updates

October Update

And just like that, October is done. I have had a productive month, even if I haven’t done a great deal of writing.

Writing

I finished the first draft of Zombies and Budgie Smugglers. I am not even going to look at it again until well into the New Year. Despite it being a novella, I found it the most taxing book I have written. Having a nearly 9 year old and a 17 month old made sure of that. Only joking, however, mum duties always come first.

I have started handwriting something new. I am not setting deadlines, so I can take my own sweet time. All I can say is… watch this space.

Blogging

My Picture This series has continued through October. We’re over the half way point, with more scheduled until November 27th.

October marks the last month of Author Toolbox Blog Hop until January 2020. If you missed that post on the benefits of writing by hand you can find it here.

Reading

This month I have read just 2 short books. You can find the links here:

Bug Out Guy by Gavin Griffiths

The Woman Who Lost Her Face by NBC News

What’s Next?

With a holiday fast approaching, and then the festive season zooming around the corner, I am not setting goals in stone. All I can hope is to read and write a little more.

Obviously, my blog series will continue. November 27th is the date of the final episode. I am rethinking series and posts for 2020, so for the time being, I shall be thinking about a few Christmassy posts to write in November and schedule ahead of time to make December easier.


Content belongs to K.J Chapman

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September Update

So, September has shot by in the blink of an eye. My husband and I are another year older, my dad got remarried, and my daughter started another year in school.

Writing

I have been going at a snail’s pace in regards to my writing. Other stuff took priority this month. I’m not in a rush, so it’s no biggie. It’ll be written when it’s written, right?

Reading

I had the pleasure of beta reading Sarina Langer’s Blood of the Dragon. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for a review, but just know it is a fantastic 3rd book in the trilogy.

I am still reading Girl Online by Zoe Sugg, and my hope is to finish it in a week or so, and then get another novel under my belt before October is out.

Blogging

My Picture This series has officially started. It is bizarre to think that this is the last blog series of the year on Writerly Bookish Stuff. It ends on November 27th, and then I have some Christmas related posts to get us through December.

The final instalment of my First Draft series coincided with #authortoolboxbloghop, and I am pleased with how the series panned out. I hope you found some of my experiences useful.

What’s Next?

October is the final month of #authortoolboxbloghop this year. (Returns in January). I shall be posting October’s post on Monday 14th October.

I have some more posts planned for the Picture This series. Remember, you can join in and create your own interpretations of the prompts if you wish.

Finally, I do plan to write at least another 2k of Zombies and Budgie Smugglers. It might not sound a lot, but it’s progress in a busy month of adulting.


Thanks for journeying through September with me.


Content belongs to K.J Chapman

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August Update

This month has been a bizarre one, what with the kids being off school, me taking a writing hiatus, yet at the same time, joining the #authortoolboxbloghop.

Let me break down my month for you:

Writing

As you may know, I was struggling to get anything written with my daughter off school and my 1 year old son to entertain. I was feeling guilty for not having written, and I decided a hiatus was what I needed for the holidays. It seems that knowing I don’t have to write takes away the guilt of not doing it. I’m still on my hiatus until Sept 5th.

Blogging

My hiatus didn’t extend to Writerly Bookish Stuff. I still posted my First Draft series each week, but with the hiatus, I had no new teasers for my Teaser Tuesday posts.

However, I was approached by Raimey Gallant to join the Author Toolbox Blog Hop every 3rd Wednesday of the month, and I jumped at the chance. Keep your eyes peeled for those posts.

Reading

I read a lot of short stories this month, and I reviewed them in 2 posts.

3 in 1 Book Review Part 1

3 in 1 Book Review Part 2

What’s Next?

First things first, I shall be setting back to writing Zombies and Budgie Smugglers. I am being kinder on myself and not setting a deadline. It will be done when it is done.

I shall continue on with #authortoolboxbloghop . This month’s post will be joined with my First Draft series post as the concept is the same: writing tips and advice.

I am currently reading Girl Online by Zoe Sugg. I need to give myself more reading time as I let it fall to the bottom of my to do list.


Content belongs to K.J Chapman

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June Update

June is fast becoming a fleeting memory. Seriously, it just whizzed by. However, my family and I did have a lovely mini break at a holiday park, so thumbs up to June.

Reading

I have been in a reading slump of late, so I chose to read non fiction in June.

I read 3 short books on frugal living/ cooking. I did a 3 in 1 book review that you can find here.

Writing

I’ve still been plodding along with Zombies and Budgie Smugglers. Now that I have signed up for July’s CampNaNo, I know I should be finished (or very close to) by August. CampNaNo is great at motivating me.

Blogging

The Character Interview series came to an end on Wednesday. I have been spending the last 2 weeks, writing and scheduling my next series that will start on July 17th. There will be more on that series in an upcoming post.

What’s Next?

Like I said, I’m doing CampNaNo in July. 9k words is my goal. If things go well, there may be a cover and blurb reveal soon.

I hope to read at least 1 novel during July and a couple more non fiction books. I am behind on my Goodreads challenge, and I can’t stand it.


Stay tuned for my new blog series update.


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Update 31/08/18

Update 31/08/18

Once again, I’m going to post updates every month on where I am at with my writing or lack thereof.

Reading

Zero writing has taken place this month, but I have been reading up a storm. I caught up with my backlog of reviews, and next month, I plan to include what I read in my updates, but there are far too many reviews to include in today’s post.

Scheduling and Planning

The majority of my time, though incredibly limited by mama duties, was used scheduling five months of blog posts and starting to plan a marketing system for my books that works for me. Okay, so I’ll do one book shoutout. Five Minute Marketing for Authors by Barb Asselin has some interesting ideas I want to implement, and five minutes seems too good to be true, right? We’ll see.

For future reference, my Writerly Wisdom posts will go live every Wednesday, and my Updates posts will be featured on the last Friday of the month.

Coming Up

Keep your eyes peeled on my various social media platforms for any mini updates on how I’m doing with the above, and there are some book reviews coming soon. I hope you have a productive month.


Find K.J.Chapman on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

Guest Post

Guest Post: Phil Price on How to Pen Darkness

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Today’s guest post comes from horror author, Phil Price. Phil has joined me today to discuss all things horror. Give yourselves five minutes with a cup of tea, and join us for some tried and tested tips on penning horror stories. Perhaps don’t turn off the lights…

Over to you, Phil.


How to Pen Darkness

Of all the various genres out there, horror is the one that excites me the most. As a reader, you want to be able to connect with the author’s story, hoping that the words conveyed spark your imagination. Other genres do this too. A good romance may bring a tear to your eye, or a fantasy yarn may ignite your imagination. However, horror is a genre that preys on your senses. To lie in bed at night, pulling the duvet up to your neck, checking the window for unseen ghouls, is not an easy feat. Plus, there are many types of horror out there. Serial killers, men in masks, vampires, demons, and ghosts, are but a few of the things that lurk in our imaginations as horror.

So, how do you write it? Tough question. I have written three horror books, centred on vampires. The market is flooded with these mysterious creatures at the moment, as it should be. Nothing should get the horror juices flowing like a good, old fashioned vampire. From Count Dracula, to Mr Barlow, for me, that is what horror is all about. Conveying that subject onto a page is the tricky part. Words on a page are just that, words. Turning the words into a scene that will draw the reader in, is no mean feat.

Many of my readers have given me different feedback. Some, said the stories terrified them. Others said they were not scary in the shocking, jump-out-of-your-seat scary sense. More of a creeping dread that settles over you whilst reading. I, like many horror authors, have taken their inspiration from the great Mr King. He has cornered the market on what scares you. Vampires, killer clowns, haunted hotels, apocalyptic worlds – King has done it all. And many of these stories have come from his own experiences. With this in mind, that is what I try to do, weave a tale from what scares me, what excites me, and what will make readers want to indulge themselves into my world.

Setting the scene is always the most important part. It’s very easy to type, “The killer came around the corner and his knife was big and menacing.” Great. There is a killer out there with a big knife, looking to harm us. Does it ignite your senses? Hell no! The environment needs to be just right to convey the fear that the reader yearns for.

So, if you said:

‘The corridor was a darkened funnel, littered with boxes and bodies. A fluorescent bulb, flickered sporadically, throwing shadows along the low-slung space. An over-powering stench coated Tim’s throat, thick and cloying, making him want to wretch. Making him want to run. A noise in the darkness raised gooseflesh on his arms, the hairs on the back of his neck prickling to attention as the noise came again. Far off, a low shuffle of heavy feet, drifted towards him, the edges of the corridor seeming to darken further. A silhouette appeared around the far corner, dark and brooding. As the light pulsed once more, it caught the edge of the object in the figures hand. Shimmering briefly as it ran along the serrated edges of the blood stained knife.’

Now, many readers might not find that scary. However, some may. It should pull the reader in further, almost placing them in the corridor with the next victim. And that’s what I would say to anyone about to start their own horror story. The person reading your book, needs to be in your book. When they are at work, or at the shops, they need to be thinking about the next chapter, hurrying back home to get the next slice of the pie.

I would also say, be brave, be creative. Don’t hold back at all. Think about what scared you as a kid and spill those emotions into your work. Others will identify with it. I hope this has been insightful. I hope above all, that you are reaching for your laptop, inspired to get cracking on the next big thing….

Good luck.


20479607_10155653386104703_7123091821070616518_nPhil Price was born in Sutton Coldfield in 1974. He lived in various places until his family settled in Rednal, Birmingham in 1979. Growing up with and older brother and sister he always flirted with reading as there were always books lying on shelves around the house. Then in 1997 he embarked on a travel expedition that took him from Greece to Thailand, via East and Southern Africa. Sitting in dusty bus stations in Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi gave him the opportunity to ignite his imagination fully. Since those far-off days, he has never been without a book to read.

He toyed with the idea of writing a book in 2009. After writing a few short stories he caught a whiff of an idea in his head. It grew and grew in 2010 until he had enough to begin. Marriage and two children came along, with the story being moved to the back burner for periods of time. However, during those periods of writing inactivity, the story continued to evolve until it just needed to be written down.

The book was littered with places that had influenced Phil’s life. From the Lickey Hills in Birmingham, to the Amatola Mountains in South Africa with other locations, in-between and far beyond. The book was finished sometime in 2014 and was left on his computer, until a chance conversation with an author friend made Phil take the bold step to publish his story, Unknown. Unknown was re-published in 2017, as part of The Forsaken Series. The Turning is to follow on from Unknown, with a third book currently in post-production.

Where to find Phil and his books:

Facebook Author Page

Facebook Street Team

Twitter

Unknown Book One

The Turning Book Two


For use of content featured in this post, contact the author, Phil Price.

Guest Post

Guest Post: Sarina Langer on Bullet Journals

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Guess who’s back on my blog today? Yep, fantasy author, Sarina Langer. Sarina has taken time out of her busy release week for her new book, Wardens of Archos, to guest post on Writerly Bookish Stuff.

Sarina is a bullet journal (BuJo) advocate, and is here today to explain what a bullet journal is, why she benefits from using one, and how you can get started on your own. I’m all ears for this post. Over to you, Sarina!


Bullet Journals

Chances are you’ve at least heard of the bullet journal, even if you’re not sure what it is, exactly. It’s grown in popularity over the last few years, and sites like Instagram and Pinterest are full of beautiful examples. The bullet journal is a way of organising anything you want, in a way that suits you. I recommend you check out the original website, too.

What I love the most about my bullet journal is the flexibility, the creativity, and the ability to plan and organise everything the way I want. You can imagine it like a planner that does exactly what you need, without limitations. When you buy a basic planner or a diary, you have a page for each day or a two-page spread for each week, but sometimes you just want something… more.

 

If a week is going to be quiet, you can use as little space for it as you think is necessary. If you know one week is going to be busy and one page won’t do, you can spread it out over as many pages as you need.

But there is one downside, and it’s why many people eventually give up on it. Your bullet journal takes time. Why draw a spread for every month when a regular planner already comes with twelve? Why set aside time every Monday morning to write down every day that week and date it, when any planner you can buy already has that? I get your apprehension. There are days when I’m not sure I can be bothered, and it’s on those days that I look to more basic spreads. I’m not artistically creative. If you told me right now to draw a hedgehog, I’d need a reference picture and it still wouldn’t be pretty. I’ve seen some incredibly beautiful bullet journals on Pinterest (my board right here is full of them!), and I assure you mine looks nothing like that.

Our days are busy, sometimes chaotic, and time is precious. I understand not wanting to waste a lot of time on something you can buy with no effort in most shops for little money, and if that’s what you want to do, go for it! But I hope I can show you today that your Bullet Journal doesn’t need to take a lot of time and still look pretty(ish).

These are my basics:

The Key

Your key is usually found at the front (if you want to make it harder on yourself and stick it on page 97, go for it – as I said, you can do anything you want in this thing), and it’s a short, easy summary of how you’ll use your bullet journal.

Kay's Post_BulletJournal_Pic 3.jpg

The basics are your code – the signage you use for completed tasks, started-but-unfinished tasks, priorities, and so on. You can include anything you like in this, such as appointments, important meetings, or research you want to do; your bullet journal is flexible!

I recommend just sticking to the basics if you’re starting your first journal, and leave a bit of room in your key to add to it as you go. Your preferences will likely change as you go, and you can adjust, add, and cut as you need to.

My own preferences have changed quite a bit in my current bullet journal (BuJo #2), so I’ve included an updated version of the key partway through it. I’ve also marked the page with washi tape so I can find it again easily should I need to.

Yearly Spread

Don’t you just love it when a new year starts, and you have all the options? What will you do that year? Which goals will you set? What are your priorities going to be?

I love planning, friends, and your yearly spread is a good place to do that on a large scale.

Kay's Post_BulletJournal_Pic 4.jpg

For 2017, I did something a little more ‘extravagant’ than I usually do. (writing out all those numbers took time, you know!) I have plenty of space for monthly goals and appointments, which I love. What I don’t have is a page dedicated to my goals this year, so when the time comes to create next year’s spread, I’ll include space for that. I do have two double spreads with goals (colour-coded and categorised, naturally) and ideas on how to achieve them, but really I just want a list where I can tick of goals as I hit them.

So, 2018’s calendar is going to be more basic with a year-long list of goals.

Monthly Spread

Kay's Post_BulletJournal_Pic 5

I tried so many different designs for this before I found one that works for me. My monthly calendar is on one side, and my to-do list for each month is on the other. That way I can pencil in important meetings and release dates and things like that, and have everything I want to achieve on the same spread. I’ve experimented with various levels of intricacy and detail, but in the end this minimalistic spread works best. It saves me time, and it has everything I need at one glance.

Weekly Spread

I’ve tried even more layouts here – my bullet journal is a mess of failed spreads, and that’s mostly the weekly spread’s fault. I’ve tried everything from having all the info on one, crammed page (which didn’t leave me anywhere near enough space) to having a double spread, to using four full pages for my weekly goals. Minimalism won again.

 

While layouts with individually drawn boxes and leafs and clouds and little kittens look great, I don’t have the time to draw all that (and, as we’ve already established, I don’t have the skills, either). A bit of washi tape (which I’m addicted to, by the way) and a basic layout is all I need.

My Bookshelf

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This was one of the first things I added. My first list was just that, a list, but my second attempt is a little prettier. Every book I buy (books I don’t own yet don’t make it onto this spread) goes on here, and every book I’ve read I colour in.

My tbr is a mess and I’m sure you’re quite aware yourself that it can feel overwhelming, but thanks to this spread I have a good idea of how many books I actually have. Outside the bullet journal, my tbr exists in two places: my actual shelf, and my kindle where the books are in no useful order whatsoever. If it wasn’t for this spread I’d have no idea how many unread books I currently own.

Blog Posts & Guest Posts

This is becoming even more relevant to me now that I’ve started building my freelance writing business. Previously, I’ve used my bullet journal to plan future blog post ideas, make a note of whether I’d written the first draft, whether they were ready and scheduled, which day they’d publish, and so forth. But now I’m also using it to keep track of all my freelance writing jobs and opportunities (like this one!) by writing down who the post is for, what my word count limit is, and when my deadline is.

This way I can see at one glance what I’m doing for whom and when they want it by. Yay for organisation!

Here are some more ideas of what you can do:

Habit tracker

Dream journal

List of films you want to watch

Places you want to visit

Savings tracker

A list of home improvements

Birthdays

Passwords

Gift ideas for your loved ones

Blog post planner

Social Media Exposure Tracker

Content Calendar

Full disclosure: I actually use some of these myself but they’re not in any state to be shown off anywhere! As I said, I’m artistically challenged.

There are so many things you can try and adjust that my main advice is to start small, with the basics, and add to it as you learn what you need from your bullet journal. If you want to be creative and intricate, go ahead, and if you want to keep it simple, like I do, go ahead with that, too. You can try a bit of both, if you like! That’s the beauty of your bullet journal – it’s yours, in every way.

And if you realise fifty pages in that you no longer want to use a specific spread, or try a different layout, good news: you can!

Happy journaling and organising, people!


Author Picture.jpgSarina is the author of the Relics of Ar’Zac trilogy. The first book in the series, Rise of the Sparrows, was released in late May 2016. She’s currently working on the sequel and a new fantasy duology.

She’s obsessed with books and all things stationery, has a proud collection of over twenty notebooks, and squees every time she buys a new notebook, pens (hmmm, fountain pens ❤ ) or highlighters.

In her free time she reads fantasy and sci-fi novels, plays video games, and researches human sacrifice traditions and the end of the universe.

Where to find Sarina & her books:

Website & Blog

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

LinkedIn

Goodreads

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Newsletter


For use of content in this post, permission must be sought from the author, Sarina Langer.