Versatile Blogger Award

versatile-blogger

Last year I was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, this year it’s the Versatile Blogger Award! I have been nominated by the wonderful Matt Campbell Nicely, who I know through doing the fabulously fun #FridayPhrases (or #FP for short) on Twitter, where you tweet poems, micro-stories etc. Thank you, Matt, I appreciate the nomination and also all of the retweets!

So, in order to pay it forward, as per the Award rules, I need to nominate 15 bloggers! So here goes:

#1. Drew Chial http://drewchialauthor.com/

#2. Miranda Adams http://journeysinwriting.com/

#3. Julie http://peaceablewriter.wordpress.com/

#4. Little Miss Money http://thepursuitofriches.com/

#5. George Hardwick http://www.georgehardwick.com/blog

#6. Kat http://www.divorcedkat.com/

#7. Oleander Plume http://oleanderplume.blogspot.co.uk/

#8. Joe Johnson http://bigjoessoapbox.com/

#9. Liz Lockwood http://lizitivity.wordpress.com/

#10. Unaware but Underlined http://unawarebutunderlined.wordpress.com/

#11. Roger Jackson http://jabe842.wordpress.com/

#12. Joanne Blaikie http://fredamoya.wordpress.com/

#13. Joanna Maciejewska http://melfka.com/en/

#14. Graham Milne http://grahamscrackers.com/

#15. Karen Soutar http://karensoutar.wordpress.com/

and one more for luck!

#16. Greg Mischio http://alterthecourse.com/

I hope you check out all the awesome blogs above!

Now, apparently I need to reveal seven things about myself, that the person who nominated doesn’t know, so here goes:

#1. I have a terrible memory, but I only need to listen to a song a couple of times, and I will know all the lyrics, and be able to sing along (although in a tuneless kind of way)

#2. I used to have pet slow worms (they’re like mini snakes) and lizards as a child . My cats would catch them, and I would look after them for a bit until they had healed, then release them again. I have a photo of me kissing one of the slow worms.

#3. I used to have a physical reaction to any kind of public speaking (bright red cheeks, stuttering, jelly knees, shaking hands) until 2012 when I used EFT to get over it. I now love speaking in public, to small and large groups. It’s usually hard to get me to shut up.

#4. I have a weird diet. I’ve always been a veggie, but I am also gluten-free, caffeine-free, mostly lactose free and very rarely drink alcohol.

#5. I have had prophetic dreams. Sometimes they are literal, and sometimes metaphorical. I dread dreaming of tornadoes.

#6. My favourite books as a child were the Sweet Valley books, by Francine Pascal. I used to dream of living in California, and always wanted a twin sister.

#7. Seven is my lucky number. Numerologically, it is my birth date number, and it is also the number for this year. It’s also Harry Potter’s Quidditch number!

Thank you again, Matt, and thank you to all the bloggers who make life more interesting. You’re all awesome. xx

Sorting out the Editing!

The weather has been so beautiful in the UK this week, that I decided to spend the day editing my new novel, I’m Here, in the sunshine. Increasing the brightness of my screen solved the visibility issue, but the sun was getting a bit too bright for my eyes, and seeing as I don’t own any prescription sunglasses, a hat was needed.

Well, this was all I could find…

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Sat in the sun, wrapped in a blanket and wearing a sorting hat. Can editing get any better than this?

Yes, it is a leather sorting hat. I created it for the Harry Potter parties that I did last year for friends, and my own in January. I thought it would get too heavy after a while, but I have worn it for the morning, and thanks to the amazing hat, I have finished the first edit of my novel. Because of writing the novel over such a long period of time, there were a few inconsistencies that needed clearing up, as well as a couple of threads that needed tying up at the end. I’m ready now to pass it over to my editor and my trusty beta readers, to get their feedback. As yet, no one else has read it, so the jury is still out on whether it is any good. Seeing as I plan to publish it by the end of May, I’m crossing my fingers that it is!

Joking aside, I cannot stress how important the editing stage is. It still amazes me when authors put their work out without having it edited or proofread by someone other than themselves. I do edit my books quite a lot, but I know that having another pair of eyes, (or two or three pairs) is invaluable. I’m not saying that my books will be completely error-free, but I do strive to get them as good as humanly possible before releasing them into the world.

Very, very soon, I will be revealing the new covers for the Visionary Collection, including the cover for I’m Here. I absolutely adore them, and I cannot wait for you to see them. But until then, have a giggle at my mad editing selfie :)

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When will I meet my Twin Flame?

It’s been a while since I did an oracle reading, partly because I’ve been so busy, but mainly because I haven’t had any questions sent in for a while. So if you would like to ask Amethyst, Aria or Velvet a question, please do email it to me – theamethystangel@hotmail.co.uk.

A lovely Earth Angel called Ana sent me a question, and I recorded Velvet’s answer last week. You can see the video below:

Ana then sent me a very long email in reply to the reading, telling me how she had related to it and how it had helped her to see things in a different light. I do love to receive feedback and to hear how a reading might have had an impact. Looking forward to receiving more questions!

A Fabulous Weekend!

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This weekend I was in Cirencester, taking part in the Wellness Symposium. The British Dowsing Society had a shop there, and there were a few other stands, including Shelly Sishton and myself. In the morning there were various speakers, and in the afternoon there was a choice of workshops. On Saturday, I listened to a couple of the talks and then attended Adrian Incledon-Webber’s workshop in the afternoon. Then on Sunday, after listening to Shelly Sishton’s talk about essences in the morning, I then held my workshop/talk on how to publish independently. It’s the first time I have done a talk of that length (75 mins) but there was so much to pack into it, I could probably have talked for another couple of hours! It was also my first ever stab at doing a powerpoint presentation, which thanks to Scapple, was not only fun to create, but also fun to present! The attendees asked lots of great questions, and gave me a nice round of applause at the end, so all in all, I think it went quite well!

I had a great time chatting to people, and selling books, and made the interesting discovery that the majority of dowsers there were StarPeople! It was also the first time I had given out my shiny new brochure, which was designed by the awesome madappledesigns, to showcase the new structure of my business, The Amethyst Angel. There will be a PDF version of the brochure on my website very soon, but here’s a sneaky peak!

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Kindred Spirit Awards

I received an email toks_awards_2014day from one of my readers, to say that they had just nominated me for ‘Spiritual Writer’ in the Kindred Spirit Awards. There are 6 awards, and for each category, there is a list of nominees, then a box labelled ‘other’. She entered my name in the ‘other’ box, and suggested that I reach out to my readers and ask them to do the same!

I must admit, when I saw the other names nominated in the category, I felt like it would be silly to even try to compete, but even to just be nominated means a lot to me, and I want to ask you, that if you feel like you have benefited in any way from reading my words, whether its my novels or my blog, then you will vote for me, and bring my work to the awareness of even more people. Because that is why I write, to help as many people as possible.

So, the link to vote is here, on the Kindred Spirit website, and the deadline to vote has been extended to the 30th April. If you feel that my work deserves the award, then please do nominate me, and also vote for the other amazing people and organisations in the other categories too.

 Thank you so much, for you love and support, it means a lot to me. And thank you, Helen, for nominating me first!

The Wellness Symposium

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On the 12th and 13th April (next weekend!) The Earth Energies Group are holding the Wellness Symposium in Cirencester. I will be there on the Saturday, selling my books and then on the Sunday, I will be doing a workshop/talk on how to publish independently. I only have an hour or so in which to fit in the process of Indie publishing, so it will be an interesting challenge!

Adrian Incledon-Webber will be there, selling the awesome Heal Your Home and also doing talks and workshops. It should be great weekend, with some fab speakers, so if you are interested, check out the British Dowsing Society website for more info and for the booking forms.

I look forward to seeing you there!

5 Years Ago Today…

… I was sat in JFK airport, waiting to board a flight back home. And it was while sat in the waiting area that I got a notebook out and started to write The Earth Angel Training Academy. I wrote the first 900 words in that notebook, then wrote the rest of the book in the two months following, on my old laptop that had no ‘L’ key.

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The handwritten beginning of The Earth Angel Training Academy

I still have my original notes from before I began writing. Most of my ideas didn’t make it into the final book. Once I started writing, I really had no control over the story, or the characters. I was merely a bystander, writing down what they were doing and saying.

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After those initial two months of writing, it took me a further two years to edit it and get it into print, after a brief attempt at entering the traditional publishing world. Originally, I called the book ‘The Angels Calling’ and even printed and hand-bound in leather a copy for my dad. After a handful of rejections, I decided to take the Indie route, having used print on demand services to publish Heaven Dot Com back in 2007.

The first edition of The Earth Angel Training Academy was published and launched in July 2011, at the Heart of the Dragon Festival in West Wales.

The Earth Angel Training Academy

Original Cover

New Cover

New Cover

 

Since writing the book, I have actually met several of the characters in real life, including Shelly, the mermaid, who I met in California last year.

Mermaid Shelly

 

In November 2010, I wrote The Earth Angel Awakening, which I then published in the summer of 2012. Then just last year, I wrote and published The Other Side.

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Print

 

In some ways, it feels like a lifetime since I wrote those first words in JFK, and in others, it feels like just yesterday. As you can see from my scribbles, Velvet was originally called Mulberry. Because the lady sat opposite me in the waiting lounge was wearing mulberry-coloured shoes. I can still see her shoes, and hear the noise of the airport, and see the planes taking off. Though I had been writing for many years by that point, and had self-published my novella, that moment in the airport was the very beginning of my journey as an independently published author, and a visionary fiction novelist. And in that moment in time, I had absolutely no idea what the next five years would bring. There have been awesome times, crappy times, frustrating times and absolutely ecstatic times. And I wouldn’t change a single moment, because it has all brought me to where I am right now.

Do you remember where you were five years ago today?

 

Scapple, the Chronodex and a Breakthrough

It has been a very interesting 10 days indeed! Just wanted to write a little update on a couple of developments that have occurred, that have had quite an impact on me and my life. On the weekend of the 22nd March, I happened to come across a nifty bit of software called Scapple. It was created by the same folks as Scrivener, which as you know is my favourite piece of writing software ever.

Scapple is a mind-mapping tool. No, scrap that. It is THE mind-mapping tool. When trying to organise my thoughts and ideas, I often mind-map on paper. But things are always in the wrong place and other things get deleted and it looks like a mess in the end. Enter Scapple. On Saturday, I was actually attempting to mind-map on paper, and was getting quite frustrated. When I discovered, and then bought and downloaded Scapple, I was totally hooked, and got the mind-map done speedily and efficiently (and it looks way better than my scribbles!) It’s also given me a new way to do my talks and workshops, as I can use them as prompts instead of using notes or a script, which I don’t like to do. If you are even vaguely curious, I would urge you to download the trial version and have a go!

On the same day, through the blog of a lady called Julie who followed my blog, I found the Chronodex. For years, I have bought diaries, used them for a few days into the year, only to lose them until October. Planning my time and recording my time, has been something that I have not been able to do easily, but something that I wanted to be able to do. Well, for the last ten days, I have been using the Chronodex daily, and it is completely changing the way I look at my days, and is enabling me to schedule my time and to see when things are taking up too much time. The Chronodex was created by a guy called Patrick Ng, and he is happy for people to download the Chronodex diaries he posts on his blog, all they cost is a prayer for the good health of his family. I just copied the image from Julie’s blog and printed, cut and paste them into a notebook, so that I could record other things on the page too. But I made sure I sent a prayer to his family too.

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The Chronodex in action!

On Thursday last week, I had a visit from the fabulous George Hardwick, and his wife and baby girl. He had come to see me so that we could have a session together, working out what I should focus on, where I should go next. For the next few hours, we went through what I had already created, what I needed to do to make that more successful, and also what I really enjoyed doing. To have someone like George speak so passionately and get so excited about my work, made me really look at what I have created in a new light. It’s been a while since I really stepped back and looked at what I have achieved in the last few years, and actually, it’s quite a lot! I sometimes get so wrapped up in worrying about all the things I still need to do, that I forget to celebrate and appreciate what I have already done. After our session, I was talking to my partner about some of the ideas, and a little later, the vision of what I should be doing and how it should work, came into my mind, and I suddenly understood what George had meant when he said that at the moment of breakthrough, you will have tears of joy in your eyes. To have it all make so much sense, and to feel so right, was just amazing. I bounced around for the rest of the evening, and though the last three days have been crazy, that feeling hasn’t gone away. I know what to do now. I know what my next step is, and I know it will all work out perfectly.

So if you find yourself stuck, if you cannot see the next step, and if you want to make a living giving your gift and being the creative soul you truly are, than please get in touch with George!

On Taking Advice

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I don’t know about you, but as a writer and a creative, I often find it difficult to take advice. Oh, I have no problems in giving advice, I could do that all day. Accepting and actioning advice from others? Hmmm, well, uhh, yeah, maybe.

As an avid advice-giver, I know how frustrating it is, when you offer something advice, or even when they ask you for advice, and then when you give it – they ignore it completely. *cue screaming into a pillow*

First of all, I would like to apologise to anyone who has given me advice in my life which I have ignored, I’m sorry for being stubborn, I’m sorry for thinking I knew best, I’m sorry if it upset you. Of course, I don’t regret a single choice I have ever made in my life, because it has brought me to where I am right now, and I wouldn’t change that for anything. But there is a chance that had I heeded some of the advice along the way, I could have got here without so many obstacles.

Conversely, I have been given advice over the last few years, that I HAVE followed, only to realise later that perhaps the person dispensing said advice did not have the best intentions for me. So, I have decided that there must be some kind of method, some sort of formula for which advice should be followed, and which should be ignored.

The criteria that should be met by someone whose advice I will give serious consideration to, is as follows:

1. They genuinely want me to succeed in whatever the advice is given for (whether it’s my business, relationship etc.)

2. They’re not profiting from the advice they’re giving (this is a tricky one, will address this further below.)

3. They are an expert in that field, and they have tested out their own advice.

4. I would trust them with my life. (or at least with my livelihood and happiness!)

(I believe that advice that comes from a source that does not meet the above criteria, should be treated with caution.)

In the past few years, I have taken advice from people who have not met the above criteria, and it has not been good advice for me. I took relationship advice from someone who I found out later, did not want my relationship to succeed, and though I don’t regret what happened as a result, it made me realise that perhaps I was just a little too trusting, and didn’t listen to my intuition.

The part on profiting from the advice, well, that is tricky. Because someone might be advising me to do a course or buy a product, that will genuinely help me. Yes, they might be making money from the transaction, but it could be exactly what I need to change my life. But there are so many just trying to make money, who aren’t really interested in me or my success, and that’s why I need to look at all four of the points above before deciding.

I run a small Indie Publishing business, called The Amethyst Angel, and I get queries from authors who want me to work with them to independently publish their books. Often they say they just want formatting, or proofreading, as they don’t feel it needs any editing work, they’re happy with it they way it is. The first thing I will do (which I don’t charge for) is to read the manuscript. And I warn them that I will be completely and utterly honest about what I think. I have told some authors that I think they need to completely re-write the book before considering having it edited, and I have told some authors that it needs editing before it can be proofread and formatted. Sometimes, they listen, and we work together and produce awesome books, and also become very good friends, after all, I genuinely want them to succeed. And sometimes, they don’t like my advice, and they go and find someone who will just format it and publish it, as it is, with no further work done on it.

Being an Independent Author means that it’s entirely your choice. It’s their choice to ignore my advice, and that’s fine, after all, my opinion may not be the same as others, and I accept that. But what I want them to know, if that I’m not giving them that advice so I can make money from them. I am giving them that advice so that the standard of Indie books is raised up just a little more. At the end of the day, I am an Indie Author. I am on the author’s side. I would never tell an author that a book needs work when it doesn’t because it would be a waste of my time and their money. And I will not work on a book that isn’t even ready to be edited, because it would end up costing the author too much. I would always advise them to re-write, revise, and find willing beta readers who will help them first.

I apologise for my rant. But I do feel very strongly that this is an important issue. If Indie Authors want to be seen as professionals, if they want to be taken seriously in the publishing world, then it’s time they started producing professional pieces of work. Now, I’m not saying that as an Indie Author, I have it all figured out, because I don’t. In fact, I’m currently re-branding three of my books because my original covers and blurbs aren’t cutting it. I created the covers myself, and though I thought they were good, and others seemed to agree, I realise now that they do not do the books justice. Because whether we like it or not, a large percentage of people do still judge a book by its cover!

I will keep you updated on the new covers, they should be ready to be revealed very soon, and I hope that my advice on taking and ignoring advice was useful to you! Have a wonderful week :)

Wise Words of Buddha

It’s been a quiet week on the blog front as I have been busy editing and also spring cleaning the house. I’ve also been working with the madly talented madappledesigns on the new covers for Heaven Dot Com, The Doorway to PAM and The Elphite, as well as the cover for my new novel, I’m Here.

The title of this post is referring to the quote on my calendar right now, which says -’ Do not speak – unless it improves on silence.’ And I guess that’s why my blog posts are a little sporadic, because as a rule, I do not post unless I have something to say, that I think is worth saying, and worthy of my readers’ time.

Rocking with my firewalking buddies at last year's UPW.

Rocking with my firewalking buddies at last year’s UPW.

So why am I writing this post? Because at this very moment in time, a whole group of my favourite people are at Tony Robbins’ Unleash Your Power, in London. I attended the event last year, and it was amazing. I can honestly say that it changed my perspective on life completely, and made me realise that I could in fact live the life I wanted to live. Walking on fire was one of the scariest things I have ever done (even more so than breaking an arrow with my neck) and it made me feel like anything was possible. Since then I have been doing work I love, full time. I haven’t yet got everything sorted, but I know that I am so very lucky to live in such beautiful surroundings, to have an awesome partner and to be living my life’s purpose.

I have had times where I’ve wanted to give up. When it looked like things weren’t working out, or when the finances start to freak me out. And I would start thinking about what I should do instead. Perhaps I should go and get a job, it might be a boring 9-5, and I might only get minimum wage – but it would be a regular income! Surely that would be better? I’d get stuck in these ruts for sometimes days at a time, where I’d scour the job pages, send out CVs, etc etc. And do you know what? Usually I ended up giving up on that and going back to the task at hand – making a living as an author and a publisher.

It came to my awareness recently that I was never going to make Plan A work, if I was focusing on Plan B. If I truly believed in my Plan A of being a successful author, then I didn’t need a Plan B. Just having a Plan B makes Plan A destined to fail. I remembered these words from a talk that Brad Burton gave at a 4Networking meeting I attended, 18 months ago. He knew that his Plan A was going to work. Even when his family and friends thought he was crazy, even when he suffered setbacks and financial problems. He just knew. And he believed in it. I believe that it was his belief that made it work. His single-minded determination made his business successful. But it wasn’t an easy path for him, and I also believe that anything worth doing, anything worth creating, will require a decent amount of hard work, sweat and tears.

So I have thrown away all Plan B’s. There is no other path for me. My path is to do my writing and publishing, and anything related to it. Normal jobs are no longer on the agenda.

It doesn’t just apply to career, either. When you have a relationship back up plan, then your relationship is destined to fail. If all you can think of is what you will do, where you will go, or how you will cope when the relationship breaks down, then inevitably, it will indeed break down. You have to give 100% of yourself to the relationship you are in, and believe that it is ‘forever’. If you don’t want to do that, then it may be time to leave.

So what is your Plan A? What will it take for you to commit to it? Let me know in the comments :)

I hope that this post improved on the silence, if it didn’t, my apologies to you!