Books, therapy and blues

So our big Disney adventure starts in two weeks, which I’m quite excited about, as is someone coming to housesit and get some painting done, so that’s also awesome. The eldest is on holiday with his girlfriend right now, the youngest leaves tomorrow for two weeks with her dad, and all that leaves me is reading, getting used to writing again (which I’m really struggling with), books, art, and therapy.

I wanted to talk for a sec about my therapy and my reading, though.

Therapy – compassion is thy name

I’ve been going to a type of therapy called ‘Compassion focused therapy’.  It’s to teach me – and those that do it – to be slightly more self-compassionate.  I struggle quite a bit with that, and it’s just something my brain just doesn’t get.  It’s nothing anyone’s done to me as a child – I had a good life, compared to some – it’s just something that I wasn’t emotionally ready to learn, so I’m struggling to deal with it now.  My later experiences compounded that – being bullied, bad relationships, losing friends in traumatic ways – it’s all shaped me into quite a little ball of neuroses, and though I absolutely stick to ‘they were kids they didn’t know what they were doing’ about my childhood bullies, there are some things I shouldn’t have put up with.  But we learn and we grow, and that’s how we become, right?

Well, my ‘become’ has stalled.  I have no drive, no self-soothing, just fear/fight/freeze/anger.  It’s a pretty bad place to be, but I’m…enjoying isn’t the right word for what you do with therapy, but I find myself appreciating what I’m learning and doing as much work as possible to extend on it.  It’s hard work, but I think it’s worthwhile.

One of the things that it did teach me though is that I don’t have any interest in writing right now and I’m struggling to even settle long enough to read.  So, that’s what I wanted to talk about today.
I’m trying to decide whether I want to review books or not – I’m not saying I’ll open the reviews up to requests, but would people be interested in reading about the books I’m enjoying?

Answers on a postcard…..

Ar y Traeth (on the Beach)

So, of all the stories I’m writing, I think this one is going to be the hardest.  You can follow along on Wattpad of course, but I thought I’d give you a bit more on this one before we get started.

There have been two bodies washed up, on two separate beaches on the desolate and hauntingly beautiful coastline around a small, isolated village in Wales.  They are both pointing at one another, though roughly halfway between them, a ruined laptop, phone and rucksack was found three days before.

A tale of secrets, lies and the stories we’ll tell ourselves to keep our world normal while everything around us crumbles.  
The devastating result of these murders will be felt far beyond the Welsh village, but for one girl, her sister and her beloved died after going missing a few nights before.  Was it an accident in the storm, or is there more to this than meets the eye.


And just to give you an idea of my inspiration….this is what started the story whispering.  Of course, it would be twisted and quite dark, but it’s still a story I’m looking forward to writing.


And the winners are…(Nano 14 books)

Yeah, ok, slightly mean.
I’ve been asked so I thought I’d get the announcements over and done with.

On release this month

Delayed from last month because of the adventures in illness (another post, coming soon!), Memento Mori and 365 Blogging topics for writers are out this month.  I hope people like them because they’re really the first proper books I’ve put out in a while.  And they mark a shift in how things will be done around here, and the beginning of I hope is a regular schedule.

And this year’s Nanowrimos

Overacheiver that I tend to be, this year I’m doing three Nanowrimo books, while looking for the next job.

One has a cover, the other two don’t.

ThereAreDragons_small A week ago, Anya decided that it was time.  She made arrangements to get extra meds, and walk out into  the  sea.  The day before she planned to though, the world ended.  And she didn’t go with those that were  taken.  So, now the world has changed, and things are different, Anya and her best friend have to make  new plans.
A transgressive novel to discuss assisted suicide, apocalypse and the end of the world.


Alongside it, I’m writing a new novel called SWIM – Someone who isn’t me.
Jessica needs advice, so she goes online and posts a hypothetical.  And that hypothetical brings down a world of trouble.

And finally, I’m writing a new one that doesn’t have a name yet.
This one is going up on Wattpadd as it’s written.  It’s called “Ar y Traeth“, which translates loosely to ‘On the Beach’

And, because I’m a glutton for punishment

Black Monday Cataclysm is getting it’s redraft.
Oh, that’s four really.

I am what I am…linguistics, gaming and more…

stux / Pixabay

stux / Pixabay

So, for a very long time I’ve kept two separate blogs – was my personal blog, and here was where I spoke about writing.  Then the host I was helping out on went under and I lost this blog (I’m getting it back, I just need to import it first, one by one, from the way back machine), and I decided at that point that I’d keep this hobby, cryptography and linguistics light.

I’m making a new decision.  I can blog about my personal stuff on my personal blog and still talk about the same stuff from a different perspective here.

So.  Here it is.

In case you missed it.

I’m a linguistics nut.  I’m doing a bit of a DIY forensic linguistics degree because I can’t afford to pay to do my PHD yet.  I will one day, and until then, I’ll write and blog and talk about it.  That’s my academic side.  It’ll get it’s own little space at some point, but it’ll be mentioned here too occasionally.  It does after all, inform my processional life.

I work for a gaming company – we make tabletop wargames.  They’re called Mantic Games and they rock.  I’m their community manager and I love the job – and because of that, there will be some new videos popping up, because lo, I need to make some videos and have my own channel too.  It’s quite a jump.  It’ll be very rare that these vidoes will be about writing, but I might talk about books in my own ones if you listen.

And I knit.  And I love cats.  I love my cats more.

And I play computer games.   Not all of it is related to gaming, but I think, if I know my readers well enough, that y’all won’t care 😉

If you’ve got an opinion one way or another about what you’d like to see here, let me know!

D is for Dorm rooms, aka Cabins #AtoZchallenge #Campnanowrimo

I thought I’d take a second to talk about my #Campnanowrimo challenge, and invite you to my ‘dorm’.
I own a chatroom server, and I share it during Camp/Nanowrimo season (and run other projects on it when people want me to!), so I thought I’d invite you, but before I do, I thought I’d share what I’m writing this Camp 🙂

Camp Nanowrimo April

This April, I’m writing Gallows Deals/Gallows Dirt.  It’s a two part novella set designed around a small town at the end of world.  It’s transgressive fiction, looking at the worst parts of dystopia.  I mean, there’s the horror at the end of the world, and how people pull back together, then there’s Gallows.  Corrupt officials and a dreamer at the end of the world.

I am, sorta, pantsing this one.  I’ve got some very good scenes to tie together, but no idea of the overall story.

Here’s a sample from the prologue

It was cold. The generators had been out for two days, so everyone was trying to huddle in the smallest spaces possible. Closed doors, rooms isolated in the centre of houses. Tent cities in little rooms where breath plumed out from each and every tented area. Small children swaddled like mummies, parents escaping from the small spaces only to light guttering candles just outside of the room. In the morning, though it was frosty, the treasured solar panels sprouted like weeds. Shared between three houses, the meagre light began to charge the most treasured possessions. Lights to stick onto the inside of tents. Things that they’d run off the generator and could run on batteries, kettles boiled and put into insulated containers, so that food could be made later, when it’s cold.

She slipped out of the door, into the second night, into the cold chill. The few street lights, which usually illuminated puddles in front of the clinic, the Town Hall/Police station and the town square guttered briefly as she walked by, then fell flat again.

And the dorms

Wanna hang out and talk?  I’m not always there, but there’s a chatroom. You’re welcome to use them, it runs on normal IRC commands, though if I’m not around, I can’t police it, I’m sorry.

On other blogs today

I thought I’d share some other stuff going on right now on other blogs – either ones I moderate, share, or liked today, from the #AtoZchallenge

D is for a Dry Cabin… this is how I roll in #Alaska – #AtoZChallenge – Kriss Morton (Cabin Goddess)

D is for The Dead, Daryl and Dead Drops #AtoZChallenge – Kriss Morton (Wilderness Apocalypse)

D is for (Just) do it – not letting fear control you – ME! (Alexandria Publishing Group) – Also meet Denise McGee and Donna K. Fitch, also on APG.

Donna also wrote about one of my favorite subjects, Dice!

Finally, over on Pen and Kink, Deanndra Hall’s introduction.

Tomorrow, I’m going to share part 2 of a story that’ll start on Wilderness Apocalypse (so do check there first!) and will be blogging on Enticement on Pen and Kink (NSFW)

My new book – 12×12 – Your social media primer!

Kai’s note – today is the launch of my new book containing 12 specific tutorials for readers to use to build or update their social media. Enjoy!


One of the few things that people talk about, when talking about brand and social media is that it’s a minefield.  People talk about everything from being completely overwhelmed, to not knowing what to do with their profiles.  And so, I wrote 12 tutorials (and a couple of bonus exercises to help people.

Each tutorial contains an introduction, the ‘basics’, the exercise, and then a bit about what your ‘solution’ should be.  They’re not designed to be the be all and end all of each network, but they are designed to support you if you’re struggling, or aren’t sure that you’ve covered everything.

I’ve keep the price low so that you can enjoy the book without feeling like you’ve had to pay a fortune for just a couple of tips too – though I could have priced it higher, I feel $0.99 is the right price for this.

Launching on the 28th February, until it’s available, you can pre-order from my blog page at Warpaint Marketing.


12x12 guide cover samplefinal

12×12 – Your social media Primer

Looking for support for Facebook, Twitter, Triberr?  How about G+?
This book covers everything that you need to know about the very basics of each network.  Exercises to give you a chance to try your learning out, hands on.
Each of the tutorials is designed to be as easy as possible to access.
Originally started a set of articles for a website, the tutorials have evolved into a go to guide to the simple, quick way to build an usable, safe profile online.


Kai Viola (

Kai is a veteran online marketer.  She started in internet marketing, writing content for others, along with copywritten sales pages, then moved on to the indie writer’s community when KDP hit.  She’s been self-publishing since 2004 (mostly poetry), and has spent the last three years or so in the community, helping others with social media, writing tutorials and articles all over.

When not writing non-fiction, Kai’s planning novels, travelling for work and having a bit of an adventure in her life.  She’s the mother of two parents, owner and parent of two kittens, an artist and a dreamer.


As the book is about social media, you might want to follow Kai to find out some extra tips.  Below are the various places you can follow her – remember too that these count as entries in the giveaway!

Book Blog | Personal Blog |Facebook | Book Facebook |Twitter | G+ | Goodreads | Pinterest | Triberr | Klout 

Buy the Book
(pre-order which will switch to Amazon)


Win all of the books from the range, take part in beta support and get freebies before anyone else or a $25 gift certificate.  Check out the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Kai is appearing on multiple blogs in the next few days – head on over to The Finishing Fairies for tour central, information and more!

Promotion of 12×12 Launch Tour is brought to you by:


Join us for other book blasts at The Finishing Fairies mailing list!

State of the writing, 20th-26th January


Oh, it’s been one of *those* weeks.

You know, one of the weeks where you just feel flat and all you can do is grasp at nebulous straws while writing.

Looking at the chart I’m going to post on Friday (end of January roundup), my count is holding steady.  I get done in about 750 words, and in about 15 minutes unless I get distracted.  I think in Feb, I’m going to track how long the writing takes.

Next week, I’ve got a big review on Glass Block to do – I need to get it all sorted out and hand it off to my proofreader finally, so I suspect my week isn’t going to go very well, writing wise.  I’m still also looking for work, so that cuts into my time.  But I spend far too much time on Facebook, even with all of the great counts I did.

The big ‘thing’ I’m most proud of this month?  Check out my Indie Author’s Quick Guides.  This week was Twitter, next week is the first of several on Facebook.

I’m just shy of 50k this month, between blogging and writing.  I’m quite proud.  It shows that Nanowrimo is completely possible, you just need to plan in advance and write content to clear the space you’re using to do it.  Or at least, that’s how *I* do it.

Read this week.

This week I read Terminus by Adam Baker, and Sleep Over by Alistair Reynolds.  I also finished off ‘the Rats’ by James Herbert, which had been pending for the last few months.

Getting the most bang for your adsense buck – tips for authors

Advertising is a difficult road to navigate for authors.  But one of the places you can really make a bit of inroads with is Adsense.  It might seem a bit daunting at first, but once you’ve got the basics of picking keywords and understanding how to use a budget, adsense is a very powerful tool, perhaps even more powerful than Facebook ads.

Picking your keywords

Keywords are often the most difficult thing for authors, because they’re not sure what keywords actually are.  It can be quite daunting, but it’s actually really easy.
Just think of a filing system.  If you could describe your book in key words or key phrases of two or three words, where would you file your book?  Once you’ve made a list, prioritise your keywords and brainstorm around them.   You should try to have between 20 and 40 keywords to work with – it doesn’t matter how closely related they are – in fact, you may find that there’s words that are closely related to the ones you’ve picked that actually cost less to bid on.

There are also keyword-checkers and search tools, both within and outside Google, so if you’re still stuck, including their recently launched Keyword Tool, which is now called a Keyword Planner.

Setting up your campaign

Once you’ve set up your keywords, and have opened an account with Adwords (you can do so with an existing Google account).  You might want to look at the tutorials around it, but one of the other considerations you have to look at is what your budget is.  And you should look at which keywords are cheapest to bid on, while giving you the most pull for your keywords.  For example, you might not be able to afford to bid on the Romance keyword, but if your book contains dating advice, you could bid on that.  Or other related keywords, that aren’t as expensive.

Looking into it

Keep an eye on your account and tweak everything as you go.  You may find some keywords outperform others, and you can invest in them over everything else.

Questions?  I’ll see what I can do to answer them!

Interested in other advice?  I blog weekly over at The Indie Author Group blog.


6th-13th January metrics

So, the cutoff for these counts were 10pm Sunday, when I started to get my kids ready to go back to school this week.

Overview of this week

I started out great guns but am finding it harder and harder even to find something to talk about in my, let alone anything else.  I had great plans to get some really serious inroads done on a new project that I’ve set up, but found myself mired in grief instead.  I’d managed the two days after an anniversary of note in my life without too much difficulty, but by Monday, after packing everyone off to school/back to work, I found myself quite depressed.  Which has had a knock on effect for the rest of the week.  I’ve only just really gotten back into dealing with stuff now.

But I wrote every dayu, even when I’d been busy during the actual day and had to do it last thing at night and around all of the other stuff I’ve been dealing with lately.  So that’s a win.



Weekly counts:

Overall word count for the week – 9514
Of which:
750 count – 5438 – 57%
Blogging 3059 – 32%
Guest Blogging – 789 (2 posts) – 8%
Writing – a pitiful 228 words (because I was editing) – 3%

Next week will be interesting…I have a lot on and will need to see where I get to.

In my Goodreads challenge I read one of 102 books that I said I’d read this year.  I’m one behind my weekly goal, but again, there was very little commuting time when I could read and a lot of travelling on foot to places.  I get funny looks when I read my Kindle while walking.


Why reading and writing are essential to (my) sanity

Scary statistics

I was recently shocked to discover a vast portion of the first world don’t read a book – ONE BOOK – every year.  70% in the last five years… I’m absolutely amazed about this.
Given there are these 11 facts about why reading is important, and the recent psychological studies (and one from 2012) suggest that writing is not only good for you, but has a serious impact on brain chemistry, and I’m a bit terrified that the world has been taken over by pop culture nothings, reality TV and no reading.

Reading 101

One of the things I do have to say about reading is that recently, when I gave myself a concussion at work, I found it very difficult to read.  So I spent four or five weeks just *not reading*.  Now, getting back into it and I’ve found I’ve built up a ‘resistance’.  That is, I look at my Kindle as a gaming device and I think many people struggle with the same thing.   But, given I was reading a book a week before the accident (commuting has it’s upsides), I’m not feeling too bad about only slightly missing my reading goal on Goodreads last year (though, I forgot to actually keep track on Goodreads).  This year, I’m pledging to read 104 books (and try and kill off some of my TBR).  I may or may not review.

Neil Gaiman quote, Createspace


Writing 102

As I’ve already mentioned earlier in the week, I’m doing a bit of an accountability thing, where I share my word counts, goals and publications.  Well, most of them.  Some I won’t be able to because part of my writing time this year is going to be taken up by ghostwriting again.  I’ll count them as publications (and in points, so short stories are worth a tenth of a novel) but I won’t actually list what they are unless it’s a major release of my own.  If it’s ghostwritten, which a lot of the first half of this year is going to be, it’ll just count towards my numbers, but I won’t be able to share the names of the books.  It’s been a tough road this last year, but I’m hoping with a bit of professionalism and a lot of hard work, I can pull myself up and start enjoying my writing again.  To do that, I need to use some of my writing time to pay bills 🙂

But ultimately, reading and writing, for me at least, go hand in hand.

What about you?  Do you get itchy if you don’t read?  Don’t write?