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Bloody Scotland 2017

20170917_112223I’ve hardly had time to stop and think this month – certainly haven’t had time to stop and recover, but more of that later.

After Asylum – fantastic! – we had ten days in which we didn’t stop because of the usual demands of life and the addition of our daughter having to be taken back to university.

Then on the 7th two things hit – the blog tour for “Locked Up” and Bloody Scotland.  Okay, technically Bloody Scotland hit on the 8th, but it’s a nine-hour journey from my home to Stirling so I have to add a day before and after for the travel. I’m going to split this into two blogs, this one about Bloody Scotland and the next one about the blog tour because they were both big events I want to mark.

This was the sixth year of Bloody Scotland – and I’ve been three times in the last four years.  The year I missed was because it clashed with my son’s graduation day and there have to be priorities in life.  I have to say that I’ve seen changes, the number of people attending, the number of individual events that are on offer, the variety of events on the programme.  All good stuff.  And this year I believe over 8,400 people attended.  That has to be good for crime fiction, crime readers, crime writers and of course, for Stirling.

The opening ceremony was grand, held in the great hall of Stirling Castle it was suitably bubbly. Glad to see that one of my fellow Bloodhound authors, Owen Mullen, was longlisted for the McIlvanney prise this year for “Games People Play”.  It’s a shame he didn’t get further, but longlisted is still a sign of a brilliant piece of writing.  “The Long Drop” by Denise Mina was the ultimate winner, and from what I’ve seen that was well deserved.

After the opening and awards ceremony, there was the torchlight parade from Stirling Castle down to the Albert Halls.  Now here’s the thing, Stirling Castle is at the top of a steep hill, which is largely cobbled.  The people in that group were crime writers and crime readers, those whose imaginations tend towards the murderous.  So it’s little surprise that I wasn’t the only talking about pitchforks and one singing the occasional refrain from Beauty and the Beasts’ “Kill the Beast.” There were so many people there, more than enough for that statistically likely accident to happen, yet it didn’t.  Traffic was stopped, as far as I know, no one slipped, got singed or in any way ‘damaged’ by the event, which caused quite a stir in the city. Then we all filed in to listen to Mark Billingham talk to Ian Rankin about 30 years of Rebus, which was a great way to spend an hour.

And that was just the opening night.  The rest continued apace.  There were so many things on, that listing all would fill many a blog, but suffice to say I had a brilliant time.

I meet up with some old friends, made new ones, too many to list and I’m bound to miss someone and I don’t want to upset anyone.  I promoted my book, got offered a slot at another event, which of course I took up, and generally had a great laugh – and caught a cold.  A real one that even now, a full week later, I can’t shake.

What matters though is that I had a great time.  I love Scotland, love Stirling and love Bloody Scotland.  The event gets better every year and I can’t wait until the next one.

Hope to see some of you there.

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Lunatics have fun at the Asylum

I am late posting this because I’ve had a lot of painful diversions this week, which I’m not going to go into in this post.  Anyway, I wrote this at home last Monday.  My achy feet up, the corset off, I was surrounded by evidence of cogtourrets having infected the whole household.

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about – let me explain. We; me, my husband and our daughter; attended the Asylum Steampunk Festival 2017.

Asylum has been running for 9 years, and is officially the largest steampunk festival in the universe – a NASA scientist says so, and it did attract in the region of 120,000 visitors. The event is held in Lincoln, this year it was split between the Campus of Bishop Grosseteste (no I don’t know how to pronounce that properly either) and a few venues in the old town part of Lincoln. Look you want to know the details and history of the event, here’s the website – www.asylumsteampunk.co.uk – go check it out, I’m only going to report what I experienced.

I heard about the weekend from a friend, and as soon as I looked into it, I thought “yes, I’m going.” It didn’t take much to persuade my husband to come too, or our daughter. I was a little worried in case they didn’t find stuff that they were really interested in – but that didn’t concern didn’t last long once we got there.

Trio of steampunksFirst things first, the second we got there – I for one felt underdressed. Everyone dresses up for the Asylum. Costumes galore in all colours and fabrics and forms. People of all ages, abilities, shapes and colours were there deep in the fun. All manner of punks. From Powderpunk to Dieselpunk; WesternPunk to Apocopunk; Superheropunk and pretty much every other type of punk beside – there was even a guy with a spike mohawk for those of us who remember when punk was just Punk music in the late 70s and early 80s.

There were more corsets than you could shake a cane at, and there were plenty of canes to shake, more toppers than you can tip. Any number of goggles, jet packs, fascinators, fans, faux weapons, chariots, cycles and computers. And that was just the attendees.

Full R2D2There are hundreds (think over 200) individual events in the programme.There were talks for makers, I listened to ones on Daleks and Droids, and another on a computational engine (yes that is a steampunk computer).

Now I’m not much of a maker, I can make clothes if I have to but haven’t for years; my creativity lays is more about the written word. But in the talks, there were tips on making and how to repurpose things. These were ideas that would never have occurred to me and will come in very handy for next year and the costume stuff my husband and I are going to put together for. But by the way, is cogtourrets, starting sentences with “next year [at Asylum]…”

Since I write steampunk novels and the next one includes airships, I attended the talk on designing airships given very ably by a young man who I think said he was a naval engineer by day. That was something that surprised me, the sheer number of people I meet and found out that they were ex-military. Or maybe that’s just the kind of people I attract, who knows. Anyway, I got loads of ideas that would never have occurred to me without the talk. Too many ideas in fact. There was a great talk on the history of bicycles too, and that led to an another unexpected idea for my next book.

Jet pack racerThere was teapot racing, Wacky Races, Wacky Pararaces, a Dinorun, Military Parades, the Queens Parade, music events, writers talks, makers displays in The Great Exhibition, life costume drawing, comics, fashion, facial hair fight outs, High Noon shootouts. Modified Nerf guns everywhere. There was even a jet pack race, which was utterly brilliant, the one guy really hammed it up, played for the crowd – such a laugh!

Steampunk Iron ManThere were many cross-over costumes too. The Doctor Who stuff was kind of to be expected, what I wasn’t expecting were all the Star Wars crossovers, the gaming crossovers (a couple of Assassins Creeds at least), there were manga costumes, androids, Alice in Wonderlands, and a whole league of superheros.

And then there is the promenading. Not organised, but just those in costume wandering around the city as it the Queen were still Victoria. Apparently, over 120,000 people were expected to attend. Yes, you read that right, 120,000 people. That’s why it’s the biggest. What’s wonderful is the rules, the rules being: be “splendid, friendly and polite.” Who can’t remember that right? And everyone was.

Hopefully, this shows that there is so much going on there is simply no way that anyone can possibly attend all the organised events. So pick your programme carefully. I’d made several choices, only to find that I didn’t have time to get between the events on campus and those at the top of town on time. Now, this is NOT the organisers fault, it’s entirely my fault. Firstly I couldn’t find one of the venues, simply because there were so many people around (and I’m not the tallest person you’ve ever met), that I couldn’t see the signs for it. Then there’s the fact that I’m not the fastest of walkers, especially after that many steps, and that many blisters. Again the blisters are my fault, thought those shoes would be okay, but apparently not. Also, there was a bus service – yes the organisers aren’t stupid or inconsiderate – they actually put on a bus service – I just didn’t find out about it until day 3. My bad (oh my very bad feet!).

The old town of Lincoln is connected to the new part of town by a street called Steep Hill, and trust me, they are not kidding! Which is why one of the things to watch was the assent of Steep Hill. I didn’t manage to see it, but I’ve seen photos and it looked great fun.

I went as part of a family and we each got something very different out of the weekend. My husband now has some projects in mind for building next year’s costumes and props. I’ve got comics to review (see later posts), costumes to make, books to write. And our daughter, well she’s studying photography and one of her projects this year has been portraiture. Not just any portraiture, she’s specialised in cosplay, which is why she wanted to attend the Asylum. While she got some great portraits, she also got a whole lot more than that out of the event. In the market are there was a stand for Dark Box Photography (www.darkboximages.com). They guys were doing authentic Victorian wetplate photography. They were printed on both glass and tinplate. Now, individual photographs were not cheap, but they are quality, unique, and so fitting for the event and the costumes. As each photograph is taken, the photographer, Gregg McNeill, talks the subject through the process and it’s fascinating even to me and unlike my daughter and husband I have no interest in photography. The resulting picture, however, I liked.

It has to be said that the city of Lincoln has so taken this festival to its heart! The shops along Steep Hill all get their steampunk on. There’s even an ice cream shop that stays open 20 hours a day for the punks. Every room in town gets booked up to accommodate the number of visitors. In short, it’s not only good for the attendees, it’s great for the city’s economy.
This was my first Asylum, but it won’t be my last. The organisers did a fabulous job. I enjoyed four days, they saw the culmination of a year’s work. And for all the work they will have put into everything, I want to say a big THANK YOU! For anyone who has never organised an event before, believe me, the amount of work is incredible. A big event like this – you start planning the next one as soon as the current one is finished. And here’s the real kicker – it’s all voluntary. The organisers are not paid for their efforts, but they are meticulous in their arrangements.

To sum it all up, there’s only one word I can for what I saw, experienced and enjoyed – Splendiferous. (Considered Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, but that’s indubitably a bit difficult to say!)

Next year I hope to be in a position to actually sell my books there too; there you go, more cogtourrets. But a word of advice. If you are to attend the event in the future – remember – aspirin, comfortable shoes, blister plasters, superglue for costume repairs, and a smile you can wear all day – your face will ache. And I for one am going to get into training for all the walking involved. Hope to see some of you punks out there in 2018 too.

 

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Cover Reveal – Locked Up

Locked-up_cover

STORY INFORMATION

A prison officer and a convicted killer must work together to solve a brutal murder and expose conspiracy inside a prison.

Ariadne Teddington is surrounded by people who lie but that is to be expected when you work in prison where every man claims to be innocent.

Charlie Bell, an ex Detective, now finds himself in that prison serving time for murder after having taken the law into his own hands.

When a fellow inmate is killed Charlie is asked to investigate the case from the inside. Soon Charlie finds himself working with Ariadne but she is a guard, he is an inmate and some lines should never be crossed…

Can two people on different sides of the law come together to solve the case?

And do the answers lie closer to home than anyone ever imagined?

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3 in 4

3 in 4Life is what happens when you are making other plans. That’s why my blogging is getting a bit sporadic at the moment. Thankfully it is also a sign of some good things happening too.

In my previous blogs I have told you about various publishing deals I have been fortunate enough to get this year. So for those who don’t know I have sold a short erotica story, a contemporary crime novel and I’m self-publishing a steampunk novel. These are exciting times.

Specifically, this is an exciting month. All three novels are coming out within the next 4 weeks!

This wasn’t my plan it just happened, but I have to admit that this is also silly season first conventions and coming up I have The Asylum (25th August) and Bloody Scotland (8th September). Both are weekend deals, one in Lincoln and one in Stirling, so long distances and overnight stays involved.

3d render whiteSo my plan was for “Shades of Aether” to be ready for Asylum, which is why I have a Facebook banner saying out on the 25th August.

 

And when I spoke with Bloodhound Books about publishing “Locked Up” in September I did ask if it could be ready in time for Bloody Scotland and those lovely people agreed – thank you, Betsy!

Sinful Pleasures book

With the erotica it is going into an anthology – “Sinful Pleasures” – being published by Sinful Press, I have absolutely no say in it at all. So its publishing date of 20th August is what I was given and grateful for it I am too. I really am; thank you, Lisa, for including me.

 

So that’s three very different books coming out in close proximity.  And I want to actively help market them all. After all, that is part of the author’s job.

So I am blogging, Facebooking and Tweeting.   Why does only Twitter get a verb?

Anyway – mindless wondering over – It does occur to me that with such different genres I might be sending out mixed messages, but the real message is “Hey I’m a professional writer, come read my good stuff.”

And that’s the truth, I write in different genres because like all human beings I have facets, different sides to me, diverse interests.

So over the next few weeks, you will see different sides of me, a mix of steampunk, crime, and eroticism.  Admission – I am typing this up in the car as we head for Bristol – obviously I’m not driving, but I forgot to punctuate that last sentence which gave me steampunk crime eroticism. Now that oddly is a good round up of “Shades of Aether”, though there’s not exactly any eroticism in there, there are explorations of forbidden loves.

Now here is another admission – I am much better at being a writer than I am a publisher. So, the plan was put “Shades of Aether” on CreateSpace, order some copies for me then bung it up on Amazon to release on the 25th. Turns out that by getting to a state that I can order copies the site automatically lists the book on Amazon, so unwittingly, I actually released the book last night.

Publishing is definitely a steep learning curve! And thanks to Lisa and Will for being so helpful when I have ‘questions from the stupid’ about how to self-publish. And yes those questions will be shared in a later blog in the hope others can learn from my mistakes. But that’s for another month, August and September are for the 3 in 4.

Oh and if you are wondering about the cover for “Locked Up” – that I will reveal on Monday the 14th August.

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Call Outs

I’ve kind of hit a roadblock with my WIP, so on the way to work this morning I decided I was going to write a blog tonight, you know, do something creative.  I had a theme in mind, and you’ll tell you what it is during this blog, because it’s still in here.  But during the day something else happened and I feel like sharing this.

If you follow my blog you will know that I can come out with some random stuff and the last piece was about the reaction to the latest Dr Who, click here to read more.  Today on Facebook I was ‘called out’ on it, by a white middle-aged internet using male, his description, for the lazy way I’ve approached that and was told that I’m the prejudiced one, because this person doesn’t know a single other person who’s upset by the news.

Well good for him.  And thanks to the other friend who waded in with some salient facts proving my case.  Not that the first friend would know because he flounced out of the conversation.

Now here are some things you should consider if you want to call me out on anything I write:

1. I welcome your comments, especially constructive criticism.  These are learning opportunities and I enjoy the chance to discuss any points.

2. Generalisations are just generalisations, they are not pointed attacks, they are just ways of expressing a point in a readily understandable way.

3. Just because you haven’t experienced it, don’t mean it ain’t happening.

4. This is a blog not national journalism.

5. Call me out, I will respond, that’s what discussions are about – two way exchange on points of view.

6. If you flounce out of the conversation with your male privilege held high remember I don’t have to make you look foolish, because you did it to yourself.

 

But one of the things that was thrown at me was that if I want to ‘get upset’ about discrimination I ‘need’ – yes need – to write about what Trump is doing to the LGBT communities.

Yes, I could do that.  I really could, I could rant for hours on that topic and many other misogynistic and/or downright stupid things that the American administration is doing, but here’s the thing.  I’m an EU – soon reluctantly to be British – citizen and this blog is mostly read by those in the UK.  I do have some Americans followers – and thanks for taking an interest wherever you are – but not many.  Besides, the thing is I don’t have a voice in an election I can’t vote in and most Americans have already realised what a dreadful mistake they’ve made.  Also, ranting against anything is a very negative thing to do and I am trying to make my life more positive.

Do I think people of the LGBT (and the ever growing acronym to LGBTQIA) community deserves a voice? Yes I do. Do I want to actively promote that voice?  Yes I do.  So what am I going to do about that – Well writing this blog was part of the plan.

I believe that people, more than administrations, can make a community what it should be, and I think it’s the quieter ways that will help integrate communities.  But I have a limited reach (hence comments above) and a limited skill set. I’m not a politician, not a great campaigner, nor am I a martyr, nor even a bleeding heart liberal.  Hell, I’m not even a journalist, just a blogger in that respect.

What I am is a writer, and a freelance editor.

So when one of the guys I freelance for comes to me and asks if I’d be willing to give my time and effort to help support the writing community to bring forth some good fiction with main characters who happen to be LGBTQIA, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

So Jefferson Franklin Editing is offering free and discounted edits to writers who advance the LGBTQIA cause – to help get more LGBTQIA stories into the hands of readers.

Now I will admit that I’ve never had a main character who is anything other than hetrosexual, because that’s what I know.  And I am aware of the very great offence I could cause if I were to poorly portray that community, and let’s face it, if I did poorly portray that or any other community – I’d deserve criticism.  There are in my books some characters who I think are probably gay, but I’ve never made a thing of that, because it hasn’t been relevant to the story.  And now I’ve actually committed that to the page, I think I’m going to have to find a way to amend the situation and try to better present this under represented section of the community.

So if you have a gay soldier, or a lesbian teacher, or a gender-fluid private investigator (oh how useful would that be?), if you’ve a transexual dragon-trainer, or an omni-sexual/pansexual(?) space-traveller, then let’s hear from you.  Mind looking at those I may be a limited in my thinking, so please, please, please, come up with something original to surprise and delight in whatever genre you want.

Here’s the link with all the details – 2017 LGBTQIA Edit Giveaway.  And I look forward to seeing some of your work.

(Right now I’m going to go cogitate just how useful it might be to actually be gender fluid investigator because I can see that could bring up some really interesting plot and action possibilities.)

 

 

 

 

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Who is she?

Image result for jodie whittaker dr who

Image shamelessly borrowed off a news site – hope no one minds.

 

She is Jodie Whittaker.

She is the Doctor.

And what exactly is the problem with that?

Well according to a lot of the internet, most particularly the white male population on the internet – quite a lot, but let’s have a look at the situation with just a touch more critical analysis, shall we?

Right I suppose I should start with an admission – when I heard talk of possibly having either a black or female Doctor, I was uncertain if it would work.  This was back before Capaldi was picked – and on that topic, have to say Capaldi was brilliant, he was everything and more than a classic Doctor or a Nu-Who should be.  He rivals both Tom Baker and David Tennant in my affections for who is the best Who.  I also don’t want Capaldi to leave, I think he has way more to give to the role and has been hampered by some damp squib scripts this last season, but I’ve digressed enough and there is a reason why I’ve stated this here.

Yeah, so point was, I’m a middle-class, middle-aged (hate that), white woman and I wasn’t sure about a radical change in the nature of the Doctor.  Then I thought about it for five minutes and realised I was the one being stupid.

The Doctor is a regenerating, time-travelling alien.  His world is much bigger than ours.  He travels to worlds even Hubble can’t see.  He goes to times we will never live to number.  He is way beyond anything of human existence.  He’s allowed to be – after all – he’s not real!

But let’s bring a little reality into this anyway.  Do that, then you start to think about the scientific world and the nature of evolution.  The reason that we have different races on Earth with huge variations in nothing more important than skin colour from ebony to porcelain, is because human skin reacts to the amount of UV it receives.  But that is only skin deep, i.e. surface level, i.e. it doesn’t matter.

So what if the Doctor did become a black man?  Would it matter to me?  Did it matter when I was disappointed to hear Matt Smith had got the role?  Yes, but I kept watching and soon realised that he was still The Doctor and his youth wasn’t a barrier to me enjoying the series.  At the time Idris Elba was being talked about as a potential Doctor, but I didn’t know who he was, hadn’t seen him in anything at that point, but now I have, and he’s a good actor and he could fill the role. And that’s what matters, can the actor act?  And if the answer is yes, then skin colour is not a barrier.

But I’m not leaving the scientific yet.  Evolution is not and Earth Science, there are plenty of theories about how life might evolve on other planets, and despite what we see on fictional TV, most of these theories do not result in bipedal humanoid species.  So why should the Doctor who can travel anywhere, any when, be bipedal humanoid?  If he’s going to move freely among the two headed, why shouldn’t he have two heads? Or three legs or be a quadruped? Or a blog in a spray painted bubble-wrap costume? We put up with that for villains, why not for heroes?

The reason – budgets and availability – and the bubble wrap burst with every movement, so much so even with the shaky sets you have to feel extra sorry for Tom Baker and Elizabeth Sladen in that one.  Also, humans are the only actors other humans can understand.  Why not bung the Doctor under a load of prosthetics?  Well, heat, discomfort, time and money all jump to mind.  And even though motion capture and CGI are utterly spectacular these days – a dotted up Andy Serkis for the next Doctor! Or even undotted, he’d be dotty either way – and brilliant.  But again that is still a very expensive way to go.

Let’s dip now into cannon.  Twelve (the great Capaldi) started his tenure with the line:

“Kidneys! I’ve got new kidneys! I don’t like the colour.”

Now that should tell the astute listener that the internal organs can change.  So if the internal organs can change, why can’t testicles become ovaries?  And don’t get hung up on the idea either, there is a precedent.  In human babies we all start female, then something changes and roughly 50% turn male and that’s when what would have been ovaries become testicles.  So if it can work that way in humans, why can’t it go the other way in Time Lords?

And if we are going to talk about cannon and precedent, we have to have a look at Missy, as played wonderfully by Michelle Gomez. I was uncertain who this mad woman was to start with, we all were, but when she revealed herself, it wasn’t a shock, was it?  And there again, didn’t she just make the most marvelous Master ever?  And yes there were some grumblings about how the Master wouldn’t change sex, but that was a mere blip on the radar compared to what’s been happening with the idea of a female doctor.  So what are we effectively saying here?  It’s okay for a woman to be the villain, but they can’t be the hero?  You might want to have a word with Diana Prince about that one, or Sue Storm, or Kitty Pride, or Emma Peel, or – you know what, the list does go on, but hopefully everyone’s getting the point.  Even the guy grumbling in his mother’s basement.

So, it would appear that both according to cannon and logic, a female Doctor is acceptable.  So what other arguments are there?

The English language.  Eh?  Yep, the English language itself has been given as a reason not to have a female Doctor as it means we can no longer say every time ‘he’ regenerates.  Well, I have to say, that there is a bit of failing in the English language that we have no gender neutral – oh wait – we do.  It’s ‘it’. Now, to take another SciFi classic, in Star Trek, specifically in the books about The Excalibur, they have a character who is both male and female, who is referred to as ‘s/he.’  No, I’m not sure how you pronounce it either, but it gets over the issue.  The Doctor is an alien who doesn’t conform to our rigid ways of thinking so why can’t we call the Doctor, it or s/he? Perhaps that is too ‘out there’ thinking.  Well here’s a thought, why not call The Doctor, The Doctor? After all, that is a gender neutral term.  Oh and just one clarification – the gender neutral term is – as much as I hate to say it – ‘he’. So get over it.

That’s language, so what about numbers?  Chronologically, Jodie is way past the 13th actor to play the Doctor, but that, cannon-wise, will be her regnal number.  13. Unlucky for some.  Is 13 going to be unlucky for being a woman?  Oh get real, it’s just another number and let’s face it, she couldn’t make the series crash and burn any faster than Sylvester McCoy did.  Loved Ace, but let’s face it, the only decent Dr McCoy is on the Enterprise.

To recap, there’s no good reason why the doctor can’t be female.  As long as the actor can act, why would colour or gender make a difference?

Which leaves a very specific question – is Jodie Whittaker the right woman for the job?  I have seen Jodie Whittaker do both comedy (St Trinians) and drama (Broadchurch) and I think she was good in both, so why wouldn’t she be good as the Doctor?  There is a question as to why not cast a complete unknown?  Well, that’s easy too, Doctor Who is a huge role.  It makes a major impact on the actor’s career, and you need to have an actor who can deal with that, i.e. one who is established and isn’t going to crash spectacularly out of the show for some reason.

Last question – am I uncertain about Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor? Of course I am.  But not because she’s a woman, not because the Doctor can’t be a woman, I’m worried because if there is any problem with the next Doctor Who series the blame will land solely on Jodie Whittaker’s shoulders even if the truth is that the writing is shite. (Chibnall, I’m making a point not accusing you of anything!)

Well here’s the one thing all the fans should remember; we don’t control this series, the series makers do. The decision has been made and all we can do is wait to see what happens.  Only time will really tell if this was a good or bad decision and isn’t that just what Doctor Who is about?  Regardless of who plays the Doctor?

So, she is Jodie Whittaker

She is the Doctor.

And I, for one, am looking forward to seeing her.

 

 

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Ten Minutes of Terror

No I didn’t go on a zombie run or do a locked room breakout.   I went to meet a bunch of authors and hear them read sections from their novels.  All were from Bloodhound Books, and one of them was me.

Meeting authors doesn’t sound that terrifying does it?  Well, in fact, it’s not.  Even we crime fiction authors are actually a very nice bunch.  In fact, it was a great night.  All but 10 minutes of it were great.  But there were those ten minutes.  Ten minutes, when I had to stand up in front of 60 plus people and read out my own work – TERRIFYING!!!

Here’s the thing, I am afraid of people.  It’s not quite the same as I’m afraid of spiders – I don’t squeal and shout “kill it!” when I see another human, sometimes want to, but generally, I don’t.  Yet the fact remains – I am afraid.

I’m afraid I’m going to mess up.  Make a fool of myself.  I fear being laughed at, heckled, verbally attacked, physically attacked. I write crime so I spend a great deal of my time thinking about just how horrendous people are to each other.  That’s what I fear.

I should add that this is related to my ever-present depression.  Because of the depression, I have spent most of my life trying not to leave a mark.  Hide in the shadows, don’t make a sound.  For those who actually know me, and are thinking – what?  She’s not like that – Actually I am.  I learned years ago that that behaviour gets me nothing and actually hurts me, so I try to overcome it. Probably over compensate a fair amount. People assume I’m standoffish, well, they don’t assume it, they’re right – I am standoffish – until I get to know someone, then I can relax and be me.

But this is a confidence trick, inside I am still a scared little girl.

I also want to make clear that this is not just a vague nervousness, its real heart attack terror time. I worry about going into the office every day because of the number of people there so imagine how I feel when faced with a bunch of strangers. Anyone could be in that bunch – including the real-life serial killer let alone the ones in my imagination. Which means I was literally quaking in my Doc Martins, my heart was hammering like I had run a mile (like I  could run a whole mile!)

So I guess you’re wondering why I’m writing this post – well it’s not that I want to mention that

LOCKED UP on will be released on 7th SEPTEMBER,

or anything.  Well okay, it is, but it’s more than that.  The author’s job doesn’t stop at writing a book, we also have to promote ourselves and our work, and shrinking Violets do not do that well. Which means I have got to face this fear and overcome it.

Next question – how?

Well, exposure therapy.   Basically, I’m looking for open mike events to attend. I am going to go face my fear where it is ‘safe’ to do so.  It won’t be easy or fun, but I have to do it and the more I do it, the more I can trick the audience that I have confidence, and then who knows, maybe one day I might even convince myself.

 

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