Good News: New Ventures as an Associate Editor Starts This Week!

TL

I was yet to come across a publishing house, with a literary magazine that’s purely dedicated to the romance genre. That was until recently Tallon Lake seem to be it, and I can’t believe my application was successful for the Associate Editor’s role! I submitted Sacrifices which is published on the 30th of this month, for consideration to be featured and saw the advert for the role. On the off chance I asked about the job, and what it’s all about. I really liked the sound of it so I applied, as of this week I landed the job to my surprise. Here’s a bit about the Tallon Lake:

Tallon Lake

Tallon Lake (TL) is a digital quarterly literary magazine that specializes in romance short fiction, poetry, and art. It represents the specific subgenres of contemporary, historical, and paranormal. Within these subgenres, various romance relationship levels will be explored, from insta-love to slow-burn and from innocent struggle to closed door. TL focuses on the relationship and its struggle, character development, and sensuality. The magazine does not print sexuality explicit content.

One goal of the magazine is to open opportunities for diverse voices, providing inclusivity. This means that the editor welcomes content from all writers, poets, and artists, including BIPOC,  LGBTQ, and international creatives. Another goal of the magazine is to pamper readers and to help them escape into a much safer, warmer environment – far away from the harsh reality of today’s stress-filled world, one page at a time. The last goal of the magazine is to give back to the community. Each quarter, the editing staff will select a charity that benefits critical social issues — like mental helath awareness, human trafficking, child abuse, homelessness, and addiction — and gift 10% of its sales to help create a better world for all.

Tallon Lake isn’t just a magazine… it’s a legecy of good will, entertainment, and positive energy.

To learn more about the people behind TL, see TL Staff.

 

What’s An Associate Editor’s Role?

Well I’ll read the submissions that come in from writers, then agree with the team which stories are a good fit for us. Then, it’s my job to work with authors who receive conditional publishing contracts, covering the editorial side of things, before the publication of their work in a nutshell.

Am I excited? You bet! The first magazine is published on my birthday in February. (That’s fate LOL). I really look forward to this role, it’s the second editorial role I’ve had.  My last one I enjoyed for a current affairs magazine, it’s just a shame the founder let the project go. I have faith that Tallon Lake as a publishing house and literary magazine will do great things! Plus, it’s the genre I love to read and write (other than thriller), it’s a dream job really.

Also, Tallon Lake’s main focus is to publish marginalised voices, this I am all about and I love that. This was a massive selling point for me when I decided to apply.  BIPOC ( Black, Indigenous, People of Colour), and LGBTQ stories and writers are sooooooooooooo welcome at this small press! I look forward to reading  what comes in. Note that BDSM and erotica genres are not accepted by Tallon Lake.  

 Do You Love Reading Romance Like Me?

Right now, the team are preparing to publish the February issue, there will be a preview copy available this November. If you’d love to grab a preview then just check out https://www.tallonlakemag.com/  and add yourself to the newsletter. There will be NO spam or unnecessary emails, don’t worry. You’ll be notified when the preview is ready!

Does This Mean I’ll Stop Writing?

Hell-to-the-no! Writing is my first love, you can make a writer an editor, but I don’t think you can convert or convince a true writer (who loves it) to give up that part for pure editorial work. Well, at least not in my case! I will be writing my romantic suspense stories and thrillers/mysteries just like normal. In fact my focus is my series of mysteries I shared the covers for last week. That will not stop. You might be thinking, ‘so why are you doing this?’ To be honest, I love magazine work,  and I love reading too. I always have and it’s even better when it’s focused on things I feel passionate about, be it current affairs or the genre I write in. Plus, this is so exciting I am yet to really see a romance only focused literary magazine, so why the hell not!? I’d read it even if I never had the role, if there’s a chance to be part of it even better.  I may enjoy it it’s worth a try!

I’ll keep you guys updated on what we’re working on, but in the mean time feel free to check out Tallon Lake here: https://www.tallonlakemag.com/

Rambles, Life, Reflections, Just Write! #amwriting

Afternoon people! Happy Monday. It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and written something personally from me. Where have I been hiding?

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Life During The Pandemic…

Well, since March and my last personal dive into my life with you all, things have been pretty much the same. While lock down restrictions eased, and then were enforced again in my part of the world, my family and I pretty much stayed put indoors. We were like, ‘you guys go out first and see what happens’ LOL.

It’s so sad, but I predicted or anticipated a ‘second wave’ of Covid- 19 and that’s pretty much what has happened. Am I against wearing a mask? Hell no! I understand people may find it uncomfortable, but, damn….what about your health and the health of others? Anyway, it’s an ongoing debate in every corner of the world. I wear mine and will continue to do so.

I have been homeschooling yes, but then decided to allow my son an actual holiday from it all, after all it is summer. I aim to restart again in a few weeks, as to be honest, I really don’t know if I will  send him back to the classroom. Regardless of what the governments around the world may want, I really am not sure, until I see enough evidence to suggest that, it’s safe! For us all, not just because ‘they are children and less at risk.’ Both my son and I have delicate health so I need to be careful. Moving on enough about Covid-19!

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The Writer’s Life During The Pandemic!

In a way, Covid-19 has been a blessing for me, it’s allowed me to be so productive while stuck in the house, going to bed late and waking up late too.  Since March I have written three books! Two have been released  365 Days of Writing Prompts for Romance Writers  which seems to have been a God send to some authors. Also The Art of Short Story and Novella Writing.  The third I’ve just completed which is novella #1 of my ‘Unsolved Mysteries Series’ I’m working on. I’m super excited, to move away from romantic suspense (for a second) and work on this. The burst of inspiration came really while writing a romantic crime thriller novel, and after a discussion with my publisher.  I have over five book ideas planned, one written  I’m half way through the second. The goal is to get the second one done this week, as it’s novella length.  Now I’m pretty much done with Sacrifices due for release on the 30th SeptemberI think for a moment I’m ‘all romanced out.’ In terms of writing and motivated to write in my other genre  I love. I feel 2021, will see a lot of work put out here. Don’t worry though I will be back to the romantic suspense!

The pandemic has also allowed me to narrate one of my own books, which is done and out there for the world. It was a wonderful experience and I would do it again, for sure. I’ve also placed book #1 of two of my romance series in audio too, not narrated by me. So overall  I need to express some gratitude to the pandemic, my productivity has increased without a doubt.

 Reading Life During The Pandemic!

Oh man this has been the beauty for me during this time I love to read, and always wish I had more hours in the day for this. I’ve read some fantastic books. A lot of  them have been non-fiction, empowerment, and spirituality genres. I’ve also really been drawn to short stories of all genres! I think this came after writing a book about writing them LOL. And being drawn to write some myself.  My Kindle Unlimited membership has really served its purpose over this pandemic.

Keeping Amused At Home During The Pandemic!

One of my other superpowers is cooking, I just loooooooooooooooove to cook! Foods from around the word too, I’d say I’m pretty good. I’ve never been much of a baker though, I found this super cute set at the supermarket one day and bought it. Not only does the food taste good, it looks cute while cooking.

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So that same day, for the first time ever in my life I tried to bake some home made bread. Here’s the before….

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Ta  da…. and after!

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I was so impressed, I buy fresh bread daily,  now I’m think I should just make my own. For my first attempt not bad, and it tasted really good!

Reflections on the World!

In all honesty, I am keen to see some healing happen. I think back to May time when we had the whole #BlackLivesMatter movement ( which still matters to me by the way), just because the protests may have died down, the cause in my view has not. I pray daily for the lives lost at the hands of the police, and generally due to the colour of a person’s skin.

I also pray daily for the pandemic to just ‘go away’! And also as we move into the winter time, and the flu season rolls around, that there is not a lot of worry regarding general flu and Covid-19.

I pray for school teachers forced to return to work around the world, and the children forced to return for whatever reason. Also, their parents  who are worried as hell. But, they need earn a living.

I pray the political heat in the USA eases, that people vote and remove Trump. I said it. I’m not a fan, and you all probably know I’m not as well. Personally, I find him a man full of racist views and white supremacy, this is based on half the shit that comes out of his mouth, and actions. I’m not making assumptions, this is what he teaches people he’s about. Even those overseas can see it.

And the protests in Europe over the president that the people of the country Belarus, feel has rigged the re-election have justice!  I pray for  you.

Last but by no means least, the poor students who have lost places at university, due to the exam grading system, and with lack of actual taking exams in the UK. I pray for you guys! It’s hard and tough right now.  As an ex-teacher of students of this age, my heart really goes out to you guys! Listening in to the BBC World Service radio 24/7 I’ve also heard reports on students in Thailand calling for overhaul of the monarch’s involvement in education- good luck fighting for your cause. The students in Africa who are just now taking their exams, due to the impact of the pandemic, good luck and I pray for A grade results and university places!

I hope you guys have all been well wherever you are reading this update and ramble from me. I hope your family is safe too, and some how your life is not too disrupted by the changes we’ve all had since March this year. Catch you soon! Keep well.

 

 

From Award Winner to Amazon Best Selling Author – My Thank you.

BestSeller Status

 

Good afternoon guys,

I really am trying to be happy every writer wants to be an Amazon ‘best seller’ one day. Personally I was happy with  just awards! That’s another blog post lol it made me very emotional to win ‘Best Romance 2017’.  But, in all honesty first I want to thank everyone personally who has pre-ordered a copy of 365 Days of Writing Prompts for Romance Writers and every future reader of my writer’s reference. From the bottom of my heart I appreciate you, and I hope one of my prompts and tips on crafting realistic and page-turning romance turns you in to a best-seller and/or award-winner too in the genre.  I hope I spark some great stories! I woke up to an orange banner and notification I just became an Amazon Best Selling Author. I find it ironic I have achieved this by penning something outside my normal genre LOLZ.

It’s a massive achievement for me from Award Winner and I thank you. I’ve never thought about this day, or how I would feel I just want to write because…well, I can! And love it. The truth is this achievement has come during the aftermath of a very serious event in Atlanta.

Seriously, I’m grieving  people I woke up this morning  switched on the news again, and was over run with emotion just as I was when I went to bed last night. My good news didn’t even stem the anger, upset, frustration and personal trauma I felt as I watched the scenes in Atlanta. Another black man has died unjustly at the hands of a white police officer, and it was my intention to focus in on a blog post about this! Not write this thank you note. I am humbled, thankful and extremely appreciative, but I’m grieving to the point I could not greet my Facebook family as I normally do with a ‘good morning’.

Once again, thank you and good luck all romance writers around the world.

Love Kim

 

So… It happened again, I got another magazine gig!

I think you really need to listen to the Universe when it ‘talks to you’ and shows you your ‘path’. Many of you know me well if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I like to research, write, read and look at the facts and make an informed decision. It could be due to my career and work before I started writing romance. 2017-2018 I held a magazine editor and columnists’ post I loved it!! It’s a shame that the founder of the magazine couldn’t hold down what we started. But, I felt that magazine writing is something I’d love to do more of.  Via support for #BlackLivesMatter from this side of the Atlantic, I landed a new job as a columnist again for Aspiring Authors Magazine! Man, I’m so happy. I found out from another author they were seeking articles on black culture and the whole ‘black lives matter’ movement. So, I sent my original idea for a blog post across, and landed a role.  The magazine has a focus on connecting authors around the world, especially those who are minority writers. And helping to further them in the industry.

Check them out below! My article will be in the June edition, and I am mulling over ideas for the rest of the year’s features. Thank you Universe!

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You can now subscribe to Aspiring Authors Magazine LLC click on link below and order your May copy of magazine or subscribe to receive the next 7 issue(save $5 per issue if you subscribe) You can also get PDF version viewable on most all devices…. Click on link below…..

Writing Prompt- What’s On Your Mind, Right Now?: This Week’s Global Events

Well, it’s been an eventful week to say the least, you’ve seen it, I’ve seen it the world has experienced it. George Floyd’s death is still ( rightly so) making headlines. Also, the ever changing statistics regarding Covid-19 ,and let’s not forget what I would call insulting or outrageous comments from Donald Trump.  It’s been a week so I’ve stolen one of my own blog writing challenges from 365 Days of Writing Prompts for Romance Writers, ‘what’s on your mind, right now?’ You know me, never one to shy away from a well articulated and deeply reflective POV.

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Was it Murder to the 2nd Degree?

I’m not American, as you know so I did have to research firstly what murder to the 3rd degree was, in terms of American law to understand the first charge against  Derek Chauvin. In all honesty, from what I read it ( 3rd degree murder) came across to me as an outsider, non-legal person, non-American just someone trying to understand what this  type of murder is, that 3rd degree is  ‘unintentional’. My first thought was, oh hell no! I know what I saw eight minutes and forty-six seconds of restraint? While being told ‘ I can”t breathe’ You wanna say that’s ‘unintentional’. Then, I read up on the 1st and 2nd degree. In all honesty again, as a person looking in objectivity yes, there was ‘malice’, ‘intent’ and I would argue ‘premeditated’ aspects of that officer’s  actions towards George Floyd. Therefore I’d say from what I saw it was more like 2nd degree murder. Many that I had exchanges with in discussion on social media felt, there was not really a premeditated action. I personally looked at the evidence 1. that officer knew George  apparently they had ‘history’ 2. that officer had a string of complaints against him (which went un-handled) evidencing his ‘premeditated’ actions and ‘malice’ towards men of colour. But hey, who am I ? Just a member of the public trying to apply the evidence to the law, fairly and remove my own personal feeling. I know what I saw, and I know what I read about the definitions of murder and yes, I believe murder to the 2nd or even 1st degree is correct.

Trump’s Never Ending Insults

Yes, insults that’s what I’d call them. I remove how I personally feel about his tendencies as a human being, and focus on what comes out of  his mouth. He has made two very insulting comments this week, especially with regards to George Floyd ‘ looking down from heaven.’ I don’t need to remind you what he said, if you’ve been following the news you’ll know. His tweets have been made highly public. Then, there’s the comment about what he has done for African-Americans…. I’ll wait, because I can’t see what has been done. Apart from efforts to divide American people with his comments, racial slurs he has historically made about Africa the continent, Chinese people and God knows what else. I won’t even rant on about this, but in all honesty the man is insulting and a disgrace…I said it. I’m not the only one who feels this way, and you don’t have to be an American to see it. Celebrities, as well as members of society, black, white, brown, and anything else are disgusted. I understand he has supporters and honestly I hold nothing against them, it’s just the insults from him I find hard to comprehend or support.

World-Wide Protests! And Pressure!

Oh I felt so proud when London showed up, and marched in the streets in support of George Floyd. I am loving the fact that world-wide people are coming together France, Ghana, Italy, Syria you name it. I’ve seen the support and I’m sure you have too. It’s wonderful to see people of all colours saying, ‘I Can’t Breathe’.  Not just for George Floyd, but every person of colour who is some kind of ‘public enemy’ for not just for police brutality, but society who have some kind of distaste for them simply for skin colour.

Which brings me to a point, while I am loving the fact that white Americans and white people are showing support, the whole ‘if they fire stand behind me’ that’s happening across the water in all honesty I’m not loving. I believe it sends the wrong message, as a person of colour I don’t think we can walk around hoping there is a white person to ‘stand behind’ and protect us, stand beside us, friend. If you want to support us, I’ll say it again beside us in union we don’t need to stand behind you. We’ve ‘stood behind’ for so long it’s 2020 not 1960. But, don’t get me wrong people of colour welcome your support with all our hearts. And I see the kind, good, and loving message that is trying to be sent with ‘if they shoot stand behind me’ or white people standing in front of non whites at protests who are marching for equality. We see it!  We love it! We want you there we do! And thank you from the bottom of our hearts, but reflect on the other side of the coin. Would beside be better than behind? Maybe? I’m just saying.

Covid-19

Man, I am at a loss with this. Yesterday I read a article on the death tolls and how many feel, protests and breaking ‘lock down’ will bring a new surge of illness. Yeah… I hear this,  really I do. My only thought on this is BE CAREFUL keep apart, wear masks, and have organised protests if at all  possible. Maybe I am a little naive in saying this, how can you have ‘organised protests’ when there’s so much passion? Covid-19  is serious, and something we do need to tackle. I listened in to a talk show on Thursday, the discussion was ‘are people right to put lives at risk, in order to protest’. My view was, if you’re not ill then you are free to show support and try to stay at a distance. It made me think though, how important the ‘I Can’t Breathe’ campaign is to some, so important many Londoners and those around the world have given Covid-19 the middle finger to march or support and change. Power to you!

There’s still not much evidence on the impact  on children with Covid-19 and if they can be key carriers. My son has not returned to school I still won’t send him. I wrote about that a little while ago.I still support social distancing and lock down where possible, for those who a vulnerable with health. I have become a ‘keyboard warrior’ showing my support for change in the world right now.

Online Racism…

Let’s think about this. Last week I saw a high number of very openly racist, derogatory and down right disrespectful comments on Facebook.  Some were from law enforcement too, teachers, nurses and people in a position of ‘trust’ in society in terms of their jobs. I joined the force with an active group to shut it down. I’d like to encourage you also, if you see these kind of posts shut it down, contact the employers of the racists and show them the evidence of how their employees are behaving. I wrote about that a last week also.  Do what you can, if you can’t be on the street protesting keep an eye out online. Last week, I saw more than ten racists fired, their employers put out public statements! Well done, stamp it out we don’t need it.

So, that’s my account of the world right now, and how I’ve been taking part to show support for #BlackLivesMatter and #ICantBreathe. And while I’m at  it, I just want to say saying ‘black lives matter’ does not mean no one else does, but saying ‘all lives matter’ ignores the fact that can be statistically supported that, black and brown lives are wiped out the most in society. By police or other members of society who are ‘trigger happy’ I call it, and happy to kill first and ask questions later. It can’t be ignored,  it has gone on for too long, the statistics are ear-watering to read. Black lives matter because they are wiped out more than others, simple. Until you can dispute that point with evidence based figures and statistics they will ALWAYS matter,  it does not mean no one else does not. It’s evidence based that they need to be focused on and highlighted that they matter.

Have a wonderful weekend! Keep well until the next ‘rant’ LOL.

 

 

 

 

Why Does He Trigger You?

Yet again I woke up in a real reflective mood, I  checked the news to see what’s going on. I’m  Just thinking out loud, I woke up this morning and looked at my son, but I looked at him different. I didn’t see his pretty eyes, long braids, beautiful face and cute smile with missing teeth and admire him 😆. Nope, for a good minute or two I stared at him and I saw him in ten years aged sixteen, well over six foot. (His dad’s 6’3 and already my boy is over half the size of me I’m 5’5 😳), I imagined facial hair, long braids and his natural powerful build and stance that make black men so amazing to look at fully clothed💯.

 

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Then I wondered if the world will still see his beauty, that I see and what makes him a black male as a monster, would ‘Karen’ call the cops on him for the entering a location. Would society see him as a threat. I really hope not and there’s only one way to ensure that 😤 I’m telling you, black Americans and all supportive white Americans keep applying that pressure people around the world are supporting you apply it where needed, don’t let these modern day slave masters and wolves in sheep’s clothing who’ve just swapped their whips for a uniform and a gun get away with it! I don’t care who doesn’t like what I have to say about the law enforcement, they need to show me something different before I can change my POV. If the police in Europe aren’t such savages towards men of colour why do they need to be 🧐 that is a statement not a question!

The case that hurt me the most was probably Trayvon Martin’s, I still think about it but I think George Floyd’s has topped it after watching that video and also the man who was jogging a few weeks back it really hurts me still. Black men, brown men, we love you, you are needed and I love you from the bottom of my heart even if I never had a son, I just do. There’s something about you that has the world on edge, you’re capable of so much if given the right resources and start in life, I think that itself some don’t like the idea of 😤.

Anyway I’ll try not to rant today, I said try… not promise 😆 depends what’s on my timeline  on Facebook and in the news today 😤💯. Good morning though.

#blacklivesmatter
#justiceforgeorge

Dear African American Man -An Open Letter #JusticeForFloyd #BlackLivesMatter #ICantBreathe

In the last twenty four hours I’ve been pretty disgusted ( more than normal), about the police brutality against men of colour in America.  After I viewed the video of George Floyd’s death while surrounded by four police officers,  while one of them had his knee on his neck while George said ‘I can’t breathe’  I took to Facebook. I followed some reports, then  I wrote an open letter to African American men just randomly without over thinking it, well  for all men of colour. I’m sharing it here today as It means so much to me in-light of what’s going on right now. If you feel just as disgusted as I do, do something anything it could be so small. Advocate, provide encouragement, share news reports and most of all apply the fucking pressure where needed for change!! America’s statistics of deaths of black men at the hands of police and society in general is not the ‘norm’ , or standard any country should aspire to! Compared to the rest of the world it’s very worrying.

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Dear African American man,

I don’t understand what’s happening in the USA, why there are so many deaths at the hands of police officers. It’s very hurtful for me to see as a non American, in my part of the world it’s not something we experience so often. But if this is read by any African American male just know while the world is against you, I’m here still in your corner, praying for you, I still support you, and no matter what reputation you’ve gained globally, or in your own country I will never give up on you. You’re not perfect I know 🙄, no one is and your lives are full of challenges from:

The police.
Society.
Men who look like you.
And women who look just like me. Some put you down and feel ‘you ain’t worth shit’ in such general terms, when it’s not ALL of you.

Truth is, to me you’re worth so much more than gold. Your style, your strength, your physical build, your mind, intelligence, the different shades you come in 🥴 everything about you ‘dazzles’ me and some times when I look at some of you I blush 😉 you’re amazing. 😍. I love all of it and you too, I always will. I feel so proud of you and to have been blessed with a son. Whether it’s a black British man, African American man, Caribbean man or African man you are just the shit!! 🖤✔️🙌🏽 Don’t forget that.

But seriously, I wanna ask you a favour can you please come together and stop killing each other and intelligently reclaim your credibility and place in society? You’re stronger together than as enemies. Right now, you’re at war with others it’s time to bring out the ‘intelligent, inner warrior’ in you. Malcolm, Martin, Marcus etc you know these names what advice did they have for your survival? Think back 🤔. Please stay strong, out of trouble, and fight back against the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual attack on you.

Keep safe! With love, your number one supporter.
Kim.

 

#BlackLivesMatter    #JusticeForFloyd #ICantBreathe

The Long Weekend- Reflections, Energy and Rambles

Good morning and happy Sunday! I’m really trying to slowly get back into this ‘just writing’, personally and from the heart with updates and rambles.  I  miss the daily writing prompt challenges from WordPress, it’s been a good few years they stopped it. I was just trying to search WordPress for a blogger that does daily challenges, or picture writing prompt challenges without much luck. Can you recommend a great blog to follow that does these? 

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Reflections…the last week in my world ‘locked down’

Anyway, another week down, another week in lock down too in my house. And another week of no school! Last week, I did a lot of reflection on the return to and re-opening of schools.  Not much has changed in my mind on further reflection. However yesterday I did find a fantastic resource to help with home schooling those that are continuing with this. A children’s author on Facebook shared her handwriting books which are available on Amazon, really inexpensive and look good! I snapped one up to keep us going until September.

Home schooling generally is going well I’m trying to be consistent with it, in all honesty I have seen the improvement in my son’s overall abilities in writing and spelling. So that I am thankful for.

Last week, I also got the edits back finally from my publisher for Sacrifices. A historical romance with a touch of suspense, I wrote about a year ago. I’m really keen to get going on the ‘early edits’ as they called it, as I’ve not actually read my work since they accepted it back in February.  August is set to be the release date, not long to go. I’m also really excited to see what they do with the cover, based on the brief I gave them as this is unlike any other story I’ve created before. I enjoyed setting a story in the 1950s-1960s and right in the height of the civil rights movement across the USA. It was a challenge, but a different and enjoyable one.

Last week’s Highlights…

We had some nice weather last week, and the BBQ was pulled out too. I do love a good BBQ I seem to be getting better at it LOLZ. It’s only a tiny one but it does so well, I hope next week and over this long weekend we get some more sun so I can make use of it. I don’t plan on leaving the house or taking any trips. I myself and family are staying very much in ‘lock down’ and social distancing. I thank the goodness for the small outside space to get some fresh air.

This morning read a few blogs here that I follow, many people have  highlighted the front of this weekend’s New York Times newspaper. It has 1,000 names on of those who have passed away from Covid-19. I was really touched by it ‘1,000 people, damn’ I said out loud in disappointment. And that’s only those that have been recorded, I’d take a bet there are many more.

Talking of Covid-19, over this last week I had a conversation with a friend who is living over in Brazil she told me, that their president has been against the ‘lock down’ all along! And as a result, the country is really losing it’s battle against the virus. I asked myself how could anyone be totally against it? Just look at the statistics, it’s eye watering reading over the amount of cases and deaths. But…. I won’t rant on.

How are things going with the management of Covid-19 where you are? I’d love to hear in any comments.

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Fresh energy…Reiki Anyone?

This weekend for me has been a very relaxing for me, I’ve not done much apart from read. But, I did sign myself up to an online Reiki course which  I am soooooo excited about, I was up until about 4:00a.m I started the course’s reading materials. It’s an online course and I was originally looking at an offer I saw for a soap making course, something else I wanted to learn how to do. (May as well up-skill myself during the pandemic aye). The Reiki course was on offer so I could hardly pass it up, but it wasn’t the price that really attracted me (even though it’s an absolute steal!) Those of you who know me well, know I really enjoy things like metaphysics, physics, astrology the strange and unusual so naturally I’d be drawn to this. However, a few months ago I had my first ever Reiki session performed on me….from a distance too! The practitioner was in a place in the world I have on my bucket list to see— New Orleans, USA.

She’s a qualified practitioner of Reiki of course, and many of you may wonder if this would even work at a distance….well it did! I felt the ‘energy’ transition to me it was wonderful I felt great after, I really needed it. At the same time, I relaxed on my sofa as she did the Reiki for me and at one point, I felt like I was being pulled off my sofa. Seriously, I kid you not this really works!! Don’t doubt it. Have you ever had a Reiki session? What’s your views on it?

There are three levels to the course, it mainly involves reading and some meditations in order to qualify to a level that you can teach others. There’s also a part on charging crystals with Reiki energy. I don’t think I’ll teach it even if I complete the Reiki Master level, but I’d love to carry it out on myself or others.  So far,  listening to the lectures has been very interesting learning about the founder of the energy healing method, and how it made it’s way from Japan to the western world. So this is my new ‘up skill’ course for the rest of this long- term lock down. And learning how to make soap.

My plan for today is, to finish reading a horror book I have for a book tour, listen into some of my Reiki course lessons and generally chill. If the weather picks up, may even crank the BBQ up. Right now, it’s pretty cloudy as I sit out and write this, today may not be the day but I remain hopeful for this afternoon’s weather! I hope you have a wonderful long weekend, and keep safe wherever you are! What are your plans?

 

101: Narrating Audio Books, And Having Your Books Narrated, What’s The Deal?

 

coming soonThe last few weeks have been a very unexpected experience for me! I got two jobs narrating two audio books, and uploaded my books to be narrated. That was the main intention, to have my books placed into audio and open it up to auditions. After speaking with a fellow author on Facebook, who happens to be an audio book narrator, I decided to see if there was any demand for British narrators following her encouragement. She was sure British accents would be some kind of ‘hot commodity’ that’s needed. LOL Turns out there is a massive demand!!

I did two auditions, of just two minutes reading a script for two books that interested me, and got both books offered to me to narrate. One from a publisher and one from an author. I thought I’d share both sides of the coin, how to place your books in audio, and why you might also wish to consider becoming a narrator yourself!

Where Do Authors Find Narrators?…

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy…head to ACX’s site this is Audible and Amazon’s website HERE.  

Simply log in using your own Amazon account, or set up one under your author/narrator pen name. Then, head to the section which states ‘add projects’. Here upload the details and Amazon will automatically pull your book in, confirm it and that’s it! Then, you need to add a script for narrators to audition with. I recommend not placing your whole MS up there, just copy and paste a sample. It does not have to be the first pages either, you can use a really tense scene, steamy scene etc, to see how  potential narrators would handle these aspects of your book. Or just opt for a sample from the first chapter. Either  way paste it into the box, or save a Word.doc  and upload it. Bosh! Done you’re book is out there for narrators to find.

What Cost Are Involved For Authors?…

None, if you don’t want there to be. Authors and publishers are able to place their book(s) up, and offer what’s called a ‘life long royalty share option’ to the narrator. This means, if you are willing to give exclusive rights to Amazon and Audible you just split all royalties earned from audio sales with the narrator. You’ll receive 20% and so will they, each month for life. The rest goes to Amazon and Audible of course.

Or, you can pay narrators a fee per audio hour they produce. This option will involve costs to you. So if a narrator’s fee is £50.00 per hour produced for example, and your book is eight hours long = 8 x 50.00=  £400.00 must be paid to the narrator.

Or, lastly you can offer the royalty share option + an amount for each audio hour, say £20.00. So if your book is eight hours again 8 x 20.00= £160.00 PLUS a 20 % royalty share per month.

There are three options, the first one you have to give Amazon and Audible exclusive rights, with the other two you are free to have  your book sold in audio elsewhere. But there’s costs to you. So if you don’t want upfront costs, then don’t go with them.

How Do Authors Find Narrators?…

Once you’ve added your book(s) as projects, fill out the options to decide what kind of narrator you’d like. eg accent, age, type of reader eg versatile, feminine, husky etc Basically narrow down the options to the best voice you feel would be suited, or that you’d like to hear bring your work alive. Press submit and that’s it.

Narrators looking for projects will come across your book(s), and if they are interested audition. You will get an alert of an audition and can hear their voice.

What Happens Next?….

Your book(s) will be up for ‘audition’ and narrators can find you.You should hopefully start receiving auditions and hearing different voices. You can respond to anyone who takes your fancy. You can also search the data base of narrators based on the criteria you selected, then invite them to audition or reach out in some way. Once your book(s) are up, it’s time to either reach out, or kick back and wait for people to find you.

Once you offer a project the narrator has two days to accept, if they do you upload the full MS. Then, they will start working and submit to you a fifteen minute sample of their work, before the deadline agreed. You will then approve it or not, and if you do they continue and you kick back, and wait for your book to be transformed into audio by the agreed due date! Then it goes up on sale once complete and ACX has approved it for quality.

Are Narrators Willing To Do The Work With No Upfront Fee?

In short, yes I was and would do it again. Depending on 1. if they feel your book will sell 2. they have a genuine interest in your book 3. you include in your book’s details what you plan to do about marketing. To inform potential narrators who may have an interest what you’ll do to spread the word. So they can see potential.

Of course there are professional voice actors who are not! And wish to be paid a fee, rather than  risk the time and effort, your book sells little or nothing or not what they would have imagined.

My Experience So Far, As An Author…

Well as an author my books have only been up just over a week, I have not had auditions yet, but one narrator did make contact and say she would like to audition once she’s finished up a few books she’s working on this month. I honestly think patience will be needed. That said, I would advise any author wanting to place their work into audio, to be just that patient. Don’t run with the first voice you hear unless it grabs you! Remember you are looking for someone who will bring your story alive, be it fiction or non-fiction. I’m more than happy to wait and hear the right voice and emotions for my work. If you do this, I suggest you do too.  This will increase the chances of you being happy,  once the audio book is produced. I found that it was a very easy process to place my books up on ACX too.

My Experience So Far, As Narrator…

Wonderful!! Like I said, pick books and subjects that genuinely interest you. One book is non-fiction and is in the esoteric,  spirituality, and metaphysics genre so of course I’m loving it! And it’s a short book, just 15,000 words or so. The second is a autobiography, this lady’s story really interests me too. The third, which the publisher emailed me about this week to potentially narrate, is a fiction book in the women’s fiction genre. This should be interesting as it will be a different type of narration voice for me, proper voice acting for different characters! I will review it and see if I am drawn to it and the characters.

The thing is, it’s not as easy as reading out a book, you do need to make it interesting and ‘act’,  even if it’s not a fictional book. Think of the listeners, so adjusting your tone, speed and how you wish to present the author’s work for listeners in an engaging way, is key. Secondly, it can take time! To learn the software, to edit, and re-record the words and sentences you stumble on LOL. But it really has been a great experience for me, and  would do more for this publisher and other authors for sure.

I am now more than fifty percent through my first book, and hope to get it all l completed this week or next. That’s the other thing, you will agree with the author or publisher a reasonable due date. I recommend, no matter how short the book ask for six-eight weeks on the project. Unless you really feel you could or want to do it in less time.

My advice is take your time, aim for perfection and quality ( after all you want good reviews, and more work from the publisher or author). And you want to do it right, right? You need time to get each chapter correct.  I would advise you take more time, and if possible do it in less or at a pace that works for you.

When you start out I would not take on too  many projects either, if you don’t have much time on your hands. I only took on two as the first book is so short, and the second is a novel. I would not have taken on two novels in my first attempt at this, trust!

Hence why, the first project that I searched for I wanted only under three hours production time, in the genres I was interested in, So I didn’t bite off more than I can chew. But from the experience, I do feel I could do a full novel with a good timescale, and one that deeply interests me, hence I took on the second book.

What Do I Need To Narrate Books? Could I Do My Own?

Yes, you can narrate your own. In fact the thought crossed my mind to do mine if I did not find a narrator I really liked. In order to narrate books, be it your own or someone else’s all you need is…

  • a decent microphone and pop filter. ( Don’t even think about using your computer’s one it’s too crappy). A Pop filter will help to remove mouth noises, and sounds of breathing or inhaling and you DO NEED IT don’t skip it! I would not say you need to buy the most expensive either. Mine cost me under £30.00 with the pop filter. I think about £20.00 and it is ahmaaaaaaaaaaaayzin! Great quality.
  • a laptop or PC.
  • recording and editing software. Which you can grab free!! One called Audacity. ACX recommend a paid expensive software, you don’t need it all all.  I recommend you grab a free software download of Audacity HERE. It’s so simple to use too.
  • And I recommend this great ebook on Audio book production  by Krystal Wascher . Recommended to me by the author who encouraged me to audition, and I too recommend it. It’s like a Bible and a must have. There are many resources on ACX’s website to help, I say get the book too. Free on Kindle Unlimited to read also. Grab it here.
  • A VERY VERY quiet environment, table and chair.  This is key, please don’t think that any old place will do. I record in my bedroom ( at the back of the house away from the main road). Choose a quiet room, the smaller the better too.
  • Water to drink!

Overall, I think that audio books are great I have listened to them in the past. I also think that as authors it’s great to reach as many readers , via as many channels as you can! So while I am now redoing all paperbacks for my self-published works, I’m also doing audio books. My publisher who I signed with for my historical romance,  really, really also recommends that audio is the way to go…. so go for it authors!

On the other hand, if you’re someone who thinks yeah, I have the time and skill or even desire to narrate books I say go for it too. Pick the books and genres carefully, stick to what interests you. Also, think of what your voice may suit also! Keep in mind that fiction work will have characters, so you will need to adjust for this. Male and female voices, non-fiction the author will want a different approach to how their book is narrated.

There is a demand for all accents. So I’ll give this a crack, add to my monthly royalties coming in and have some fun too!

Also, there are things to help you decide on books, such as the reviews it has on Amazon, sales rank, and how established the author is, their marketing plan etc. But at the end of the day, it’s down to you to decide. You may feel a book will sell well, but  it may not sell as many copies and vice versa.

Decide if you want to be paid a fee or via royalty share or both! Remember royalty share is for life. Also remember that as the narrator you should invest in the book’s potential for sales too. Promote it once produced, you are a shareholder in it after all!!

Give it a go if you feel you’d enjoy it. Any questions get in touch or drop them in the comments.