Why you should set up a new email account…then share it

The reason so many people, not just companies, want your email address is because they’re valuable.

I accidentally pressed ‘delete all’ in an email folder.

ARGH!!

Oh well, half an hour later I’ve managed to retrieve most of the emails, but that was time I really needed to keep building my online entrepreneur business.

However!

This reminded me how reliant we are on the tech that sourrounds us.

Think!

Is your business resilient?

Can you contact your friends without Facebook?

An hour after I retrieved my almost lost emails…I received a new email telling me an online forum I use is changing it’s policies.

(Not Facebook…this time.)

However…what if…have you thought about it?

I share my written work within a blog sharing website where I have about 100 followers. Sadly they haven’t shared their direct email with me so I’ve only got that one route into their world.

I’ve managed to find some of them on other social media, but it’s not always easy because of name changes and just simply finding folks in the mass of people online.

As the website is changing direction I will probably lose all those friends and contacts, it will no longer be a place where I can share my work. More importantly it’s a loss of 100 people who give me feedback and help me keep on track.

I feel I’ve lost an opportunity to share good things with them.

ARGH!!

Then…

I sat back, had a cup of tea (OK you guessed it I’m British) and accepted it’s pointless getting frustrated.

Humble drinks corner with tea

Anger is a waste of energy.

You can’t control the mass of information and forums on the internet.

You just can’t!

So?

What do you do to avoid being in this mess?

Continue reading “Why you should set up a new email account…then share it”

Want To Know How To Be A Screenwriter? Book Review of The ‘Last Book On Screenwriting’ – Save The Cat!, Blake Snyder

This ultimate insider’s guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit

 

Save The Cat!

Blurb:

This ultimate insider’s guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a show biz veteran who’s proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat!

Ebook – CLICK HERE TO BUY!

Subject:

I realised as I was working on one of my novels, that it would be much better suited as a TV show or even film. I visualised it so much whilst working on it I decided I should investigate the possibility of editing it into a screenplay.
It was at this point that I realised my study hadn’t included a huge amount about it, and so many people just ended conversations about screenwriting by saying things like, ‘Why bother, it’s all about who you know, not what you know.’
Whilst this could be true, the six steps from Kevin Bacon do seem to cover the whole of Hollywood and beyond, I don’t like being fobbed off or deterred so I decided to learn a bit more about before writing it off (sorry really rubbish unintentional pun)


Continue reading “Want To Know How To Be A Screenwriter? Book Review of The ‘Last Book On Screenwriting’ – Save The Cat!, Blake Snyder”

Book Review – Get to know the iconic Smart Passive Income guru – Let Go, Pat Flynn

I’ve also been ‘let go’ and it’s hard to bounce back but Pat gives you the tools, and motivation to do it.

Book Review – Get to know the iconic Smart Passive Income guru – Let Go, Pat Flynn

Title: Let Go

Author: Pat Flynn

Copyright: Pat Flynn

Ebook 

Audio Book 

Blurb:

Let Go is Pat Flynn’s touching memoir about overcoming adversity through a commitment to pursuing your own path. Pat’s story chronicles the extreme highs and lows he faced as an ambitious and hardworking architect. When his luck was down, Pat turned away from the expected path and built his own through perseverance, investment in self, and a devotion to helping others. Along the way, Pat managed to not only achieve financial success but more importantly discovered what matters most: passion and purpose. In Let Go, Pat reveals the inside story of his transformation into one of today’s most beloved thought leaders in the areas of Internet business, online marketing, and lifestyle entrepreneurialism. He shares the challenges and feelings he faced as he pieced together what has become a thriving online enterprise. If you share Pat’s impulse to pursue your own path, then you’ll enjoy Let Go. After all, we all must confront the same risky idea if we are to unlock our true potential: letting go.

Subject:

I listened to this audio book in my car, it made for a really entertaining drive. It could be a self-obsessed depressing subject but it certainly isn’t, nor is it promising riches to anyone who wants them. Pat Flynn describes his naive optimism when starting out in his chosen career. How it didn’t quite turn out as planned and how he moved forward.

Continue reading “Book Review – Get to know the iconic Smart Passive Income guru – Let Go, Pat Flynn”

Book Review – Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur, Joanna Penn

I knew I wanted a different career, I frequently said to myself ‘There must be more than this.’

Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur, Joanna Penn

Book Review

Title: Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur

Author: Joanna Penn

Copyright: Joanna Penn 2014

Ebook 

Audio Book 

Blurb Extract:

Everything you need to run your business as an author. This is not a book on creativity or the craft of writing. This is not a book for hobbyists. This is a book that will take your writing into the realm of actually paying the bills. You will learn how to go from being an author to running a business as an author…’

Subject:

I started out as an amateur blogger, just chatting online for fun whilst working full time. I was also studying for a degree in literature at the Open University. I knew I wanted a different career, I frequently said to myself ‘There must be more than this.

Continue reading “Book Review – Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur, Joanna Penn”

The Hero’s Journey Formula – How To Write A Successful Novel

Fiction writers, especially new ones, sometimes fight the idea of conforming to a genre or sticking with a formula. They think it may suppress their creativity, but this isn’t the case.

The Hero’s Journey Formula – How To Write A Successful Novel

You will be familiar with The Hero’s Journey, even if you haven’t heard of it by name.

Star Wars, Matrix and Jane Eyre are just a few of the classic stories that follow The Hero’s Journey formula.

One vital component of the correctly applied formula is that at the beginning of the story, the protagonist can not possibly imagine how much their life is to change. They’ll go on a journey, their ‘character arc.’ As the plot moves along, so does their transformation.

In Star Wars Luke Skywalker has his dreams but in the wildest of those dreams he couldn’t contemplate his vital role in the fight against Darth Vader (No spoilers here just in case you happen to be the one person on the planet who isn’t aware of the storyline.)

Jane Eyre travels through her life and against all odds survives and ends up in a life she too couldn’t possibly have dreamt of. (Again, I won’t spoil your enjoyment of my favourite book, please read it, it’s beautiful.)

Fiction writers, especially new ones, sometimes fight the idea of conforming to a genre or sticking with a formula. They think it may suppress their creativity, but this isn’t the case.

If I use this formula won’t my story be predictable?

By being formulaic it doesn’t mean it will be boring or predictable. It will however be written in a way that your fans know what to expect. Fiction book readers like a story they can expect to a certain extent. This is why publishers usually give you clues. In the blurb or reviews on a book cover it will often say things like ‘If you like Harry Potter…’ or ‘This writer is the new Baldacci…’ these pointers help your fans find your book in the mass market that is the modern day bookshelf, whether that be in a physical book store or a digital one.

Continue reading “The Hero’s Journey Formula – How To Write A Successful Novel”

How to Survive The Ikea Shopping Trip – My Guide, and Yes it Includes Meatballs!

If you’ve a set of drawers for your undies, you will use it every day, I hope!. If you like the cabinet but not the plastic handles, then invest in tactile, solid, beautiful ones. Each day they will bring your pleasure.

How to Survive The Ikea Shopping Trip – My Guide, and Yes it Includes Meatballs!

How to Survive The Ikea Shopping Trip - My Guide, and Yes it Includes Meatballs!

I love interior design. I adore art. I love beautiful things and want to be surrounded by them. Sadly my budget doesn’t always match my aspirations.

Over the years I’ve lived in rented one room apartments, mortgaged victorian terraces and larger ex-council properties. Whilst renovating my various homes over the years, I’ve made no end of mistakes, some more costly than others. I’ve learned by them.

Let me help with a few tips to keep you safe and sane. They may just save you from making those time consuming or expensive mistakes.

The best friend of the interior designer on a budget is Ikea. Can you believe it’s nearly 30 years since they opened their first UK store? I’m a self confessed addict. It started with a mutual love of wood and candles and has developed over the years as we’ve both aged and matured.

I use Ikea alongside salvage yards and junk shops to bring the rooms to life and make them my own.

Here’s how I do it…

How to Survive The Ikea Shopping Trip – My 5 Practical Tips

1. Forward Planning, Preparation and Measuring

Ikea Preparation Kit

Buy a note book or scrap book, something with a cover to inspire you, I love this one. Collect ideas and images to inspire you.

Record all relevant details, size of rooms, height as well as floor space. Draw out diagrams of possible room set ups.

If you want a piece of art measure the space it will inhabit. Write down exact size you want, or the minimum and maximum sizes for the space it will inhabit.

Use catalogues to get room ideas. Cut out and stick inspiring pictures into your notebook. Your notebook is your one stop shop, so scribble down anything that comes up mind. Always take it with you on shopping trips.

Join Pinterest and make virtual boards, maybe for each project or room, then fill it with inspiration and practical tips.

Take some photos of your rooms on your phone, you can use these at the store. I’ll come back to that later.

2. Invest in Things You Use Most

Do not skimp on items such as mattresses and chairs. Your back will thank you in the long run. Ikea are genius with packaging. You’ll be amazed how small they can package a mattress for you to get it home.

Ikea Mattress

You can make bed bases from Ikea units (search Pinterest for 100’s of Ikea hacks) always make sure the mattress is a good one. If it means you need to buy charity or thrift store books and cut back on posh ice cream for a while, that’s no bad thing.

In your notebook calculate how many hours you will use items. Will you see it or touch it every day, or only once in a while? Is it on show or hidden away?

Do you love cooking?

Continue reading “How to Survive The Ikea Shopping Trip – My Guide, and Yes it Includes Meatballs!”

How to Build Ikea Flatpack Furniture – My Flatpack Assembly Survival Guide – ( Without Breaking a Nail! )

Things that were minutes ago just squares and shapes laid snugly in a well fitting cardboard box are now a three dimensional gorgeous addition to your home.

How to Build Ikea Flatpack Furniture –  My Flatpack Assembly Survival Guide – ( Without Breaking a Nail! )

How to Build Ikea Flatpack Furniture - My Flatpack Assembly Survival Guide - ( Without Breaking a Nail! )

Do you hanker after well designed furniture but can’t afford it? How about flat pack? Scared of it looking cheap and wobbly, with poorly fitting doors etc? Be scared no more, Ikea could well be the answer to your problems. Never shopped in Ikea before? Have a look at my shopping advice here.

If you followed my previous advice, you got home safely with all your bargains and flatpacks and are ready to make your house into a home.

Many people, sadly often the lovely men in our lives (I’m not sexist but guys, you know this is true) do not like following instructions. If this is you, then walk away. I can’t help you. Walk away, with your big hammer, your tool belt and be prepared to break things. Get your ‘might come in handy stuff’ box, aka toolbox, for all the left over pieces you didn’t think were necessary. You may want to keep the drill handy too, you know you love a power tool. For those who are less gung ho and want to do the job as suggested by Ikea, this post is for you.

Right then, who’s still here? You did swot up and buy, or borrow, all the required tools didn’t you? No? Oh dear, you may have a problem, or not. DO NOT PANIC! I can help. You will just be reading instructions, or rather following text free diagrams with little pictures of people helping you along the way. No language difficulties here.

Check your watch, it’s not a race, this is a task that could take time. If you don’t have time, leave it. A panicky last minute build could be disastrous. Happy? OK, we’re going in.

My Flatpack Assembly Survival Guide – My 5 Practical Tips

1. Prepare your Construction Zone

Are you ready to go? Great. Get changed, be comfy, wear trainers not slippers or barefeet (bare toes and sheets of glass or wood don’t make for a healthy mix.) Grab a glass of water, it can get heated.

It’s a good idea to cover the floor area or table (only use a table for small projects. Picture frames usually have glass in them, you need to keep it flat. Furniture is heavy, you need to keep it as low as possible.)

Bedsheets / blankets to protect your flooring or carpet are ideal. You don’t want to produce one gorgeous piece at the cost of scratches and marks on another.

You need as big a space as you can wrangle, spreading out will help you keep track. It’s also safer, you don’t want to be stepping over or on the flatpack pieces during construction.

At this stage it’s worth putting your drink where it won’t get knocked over but you can reach it. You may need extra energy so bring the Ikea Dime pieces, you DID buy some didn’t you? These can double up as mini treats as you finish each stage. Put a pencil there too.


2. Place The Boxes in the Room You Need the Furniture

I know it’s tempting to open the box as soon as you get it home and have a look. This would be a mistake. Unless it’s a small item, it’s always best to construct it in the room you will use it.

Ikea box

If you tear open the box, you may not be able to carry it. It may not even go through the doors. It may not fit where you expected, although if you followed my earlier advice it will definitely be the right size.

3. Open the Box, Read the Instructions

Ikea use diagrams to illustrate the requirements and safety instructions. READ THEM. Read the instruction brochure from beginning to end. Then grab the pencil. Ah ha, did you miss that bit? OK. Go get a pencil.

You will have noticed whilst reading that Ikea often list options. For example, how to have drawers on one side of a desk or the other. Flat pack furniture is often made of numerous units that can be custom built. It is important to follow the instructions inline with how you chose to design the final piece.

Scribble on the brochure so you know which pages you need to read. You may need to ignore some and jump forward to another section. Whilst mid-construction it’s really easy to forget this and you could end up with something you don’t want or like. Oh yes! Been there, done that. It is not alway easy to deconstruct, trust me, so please take the time to read the whole thing.

At the front of the instructions it will tell you what tools you need, often it’s just a screwdriver, rarely a drill. Drills are to be avoided, unless you know what you’re doing. They can overtighten screws and damage the final product. Allen keys are often the tool of choice and they are often improved by a plastic extender, genius!

HEALTH and SAFETY. This is worth repeating, it was in my earlier post.

If the instructions say fasten to the wall, then FASTEN TO THE WALL! Falling furniture can kill, or seriously injure, that’s why the warning is there…

Continue reading “How to Build Ikea Flatpack Furniture – My Flatpack Assembly Survival Guide – ( Without Breaking a Nail! )”

Book Review of Non-Fiction / Autobiographical Book – On Writing, A Memoir of The Craft, Stephen King

We may not all end up with a back list as long as your arm, but if you want to write it’s a great place to get advice from someone who knows. He truly does have the t-shirt.

Book Review of Non-Fiction / Autobiographical Book – On Writing, A Memoir of The Craft, Stephen King

Stephen King On Writing Book Cover

Book Review

Title: On Writing, A Memoir of The Craft

Author: Stephen King

Copyright: 2000 Stephen King

Ebook 

Blurb:

On Writing – Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in the vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999 – and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery.

There is a reason why Stephen King is one of the bestselling writers in the world, ever. Described in the Guardian as ‘the most remarkable storyteller in modern American literature’, Stephen King writes books that draw you in and are impossible to put down.

Subject:

This book was high on my list of recommended books as a resource. I’d been told it’s essential reading to anyone who writes, or wants to. I wish to improve, hone my skill, I’m committed to ongoing learning. As I queued up to buy it at least half a dozen other writers encouraged my purchase with promises that I’d chosen well.

As the blurb states, it is a book on how to write told through the experiences of Mr King. It isn’t just for his fans, he does explain how he came up with numerous ideas so it will appeal to them.

I’m always amazed how many so called ‘expert’ writers criticise popular writer’s for their lack of style or excellence. Whilst I admittedly have veered away from best sellers in the past, how can anyone doubt the skill of someone who has such a wide variety of successful books out there.

This book is a great read, that’s all I want from a book. It teaches in a positive way, without criticism of others. Mr K even adds a generous reading list at the end of books he liked. Good lad!

Continue reading “Book Review of Non-Fiction / Autobiographical Book – On Writing, A Memoir of The Craft, Stephen King”

No Spoiler Book Review of the Beautiful, Curious, Booker Prize Winning – The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje

Before I watch any movie or TV adaptations I try to read the book. This frees me to immerse myself in the writer’s original work and, importantly, my own imagination.

No Spoiler Book Review of the Beautiful, Curious, Booker Prize Winning – The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje

The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje

Book Review

Title: The English Patient

Author: Michael Ondaatje

Copyright: 1992 Michael Ondaatje

Ebook

Blurb: The final curtain is closing on the Second World War, and Hana, a nurse, stays behind in an abandoned Italian villa to tend to her only remaining patient. Rescued by Bedouins from a burning plane, he is English, anonymous, damaged beyond recognition and haunted by his memories of passion and betrayal.

The only clue Hana has to his past is the one thing he clung on to through the fire – a copy of The Histories by Herodotus, covered with hand-written notes describing a painful and ultimately tragic love affair.

Plot – fiction book:

This book has been on my reading list for a while, once I started reading it rang a bell. I think I must have read it years ago, but I’m not surprised I’d forgotten.

Before I watch any movie or TV adaptations I try to read the book. This frees me to immerse myself in the writer’s original work and, importantly, my own imagination. This is a story of deception, memory, old loves, friendships and romances interlink in a confusion of gorgeous phrases, chapters and scenes. It’s a beautifully written lyrical book. The words evoke images of a damaged hot dry landscape, horrors of war and historic damaged architecture. Each page holds another joy.

How lovely is this ‘…The book lay on her lap. She realised that for more thanfive minutes she had been looking at the porousness of the paper, the crease at the corner of page 17 which someone had folded over as a mark. She brushed her hand over its skin. A scurry in her mind like a mouse in the ceiling, a moth on the night window.’

Or how about ‘…Bluebottles stumble in the air and bang into humans as if slamming into a wall, then retreat unconcerned.’

Amongst so many, I think my favourite extract is a view of how lovers and friends can experience deja vu, imagined or real previous meetings. How the time has to be right for things to ‘click’ even though you may have met or nearly met at another time and place.

I smiled at a mention of Pelmanism. I hadn’t realised the memory game I play was so ancient. You know the one, you scatter cards over the table,face down, you turn over two cards and try to find a match. I was brilliant in my youth but somehow I always get beaten by my grandbabies just as I was by their mum.

Characters:

Hana – a nurse with a past, hiding from life

Caravaggio – the author gives a clever reference to a Caravaggio painting, as part of a character profile. I’ve not seen this done before and it worked really well. I may even steal the idea, ideas after all are not copyrighted.

Kip – a Indian serving in the British Army

The English Patient – a twist halfway through the book brings everything you read into a different light

Conclusion: 

Any of you out there who aspire to write, must read, alot. I include classics, both modern and ancient, in my reading list on Goodreads.

Why had I forgotten reading this book? I’m guessing it’s because it is so confusing. The short breaks, the book includes names of long chapters broken into multiple unnamed chapters. I didn’t always follow who was the narrator, whose point of view I was following.

Once I left the book for a couple of days and it took a while to re-immerse myself in its style.

Recommended books:

Yes, it’s wonderful, if deep and bewildering. It’s a must read on the bucket list of books. However I’d definitely try to read it quickly so you keep track.

Let me know how you get on.

You may also like:

http://www.christieadamswriter.com/book-review-of-the-brilliant-his-bloody-project-graeme-macrae-burnet/

Book Review – Hunger Games

You can study this book in depth with Spark Notes. WARNING! SPOILERS IN THIS LINK!

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/englishpatient/ canalysis.html

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Young Adult (YA) Fiction Book Review – Matched, Ally Condie

The young characters are not only learning about love and honesty, but also hidden agendas. They learn that not everything is as it seems, decisions are not always easy, in other words adulthood does not bring all the answers.

Matched book cover

Book Review

Title: Matched

Author: Ally Condie

Copyright: Allyson Braithwaite Condie 2010

Ebook  

Blurb:

On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia meets her Match. Society dictates he is her perfect partner for life.

Except he’s not. In Cassia’s society, Officials decide who people love. How many children they have. Where they work. When they die.

But, as Cassia finds herself falling in love with another boy, she is determined to make some choices of her own. And that’s when her whole world begins to unravel . . .

Plot:

No spoilers, as ever. We follow Cassia, her friends and family as they learn that growing up isn’t just about falling in love and getting a job. It involves learning about things you didn’t even contemplate.

There are a few clever hints back at a life that we, in the present day, may recognise, these made by reference to Cassia’s grandparents and their stories.

Cassia now lives in a very controlled environment, everything and everyone is regulated for their own protection, apparently. Secrets are kept, lies are told. Who and what can be trusted?

Why do they all carry pills?

Continue reading “Young Adult (YA) Fiction Book Review – Matched, Ally Condie”