magazines. Features linked with fiction or experiences.  Lorna mentioned another writer to check out for tips on her blog Ali Ventures (have since checked and she is not blogging anymore due to being pregnant). You can put writing for commercial use - brochures etc. Think of your strengths.

Social media - Lorna has got business via social media for Fiction Fire. Finds it cheaper than paying ads. Only paid ad is now in Mslexia.

Books sold directly?- Jane doesn't sell directly, she gets her local Waterstones to sell them for her, and gets points put on her card with them. If she sells books herself , they don't count as proper sales.

If had to make more money - Jane would teach, and Lorna, too.  Does Jane get support from package writing? No. 6 books = £11,000 year. Working Partners have standard royalties.  Jane says that educational books don't go in libraries but print books have lots of borrows. Scores higher in PLR.

VAT? Only to pay if you earn £77,000 a year (none of us there did). Keep records. Be professional and do invoices. Jane pays accountant for records.

And that was it. It was a good talk and I was pleased to go. Reminded me to update my records.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Part 2 of Making a living as a writer

Question and answers

Hours away from writing - Jane is up at 6.30am does things in the house. At desk from 9.30am. Has a lunch break then writes. 4pm she walks the dog then gets back and checks emails. She said that if something comes up she can please herself. Lorna reckons there is a danger with this. If she has edits to do for clients then she does them as they take priority. When she wrote her historical novel she found it best to do her tutoring and Fictionfire. She doesn't switch off. Every day is different.
Jane said it is essential to have an agent to get things out to publishers.

Have an agent? - Jane has and is grateful. She got publisher and agent at same time. Lorna did have one but they retired. Another but weren't aren't so proactive. None now. About to epublish her book so don't need one. Mentioned  Alliance for Independent Authors, who have an agent for foreign rights. (Made a note of this as I'm an indie author). Thinks we now have a right to ask publisherswhat they can do for us. If get trad deal then will look at you. She won't say never for another trad deal. If agent asks to take you on, ask what they can do for you.

Events etc - Jane's income for last year was £8000. Charges SOA rates. No one adds travel costs unless it's international. What a school wants you to do is to enthuse and inspire children to write not give talks about your books. That is accidental. Jane sends a promo pack to schools then follows up with a phone call. She gets repeat asks.
General events - Lorna said it's synchronicity. When she first had her book published, she went on the net. Got talks via Twitter etc, then they turned into workshops later on. She said you should cultivate connections. Be open to possiblities. Perceptive to what's going on. Work hard on your ID and what you can write. Join specialist groups such as SCBWI. It's now easy to connect with other authors. Jane does local festivals. Waits to be asked. Tells local press when a new book is out.

Next post will be out the practical side of making a living as a writer.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Making a living as a writer

On Wednesday evening I went to a talk by Jane Clarke and Lorna Ferguson about making a living as a writer for children. I suppose some of this can be said for writing for adults too.

Money - Jane gets most of her income from school visits, and Lorna gets hers from teaching English.

Opportunities - Jane has an agent. It was her agent who sent her the outline for the Dinosaur Cove series, and as Jane loves dinosaurs she said yes. She tried for it and got through to the second round. As she is someone who does what edits she's told to do, she did that and got through. You can register your interest with Working Partners, whom she works with for the Dinosaur series, and Hothouse. She said that her word limit for writing for other people is 10,000. For Early Readers you must have an agent, as they come with a secrecy code.
Lorna - With her consultancy Fictionfire, she said that in theory it works but not in practice, esp if she has lots of courses to do. She has written in the middle of the night. She has fallen asleep watching the news, then wakes up and gets a second wind to write. Sets targets of words.

Making Money - How long before made money? Jane said 5 years = 8 books before she went full-time. It was working part-time in a library before that.
Lorna gave us some statistics from the Society of Authors in 2007. Then advances were no more than £5000 and in instalments in 3 parts. And then you have to earn those out. Hardback = 10% paperback = 5%. ALCS reported that median income was £4000. The top 10% of authors got more than 10% and the bottom 10% got less than 10%. (Made me think - I want to stick to being an indie author). Lorna also said that she wants to write as most do fro the freedom to write more. Said be realistic. Her main income comes from Fictionfire.

Need support - Jane said hard to answer as her husband died 11 years ago but left her life insurance so she could pay the mortgage. Lorna said she does get support from her husband as he believes in her and is behind Fictionfire. He's the first person to read her work.

I think I will continue this post tomorrow. So see you then.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

My March goals - for writing

On 2 March I went to another SBCWI brunch for goal setting. We told our successes and why we hadn't done any goals. Then had to set our goals for March. Here are mine:

My main goals for this month are to submit either an idea for an article or a whole article to magazine, one fiction and one non-fiction. How am I getting on? Not that well. I had a bad cold last week so didn't do much apart from getting my next romance book ready to epublish. I managed to write  half a non-fiction article and need to type up the other half. Fiction, I started highlighting and changing repeated words for a story to send to a womag. Have to get on with those once I have published Don't Get Mad. And it will be on my laptop as my desktop's hard disk is failing and I am afraid to use it incase it fails full stop.  Hopefully this time next week I will have done more.

So, what goals have you got this month? And how far are you with them?

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Me and sensitve skin - an update

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I could possibly have rosacea due to either the v cold weather, toiletries with a form of alcohol in and/or eating citrus. I don't know if it's cos the weather has got warmer, stopped eating clementines and lemon marmalade and stopped using facial creams with forms of alcohol in but my face is now a lot calmer and less red. The only time it did go bright red again was when I had had a bath and got warm.

I shall know soon when it gets colder again if it was the cold weather that made my face go that red. I have now got rid of all toiletries for the face that had any form of alcohol in, and ones that I didn't want and were out of date. The kitchen was enfused with lots of different smells earlier as I poured oils and creams down the sink so I could recycle the containers.

So, that is how the experiment went. If the weather does turn a lot colder again, then I shall see how my face goes and let you know.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

What Geraldine would say to Mandy in More Fish in the Sea

Welcome back to my Geraldine's sayings blog. I have just perused my PInterest board for sayings and here are two things that Geraldine would say to her favourite niece, Mandy, who has just been betrayed by her mother and boyfriend and should find 'More Fish in the Sea'.

So the story is that Mandy was getting over the betrayal of her mother going with her boyfriend, which makes her lose the baby she was going to have. Geraldine tells her that there are plenty more fish in the sea and to think of other men that she knows. She tells Mandy this:

She has to take out the negatives in her life and forget about her ex and move on. Mandy does.

The next thing she has to do is:

Then she can truly move on and find the right man for her. Mandy does. She finds Russ who is a work colleague. To find out what happens between Mandy and Russ you have to buy the ebook, available on all digital platforms.

Now for things that Geraldine or Mandy might use in every day life. Mandy or Geraldine might use this coaster to put hot mugs on. Available from my Zazzle store

Then she might use this magnet to put on her fridge in Heaven to remind her to go and visit another sad relative. Also from my Zazzle store.

Friday, 1 March 2013

IBS and Medication - Update

This is an update to where I am with IBS and my medication. Over a week ago I decided to stop my IBS medication as my IBS had flared up badly. I thought it was either not working or working too much. Well the results so far have been good. My IBS has calmed down a lot now and I feel better in myself. My insides also feel better. So I am not going back to having them again for at least another couple of weeks. I need to update my prescription for one of them, so when I see my GP again (in two weeks time) I shall ask her to do so but tell her that I've stopped taking them for now as I feel a lot better without taking them.

I shall give another update then.  Next time I will have an update on how my face is going with not using products with any form of alcohol in.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

An Aspergirl in lessons

I am back to my Aspergirl series. Good news on this front. I have had accepted my idea for articles about how I found out and was diagnosed with Asperger's by an Australian magazine that writes about autism and Asperger's. Just my thing. They want it in two parts, so have been working on that.

Back to my blog series. So I am at secondary school still. I was very quiet but hardworking in lessons. I never volunteered to answer questions, always the person to keep their hand down, and didn't want to read out loud any work from books we had to work on. That was until near the end of the 5th year when I decided to be brave and do that. The feeling I had then when I was chosen to read out loud was how I feel now when I have to introduce myself or read out my work in writing talks. I go through what I want to say in my head, and when my time comes, I get it jumbled. Or when it comes my time to read the work, I can feel my hands going sweaty, my heart beating loudly that I wonder if anyone else can hear it.

A couple of years ago I wrote a poem for a competition about this feeling. I didn't get anywhere though. Here it is now.

Feeling Brave

I put my hand up to speak

and see the teacher smile

only to find I can only squeak

and want to run a mile


But I open my mouth and am heard

and I’m the one that’s smiling

as I say more than a word

and have not gone into hiding


That’s the day I stopped my nerve

from taking over me

It was a true learning curve

which I conquered finally
I hope you like it.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

IBS and medication

For years on and off I have suffered from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). It came to a head in 2001 and I went to the GP and was put on two tablets. I have been taking these ever since, but the last week I have been thinking that they may not be doing the work they should be doing or working too much for me as I have been more times than usual (sorry, I know that TMI). So, since Monday this week I have started an experiment. My mum used to have the same problem and was put on the same medication, until she stopped hers and got lots better. So, I am doing the same. I had the two tablets on Monday morning and not have had any since then. The results - I have been a lot better stomach wise and feel better in myself. I might carry on for another week to see what happens, then go back on them for a couple of weeks to see if I go back to what I was like last week. So I shall let you know what happens. Watch this space...

Sunday, 17 February 2013

What Geraldine would say in One Good Turn

Welcome to the first of new blogs about what Geraldine would say to her love, Keith, and her relatives she visits back down on Earth. So, in One Good Turn she reunites with her ex love and soulmate, Keith. When she finds she still loves him, this is what she says to him:

As the week goes on, she falls more in love with Keith and gets him to love her too. This changes her for a better person. She then realises:

Don't you just love these sayings? I do.

Up in Heaven with Keith, Geraldine does the washing-up and uses this tea towel:

And on her travels to and from Heaven to visit her relatives, Geraldine would need a drink. So she could use this water bottle:

The tea towel and the water bottle are available from my Zazzle store -

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Sensitive skin, citrus and alchohol (drink and in toiletries)

What do the above have in common? Rosacea. I have had sensitive skin for many years now being fair-skinned, but it only recently in this v cold weather we have been having that I have noticed a dramatic difference in my facial colour. Years ago my cheeks used to go bright red, but after starting to use natural and organic products it calmed down. Now this last month I have noticed that it has got a lot worse, and it's not only the cheeks that go bright red but my forehead and rest of the face too. When I was out in the cold yesterday I felt my face tingling, going red with the cold, and this is one of the symptoms of rosacea. Extreme change of temperatures. So, what does citrus and alcohol have to do with it? Well, both can make rosacea worse. I had been eating clementines up until yesterday but have now cut those out. I also had been eating lemon marmalade now and then, and will cut out that and have a jam instead. As to alcohol. I don't drink due to medication I am on, but I have read that you should avoid using toiletries with it in. Using natural and organic products I thought I might be all right, but no. I have found different sorts of alcohol in hand creams and facial creams and washed. There are several different types of alcohol to watch out for, and not just alcohol. There is alcohol denat, cetyal alcohol, benzyl alcohol and a few others that I can't pronouce. I have read that most of these are skin irritants. So, this coming weekend I am going to go through all my toiletries I have been using and empty them if they have any of those in.  If I do have rosacea then I shall have to read labels v carefully from now on. I did start to use natural soap on my face but thought that was too drying for my skin. We shall see what happens.