Meet Caroline Noe

This post, it is my pleasure to feature an Indie Author who is not just talented and bent on working hard at her own career but is someone keen on supporting others as she follows her chosen path.  The further I go into this whole writing scene the more I am convinced that doing well is nothing unless you are part of something bigger, and I don’t just mean within the writing community. You stand taller if you are willing to help others, you learn so much more and so much quicker, you gain something hard to put into words when you encourage others and see how much it strengthens them. Somehow it strengthens us as well, keeps our own motivation high. This is how people achieve goals.

Anyway, I feel blessed that I get to introduce people like Caroline, and hear a little bit about their lives before and during writing. I am totally chuffed there will be more like her over this coming year. For you as readers it means a gourmet of genres and new writers, and as a reader myself I am so excited.

 

Meet Caroline Noe

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I’ve had a fascination with books ever since my seven-year-old sister taught me to read Winnie The Pooh when I was three. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe cemented a love of fantasy that would encompass science fiction with the arrival of Star Wars. I still harbour a desire to run off with Luke Skywalker and marshal the force.

 

Having obtained a degree in drama, I became an actor and singer, swiftly learning the difference between dreaming and hard graft. Glamorous it wasn’t. I remember performing in one show where the audience comprised a handful of people and a guide dog. The dog was the only one interested. On the up side, I was in a tour of schools with Shakespeare for Kidz which was a wonderful, if tiring, experience. I saw first-hand how creativity is essential for the self-esteem of children.

In between, I earned my crust with an array of jobs, such as tour guide for London’s Wembley Stadium, a shoe salesman, dog walker and keyboard jockey.

These days, I’m a keen photographer. I’ve found that it’s taught me to slow down, notice what’s around me and see things from different angles; something that is difficult for the driven.

Both of my published books, Firestone Key and Canellian Eye: Prophecy, have gone through a number of incarnations, including adaptation for screenplays. In the end, I returned to the original novel concepts, albeit with a new take on them. I believe in putting your creations through callisthenics; try them as a song, a poem, a sculpture, different genres. It all adds different perspectives and enriches your work.

Although the tagline for Firestone Key is ‘Every evil has an origin’, it could equally be ‘Every action has a consequence’. At the heart of the story is my fascination with the pivotal moments around which life revolves and transforms. Decisions we make not only change our own lives but have a ripple out effect on those around us. Despite the dark elements, there is a lot of humour in the novel, particularly surrounding the rural community and their fight against dark magic. In that respect, I went against the current trend of viewing magic as a good thing, depicting it as similar to an addiction.

The Canellian Eye trilogy, once complete, will explore the slippery and sometimes savage nature of destiny. Does it exist at all? If it does, can it be lost? I received a comment recently that fate and destiny amount to the same thing. I don’t agree. For me, fate just happens – ‘whatever will be, will be’ – and is static. Destiny, on the other hand, requires compliance and action to ‘seize the day’. Even then, the concept is complicated. There may be a false notion of how destiny should play out or suffer from misinterpretation. Then there’s no guarantee that destiny is kind. In Prophecy, I deliberately made the prophet Quaylan a teenager to make the reader wonder whether such a heavy burden should rest on anyone’s shoulders, let alone one so young. As we pass through the trilogy, that prophecy goes through multiple interpretations, including a burden, a savage joke and a beacon of hope. Canellian Eye: Rebellion will follow later this year, with the final part, Chosen, due early next year.

Now a published Independent Author, I have discovered that the hardest part of the whole process is marketing; placing your books before the eyes of potential readers. A few months ago, I decided that I would try to assist other ‘indies’ by reading and reviewing their work under the banner of support, not competition. To date, I have posted reviews for 25 books, which have proved to me how vibrant the indie author community is.

Contact Caroline at:

https://www.facebook.com/carrieauthor/

 www.carolinenoe.org

 https://www.instagram.com/carrieauthor/

I love the way Caroline has thrown herself into helping other Indie authors.  Do you have something you do to show support for those you admire or care for? Please feel free to come and share what you do,

Barb

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Self-publishing, validation or just idle thoughts

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Another birthday has come and gone but I’m not the least bit bothered. I am doing things and age can’t and won’t get in the way. Three years ago, I took the plunge into self-publishing and even though I haven’t hit a best seller list, and may never do so, I can’t complain because I love what I do and I have earned the right to do it.

I still get the occasional niggling question – why not a traditional publisher? Or my favourite, why did you give your character that name? I still cringe at the words (internally), but I choose silence (externally). In any case, what could I say?

Of course, I would love a publisher to find me, but it’s not like I decide I want it to happen and magically someone offers me a contract. And to be honest, I like not stressing over query letters, a synopsis or an outline, or that awful wait for someone to get back to you. And I may have to do a lot alone, but at least I dance to the beat of my own drum. (I didn’t pick the names of my characters, they introduced themselves and I had to lump it, just in case you wanted to know.)

There is an insane belief that we can question the actions of a self-published author in a very personal way. I am beginning to believe it is because we explain ourselves. I know I have, and frankly I have done it far too often. At first, I did it because I wanted to share the process. It helped me clarify what I was doing. Secondly, I wanted to encourage others out there to have a go at whatever they felt they wanted to do. Both were and are great reasons but somewhere in there I found myself sharing too much and wondering if I was undermining the necessary belief in the self that keeps us going. I decided I wanted to re-think and re-process.

Thinking Linda Xu

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One of the perks with self-publishing is being able to re-evaluate based on input, and then re-edit and re-publish. Controlling what we do is amazing. We pick when and where. So as I said, I documented the journey, all of it – the first publication, the re-edit, publishing again and so forth. I can truly say I did it in good faith, wanting readers to understand I knew changes were needed.

But I wonder if it wasn’t also way of excusing myself, showing myself in a positive light. I mean, it would demonstrate how thoughtful I was, how self-aware, wouldn’t it? Emotional blackmail of sorts?  I don’t think that’s true, at least not intentionally, but I have decided perhaps an element of this existed and exists, and perhaps sharing needs limits. Readers need their illusions as well, and it seems wrong to pull them into our mistakes. And it also feeds the writer a constant diet of subconscious self-doubt.

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The truth is good or bad, independent authors rock. Putting ourselves out there to fulfil a potential in our lives is brave given normal avenues for whatever reasons are not open to us, and we stand alone. Being a wordsmith (working with words), a fellow Australian author Jill Staunton would say, is incredibly satisfying. I also think it a little dangerous. Words are fuelled by thoughts. And sometimes there is a clashing between life and the manuscript we need to be wary of. This quote from Frank Outlaw (his background appeared complicated but I like the quote Mareo McCraken chose in his post and went with it) says it all.

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

These words led me back to re-read three posts I had written fail early, fail often and fail forward not so long ago.  The posts shed a light I didn’t want. I discovered that without meaning to, a part of me was documenting far too often not to be seeking to validate my less than perfect outcomes. But, validation is a means of gratifying the moment, and then what? My destiny was becoming more re-write blow-by-blow orientated instead of new project orientated. I forgot to fail forward. Acceptance of errors is the way we improve. I don’t need to explain. I need to improve.

Kelsie Engen in a recent post says she has learned three valuable lessons as a writer.

  1. Most obviously, I’ve learned to be a better writer. With complete honesty she tells us that looking back on her earliest writing she shudders until she sees how far she has come.
  2. Writing takes you beyond writing. One of her examples was writing about a horse jockey when she had never spent time on a track. I know what she means. As readers we see this all the time. I have had to learn to research in ways I never dreamed of for just one word. I am Italian, my characters are Italian but that is not enough to ensure correctness. Kelsie says, “There needs to be a vein of truth.” She’s right; readers connect to truth.
  3. Writing taught me to accept who I am. In agreement. Writing brings out the truth in us and we can’t run from it. We can learn.
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My mind lives in the spin of a never-ending washing machine cycle of words but you know what, that’s okay to share.

Questions for me? Want to share your views and ideas? Follow me and ask away: 

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See you next time,

Barb

 

 

Romans Like Aurelius

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius

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With all the thinking I have been putting into the last few posts I’ve come to the slow realisation that I have actually managed to inspire myself if perhaps not others. I want to feel I am on the right path and that I am putting the best I can of myself in what I am doing, when I am doing it. The dilemma occurs with maintenance – the daily upkeep is difficult. I thought if I could break it down into points it might be easier but I needed some help.

As soon as I saw the words Marcus Aurelius in the post by Ryan Holiday I knew I had found something that might help me gain perspective. I have made no secret of my fascination with this Ancient Roman and his ability to be as modern today as he was back then. To me his words are common sense. I like that. It is so much easier to learn from common sense.

Prepare For the Hours Ahead

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“Marcus Aurelius rose in the morning and did his journaling — preparing himself for what he was likely to face in the hours ahead.” With this quote Ryan introduces us to premeditatio malorum , a Stoic exercise of imagining things that could go wrong or be taken away from us, and preparing ourselves psychologically. It is fitting this becomes the first point.  I am not a Stoic but I do like the way stoicism simplifies things. Preparation is everything and for writers who can be easily distracted this can include a working space, a plan of action both for the day and the future, research time and time for life in general. Writing it down in a journal, diary style makes sense.

Go For a Walk

IMG_0694I remember reading that Judith Wright in her last interview discussed nature as important to people in hospital. Research had shown those exposed to nature during convalescence made a quicker recovery. I can see why it might be true.  Taking a break and experiencing nature means sunlight and fresh air and most of all time away from our challenges. The body needs its rest but so does the mind.  We need to guard our sleep carefully to have energy and clarity but sometimes it isn’t enough.  A walk, even a short one, can restore calm and building this into our daily practice allows it to become a habit.

Read. Read. Read. 

It brings answers, inspires and encourages. How can we not benefit from accumulated wisdom?

Review and reflect

Putting the day up for review is very healthy. We prepare in the morning so at the end of the day we need to reflect and see if improvements can be made. My weakness is not following my preparations, or my planning. (I write it up then forget to do it. Who can relate to this?) Reflecting helps me break this down. Why don’t I? Have I aimed to high? Have I prepared in the right way? Did I need to connect to nature more than I did?

For writers reviews are vital. I review what I read and have always done so. It appears Amazon might now be making this difficult, and I know many are worried and less inclined to review. Others see things differently. They see the necessity of standing strong. Reflection puts things into perspective. We have choices. Whether we review the day or someone’s work, we can choose to adhere to our principles. Getting upset is natural but it eats away at our time and our time is a gift, not one to trivialise and waste. With all the restrictions imposed now about reviews, it is more important to stay stoic and do what you can do, and accept rather than stress about what can’t be done.

The Stoics believed gratitude to be medicinal. “Convince yourself that everything is the gift of the gods,” was how Marcus Aurelius put it, “that things are good and always will be.” Be grateful to rude people, to selfish people, to errors big or small because it helps point out what you don’t want or need in your life. Instead of anger and resentment find a way to do a kindness even for those people who don’t deserve it. It is what we do that matters, not what others do. In this way we lead by example.

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“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinions than our own.” – Marcus Aurelius

Ciao

Barb

Excitement still high

Still riding the wave of satisfaction knowing Unexpected Obsession is out there with a whole new vibe. The best part is that it looks as if the print copy is getting closer as well. I am so excited to have reached this stage that I honestly can’t put it in words. I do need your help though in getting the word out there. Word of mouth and media can make such a difference. I would love it if you like and share my post on media where you can.

Barbara

I’d like to take credit for the image but I had help from a lovely lady called Sylv at https.www.sylv.net/.  

The teaser however is all mine.

Lia opened the shutters and stepped onto the balcony. From this vantage point she could see the shiny black vehicle heading down the road. Leaning against the wall she watched until it became a black speck. Slowly and deliberately she rocked her head against the concrete, not enough to hurt but enough to feel it. She kept it going, reminding herself to breathe. That’s what you do at the gym, breathe through the movement and then the repetitions don’t seem so hard.

Lia took one last breath and let it out. She stilled her body but gave free rein to her mind. “It isn’t and never has been about fucking, no matter how good it is,” she whispered to the air around her. “He can’t see it, won’t let himself see it. Fuck I wish I smoked.”

GetBook.at/unexpected1

 

Till next time

Barb

A comment would be nice

unexpected-obsession-web-coverIt’s been almost a week now since my upload of Unexpected Obsession (The Unexpected Series Book 1), and I still can’t believe it happened.  Self-publishing is a hard task master when preparing for publication.  I couldn’t count the amount of times editing has occurred to get to that publishing stage only to find ‘niggling little horrors’ show up anyway.  It’s all part of the process, and I trust in my readers to understand this.

I have debated the self publishing question long and hard.  Despite its appeal there are still many people that don’t consider self-publishing a legitimate way to put your book out there.  Some view it as a path you take when you fail to navigate your way on the traditional road.   Paul Lucas, a well-known literary agent recently said that as “products, the e-books are indistinguishable from other offerings. So if the book is good, it will receive attention.”

The trouble with self-publishing is that whilst this may be true the publishing process is such that there is only one place to lay the blame when things go wrong. This is why I have spent the week reading the up-loaded manuscript and searching for errors, both grammatical and formatting, and then spent a long days checking and fixing, and checking and fixing.  Both  Amazon and Smashwords copies have now been addressed.  I am hoping Paul is right and can’t wait to see what readers have to say.

Only readers can decide if a book is good or not. However as much as people reading the book is what I long for, more has come out of this than just the book. For me, the most exciting thing about writing Unexpected has been having good people around me who have supported my crazy leap into writer outer space.    Sean, my go to man has been an enormous help.  I know how to bookmark, link and goodness knows what else because he has had the patience to teach me, as he worked tirelessly trying to turn my ideas, into a website. My editor Pat has taught me the value of a comma although I still don’t always get it. I am grateful for the patience of Alyson Walton and Kay Want Cheung for sitting with me when I was too scared to press a few buttons alone. They also see it as a practice run for when they publish their own books.

Book Cover

Yay at last!

Stories of the Dark and Light (found on Amazon and Smashwords) back in July 2016 was a group self-publishing experiment.  It gave us grounding and because we shared some pitfalls together, the three of us are still in there hoping and doing.  I can’t wait for them to publish their first novel. The incredible thing is these wonderful people are like me, and are on their L-plates.  They are learner drivers just as many of you are out there, and just like you we are stumbling through to get to our destination dreams. Sharing skills helps us become stronger individually.  Stronger individuals are better able to help others.

Is it worth it?  The experience, I mean?   Absolutely!  Any experience that takes us out of our comfort zone is worth it.  Once the girls have their first novels out we are going to tackle the print copy.  Again, we will use Stories from the Dark and Light as our experiment.  Working together on a project is a great learning curve.

Oh, you might want to know about the novel, Unexpected and how it is going. I don’t know because without your input I can’t know. I would love some comments from you either here on the blog site or as a review if you purchase my book.  Anything you say can only help me get better.

So please, come and have a say,

Barb