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Yikes!

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I am officially doing this and it’s only a week away. Am I really freaking out? No. As with every other part of this whole adventure, I’m just going with the flow and having fun with it. I did briefly think about what I should say, a kind of speech, but to be honest I think I’m better off winging it. I have no idea how popular it’ll be – some fat man, with a white beard, wearing a red suit, is also parading around downtown at the same time… but he’s not giving away free wine and erotic books! I have already achieved my goal, so I’m just going to enjoy whatever comes my way and carry on being me (which requires a new frock and shoes, of course – long live Black Friday!).

As a stay-at-home mum with two kids now in full time school, you could be forgiven for thinking that I should have oodles of time to organise a book publicity event. I thought so too…but here’s a few other things that have filled up my week.

Sunday – hubby at work all day L. I split myself in two to get both boys to birthday parties at opposite end of the city at the same time. (Actually, this is not exactly true – I sweet-talked another mum into taking one of them, because she was taking her twins anyway – I’m good but not that good!) After daytime single-parent madness, I enjoyed a little something on ice that evening while catching up on my social media. Hubby returned home; I promptly announced that, after further coaching on Hootsuite, I had now learnt to schedule tweets – except I accidentally called them ‘treats’! He was just as excited about this as I was – his mind, not mine on that occasion 😉

Monday – suffering from the mother of all viruses, which meant I sounded like I should have worked on a dirty chatline! Drank wine. Slept.

Tuedsay – Viruses exacerbate my arthritis so I felt as if I’d been put through a mangle. My physio was scared to even look at me in case it made me more uncomfortable! An evening of crafting with my bestie. Drank wine. Slept.

Wednesday – reached a new low by carrying a sample of my dog’s poop around in my handbag for most of the day until I dropped it off at the vet. I parked on a meter right outside to dive in and drop it off, intending not to pay but found an hour and 14 minutes on the clock – why does this not happen when I need to pay for that much time? Drank wine. Slept.

Thursday – cooked a meal for hubby’s potluck journal club. My bestie and I finished making all 52 wands for my boys’ Harry Potter birthday party, and we started making Quidditch pong. Made two Minion birthday cards for both boys (which look really cool, actually). Legged it to the hair salon to put up the poster between picking up monkeys from various after-school clubs. Drank wine. Slept.

Friday – BLACK! Shoes x2, leather pants x1, Christmas gifts x1. Date night at home with a curry and 24. And hubby, obviously. Drank wine. Slept.

Saturday – SNOW! Crafting class to learn how to use distress inks. Bloody freezing – minus 2 FFS. Arrived home to the glorious cooking smell of bacon and eggs, courtesy of hubby. Rearranged crafting room to accommodate new ink pads. Made mulled wine to warm up (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!) Family fondue night followed by Despicable Me 2. Good times… Drank more wine. Slept.

Sunday – Lazy morning after waking up too early from coughing myself inside out. The usual 2-hour iChat with the lovely in-laws in the UK (the marvels of modern technology). Arctic walk with the dog. Monopoly. Roast beef, Yorkshires and all the trimmings. Roaring fire. Drank wine.

Phew! Can’t believe another week has passed and it’s December already!

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I’ve arrived!

www.louiselindley.com.

That’s right, I now have a website. Yet another social media thingy to maintain, and honestly I have no idea what I’m doing with it. So, when my marketing manager arranged a conference call for website coaching I was keen to learn and determined I could do this. However, it was arranged for the morning after I returned on a late night flight from my annual girls’ trip to Las Vegas, which involves 3 days of partying, shopping, more partying and only two hours of Thunder! And approximately the same number of hours of sleep. After killing off several more brain cells from the very few that still exist in my dizzy little head, it very quickly became apparent that website coaching in the Vegas aftermath was not a smart move.

As you know I am technically challenged. An old-fashioned list-writer with a pen and a calendar full of life events hung on the kitchen wall. It is a constant battle between my husband and me. He puts EVERYTHING on his iThings, I put EVERYTHING down on paper. I just find it quicker, easier, and better to keep track of. If it isn’t on the kitchen calendar it isn’t on my radar… period! Perhaps if I used my own iThings for more stuff I would be dragged up to date and be more familiar with using them, but I’m too blonde to retain the information. Now I have the prospect of maintaining a website – me, the person who writes texts in full because I don’t understand the abbreviations!

To be fair to her, my coach was patient and informative, while I sat mesmerized at my computer watching her screen on my screen do all sorts of fancy things with text and images. The fact is that this scenario in itself had me amazed at the technology that is available these days. This is all just another part of my journey, and a steep learning curve that began with a phone call. When I began down this road I had no idea what was involved in publishing a book, but I eventually did. Now, I have to learn what is involved in website maintenance, but we all have to start somewhere and I’m fortunate at least to have had someone who knows what they are doing get me started. I’m not a quick learner, and my brain has been fried by two kids and seven years of partying in Vegas, but like everything else that has been required of me during this process, I’m willing to give it my best shot – and thankfully I do have a very technically-minded husband, whom I expect will roll his eyes so much at me that if the wind changes he’ll stay like that!

Music & Lyrics

We all hum the tune, we all sing along to the words, but how many of us really listen to the lyrics? It depends on my mood; when I’m in a good mood I just hear the music, but when I’m not feeling so great, for whatever reason, the lyrics become more significant somehow. It doesn’t seem to matter what the genre or artist, whether it’s something I listen to often or infrequently, I can always place some meaning on the words that seem to capture my innermost feelings at that given time. I think I have a wide taste in music, but I can hear my husband laughing and rolling his eyes at this statement! I think he’s the one that needs to branch out and get something decent to listen to. There is however, one band that we both enjoy, and have seen live several times, and that’s Train.

I got my dog a couple of years ago, a decision that wasn’t taken lightly because of the commitment animals require, and our boys were still very young. I wasn’t in a good place at that time, temporarily off medication and turning into a bit of a cripple. Despite what many people think when they see me, I don’t/can’t exercise any more like I used to. Yes, that’s right, I’m the bitch you all hate because I do nothing to maintain my size 0-2 figure! Walking is the only way I can continue some sort of low impact activity. This influenced our decision greatly, and my 40th birthday gift was an adorable Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier named Tess.

Every morning, rain hail or shine, we walk. Armed with the obligatory wad of poop bags, treats and sticks, I plug myself into whatever takes my fancy and off we go. We walk locally, exploring parks, along the beach, and around the seawall while the music puts a bounce in my step and the lyrics capture my imagination. There is, however, one minor problem with this arrangement… I appear to own the only terrier in the world that doesn’t like walking! Honestly, I know this is hard to believe, but until recently she used to hide under the table when I reached for her leash. The mere mention of the word ‘walk’ would send most dogs into an excited frenzy – not Tess! She refuses to come out of her crate, peering at me through the side window hoping I will take pity on her incredible cuteness – NOT going to wash with me, dog, we’re walking!!

It was while out walking my girl that Frankie and Jack’s story evolved out of nowhere. I was having a major Train blitz of all of their albums that I would just shuffle; I like the surprise of not knowing what is coming next. Over time their excellent song writing began to fit with my story, it was like some of the lyrics had been written for my book, but more likely that my book evolved because of their lyrics. I decided to somehow incorporate the band and their music into the story, and the ‘Train game’ was born. I made both my characters Train fans and used random lyrics that fitted in with parts of the story, in their dialogue. The other character would then have to guess the title track, album, track number and year with consequences if they got it wrong – something fun and usually naughty of course. Ever wondered where I got the title of the book? Bruises is one of my favourite Train songs from their California 37 album in 2012 (track 3 & a duet sung with Ashley Monroe, just to prove myself!). It has started a bit of a trend with me and book titles: I have given all three of my novels song titles. Music and lyrics will always be very influential in my writing, and maybe one day I’ll have All I wanted

Bruises is available from FriesenPress, Amazon, and other major online bookstores.

The Power of Life Experience – A Writing Tool

I sometimes wonder if she’s looking down on me and shaking her head in disapproval, while secretly admiring my achievement. I remember her reaction when I told her my dissertation was to be published in a nursing journal, full of pride and admiration. However, the relationship I had with my mum was not always a harmonious one. A long time ago I made mistakes, I am human, we all do. I eventually came clean and declared my gross error of judgment, and suffered the consequences. I decided from then on that I would always be honest with myself, and not to be afraid of living my life my way. This cost me my relationship with my parents; they were not so understanding, and we parted ways for over ten years. I’d tried on a couple of occasions during that time to build bridges, but nothing became of it, until my brother’s wedding. I didn’t want a significant family event to be awkward, so I tried once again, and that time we were all ready to move on.

If I had known then that we would have less than a year to bury our differences and re-build our mother-daughter relationship, I might have done some things differently. Yes, I still would have emigrated, I had already made that decision. I really didn’t expect to be getting that call for a long time. The saddest part was that I’d only just told her the news she had always hoped one day to hear. I was 11 weeks pregnant when I found out that she was terminally ill. Returning home to England was something I did with a second thought. It was the right thing to do, a lot of water had passed under the bridge, and we built new ones. I showed her my scans; she was the only person to know which names we’d chosen. Deep down I think I always knew she would never see her first grandchild. She died when I was 31 weeks and too sick to travel long haul to say a final goodbye. It took me a long time to have closure.

That was 8 years ago today, and a day doesn’t go by when I don’t think of her. It used to be in a sad way, but now I sometimes laugh and joke with myself about the fact that sometimes I open my mouth and she comes out. Despite our differences, we parted good friends. Anyone who reads/has read Bruises will now understand where some of my words have come from. They are the product of a very real and powerful emotional experience that I believe you can only write about if you truly know how it feels. It took me some time to write that particular chapter – sometimes I just couldn’t see through my own tears – but it was quite cathartic to use it as part of someone else’s story. Every time I re-read it I could feel the depth of Frankie’s emotional pain. I deal with physical pain all day, every day, but emotional pain is something far more excruciating.

This particular life experience has been a very powerful tool, and incorporating it into my writing has helped me enormously. Of course, I have had many very positive life events too, but oddly it seems to be the sad ones that fall naturally onto the page and make good reading. I hope she is out there somewhere, once again proud at what I’ve achieved, and I don’t just mean my book. However, there is a tiny part of me that is also glad that she can’t actually read it – there are some things a mother doesn’t need to know about, and my sexy imagination is one of them!

Bruises is available from FriesenPress, Amazon, and other major online bookstores.

Result!!

Result!

Result!

Where do you get your hair done? I’m always being asked. The truth… a training school!

Yes that’s right, students cut & colour my hair, and have done for over five years now. People very often don’t believe me, I would never go anywhere else – Future Hair Training School on Broadway @ Cambie, never once have I left disappointed (apart from the odd really bad blow dry but they all have to learn). So, when I turned up for the full monty today they were really excited to see the book. As you can see they did an awesome job once again with my slightly vibrant request in colour, and a new shorter do was also done to perfection – as always.

The highlight of the whole experience – I sold two books. They made me feel like a local celebrity by requesting a signing too – hehe! I now have happy hair and readers too… Result!!

You can get your copy from FriesenPress, Amazon and other major online bookstores.

And so it begins…

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I decided to get Thanksgiving over with before I jumped on the promotional bandwagon, and here I am. The coffee shop in which I wrote most of Bruises is the first place that has offered to promote me. The owner has been very accommodating and keen to help promote me in anyway he can, though I’m not sure he really knows what my book is about… probably best not to enlighten him. After several attempts at an author poster – without the help of hubby, so I’m quite proud, actually – I still ended up resorting to my craft supplies. I would welcome readers’ thoughts on it – good or bad?! Anyway, this little display now has pride of place in the coffee shop, right next to the milk & napkins etc. It’s at eye level (well, my eye level, so chest level really) and also happens to be beside the area where the punters wait for their beverages. Only a few minutes after it went on display, I spotted a woman reading the back, and then a dirty old man began fingering it after he studied my picture then glanced across at me sat in the corner, where I promptly tried to make myself even smaller.

The great thing about this gig is that once again I get to hang out here regularly and enjoy some very good overpriced coffee. It is, thankfully, proving to be a more positive promotional experience than the one in the independent bookstore on the next block. I randomly called in after a brutal physio session (in which, despite turning up with a lovely signed hardback copy for my tormentor, I was still attacked with a gazillion needles – I actually thought I was in pretty good shape that day too, having had no painkillers for two days – clearly I was wrong!) Hoping I didn’t look as bad as I felt, I presented myself to the ‘lady’ at the counter in this tiny bookstore. There were one or two people milling around shelves as I launched into my speech… ‘self-published author… consider consignment…’ etc. etc. The assistant, who was significantly taller than me (not difficult, despite my wedges) looked down on me like I was something the cat had dragged in. It took me nearly all of my ‘cheeky free’ 20 minutes on my parking meter to extract the owner’s business card from her, as it was clearly more than her job’s worth to give it up. There was once a time when I would have cowered and left, but not now. Now, I believe in myself, and I believe in my book, and I will succeed because I’m crazy and have enough confidence now to think I can.

‘So it’s explicit?’ she said with slight tone of disgust.

‘No, it’s tasteful but smouldering.’ I had to stop my inside voice from adding, ‘read it lady, you might learn something!’

Sadly, the owner still hasn’t emailed me back, but I’m not seeing this as a setback; if anything, it’s her loss not mine. I’ll just move onto my next port of call… which just happens to be our local kids’ bookstore. They have a small adult section that features various genres. Appropriate? I don’t see why not. I’ve seen many mums (& dads) let their kids loose in that place to peruse the shelves alone; it’s the perfect situation for mum to find a little something too!

You can get your copy of Bruises direct from my publisher, from Amazon and other major online bookstores.