How Do You Not Know That!?

We all read, see or hear stuff that makes our mouths drop. Common sense in society in general, seems to have taken a holiday. My daughter used to regularly come home from school and then college, with little quotes from her friends – and we would have a jolly good laugh at their expense – how did they not know that? Here’s a couple of things that bug me (what, another Alex? I hear you say) Yep!

Clothes need washing regularly. You filthy beggar! That’s what my mum called us when we had grubby kid hands. I was brought up in a time when laundry was done daily (I still do) and it was shameful to be grubby and/or smelly. There was a thread on Twitter a few months ago asking people how often they washed their jeans. Some responses were gag-making. ‘Once a month’! ‘Get them out laundry if nothing else to wear.’! Seriously, you’re going to shower your body and hair clean in the morning, and then put on dirty clothes?! I have seen people wearing coats with greasy streaks down the front; where they have wiped their hands. Coats needs washing too people. Fabric holds odours; cigarettes, food, you! Wash your clothes!

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The laundry was becoming seriously unmanageable!

 

Take Vitamin D in winter This is a potentially serious issue for some people. Winter is a time when we in the UK see less sun than usual. Sunshine = Vitamin D. If you have darker skin and you live in Europe, chances are you’re going to need to take Vitamin D supplements – or you may be putting yourself at risk of rickets. A recent tragic news story in UK news, told us how a baby died of rickets at less than a year old. He was black of black parents – I do not understand why her GP had not recommended she take vitamin D supplements during her winter pregnancy. Black skin does not absorb D from sunshine as readily as white skin, and in a dull place like UK, precautions should be taken.

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Take care of your beautiful self during times of little sunshine.

 

Clouds move – No, seriously. The conversation went something like this:-

Girl(looking out of window)- “Oh my God, the clouds are moving!”

Staff (raises eyebrows)- “Are you kidding?”

Girl- “No, the clouds are moving. I didn’t know clouds move.”

Staff – “You’re telling me, that you’ve lived on planet Earth for 16 years and never noticed the clouds moving?”

Girl -”No.”

Staff – “…”

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‘Cumulus Nimbus’ Big Moving Day – and other stories.’

 

Crisps and Pop for breakfast = BAD. I am sure I’m not the only person who has seen the kids on their way to school in the morning eating crisps. When my daughter was in Primary school, there was a kid who I saw eating a bag of crisps and drinking a small bottle of pop at least once a week. College students have freedom to buy whatever they want with their money, some do fine, but others just buy crap. And who is feeding them? The parents! How does anyone, in this day and age, not know that salt and sugar are bad for us – especially everyday for breakfast. How can any parent not know to give their child a good start to the day in the form of toast or porridge or cereal or fruit? There is plenty of information for parents these days – I’m sorry, but there is no excuse.

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Spitting is not only disgusting – Its a health hazard. I’m getting quite pissed off with asking then telling people not to spit. It seems to be a growing habit in the area I live; especially amongst young males, and the occasional female. Spitting carries disease as well as germs. We had eradicated TB in this country – now it’s on the rise again! People might want to put their bags on the floor, and there’s gob everywhere (especially in smoking shelters). Guide dogs walk in it! Wheelchair users get it on their hands! It moves at speed spreading droplets into the air as it flies to the ground. It is gross! And unhealthy! And offensive to see and hear!

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Footballer, Jamie Carragher, spitting at member of the public. Dirty boy!

 

Smaller birds aren’t babies of bigger birds! This was one of my daughter’s friends things. Walking at the beach one sunny day watching the birds peck about, the friend made a comment about the ‘baby birds’. Turns out she thought that the pigeons were the gull’s babies!!!!!! I seriously wondered what was going on in her head.

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What!? It’s not my baby. It’s dinner!

 

Slugs are NOT snails without shells! Overheard small boy and his friend.

Boy – “Look! There’s a snail without a shell.”

Girl – “That’s a slug, Jake. They don’t have shells.”

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“Morning Gary.” “Morning Simon.” “On you way home from a late night again!?”

 

Seriously, I can’t believe some of the things people just don’t know!

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Freelance Blogging, Is It Really Your Bag?

austin_powers_its_my_bag

I have been running this blog for, hmm let’s see, just under 2 ½ years.

What has changed?

Well, my writing has improved, that’s for sure. I know what SEO is – I may not fully understand it, or use it properly, but at least I’ve heard of it! Have become acquainted with technology that did not exist when I was young (I got my first computer when I was 30 and my first mobile phone aged 33) And I have had total freedom on what I write about.

So, What has changed?

one million dollars

I want money. That’s the short answer. More precisely, I want paying for writing. Sure, I have stories published (N.B: You do not get rich – or even comfortable – as a fiction writer), but I have decided it is time I got paid for blogging. Enter: Sophie Lizard ‘beafreelanceblogger.com’.

I discovered this site via Twitter, decided to mosey on down there to take a look, and quickly started to follow every link connected to the business of freelance blogging offered up by Sophie.

Sophie works alongside Lauren Tharp; another experienced blogger, and between them have created a series of easy to follow and understand posts on what you need to do to be a successful freelance blogger.

I obtained a copy of ‘How to Pitch a Blog Post‘ via e-mail. Read it. Wagged my finger at my reflection a few times; “See, this is what you could have been doing 10 years ago!” and recognised the mistakes I have made so far.

I got over-excited when I first started to follow beafreelanceblogger, I sent a query to a posting on ProBlogger, then read the ‘How to Pitch‘ PDF and rolled my eyes – what had I done?!

Not applied in the correct/suggested manner. I probably won’t hear from that person, though I will send a follow up e-mail to make sure. But, it is no biggy – it is a learning experience.

If there is one thing that Sophie Lizard and Lauren Tharp are great at, it is being encouraging. They have a conversational tone that makes one feel as thought they are in the room with you. They don’t use unnecessary technical jargon, acronyms, trendy lingo or the like.

Sometimes there is short, sharp advice, stop thinking and start writing – what are you waiting for? – you got a refusal, so what? Keep going, is the general overall tone; which I like. You see, I need a kick up the backside every so often. I do well when someone shouts at me like a Sergeant Major. If you give me the verbal equivalent of comfy slippers, I’ll sit down with a cuppa and watch TV.

So, What will change?

Well, as far as my personal blog, Flailing Through Life, goes, it will remain the same haphazard, eclectic, sometimes spur-of-the-moment, multi-themed jumble it always has been. I like it like that, and no-one can make me change it *grips stabby implement*

But I am going to spread my blogging wings. Apply for paid work. Why?

Because I’m worth it.

i-found-my-mojo

Shame on You?

How many of you want to hide under your desk when your behaviour at the office party is discussed over the following days? (Yeah you have.)

How many times did you hang your head in shame as a child because of your actions?

Shame: noun

1.the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonourable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another: She was overcome with shame.

2. disgrace; ignominy: His actions brought shame upon his parents.

Psychology Today defines shame as – Shame: A Concealed, Contagious, and Dangerous EmotionShame informs you of an internal state of inadequacy, dishonor, or regret . As a self-conscious emotion,shame informs you of an internal state of inadequacy, unworthiness, dishonor, or regret about which others may or may not be aware.

Shame is closely related to Guilt. Many psychologist will argue that shame is harmful to the inner self. Shame is internalised, shame can destroy self-perception. Good old guilt on the other hand, is an external admission to something you have done wrong – or something you perhaps should have done but failed to. Shame is internalized and deeply connected to our sense of who we are. Guilt is often passing. Shame-based comments appear to be accurate statements about our character or lack thereof. Those comments are easily internalized as truth about who we are, haunting us long after the comment was made. Guilt, on the other hand, fades with time or after corrective action is taken.

We love to ‘name and shame’. Even better, we love to ‘name and shame’ publically; social media is a fantastic tool for the ‘shame-r’ to use against the ‘shame-e’ (So they aren’t real words! Yet! Just you wait).

And shame, might I add, is not in the eye of the beholder. Some people are completely shameless; much like Frank Gallagher.

shame 1

Let’s have a look at Guilt V Shame examples:

Donald Trump tried to intimidate his former FBI director into silence by threatening to release secret recordings of their conversations.

Donald Trump baselessly accused President Obama’s national security adviser of committing a crime — after his White House conspired with the head of the House Intelligence Committee to foment a false scandal.

He violated federal law by claiming proceeds from various Trump products would go to charity, although there is no evidence that Trump ever donated the money to charity.

His vow to use torture on suspected terrorists would violate the Geneva conventions. He would be committing war crimes.

He suggested that women should be “punished” for having abortions and “joked” that he’d date his daughter!!!!! (WTF!)

Seeing a pattern here folks? Mr. T has perhaps the longest list of actions and activities that come under the label ‘guilty’, and yet, the man evidently feels no shame whatsoever. (And not only guilty, but libelous. Seriously, how is this man still President?!)

He believes not only, that he is the law, but that he is above the law. He has been sued over 3,500 times in his career, including 70 times during his campaign. He blithely tweets comments and opinions that seem to have been dredged up from a recent dream. He has absolutely no understanding of world politics and how the historical interference of America and the UK have brought us to where we are today.

The man is a buffoon, without the charm (and I use that term loosely folks) of Boris Johnson. And the irony is, he bandies the word ‘shame’ about like a fat cudgel made of Bratwurst. He truly does not know the emotion of shame. I bet he shits bullets; his insides must be as cast-iron as his skin and brains.

Choose your shameful buffoon

 

Now let’s just enjoy some moments that the man should be ashamed of –

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http://www.pajiba.com/politics/a-complete-list-of-all-the-times-donald-trump-has-broken-the-law.php

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/every-terrifying-thing-that-donald-trump-has-done.html

http://sticktrump.com/

 

 

 

 

Book Blurbs

I ‘attended’ my first webinar…

So, you have completed your novel. You clutch the manuscript (MS) to your bosom like a child, time to release it into the world, set it free..

…but hang on there! Hold your horses! What about that blurb on the back, you know, those 200 or so words that are going to help sell your new baby? Did you know that the book blurb, or back cover text, is what will hook the reader into buying your precious thing? Were you aware that novels can rise or fall on the strength of this blurb?

Using a Typewriter
1oo,ooo words, no problem; cover blurb? Slog, slog, slog.

I self published two small books a long while ago. A children’s story about pirates and later, a collection of stories on the theme of witches and witchcraft – I know, continuity eh? So I completed them, fumbled about to write the back blurb and released them into the wild….result? Nothing, nada, zero, zilch. Oh, one or two copies, but nothing to write home about.

I have trawled through various sites that go into horrendous detail, or give little away about how you actually write this irksome, dread-inducing,  frankly pain-in-the-arse text.Then I found, via other blogs, leading to Twitter and more sites, a woman who is prepared to give her experience to those of us who don’t have a clue.

Glenna Mageau has an excellent way to pass on her advice based on years of experience writing books, and blurbs. https://twitter.com/GlennaMageau

I initially read her blog, then watched her short  course on writing a simple book blurb. I then attended her webinar session, Mastering the Art of Writing Catchy Fiction Book Blurb.   It was a weird experience, my laptop screen was the PowerPoint part of the lesson, I could hear Glenna talking and was able, via a selection of tabs, to ‘Chat’ or ‘Raise Hand’. The hour long event was revealing in its simplicity and exposing my ignorance; for example, did you know you should begin your blurb when you begin your story?! Really!

*Glenna Mageau writes under the nom de plume of Maggie Thom.

read-it
Is your potential reader enthralled?!