Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

So people listen to me apparently!

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Sarah Haynes is pleased to announce the arrival of her brand new laptop! Oh yes. No more putting up with my inebriated computer:  unexplained overheating/shutting down apropos of nothing every two minutes/the screen freezing/untold amounts of faults necessitating the immediate shutdown of Google Chrome and the consequent loss of important work (not to mention the loss of important Facebook conversations). I woke up on Tuesday morning and, as is my wont,  thought – right, enough is enough. I cannot work like this. I cannot be a highly successful author with such a ridiculous piece of machinery. My husband disagreed and saw no real problem with the situation; in fact I would go so far as to say that he didn’t listen to a word I said.  So I had no choice but to ignore him and buy a new one and I LOVE IT!! There will be lots of writing and emailing and Twitter-ing and Facebook-ing and Skype-ing going on with it. It’s an HP one and a sort of burgundy colour. I wanted a pink one but it was about £300 more and the proverbial foot went down.  Pretty hard.  Anyway so that’s quite exciting in itself, but what is more exciting is that I have organised my first ever, ever, ever book-signing!! After the raw excitement of receiving my books and then business cards, the excitement for book-signing went off the scale to a level that my brain didn’t recognise and I felt sort of……numb. Like it isn’t true and won’t really be happening to me. That said actually, I’m not sure that a great deal will be happening to me. As a completely unknown debut author I don’t imagine that people will be flocking in their droves to visit me. But just in case you live near me and fancy coming along, it’s at Waterstones in Fareham on Saturday 16th October. All day. And I would love to see you. So do come along and witness me doing my first ever day’s work! Shamefully that is not an exaggeration.

AND I am very pleased that www.chicklitreviews.com have agreed to review Things He Never Knew. I love the website, their reviews are honest and straightforward and provide good parameters by which to judge a book – she says with some trepidation……I just hope they like mine. But that’s part of the appeal of the site; honest reviews.  But just in case my excitement levels were dropping off, this bit of news served to perk them right up again. Honestly, Christmas is going to seem such a let-down after all of this.

So – I was going to write about my characters this time and how I create them. Having given it a lot of thought,  the answer is that I don’t really. I decide on a basic plan, for example, I am going to have a 2.4 family, the father will be called William, the mother Mary and the children will be Daisy and Michael and I will have an idea of how William, Mary, Daisy and Michael are going to interact and why. I then sketch out the rest of the plot, pretty thinly as I tend to find it twists and turns as I write it, and then I get going. I am very, very bad at planning individual chapters. I wish I weren’t because it would make my job a lot easier but I’m always too impatient to throw myself into the actual writing. So I do. And then William and Mary and whoever will come to life as I write. Just like Enid Blyton described, I watch my characters and listen to them. I don’t decide what words they’re going to say, I just write down what they do say. This often leads to me being surprised at what’s happening, and if it’s too absurd then I will change it, or if I find they’re going off in the wrong direction, like wayward children. I can’t have William and Mary misbehaving. Obviously at some subconscious level I am deciding what my characters will do, and this is where outside influence comes in. I will often hear things that anger/amuse/outrage/fascinate me and these get stored away for me to use on specific occasions. For example, in my new manuscript there’s a line where a parent is describing the terrible conditions of rooms at their child’s school and she says “Oh goodness – they’re practically third world!” which a friend of mine did actually say to me and I’m  pretty sure she doesn’t mind me repeating it (never mind publishing it…) and which I then filed for future use and created a scene where I could use it because it amused and interested me so much, for lots of different reasons. That’s an easy example. More difficult to pinpoint are the smaller elements that I draw in, as I said in my previous post, the colour of someone’s hair, little mannerisms, modes of speech, those sorts of things that make a person who they are. I must have quite a collection in my mind now and I suppose I just pluck a few out at random and try them for size on my characters. There’s no doubt though that they make themselves, I just help shape them.  And then clothe them, because that’s important.

I’m not much of a psychic but I do foresee that my life is going to get very, very busy over the next two weeks and beyond. Actually, that reminds me, I have three different web ‘areas’ for want of a better word ( and I’m sure there is one); here, my website and my facebook author page and information is liberally sprinkled over all three. Yet I’ve noticed that people ask me the same question time and time again, and that’s “When is the book being released?” This both amuses and confuses me; it’s a fairly major detail but obviously one that people just don’t take on board. Interesting. Anyway, so back to being busy – and I really will be. I already have a litany of tasks mapped out to be achieved and not enough days in which to do them. This could be interesting. However I always make time for the truly important things, which should come as a relief to some. And I tell you what, having a laptop that I don’t have to keep re-starting and giving little breaks to should make a world of difference.  Honestly, it was like taking an elderly relative out for a stroll and stopping to have little rests and cups of tea to make sure that they don’t keel over completely. And watching with a keen eye to prevent any unorthodox behaviour. But no more, my newborn laptop is working brilliantly, if confusingly (I am not clever with computers) and on that note I’m off to check progress on my facebook fan page (135 last time I checked) and twitter (100 followers!), so just think – assuming some overlap there are still in all probability over 200 people willing to listen to what I have to say on a regular basis. I must email my husband and tell him immediately.

A short missive from Berkshire

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

This will only be a short post and actually I’m doing well to post it at all, because in direct contrast to last Sunday I find myself this week with almost no time to write. This is not because I am busy, in fact the direct opposite, but by staying at my mother’s house in Berkshire I have effectively moved back to the Dark Ages, with my mother being the enforcer of this. By Dark Ages I mean that things like watching television, using mobile phones and especially LAPTOPS are frowned upon. Anything involving modern technology is not popular in this household. If she could make us all go to bed when the sun goes down and use candles she would do. I got a new phone yesterday (pink Samsung Tocco Lite) and the only reason that I’ve been able to look at facebook, email, etc. is because she hasn’t realised yet that I can access the internet on it.

Despite this, I am managing to keep on top of the various publishing commitments that are arising; I have now seen a pdf file of the official promotion poster and I like it! It’s only tremendously exciting if you’re me, though. And there is one mistake on it which needs to be rectified which is unfortunate because they’ve all been printed already. The initial print run for my book looks like being around 1000 copies which seems quite a lot to me. I’m also not sure how they have arrived at this figure, especially seeing as the original number I was given was 500-600, but there must be a method.

I’m beginning to feel quite productive towards my next manuscript. It started well but I seem to have written myself into a dead end which, as any writer will know, is a nightmare. It usually requires a complete overhaul of the entire thing and possible restructuring. Unfortunately I know where I’m going wrong, and remedying it does indeed require many and various changes. Which is not really possible in this house where doing any writing has the guilty feel of an adulterous affair about it – snatched moments when I can sneak onto my computer and type a couple of sentences before my mother passes through the kitchen and says “What are you doing on there?”. Obviously the possibilities in her mind are endless. I’ve batted away any potential conflict quite swiftly so far with much talk of publishers and emails and deliberately asking her opinion on the various issues I’ve been dealing with, but I can see her getting suspicious before long.

Plus it’s very difficult to have the space and peace to be creative here. It’s a large house with quite a few rooms but each one seems to be occupied by one or more of my four brothers at any given time, not to mention my own children and the assortment of pets here. There are: two dogs, a handful of chickens, a tank of tropical fish, a tortoise and a pygmy hedgehog. This last is particularly annoying because it’s in a tank in the room that I’m sleeping in and for those of you not in the know about captive hedgehogs, they like to recreate their outdoor freedom by running fifteen miles a night – in a squeaky wheel. And I can tell you that listening to fifteen miles of squeaking per night becomes very tiresome.

But other than that, it’s quite peaceful here. The Aga is still switched on and therefore chucking out gallons of heat which is completely unnecessary, but at least the fire isn’t being lit every night. And there’s lots of wine to drink; that’s always appreciated. However, due to unforeseen circumstances we will not be attending the Burlesque night so there will be no talk of stockings I’m afraid. Well, I could talk about my own but I don’t think it would be the same.

Next time: to be confirmed!

Cymru am byth

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

This is a brilliant opportunity to write and I’m wasting it. One daughter is away and my husband and the other daughter have gone to watch cricket for the day – “I suppose there’s no chance I can persuade you to come with me?” he said hopefully this morning. “Absolutely not,” was my reply. I couldn’t let there be doubt over the issue. Call me a heathen but I just cannot appreciate this extraordinarily timeless game. I don’t understand it at all, there are too many people on the field to keep up with, the scoring is beyond me (as it is for most girls I suspect) and the slang that goes with cricket is impenetrable. And one game goes on for days. Literally. Yesterday my husband  ‘liked’ a facebook page that basically makes fun of girls asking “Who’s winning?” during a cricket match. Well what is wrong with that???? It’s a completely natural question to ask of a competitive game. Someone will win (even though it’s becoming increasingly un-PC to do so). But I think the point is that you don’t know who will win until the last, tense, nail-biting second of a game that’s had you riveted to the seat for the duration. Did anyone spot the sarcasm there? No, there’s only one good thing about cricket and that’s the players in their whites look surprisingly sexy, and that is not enough to sustain me through a game. Anyway, back to me wasting time.

I’m so bedazzled by being alone for this length of time that I can hardly decide what to do first; I can’t apply myself properly to anything. I dream of time like this. I am almost always thinking oh if only I had a few clear hours alone I could do so much housework/ironing/sorting/tidying/writing, and now that I have it do you know what I have done? I have read yesterdays papers and I have eaten a bowl of pasta. Pasta is the devils work but I just cannot stay away from it. My friends are amazed by my ambivalence towards desserts, I don’t care about them at all, it’s bread and pasta that are my vices. You will be able to tell from this that I am the kind of girl who lives life on the edge. I did try Pimms ice-cream last night though. Only because I’d never seen it on a menu before and I was intrigued. It was OK.

So, Wales. Wales was great. It was my first time in the country and I thoroughly enjoyed every second. I survived the surfing! It’s harder than the blond, dreadlocked, very svelte instructor made it look. We ended up exhausted and bruised by flinging ourselves against the boards, ‘catching’ the waves, falling off and dragging the boards back out to waist-high water where we repeated the process. This went on for two hours and honestly we were absolutely shattered. And freezing. The Gower coast is very beautiful but it is not the warmest of climes to be surfing in. Definitely Calfornia next time. But it was fine because afterwards we had the luxury of the outdoor, lukewarm showers that I detest with a passion. I can’t bear my feet on the floor of those places, I will never remove my flip-flops. Even the thought makes me shudder. But it did warm us up and rinse most of the sand off. The rest of the sand was spread liberally around the flat, our beds and the seats of my friend’s husband’s Jaguar that we were borrowing. This last did not go unnoticed, unfortunately. And apart from surfing, we ate in some very nice restaurants, we visited some very beautiful places, we drank a lot of wine and Malibu (not together) and caramalised ten onions. Badly. We had a wonderful, relaxed, ramshackle few days – there were seven of us staying in a two-bedroom flat – but somehow it worked. I think mostly due to the laidback attitude of our lovely host, Gill, my friend’s mother. She didn’t seem to mind her home being overtaken by someone she barely knew (me) and three girls obsessed by first catching and then grooming her petrified cats, sand being sprinkled everywhere and the smell of ten onions lingering for days. I cannot say that my own mother would have been as relaxed….

And disappointingly my review copies have not arrived. I emailed my publishers to check on progress to be told: sorry, we’ve only just sent the book to the printers, the copies will be another 2-3 weeks. It doesn’t really matter, it just means that my carefully planned and rigidly stuck to promotion campaign gets a little behind. Which in turn means working very hard in September. Not a problem. In some ways this is fortunate, I’d be limited in what I could do, practically-speaking, because I shall be away again this week, at my mother’s house in Berkshire. Myself and the girls will bump the household up to ten, which is bound to cause tension around eating and sleeping arrangements so I can report on that next time. It won’t be like Wales, that’s for sure. But on our return, myself, plus husband and a couple of friends are going to a Burlesque night at a local theatre, which should be interesting, so I have that to look forward to.

And now that I have this written, I can return to the dizzy heights of my solitude! The excitement is wearing off now so I might be able to calm down and do something constructive. It won’t involve Twitter though because despite my efforts I still only have five followers. This does not bode well.

Next time: my mother’s house and stockings, I suppose. Not together I am at pains to add.