Hashing out my stories

Author Archive

Looking for Reviews

Author Page

Looking for honest reviews!

See my Amazon Author Page for links to books: 

Contact me here:  or here on WordPress!

 


The Willow Lake Group Freebies

The Willow Lake Group Freebie Offers! Amazon – Audible (Also available on iTunes) Listen to the talented Tim Campbell!

Source: The Willow Lake Group Freebies


The Willow Lake Group Freebies

Audible and Review Offer

The Willow Lake Group Freebie Offers! Amazon – Audible (Also available on iTunes)

Listen to the talented Tim Campbell!


Listen to my Book!

Listen to The Willow Lake Group – narrated by Tim Campbell –

Source: Listen to my Book!


Listen to my Book!

Listen to The Willow Lake Group – narrated by Tim Campbell –

AudAd


Tips and Hints for Indie Authors

maze-2264_960_720

I’d like to advise those who read this that I’m probably in the same position – struggling to make my way through a vast, crowded ocean full of vessels and bobbing heads who all have the same thing in common. We all want to make our mark and get our work noticed, make sales and increase our status – while we scramble to reach higher ground.

I am by no no means an expert and definitely not a high profile author. I am also still learning and making mistakes, so you might well ask, “Why does she think she could help me?” My answer is – I can only help those who are currently in the same position I was in two years ago – when the world of self-publishing was a huge, looming giant in the center of a maze that was continuously morphing and adding new levels every day.

Of course, we are all at different stages in our writing careers. When we share what we’ve learned, we fill in the gaps and strengthen our positions. Some might find what I share here incredibly useful, while others might yawn and say, “Been there; done that!” Therefore, this post is meant for the former – while the latter can surely think of other tidbits to share via comments – if they so desire.

When navigating the maze of never-ending information and hints and tips for authors who decide to go the route of self-publishing – it’s inevitable that you will run into some – if not all of the following:

  • Dead ends or leads that go nowhere – leading you on a wild goose chase
  • Scams and fraudulent claims about services offering the earth
  • Monthly charges for bogus programs who do little or nothing for your work
  • Websites and services that are all fluff with no substance
  • Confusing terms, buzz-words or language that only rehash prior info
  • Fads and trends that distract you without adding any value

There’s probably more that I could’ve added to this list – but for me – the above has been the most prominent during my own promoting and marketing journey, not to mention the actual art of writing!

I’m attacking this subject from the position of an author who either can’t or won’t spend a lot of money. What I find interesting about “high profile” authors, meaning those who we see all over social media and getting many reviews on Amazon, etc. – is that, while they seem to be doing extremely well – obviously spending quite a substantial amount of money for sleek or flashy advertising and so on, they still seem to be struggling like the rest of us.

I say that without a shred of jealousy or bitchiness. Sure, the majority of those authors are strangers to me – most of them are not well-known and some of them are still working a full time day job. I have often ventured into the world of expensive services and programs, only to discover that the bottom line was me all along. Throwing money into a bottomless pit with scant return bit me on the butt most of the time – and hurt my bank account.

So, without further ado – here’s the skinny (or my skinny!) – broken into two parts: The Writing Life and The Marketing/Promoting Life.

Untitled9

The Writing Life

There’s a glut of writing advice out there – in the form of daily prompts, newsletters, courses, websites and webinars. Many websites have their own links to information such as “100 Best websites for writers” and the like. The majority of them are great and you should seek them out. Here’s what helped me (and continues to help me) in random order:

Websites:

http://thewritelife.com/ (Great advice)

http://www.writersdigest.com/ (Wonderful)

http://www.grammarbook.com/ (Grammar and Punctuation)

http://www.writersmarket.com/ (Especially good for freelancing)

http://fundsforwriters.com/ (Tips and Tools – great site!)

https://writeon.amazon.com (Get feedback as you write!)

http://theditors.com/ (First 3,000 words critiqued for free)

goodinaroom.com – How to develop a pitch for TV

http://www.creative-writing-now.com/ (Great basic advice and free stuff!)

https://criticl.me/ (A great place to post truthful or even “dangerous” writing)

https://www.thekindlebookreview.net/author-resources/ (Great links!)

http://selfpublishersshowcase.com/author-resources/ (Great site for Indies)

Okay – I could go on and on – but these are great for a start.

I find the best advice encompasses the basics – as you’ll discover what works for you along the way. It all depends on the genre you write in and what you expect to get out of it. Some only write for pleasure and are happy to share their writing with those closest to them. Others write for a cause and want to change the world, while many of us write to escape – or at least – to create worlds full of adventure and other things we may feel are lacking in our lives. (Notwithstanding those of us who simply adore great literature and who are “addicted” to the pleasure of the actual process of creation.)

You’ll find basic rules of thumb everywhere – but here’s what I’ve found to be the most useful – in terms of the creative process of writing:

No matter what – just write

Save the editing and revision until the end – if you can stand it

Outline and plan your book – before you start writing

Create a chapter by chapter synopsis to use as a guide (it will change as you go)

Always use spellcheck and a thesaurus

Research everything you are not 100% sure about

Keep your finger on the pulse – but don’t be swayed by useless fads and trends

Be true to yourself – yet open to constructive criticism

Don’t take a bad review personally

Use beta readers and proper editing (when you can afford it)

Read the work of others

Share what you know and support other writers

Start a blog and post regularly

Hone your skills, take a class and/or join a writing group

Don’t ever give up!

I’ve mentioned before how I write every chance I get. When I was working my 9-5 job, I was writing in my breaks and lunchtimes – then after work and sometimes even before work (when I could get up in time!) and on the weekends. In between – I’d be scribbling notes on anything I could get my hands on – as well as emails to myself.

The Marketing/Promoting Life

Now that I’m a full time author and freelancer – I’ve structured my days to ensure that I get to spend time writing – outside of promoting and marketing or creating my own ads and blog posts.

There are great, cheap or free services out there – which I will share further on – but I found it rewarding to use programs such as paint, Corel and an old Microsoft program (which is easier than Photoshop) – called Microsoft Photo Premium 10. I’m no expert and I’m sure that those experienced Graphic Designers would scoff and cringe at my ads, book trailers, banners etc. For me – it’s all about saving money – while at the same time having a lot of fun! Here’s a few examples of what I’ve done on my own (using free images – websites to be shared further on.)

cropped-blog-banner.jpg

Fram 10 - WLG

(Book cover created by Jessica on Fiverr – the rest of the ad was me!)

Okay – on with cheap and freebie services (for creating ads etc):

https://www.fiverr.com/ (Anything you can think of – incl. Book Covers – for $5 and up)

https://pixabay.com/ (Completely free images and video footage!)

http://www.freeimages.com/ (Free images)

http://www.freeepy.com/ (Free images)

https://foodiesfeed.com/ (Free food images)

https://unsplash.com/ (Free images)

http://cupcake.nilssonlee.se/ (Free images)

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page (Free images)

https://videos.pexels.com/ (Free video footage)

http://www.videezy.com/ (Free video footage)

http://www.lifeofvids.com/ (Free video footage)

http://freegifmaker.me/ (Make your own gifs)

https://www.canva.com/ (Free banners, wallpapers, book covers and lots more)

http://www.bookbuzzr.com/ (Cheap book “flipper” to display excerpts)

http://tineye.com/ (Find out where images on the web came from!)

This list is by no means exhaustive – but it’s a good start!

Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with forking out a little cash for professional services. For me – I’m on the fence – as it depends on your goals and how much you’re willing to spend. I agree with the adage that “you get what you pay for” – but it’s heartening to see many people out there willing to offer their products and services for free or on the cheap. That being said – I know that more discerning authors (and readers) might consider a “home-made” ad, book cover etc to be less valuable or worthy than one with a sleek design.

It’s sad that poorly marketed books can fall by the wayside – especially when their stories are well-written and worth the read. I’ve also seen many well-marketed books with great exposure for stories that are at best – run-of-the-mill or poorly written. This is the quandary that indie authors often find themselves battling with.

Here are some great sites for Promoting and Marketing:

https://www.fiverr.com/ (Anything you can think of – incl. Book Covers – for $5 and up)

http://www.ebooksoda.com/authors/ (Cheap ebook promotion)

http://booktweeters.com/ (Reasonable pricing with good conversion)

http://selfpublishingadvice.org/ (Great info on promoting, marketing etc)

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/advertise/for-authors/ (Free promos etc.)

http://www.bookdaily.com/ (Emails sample chapters to readers)

https://www.librarything.com/ (Ebook giveaways, etc)

https://www.rafflecopter.com/ (Advertise your Giveaway on your blog or site)

Awesome tools for Authors! (119 tips and resources!)

One important thing I’d like to point out is that self publishing is daunting on it’s own – before you even start to think about promoting and marketing. Whether you decide to use Amazon (user friendly – well, I think so!) and Createspace, Kobo or some other platform – publishing your book is one of many steps in the life of your writing.

When it comes to social media, setting up profiles on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are just the tip of the iceberg – and some would say not worth the time and effort. Others say that email marketing – using newsletters (and services such as Aweber or Mailchimp) are the way to go – however, in order to build your mailing lists, you need to be able to drive people to your site to opt in. Using social media is one way to do this.

Having a blog has the same issues: driving people to the blog in order to read it and click through to buy your books. Here’s a small list of steps to think about – from “go to whoa” – and beyond!

Read and get inspired

Research and plan your book

Write your book with necessary revisions

Get beta readers to review and offer feedback

Edit the book – either yourself or with a reliable editor

Write the blurb and create an excerpt

Find out your target audience and where they hang out

Create a cover, ads and a book trailer

Create or update your author website

Update social media and blog

Publish it

Create a buzz through giveaways etc

Promote via different platforms

Come up with different ways to sell your book

Consider the following:

Create an audiobook

Create profiles on Goodreads and Amazon

Guest posting on other blogs

Blog tours

Create a Podcast

Post videos on Youtube

Conduct readings at local libraries and bookstores

Get involved in Book Fairs

Radio and print interviews

Marketing material, such as bookmarks etc

Create an ebook as a giveaway

Email marketing

More links that might be useful:

http://www.artistfirst.com/authorswanted.htm (Radio interviews)

http://www.thebingbing.com/ (Like Ebay, Twitter and Facebook all in one!)

http://www.weebly.com/ (Great free websites – easy to use)

http://speculativeliterature.org/grants/ (Grants for quality literature, etc)

http://thewritelife.com/writing-residencies/ (Author residencies)

http://www.indiebound.org/ (Find out where your book is available)

http://bookfairs.com/ (Find a local Book Fair)

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ (Get interviewed)

http://www.authorgraph.com/ (Offer signed ebooks!)

http://www.outbrain.com/ (Promote your content)

Create econtracts

You’re probably drowning in all these bits and pieces – yet there’s millions more to discover and as I said – I’m still navigating my way through and trying to figure it all out. I just wanted to share what I have discovered so far and will drop by to comment every now and then – when I’ve found something new or need to offer an update.

Good luck and by all means – if you know of anything else that might be useful – leave a comment!


The Willow Lake Group Giveaway

WLG GG

Enter for a chance to win one of 10 copies of The Willow Lake Group!

Love, Friendship, Poetry, Obsession and a Magical Cookbook – they can all be found at The Willow Lake Group.

See my Book Trailer:

Read about: How writing for an Older audience enhanced my creativity


Free for One Day!

Get The Willow Lake Group free today!

Shapeshifting

View original post


The Willow Lake Group is available!

Fram 10 - WLG

Buy it here: The Willow Lake Group at Amazon

Paperback coming soon!

Here’s my book trailer!


The Ninth Window Book Trailer


The Ninth Window

Instagram ad

My first review for my first erotic novel!

You can buy it here (if you’re so inclined!):

The Ninth Window by Kelly Proudfoot


Tentative Tempests: Lessons Learned in Self Publishing

Storming Books

2015 was a big year for me, in terms of finally becoming a published author – notwithstanding the fact that I am self-published. I have three of the four planned books from my Storming Archives available on Amazon (Kindle Editions and paperback), with the fourth currently being written, as well as a novel planned for release in early 2016.

I have a total of ten writing projects slated for 2016, including fiction, non-fiction, short stories, poetry and other stuff and nonsense! I’m lucky to be in a position where I can finally say that I’m a full time author – with 1/4/16 being my last day in a traditional job. I am very grateful to have a wonderfully supportive husband, who has afforded me this awesome opportunity to live the life I’ve always dreamed of.

Now, I want to advise that I do not intend to sound like I’m doing the dying swan routine, but 2015 was very much a case of trial and error in regards to navigating the world of the self-published author. As I was impatient to get my books out, I ventured into the realm of self-publishing after sending only five query letters out. (They were all very gracious in their rejection letters – stating that, whilst they enjoyed reading my synopsis and sample chapter, they felt that it wasn’t what they were looking for.)

I knew early on that my Storming Archives would present a challenge to anyone (including me) in terms of promoting and marketing, as the genre and style is a hybrid of various elements. I market the series as a fantasy, with a twist of horror, but it’s also very surreal and in the realm of consciousness.

There are many reasons for this. Firstly, the protagonist is a thirty year old woman who (like me) “suffers” from a series of mental afflictions – namely sleep paralysis, hallucinations, astral projection and vivid dreams. In “Delwyn of the Realms” (Book 1), we follow Delwyn through a mirror portal to the realm of dreams (known as Onesol). There, she has to face her Shadow in order to properly integrate – in preparation for becoming a “Portal Stormer” (Book 2).

In the second book, Delwyn escapes into the “Realms” – where she meets her fellow Portal Stormers and discovers that she has to face her Last Sorrow in the hellish realm of Nidar. After being initiated as a fully fledged Portal Stormer, she and her troops have to learn how to shapeshift, in “Totem Shift” (Book 3). This is where Delwyn and the Portal Stormers go on their ultimate mission, to secretly infiltrate the realm of animal spirits (known as Erankorun), so that they can persuade the Ural to join with the other realms. A united front is needed to face the Founders – who are coming to destroy the realms (our galaxy – known as Kendanerum).

In most cases, fantasy and science fiction stories are set in physical realms, whether past, present or future. They can also be alternate or parallel worlds, on other planets as well as earth. They are sometimes slotted into fantasy genres such as slipstream, portal, epic and so on. The bottom line is that they are actual/physical places, or at least – if they are “imaginary” or unreal – it’s an aberration and the resolution is usually dealing with hallucinations, dreams  and alternate realities.

I found it difficult to define the fact that my stories were set in the “inner” realms, which are usually mental or spiritual places considered non-physical. Sure, there have been many stories set in the dream world or imaginary places – such as hell, heaven, etc. The difference with the Storming Archives is that – on the one hand – the realms/worlds involved are usually considered imaginary, but on the other hand, they can be visited by a chosen few, in physical form.

This might not be a stretch for some people. To give you an idea, here’s my “map” of Kendanerum:

Kendanerum

Here’s a legend or key to the realms in Kendanerum:

  • Onesol is the dream world – the realm of the Collective Unconscious
  • Alusol is the realm of hallucinations – where visions and inspiration come from
  • Meditar is the realm of meditation – a place for contemplation and revelation
  • Akasha is the realm of Karma – the Hall of records and hub for transit to the Seven Heavens
  • Nidar is the Underworld – once the source of Dark Matter; now a hellish realm of retribution
  • The Seven Heavens is just that – where good souls cycle through on their way to Nirvana
  • Erankorun is the realm of animal spirits – a safe haven (heaven) for animals
  • Aletheia (Earth) is the material realm – where Aletheians (humans) reside

Only those, like Delwyn – who have the ability to traverse all realms (given her mental “afflictions”) – are allowed to visit these worlds in physical form.

I’ve drawn on my own experiences, as well as inspiration from surrealism (literature, art, music). What I’ve found quite annoying, is that the majority of novels being produced (traditional or self-published) rely heavily on the aspect of romance and/or sex when it comes to selling their stories.

Of course, we all know that sex sells, but I consider myself very altruistic when it comes to telling (and reading) a good story. What I mean by this is, I don’t feel that every bloody story has to have a romantic vein running through it. I’m probably setting myself up for ridicule – but there’s more to life than finding your soulmate or electrifying sex! I understand completely that the majority of humans are drawn to sex and romance. It’s not like I didn’t include a romantic interest – and sex – in the Storming Archives. It’s just not the main focus.

Not wanting to boast, as a side note – I have my soulmate and good sex – so I don’t have a burning desire to live out a fantasy in order to make up for something I don’t lack. Having said that, I totally enjoy good erotica and a story that involves romance, blah blah blah. It’s just frustrating to feel the need to promote my work along those lines.

I will say – that hasn’t been my only problem with getting more sales. I am a complete novice when it comes to promoting and marketing. I hate Facebook, so there’s that – but I do my best on platforms such as Twitter, Google+ and here on WordPress, to name a few.

I purchased a Snowball microphone, for the purpose of recording an audiobook. I’ve been practicing, so we’ll see how that goes. I’ve also entered a short story (unrelated to the Storming Archives) – in the Neoverse Short Story competition. Winners will be announced on 1/15/16. (Fingers crossed!)

I loathe the idea of “buying” followers, so I have that against me too. I am still learning about other formats and procedures – which I will be incorporating in my promoting and marketing plans for 2016. (Such as book blog tours, readings, more radio interviews, Youtube videos and slideshows, better advertising, etc.)

I utilize Hootsuite and Crowdfire, as well as giveaways and campaigns on Goodreads and Amazon. I also have profiles on Shelfari, Bookbuzzr, Mythic Scribes and many others I’ve probably neglected or forgotten about. It’s just so daunting, time-consuming and frustrating – to say the least. (Especially if you’re working full time and running a household, on top of that.)

I don’t mean to piss and moan. I understand that, even if traditionally published – I’d still have to do a lot of the legwork myself. The thing I’ve discovered is, it doesn’t matter if you’re using services you have to pay for (who promise the earth!) or whether they’re free. You have to find the nerve and strike while the iron’s hot.

The daunting thing (whether self-published or not) is that there are millions of other authors scrambling just like I am. It feels like being a tiny, insignificant drop in a ferocious tempest – inside an endless teapot. When I’m “spruiking” on Twitter etc – I get the image of myself clamoring over a sea of bodies. Most of us are drowning – occasionally reaching out and waving frantically – only to be absorbed by the teeming throng. (Melodramatic piss-ant that I am!)

The things I know I have to do better with include:

  • Finding and targeting my audience (who and where in the hell are they? I’m not asking – I know now – and it’s great to finally have the time to focus on this.)
  • Flowing on from the above – engaging my readers and keeping them engaged (*sigh*)
  • Creating meaningful giveaways and prizes to “lure” my audience.
  • Swallowing my pride and side-stepping my altruistic tendencies (to a degree. I don’t want to have to “sell my soul”.)
  • Doing away with frittering away resources and money where it is not doing me or my books any good.
  • Being more intuitive in regards to trends.
  • Getting more reviews!!!!!
  • Dealing with my shyness and learning how to believe in myself and my work (Lordy, I’m trying!)
  • Being more open about constructive criticism – but at the same time – knowing how to sort the wheat from the chaff (as I have received some hair-brained feedback and even personal attacks!)
  • Entering more writing competitions
  • Figuring out what else I have to do to – working smarter AND harder!

Having the time to organize and execute a solid marketing plan is key. After 1/4/16 I’ll have no excuse! Even though I’m doing some freelance work to make my own money (as I’m not one of those women who like to ask their husbands for a handout) – I have structured my “routine” to include time every day for my own writing.

Robert (my husband) said something totally sweet the other night, after I advised my plans re: housework, cooking and errands (just to reiterate that I would keep it all together).

He said, “I do not want you to turn your back on your creative urges just to do the dishes or laundry. If you feel the flow – let it out and focus on your writing. I’m working less hours for more money now and I’m quite happy to pick up the slack, if it means that you get to produce solid work. Do not allow the mundane to thwart your creativity!”

How’s that for romance?!

 

 


A New Life Awaits

Finally!

Shapeshifting

bridge-19513_960_720

Well, I promised that I’d share my great news this week – then I wondered if I should wait until the new year, but that would be cruel (if anyone cares!)

It’s something I’ve been wanting to do my whole adult life and due to a variety of factors – I am finally in a position where I can GIVE UP MY DAY JOB and FOCUS ON MY WRITING CAREER!

person-984124_960_720

That’s right – I’ve handed in my resignation and my last day worked will be 1/4/16. I know it’s a Monday, but I thought I might as well get my paid holidays. I have four more work days until then, which I know will drag – but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Two major things have paved the way for this momentous occasion: my husband getting a better paying job and my discovery of freelance work…

View original post 1,041 more words


Image

Merry Happy Greetings!

xmas wp


Dreamblogging has moved!

dreaming-4ever-1552837

 

See why here: https://collectiveunconsciousblog.wordpress.com/


Pretty please with sugar on top!

Please nominate “Totem Shift” for an Amazon Kindle Scout publishing contract! (Read an excerpt – follow link to read and nominate!) 

TS Nom ad 2

The Storming Archives is the story of a woman who has always possessed “Storming” abilities. She travels to the dreamworld through a mirror in “Delwyn of the Realms,” then meets her fellow Stormers and faces her Last Sorrow in “Portal Stormer” – preparing for the ultimate mission in “Totem Shift.”

About Kelly Proudfoot:

An Aussie living in the USA and author of “Delwyn of the Realms” and “Portal Stormer” (Books 1 and 2 in the Storming Archives). Kelly gains inspiration from her own narcoleptic experiences – as well as astral projection, the dream world and her over-active imagination!

*Get Delwyn of the Realms and Portal Stormer free until 11/23/15 (Kindle editions – Books 1 and 2 in the Storming Archives.)

Freeby

and

Stay posted for giveaways – coming soon!

 


Women and the Errors of Comedy

A while ago – in Nashville, Tennessee – I sat in a comedy club to see my friend and colleague Malinda May perform. It was her graduation night after having completed a comedy course. Our husbands, Malinda’s friends, family and other colleagues were all gathered to watch her first official outing. She was last on, so we watched all the other comedians – most of them male.

CHVVXPRWUAA0JHy

Malinda May – Gorgeous! See her on Twitter and say hello – if she drops the drawbridge!

Without trying to be snarky, I can safely say that – in a nutshell – the night flatlined with only a few small blips on the radar, until Malinda came out. I’m not just saying that because I know her, as she did some fresh material I had never heard, was natural, original and didn’t have to try so hard. I’m sure she was sweating bullets before she came on – but she was clearly the best of the evening. Here’s why.

The routines presented by the previous comedians were largely pedestrian and obvious. I was always able to see the punchline – or – it had been done before, like they had modelled their bits on other famous comedians. It was like watching re-hashed routines – watered down and delivered with cringe-worthy, fake bravado. Having said that – let me say this: anyone trying to break into the world of comedy has my admiration – and sympathy. It’s a hard slog and takes intelligence, guts and perseverance.

I understood that they were fledglings – having just completed their course – and that they would (hopefully) continue on and hone their craft. What I will say is – it’s all well and good to appreciate the styles of other comedians, even if it means adopting skills such as delivery, material and timing – but I think the most important thing is to create your own style and just be yourself. That’s probably one of the main factors that brought you to the decision to take it to the next level and perform onstage: you’ve been told by family, friends and co-workers that you’re hilarious and should be a comedian.

Personality is just as important as your skills and material – but don’t let it dictate the routine or overshadow it. I know that sounds odd – but hear me out. Another fault is the reverse – letting your routine overshadow your personality. They should all be working together to shape your act – moving like cogs and wheels in a well-oiled machine. It might work for seasoned comedians who know how to use it to their advantage – but when you’re starting out, maybe it’s best to keep it all in check until comfortable.

One guy was bizarre, in the way he – all of a sudden – broke out into crazy dances. Those parts were my favorite, as I love impromptu nonsense and silliness – but there was something creepy about the rest of his routine. It’s hard to articulate – but I got the sense that he dwelled in his mother’s basement and might’ve been a snow-dropper! I know that sounds mean but I was truly creeped out by him.

The others were okay but the most I could offer was a single snigger – it was more of a “snig” – as I could see the punchlines a mile away. It was like they let their mediocre material do the work – like reciting poetry you don’t understand or have little faith in. Not that I’m an expert on comedy – but I believe that a comedian needs to own the material and then inject their personality into it (if they have one!) – rather than put it out there like an old newspaper and hope someone reads it.

I imagine that – for the most part – nerves were the main factor, but good material can get a laugh out of me, even if the delivery is lacklustre. I’m sure that they will continue to work on their acts and some may even break through. I certainly hope so – as I really felt for them. I admired them just for having the balls to get out there.

Now – the women. I hate being negative about women in any shape or form – seeing as I consider myself a feminist – blah blah blah. Also – being critical of female comedians should be a no-no, as we need more of them. I was, however, disappointed that they too were – by and large – pedestrian. I will say that I was able to give more than a “snig” – and I wondered if it was just that they were female and I was able to identify with them more.

The problem was – that they also seemed to be going along the same old lines, did some clichéd routines and were borrowing from the styles of more famous comedians, especially male. I could tell that they’d watched a lot of comedy – which is great – but their own personalities seemed to be hiding behind their material. I wondered if it was due to the fact that they were afraid to be “too female” in a male-dominated art form.

Tina Fey (Vanity Fair). It's great when someone of this caliber does this - cliched and embarrassing when done incorrectly - as one of the women did that night!

Tina Fey (Vanity Fair). It’s great when someone of this caliber does this – cliched and embarrassing when done incorrectly – as one of the women did that night!

Then – Malinda came out – just being herself. She had an issue with the microphone and incorporated it into her act as seamlessly and naturally as a hot knife through butter. Then she launched into her bit – complete with singing (she has a great voice too) – and surprised the hell out of me. It’s a testament to her that she made me laugh hysterically – with material I had never seen or heard – seeing as I know her personally.

She performed a tight set and was hilarious with her self-deprecating humor and wonderful sense of the ridiculous. Later, I analyzed my reaction and wondered if I found her the funniest – by far – just because I know and love her immensely. I realized that no – she was definitely the best – simply because she was natural and injected her own unique style, personality and intelligence into her act. It did not seem like she was a fledgling comedian who had just completed a class. She was a pro and stood out from the others because she didn’t have to try too hard. She’s a natural.

When it comes to comedy, anyone can make me laugh if they have these attributes – whether male or female. However – I do find that some female comedians tend to fall back into the typical style dictated by the males. It’s like men have claimed the artform as their own – and women are only allowed (by invitation) – provided they are not better or do not deviate from their station.

For example: men can be crude and crass – swear like a motherfucker – and talk about whatever they want, no matter how contentious or taboo; but if you’re a woman – watch out! It’s probably society at large – not just the male comedians – who have an issue with women being crude. It’s perfectly fine for a man to find fault with women – particularly in terms of sex – but a woman who pokes fun at men and their foibles is labelled coarse, to say the least.

All of a sudden – rules apply. Statements such as “There’s no need to be so crude” and “You can be funny without swearing” or “Do you really have to talk about gross things like periods, childbirth and orgasms?” – are usually only directed at women. If a male comedian talks about masturbation or blowjobs – it’s hilarious. If a women talks about cunnilingus or farting – it’s disgusting.

The fact is – most women I know (and have known) – are downright disgusting when in a group of other women: and that’s the way I like it! That’s also why I love comedians such as Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, Whoopi Goldberg (in her day), Roseanne, Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler – to name a few. I also love Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy – the list goes on.

She makes me piss my pants every time. Intelligent and silly - wonderful!

She makes me piss my pants every time. Intelligent and silly – wonderful!

What’s great about these women – as well as many others – is that they are not afraid to be themselves, regardless of any sexist criticisms or putdowns by their male counterparts or the media. As far as I’m concerned – that’s what makes them great. I can’t stand when a comedian (male or female) is obviously toning down their act or opinions – based on what they might fear that society or the PC police will think.

Awesome!

Awesome! Love her so much.

We go to see comedians to hear the shit we are either too polite or afraid to say ourselves. That’s what makes them funny. They are our mouthpieces – verbalizing our secret thoughts, dreams and fears – dishing it out and taking the hits for us. Like how music expresses our desires and emotions – comedy affords us the opportunity to vent – even if it’s a third party doing it.

This is how our humanity is defined – by making fun of it. If we can’t laugh at ourselves – we’re doomed to repeat our past mistakes. When Sarah Silverman adopts a stage persona that is innocently and ignorantly racist – it reflects the inner workings of society’s mindset. Putting it out there makes us face the ugliness of it. To say that it should be kept silent is to avoid the issue – allowing it to fester. All races have their peccadillos. We are different – and the same at the same time. It’s the culture that is hilarious when held up to the scrutiny of the comedian – not necessarily the people within it. It’s not personal.

I remember hearing a statement about female comedians – saying that, “Women are not funny.” What was depressing was discovering that Jerry Lewis said it. He was my favorite funny person when I was growing up – so to hear this was a gut-punch, to say the least. I remember seeing “The King of Comedy” by Martin Scorsese – hilarious black comedy with Robert De Niro and Sandra Bernhard. She was a crazed fan who – along with Rupert Pupkin (De Niro) – kidnapped the Jerry Lewis character and did one of the funniest routines I have seen on screen. Talk about righteous! (Apparently Mr Lewis wanted the slapping scene to be more violent. Maybe he wanted to punish her for being funnier than him?)

vlcsnap-4699

Beautiful

When Bill Hicks (among many others) made fun of religion – it was funny because it was true. It was what most of us were thinking. Also, when he said that, “It’s not a war on drugs – it’s a war on personal freedom” – he was dead right. When Lenny Bruce poked fun at the establishment – he was crucified for it.  The same thing happens to women who dare to be confident, loud and proud – especially when they’re not the perfect “10”.

One of my top three favorites of all time - Bill Hicks.

One of my top three favorites of all time – Bill Hicks.

We’ve passed the 2000 year mark. This is the future, and we’re still the small minded bigots and sexist assholes that we were fifty years ago. It’s time to put on our grown up pants and stride through the childish horseshit that prevents us from evolving. To the fledgling female comedians out there – please do not listen to the ignorant “pigs and fishes”. Be yourself and allow the stupid criticisms to roll off you like water off a duck’s back. In the scheme of things – when the dust clears – those idiots will crawl back under their rocks and you’ll still be standing on the stage, splitting our sides and hopefully making a living out of it.

I’m counting on it!


Dream Blogging – Meandering

pavement-1179239-m

I had these dreams last night, and seeing as all three “bled” into each other, I am going to interpret them as one dream. It started with me waking up to a knock on the door at about 2am (in the dream.) I was in a house that was a mix of my current home and the one I grew up in. When I answered the door, it was someone who was supposed to be some kind of a maintenance man – but his vehicle was also a food truck. He had brought his bain-marie to the front porch and had different dishes he wanted me to try. They food was all orange, like mashed sweet potato and grated carrot pie, etc.

japanese-food-1-842311-m

As he served the food on a plate, I went into the kitchen and brought out a pie I wanted him to try.

chicken-pie-556342-m

As this was going on, my husband came home from work and was a little annoyed as he was wondering if I was having an affair. I explained what was going on but he still wasn’t convinced and started asking questions about the validity of someone bringing food in the early hours of the morning.

Then I was in a building (a work do?) and we (my husband and I) decided to leave and get food. We walked past a group of toddlers who were lined up to pee.

boys-387985-m

The front boy was peeing against the wall. We all thought it was adorable. When I got outside, I was in my office clothes but barefoot and didn’t care. We walked down the street and looked for a rerstaurant that had the food we liked. Then I had shoes on.

barefoot-32303-m

Robert and I continued walking down the street and were with other people (his parents?) and we went into a church.

inside-867454-m

It was massive – almost like a community center, and there were people in a waiting area, waiting to see the “organizer/planner” as well as waiting to go into church. I felt surly towards them for being gullible sheep – but kept my mouth shut. When I saw someone going into the office to see the planner, I noticed that the planner was attractive and wondered if that was why Robert had scheduled an appt with her.

I walked past the congregation as they listened to the minister, and went through a door on the left – as I needed to pee. I went into a bathroom where a lot of teenage girls were getting ready for sunday school and some of them were peeing.

toilets-379633-m

There were open toilets in a row – white porcelain – some higher and larger than the others, as well as different types of toilets. When I went over to check them out – I decided not to pee as they were dirty. I went outside and started to go for a walk and went around a corner of a wall where the ground became like a cobblestone path – only the stones were huge and jutting out of the ground, some like rocks.

stone-pavement-413615-m

Then I was watching a woman who had also escaped the church session, and she was having difficulty walking over the cobblestones, so she took off her clogs/slippers.

clogs

She was walking through the garden singing a Stevie Nicks song and I thought that it was a new one as I hadn’t heard it before. I walked over to a small veggie patch in the center of the garden and started gathering zucchinis.

zucchini-1187625-m

I was happy to get them before they grew too big and tasteless. I then realized that I’d better not pick too much as the people in the church might like them big and tasteless. I also saw cauliflower growing in sections – rather than a whole, circular cauli – but growing in flowerets.

There were other veggies – like large misshapen green peppers and when I looked around I saw that the rest of the garden was like a cold store of veggies, with lots of onions stacked up.

greengrocers-show-624962-m

THEMES: Wandering, peeing, food, leaving the crowd, relationships, life path

SYMBOLS: Orange, food, vegetables, shoes/barefoot, urination, toilet, church, music, path, garden

EMOTIONS: Sharing, suspicion, wonder, annoyance, satisfaction, sustenance.

ARCHETYPES: Animus – husband, maintenance man, little boys, attractive woman, teenage girls.

INTERPRETATION: I have been focusing on my health and eating habits lately, so the veggies represent my idealizing of the healthy life. The man delivering food in the early hours is interesting (to me, at least!) If a male in a woman’s dream is her Animus (the representation of how she feels about men and how she interacts with them) – then the reciprocal nature of the interaction might show how I want to meet men on the same level, share experiences etc. This is how I operate in my marriage – as my husband and I have a good relationship where we take each other’s needs in consideration and treat each other fairly – regardless of attitudes towards gender roles, etc.

The fact that the man was offering orange colored food might indicate the sharing of energy (as orange represents energy or the life force) and the fact that I offered a pie in return, might show how I take the energy offered and make something new. My husband coming home and being suspicious could indicate an unconscious concern regarding my appreciation for him or even how I express myself in terms of my dealings with other men.

Seeing the children peeing against the wall brings to mind the pun, “pissing money up a wall.” I have been trying to be more careful with money lately (especially with my promoting and marketing of my novels and business.) The others waiting in line could symbolize how I’d love to share more with my son and grandsons – or perhaps – how much I have to give and feel like it’s taking too long? I mentioned to Robert that the children were adorable and he agreed, so it could represent my love for his boyish nature.

Walking down the street dressed in office clothes – but barefoot – could be showing how I travel through life being two people. The responsible professional – with the impetus being provided by my free nature or desire to be an individual. I am usually an honest, straight forward person – and people often tell me how it’s refreshing to see (especially in the workplace!)

Going into the church (which was like a combination of church and community center) indicates how I operate in a crowd and how I view and interact with others. I’m mostly agnostic – bordering on atheism – so my attitude towards the church-goers was based on that, but I feel that it was more like not wanting to be a part of the throng. It’s funny though – there was a sense of sadness, as a small part of me felt that I was missing out.

The attractive woman (organizer/planner) – was helping people get their act together in regards to spiritual and personal life. She could be symbolizing me and how I want to help people, however I was jealous of her and my husband having an appointment with her. I am usually a passionate person – but have become more complacent and easy-going as our relationship evolves.

Going into the bathroom and needing to pee, could have simply been dictated by my real life need to pee – as I awoke busting to go to the toilet. As a dream symbol, urination (especially in public) represents the need to offload negativity or unwanted refuse – as well as the way you “offload” in public. (I have been quite aggressive at work lately, due to feeling like I’m being used as a dog’s body!)

The fact that the toilets were dirty – and then deciding not to go – could symbolize my fear of absorbing other’s filth or negativity. (Or the fact that I couldn’t go – as I was busy dreaming!) The teenage girls might symbolize how I feel about younger people these days, or my attitude towards getting older and forgetting how it was to be young and carefree. (Trying so hard not to be a curmudgeon!)

The cobblestone path is obvious to me. It feels like the “rocky road” is not the road rising to meet me – rather, blocking my progress and showing the possibility for tripping up if I’m not careful. Also – obstacles in my path and issues I have to deal with in order to move ahead. The woman taking off her clogs represents how I need to be myself in order to traverse my life path successfully.

Hearing the Stevie Nicks song (apparently a new one I hadn’t heard) – could symbolize my desire for a new “soundtrack” to my life. For me – Stevie Nicks is spiritually aware – and I have been contemplating re-dedication to the pagan life. (maybe that’s what I’ve been missing lately – indicated by my sadness with not being part of the crowd at assembly.)

I have been using zucchinis a lot lately, so its appearance in my dream is obvious. Worrying about choosing only the smaller ones for better flavor could indicate my desire to ensure quality – not just with food. I was mindful to leave some behind – so they could grow some more – as the churchgoers might have liked it that way. This could symbolize my attitude towards religious people wanting blandness or mass appeal – or it could show that I’m taking the essence from a collective spiritual path? (I think that’s a bit of a stretch – but who knows?!)

Seeing the vegetables all stacked up gave me a lot of pleasure – which also indicates my happiness with eating healthier etc. The fact that there were a lot of white onions could symbolize purity – or that I need more onions – or less, as I use onions quite a lot in my diet. Maybe this was telling me to use less!

SUMMARY: I’m on the right path, but there’s more to push through – as long as I stay true to myself. It’s time to tune in to my spiritual side again – to complete the process of becoming whole. I must temper my attitude towards the “throng” and not be too judgmental. I must also take better care of my husband and pay more attention to his needs – balancing the give and take.


Dream Blogging – Falling Birds

pigeons-city-1255488-m

This is a short dream I had recently, where I was walking down a city street and saw grey birds falling out of the sky. I saw two land in separate trees and something told me that there was an ecological disaster causing them to fall. When I went up to the first bird, it was limp and laying on a branch – but still moving a little. I picked it up and held it in my hands, wondering how to help it.

When I went to the second tree, I saw that the bird was a little more alert. I got close to it and it opened its beak – to reveal a tiny, grey, 3D printed cube inside its mouth.

3d-print-food-1

I saw that the other bird also had one in its mouth and tried to carry them both into a building – to find a work colleague to help the birds. As I walked along, I worried that the birds would die, and when I got to my work colleague, he was blase about them and said they’d get better soon. I felt that he was brushing me off.

THEMES: Environmental calamity, illness, looking for answers.

SYMBOLS: Sky, grey birds, 3D cubes, beaks/mouths, trees.

EMOTIONS: Worry and concern, confusion.

ARCHETYPES: Birds, Animus – work colleague

INTERPRETATION: I get the feeling that – yet again – it was telling me about my physical state. I’ve been improving my diet and exercising of late, and also discovered that my Thyroid medication was too strong. Birds symbolize ideas and thoughts, as well as vehicles for escape and freedom. I feel that they also symbolized my “high hopes” for my books – falling out of the sky representing the lack of sales etc.

I have been disappointed with the progress/success of my writing and even told my husband that I felt like giving up. He told me that it was just a slump and to keep going – that one day, I would have success if I keep plugging at it. Also – the pleasure I get from writing and sharing ideas and stories is one of the main reasons I write.

The 3D cubes in their beaks/mouths is a mystery – although I could interpret them to mean concrete, or three dimensional ideas and solutions within the fallen or failing ideas. For example: the birds (ideas, my books etc) are not staying afloat due to the methods I’m using (and not using) to market and promote. The 3 D cube could symbolize the fact that there’s something solid there, but I have to find a solution.

Trying to get my work colleague to help could indicate my frustrations with the public and potential readers – not seeming to be interested in what I have to offer. In regards to the environment, it could represent how I feel about not wanting to jump through the hoops and produce what I feel are frivolous works – just to garner attention and sales.

It might also indicate how I’m feeling about my frustrations at work and my life in general – especially when I’m low or depressed – thinking that, no matter what I do, it’s an uphill battle with no reward.

SUMMARY: I feel that I need to analyze this dream more, but it does seem to symbolize my “malaise”. I’ve been half-hearted lately, in terms of my writing – so maybe this dream simply reflects those feelings, and indicates a need to be more scientific or well-rounded. Trees can symbolize the integrated Self (they were mostly barren) – so maybe it shows how I feel about myself and my life lately. The ideas and thoughts are there, but they can’t seem to get off the ground. I don’t know. I seem to be going around in circles!


Human First and Foremost

All else falls away in the face of oblivion. No race, no creed, no sex, no religion. Pushing these man-made attributes to the shadows – I see crystal-clear reality. No matter the gender – we are human. No matter the color or status – we are human. No matter the orientation – we are human.

We strain after the labels in order to slap them on each other – tagging and cataloging – even though we loathe being tagged and cataloged ourselves.

I will not be defined by my sex. It does not speak of my intellectual pursuits or creativity. I will not be a slave to the ugly machine – which dictates impossible standards of beauty while vilifying my humanity.

I will not expect a man to be a man, without tears or mercy – pumped like a grotesque, cancerous mass – dressed up as swagger. I will not expect a woman to be a woman, without strength or honor – trussed up and acid-washed to a bloody pulp – dressed up as sweetness.

If our hearts and minds are barred from meeting on common ground, where we can share our jubilations and fears – without resorting to a monkey dance in a cookie-cutter mask – I’m happy to pass you by.

I do not identify with any one race – even though four dwell within me. They are not beacons for others to flock to – to sway my focus. They are circumstantial and simple genetics – nothing more. They do not feed my psyche or prompt my interactions. I am a patchwork person like the rest of you, and I will not pledge allegiance to one over the other.

Poverty, destitution and despair are not the polar opposites of wealth, opulence or happiness. They are inter-changeable. We open our mouths and our spirits pour out – mangled and strangled by the refuse we absorb willingly.

We can sing in harmony or screech in discord.

It’s all down to a choice – not suggested or directed by the machine, but rather – by our humanity. What is right is what is good is what is natural – without fake holiness or smug science.

I can see my history – aligned with the horror as well as the beauty of the world. I will dust it down, wring it out and wrench myself into the person I was destined to become: Human.

Human first and foremost.

1 (1)


Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Delwyn of the Realms by Kelly Proudfoot @ValiMyers4eva

Review of my novel – Delwyn of the Realms! Thanks Sterna and Rosie!

Rosie Amber

Today’s team review comes from Sterna, she blogs at https://sternakruger.wordpress.com/category/book-reviews/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Sterna chose to read and review Delwyn of the Realms by Kelly Proudfoot.

25166110

Delwyn of the Realms – Storming Archives – Book 1 by Kelly Proudfoot

Newly released from the psych ward, freshly divorced, haunted by her dreams and mental splintering all Delwyn wants is to head somewhere safe to rebuild her shattered life. She is welcomed with open arms by her Aunt Gwen on her farm, a place that has always invigorated Delwyn, made her soul sing with its fresh clear and clean air and water. She realizes that running away to her Aunt’s was fine when it came to hiding from her earthly problems, but her psychological issues would always find her. She could never escape her destiny.

Delwyn stumbles into dream world and her whole world changes. Trying to keep a balance between normal life on the…

View original post 224 more words


Dream Blogging – A Room with a View

sleepy-235428-m

I was in a house where some teenagers (majority of them were African-American) were gossiping loudly in my mother’s room. When I went in, I saw a couple of them rifling through my mother’s jewelry box. They stopped gossiping and started to pray – pretending that that’s what they were doing the whole time. When I told them that I heard them gossiping – they denied it and said that they were just praying.

pray-1122915-m

I looked at the jewelry box to see if they had taken anything – but I couldn’t tell. Then I went into my dark room and decided that I wanted to change rooms.

first-light-in-room-1391102-m

I went through the house and found a light and airy room – which was opened out to the driveway in a country setting. I didn’t mind that it was open – but I saw that the bed had a lot of dead insects where the pillows were supposed to be.

rural-driveway-113490-m

In the dream – I thought that I normally wouldn’t mind the insects, but I didn’t want that bed.

moth-186593-m

THEMES: Gossip, praying, lies, desire for change, dead bugs, light vs dark.

SYMBOLS: Jewelry box, dark vs light, bed, bugs, outdoors

EMOTIONS: Annoyance, suspicion, yearning for illumination

ARCHETYPES: Teenagers – African-American, Mother (not present)

INTERPRETATION: This is quite personal – suffice it to say that I have issues with my mother stemming from my childhood and the fact that she wasn’t present in person signifies her absence in my life. The gossiping teenagers – especially being African-American – symbolize the childish side of my mother (she is dark) and the fact that others are joining in on the gossip. When I questioned what they were doing, they lied and said that they were praying – which represents her trying to present herself as blameless and pure.

Worrying about what was taken from her jewelry box denotes a fear of the precious things about her – or the hidden treasures that I fear will be stolen from her, therefore me.

The desire to get out of my small, dark bedroom represents my yearning for escape from guilt, or repressed memories. In dreams, the bedroom usually symbolizes the sexual side of yourself – but I feel that it indicates my yearning for openness, freedom and a lighter or even illuminated life. With the new room being open to the elements – it shows how I want to open up into the world and step out of the darkness. (This also represents my public persona and desire to ‘meld’ with others and join the crowd – after having deliberately stayed in the shadows for so long.)

The dead bugs in the bed could represent old, little things that should be of no consequence now. Things like old arguments, bad memories and outdated or unnecessary elements in regards to how I cling to the past. The fact that I didn’t mind them so much – shows how I might still harbor resentments (which I do!) – or how those things still plague me. The fact that I decided I didn’t want that bed – due to the bugs – indicates that I finally want to move on.

SUMMARY: Time to bury the hatchet and move on. I must remember the good things and not dwell on the bad. It’s time to be more honest and open. I need to get “out there” and get amongst it.


Dream Blogging – Dead bodies and Dirty Water

untitled-1806-m

I was in a field with long grass where there was a patch mowed in a square. As I walked past, I looked in and saw several men – supposedly dead – lying along the edges. At first I thought they were just men’s clothes arranged as though men were inside them, but then I realized that they were men. They were wet and I assumed they had drowned before being placed in the square.

spring-1442504-m

Then I walked to the edge of the field and met up with a work colleague.  She was standing in a queue with other people who were going to a training session and I walked over to talk to her. She was laughing (as usual) and told me that she was trying to get away from a man who was trying to kiss her. She said that he had herpes and she didn’t want to catch it.

bus-queue-v-177934-m

Then she told me that her anal jewelry was bothering her! Later in the dream, I was thirsty and went over to a man who was serving water out of an old metal bucket (or a still). When I went up to him, he handed me a large jar – but I saw that there were a couple of dead insects and a spot of mold floating in it. I wouldn’t drink it, so I went over the road to a covered stand.

bubble-bath-1137923-m

There was an old woman selling her wares – but it looked more like a forgotten trash heap. I thought I saw a table loaded with old animal skulls – displayed in a pyramid fashion. But when I got closer, I realized that they were just knitted and crocheted baby booties.

knitting-by-the-fire-712424-m

I told the woman that I was thirsty, so she pulled a cup of water out of her pocket. I was afraid that it was her urine, so again – I declined.

murdered-doll-1075451-m

THEMES: Death, issues with men, sexuality, disease, thirst, contamination, misinterpretation.

SYMBOLS: Death, grass, square, water, drowning, queue/line, training, sex, water, dirt/filth, skulls, crochet.

EMOTIONS: Confusion, concern, disgust, humor, thirst.

ARCHETYPES: Playful/sexual woman, dead men, peddlars, old woman, animal skulls.

INTERPRETATION: To see the animus (for a woman) – dead in a field – could represent dead sexuality. Fear of losing sexual power – although seeing my colleague happy and chatting about avoiding a man for fear of disease, could also indicate a lackadaisical attitude about avoiding sex. (Hmmm – not like me at all!)

What stumps me is the part about ‘anal jewelry’. This colleague is hilarious and we have a fun time together laughing at work – but I feel that she does represent me, and the ‘anal jewelry’ could symbolize abnormal sexuality. She was off-handed about the comment – so it could represent an element of myself that is glib or flippant about sex.

The fact that the men had possibly drowned (water = subconscious, emotions) – could indicate the men in my past that I’ve “laid out to dry” – or that I am ignoring my sexual side (or the sexual side of my husband.) Without giving too much away (we are very happy!) – we have been very busy of late, with our careers etc. Let’s leave it at that!

The fact that she was in a queue or line – waiting to go into training, could symbolize life still throwing lessons at me. I am very impatient – especially when it comes to my writing career – so maybe it represents the fact that I still have to keep learning and wait my turn.

The thing with the dirty water could have been affected by being thirsty for real. When I went to bed – I had brought a glass of water with me as I was particularly thirsty that night. When I woke up – I was still thirsty, so maybe my physical condition carried over to the dream state. In the dream – I couldn’t drink the nasty water – representing my thirst and lack of clean water to drink. If I was going to interpret it as a dream symbol – it could either tie in with my health (still working on it – eating healthy and all that boring crap!) – or even a “thirst” for sex, which is thwarted – self-inflicted.

The animal skulls (especially in the shape of a pyramid) – could indicate my desire to get back to my pagan side. This is something I’ve been thinking of lately, as I want to re-dedicate myself to the craft. The old lady – who had baby booties (white) – could symbolize my desire to get my business and writing career off the ground. (Babies represent new things, new ideas etc.) The idea of her having urine in her pocket doesn’t escape me. Sometimes I feel like I’m “regurgitating” or re-purposing things!

SUMMARY: I need to continue focusing on my health – and pay more attention to my sexual side. I must remember not to take my husband for granted. I need to think up more creative ways to promote and market my business and writing. I need to get my schedule worked out so I can incorporate my spiritual pursuits. (I’ve already started with clearing out and cleaning my office – to make way for a sacred space.) One step at a time!


Pecking the Feathers

black-feathers-67754-m

We’ve all heard stories about chickens and the pecking order – especially where they peck at the black feathers of an unlucky bird who is not the same as the others. I witnessed this on a social website (that shall remain nameless!) – where a reader left a less than favorable review of a novel and incurred the wrath of the unhinged author.

I became privy to the ensuing circus – having been linked with the author – and could see early on that it was going to spiral out of control. To be fair (on both accounts) – the reader had every right to review the book as she saw fit, and the author had every right to be upset, as all authors can be when faced with a negative review. The golden rule for an author is, of course – not to respond to any reviews. You can take it or leave it and move on. You can learn – and modify your work if need be – or shrug and continue as you were.

The review did mention the word “loathe” – which is a strong word and a sharp dagger to the heart of any author – however, the reader had every right to use it, if that was how she felt about the book. The author went on a psychotic verbal rampage – demanding to know where the reader found the book (ridiculously confusing and totally irrelevant) and displayed narcissistic tendencies, delusions of grandeur (in relation to the supposed superior quality and spiritual message in the book) and continued attacking everyone who weighed in on the thread.

The poor reader did her best to offer a more thoughtful review – but would not take it down (as requested by the author) – nor should she have. Honesty is the best policy when reviewing a book – for the readers and the authors. I decided to include my two cents – trying to show support to both the reader and the author – by suggesting that they both walk away before it became a circus. I was then “berated” by other users – telling me that the author needed to back away and apologize, etc – as he started it – blah blah blah.

I left the thread as I could see that nearly everyone (not including the reader – who maintained her composure throughout) was slathering and baying for blood. The author continued fighting back – becoming more and more psychotic with insane ranting about “bad reviewers” being just as bad (if not the same) as murderers, killers, rapists etc. He started using caps for random words and went on about – on the one hand – everyone being connected and needing to show love, to blaming every user on the thread for child abduction and many other atrocities.

There were a lot of thoughtful responses from authors who tried to advise him to calm down, move away and stop – as even the best authors receive negative reviews. There were others who talked about negative or 1 star reviews being a boon to authors – as some readers look for them to see what all the fuss is about, etc. This all started on friday – 6/5/15 – it continues now – as at 9:36pm, sunday – 6/7/15.

There are all kinds of nasty messages and slurs – peppered throughout the thread – with some compassionate advice every now and then. Some users have taken to attacking each other and I just checked now, as I write – 495 messages are on the thread – with more to come, I’m sure. The author left the thread at around page four – there are ten pages so far! It seems that the website has blocked the author’s account – as many flagged him as breaking the site’s rules (which he has). It has also been discovered that he was “buying” 5 star reviews, by giving away free copies of his book in return. This is a deadly sin for any author.

What also shocked me was that apparently, he plagiarized Alan Watts! It’s obvious that this author is in serious trouble – on many levels – and he did it to himself. However – what amazes me more – is how the other users on the site are gladly flocking around to kick the carcass. They are regurgitating comments and advice that have already been posted – ad nauseum – for the sake of joining in and being considered on the “right” side of the fence. This is why I got out when I could. It would have been easy to hang around and waste my whole weekend watching for new comments and slinging crap – for the sake of entertainment – which it clearly is for a lot of the users.

The reviewer has now been elevated to the status of sainthood, as the author is being considered worse than the anti-christ. I reiterate this though – I still believe that the reviewer had every right to give it a 1 star rating and the author was idiotic to respond the way he did. I also reiterate that the reviewer should have backed out early on in the piece – but again, that’s her choice – so be it.

What is happening now is that many are going in and giving the book a 1 star rating – out of spite, I assume (especially if they did not read his 100 page novel.) They have every right to – if they truly read it and did not like it – but I feel that doing so, just for the sake of leaving the bad review with the “us versus them” mentality – is akin to the chickens pecking the black feathers of a seemingly lesser chicken.

I have learned several things from this storm in a teacup – which I will endeavor to remind myself of in the future. One – definitely do not respond to any reviews of your work. Two – if you’re going to leave a negative review for a book, be thoughtful and explain your reasoning (and don’t engage with a psychotic, slathering author.) Three – trolls will either side with the winning side – and will keep kicking, even if the object of hatred has left the room, or will throw a spanner in the works to get attention. Four – 1 star reviews or negative reviews can be good, as some readers’ interests are piqued if they see them – and are distrustful if you have only 5 star reviews.

This one rings true for me – as I mostly have 5 star reviews (I didn’t pay for them , thank you very much – and I didn’t solicit them.) I know that someday – someone will give me a lesser rating AND will explain how I could make my writing better. I look forward to it – as I need more reviews and need more feedback. I also know that I won’t respond – but I will dig through for the gold nuggets that will help me grow as a writer. If it’s an unwarranted, scathing attack – I’ll walk on by and keep on keeping on.

I only hope that the author doesn’t do anything drastic or that he doesn’t become the next David Koresh or Charles Manson, as I believe he has the kind of personality that could easily gravitate in that direction. I hope he gets professional help and that this has been a lesson for him. I also hope that this thread dies soon – as the damage has already been done.