How Your ‘5 a Day’ Can Help a Blogger (They’re not all millionaires, despite the rumours!)

You know when you ‘Google’ (other search engines are available) to find a fact, or check an ailment, the responses you find are often written by a blogger.

The headlines about bloggers making millions with no effort are usually fake news, or a sales pitch by someone building their own online business.

Good luck to them, some bloggers do make a great living, they work hard so deserve it.

HOWEVER most bloggers don’t make enough to live on, and never will.

Many bloggers don’t do the work to earn a fortune, most genuinely want to serve, support and help you, their audience.

Blogs exist across the globe for every topic you can imagine.

Self-help, educational study and mutual support groups, hobby groups and that isn’t even mentioning the travel, health, beauty and fashion blogs that you may be familiar with.

You know when you ‘Google’ (other search engines are available) to find a fact, or check an ailment, the responses you find are often written by a blogger.

When you read something online that you find informative, helpful or of value why not support the person who delivered it to you.


Continue reading “How Your ‘5 a Day’ Can Help a Blogger (They’re not all millionaires, despite the rumours!)”

Joynell Schultz – FREE FICTION BOOK GIVEAWAY – Win two awesome paperback books!

WIN TWO PAPERBACK BOOKS – Add to your book collection with two books by the wonderful Joynell Schultz

WINNERS NOTIFIED! Not a winner? It’s a great book anyway – follow the links to buy it for the beach now!

Add to your book collection with two books by the wonderful Joynell Schultz

Yes, you can win two fantastic fiction books by my friend Joynell Schultz. Joynell shares my love of travel and of course writing and is working hard to build her growing portfolio.

I’m thrilled to support her in my own small way by offering not one but two of her paperback books in my FREE draw.

Continue reading “Joynell Schultz – FREE FICTION BOOK GIVEAWAY – Win two awesome paperback books!”

Is An Audible Subscription Good Value? Can I Download The Best Audio Books?

They are also an excellent way of making the best audio books accessible to those who may find the written word difficult, for whatever reason.

Audible on an ipad with Beats headphonesIs An Audible Subscription Good Value? Can I Download The Best Audio Books?

Free Audiobook Download from Audible.co.uk

Summary

Product Name: Audible UK – an Amazon Company

What It Does:

An online supplier of audio books, currently offering in excess of 200K of the best audio books, ready for you to instantly download. You can listen via their Audible app on your mobile device or on your Kindle.

Price:

UK £7.99 per month subscription, or one off payments as you buy (Free one month trial is on offer, as at January 2017)

Pros:

Easy to use

High quality audio

Makes the best audio books accessible to your mobile device

Cons:

The Audible app is getting some poor reviews, hopefully this is a short term problem

If you don’t read very many books, you may not benefit from the subscription.

It isn’t your local library.

Summary:

If you have an Amazon account signing up is ridiculously easy. The book choice is vast, the best audio books with high quality audio, often by the author brings the stories alive. You can even listen to a free sample before deciding. Search easily filtered virtual bookshelves, sample and download your book choice in minutes. The whole process is smooth and customer focussed, recommended.

Buy Now

By using this link to source the product, I will receive a small commission from the supplier. This doesn’t affect the price you pay. It does help support my work and keep these reviews FREE to you, thank you.

————————————————

Product Name:

Audible – an Amazon Company

Free Audiobook Download from Audible.co.uk

What It Does:

An online supplier of audio books, currently offering in excess of 200K best audio books, ready for you to instantly download. You can listen via their Audible app on your mobile device or on your Kindle.

Audible is a part of Amazon if, like me, you steer away from the huge companies, be reassured on this occasion it’s a good thing. OK, so it isn’t your local library where you may be able to obtain free audio books. However Amazon has the buying power and the technology to do their job well. The choice of books you can download is vast, up to date and as far as the ones I’ve sampled so far, with excellent audio, often by the author themselves.

The Audible app is ideal for anyone who uses a smart phone or mobile device. Sadly at the time of writing the app had been through an update and is receiving poor reviews. Hopefully this will be fixed soon. Amazon want happy customers to return to them again and again.

If you don’t fancy the Audible app, you can use your Kindle / Android etc.

I recently signed up for the free trial at Audible UK. I’d been asked by Audible to review the process

(For transparency this post does include Affiliate links, but I am not being paid to write this post)

So how did the sign up go? Easy!

  • I signed in as suggested using my Amazon ID. It auto-populated a payment option for the potential subscription cost to be paid on my chosen card. It had brought this information through from my Amazon account. Don’t worry you have an option to use a different payment method.
  • The sign up process immediately accepted me. I was auto-redirected to the ‘shopping’ page, my account already given ‘1 Credit.’ You get a credit a month, which you can spend as you choose.
  • The best value is box sets or anything over the cost of your subscription, but I guess you will work that out all on your own. My free trial has resulted in me being the proud owner of a £23 Stephen King audio book, so no complaints there.
  • The prices are shown in cash money prices or credit prices, so it’s easy to see what you can afford.
  • As with Amazon the search is quick and easy, filters apply for best sellers, genres, authors etc.
  • If you are community minded you can join up and follow other readers, see what they are reading etc.
  • If not, just click and buy, then sit with a brew and listen to your book. Job done.
  • My wi-fi is quite quick anyway so my new 10 hour listening book downloaded within moments. I’d recommend doing it on wi-fi when possible, if you are on a limited data package, just in case.
  • From start to finish it took me less than five minutes. If you don’t have an Amazon account allow a bit longer to add all your payment and account information.

Price:

Current UK price £7.99 a month, starting with a free month’s trial. Drop it in your calendar so you don’t pay after the first month, if you want to avoid payments going out after the free trial.

Pros:

If you haven’t discovered audio books yet, try it or maybe give a gift of a subscription to someone. They are also an excellent way of making the best audio books accessible to those who may find the written word difficult, for whatever reason.

The audio format is ideal when out on a walk or on the treadmill. I’d be reluctant to recommend listening in a car or whilst driving as I think it can be distracting, but maybe it depends what book you are ‘reading.’ I’ve recently got into baking again and use that time to listen to both podcasts and audio books.

How about downloading a children’s book and listening with your kids? There are free books on there too, ideal for bedtime.

Cons:

It’s not your local library and it’s not paper books. But get over it. It makes books accessible, you can read many more books and currently it really is great value. You can still snuggle up with a paperback when the mood takes you.

The subscription could become onerous if you don’t read enough, so don’t allow it to be like your gym membership, paid out but ignored, OK? In fact, listen to the books at the gym you’re already paying for but not using, exercising brain and body all at once. Result!

It’s part of a big machine, Amazon so I encourage you to drop in to your local charity or book shop and buy the odd paperback.

Summary:

The audio book will not be going away any time soon, it won’t replace a paper book, just yet anyway, but it can help you to ‘read’ many more books.

It’s quick and easy to sign up, the best audio books are immediately available and the ‘credit’ each month, if you subscribe, can be a real bargain.

I’d recommend listening to the free sample, you may be listening to that voice for a LONG time, so make sure it doesn’t grate on your nerves.

Buy Now:

Want to know more?

By using this link to source the product, I will receive a small commission from the supplier. This doesn’t affect the price you pay. It does help support my work and keep these reviews FREE to you, thank you.

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”

FAQ: What is a Blogger? Not a logger, a BLOGGER!

The blogger can then relax in the knowledge that tomorrow they will be writing again but they will not be alone.

FAQ- What is a Blogger- Not a logger, BLOGGER!FAQ: What is a Blogger? Not a logger, a BLOGGER!

Almost everytime I slighty self-consciously tell people I’m a writer and a blogger, my voice sort of tales off. It’s hard to acquire a confidence about a career that I adore, without sounding pretentious. However I’m always surprised by the reaction. Usually it goes along two lines, either

“Oh wow, I want to do that, brilliant, what do you blog about? Are you earning loads of money?”

OR

“Oh, I’ve heard of that but I’ve no idea what it is”

First of all, I explain I’m writing two novels, as the writer part of my job title seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Then I humbly apologise and say no I’m not earning a fortune, but maybe one day if my lotto numbers come up.

Darren Rowse of Problogger set us bloggers a challenge to post an answer to a FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) so to those who don’t know what this new phenomena is, I will explain, sort of.

FAQ: What is a Blogger?

Dictionary Definition

Blogger: someone who writes a blog

So that’s the shortest post I’ve written in a while.

“WAIT!” I hear you cry. “What’s a blog?”

Blog: a regular record of your thoughts, opinions or experiences that you put on the internet for people to read

How easy is that? If only! I love the blogging world, but that doesn’t quite cover it.

So, here is my own very short definition of what a blogger is…

A writer, entrepreneur, marketer, social media guru, promoter, gossip, expert, novice, photographer, designer, chatterbox, social animal, hermit, computer geek, nerd, keyboard addict, keyboard phobic, passionate advocate of chosen causes, teacher, student, lecturer, reader, historian, trend setter, opinionated egotist, copyrighter, sun-starved, typist, coffee addict, tea drinker, snacker, editor, proof reader, critic, product tester, technician, accountant, quick learner, adaptable, optimistic, pessimistic, paranoid, approachable, socially skilled, unsociable, political, apolitical, highly developed awareness of software updates and issues arising, font expert, spell check guru, bullet pointer, philanthropist, organiser, scheduler, diarist, theorist, deadline meeting, follower, hashtagger, liker, un-liker, procrastinator, experienced, inexperienced, website designer, sharer, content producer, socialite, friend, call to actioner, archivist, credit sharing, selfish, engaging, interviewer, interviewee, guest speaker, guest writer, podcaster, collaborator, consultant, webinar fan, enthusiast who posts their work on the internet in the desperate hope that it will help someone who may, just may, come back to see their work again.

In my best David Attenborough voice…the blogger does its work each day, or night, in the hope that they will attract a ‘reader’ who chooses to chat on social media and press the ever desired @ or # in the right places. The blogger works this hard so the ‘reader’ or ‘follower’ will subscribe. If successful, they will be given the reader’s tag, link and their highly treasured email address. They will know they have found a mate, in the blogging world these mates are known as ‘subscribers’ The blogger can then relax in the knowledge that tomorrow they will be writing again but they will not be alone.

I’m bound to have missed a vital aspect to the job so please tell me your individual skill acquired whilst blogging, clean answers only please…the internet is scary enough.

5 Creative Writing Prompts To Help You Banish The Blank Page – Time Related

All it takes to defeat the beast is to WRITE, I know, so easily said. I’m here to help.

5 Creative Writing Prompts To Help You Banish The Blank Page - Time Related5 Creative Writing Prompts To Help You Banish The Blank Page – Time Related

I am a writer, one who is not too proud to say ‘Yes I’ve stared at a blank page’ now and again. We all have. The scary white space can stare back at you from your computer screen or roar at you from your notepad. You are not alone! All it takes to defeat the beast is to WRITE, I know, so easily said. I’m here to help. The writing process can be difficult at times, even if you don’t have a draft ongoing, keep your hand in with a few writing exercises. Glance down over these prompts and maybe one will grab you, nudge your elbow, encourage you to get a few words out, then one after the other they will cascade all over that white space. Well that’s the hope.

Here we go:

1. Change the year in which your action is happening

Now this one can be a simple shift from the 1990s to the 1960s. It could result in different clothes, a different attitude to sex, Elvis! Or how about a more drastic move from current times to historical, not a time travel machine, just move your whole plot to a different century. Jane Austen anyone? No? How about Robin Hood, you get the idea. You could shoot the other way and place your characters on another planet years into the future, it didn’t do Star Wars any harm.

2. Add a flashback

How did your heroine get that scar on her cheek? Why is your baddy scared of heights? How did the dysfunctional married couple meet all those years ago? This could be a minor word count to give a bit of depth and context to your character or a major part of the storyboard. It’s a great way to ‘show not tell’ your reader about something which may otherwise seem like a distraction.

3. Include a deadline to add drama

The train announcement says the train will leave in ten minutes, a man stands alone on the platform. If she isn’t married by age 25 she loses her inheritance. The bomb is going to explode in three hours. You know how it goes, you can have a five minute deadline last the whole length of a two hour film, it doesn’t always work. So make it believable.

4. A character misses an alarm call

Simple as…the alarm on the mobile phone doesn’t work. The hotel forgets to make the call. This simple trigger can bring about any number of results. Is it a good thing for your character, did they survive as the bomb goes off at work whilst they slept in? Maybe it ruined a relationship and they never saw each other again. Trawl your own memories of your own anxiety, or not, at being late for something. Capture that emotion on the page.

5. The obvious – a clock is ticking

In the dentist waiting room a ticking clock can seem like the loudest, slowest instrument of torture in the world. Capture that feeling of dread. You can use it as an indicator of great things to come, the countdown to the end of a symbolic victory on a sports field. If early on in the first chapter you mention the main character checks his brand new pocket watch on a chain, or his digital timer embedded in his arm it gives the reader a clue to the era in which your story is set. Steampunk novels use watches and clocks, alot.

I hope you can make use of these creative writing prompts to battle a blank space, or to move your story forwards. My examples are fairly obvious ones to illustrate the point, so try not to be so predictable and use time imaginatively. I’d love to hear how you incorporate your time related work into your story.

You may also like:

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Amazon – Stephen King On Writing

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Scuba Diving with James Kelley

James Kelley writes a really strong travel blog, his intent “…to share my passion with you; and hopefully inspire you to travel more…

Shark snapped by Alice
Shark snapped by Alice

As you may know I am OK with a snorkel and have swum with a shark. OK so it was accidental but hey I’m bragging about it anyway. However, I do admit to being a bit claustrophobic and panicked (insert scared stupid) by scuba, so I thought I’d bring you someone who is great at it, I think they may even have gills they’re that good.

He also, happily, is sharing his experiences and images from the deep on his blog:

http://www.escapingabroad.com/scuba-diving/

James Kelley writes a really strong travel blog, his intent “…to share my passion with you; and hopefully inspire you to travel more. I’m an avid traveler that can’t get enough of the world. I love hiking through jungles, relaxing on a sandy beach, scuba diving and photographing wildlife. As a digital nomad I left the 40-hour work weeks behind to explore more of the world we all live on but rarely see much of!…

I really hope you’ll call by, maybe check him out on other social media and get yourself a bit of inspiration along the way. He shares a very important message together with AWESOME photos here too…

Hawaii Shark Encounters – Swimming With Sharks In Oahu

MASSIVE SMILEY thanks to James for this sharing opportunity, safe travelling!

By the way, today is Wednesday and it is the day when you are apparently most likely to be able to find a cheap flight, so have a quick glance here if you need a break.

Could I be a writer?

If you are very lucky after numerous drafts and rewrites you may just come up with a piece of writing you are proud of.

View from Wray Castle
View from Wray Castle

So, I wanted to chat a while today about writing and writers. What they do and why they do it. Then I realised so many other forums have the subject sewn up so instead of waffling on, I’ll help you by directing you to a couple of sites where you can engage and learn.

I follow a great guy on WordPress who is also dedicated in his servitude to the cause of putting pen to paper, or tips to keys, so why not call over and see if you can implement any of his tips to be a better writer. He’s even committed to setting out 100 days of writing tips, wow, well done Bill!

https://billchance.org/author/billchance/

If you haven’t discovered TED talks, you’re missing out. They are amazing, informative, inspiring and just blooming awesome. A couple of links are here to focus your mind, you may get dragged in there for hours though so watch your self. DISCIPLINE people! I find it better to subscribe, then a helpful little email pops in your inbox and I then keep it safe until I have five minutes / half an hour and listen / watch then. It’s like a special treat for upping my word count.

http://www.ted.com/playlists/194/10_talks_from_authors

http://www.ted.com/playlists/340/talks_that_inspired_ted_books

Finally today I’ll share a little secret that all writers know

…OK?

…listening?…

THERE IS NO SECRET!

Writing is hard, it’s graft, it’s torment, it’s discipline, it’s solitary, it’s beautiful, it’s inspiring, it’s worthwhile, it’s fulfilling, it’s just sitting down, starting with one word and stopping when you’re done. If you are very lucky after numerous drafts and rewrites you may just come up with a piece of writing you are proud of.

Good luck, let me know how you get on! Finally, the reason for the image? Well if that view doesn’t inspire you, not much will!

What should I sell?

I’ve had a look around the house for things I can sell lately. Mainly because I’d love to make some extra money, but also because there is a lot of stuff lying around that I’ll never use. So why not pop it up for sale and let someone else enjoy it. I’m struggling to figure […]

http://swekiwi.com/2015/11/11/what-should-i-sell/