Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Day three of shedding the kilos for summmer - an author's journey

Day Three of my health kick is almost over. It's been easy to justify sticking to my plan now that I have to confess to everything I eat, drink, and do. I've been very exhausted of late, recovering from a virus I caught at Supernova in June. It has left me with less fitness than before the virus. But I think I'm finally get on top of it.

I think my biggest thing to give up is drinking alcohol during the week. What happens when you work part time is that Wednesday is your Friday so you have a glass of wine. Then Thursday is also your Friday, so you have a glass of wine. Then the real Friday arrives. Then it's the weekend. I reckon I could easily lose a few kilos just from cutting out the wines during the week.



We shall see. Often, when we give up one thing, we replace it with another.

Wednesday Food:
Morning:
Small mango smoothie with soy milk
1 scrambled egg and ham on English muffin

Morning snack:
nothing

Lunch:
leftover pork mince, cabbage, carrot and rice chow mien from last night's inner.
It's a store bought recipe mix, it's as easy as follow the instructions.



Afternoon snack:
someone brought a couple of chocolate with raspberry filling cookies into the office. I had one. It was delicious. Then I ate the muesli bar I was meant to eat for my morning snack.

Dinner:
Home made chicken and vegetables with pad Thai noodles.

Wednesday Exercise:
40 minutes walk with the dog in the morning.
15 minute jog at lunchtime.

This is my dog Teeka powerwalking at the beach last week.


Tomorrow's post will be delayed while I go for a walk in some local caves and camp overnight. I'll share pics soon.

Thank you for reading about my health kick.

Day Two of shedding the kilos for summer - an author's journey

Day one of my health kick was easy. So far so good. Part of the commitment to shedding the winter kilos is to give up drinking alcohol unless I'm at a social event. I've had a rough day at work with a challenging payroll, and I'd love a glass of red wine, and I told myself to hold off, but I had a glass of red wine.



Summer is coming and I need to do something serious about shedding those few extra kilos I’ve put on over winter and from being sedentary while editing and writing and gorging on Netflix. 

 
Day Two

Monday Food

Breakfast:      Scrambled egg tortilla + black coffee

Snack:           Banana + black coffee

Lunch:           Lentil dhal with 4 microwaved poppadums
 
HEALTHY SCRAMBLED EGG TORTILLAS


Tip to make healthy scrambled eggs is to whisk free-range eggs in a microwave container, add salt, pepper, and chopped chives, then heat on 30 second to 1 minute intervals (so they don't explode).

You can also make healthy omelet tortillas by adding chopped tomatoes, kidney beans, slices of ham or chicken, capsicum (peppers). Just don't load on the cheese.






Snack:            Lime cake (it's butter cake soaked with sweetened lime juice)


Dinner:           Pork mince, with carrot and cabbage and rice in a chow mien seasoning.


Alcohol: 1 glass of red wine.

 


Tuesday Exercise  

Morning:        walked the dog for 40 minutes

 
Okay, Day Two was pretty easy as well to stick to the plan, let's see how the rest of the week goes.


Also, Day Two was a n 8 hours non-stop payroll day where I didn't even get up for lunch, so I should have gone for a walk after work, but I didn't.


I have to admit that recording the daily intake of food and exercise is making me stick to the goal of staying healthy. Whenever someone at work brings out the cake or cookies, I'm thinking that I will have to record this, so it makes it easier to say "no thanks".









Monday, 28 August 2017

Shedding extra kilos for summer - an author's journey

The best piece of writing advice I’ve heard is “Nobody asked me to do this”. The worst writing advice is “Make all your posts about your writing”. What a load of bollocks. I’m at my wit’s end trying to continually write about writing. I never started writing so I could write about writing. It’s quite liberating to throw off those shackles. I’d rather review movies, post photos of my renovations, and post about my boring life in general.

Summer is coming and I need to do something serious about shedding those few extra kilos I’ve put on over winter and from being sedentary while editing and writing and gorging on Netflix. So I’ll start recording my daily eating on my blog as a way of keeping track of my eating and exercise habits.

 
Day One

Monday Food

Breakfast:      Porridge with soy milk and 1 teaspoon golden syrup + black coffee

Snack:            Banana + black coffee

Lunch:           Lentil dhal with 4 microwaved poppadums
 
RECIPE FOR SIMPLE LENTIL DHAL

1 tin lentils

2 small celery stalks, finely chopped

½ small brown onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp. crushed garlic

1 tbsp. curry powder

Salt and pepper

1 cup water

 

Place ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes. Let cool.

Once cool, place in a blender for a few seconds.

Place dhal in an airtight container overnight – this will infuse all the flavours.

Heat and serve with poppadums you’ve cooked in the microwave for 30 seconds/

 

This recipe makes enough for 2 small lunches.

It’s a great recipe if you already like dahl. Give it a try but note that it’s not full of “wow” flavour, which is how I like my food, to be honest.

You can add more turmeric or garlic or onion or salt to the mixture.

Experiment with a range of herbs and spices, though I’d suggest letting it sit overnight first, as the mixture is quite bland straight off the stove.

 

Snack:            Lime cake (it's butter cake soaked with sweetened lime r juice)

Dinner:           Chili con carne burrito with no cheese

 

Monday Exercise  

Morning:        walked the dog for 50 minutes, including 20 minutes of beach walking

Lunch:           15 minute jog
 
 
Okay, Day One was easy, let's see how the rest of the week goes.

 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The benefit of taking a break from positivity

The benefits of taking a break from positivity

It's ironic that today's post is about unsubscribing from newsletters, Facebook, blog sites, websites, writer groups, etc but at the risk of alienating people, I don't want to lose you of course, but I wanted to share why I've done exactly this.

There is too much positivity that it's becoming fake.

I signed up to newsletters to help me become a better writer, to help me promote my works, to help! help! help! I'm drowning in help. All of it is positive, yet all of it is fake. Nobody really wants to help. They want to make money from helping.

I joined a few Facebook groups to connect with other authors - successful authors - who've done it all before and they're happy to share their experiences. However, these groups quickly became damaging rather than helpful.

1. First of all, their fake coyness became infuriating. It became clear it was a marketing strategy that I don't care for.

2. Most of their posts turned into bragging rights. A number one here, a best seller there, 12,000 subscribers, thousands of dollars earned this month. Yes, we can all do this. Except that we're not.


3. Lastly, and perhaps the most damaging of all, we authors are becoming addicted to gambling on a promise. So many promotion sites are offering the world, and we're buying it. If the promotion works, the site takes the credit. If it fails it's the author's fault - book cover sucks, blurb sucks, you chose the wrong promotion.

I need to take a break from all this (fake) positivity.



How I maintain my positivity

I believe that true positivity comes from within. It should not be forced in from the outside. I find that too many conflicting opinions impact the positivity living inside me. So these are some of the things I do to maintain my true positive wellbeing.

MIND
I have a day job. I work in payroll, not because I enjoy paying people, but it keeps my mind active calculating hours and rates and checking legislation and employment contract conditions.

I read books, of course. But reading can be withdrawing, so I'm mindful not to withdraw too much.

My writing gives my mind plenty of action, there's research, promotion, writing blog posts, designing covers, formatting books.


BODY
I have a small dog but boy she's got a lot of energy. She loves her morning walks and if I don't take her, she stares at me all day. The truth is, I love to walk her in the morning. There's nobody around. It's our time.

I also eat a balanced diet. Sure I have pizza, chocolate, donuts, and alcohol, but the next day I fill up on salads and fruit and wholegrain sandwiches. I keep it balanced so it doesn't become one more thing to worry about.

My favourite vitamin is Vitamin D. Sunlight, I love being in the sunlight to soak up the goodness of Mother Nature. I often combine reading with sitting in the sun.


SPIRIT
I'm not a religious person, but I have values and principles and I make sure I adhere to them. And while I don't know if heaven exists, I live my life as if there is a heaven and I wouldn't want to be barred from entering. It's a simple philosophy.



So it's no promo, no brags, no links on this post

There are no links in this newsletter, no calls to action, no self-promo. This newsletter is just a reminder to take a moment of reflection whenever you feel you need one. Recharge your batteries. Find your positivity. Enjoy your life. We find it easy to take a break from all that negativity, yet sometimes positivity is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Ask what they're really trying to do. What are they selling? And if they're promising something too good to be true, it usually is.

Take care till we next chat.

D L Richardson

Friday, 18 August 2017

How to make a dystopian society - look at current affairs

 
My husband and I had a lengthy discussion this morning about dual citizenship. Australian politicians are seeking out our leaders who were born overseas, or who have parents or grandparents who were born overseas, and under the 'no dual citizenship' laws are forcing them to renounce their other citizenship.
 
This political discussion is happening all over the world. There are two parts to this controversial topic, and each form the basis of dystopian or futuristic societies when world building in fiction.
 
First point:
The act of holding dual passports.
 
I can see why it's an issue in today's climate. Identity fraud. Hidden bank accounts. Earning income from one country while claiming benefits from another. Terrorism. Economic cheats.
 
Did you notice the identifier in the above statement for building a dystopian society. In today's climate. Anytime you utter or hear those words, you begin to speculate what might happen if that policy or process continued. Will it cause issues in the future? How will it cause issues? How can you build fear in a populace if it continues?
 
 
Building fear in the population is a major factor in dystopian worlds.
 
Second point:
The intent or lack of intent to hold dual passports.
 
This second point in this discussion is very philosophical and possibly is the most exciting part of world building. The current debate in Australia is not, does a political leader hold two passports, but could they.
 
Case example:
I was born in Ireland, I moved to Australia as a baby, my parents became citizens and so did it. This happened over forty years ago. I'm an Australian citizen. As far as I'm concerned, I have no dual citizenship. Admittedly, and while doing nothing illegal, I have the option to leave one Australia and move to Ireland, and by my birthright I can automatically bypass all the other processes for citizenship. I can, provided I depart Australia on my Australian passport,  use my Irish birth certificate to get work or claim benefits, all the while retaining my citizenship to Australia. During this time I suppose I could claim certain welfare benefits nor but it would take a lot of traveling on my part to return to fill out the appropriate forms and I've never claimed benefits before so I wouldn't even know where to begin to wrought this system. But could it be wrought? I suppose it could.
 
And its this supposition that has led the Australian politicians to conduct a with hunt on all the politicians because if they are to serve our country, they must be solely committed to our country. I understand this. It's like saying, all companies want their workers to be loyal and not leave when the times get tough. Just as all workers want their employers not to sack them when financial times are difficult or technology replaces us or because we're nearing 10 years service and the employer will have to pay long service leave. But that's another component of building a dystopian society. Mistrust of everyone.
 
 
While is why whenever I build a dystopian society, I look at current affairs. And here's why I think we are currently in the process of making a very real dystopian society.
 
 
Case example:

1. Any man is capable of rape.
2. Any woman is capable of infanticide.
3. Any person can go to their garage and cook up a batch of drugs or build a bomb.
4. Any person can get in their car and commit road rage.
 
These are statements based on speculation. And that's where the danger lies. Our leader/s, wanting to reduce or remove these crimes thus impose laws and apply them to the masses.
 
How to build a controlled society:
1. Any man is capable of rape, ergo all men now have to get signed consent forms before each act of sexual intercourse.
 
2. Any woman is capable of infanticide, ergo all women must now be under twenty-four hour watch during the first however many months and report daily to the local medical clinic.
 
3. Any person can go to their garage and cook up a batch of drugs or build a bomb, ergo all gardeners now have to provide their drivers licence when they buy fertilizer.
 
This is already happening. Any person in Australia who needs to buy cold and flu medicine must now provide their drivers licence to the pharmacy, because some people have made speed using these tablets. as a base ingredient. I am totally against this type of control, and it's not because I have anything to hide, but because I have done nothing wrong and I don't intend to do anything wrong.
 
What makes all of the above examples criminal, is intent. Maybe it's because I write speculative fiction that this type of witch hunt causes me sleepless nights, but I'm fiercely protective of my civil liberties. Intent is what makes any activity a crime.
 
Why are we rushing towards the society where we punish a person who has not committed a crime, but could?
 
 
I do believe terrorism is going to be the platform for all dystopian fiction. Forget about natural disasters or World War III. It's the drip-drip-drip of terrorism attacks that are causing our leaders and us to seek action now. First one law, then another, then another until we don't realize that we're trapped.
 
The foundations are built already. Fear has driven our leaders and the population at large to the stage where we want actions taken to stop the crime from being committed, and we want it so badly we are overlooking the intent.
 
I 've written the first book of a dystopian series, and when I write book two, I'll be looking closely at current affairs to set the stage for the fear and oppression the characters have become so used to that they can't see anything wrong with their lives.
 
This was a longer post than I intended, but I hope you can see how a fictional dystopian society is built. If you're after a unique idea, look around you for inspiration.
 

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

You've published the book, now what?

In the past few months I've published two novels. One is a 100K science fiction novel, the second book in a series. The other is a 30K novella, also the second in the series. I've sent them off into the world and I need to promote them to get them into the hands of readers. That's a given. Newsletters, blog tours, ads, social media blasts, the list is endless.

Promotion can be hard, it can also be fun. It's a necessary evil and one that we're all trying and tweaking, because what works for one author doesn't work for all.

But there's another step that always stumps me in this "what now?" phase. Writing the next book. Not just the next book in the series, but any book.

 
One of the hardest things I find about writing is moving on from a completed novel to a blank page. Writing the first draft is different to proofreading the final version, so much has happened to get a book from A to B.  I've drafted, edited, developed characters, developed arcs. Then I've proofread, cover designed, formatted, uploaded, and hit the publish button, in this case on Book 2 of a series, but where to now?

My first dilemma is of course, which book do I start? Do I write Book 3 while the story is fresh in my head? Do I write another horror novella since Halloween is coming and it's good timing? Do I dust off those other manuscripts and work on them for a change of pace?

The second dilemma is going from a polished and perfected piece of work, to writing something that is recognized as being 'meh'. The first draft is not supposed to read brilliantly, and I've just spent weeks reading over a book that reads better than any first draft I'll ever write. It can be a challenge to shift gears and just write the first draft.

It is said that we should edit as we write, and I agree with this methodology. Get the words down in the first draft, and the magic happens in edits. Which is why it's always so difficult for me to move onto writing a new book. The first draft is always a pile of poo.


Here is what I'll do to get me over this hurdle:

STEP 1:
Choose a book to write. Looking at my calendar of events, I can get "Danger in the Dirt" the third horror novella in "The Shivers Novellas" series written in time for Halloween so that's the first book. Next, I want to take Book 3 of "Welcome to the Apocalypse" to SupaNova next June. So these are the 2 projects I must work on.

I must also chant daily "Do not start working on that thriller or that romance novel. You have two series to finish."

STEP 2:
Write the overview of the book - the plot line, motivation of characters in each chapter, this happens then this happens. I'll plot it out so I can then fill in the blanks.

STEP 3:
I'll give myself a word target each day. 500 or a 1,000 or even 2,000 if I have nothing else to do that day. And I'll write until I reach that target. So the aim is to get the story down and not worry about if I'm using my words correctly. The magic happens in edits.

STEP 4:
I'll remind myself to have fun. I think that's an important step too many writers are overlooking. They're placing deadlines on themselves and stress to keep up with these deadlines. I'm meant to be enjoying this.


I hope these tips might help you with your writing.

Cheers for now
D L

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

 
"Welcome to the Apocalypse" is going on a book tour
AUGUST 1 TO SEPTEMBER 1, 2017
Drop by your favourite site to win $10 Amazon gift card and
read excerpts and guest posts
Aug 1
The Silver Dagger Scriptorium – GUEST POST "Plants of the Apoclaypse"
Aug 2
Ourbookstars
Rainy Day Reviews – GUEST POST (DID NOT POST)
Aug 3
Aug 4
Aug 5
Aug 7
Aug 8
Aug 9
Aug 10
Aug 11
Aug 14
Aug 15
Aug 16
Jazzy Book Reviews – GUEST POST "Countdown to the Apocalypse"
Aug 17
Spunky N Sassy (DID NOT POST)
Aug 18
Sapphyria's Book Reviews NOT POSTED YET 
Aug 21
Aug 22
Aug 23
Aug 24
Aug 25
Aug 28
Aug 29
Aug 30
Aug 31
Sept 1