The November Chilling with Books Corner, spotlighting, and sharks

My normal well-prepared  blogger persona went out the window this month. Getting my revised copy of Unexpected Obsession out there was not without difficulties but I managed and the sheer pleasure of giving it a new lease on life carried me through. Well, it did until disaster struck. I won’t bore you but for two weeks I lived, breathed, and slept with my computer trying to fix something that should have taken five minutes. Don’t ask. But I can say it did my head in. Much of it had to do with the big fish in the big ocean who have strange methods of helping the little fishes who just want to survive. I’m not a hundred percent sure but I think they prefer to eat them.

Today, all is right with this part of my world because I persevered and found not all sharks bite, but the trauma lingers, the aftertaste bitter and enough to make me stop not just writing as a novelist but even this blog. However here I am, last minute it might be, but all will be done because I am an Indie Author, and the Indie Author community is a very supportive one and it deserves to be supported back. Quitting sends the wrong message even for someone unknown. I would rather think ahead to the great things to come.

Spotlight on Shayla Raquel:

This spotlight is a little different. As you know I have been tossing backwards and forwards about having a newsletter. I still haven’t decided but, in the process, I have found some excellent examples of newsletters. These I not only enjoy and learn from, but I also find myself inspired.

One newsletter in particular I always take the time to read is by Shayla Raquel and the reason I follow and recommend her is because she always has great advice to share (and is a writer so she knows first hand what we go through). She provides a steady stream of information particularly for the Indie Author. I am enamoured of sharers.

An added bonus is her ability to choose great quotes. The following are two of my favourites.

“Whatever you may have heard, self-publishing is not a shortcut to anything. Except maybe insanity. Self-publishing, like every other kind of publishing, is hard work. You don’t wake up one morning good at it. You have to work for that.”

— Zoe Winters

“At heart, self-publishing is kind of like a bake sale. The end product does not need to resemble the one that comes from a commercial bakery, but it must taste good. No-one wants the lumpy under baked oatmeal cookies with spinach and alfalfa flavored chips.”

— D. C. Williams

Self-publishing is not easy especially when things go wrong but then we all know nothing worthwhile comes easy. I have come to understand more so than ever that it is important to share what we learn. It is only in doing so that we move closer to our own goals. Helping others improves our own knowledge and adds flavour the way a spice might to a meal. It gives zest to what we are doing with our lives, our work, and our goals. I realise not everybody understands this but today, at this very moment, I am so glad that I do. In our complicated world life is easier when you are driven by a passion to share.

Shayla in particular likes to point out the positives to being an Indie often and I for one need it. These are a few random ideas I chose from her last newsletter.

As an Indie

  • You never write a query letter or a book proposal.
  • You keep the rights to your book (once you sign a contract for your book, it belongs to the publisher, and it may belong to the publisher for the life of copyright, which is the life of the author plus 70 years after you die).
  • You choose the editor, designer, and formatter you want to work with.
  • Move at your own pace/Be your own boss.
  • Build your platform on your own time organically and authentically.
  • You have all creative control, not just business control and you gain experience from all your hard work (and teach others).

These are and were for me timely reminders of why I do this. But Shayla really won me over with the last sentence and of course, with this last quote. This is something all authors feel whether you are writing the world’s greatest novel or running and maintaining a blog or just scribbling for the pure enjoyment, for the experience. Underneath we all have the same thoughts and fears. By sharing we get the boost we so badly need.

“I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.”
—Gustave Flaubert

Let me know if you relate to this.

Surprisingly, I managed to do quite a bit despite the surrender to the dark side.

The best read this month was for my book Club. The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley was a joy. The characters are a delight. Far from perfect, their coming to together through strange circumstances has them evolving in a way that leads us think about our own behaviours in situations we come across every day. Somewhere in the reading, suspension of disbelief occurs so naturally that we don’t notice ourselves sinking into the story.

The other book and one I have not yet finished is dry considering its content but then why am I taking the time to read it and savour? You get exactly what the title tells us. It is the bare skin exposed. No makeup, not even a touch of mascara or lipstick and yet beauty exists. Extraordinary Women in History: 70 Remarkable Women Who Made a Difference, Inspired and Broke Barriers by Gail Leah has people like Florence Nightingale and Madame Curie whom most of us recognise. It also has so much more – women from varying backgrounds whose achievements leave me in awe. Courage such as theirs is what changes our world into a better place.

I also watched a film called Hacksaw Ridge, a true story about a man called Desmond Doss. It was a war film, very brutal in parts but one to tear at the heart strings and restore faith in humanity much like the book by Gail Leah. Starring a very young Rachel Griffiths and directed by Mel Gibson, the film is one I would watch over again without a qualm. A true story, it reminded me about the human spirit. It’s everywhere and we have to clear the weeds so it can continue to grow.

Until next month,


Questions for me? Want to share your views and ideas? I’d love to hear from you. And a like and a comment will keep me working hard. if by chance you read my books or a book, I have featured on here then remember to leave  a review either on Goodreads or where you originally purchased the book. It’s the way a writer improves.

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  1. Congratulations on your renewed book, Barbara. Self-publishing certainly does leave its marks but I think it makes us more understanding and supportive of other writers. And, another positive, you never have to write another 100 word synopsis.
    I agree absolutely with the Flaubert quote. We are not just describing physical surroundings and actions but emotions and sensations – words are sometimes such blunt instruments when trying to capture these.

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