Monday, 27 August 2012

The sinister side of Facebook

A few months ago, I set up a page for my bullying book, Bullying A Parent's Guide, on Facebook. I did this for two reasons - to help promote the book and two, to stimulate debate about bullying, a subject I feel very passionate about.

I was not prepared for what happened next.

The page started well, with people who had been bullied as I had (that's what inspired me to write a book I really felt would help those being bullied and their families) telling their stories. I thought, 'great, this is why I set up the page.'

Then someone who was a stranger to me, posted about their child being bullied and adults who could and should have helped not helping. Of course, I was sympathetic. I left the post up, as they'd named no names. If they had, it would have been deleted.

There's some creepy people on Facebook

Then all the craziness started.  Another person I didn't know posted and complained about me not deleting the first comment, saying it was aimed at them, which meant they'd named themselves. I ignored it. The person who wrote the first comment had named no names, as far as I was concerned it was a legitimate comment.

The complainer then sent me an aggressive message demanding I take down the comment. I politely told them the person who'd written the comment had named no names, that they'd done it themselves. They could delete their own comment, if they wished.

Then the personal and public slagging match between these two people began with the complainer doing most of it. ON MY PAGE In exasperation, I deleted the comments and blocked the two people. This was difficult to do as from what I could tell the complainer had four different aliases/made up names. At least. I'd block one then more bullying/aggressive messages/comments would turn up.

The last came yesterday, demanding that I block someone from the page (this person was a friend and one of the nicest people I know), despite the fact, they'd done nothing wrong. I deleted the message, as I will with any other nasty messages I get from them.

I've now been forced to ban people who are not friends from posting, because this person's aliases keep turning up, again with comments aimed at an individual who’s child was bullied.

What have I learnt from this whole episode?
Apart from the fact that there are some people in urgent need of psychiatric care on the Internet (I'm not mocking anyone) and that total strangers can have you dreading logging into Facebook, I've discovered that Facebook should really come up with a f**k off button, because there are some people who really do need to be told where to go. Sad, I think, but true.

Note - this is an abbreviated version of what's been going on, as it would take too long to go through it step by step, not to mention bore the pants of you:)

Tips for posting on Facebook
Don't post anything you wouldn't happily let anyone read. If you do, delete it as soon as you can. Don't leave it and bitch about it as though it's someone else's fault YOU posted it.
Don't harass a writer on FB or you may find your way into their next book. The last person who annoyed me, was eaten by his own dogs.

Maybe this is why I write revenge fiction like Hell to Pay and How Kirsty Gets Her Kicks, because in my books the creeps always get their comeuppance.
 Bullying A Parent's Guide is now out in Kindle in the USA and in the UK.



Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Hell to Pay Publication (cue, happy dance:)

If you see this logo, it's a sassy book.

I'm delighted to have signed a contract with Sassy Books today for my revenge thriller Hell to Pay.

Here's a taster of what to expect -

Nancy Kerr refuses to be a victim. She walks in on her parents’ killers and is violently raped and left for dead. Fourteen months later, she wakes up in a psychiatric hospital with no knowledge of how she got there. Slowly her memory starts to return.

Released from the institution, she has just one thing on her mind – revenge.

Two men brought hell to her family home. Now they’re in for some hell of their own.

If I had to describe this brand of fiction, I'd call ir Die Hard for Girls. The novel's aimed at those of us who like our heroines sassy and kick ass.

Hell to Pay will be published in 2013.

Monday, 6 August 2012

www.con – 4 ways to spot a vanity publisher

Don't get your pocket picked by a vanity publisher

1. Their email address is a free one like a yahoo or gmail account.

Reasoning - a legitimate company should own their domain name i.e.
2. There's no phone number or when you call, it rings out and nobody answers it.
Reasoning - reputable companies will always have a phone number you can call, so you can ask them questions. Those that don't aren't to be trusted.

3. They'll mention money. You giving them money. This may be for things like 'photocopying fees,' or 'administration fees.' They may also ask for a 'reading fee.'

Reasoning - Genuine publishers don't ask you for money. Vanity publishers do.

4. They'll say they welcome all submissions and there seems to be no restrictions on what they 'publish.'

Reasoning - Genuine publishers are very picky about what they publish. They have to be to invest their time and money in a particular book.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

She was wearing a violent jumpsuit...

Yes, really.

The kind of jumpsuit that'd banjo you if it saw you.

Aim a karate chop to your throat.

Kick your head in.

Strike you down.

At least it would have been a violent jumpsuit if I hadn't noticed it during editing my novel.
Watch out, her jumpsuit may be violent.

You see, that's why editing's so essential. Without it, you make mistakes and if a publisher/agent/reader spots that mistake, they will start to doubt every single word they read.

Editing that novel or article can be a lengthy process, but it's a vital one unless you want a woman in a violent jumpsuit instead of a violet one.

Editing Tips

Look out for words you use excessively often. Me, I'm a just gal. With most words, you can delete them or replace them. It may help to use a word cloud or a tool that counts the instances of words.

Speech marks. Decide on single or double and stick to that. Give yourself a style guide and stick to that.

The more descriptive the words the better. For instance, trudge is better than walk, mumble is better than talk quietly. Are there words you can replace for better words?

Do you have speech tags for every, single bit of dialogue? You shouldn't need to say 'he says/she says' all the time. Often you can let people know who's speaking with them doing something. For instance - Sally wheezed. 'I'm giving up the cigarettes.'

DI Duncan Waddell - Detective in a Coma Book 2

What to do when your phone is stolen

I've been lucky in that I've never had my phone stolen, at least until last weekend. At first I thought I'd droppe...