Writing Prompt: Judgement Day..

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If you were to judge your favourite book by its cover, would you still read it?…

 

A really good writing prompt under today’s date in my book, and very fitting as just this week on Facebook, an author friend asked the question ‘ what’s more important the cover or book’s blurb for readers?’ Me being a big reader I responded, and said in my personal experience and opinion the cover is not really that important, compared to the book’s blurb. Ultimately this is what makes me buy a book not the cover.

Why Is a Book’s Blurb More Important To Me?

Well, as a reader this is what tells me about the book. I have read some books with shockingly plain or even boring covers. And some which don’t represent the true ‘ride’ the book gave me, and they turned out to be outstanding five star reads!! So this is why I personally feel as a reader, covers are cool and yes important, but more focus for me is on blurb.

If I find it interesting, or pulled to the characters I am for sure going to read that book! Regardless of the cover. On the other hand, I have read some terrible books either badly written, not my cup of tea etc , and the cover was real eye-candy. I feel that a cover does not really tell you the FULL detail of a book.

What Does A Book’s Cover Show Me?

If I’m really honest, as a reader what genre it might be lolz, and that’s about it. It does not tell me if I’d like it, if it’s interesting or pull me to buy it. It may sound weird to some who read this, but as a reader personally the cover just gives me a hint of the genre. *Shrugs shoulders.*

So… If I Had To Judge My Favourite Books By Covers Would I Read Them Again?

Yes! As it was probably the blurb that pulled me in, and that’s why I picked it up. The author then did a great job with delivering to me what was written on the tin, and I enjoyed it so yeah I would. Some of my favourite books have really plain covers. In all honestly book covers that are eye-candy are lovely, and every author wants one ( me included). But, at the end of the day, it’s all about the delivery and your blurb. I know this a reader and because of this experience I have had, as a writer I try to ensure that my blurbs deliver a true representation of what’s within the pages! So never judge books by covers is my response, go by the book’s blurb.

What about you, what’s more important the cover or blurb? Which one calls you to buy or read a book? If you had to think of your fav reads and their covers, would you read them again or be pulled to them?? Let me know?

International Women’s Day 2020: Equality In The Work Place, My Story #IWD2020 #EachforEqual

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So it’s International Women’s Day 2020 today! #IWD2020 Yeah! While I believe in celebrating women and the contributions we make to the world and society at large daily, I’m always pleased when the day rolls around. This year’s theme is equality,  or #EachforEqual. I actually have an experience of being a woman in the world, battling for equality personally that I thought I’d share.

So let’s step back many years ago I was a pregnant woman in my late twenties, working extremely hard in the work place.  One as my department was being restructured and my co-workers and I was at risk of redundancy, two the department was in a shit load of mess anyway! And me being typical me, I wanted to do what I could to help clean it up. We all had to in away reapply for our jobs, to  ‘prove’ our worth to not be selected for redundancy and have our jobs merged so some went jobless. It was very stressful I tell you! Especially while pregnant I feared for my growing family’s stability.

While all this was going on, just before I started my maternity leave I started to take on ‘extra responsibilities’ in the work place, I was doing my job and another. And, yes you guessed it I wasn’t being paid for taking on the roles of a job above me.  I was not even formally asked to take on the extra work, it was just dumped on my desk by management. We had a change of management also. A man stepped in, one who had a reputation of being very harsh, unfriendly, awkward, not a people person or in any way emotionally intelligent and a ‘hard task master’.  The whole organisation was in such a mess, and going down hill I think they brought him in to try and ‘shake things up’. He never bothered me as I thought well I’m on leave soon, and anyway it’s not like I don’t do my job and then some, so whatever! Is all I thought. So anyway I did what I could, stressed, worried and about to give birth any time soon, I was in the final weeks of pregnancy.

While on maternity leave the department was restructured, I did keep my job, but during the restructure  of the organisation and department the job that I was doing ( the extra part with no pay) ,was made into an actual new role.  With higher pay and more clout… so they notified everyone internally and I heard via  post ( as they legally had to tell everyone who remained an employee of that department).  Naturally,  I put in an application for the job. Why not right? I was doing the job for nothing, no pay or anything! Before I went on maternity leave, I did it well even though I was very stressed and glad to get out of the place. I also was highly qualified for the role, in terms of experience and academic achievement etc.

This happened a few weeks before I was due to return from maternity leave. When I did  return from leave, I found out I was not even shortlisted for an interview. *face palm* Hold on a minute…. who was doing that job before leave? Unpaid? And helped to clear up a lot of the mess left, by employees that really didn’t give a hoot, left, and just were down right lazy? Muggins here, me that’s who!

Yeah, I put my male boss on the spot about it  one day when I returned and asked, “why was I not shortlisted for an interview at least?” Do you know what that ass-hole told me, “you’ve been on maternity leave that’s why, you can’t do the job?” I raised an eyebrow and left him to run his mouth as I knew then and there, I was filing a claim for discrimination on the grounds of gender, and maternity leave.  Totally illegal in employment legislation. Lucky, one of my master’s degrees covered law too… ya girl was clued up! I dread to think what would  have happened, if I were a female who never understood the laws of discrimination in the work place.

So once my sexist, abrupt, white, discriminatory,  male manager ran his mouth, I smiled sweetly and said, “okay, just to confirm because I’ve been away exercising a right that I was entitled to legally, as a woman, you’re telling me you decided not to shortlist me for an interview, and dismiss me for a job that I was already doing and can prove I was, before I went on maternity leave?” His face went pale, and he said, ” yes, you’ve been away.” I stopped there, went home then drafted up my complaint for inequality, sex and gender discrimination in the work place against my boss.

I won’t bore you with all the details, but did it turn into a legal battle? You bet your bottom dollar it did? Did I win my case against my boss and this organisation? You bet I did! And I was proud to present my case and win! I felt a sense of justice not just for myself, but for all the woman around the world over looked for jobs, by employers using measurements that impact on only them as a demographic of society, and therefore they miss out. By being marginalised and excluded from promotion, pay, and career progression. It was inequality and discrimination at its worst! So many laws are out there against this, it’s not just race the common one we hear about.

I ended up during my battle being head hunted for a better job than the one I had applied for, with better pay! I had an interview and got it. I left that piss-poor organisation a happy woman, who fought for justice, and never looked back.

Moral of the story is, in this day and age there is still a lot of work to be done for women when it comes to equality. Any statistic will tell you that, pay, promotion, etc. It makes ugly reading when you go through all the write ups, articles, and research into discrimination around women and equality. Quite frankly, I’m disgusted to read it, and to have experienced this a young woman myself, working hard, trying to balance work and life. And not miss out on the wonderful chance to be a mother, in fear of missing out on career progression.

So many woman are faced with this decision I was in, do I start a family and risk taking leave that I am entitled to? Or put it off and stay at work?  At the time as a woman in my late twenties I was proud of my achievements I was being paid well for my age, but did not let that stop me from the decision to take a long period of maternity leave I was legally entitled to and have a wonderful new chapter of my life open up.

From this experience I’ve learned first hand how we can be overlooked in the work place, at times I asked myself if I had not taken maternity leave, would my male manager have shortlisted me anyway? Based on his track record, and reputation he had would he  have wanted to even have placed a woman in that job that was created? Would he have felt “I could not do the job because of who I am?” Anyway, fuck him, and any employer or manager like him. All I know is, my name is one he’ll never forget. And I hope he has learned from the professional discipline he experienced, from bringing the organisation into a legal dispute, based on his discriminatory views against woman in the work place… the shit bag! Fuck him!

Have a wonderful International Women’s Day 2020 #IWD2020 and let’s continue to fight for #EachforEqual in whatever way you feel is needed, at work, in life and just generally.

I’d also like to take a moment to shout out these females who I respect to the max, for their outspoken, feisty, female empowering lyrical content…

P!ink-  what a rock star, love you and your personality from the bottom of my heart. I have been to every London based concert you’ve done, and I love how you fight for what’s right!

Pink

Christina Aguilera- “Can’t Hold us Down” is an anthem of female empowerment that never sounds old! Thank you for those words. “Fall in Line” is such a great song of empowerment, and the way you sing it you can’t help but feel the uplifting energy for us women!

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Beyonce-  You’re just a boss when it comes to females staying on top!! Some of your songs have really resonated over the years.

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Sia- “Unstoppable” when I first heard this song, I knew it was you singing it a totally unique voice, singing such an empowering song. Thank you.

Sia

Rhi Rhi – The line up of empowering females would be incomplete without you! You make being a woman of colour a beautiful thing, and do so much for women in general  regardless of race, and fight for what’s right. Your music, make-up line and personality are great. Very inspirational!

RhiRhi

 

Happy International Women’s Day March 2020!

#IWD2020 #EachforEqual

Writing Prompt- Buffalo Nickel

Prompt- ‘search through your wallet, pockets, or down the back of the couch find the first penny you can. What year was it printed/made and what were you doing??

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The first penny I found in my purse was made in 2011… let’s step back

2011

Well that’s  nine years ago and back then I was twenty-eight years old, and life was so different, but how! In every way.

Appearance- I wish I had a picture, but in this age of technology the photos on my phone really don’t go back that far. I have also changed phones a number of times since then. But, what I can say is I had a short, straight bob just under my chin. I used to chemically straighten my curly hair too! My weight and height really has not changed. Still 5’5 and still a UK dress size 12-14.

Living- I was living in south London, in a beautiful one bedroom apartment with my then  partner. I was not a mother yet, and I guess at the time I thought I was happy. But I soon realised, nope I was not! Fast forward a few years I moved away from south London and became a mother.

Job- I was working at a local college, like a high school I guess you could call it. I loved my job, and most of the people I worked with. It was around this time that I would say, I was at my ‘peak’ in my nine- five working career. Before I started to take writing seriously.

What do I miss about the year 2011?-  in all honesty, nothing really when I think about the rat-race job I was doing, some of the unmotivated people I worked with, and how different I was as a woman, as in I was not in touch really with all the things I naturally love. Mainly due to the person I was with at the time, and trying to be everything to everyone else, but not true to myself. I can  honestly say over the last nine years I have  grown so much. I’m much more authentically me, happy and in a way glad that  I’m no longer stuck in south London, in the job I was in, or chemically straightening my hair as the damage it left, was unreal!

What’s been the biggest lessons since 2011- that when it really comes down to it, you really have to be true to yourself. If this means letting people, places and situations go for 1. your own sanity , peace, mental emotional and spiritual well-being then DO IT! And don’t feel bad. Secondly,  the universe works in very mysterious ways, it a-lines in ways to put you in a-linement. This means, removing people, places, situations and things that are not for your highest good. Then not only replacing them, but upgrading them too!

Lastly, people come into you life for a reason, some stay, some go, some teach you lessons about yourself and life. Pay attention. And always listen to your gut, no matter who thinks you’re crazy. If you feel called to do something or make some kind of change, it’s your intuition guiding you, never doubt it no matter how scary the change or new thing may be.

Would I change anything that has happened over the last nine years?– err good question. Some things I would BUT, when I think about it, if I changed these particular things I would not be on my path now. I honestly feel I’m now on the right path, so when I look at it like that I should be grateful for the last nine years. Even all the experiences that I would say ‘ yeah I’d change that’. It’s a big catch twenty two question.  I’d change maybe how giving I was to some folk, only for them to turn around and take that for granted. But everything else I’d keep it, as it honestly set me up nicely for my late thirties!

Pick a random penny, what’s the year and what were you doing? Drop a comment, or blog it and link it down below I’d love to know.

 

 

Writing Prompt- Plot of Earth…?

Prompt-  ‘You’re given a plot of land and have the financial resources to do what you please, what’s the plan?’

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what a wonderful idea! This really got me thinking, what would I do with unlimited resources and land? Many may say ‘build a house’ or do something for themselves, personally if I were ever luck enough to be in this situation, in all honesty I think I would…

Build a food kitchen, in the most poorest areas in third world countries.

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It breaks my heart to think that there are people out there with not enough to eat! Especially children. I think I would have to start in Africa and set up a place in different areas, where nutritious food is prepared and served daily. If there are  people in remote villages near by, who are unable to get to it, part of the service would be to bring the food the the village.

Build a few schools and invest in education….

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Education is so important to me, as an ex-high school teacher of ten years service I love to see people achieve! I think, I’d select some states across the USA with really low records of student achievement. Here, I would provide the resources needed to help increase students achievement.  Or even just build better and newer schools. In particular I would focus on marginalised students, who have learning difficulties.

In the UK we are pretty good with educational achievement, but one thing I do think the system lacks, sometimes, is enough classroom assistants to help support learners with learning needs. I’d invest in this, in the UK. Increasing the number of schools for those with special learning needs, that are very extreme it holds them back from mainstream school. In mainstream schools, I’d increase the money put into employing special needs assistants in mainstream schools. 1. to support the students in class 2. to help reduce some classroom stress and worry for teachers. Who often worry if their teaching is effective when there are learners with learning needs.

In other third world countries, I’d just build brand new schools! And focus on  increasing the level of students who are able to learn and have access to education.

If I had unlimited money, and land that’s what I’d do focus on feeding people, and increasing education.

 

Throwback Thursday> 1988! Who Remembers This One?

Who can do the running man?  Last Sunday this song came on the radio, I had  some friends over, one said ‘ bet you can’t do the running man!’ I was like whhhhhhhhhhhhhat phhhhhh please! Of course I can  :). It ended up in a fit of giggles, with everyone in the house  doing the running man and cheesy 80s and 90s dance moves to this song.

It’s 1988, this beat is crazy, let’s step back in time with Bobby Brown. What were you doing in 1988, how old were you? Me, I was just 5 years old.

6 of One, Half a Dozen of The Other #amwriting

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Prompt> Write  six words about what you think the future holds for you then expand… okay I’ll put this out to the universe to hear my wishes.  Six words>  Healed, Happy, in Love, Successful, Writing.

Healed> by this I mean I am finally healed and now in a very good place, for me personally from about the age of 30-ish ( I’m 36 at the time of writing) I have been on a journey. Life was turned upside down and back around again. I went through a lot  I feel I really did not need to.  Now I look back, I can understand exactly why it all happened and how it help me to move forward. Sometimes the ‘Universe’ disrupts your path, to grab your attention and put you on another one that’s better for you. That’s fine looking back, at the time it can be a living hell. For me I had to completely revamp myself from the inside, and also life to get to where I am  now. And trust me no one, and I mean no one will come along and ‘disturb the peace’ I’ve found now!

So, for the future I hope to remain fully healed and never have to experience the drama I did before.

Happy> Who does not want to be happy? While I am happy, I hope to continue to be happy. Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I cracked the mentally and emotionally and spiritually, so I started to work on the physical. Personally I have been doing a hell of  working out at home to my DVDs, as I stopped and really like to start my day this way. I used to a lot before I was going through ‘living hell’. This summer, I have been killing it with Pilates and dance based exercise ( I love to dance). I also  discovered PopSugar fitness on You Tube. I lost an inch off my waist very fast in just a few weeks! I’ve always been a UK size 12-14  US 10-12 dress size, but now I look better  I think with just  an  inch gone from my waist. It’s amazing what 20 mins a day each morning can do. I also hope that my family remains happy too, and we are at peace.

In Love> Hey, I write steamy romance stories (sometimes), of course love is a big thing for me, I read about it I love all the romance genre, and hope maybe I’ve found the right person and it blossoms into a very meaningful relationship. When you start a new relationship you never know which way it will swing but you remain hopeful, even if there’s a rocky start or there are some challenges. I’ll be honest and say I am an old romantic ( no surprise there hey), so to me even if a person suffers a broken heart in the worst way I believe we should still believe in love, regardless. Build yourself back up, and move forward hopeful. I  also think that it is very important to love yourself before you can love anyone else, have a clear idea of what you want and don’t waste your time if you find someone who does not show you what you want or worse deserve. Don’t hope they will change, if they don’t fit the bill f*ck them… you like me? Treat me right it’s that simple.

The older I’ve got the more I have taken this attitude towards how I allow men to treat me, and how I treat others if I like you trust me you’ll know. If you’ve pissed me  off… yeah, trust you’ll know also. I’ve learned to be straight forward when it comes to love. Also writing all these complex love stories has also allowed me to reflect and think, ‘damn what drama I’ve caused for these characters, love should be so simple’. So Don’t waste your time, find someone who is on the same page and be patient for them to come along.

I remember when I suffered my first major break up I was probably about 21-22ish, at the time do you know I actually went celibate and refrained from sex and men all together until I found a decent guy, worth my time and my goodies 🙂 My girlfriends thought I was crazy, at that age your hormones are raging but to me I had such a broken heart, the thought of a man close to me was just off putting… So I partied hard with my girls, and really threw myself into my work and it paid off I had a wonderful time in my earlier 20s. Fast forward it happened again, this time I did not do the celibate thing but I changed my attitude to  who I give my time to big time, and in a funny way that heart ache set me free and really helped me learn something very important, today at 36 I am thankful for both of them.

So in a nutshell, here’s hoping that this relationship that does not end, and if it does let it end before we get too wrapped up in each other…. please, I’m too old for this messing around LOL.

Successful> Success can mean a lot of different things to different people, just getting through the day can be success in someone’s eyes, while someone else wants millions in the bank. For me, I just want to see my son grow up to be the King I am raising him to be, and do well for himself, write some good stories, live a happy and fulfilled life. As I write this, this is all I could hope for. I feel that I am now in a space where success is not about money so much for me it’s more about achieving the goals I set for myself in life, one at a time.

Writing> Well, I write all day, every day it’s a day job for me now. But I want to focus more on my actual own stuff I want to write, rather than what I am being asked to write. *rolls eyes* that said, nine times out of ten I do enjoy what I am asked to write or translate into English so I should not complain.

And that’s my six word story future…

What’s your six word story?? I’d love to read it.

Bad Reviews- In My View They Ain’t So Bad! #MFRW

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So it’s Monday and like clockwork I woke up at 7.00a.m after snoozing the alarm a few times, with a list as long as my arm, with things I want to complete today, in order to have a productive writing day. For one we’re one week into National Novel Writing Month, I’m participating this year, while I have 20,000 words down I’m still not quite happy with all of it, I have emails to respond to, one half of a story for The Suspenseful Collection #2 to write…. before tomorrow!  And let’s not forget the ‘day job writing’ also… I’m a translator by day!

Waking up to this list,  I knew today would be busy, right on cue my five year old son moseys into my room, jumps under the covers…”mama, I’m sick.” I sigh, roll my eyes, peel his warm five year old body off me and look him in the eye, then ask what’s wrong? He  holds his legs in the air like a tent under the covers. When he was born he had complications with his legs, now it’s fine but  I take his complaints seriously. I roll over thinking ” no school looks like today’s a sick day then, some much for productivity.”

It’s lunch time, what is he doing as I write this writing response?  Dancing and singing (rather loudly) to the Lion King movie, before that it was Frozen the movie. What else has he done today, given me firm instructions to leave my desk, to play kick the ball in the garden , attacked the washing line then ran around the house with my bra on his head, pretending he’s a “pirate of the Caribbean.” Clearly, there is nothing wrong with the little shit, boy… whoops sorry. He just fancies a day off to watch Disney all day, and disrupt his mama!

So I may as well do a writing prompt as it’s clear I won’t get to focus on any manuscripts until this evening after bed time…. sighs #shoutoutallparents.

 Bad Reviews, How They Can Help?

So bad reviews? The question  and writing prompt this week is how to overcome them. In all honesty, I don’t think bad reviews are really that bad as you grow as a writer. You soon learn that you can’t, should not try to, and DO NOT EVER want to try to write to please everyone, it’s impossible. If you do that, you’ll lose who you are as a writer,why YOU WRITE and you’ll have no idea of who you actually please- your target market and actually create sales, and a readership.

I also say this as I personally feel as a writer you get to a point where a bad review, you realise does so much more than make you feel bad if you have done the best you can on your work. 1. a review is a review whether good or bad, and sometimes the odd 1 star or someone not feelin’ your work shows a genuine picture or balanced picture. 2. a bad review can cause other people to pick up your book, out of curiosity anyway. How many times have you read reviews on somethings you wish to purchase, or a new product you wish to try and noticed the odd bad one or less positive review but decided ‘I think I want to give this a try, and see for myself.’ 3. it can also allow you to see what someone did not enjoy, genuinely as  long as they are not just on a bitchfest for no good reason.

So… how could you overcome a bad review?

I feel there  is the difference between a ‘moaning’ review and a genuine less positive review that’s more like ‘ this is critique that’s useful.’ I also feel it’s our job as a writer to weed out the two. If you can do this, that’s half the job of ‘overcoming’ a bad review. If the person is just going on, and on, and on, and on about why they hated your work with no real depth to it just…. just “hatin”’ on your work, disregard it and see that they are ‘moaning’. Instead pay attention to those who seem to be more realistic in their less positive review, and see what’s of use for you to know. Even then, take what’s helpful and leave the rest and focus on writing the next book.

Lastly, try  recognise if you have just sadly attracted the ‘wrong reader’ I hate to say this, sometimes it happens. It has happened to me, and I have also been the wrong type of reader for other books. This is when the book calls you,  the cover, blurb, genre whatever…you dive in and the connection is not there. If you can recognise within less positive reviews if this is ‘the wrong kind of reader, not someone you’d hope to attract or genuinely  a target reader’ for your work, this helps you to overcome bad reviews also. It is also helpful to define for  yourself as a writer who is, potentially could be, and definitely is not a target reader for you. Within the less positive reviews.

This is my honest approach to this subject that so many of us writers lose sleep over… a bad review pifff… I don’t allow it to bug me out so much these days. I take what I need and leave the rest, and know that it’s impossible to please all, and I would not ever want to, how the hell do I stand out if I do that?

Take what’s helpful, leave the rest. Just like when your work is rejected by a publisher, or an agent or an editor requests your work …but asks you to make what you would call major changes….that you’re not really feeling. Leave it if it does not help or changes your work too much in your view in a way you’d not really want it to. There will be someone out there that will say ‘yes, gimmie that’ as it is, you just have to find them.

Lastly, don’t ever lose your confidence over a bad review, once you develop that thick skin, this is impossible to happen anyway. But on the way to getting to this place of thick skinned and unflappable, don’t beat yourself up if someone did not connect, as remember you write for those that do connect.