4 Years On WordPress | Best Bits

Well, well, well, Happy 4th Birthday to my WordPress account! *pops party popper*. When I started these blogs a few years ago, I never imagined they would lead to such amazing opportunities.

Let’s throwback to some of our best bits in the wonderful world of WordPress…

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Milestones:

Four years is a huge commitment to one blog for me, admittedly I do have several WordPress blogs, but all on the same platform. I love that I have been able to link them and easily switch between the four of them, so thanks for that!

Earlier this year we hit another amazing milestone, which was 500 WordPress followers, and you guys are from all over the world! Thank you, everyone, for your support, and putting up with my erratic posting schedule.

Books:

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WordPress was and always will be a huge part of my creative process, particularly when it comes to writing books. I published my first novella, The Snow Killer, originally as a series of blog posts, which transformed into a twisted serial killer fiction novel. I loved every minute of it, as it launched my dreams as an author as set me on a path to novel writing.

I originally started my life as a blogger on BlogSpot, (which I rediscovered and was hit with a wave of nostalgia whilst researching this post) [my BlogSpot page] but after I was introduced to WordPress, I have never turned back.

Since then, I have self-published several e-books, with the help of WordPress as a blogging and promotional tool, and met many of my close author friends through the website – as well as some amazing book reviewers and bloggers.

Articles: 

In 2016 I wrote an article about my transition from loathing to loving John Green, and its current view total is 6,153! (Correct of 29.11.17) Read the article here…  It ended up being read by Hank Green (also famous and very creative brother of the author, and was shared all over WordPress and Tumblr.)

That article made me realize the true power of books, and that the time taken to be passionate and involved in your work, is far more important than dishing out half-finished books in order to hit a deadline.

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I’d just like to say thank you again for all of your wonderful support, and here’s to an amazing 2018 with WordPress!

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Goals Changed For The Better | A New Chapter

We all have a plan for our lives, whether it’s short term; ‘lose five pounds’, or long term; ‘I want to have a career in XYZ by the time I’m 30’. We all also know, that life likes to get in the way of our plans.

 

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#goals graphic, created with Fotor by @melissaholden94

 

My original life plan (at 16) was as follows:

  • Do A-Levels
  • Get a job and earn money
  • Go on lots of holidays
  • Get married
  • Get a Husky called Jeff
  • Learn to drive
  • Get a big house

…And that was effectively all I wanted from life.

Then, at 18, this was my plan:

  • Go to university
  • Get a degree
  • Get a part-time job
  • Save loads of money
  • Write my first book
  • Go travelling
  • Rent a house with friends
  • Get a tattoo

I did well on some points, and not so well on others.

At 20, my plan looked a little like this:

  • Get a temp job in home town
  • Go do my Master’s in October 2015
  • Graduate
  • Rent a house with Ashleigh
  • Go travelling
  • Pay off my overdraft
  • Save money
  • Learn to drive
  • Write more books

20-year-old Me was ambitious and didn’t plan for other people to affect her life plan. I had to move back home to be close to an ill family member. I had to leave all my uni friends behind and get a job in Bluewater.

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What I also didn’t expect, was to have graduated my Bachelor’s degree, moved back to the home town I hate, and fall in love with my new ‘supposed-to-be-for-six-months’ job. I ended up with a good, stable job in optics, and didn’t follow the plan. I didn’t start my Master’s degree in October. Instead, I was doing training at work to improve my skill set.

I ended up with a good, stable job in optics, and didn’t follow the plan. I didn’t start my Master’s degree in October. Instead, I was doing training at work to improve my skill set. I also, 2 years in, ended up being promoted to a Team Leader position, and am loving it.

I also didn’t move in with my best friend, because she moved back home to be close to her family, and to look after herself  – cannot argue with that, really.

Now, at 22 (nearly 23), my plan looks more like this:

  • Save my Student Loans and pay off my overdraft
  • Start my Master’s in October 2017
  • Graduate in June 2018
  • Finish writing Finding Jennifer
  • Move out to my own place
  • Start looking for ‘love’
  • Spend more time with my friends and family
  • Be present in the moment
  • Be positive
  • Blog more
  • Read as many books as possible

Perhaps some of those are loftier than others, but I love all my goals and aspirations the same. I am glad that my priorities have changed because it means I have grown and developed as a person, and I’m pretty proud of that.

What are your goals in life, and have they changed over the years? 

 

Break Up. (Poem)

Breaking, upwards of the truth-

broken

down

to the grit,

the pieces beneath.

The essence of sadness, combined with

shock and spittle through angst and hatred.

Break, in the utmost foundation;

the line in the undusted,

the crack in the gateway.

Broken

by the bind,

seeping, the cold truth

soaks in

and you wake up,

wet and alone

unknown and blissful,

gone from the grip.

Restart.

Replaced,

Ruined by words.

‘I

think

we

should’,

Break   –   up.

Sex In Books | Not That Sexy (16+ content)

sex in books.pngEveryone loves a cheeky sex scene in a romance novel; or those secret make-out sessions in your favourite Young Adult series, but there’s a line.

With a society that is climatized to seeing sex in everything, perhaps no sex in a book is the New Sexy?

If an author tells you they have never written a salacious sex scene – they ar lying. But, ask them if it ended up in the book, and some will say no.

For my novel, Searching For Katherine, I wrote a sex scene for the night of Jennifer’s wedding – and then deleted half of it. Yes, I kept some of the build-up and the tension in, but there is no actual sex in the sex scene.

Sometimes, the idea of sex is sexier than the act itself. And sometimes, sex isn’t sexy. 

the-russian-concubineIn The Russian Concubine by Kate Furvinall, there is a sex scene between the two main characters who are roughly fifteen or sixteen years old. The boy is injured and weak, the girl tending to his wounds as she hides him the shed from her family.

It is a sweet, tender moment, but it is – naturally – a very awkward and fumbling scene. Why? Because virgin teenagers don’t know how to have sex, so it would be ridiculous for the author to have pretended otherwise. It is a beautifully written scene and one I have specially marked in my copy. I read it when I need reminding that sex isn’t always the sinners show it’s perceived to be. Sometimes, sex is communication.

It is a beautifully written scene and one I have specially marked in my copy. I read it when I need reminding that sex isn’t always the sinners show it’s perceived to be. Sometimes, sex is communication.

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It’s difficult to write an article about sex in books without mentioning the elephant in the room: Fifty Shades of Grey. Originally written as a sexy Twilight fan-fic, and quickly tidied up when the website when crazy and was picked up by a publishing house; Fifty Shades is the perfect example of Sex Overload in fiction.

I won’t waste too much time talking about this series, but if memory serves me right; there’s a lot of pretty ridiculous sex in this book series. They have sex anywhere and everywhere, several times a day and it some strange positions and situations. I think Mr .Grey needs to see a therapist because he just can’t keep it in his pants.

The sex is completely unrealistic – however, it also proves that sometimes there is only one way to write a sex scene: badly. E.L James repeats the same phrases and rhythms throughout the book, giving all the scenes a very samey vibe. But, she is an international best-selling author; so she must have gotten something right!

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Perhaps sex scenes in books scene somewhat ridiculous because they are a little bit more real than we’re used to.

Most adults have watch pornography at some time or another, and we’ve all seen those perfect six-pack muscle men with engorged penises and perfect bodies. They give women expectations of what a man should look like in bed, and I’m afraid to say that not every man is built like Superman. Nor, should they be!

And for the men, those poor bastards are relentlessly shown swimwear models with tidy, toned bodies and tiny waists. None of these women have scars or stretch marks, none have bore children and they certainly don’t look like the women we see in the high street doing their shopping.

Why is porn so popular? Because we like to fantasize. Why does sex suck in books? Because sometimes… you’ve just got to use your imagination – and the only references most of us have are porn sites and some embarrassing sex stories of our own.

And because reading the word penis is never going to be as sexy as seeing one! 

So maybe next time you read an awkward sex scene in a book; remember that sometimes it’s better in real life than it is on the page; give the author the benefit of the doubt. And, if it’s really bad, just skip it.

Got an opinion? Share it in the comments! 

The Fraudulent Writer | Prose | 22 Blog Series

There’s nothing worse than feeling like a fraud. Telling people you’re something, an ideal, that you haven’t been in a very long time.

I am a writer.

Lies, all lies. Haven’t been one of those for months now. And months, inside the head of a strangled creative, is a lifetime when you can’t express yourself. Everything comes out harsh and dramatic and whiny. You and the keyboard aren’t talking anymore. You can’t bring yourself to open your manuscript and stare at words a past version of you typed and labored and loved.

The world is in a funk, that grey mess of a cloud; your brain turning to soup. Like an addict, your cells are dying the longer you pretend to live a normal life. That 9-5er day in day out dragging you down into the mundane abyss of the working age. Any attempt to take yourself back to your own personal Renaissance ends in a self-hating war that lasts days.

Nothing happy sticks.

Not being able to get out of bed in the morning, even though there is nothing officially wrong with your life, no one understands. That sinister melancholy clutching onto your skin like a cheap shower gel that won’t wash off. No amount of scrubbing or crying or screaming is going to get that melancholy off.

Not until you get the fuck out of your own head. GET OUT! Stop being a liar, a fraud claiming to be creative! Stop being the one that can’t see past the cloud. Where’s your curiosity? Run through the fog, arms flailing, singing along to stupid songs that make you want to dance.

You always want to write when you’re happy. And that boy is making you happy. You’re just being stubborn. So stop being a misog. Go and fucking write.

 

Read the rest of the 22 Blog Series here. 

Is Being A Writer A Risky Career Move? | 22 Blog Series

There are always risks in your work and career lives, whether it’s taking the new job, knowing when to leave you’re current one, or even deciding to take a step up in your career and aim for that promotion.

But when your career is a risk to start with, is anything really a risk?

10348746_10153887458267488_6596414944815876089_oWriting has never been a safe career. It’s not like becoming a dentist or a vet, becoming a lorry driver or a teacher. Writing is not a normal job in terms of finance and societal appreciation.

So why bother doing something that’s going to be so hard, so unappreciated, so underpaid (if paid at all), so challenging… because what is life without a little risk?

Of course writing is a risky career. But so is dance, or football, or music, or art. Anything outlandish, or sporty or creative. Anything ambitious is not easy: that’s the point of needing the ambition and the drive to become who you’ve always wanted to be. It takes hard work to create a masterpiece, but the end result is always worth it.

I will never be a well-paid writer or a full-time writer. Not because I don’t have the skill or the talent, but how many writers do you know? It’s not your 9-5 day job. It’s writing in the dark until 3 a.m. with a cold cup of coffee by your side. It’s characters running around in your head. It’s notebooks full of possible novels and creations and stories. It’s creativity in it’s purest form: storytelling.

So, yes, it’s risky – but the pay off; finding out someone liked your work, your characters, your world: it’s so worth the risk.

 

Check out the rest of the 22 Blog Series here

Happy Birthday, Book!

If I could show you what Little Mel was like as a child, it would be a blonde little bookworm who thought writers were magicians.

Now I’m a slightly taller redhead with PROOF writers are magic. Why? Because I am one. I get to create characters with emotions and reasons and a life entirely separate from my own, and that makes me so happy every single day.

Today I am even happier, and I shall tell you why. Today is the 2nd anniversary of my first book being published.  THE SNOW KILLER joined our shelves November 19th 2013. And I haven’t stopped writing books since. 

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It’s taken many shapes and forms since release (above is the latest and best edition of the cover). It’s available in print and E-book, across the world (thanks Amazon!)

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But every time I look at this book, all of my books, I am reminded that – despite everything – I am following my dreams. Not just as some silly fantasy, but as a career.

I may not be a bestseller or a household name like Stephen King, but I’m working my way up one day at a time.

So please join me in wishing my Book Baby a very happy 2nd birthday!

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