Those of you who still follow my Blogger blog will have seen the Times Are Changing post. But for those of you who didn't, here's the gist of it.
With work, writing, and many people preferring other forms of social media, regular blogging sort of slipped to the wayside.
But recently, a Facebook memory of an old Live Journal post I'd shared led me down a rabbit whole, where I realised I actually miss blogging.
Not only do I miss the interaction with others, but I miss having physical records of my life to look back on.
So, to that ends I'm planning on blogging regularly again. I think it would be overly overoptimistic to set a schedule, but I would like to update once a month. We'll see how things go.
It's been something I've been thinking about doing for a while now, and I looked at a few different sites a couple of months ago, but none of them felt right.
Now I've decided to keep everything neat and in one place - and have a fresh start as far as blogging is concerned - I'm moving to a blog hosted here on my website.
I'm not closing down my Blogger blog entirely. I'm going to leave it there for cover reveals, release blitzes etc. and to preserve my previous posts. But my 'main' blog, with frequent updates about both my writing, and my life, will be here.
So, what can you expect to find on my blog?
First and foremost, this isn't going to be a blog specifically dedicated to writing or real life, but rather both. I've had separate blogs in the past, and maintaining one is hard enough, let alone two! lol
So, this blog will be a little of both, containing updates on real life, my family, work, and of course my books and writing.
I'll try to use category tags so things are easy to find, and I also plan on formatting each post with bold and underlined subheadings, so if there's something you want to skip, you can easily do so.
I am also more than welcome to suggestions, and as time goes on, if there's something you want to see less or more of, please let me know!
So, What Have I being Doing Since January 2017?
I'll try to keep this brief, as I'll be covering five months, but I thought a good first post would be an update of what's been going on in my life since the beginning of the year.
Work For Curiosity Quills
I'm still part of the marketing team for Curiosity Quills Press, and this July will mark my four year anniversary with them. The new year, and subsequent months have seen some staff and practice changes.
Former director of marketing Nikki moved onto pastures new, and in her place Nina's role as film rights negotiator was upgraded to content strategist. Andrew had to step down from many of his marketing duties, to focus on his own writing career, but is still part of the team as an acquisitions editor. Recently, CQ author Wilbert joined the marketing team, and he's been helping immensely with event organisation. Alisa, Eugene, Tanya and Hans are still there, working with both marketing and production, as well as dividing their time on the new project, which will hopefully be launching soon, and involves subscription boxes.
My role hasn't changed all that much - I'm still overseeing social media and the reviewer newsletter, as well as acting as a liaison between authors and the cover artist(s), and of course contributing to the marketing team, with the newsletter (shared with Nina), and strategies for events, promotions, projects etc.
I never thought I'd have a job I love as much as this. In my late teens / early twenties shop work etc. was horrible, and I couldn't imagine myself doing it forever. I looked into different career paths, like cosmetology and child care, but nothing stuck.
It wasn't until I found something to combined some of the technical skills I'd learned (computing, graphics design, spreadsheet management etc.), with my love of books and literature, that I really found my place in the world.
Working for CQ not only allows me to be around for my family, and devote time to writing, but I get to work with an amazing bunch of people, and learn a lot about the publishing industry. I couldn't be happier.
Writing Career: All It Takes, And Future Stories
In February this year I released my debut novel, a contemporary romance called ALL IT TAKES, and I was blown away by the response.
For me, writing isn't quite a career (as I earn enough to live on from CQ), but it's more than a hobby. I didn't want to make millions from my novels, or become a huge celebrity like JK Rowling, I just wanted to touch people with my words. I wanted to bring some joy into their lives, and offer them an escape from their stresses, even if it's just for a few hours.
Well, I've certainly done that, and the response to ALL IT TAKES has been largely positive. I've sold more than I ever imagined I would, and have had fantastic feedback in response - including relatives emailing me to say how great the story was!
Just this past weekend, I had my Granddad and Step-Nan telling me how proud they were of me. My granddad even offered to translate it into Greek! lol
Since then, I followed it up with I WANT YOU TO WANT ME, an LGBT short-story, that's part of the WHERE WORDS FAIL MUSIC SPEAKS anthology. I also have plans to release SEEKING THE TRUTH, a urban-fantasy / paranormal-romance novella (that I originally wrote for another anthology) this October.
Currently I'm working on an age-gap romance tentatively titled EVERY MOMENT WITH YOU. I'm still deciding what to do when it's complete (currently on 67k). Should I query it, or serialise it and then self-publish?
I also have plans to write a holidays themed novella, to release in December, but as it's only a couple of pages so far, and I'm not 100% sold on the idea, we'll have to see how that goes ...
Family and Kids
Things on the home front are fantastic! Hubby and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary back in April. We went to the cinema to see Beauty and the Beast - it was an excellent day out. We've now been together fifteen year in total, and couldn't be happier. I don't know how we don't drive each other crazy, considering we're both self-employed, so aside from when we're asleep we're together every minute of the day, but if it's possible, I'd say we're even more in love than when we met.
I think this quote from the Deadpool movie perfectly sums up our relationship:
Wade Wilson: Listen, I've been thinking.
Vanessa Carlysle: Really?
Wade Wilson: About why we're so good together.
Vanessa Carlysle: Why is that?
Wade Wilson: Well, your crazy matches my crazy, big time.
Vanessa Carlysle: Mm.
Wade Wilson: And, uh, we're like two jigsaw pieces, you know, and we have curvy edges.
Vanessa Carlysle: But you fit them together and you see the picture on top.
Both boys are healthy, happy and growing well. Oldest is now fourteen, and recently picked his GCSE options. I cannot believe he only has two years of school yet. He's still undecided what he'll do once he leaves, but he's leaning towards collage. While he had a girlfriend a few year ago, since they broke up, he's just been keeping his head down, focusing on his school work, and hanging out with his mates.
Youngest is now seven, which is the age Oldest was when Youngest was born!! It's crazy to think that. He's doing well at school, and achieving all the targets he should. He's more shy and less outspoken that Oldest, but still happy and has a small group of friends he plays with frequently.
We all went on holiday to Weston Super Mare last year, and had a fabulous time. We're thinking about going again this summer, but we've also been invited to my uncle's wedding in Cyprus in September 2018, so we might forego a holiday this year, to save for next year's.
Speaking of weddings, my little sister got married this past weekend! It was a beautiful ceremony, and she looked simply stunning. Not only was it fantastic to be there as she got married, but it was great seeing aunts and uncles, and my grandparents, who I haven't seen for a while.
Mum and Step-Dad are doing well. Mum is still working in care, and recently got offered a new job. Step-Dad retired a few years ago, and now spends his time growing plants, that they sell during the summer at car boot sales. They have the boys down regularly, which is nice, and me and Mum try to meet up for coffee about once a month.
It was really nice sharing a room with her for sister's wedding. We stayed up late chatting, and she told me stories about my paternal grandparent.
Dad is well, dad! lol ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ He got married for a second time about six years ago, and moved down to Southampton with his new wife (who already lived there). We haven't seen them since! He phones every 4-ish months and invites us to visit and / or says they will come up here for a day trip, but nothing ever comes of it. It is what it is. I know what type of relationship to expect from him now, so it doesn't really bother me. It'd be great if he could come up and visit, but I'm not going to lose sleep if he can't.
Dieting, Keto and Weight Loss
Last year, the doctor suggested hubby should loose some weight, as the medication he's on causes him to gain and retain weight. After we went to Weston, one of Hubby's friends told him about the ketogenic diet. With a focus on proteins and fats, and very little carbs, it sounded right up Hubby's street, so in September he started dieting. Since the he has lost about 54 pounds.
Seeing how well he was doing, I decided to start dieting in January, also on the keto diet, and have lost 28 pounds.
I think my progress is a little slower than Hubby's, as he's stricter than me, as I still sneak fruit and veg sometimes, and have had more 'breaks' than he has, but all in all things are going well.
We had a massive break this weekend for sister's wedding, and then went to the cinema (Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is amazing!), but on the whole I do not miss carbs or sugar at all. Occasionally, we make 'healthy' treats, like cakes/ ice-cream etc. with stevia instead of sugar, and almond flour instead of wheat flour. I also find Hartley's sugar-free jelly really helps give me a sweet kick, but with only 10 calories.
Since dieting, I've developed a love of avocado, and eat one about four days of the week, made into guacamole and served on top of Mexican chicken salad. Yummy!
Aaaaand I think that's everything. Likely there's things I've missed, but I guess if they're not coming to mind, they can't be that important. Plus, I did say I'd keep this brief. Brief my arse! lol
Hopefully, if I'm updating about once a month, the next post won't be quite as massive.
Until then. I hope everyone is good, and has a healthy, happy June.
Thoughts, feelings and random updates from romance author Clare Dugmore.