PLEASE DON’T BE MY FRIEND

The other day I posted the following on my Facebook Timeline.

Dear Prospective Face Book Friend, I do understand that you may be looking for pen pals and maybe even a romantic connection, especially if you are posted abroad in a war zone. However, despite this being a public page, I use it to chat to my reader and writer friends and exchange hints, reviews, and other marketing information. So it’s probably not the kind of page you are looking for – besides, I’m a happily married grandmother, who’s rapidly losing the wrinkle war. I hate to decline friends, so I hope you’ll understand and not make a friend request.

Yes, I know I come across as hard, overbearing and pretty unpleasant, but I’m really a softie inside and I don’t like to refuse a friendship, my page is public after all. The problem is, I don’t like to be rude or offend, but then (like many of us) I get bombarded with virtual roses and bottles of drink and even more flowery comments.

I was also hoping my post would deter the ones from humans who, deep down, may not be genuinely interested in me and my books. For example I had one who asked me what I was wearing. Ah, I thought, s/he was curious about writers and their habits, so I told it (with a name like Alex it wasn’t easy to tell). I’m sitting here I wrote in my usual creative gear, IMG_0726my fluffy red and white pyjamas liberally adorned with red reindeer and Xmas trees (I bought them around Christmas time) under my red furry dressing gown with the rabbit on the pocket, a pair of free airline socks and my favourite reindeer slippers. (They may be mooses, I’m not quite sure).

I was then treated to a picture of my new friend. S/he wasn’t wearing very much at all and what s/he was wearing defied comprehension.  DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!

So with the very best intentions, I hoped my post would not subject me to such heart-stopping shocks, (it’s not good to call the paramedics in too often), this post will do the trick I thought.

Sure enough a few minutes later I got a friend request from a dear little granny living in France. She looked so cute and cuddly, grey wavy hair, delightful smile, pretty dress. Great, I thought another fan friend who has heard about my brilliant books and can’t wait to read them, she might even buy one, or two, or three, or four. I cheerfully pressed accept and said how happy I was to connect with her.

In just a couple of minutes she private messaged me, telling me how thrilled she was to be my friend. She lives in France, and she was dying of cancer. How sad I thought, my fingers were poised to send her virtual hugs, hearts and kisses.  She was a widow previously married to an English entrepreneur, (I hadn’t noticed at this point she had a German surname) and he had been killed in a car crash with their only daughter. I reached for my hanky

IMG_0727

and upped my mental reply to include a bunch of virtual roses (I was trying to decide if a bottle of plonk would be suitable as well in this instance). She continued by telling me she had 10.5 million Euro in the bank and if I promised to donate it to various charities….I could keep 20% for myself.

I groaned. Yes, it’s what we called in South Africa a 411 letter – they want your name, bank account number, the date you stopped being breast fed, your inside leg measurement and all your pin numbers.

What a disappointment. Off I go to Facebook to do the blocking and reporting thing – DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!  But FB do send you a nice apology don’t they – saying they’re sorry you’ve been subjected to this.

They can’t still be catching people out with this scam surely? Did s/he think I was born yesterday? Well maybe looking at my avatar…?

Now the big question of course is, she’s given me her private email address, so do you think I can add it to my Mailchimp list so she’ll get my monthly newsletter? I’m a bit worried she might unsubscribe.

You can subscribe if you like http://eepurl.com/cBu4Sf

AMAZING AUTHORS

I don’t very often feature other writers on my blog but if I discover their books and I’ve read and loved them, then I want to share them with you.

Colin Griffiths is one such writer.

He was born in South Wales, Cardiff in 1958 and grew up on a council estate built to house the steelworkers. The place was called Underwood, surrounded by trees with just one road in. He was never sent to school – his father was a painter and took Colin to work with him.

Almost everyone worked at the steelworks back then and Colin was no exception. He was a steelworker for 22 years and then studied in his thirties to qualify for teaching and counselling.

He secured a job as national education officer for a trade union, but after 12 years he was made redundant and decided to remain in Yorkshire.

colin-pic

Colin is 58 now and does something much easier, he watches CCTV monitors in a nice warm office. He always wanted to write, and composed poetry in his teens – “they were a bit deep” (his words). He found them 40 years later and published them on Amazon – almost 250 of them – but says they are very raw and unpolished. He also wrote a horror book about Underwood, which he describes as a great grounding for his future books! Colin wrote his first novel ‘Never Say Goodbye’ just two years ago at the age of 56, and he’s currently working on his 10th book.

“I write almost every day, I find it a good release and I often go to bed, and lie awake thinking of ideas and scenarios.”

When Colin discovered self publishing and uploaded his books he received a lot of criticism about editing. (I confess to being one of them).

I didn’t get it at the time. I have to admit and I still don’t know when to use a semi colon. But I do realise now the importance of having an edited book. Grant Leishman has edited five of mine free of charge. He is a diamond.”colin-never-say-goodbye

Colin grew up reading a lot of Steven King books and his own are also in the paranormal or psychological genre. Of the 9 books he’s already published “Life for a Life” is the shortest but the one he holds dearest. He told me the indie author world is a great one and the majority of authors are a fantastic help. He’s come across some whose only intention is to knock and demean. He even had a troll – “in the end it was all so comical.”

colin-and-michelleColin has two children from his first marriage, a boy and a girl and three wonderful grandchildren. Two of his grandsons are talented footballers and he loves watching them play. He’s been married to Michelle for three years, which he says “… proves you’re never too old to find love!”

I still get an amazing buzz when someone purchases one of my books. The thrill of getting a good review is amazing. I write for the love of it now and if people want to read and enjoy what I write, then that is amazing.

I’m certainly in awe of a writer who can write so many books incolin-book-2 such a short time. My personal favourite is The Doll’s House https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017ZCOCCW  The characters in the house come to life at night with murder in mind.

Check out Colin’s books.

Mother  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JLW1A10

colin-book-5Can Francis break the links that tie her to her evil mother? Can David persuade her to lead a new life, with him? Or will her mother stop them?

(Don’t you just love that cover!)

 

 

 

A Life for a Lifecolin-a-life-for-a-life

http://www.amazon.com/dp/BO1F7JKJPO

Gavin was eleven years old when his little brother died. Damien was the youngest of seven when his life was tragically taken away. Did the family pull together in grief?

 

 

Someone Else’s Dream  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EQ1OX7E

It’s been thcolin-book-1ree years since the awful death of his three year old daughter Aimee.. Matt Conner did not take that loss well. For three years he had been medicated to help him deal with his loss. On the third Anniversary of Aimee’s death, he made the mental choice to start …

 

I hope Colin writes lots more books in the future, I’m in awe of what he has achieved against the odds.

Please re-blog and pass the word along to give Colin the publicity he deserves. J

AWARDS IN MIAMI

We finally fell back through our front door last Saturday night after a fantastic week in Florida. We were suffering a bit from jet lag, and DH brought an extra 5 million or so little visitors home too. As a result he’s been sleeping upright ever since. I’ve tried to tell him that’s a small price to pay for being married to an award winning author – he looked less than impressed.

“And a medal winning author at that!” I exclaimed waving the medal in his face. He grunted and reached for the tissues.

silver-medal

Secretly I think he’s quite chuffed and I’m not only thrilled, I’m amazed and flattered and re-energized and I still can’t believe it. It’s such a thrill to think that faceless judges, half a world away, think my writing is worth awards.

A silver medal for Walking over Eggshells in the Inspirational category non fiction and an Honourable mention for Amie an African Adventure. (Personally I think the bright green sticker rf-aimie-1-hon-mention-low-resprettier than the silver one) but Honourable comes after bronze, so she did well too. (Probably much to Amie’s disgust as I shall certainly continue writing about her and putting her through even more horrendous situations).

We stayed at the hotel where the function was held and they ran a shuttle to the Miami Book Fair in downtown Miami. We met up with another writer who – now wait for this – used to teach at the same school in Benghazi, Libya as I had. How likely is that? To meet up in the United States – and as the school wasn’t all that large, there could only have been a couple of dozen teachers there at any one time at the most.

We both drooled at the Readers Favorite book display which was selling copies of our books for St Jude’s charity.

img_0596books-at-miami-book-fairimg_0600

And we also had them on display at the reception desk at the hotel. I threw in a few pens and they disappeared so fast!  (Several of the waiters had them stuffed in their pockets, but you never know, someone might look and log on and buy).

On the Fridbooks-at-hotel-deskay evening we sat and listened to several presentations from major players in the book industry, and I tried to get my head around how I can do all these sort of marketing things from rural Spain. Not so easy, there’s the language barrier for a start.

The event itself was great, with the presentation, the interviews and the pictures.

The extra cherry was talking to and interacting with other authors – book people who breathe, sleep, dream and obsess over books – just like me. Sometimes you sit and wonder who cares about books, with computer games and Xboxes and movies and other stuff like that for leisure time – but they are still out there!

I met authors from all over the world and we swapped information and ideas and networked liked crazy.

All in all a fabulous trip, made even better by travelling up to Tampa to stay with a reader I met on Facebook – who organized something very special for me, but more on that next week.

PS  I sneaked a pic of DH in there somewhere – did you notice?

As usual I got carried away while writing this and forgot to mention links to my books etc. So if you want to find out what all the fuss is about you may like to check out a few.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E8HSNDW   Walking over Eggshells

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LWFIO5K      Amie an African Adventure

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015CI29O4       Amie and the Child of Africa

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M67NRG4   Amie Stolen Future

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QE35BO2     Truth, Lies and Propaganda

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VF0S3RG      More Truth, Lies and Propaganda

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DPVB4M8                  Unhappily ever After