Raven’s (short) ramblings on ‘just say no’

Hi all, Raven’s ramblings and Thursday thoughts on prioritising.

And learning how to say no.

You would think that would be easy eh? Two letters joined together to make a very important word. N-o. NO. No. Not even not a scooby, not on your Nellie, or no chance. Just no.

Rejection. Serious mature woman in formalwear saying no to you while stretching out a paper

There are twenty four hours in a day. It might sound a lot. Some times it really, really isn’t.

Contrary to what some believe, or achieve, we should spend around a quarter to a third of those asleep. Then there’s all those other things that somehow come under the heading of *insert you name* jobs to do. Be it full time employment outwith the home, children, the housework, cooking, gardening, or yeah the dreaded ironing. Whatever. All things to be done within those twenty four hours of a day. Plus if you have a significant other, spending time with each other so you actually remember what he/she/they look like.

Along with this, we write.We squeeze it in. Write when and where we can. Even if writing is your full time job, and your only responsibility is yourself, you still need to eat. to wear clean clothes, upset the dust bunnies on occasion, and heaven help it, and whisper it quietly, take a day off.

To get all this done, you prioritise.

Not always in the same way. One day it could be the doctors or the dentist, or the dreaded supermarket shop. Another, writing 5k and sitting in your pj’s. Whatever you deem is most important at that time.

On those days, you’ll have to be firm, and learn to say no to other ‘suggestions’.

It’s a fact that as writers we can be selfish. Writing can consume us. Anything to do with it, and we are jumpy, twitchy people until it is sorted, be it an arsy hero who won’t do as you want, or edits to be back days before you get them sort of thing. And if you are anything like me, you feel you should drop everything (except your knickers, there’s no time for hanky panky) and do whatever it is, and sod ironing, hubby, dinner or whatever.

You have to learn to say no. No, I can’t sort my arsy hero, those edits, your m/s immediately. I have to prioritise. Tonight, I promised child #3 we would go swimming. I am not going to renege. I haven’t seen my S.O. for a week they have been away. Tonight is our time. Today I am meeting a friend, we haven’t seen each other for six months. Or whatever. I will do what ever else is needed in order of importance.

It’s not easy. Believe me it isn’t. But deep down, if you know what is the right thing to do, then do it.

Prioritise, and just say no. It gets easier the more you say it.

Politely. Explain why you can’t do whatever it is. An extra school run, shift at work, beta read in two hours, or yeah the edits.

Depositphotos_93966502_s-2015

And on that note, as I spent last evening chatting to my Dh, whom I see little enough of as it is and ignoring the need to be back by Thursday edits, which I got in the early hours of yesterday I’m off to make coffee and attend to the edits.

They are my priority for today.

The ‘no can do’ note is on the ironing, the vacuum cleaner and the ring the plumber/joiner/man in the moon for me note.

Not today. Today i’m going to ‘just say no’.

(Except, not to coffee. I never say no to coffee. Or chocolate. Or wine. But they are necessities really. The first two to get through the prioritising, the later to celebrate it.)

Happy reading, writing, and prioritising,

love Raven x

(all images, source pinterest)

 

Raven’s ramblings and Thursday thoughts on…No pain no gain?

Morning all. Raven’s ramblings on Thursday again.

This isn’t actually a ‘how to’ post, so feel free to ignore me and go and have a cup of coffee instead.

But if you wonder what the growing old disgracefully, bus pass toting, granny is going on about this time…read on.

This week; on the subject of pain and how it clouds everything.
feel better

(pic, source pinterest)

Oh boy does it.

I guess some of you know that by now I’ve had a slipped disc, which pressed on a nerve this last couple of weeks and it knocked me for six. I’ve been a miserable, snivelling, gibbering wreck for much too long. So much for doing as I tell my heroines and pulling up my big girl panties and getting on with it.

Ha, I couldn’t even bend down to put those panties on some days. (TMI sorry…)

I found it hard to concentrate on anything at the beginning. To stand, sit, lie move…anything made me do a silent—and not so silent—scream.

Sheesh.

But after a couple of days, I decided I could wallow, or learn something from how bloody helpless and uncomfortable I felt.

As wallowing wasn’t actually that comfortable, I decided on the latter and made notes. Some, on scraps of paper made little sense. That was the incredibly med-fuelled me. But gradually, as I eased off on the meds, and looked at the world through less of a fuzz, I accepted that my pain had in some ways been my gain.

I’ve had fibro for years but its not that bad, so this was an eye opener of how lots of people feel all of the time. And boy it sucks. The last time I think I had such intense pain was giving birth.

So you might wonder, what’s this got to do with writing?

Rather a lot.

One of the things we are told is to use life experience when it is possible. After al if you’re describing how someone feels… be it in labour, yes, with a slipped disc or incredibly happy on their wedding day, if you’ve experienced it, you have that extra edge.

notebook and pens

Now before you start throwing things, I know we can’t always use life experiences. Hell I’ve not met a shifter (I don’t think) or danced with a vampire, (ditto). Sky-dived or made love in the bushes on Lamma Island. Or indeed lived in Regency times. Although I have lived in a regency house or two.

Those never experienced things? That’s where a good imagination and excellent research facilities come in.

But if I have a heroine in pain you’ll know where the descriptions came from!

 

Happy, (and hopefully pain-free) reading,

 

Love Raven x

Raven’s Thursday thoughts on prices

Raven rambles on prices…

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(source pinterest)

Not just coffee, (anything goes there I guess), or chocolate (ditto) but books.

Yeah I know. Stop rolling your eyes and muttering things like ‘oh lordy she’s on her soap box again’ and getting out the doll to stick pins in. I’ve got enough pain in my body at the moment. I couldn’t cope with any more.

I’m chatting—honestly just chatting, not pontificating, ranting or lecturing—about book prices today, because I’ve seen a lot of shall we say unhappy readers who can’t fathom why some books, especially paperbacks cost so much. There’s been a fair few grumbles about ‘greedy authors’ as well.

We—those of us who have had paperbacks out—know that boy we do not make very much there. Nor do publishers. So much has to be done to get that book to you so you can hold and stroke it. I’ll share something with you here. For one of my paperbacks that in the UK was £5.99 I got 2p a copy. That’s right two pence. About two and a half cents. Per book. And that is correct. The publisher gets a bit more, after they have paid the distributor, but the publisher also has to pay for al the other things that need doing. Like covers, formatting and printing. Not to forget paying those who do all those jobs, plus the editor(s), who we need. (Oh boy do we)

However, it’s hard for some people to grasp that. That is author grit your teeth time. All you can do it explain and if pushed, politely suggest that the person who is aggrieved contact the publisher (sorry EP).

With eBooks you also have in the UK, VAT (value added tax) in the price as well.

And the upshot of this med-fuelled post?

You can’t please all of the people all of the time. Me? If it’s a choice between a book and a coffee in (insert posh coffee establishment of your choice) I’ll go for the book, every time.

Others might not.

But whatever the outcome, in general, books of any description are priced as they have to be. Sometimes a deal is on…Great for the reader, not so much for anyone else.

See, we do aim to please when we can.

And on that statement, I’m off to hunt out some more meds, and no doubt fall asleep. Be gently with me please.

 

Raven x

Raven begs… please don’t shout at me…

Oh my giddy goodness. I feel like the white rabbit, late for an important date. rabbit

rabbbit

I forgot it was Thursday.

Well that’s not strictly true because I put my guest up on my blog, but it just didn’t register. Thursday… The day before Friday…

Today.

Thursday. I’m the quiller. But, dear anyone who is actually reading this and hasn’t rolled their eyes and gone in search of wine…(that’ll be me soon) may I plead extenuating circumstances? My carefully crafted post seems to have never got from my mind to my lap top. I blame that on the middle of the night musings. It was my wedding anniversary and as ever Dh forgot. Though he did try to con me with a new shelf for the fridge and an angelic, you didn’t really  think I forgot?

Good try but no. I know he did …

Actually he’d made up for it with a weekend away at some point in the future…

Argh, I’m doing the digressing again.

Anyway, I apologise for no post, hope you will understand, and just add. We are all human and sometimes…we forget things. This week, this was one of mine.

And on that note I better get back to my edits… Where I seem to have forgotten basic grammar and what house style is required.

Now where’s that wine?

wine cartoon

Next week, I promise something a bit more meaningful. Though wine is meaningful isn’t it?

After all it comes from grapes, and grapes are fruit, and fruit of one of your five a day and…

Shut up Raven. Go forth and edit. And schedule next weeks post…

happy reading, writing and whatever,

love,

Raven xxx

Raven rambles on Reviews…

Hi all, Raven here. Maybe that heading should read…or…When a review isn’t a review…

What can you do…other than eat too much chocolate and feel sick, and drink a bottle of wine and drown your sorrows.

wine cartoon (pic Pinterest)

What am I talking about?

Spoilers. Those reviews that just set out everything in the book. Every little plot turn and nuance. So well if you read the review you might just think, why bother buying and reading the book. You know the ending.

Now I don’t for one moment any reviewer rubs their hands together and thinks ohh lets tell everything and spoil the book . I think they must be so excited (or fed up) they just go on about everything that happened in the book without realizing that in doing so, they have given the plot away and spoiled it for anyone else.

Not the best case scenario. Many an author has wished they had shares in a chocolate company or winery after having one of those. All those hours of creating a story to keep your readers on tenterhooks, spoiled.

A screaming woman and books

What to do? Sadly if the review is up, not a lot unless you can mark it as unhelpful, or get it taken down. Even get spoiler alert added to it. And hope it doesn’t happen again.

Now if you ask ten people what they think a review should and shouldn’t be, you’ll get twenty or more different answers. (Believe me, I did, and I did J) After all it’s like anything, we are all different and have our own likes and dislikes. However one thing was said over and over again. Please, no spoilers.

I don’t have a definitive answer. I also have likes and dislikes, which might not coincide with other peoples.

But in the main, the things that were wanted were as follows…

Concise.

Clear, no rambling.

Straightforward reasons what was and was not liked, and why. As one person said, to say you loved it or hated it, tells one nothing. Even if it is just, I loved it because of the mental pictures it created, or the hero made me go weak at the knees, it a valid reason. As is, sorry but the heroine made me want to throw things when she ignored all the signs… (That makes me want to discover what signs.)

Even le sigh… the geographical, (or grammatical) errors put me off.

No bitchiness. It really is unnecessary, and unpleasant. Would you want that said about to you?

If the reviewer just have to give away the denouement or whatever, put those two words, warning spoilers as a heading. Then you can chose whether to read it or not.

And they didn’t want…

Bitchiness

Spoilers.

A review that says nothing relevant or informative.

A review that is so long you lose the will to live. (No, I have no idea how long that is, as I said ask ten people get twenty answers)

So there you have it. Just really, no spoilers please.

Happy reading,

Love, Raven x

Raven rambles on…silence

shh

No…that is not a contradiction. Raven rambles on not in. Come on? Really? Me silent altogether? cue hysterical laughter That’s about as likely as me not eating chocolate and drinking sav blanc.

Silent on some things now? Ah, that’s a different matter.

Anyway, hi all, here’s my Raven ramblings and Thursday thoughts on …

Silence is sometimes golden.

Do we know when it is time to ‘button our lips”? To keep quiet about something that really is none of our business, or and that is a big or, is nasty, vindictive and positively troll like.

class

I bet you are all nodding sagely and saying well duh. What does Raven think we are?

Human, that’s what.

I seem to have seen a lot of nasties, a lot of bandwagons jumped on and a lot of cases where that button your lip scenario would have been better to have been followed by a lot of people.

It’s so easy to get caught up in something, and then have a wee paddy, spit the dummy out attack when what you want to happen isn’t in fact what does happen.

This is not the majority of people’s actions. I know that.

But, those few numptys who do behave like that, spoil things for the rest of us.

I know, I really do that it’s easy to think you are only expressing your opinion, and of course as a lot of us are lucky enough to live in a free world, to express our opinion is our right.

But to deliberately target someone with vitriol because they haven’t done what you want…now that is not.

I’m not pointing the finger at anyone, but (god that bloody word again) before you comment on something do the hover. Let your finger hover over the keyboard, let your words hover in your mouth before those words are unleashed into the world. Because once you’ve shared them, you can’t drag them back.

They are out for everyone to see, read and comment on.

As a lot of us quillers have mentioned lately, we as authors accept not everyone will like everything we do. That is perfectly understandable. Yes, it stings when someone dislikes your baby, but that is life. As we all harp on ad nauseam, it would be boring if we all liked the same things.

However as a change from ‘but’ there are ways of explaining, or exclaiming your dislike, displeasure and dismay.

Being downright shitty is not one of them.

Rudeness is never the way to go.

We really do try to do our best to please our readers, we really do. Sometimes, we know you will be disappointed if things don’t go as you want them to. Even so please don’t take it personally, or take your annoyance out in a bitter and twisted manner on the author.

And maybe think on this… This time you might be disappointed. Next time it could be someone else.

So… those golden words… button your lip…hover your fingers…think before you cause a stink.

Don’t show your self to be an idiot.

silence

After all, karma will rear up and bite you in the bum if you don’t.

Or is it that you really want to be the baddie who meets a particular violent and painful death in someone’s next book?

karma

 (all pictures, pinteres)

Happy, pleasant, reading

Love Raven x

The Raven rambles on it is your gift use it…(or ignore those who tut tut at your beautifully explicit sex scenes) blogpost…

Hi Raven rambling again on *looks around furtively* hot sex… This is in part a follow on from Doris’ post on what we write, and a hark back to a post I did on friends who aren’t friends, and a bit of my ‘now I think about it’ thoughts…

Grey mannequin with big red question mark

Confused? Don’t worry I’m often in that state myself.

You’ll have heard us all say ad nauseam that we can only write what we can. That some will like it ,some hate it and some sit on the fence and not care overmuch either way,

All fine and dandy. You can’t please some all of the people some of the time let alone all of the people all of the time.

Erotic writing is one of those things that tends to evoke strong opinions.

Why? After all… ssh…if our parents hadn’t had sex, we wouldn’t exist and the human race would have died out long ago.

And strange though it my seen, not all of that sex was bog standard man on top, missionary position either. In fact I remember very clearly that when I was in my twenties one of the things a woman was told to do to aid conception was to make sure she kept her legs in the air to aid the little wrigglers to get further inside her. I kid you not. And to foil the sperm the woman should sit on the guy so they had to fight to flow upward. Sounds crazy now, but it was the sixties. Of course the pill was almost around, but not quite, and the other fail-safe method was one still mentioned today. Just don’t do it. Or if you wanted to conceive go at it like rabbits.

rabbits

And now I’ve done my usual digressing.

What I was leading to is that sex however it is described, achieved enjoyed or not, is a part of out lives.

So when we write about it, we write it as we feel our work needs. This might be purple prose, or closed door. It could be semi explicit or very explicit. We describe as our muses dictates.

Now it’s a sad fact that this makes some people uncomfortable. Okay, well there is a really easy answer to that.

Do. Not. Read. It.

It is as simple as that. It’s not forced on you,  and it doesn’t mean we necessarily do everything we describe. Hell I still haven’t managed to make love on a beach at midnight, ledt the curtains open and the lights on while we make out on the sofa, or forced a lift to stop cos I was at it with my bum on the buttons, but I have a heroine who did. (lucky bugger)

fashion studio photo of impassioned beautiful couple. sexy woman with blond hair and handsome brunette man

If I say how much my heroine likes a good spanking, or a gag, don’t think I do. But not liking something personally, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t describe it, as long as I know what I’m talking about. Our heroines may often have some of our traits but not always and not necessarily. Personally do not even think of spanking me, so not my scene, I know that! Lots of my heroines love it, but so not my scene.

Sadly this doesn’t register with some people and they equate our stories as us. Hmm have you seen me shifting into a wolf and running through the forest? No I thought not. Do I say how Hubby and I had it off on the patio, with people rating our performance? No. Exactly.

But because we might on occasion describe hot, explicit sex some people see this as a threat to them and their lives. Why I have no idea. As I mentioned in a previous post, I lost a friend, someone who was as near as a sister as I had at the time, because she couldn’t be friends with someone who wrote as I did. It went against her beliefs. Okay.

My belief is, that if you’ve been given a gift it behoves you to use it. To ignore it is cheating yourself.

The upshot of this ramble, dear people is that if you have it, use it, and ignore those who say you shouldn’t.

Life is too short not to do your very best, whatever it is.

Happy writing,

love Raven x

 

PD all these fab pics are from Pinterest or this blogspot 🙂

Raven Ponders on privacy

Hi all, Raven here…

Thursday thoughts on privacy.

Is this a rant? No for once it isn’t. It’s more of a ponder.

(I do enjoy a good ponder)

You know it might only be me, but I sometimes wonder why some people think they need to share everything last thing in their lives including their bra size (38C), what they had for breakfast (cornflakes and gluten free toast), and how often they make love (enough).

I also wonder why on earth other people are so interested in knowing every little detail about others.

2D Man think bubble

What makes it so important that people feel they have to detail every last thing on social media? Like an up to date town crier, doing the oyez, oyez stuff but not about the world in general.

I honestly don’t know.

It’s okay to have a bit of yourself you don’t share. Privacy isn’t a dirty word. If you have part of your life you want to keep to yourself, why not? Everything doesn’t have to be aired in public. It might be because it really isn’t that interesting, like my gluten free toast. It could be because it involves other people. Or it simply could be because really it’s no ones business except your own.

Don’t feel guilty about it.

After all if you want to wear red knickers, no knickers or granny pants, that’s your choice.

00f6da5500bf72b1ff9c2ae1ebd27705

(source pinterest)

As authors we share a lot of ourselves with our readers. However much you might not want to, a lot of ‘us’ goes into anything we write. Not that every hero or heroine we create is based on us, I don’t mean that. Nor that our characters opinions are necessarily ours. But our passions our creative juices if you like, are colored by our perceptions of our world. That’s as it should be. You can’t help but share that part of you.

But every other little detail?

That is your decision and don’t let anyone make you feel you should put everything up for scrutiny.

After all who was it that said, everyone should have a little air of mystery about them?

So no, I’m not telling you if I’m wearing red, knickers, no knickers or granny pants.

Until next week,

Happy reading, writing, and whatever,

Love Raven x

Raven rambles on If and Only, and wishes they wouldn’t visit so often

Hi all Raven rambling on two little words who are best buddies and visit my WIP much too often, and usually together.

Now honestly I don’t have a grudge against either word per se. But why do they insist on popping in to my WIP and them sprawling all over the place? They sometimes bring their friend just along as well, and take command. Add themselves willy nilly and then laugh at me when I don’t notice.

And do they listen when I insist they go away?

go-away

(Source , Pinterest)

Hmm debatable to be honest. I think they disguise themselves until I’ve read past them.

Luckily I have a reditor (red penning person ie beta reader Doris) who points.them out to me.

The gist of this ramble i very simple. we all have favourite words we use over and over. And (that’s another one of mine) often we don’t realise. But hopefully your trusty beta and editor will.

However there is something you can do oh so easily to check. I’m not talking about apps and things. Keep a note of those visitors. Go into your doc and click on the find and replace bit. (Techo-basic is me, it’s at the top left on mine.) Type in the word… the ‘I’m going to crawl all over your WIP word’ whatever it is. Then be ready to cry when you see how many times it’s there.

What you do next is up to you…

happy writing,

love Raven x

 

 

Raven rambles on why have rain clouds when you can have sparkly rainbows

Every cloud has two sides.

It’s up to you to chose which one you’ll go for.

The sparkly, glittery, full of hugs, kisses, rainbows, and hope side. Positivity at its very best.

Like this

happiness-in-rinbows

Or you know, like this…

keep-calm-love-rainbows

 

Or the dull grey woe is me no one likes me and I’m going to curl up in a ball and moan side.

new-dark-cloud

All too often it’s a lot easier to go for the latter. Much more simple to let things that at first seem negative get on top of you, rather than working out what needs doing to shove them into touch.

What I’m trying to say is, there is positive in the positive in the negative.

Seriously, it is there, just sometimes so well hidden you have to search for it.

And that’s where you have to give yourself a great big, stern talking to.

Pull up your panties(if you wear them) and get on wit it. Build a bridge (if construction is your thing) and get over it. You know it makes sense.

Plus believe me you will feel so much better for it.

After all we write because we have to. (Well I do)

So lets go for the sparkles eh?

sparkle-not-unnuticed

Happy writing,

love Raven xx

(all graphics courtesy of Pinterest)