Monthly Archives: June 2020

100 Days of Lockdown

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I took this photo on my way home from the salt mine on 23rd March 2020. I drove past “Wee Annie” and actually looped back through town to park the car and run up to take the photo. It struck a chord with me about how the world was on the brink of change.

As a keen amateur photographer I’m always taking photos. It drives my family insane I suspect.

Today marks 100 Days of Lockdown in the UK. The video below is my photographic journey over the past 100 days ( actually its the edited highlights – there are hundreds more photos!)

 

Stay safe, folks.

 

Lockdown – an acrostic poem

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Loneliness

Ostracised

Captive

Killing time

Depressed

Oppressed

Withdrawn

Never ending…….

 

 

 

Shattered Hearts – FREE to download today for the first time to Kindle

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***** FREE TO DOWNLOAD TO KINDLE TODAY FOR THE FIRST TIME *****

 

To celebrate my own birthday, I thought I’d share something special with you.

 

Shattered Hearts, book 4 in the Silver Lake series, is FREE to download to Kindle for the first time today.

 

Five years older. Five years wiser.

Five years down the road, we reconnect with Jake and Lori.

Over the years since Bonded Souls, the Silver Lake family has grown and the band have seen their career go from strength to strength.

Fresh off the road after a gruelling tour, Jake has high hopes of enjoying a relaxing summer at home with his family.

An unexpected tragedy and an act of betrayal shatters all hopes of that and throws their plans into disarray.   The combination of both results in Shattered Hearts for Jake and Lori and the Silver Lake family. Can they recover from this?

 

** Book 5 in the Silver Lake series will be published early 2021 **

 

Amazon.com links –

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

 

Amazon.co.uk links  –

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

I’ll never take some things for granted again…..

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Three months ago, on 23rd March 2020, the UK was placed into Lockdown due to the COVID19 pandemic.

Three months later, on 23rd June 2020, we are slowly emerging from this surreal isolated state. It’s been a challenging time to say the least.

Now I’m not about to go on and on and on about that dreaded virus. There’s more than enough in the news about it!

What I have done though, as I’m sure many of you have too, is to reflect on what I won’t take for granted again.

1- I won’t take for granted the freedom to come and go as I please.

2- I won’t take for granted being able to shop at my leisure without having to queue up outside the stores and to being able to find what I want on the shelves when I get inside.

3- I won’t take for granted the enjoyment of going for a drive, playing my music, even if it is only the daily commute to work and back.

4- I won’t take for granted the pleasure of social conversation with people I don’t share a home with.

5- I won’t take for granted the simple pleasure of sitting down for a coffee and a heart to heart with a friend.

If nothing else, the last three months have been a reminder to appreciate what you have in life because overnight it can all disappear.

Personally, I can’t wait for that first coffee catch up.

 

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

Heir of G.O’D. Revelations by Harper Maze

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Late last year I had the pleasure of introducing you to Harper Maze.

Now I’d like to congratulate her on the launch of Heir of G.O’D. Revelations.

Synopsis

Reclusive Ana hides her blindness from a society that hunts blind people.

Back in 2026 Fracking caused a supervolcanic apocalypse which decimated the human race and almost destroyed the Earth. Gary O’Drae (colloquially called G.O’D.) relaunched his mass-access simulation “Sol” for survivors to connect, congregate and trade.

2044: Ana, a lauded Sol e-games champion, relies on her bespoke visor to see inside the simulation to fund her anonymity and survival. But G.O’D. included a termination date in Sol and in twelve days, it will self-destruct.

Twelve scant days for Ana to identify a visor engineer for a life-changing upgrade. Her desperate search puts her at jeopardy of persecution from the same Corporations she has remained concealed from.

Uncovering the hidden truths could change the way Ana sees everything…

 

 

Amazon.co.uk link to buy

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heir-G-OD-Revelations-Harper-Maze/dp/1916244343/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=heir+of+G.O%27D&qid=1592680351&sr=8-1

 

 

Amazon.com link to buy

https://www.amazon.com/Heir-G-OD-Revelations-Harper-Maze-ebook/dp/B089P1TRJH/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3HDPQJGKP2AJ9&dchild=1&keywords=heir+of+g.o+d.+revelations+by+harper+maze&qid=1592680428&sprefix=heir+of+g%2Caps%2C233&sr=8-1

 

To find out more about Harper Maze, check out

http://harpermaze.com

 

 

 

 

Can I tempt you into some weekend reading?

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Five minutes after the class was scheduled to have started, the door flew open and a tiny girl with dyed green hair flew in.

“Sorry, sir. Car wouldn’t start,” she explained then looked up and exclaimed, “Shit! You’re Jake Power! You’re actually him!”

Staring straight at the new arrival, Jake fought back the urge to smile. Struggling to maintain a poker face, he said, “And you must be the late Miss Riley. Take a seat. We can discuss your late slip at break.”

Cheeks burning with embarrassment, the girl sat on the first free chair with a clatter.

“Ok, let’s make a start,” began Jake warmly. “First things first. Let’s get all this star-struck crap over and done with. Yes, I am Jake Power. Yes, I am in the band Silver Lake. Yes, I sing with the British band Weigh Station. But, for the next two weeks, I am just Jake Power, music teacher. Savvy?”

“If you’re the big rock star, why are you spending your summer teaching class?” asked Cody bluntly. “Shouldn’t you be on tour or in the studio or something?”

“Too direct,” commented Jake firmly. “Musicians don’t spend their entire lives on the road or holed up in the studio. We have lives and families. I used to teach here a few years ago before Silver Lake took off. Over the years I’ve come back now and again to take a class or run a workshop. I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure of teaching any of you before. Silver Lake finished up their tour in June. We’re due in the studio in September so I’ve had some downtime. I’ve chosen to spend some of it with you. Is that ok with you, Cody?”

“Suppose.”

“Good. Glad to hear it,” said Jake.

(extract from Shattered Hearts)

 

If you want to read more then check out the Silver Lake series today

 

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

 

 

Amazon.co.uk links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Happy Birthday, Lori

Lori birthday

 

 

The wine waiter approached with the two bottles she had selected from the list. Lori nodded her approval and asked him to pour. Once they all had a full glass, she proposed a toast, “To the success of Silver Lake”

“To rock’n’roll,” declared Paul theatrically.

“No,” corrected Jake warmly, “To Lori. Happy Birthday, Mz Hyde.”

She blushed, then added, “To health, wealth and happiness.”

While they waited for their starters to arrive, Becky produced a gift bag from beneath the table and gave it to Lori.

“It’s from all of us,” she said with a smile.

Lori carefully opened the small bag to reveal a long slim black jewellery box. She opened it to find a silver charm bracelet with three guitar charms, drumsticks and two music notes. It was perfect.

“Thank you,” she said softly. “Can one of you help me to put it on?”

Jake obliged by helping her with the catch before producing a second small gift bag, “And this is from me.”

Inside the bag she found a second small black box, squarer in shape. She opened it to find a delicate silver chain with a treble clef hanging from it. There was a small diamond in the tail of the treble clef.

“It’s perfect,” she whispered, kissing Jake on the cheek, “I love it.”

“Put it on, Lori,” squealed Becky, clapping her hands.

Again, Jake assisted her, kissing the nape of her neck as he fastened the clasp. “I’m glad you like it.”

“Thank you,” said Lori again. “I never expected presents. You’re all too kind.”

 

(extract from Stronger Within, book 1 in the Silver Lake series)

 

Want to read more then check out the Silver Lake series today

 

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

 

 

Amazon.co.uk links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

You’re a what?…. I’m an indie author

“You’re a what?”

“I’m an indie author.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means that I write independently and self-publish.”

“So, you’re not a real author then?”

 

WRONG!

support-indie-authors

An indie author is any author who writes then self-publishes to sell, who takes both writing and publishing seriously, who wants to reach as many readers as possible and to grow a profitable author/publishing business. (Sadly, that last bit eludes most of us…trust me on that!)

An indie author is every bit as much of an author as those souls who see their names on the books and ebooks on the various bestseller lists.

You could also argue that perhaps an indie author is more of an author than those backed by agents, editors, publishing houses and a team of publicists. I’ll leave that thought there for you to ponder on…..

So, how do you become an indie author?

Well, you write a book for a start.

I’ve mentioned before my tale of sitting down on my doorstep on 8 May 2013 and beginning to write the story that became Stronger Within, my debut novel, almost two years later. What I’ve not really mentioned is that I kept what I was doing quiet. I didn’t go around telling friends and family that I was writing a book. A part of that was an inbuilt fear of having them laugh at me and tell me I was wasting my time. At that point I was writing a story for me for the sheer pleasure of writing it. I guess I was testing myself to see if I could actually do it.

Then a few wonderful people, my Infamous 5, got behind me and encouraged me to type up my handwritten tale and to publish it as an ebook.

That was a steep learning curve!

Let’s dispel a myth right here about self-publishing. It doesn’t need to cost a fortune to do it. I’ve done it on a shoestring budget.

There are many self-publishing options but I opted for Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) It doesn’t cost a penny to publish via KDP. Those lovely Amazon people even provide free templates to get you started and a step by step process for actually uploading your manuscript to keep you on the right track. Love those templates!

The biggest challenge, at least for me, is marketing and publicising my work. I’m naturally quite a shy person so selling my wares does not come naturally to me.

Precise figures on the subject of ebooks are hard to find. Currently there are somewhere in the region of 7.5M ebooks available on Kindle. Roughly 1700 new ebooks are published each and every day. That works out at about 70 per hour.

Sales figures are equally hard to track down but from what I can gather via Google approximately 50 000 ebooks are sold every month. That works out about 7500 per day.

Now, bear in mind, that readers have 7.5M to choose from.

As an indie author that’s an awfully big ocean to be swimming in and there are some very big fish swimming in it alongside you.

But this little indie author, who really is little more than one wee tiny krill in that vast ocean, remains undaunted.

(Repeats mantra to herself- Dreams get you started. Discipline keeps you going.)

Every time I see a little orange blob on my KDP sales report, my heart swells with pride.

Out of a choice of 7.5M available titles, someone chose one of mine!

Let me ask you in general terms – how often do you leave a review of a book you’ve read and enjoyed?

Each review and those twinkling stars that go with them are the indie author equivalent of throwing another hefty log onto the creative fire.

The very fact that not only did someone choose one of my books to invest their hard earned cash on, they also came back at a later date to say a few kind words about it.

That blows my mind!

At present, all five of my book babies are sitting proudly on Amazon.co.uk with 5* ratings overall.

To me, that’s huge! It’s a real dreams come true sight and something I am very proud to have achieved.

So back to the earlier question, how do you become an indie author? How do you actually do it?

Well, I guess you have to have a story to tell that you believe in and are passionate about.

Tell that story your own way. There are no hard and fast rules here. Write it out long hand (I do). Type it straight to Word. Do whatever works for you as an individual but tell your story your way.

Once you have that vital first draft of your book, proofread, spell check, grammar check and edit until you are sick of the sight of your own words. This is where my Infamous 5 are invaluable. I share my story with them in chunks and, in return, they offer honest critical feedback, pick up on any grammar errors, pick up on anything too Scottish in the wrong setting and spot any spelling/typing faux pas.

Before I hit “publish” on a new novel, I’ve read it at least six times from start to finish and that does not include writing it in the first instance.

Then it needs a cover before you can set it free. You can’t send your book baby out into the world naked!

Personally, I prefer quite simple eye-catching covers. No more than three things within the image to catch the attention of potential readers as they scroll through Amazon’s recommendations.

I also create my own to save costs. (I was helped out on the first one by my Rock Fairy Godmother who then taught me how to do it myself on the second one.) I’ll be honest here – Photoshop and I enjoy a love/hate relationship!

It takes a lot of time, a lot of patience and a lot of self-discipline to get a book over the line.

If this all sounds like a lot of hard work for most likely very little financial reward then you’d be right.

The key thing about us indie authors is we do it for the love of sharing our stories with you.

 

If you feel like sharing some love for this indie author, please take a moment to check out my books on Amazon

 

Silver Lake series

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Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

 

 

Amazon.co.uk links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

 

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Ellen

 

Amazon.com link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44

 

Amazon.co.uk link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYHKR44

 

 

 

FREE weekend reading- download to Bonded Souls for free today

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**** Freebie Friday*****

 

 

Despite all the touring and travelling, Jake lay wide awake in the strange bed in his sister’s guest room. A glance at his phone informed him it was after midnight; his internal body clock had long since surrendered and given up trying to determine the time of day. He could hear one of his nephew’s snoring in the room next door. Reaching for his phone, Jake re-read his last message from Lori. “Sweet dreams, rock star. Love you L x”

With a smile, he laid the phone back down on the night stand. Only a few short hours until he would be reunited with her.

 

Want to read more? Bonded Souls can be downloaded to Kindle for FREE today – Check it out!

Amazon.com links-

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Amazon.co.uk links –

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

From Pin Tuck Pleats to Nurse’s Uniforms…

vintage ironing housewife tired

Ironing gets done religiously in this house on a Sunday morning.

General household rule is that if it doesn’t get ironed on Sunday then it needs to wait a week.

I’m fastidious about emptying that ironing basket on a Sunday. (OK a bit OCD about it)

It doesn’t seem so long ago that I would spend ages trying to use the point of the iron to flatten out tiny pin tuck pleats on Girl Child’s baby dresses and running the iron over the knickers that went with the dress.

Then it was school uniforms. Wee tiny white cotton shirts and grey or then black skirts that grew bigger year after year.

There were countless tops, skirts, jeans and dresses over the years in various shapes, colours and lengths.

There were hems that were fixed and buttons sewn back on. The occasional tear stitched on a favourite item of clothing.

I patiently taught her to iron t-shirts as a starting point, praying that she wouldn’t burn her fingers or my clothes.

School uniforms were replaced with various work uniforms – fast food outlet uniforms, high street shop uniforms, pizza delivery uniforms.

Those in turn were replaced with student nurse uniforms.

Twenty years of spending hours on a Sunday ironing clothes.

Last Sunday marked the end of an era.

My baby girl has long since grown out of those M&S pin tick pleat dresses and flown the nest.

And among her parting gifts – a brand new iron all of her own.

Don’t burn your fingers or the clothes, Baby Girl!