When I first published my debut novel back in the midst of lockdown, it was only ever my intention to unleash my creation to the online world.
Given the strong focus of online interaction and social media, I was certain that my book The Invite was destined only to be enjoyed through the screens of our devices.
After the initial launch I was overwhelmed and humbled by how well my creation was received. Job done then you could say. I achieved everything I could have hoped for and more through my offering as an E-book alone.
However, it was difficult to ignore the many requests from people who longed to purchase my novel in the way novels are meant to be, in the form of a good old-fashioned book.
I did manage it quite well at first and after a while the initial buzz of the Kindle dream started to dwindle and my mind began to pine for new writing endeavours.
However, I was unable to quench the thirst for new projects due to the reoccurring thought that my mission with The Invite was not yet accomplished without the printed article.
I therefore made the call to give the purist’s what they wanted!
After all there is nothing quite like wrapping your hands around a shiny new chunk of literary magic. Just the smell of freshly pressed pages and the slick, glossy and weighty feel of brain food that sits nicely in hand. I have to admit that there is a certain magic about it.
Ok maybe I’m also a purest at heart too.
I therefore embarked on a journey into the unknown in the pursuit of a physical home for my creation.
I’m not going to lie there has been lots of sweat, blood and tears involved in the process, but I’m finally delighted to announce that the finished product is now complete.
For those of you who are not yet familiar with my young adult novel The Invite, the book invites you to join troubled teen Lindsey Hookwink on her night of virtual horrors that well and truly expose her unhealthy smartphone habits.
So if you are one of the proud people who are loyal to the printed page, I salute you; and you can order your printed copy of The Invite now!
For those who of you who remain a convert to the Kindle way of life and wish to check out my online offering anyway, also on sale for purchase through the link above.
I look forward to you joining Lindsey’s virtual adventure, between both device or through the sheets.
What started out as an experiment to practice what I preach in my debut novel The Invite surprisingly evolved into a new way of life.
The initial aim was to progressively reduce my usage over a 3 month period until I reached cold turkey.
Although the process had a few ups and downs it was ultimately a great success. Little did I believe it would strip away all desire to reignite a return to shares, likes and posts though.
What is odd about the decision, is that I’m not really sure why I became so switched off.
Ironically the only logical reasoning I can think of, is that the idea of remerging with an infinite online community seemed quite frankly, effort!
With the decision has come great freedom and a sense of tranquillity. No longer being governed by a reflexive impulse to keep checking my phone for updates or mindlessly scrolling for a 5 second dopamine hit, offered a state of happiness and released shackles I never truly believed I was chained to.
However, a time has now arrived when exciting new updates regarding my novel writing exploits are on the cusp of being unleashed, but my new lifestyle has created a dirty big brick wall to my launch plans.
Like it or not I must face the fact that there is a very slim opportunity to spread the word about my latest offering to the world, without actually engaging with the world. Near everyone lives online now and therefore I must return to their home in order to complete my quest.
And in all honestly, I’m quite daunted by the prospect.
I can say with 100% conviction that my return to social-ality will be more of flying visit rather than a permanent arrangement.
It is my hope that at the end of the journey others may also choose to join me and unplug, even if it is just for a while.
All social media talk aside, your probably thinking hang on a minute, what is the new novel exploit…?
Keep your eyes peeled for my next blog to find out! In the meantime enjoy world book day guys.
A whole 2 months of my life has been dedicated to the purging of social media and it is with sheer delight to announce that I remain on track to succeed in remaining t-total.
I’d love to predict that I’ll coast towards a triumphant victory in 2 weeks’ time and although everything has unfolded better than I could have envisaged so far, I dare not become complacent.
Once again, I am proud to declare that I am yet to succumb to social media since the 30 day mark; not even for one cheeky check on Facebook.
Although I have found this treacherous challenge easier and more rewarding than I had initially anticipated, I would be lying if I said there has not been instances where I’ve almost slipped up.
As per my previous observations, it is always in those moments of boredom where the urge to kill time kicks in that a strong and almost automatic impulse to check social media invades the thoughts.
Thankfully this hasn’t been too bad to overcome since I deleted all of the social media apps from my phone. This allowed time for rational thought to muscle in.
The other challenge I have found on occasions in previous weeks is a slight annoyance at being unable to utilise social media for some of the usages that are actually of benefit, such as finding out data to assist with my book promotion or to use the Marketplace function on Facebook to help me buy and sell during the process of our house move.
I guess it could be argued that I am now regarding social media for practicalities rather than simply to mindlessly kill time (in most cases). Perhaps this reflects a slight shift in my Psyche?
I guess the killer question at this stage is how do I feel?
Now I have given this thought a lot of consideration over recent days as I would love to say I feel great. Unfortunately, I can’t say this is the case. I think I am perhaps at an awkward stage in my life, a crossroads if you will. But what I can conclude is that I still feel better than I did before I started the challenge. And when I think about how I might have felt if I continued to bash social media during this phase in my life, I can only predict that I would have felt much worse.
I think to truly reap the rewards of not using social media is to give it up for good, or at least for a much longer period of time. And I can honestly say that I would be open to such an undertaking.
Anyway, as my world continues to remain hectic, I think this will be the last social media diary I log before I reach the end.
I’m confident I will manage to stay of the social until then, but make no mistake I will be keeping my wits about me to ensure I remain on the path of riotousness.
Don’t forget, if social media addiction is something that interests you, why not check out my young adult novel The Invite and join troubled teen Lindsey Hookwink on her night of virtual horrors that well and truly expose her unhealthy smartphone habits.
How in god’s name are we approaching May already!?
I find it hard to comprehend how time can whizz by so quickly when we have all been stuck in lockdown for 4 months. Perhaps that is a good thing, who knows. I think the term ‘time flies when you are having fun’ definitely does not apply here!
Not to act up like an angry old goat or anything, but oh my days, has this year been a sack of stale cow dung! I mean the previous (I don’t even know how many) lockdowns were painful, but this one has cut the deepest. I don’t know if everyone else feels the same?
The endless days of bitter cold, working like a robot without any play and simply being made to stare constantly at the same four walls have sucked away my very soul!
Thankfully there has been a shining little light that has helped guide me through the dark times. At the end of January this year, myself and my fiancé decided to extend our little family to three and bought home a 10-week-old Cocker Spaniel, who we named Poppy.
Now don’t judge me for following the lockdown puppy craze. I can assure you the decision was a long and informed one. It just felt right!
I’m ashamed to admit I am not historically a big dog lover; however, the other half had a lovely Labrador which completely changed my perspective on these wonderful creatures.
The moment we first met Poppy she melted our hearts and we just knew she had to come home with us.
As amazing as the whole experience has been so far, little could have prepared me for the extent in which it would turn our lives upside down. I was offered a fair warning about the commitment, but I figured this was just an exaggeration. It was not!
I have not been blessed with children in my life just yet, but I can imagine having a puppy is comparable to having a baby; except puppies also have sharp teeth and love to bite EVERYTHING!
It is safe to say that it has been an absolute mad house here for the past 3 months. Sleepless nights, multiple toileting accidents, lots of destroyed furniture and one major scare which cost us a hefty vet bill.
The good news is that there has been little time to fester in an ocean of self-pity when there are walks to be taken or military style training to conduct.
The bad news however is that I have had next to no time to reflect on my debut novel The Invite, let alone focus on writing anything new.
Now I have finally had time to breath again, I have decided it is time to get back to the bread and butter. And when I look at the continual avalanche of online hate that plagues us, I think getting the word out there about my teen fiction novel has never been so essential.
Factor in the disturbing figures surrounding mental health in young adults, I almost feel that it is my duty to spread the word far and wide about my fictional interpretation that drills into issues surrounding smartphone addiction.
For those who are yet to read The Invite, this debut novel of mine takes readers on a twisted journey with troubled teen Lindsey Hoodwink who is treated to a night full of virtual horrors that tap into her unhealthy obsession with her smartphone. Let’s just say the boundaries of technology and real life, become unbelievably blurred…
To be honest I doubt there will be a better time to pick up a copy, as I have decided to offer my pride and joy for FREE, for the May bank holiday weekend only!
So now things start to return to normal (majorly touching wood right now!) I plan to keep on with the writing exploits and although I have been somewhat occupied over the past few months, I may have a little new writing project that has been sometime in the making over lockdown…
More details to be revealed soon.
As an end note, I can’t believe this might actually be my last blog before we return to real life. Do I dare the dream? We can but hope!
In a recent attempt to bypass the lockdown boredom, I stumbled across a film that really captured my attention. I seem to keep doing this at the moment.
The film was called The Circle and after watching the trailer I immediately questioned how and why I had never watched or even heard of this before.
I mean the movie had an all-star cast, which included huge names such as Tom Hanks and Emma Watson. It was only released in 2017 and the concept looked pretty on trend to me.
After enjoying the trailer, I didn’t have to think twice before initiating a search for it on Netflix. However, in the few moments before playing the thing I scoped out the reviews on IMDB and was dismayed to learn that it only had a rating of only 5.3. With no back-up option at the ready, it felt like a slap-in the face.
In my stubbornness and determination not to follow the flock of film critical sheep, I disregarded the information at hand and decided to give the film ago regardless.
I’m really glad I did.
Ok so it wasn’t the greatest Tom Hanks film I have ever seen, but it was certainly an eye opening one, that is for sure.
To explain in a nutshell, the movie was basically about a rogue tech firm who glorified its new surveillance products as innovations that would make the world a safer and more transparent place. Furthermore, the company headquarters were essentially a camp where young employees were brainwashed into endorsing a rather sinister obsession to eradicate people’s privacy. Emma Watson’s character was introduced as the company’s latest recruit/ victim and the story considers her disturbing journey which leads her to discover and challenge what is really going on.
Aside from the immoral undertones of privacy breaches explored within the film, I found I could really empathise with the culture of the company that was portrayed; which was one of obedience, intense pressure and a lack of longing or courage to challenge an unfair system. It is quite disturbing to realise that this culture is one of familiarity and I’m sure this is an ethos that many major companies instil. The company in the film was on a mission to gain power and control in order to maximise profits at everyone’s expense.
On a whole the film really helped me to consider a dangerous side to technology that I hadn’t considered or at least was not overly concerned with before. It made me think about how our phones quite clearly listen in to our conversations and then as if by magic offer us a targeted advert or offer us a news article based on the subject. I’m sure lots of you will have noticed this.
At times this may seem comical and sure, we are just being provided with an innocent looking advert. But if you take a moment to actually think about it, it just isn’t right. And The Circle just made me ponder the possibility of how the benefit of technology can quite easily turn into turn into a danger if manipulated against us.
So again, I think back to the IMBD rating and have to ask myself the question, why was it was poorly rated? Aside from the important overall message, it had a big name cast, lots of action and some good twists. I just cannot seem to comprehend it. Perhaps I have an unusual taste in films, who knows.
It is all a matter of opinion, I guess. Maybe it is the fact that we find the concept far fetched? Worse still, is the premise just too real that we can’t handle the dark reality?
Or are we simply not bothered or even interested in our own right to privacy?
Whatever the reason behind the ratings, I find the poor response to the film rather unnerving. Ok I get that it is only a film, but I believe we should all be intrigued by the big issues that are arguably happening right now.
If IMDB ratings aren’t the be all and end all and you are interested in issues around technology and privacy, you can check out The Circle on Netflix
In recent years I have become both fascinated and disturbed by the emergence and potential dangers of technology. So much so I decided to explore this issue with my fantasy fiction debut novel The Invite which is aimed at young adults. The story considers a scary concept of VR and addiction, but doesn’t cover privacy. Maybe it should have. Something of a thought to follow up on perhaps.
All that is left for me to say is I’m not too sure what will it take for us to wake up? Maybe movie directors should go with Tim Allen over Tom Hanks next time…
How on earth has a month passed by already since publishing my first ever novel?!
I mean seriously.
It feels as though I am frozen in continual state of disbelieve at what I finally managed to accomplish. And now that its over it feels surreal.
I’m awful for returning to my amazon account on a regular basis to see how things are going and to simply remind myself that it wasn’t all one big, crazy dream.
I’ve been so caught up in the madness of it all I’ve only just found the time to sit and reflect. This has also been hindered by my long-awaited return to work after my 7-month stint on Furlough.
It is safe to say that it has been a manic month!
On this cold, December night I can at finally cast my mind back to how the book launch unfolded on a night full of trick and treats.
Halloween was the day I decided to deliver the goods. It only seemed fitting as this frightful night of celebration 2 years back was the day I finished the first draft of The Invite. Scary how fast the time has gone.
Myself and my partner Jenny had a jam-packed day of treats and spooky activities planned for the occasion. I was so excited for the big day but soon after it began this nervous energy began to boil over.
I had created a countdown to the big release for 12pm and it wasn’t long before I felt restless, nervous to ensure that everything ran smoothly for the big moment.
I had little time to dwell on my thoughts though as Jenny had me working like a slave in the kitchen as we prepped a wicked afternoon tea.
In what felt like an eternity (in spite of being busy) the clock eventually informed me that I had 2 minutes to go before the final mission.
I took off my apron and fired up the laptop.
After a quick social media update, I began to undertake the final steps on Amazon to set my dreams into reality.
After years’ worth of preparation, I only had a few buttons to press, but my mind seemed to have melted like hot butter and it took longer than it should have.
I was finally greeted by the invitation to publish my book to the world and after a mere moment of holding my breath, clicked ‘ok’.
I was rewarded with a message congratulating me on the published work, but my heart quickly sank as the small print said it could take up to 72 hours to appear in the Amazon store.
I had promised excited family and friends they could purchase their copies in a matter of moments and now I was faced with the unbeknown and embarrassing job of updating my prospective customers with news of a delay.
I was furious but did all I could to appease people. Afterall it was only a couple of days added to many month’s of waiting.
I posted an update on social media and then tried to force the issue from my mind and crack on with the fiendish fun.
After a couple of hours, I couldn’t resist having a cheeky check on Amazon on the off chance that The Invite had bypassed the waiting time and I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was there.
Clear as crystal my book shone out on my screen, patiently waiting for new customers.
Except it hadn’t been waiting at all. I further check on social media confirmed that a couple of people had already bought the thing before I even knew it was on sale!
From here on in the day was a whirlwind of excitement as I shared the news and people embraced my journey to make the event more of a success than I ever could have imagined.
I was pretty much on cloud 9 as evening approached, but this was soon shot down somewhat when Boris spontaneously invaded all of our celebrations with grave news of a second national lockdown.
Even this shoddy news couldn’t break my spirits though and we celebrated with fizz and our afternoon tea. I think this is the first time I have ever been toasted an achievement and it was a humbling moment.
We then had fun all evening watching scary films, carving pumpkins (mine was Harry Potter themed) and then fancy dress before enjoying our latest zoom quick with the in-laws; Halloween themed of course.
After what had been the most amazing yet bizarre day, the following days (or weeks in fact) were spent observing all progress and spreading the word before a nervous wait for feedback.
The first finished reader comments came from immediate family and friends who loved it. They could just be being polite, but I welcomed the kind words anyway.
During this time, I was busting a gut back in the office, enduring long days in retraining whilst helping to train a new addition to our team. It was so frustrating when all I wanted to do was shout about my book.
Even though I couldn’t spend too much time promoting, the feedback has continued to trickle in and I’m ecstatic to state that I still maintain a 5-star feedback rating on Amazon. I can’t thank those of you who have taken the time to download a copy, read it and then leave your constructive comments.
Now the initial launch is kind of coming to a close I am torn between spreading the word about The Invite some more or starting a new book from an archive of ideas that I have accumulated over the years.
As authors we can’t keep away from the pen for too long, so no doubt I will end up doing both. Looks like 2021 is going to be just as crazy as this one. Hopefully with a little less Covid this time though!
After quite the roller-coaster journey, I am proud and ecstatic to announce that The Invite is finally available to purchase as an e-book on Amazon!!! You can get your copy now by clicking here https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08MCDYPPL/ref=sr_1_6… Please share if you think any family or friends might be interested too
The journey towards launching my first ever book has been eventful. Just like the virtual reality theme that lies between the pages, anything can and has happened.
When the first sparks of inspiration illuminated my brain with the idea for The Invite, I had no clue what this adventure would have in store and how long it would last.
Now after 4 years of fun and games, I am finally on the verge of being awaken from the long slumber and it feels surreal. In the time that has passed, I have worked at home, fought redundancy, experienced redundancy, battled mental heath issues, started a new job, got offered another job, went back to working from home and then faced many months on Furlough due to the pandemic.
Its safe to say it has been a rollercoaster few years, but through it all The Invite has been a constant fixture, offering me a much-needed focus and escape.
In the several years of development, it is safe to say that my book has been on an adventure of its own too. What started out as a concept for a short story perhaps, has turned out to be more than I could have imagined as characters and content continued to grow and evolve by the day at times.
I started out with a simple message that I wanted to share with the world and as the last couple of years have passed, this message feels stronger and more pertinent than ever. I can’t wait to share it with you!
My baby is now on the cusp of being unleashed to the world and the reality is a bit scary to be honest, but I know the time is finally right for it to spread its wings.
In my last update I was about to embark on a final proofread and I’m pleased to say that this is now complete. I have since created all the artwork and finalised a blurb, pictured below.
The only thing left to do is undertake one final read through and then I will reach the final destination.
In what seems like quite a spooky coincidence, I completed my very first full draft of the book on the Halloween before last and my timing for finishing the whole thing fits rather nicely with the 31st October being a suitable pre-release date.
Some might say that this timing is an ominous omen, but I think there is something quite mystical about the whole thing.
Only time will tell if I’m missing a trick by publishing at this time. One thing I am hopeful of though is that anyone who does pick a copy, will be in for a treat.
I’m excited to announce that my next blog will include full pre-sale details for The Invite. Feel free to follow me below for an instant notification on my next update.