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Writing Retreats!

Thank you to Tea And Scribbles (FAB name for a blog btw!) for posting my guest post on writing retreats today: http://teaandscribblesbooks.blogspot.com/ 

If you have time please nip over to have a look and check out all the book reviews at the same time! 🙂

Cheers – Ella 🙂

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Book Blog Tour and TOMS GIVEAWAY!!!!

The High-Heels And Slippers blog tour is well underway and I must say it is incredibly exciting (and just a bit nerve wracking) watching the reviews come in.   So far the response has been great – yay!  I thought it might be fun to see Josie’s reaction to the feedback and unsuprisingly she seems to be a little dramatic about the whole thing! 😉 Check it out here: http://highheelsandslippers.wordpress.com/

Thank you to Michelle @ Just Jump for her rave review: http://lovelivejustjump.blogspot.com/2011/12/book-review-high-heels-and-slippers-by.html

And to  Molly for her 5 Book rating and review @ http://lovelivejustjump.blogspot.com/2011/12/book-review-high-heels-and-slippers-by.html 

Thank you both so much – I’m thrilled you enjoyed the book! 🙂

Well that is definitely enough about me! I am VERY excited to say that I am taking part in the TOMS Book Blog Giveaway!!!  I’ve  just finished reading Blake Mycoskie’s book “Start Something That Matters” and loved it! I’ll be posting a review in the next few days and I have one copy of the book to GIVE AWAY!!!!  YAY!   And I will send it anywhere in the world! 🙂 I’ll keep you posted with details of how you can win this FREE copy. 

In the meantime if you have never heard of TOMS shoes please check out their website: http://www.toms.com/  The one for one programme is such a FAB concept and the shoes are super-comfortable – really everybody should have a pair! 😉

Have a FAB day everyone! Ella

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A quick update! :-)

Wow so much going on and hardly any time to write it all down – eek! First I wanted to say a HUGE THANK YOU for all the support I received at my book launch a couple of weeks ago. We had a great time and I was absolutely bowled over by the turnout and encouragement – it was just FAB!!! I will be posting pics on the blog as soon as I can get my hubby to download them from his Mac!

I also wanted to let you know that High-Heels And Slippers is currently on tour!! Many thanks to Rea for her review! 🙂 You can read it here:

http://reabookreview.blogspot.com/

As part of the book tour I’m currently participating in my first ever author interview with blog tour organizer Samantha Robey.  Eeeeeeeeeek! You can read it here (and laugh at my answers as I try to sound important!) at:

http://chicklitplus.com/interview-ella-slayne/
And there is a new Josie blog up – see how she reacts the first review of her novel! 😉

http://highheelsandslippers.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/josie-jenkins-responds-to-first-official-review/

 

I would love to hear from you so if you have chance to comment please do! 🙂 Have a smiley day! Ella

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Swimsuits And Writing Critiques

My daughter recently joined a swim team.  She loves to swim so it seemed like a good idea. I bought her a new swimsuit to celebrate.  It was one of those sporty swimsuits; navy blue and designed for serious swimming!   Of course she hated it and immediately told me so.   She didn’t like the straps because “they felt strange”.  She didn’t like the colour because “it was too dark” and she wasn’t going to wear it because she was certain she would be the only swimmer in the pool wearing “that kind of swimsuit.”  She wanted to wear her favourite swimsuit; the one with spaghetti straps covered in pink and lime hearts.

A heated debate ensued, where I explained that it was better to keep her strappy swimsuits for fun and use the new one for swim team because it was designed to be comfortable for competitive swimming.   In return she shouted a lot, there were tears and a slammed door, but  to my surprise I eventually won and my daughter solemnly went to her room to change. 

When it came to the next swim class I prepared myself for another battle.  I handed her the swim-bag and waited for the moans and groans.  But none came.  Instead my daughter skipped off to change with the comment: “Thanks for getting me this new swimsuit Mum, you were right: it’s much better for swim team!”  I was dumbfounded. 

It occurred to me that receiving a tough writing critique is similar to this in some ways.  It’s natural to be attached to our writing. We can be particularly proud of a certain phrase or a character. Then we take our work to the critique group only to find that our fellow trusted writers suggest cutting that particular phrase or even that we change a character or plotline.  And we balk at the advice; it hurts.  We suck it up and go home with a mind to ignore it completely! What do they know anyway right?

But see here’s the thing: if we wait a while and then pluck up the courage to look at that advice again, we usually find that they were right after all.  And if we can be brave enough to take it on board and make some changes, we find that our work has improved.

I have really found that the best advice I’ve received has been feedback that I’ve thought, at first, was negative and hard to take.  I’ve sobbed into the pages of my manuscript lamenting the ruthless suggestion to cut whole paragraphs.  I have cried spooning sugar into my cup of tea as I mull over the suggestion to rewrite a whole plotline.  But every time, when I have had the guts to do it, it has worked out for the better and I have almost certainly learned much more in the process.

So I think writing critiques are just like my daughter and the swimsuit.  We should be open and try the new swimsuit on, even if we don’t like the colour or style… because we might find that actually it’s a perfect fit! 🙂

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Quote for the day!

I came across this quote today and it made me smile 🙂

“If at first you succeed, try not to look too astonished.”
                    – Herm Albright
 
Hmm…it would be nice to get it right first time… 😉
 
 
 

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Blown Away!

Ok so the internet apparently turned twenty a couple of days ago.  Seems unbelievable that it’s only been twenty years since it was launched and now it has become such an integral part of our lives.   I’ve been even more aware of this since I released High-Heels And Slippers as an ebook.  Not just because of the whole epublishing thing, which would simply not have existed twenty years ago, but because I’ve been researching and sourcing relevant networks, forums, websites.  It is absolutely incredible how much is out there.  How much support and advice you can find just by doing careful internet searches.  And it blows me away!

It’s fantastic that you can reach like-minded people all over the globe, that you can share info and learn from each other.  I love humans – I love humans because of what we can achieve, because we have this wonderful urge and ability to reach out and communicate.  It’s empowering and humbling at the same time.

I’ve been reaching out on Twitter, Facebook and the internet.  I’ve joined new forums like SheWrites and ChickLit Writers. I’ve subscribed to more blogs so that I can learn from the poeple who write them. I’m making comments and asking questions. And I’m meeting some lovely people along the way – thank you to the internet for making this possible.  Happy 20th Birthday!

Have a great day everyone! 🙂

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I Felt The Fear – And Did It Anyway!

Gulp! I have self-published High-Heels And Slippers as an ebook.  And it feels super-scary and super-exciting at the same time.  And it has been a HUGE learning curve! 

I’d been thinking about it for a while but had stalled because of the fear of rejection and the negative image that self-publishing has had in the past.  But all that has changed, more and more people are using ereaders and with that authors now have the opportunity to put their work out there, if they choose, without the middle man.  There is no doubt that the world of publishing is changing and I decided to take advantage of that.

I am not a computer whizz by any stretch of the imagination.  A lot of time was spent stressing over the formatting.  I downloaded software and  taught myself about the difference between a word document, epub and html.   There’s so much information available and thank goodness most of it in comprehensible for a computer-dummy like me!  I bought my ISBN numbers, I set up accounts on Smashwords, Amazon Kindle and Pubit.  I read ebooks on epublishing and emarketing – which I’m still reading of course! 

There was so much to learn and at times I thought my head would explode!   I have to say that I found the Smashwords StyleGuide by Mark Coker essential reading and would highly recommend anyone thinking of epublishing their book to read it – here’s the link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52  There is also a marketing guide which is very useful: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/305  They are both FREE!

After the initial struggles, the rest of the process was relatively easy.  In less than 24 hours my book for sale on both the Amazon and Smashwords websites!  I put a link on my Facebook page and almost immediately someone bought my book – it was incredible!   Since then I’ve had some more sales  – it feels amazing after three years of work that there are people out there reading my book! 

I’m not sure whether self-epublishing will ever replace the benefits of having a professional agent though, obviously it’s a huge benefit to be able to access the wealth of information and contact that someone in the world of publishing has. But I do think self-publishing my book and having it out there in accessible to the public is much better than having it sitting on my computer hard-drive or stuck in an agent’s slush-pile. 

Now of course I’m working on my marketing strategy and I’m waiting for the feedback  – eek! I must confess to bouts of panic as I wonder what the response will be.  It will be the feedback of the readers who will determine the success of my book. 

Ultimately though, I feel empowered by my epublishing experience and I’m so glad I took the plunge!

What about you? Are you thinking of breaking out into the world of epublishing?  Or are you too apprehensive? Maybe you already have?  Is it working for you? I would love to hear about your epublishing experience! 

Ella 🙂

PS: High-Heels And Slippers is available now @ http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/75878  and http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005E8KCUG

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