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14 Dec / Synopsis Woes

What to leave out? What to put in? Why can’t I find someone else in my household willing to write this for me? I’d pay them. Not well, but I would pay them.

It’s not really fair, is it? You expect me to write down 80,000+ words on a subject, and then just when I think I’m finished I have to boil that down into a 360 word summary as well. I thought that by being self-published I might escape this horror altogether, but alas it has wormed its way into all nooks and crannies of publishing.

I was going fine at first. I summarised each scene in each chapter, and then printed it out. My two to three word summaries still managed to somehow fill up four pages, but at least it was a start.

Then I wasted some hours minutes looking on the internet for how to write a synopsis. This is one of the finer things that the internet can be used for. Finding someone who’s done something prior to you and basically copying them.

I found a nice synopsis for Star Wars. It looked like it had been done before it was renamed into Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope which I absolutely refuse to say because I’m nothing if not a purist (and I haven’t seen any of the new ones so don’t understand how any of this franchise fits together any more.)

Great. I understand the storyline synopsised thus, and should therefore be able to put my own novel into the same format.

Set the scene. Done.

Introduce the protaganist. Done.

What do they want? I dunno. What’s standing in their way? Stuff. What’s the major turning point? The what-now.

What’s the bit that in the synopsis I’m reading is the equivalent of finding a death star and smashing it to smithereens? Mmmmmmm. No.

I quit to watch Star Wars again. It was a rollicking good story. Easy to break down into independent parts that basically beg to be summarised in a short synopsis.

I’m going to re-read a few passages and then get back to work. Maybe a few passages from my own story, maybe from the latest Sophie Hannah. Yeah, okay. Definitely the latest Sophie Hannah. If I finish that today I could summarise it into a synopsis to get a bit of practice in before going back to mine.

If any non-writerly people are reading this and wondering what a synopsis is, I’ll explain. A synopsis is a method by which the world makes sure that writers are punished for daring to pour their souls into the written word and bring to life events, characters, and scenery so that something wonderful and entertaining and enlightening exists where once there was nothing.

Or, to “synopsis” that down for you, Satan personified.

Posted by Katherine Hayton in Katherine Hayton's Blog Read More

You’d be amazed at how often I get asked this question. Not least because I only have one fiction book out, and one in edit, so there’s not that many people running around being all interested and stuff.

First of all, if there was another book like mine, why do you think I would’ve bothered? Eh? I’m only gonna write down the stories that coalesce inside my head if they don’t already exist somewhere. If they already existed, I would just read them.

Second of all, why on earth would I be reading a book I would write? Please refer to Groucho Marx on this one. I have my favourite authors in my favourite genres for a reason, and it’s not so I can read what I’m writing.

Third of all, how much time do you think I have? My reading list still has books on it that I consider must-read from 2009. I am not a miracle worker. I have to fit in work, writing, playing video games, staring into space, staring at the floor, trying to avoid chores, and all that is before I sit down to watch countless hours of television.

There’s only 24 hours in a day, you know, and a girl’s gotta sleep sometime.

Fourth – oh yeah, I’ve got more, this is a proper rant – I don’t know what my book is like to read by someone who hasn’t been struggling for the last year to pull together some random plot points, work out the characters required to move things along, write out a couple thousand lines of dialogue that I would never say aloud in a million years myself, and painstakingly write out at least fifty thousand words that I’m promptly going to send to the great recycle bin in the sky. Or “the cloud” as it’s become known.

I can’t read my own books as though I was a reader. There’s far more wincing and sniggering involved than that.

And how dare you ask what books are coming out this year which would be in competition with mine?

?????????????

That was me being speechless in rage and frustration at your inability to work out that I have an inability to see into the future. I’m not travelling around the country with the local freak-show people – I work in insurance. Insurance. The whole industry is built on not being able to predict the future. If I could see what was coming I would at the very least be playing around on the stock market and making me some money.

Sheesh!

Rant over and I hope everyone has a lovely Sunday tomorrow. If you feel in the mood for a spot of light reading perhaps you might consider putting in a pre-order for a book that’s like the Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold without the mention of heaven (me being an atheist and all), crossed with Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, but more contemporary-like on account of its coming out in 2015.

2015. There you go – I just predicted the future.

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12 Dec / End of the road

Tonight is the last time I’ll be writing to let you know about the blog tour stops you can avail yourselves of.

It’s been a lot of fun, but every good thing has to stop sometime, hopefully before it wears out its welcome.

Haven’t we had fun though. From the rollicking good time shown to us by Sexy Adventures – Passionate Tales, to the nasty scare I gave an unsuspecting Liza O’Connor.

This was closely followed by some swearing on Maggie Thom’s site, and a revealing biography on Megan’s Blog.

I was read by Jane Reads, my deal was shared on the Deal Sharing Aunt, and my zeal for fiction was displayed on Fiction Zeal.

Tina Donahue presented me, Owltastic promoted me, I shared my Hope. Dreams. Life… Love in a Writer Wonderland, and was neither reviewed nor interviewed on Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews.

Ho condiviso qualche tempo su Libri Amori Miei, shared some views on Nickie’s Views and Interviews, and then joined in to Book ’em North Carolina style.

I’ve filled some Rooms with Books, Woke up my Wild Side with Gale Stanley, and was a non-paranormal feature on Laurie’s thoughts and reviews.

After stopping by Long and Short Reviews, I discovered It’s Raining Books, then got all Unabridged with Andra.

I was reviewed by a Jersey Girl, found that I was Beyond Romance when I guest blogged about writing, and then went Straight Browsing from the Library.

There was plentiful Coffee, Books & Art, before I was interviewed by Two Ends of the Pen. And I was Welcomed to My World of Dreams, before going Undercover for Book Reviews.

So it’s with warm appreciation that I bring up this picture for the last time…

And announce that my grand send-off is being set-up as we speak with the tangled web of My Tangled Skeins Book Review and the beautiful rabbits holed up at Bunny’s Book Reviews.

A big thank-you also to the wonderful goddesses at Goddess Fish Book Promotions, who handled all the annoying little detailey bits so that I could sleep soundly at night.

You put together a wonderfully diverse blog tour for me, with enthusiastic and charming hosts – something I would never have the patience and fortitude to do by myself. I wish you all the best, and I expect to be back in touch with you for the next book.

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My darling and I have never been much in the habit of buying gifts for each other. Not at Christmas at any rate. And for birthdays it’s more like ‘I’d quite like this…’ and ‘I could get you that…’ and we’re sorted.

So this year, as I have for the other 19 Christmases I’ve survived enjoyed with my partner I have splashed out and bought exactly what I wanted for Christmas. And paid for it.

Last Christmas I was very much into food. I’d just claimed a place on the work calendar with a recipe, and received an invite to a delightful degustation event in Auckland as a reward. Oh, yeah. It was all happening.

For many years I’d been looking at a wonderful flavouring package from Sosa which featured almost every flavour known to man (or to me, anyway.)

Truffles, black and white. Strawberry, green and red. Bread flavouring. Biscotti flavouring. Green apple, red apple, cooked apple. All in a beautiful cedar case, with an instruction and information guide so you could locate the number of the flavour sought without having to paw over two shelves of little bottles.

It was quite a moment when it arrived. I pulled out random bottles, opened them, and sniffed them in a gastronomic heaven. I was going to use them for so many things. Testing out new flavour pairings, flavouring chocolate, ??? Okay, mainly just flavouring chocolate.

A year later my box of flavours is still fairly much pristine. I grew sick of making bon bons, and the only time I tried to test a flavour pairing before embarking on a new meal I made the mistake of sticking out my tongue and tasting the flavour pairing too. Not recommended. Flavours are quite different on a cardboard testing strip than they are diluted with white chocolate or a cream sauce.

I still pull the shelves out sometimes and select a tiny wee bottle or two for a nice sniff, but the usefulness I envisaged prior to purchase never eventuated after.

So this year I’ve gone in for something that will be of no use whatsoever, unless you consider the decoration of ears useful.

Eeuw no – don’t be sick! I’m talking about earrings for goodness sake!

I now have in my possession (early but it’s hard to judge with international parcels at Christmas time) a pair of Georgian earrings. They are beautiful. Garnet and gold, with a small lead repair on the top of one of the fittings. The hooks themselves are a later addition, thinner than my Victorian earrings so presumably more modern also.

There’s an absurd pleasure in wearing an item of jewellery that someone else originally wore two hundred years ago.

But Christmas is a long holiday, so there’s another gift winging its way to me. This time brand spanking new. A ring with cute little bear ears, one of which has a punk earring in it. It sounds more complicated than it is. I’ve ordered it in rose gold to match the old georgian rose gold of my earrings.

Now I just need to borrow something blue and I could drag my darling to the registry office!

Leading up to the final night of bloggering there’s another toofer on offer for your blog-reading pleasure. First up are the lovely folks at Undercover Book Reviews, and following close on their heels is the salt of the earth peep at Welcome to My World of Dreams.

Neither of the blogs is up and operational at the moment because we like to keep you all in suspense, but check them out later and we should be up and running.

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10 Dec / Buses

When I can’t be bothered walking home, which these days is almost every day of the working week, I catch a bright green bus which drops me very close to my front door.

It’s a wonderful service, and one which I’m extremely grateful for considering that my other choices would be paying for a taxi or walking. I no longer even have the option of cycling having neglected to ride on one for over twenty years and not having one.

However, even with my grateful wee non-driving heart, and my grateful wee non-walking feet, I do sometimes have to admit that the bus and I are not the best of friends.

Hot days and unwashed flesh; cold days and doors that stick open; overly inebriated riders thinking that everyone on the bus is their best mate, or their worst enemy, or in one slightly more awkward encounter their cheating spouse.

You’d think that by wearing in-ear headphones I would be ably pointing out to my fellow commuters that I have enough to occupy my time, I don’t need to be chatted to, or at, or up. Alas, this code is indecipherable to many.

I was on a communication course once which said if you fake interest in what another person is saying, you often become interested despite yourself. Apparently I’m not so shallow. The best I can manage is not to yawn widely in their faces.

And I’ve learnt over the years not to try to get a word in edgewise. When the social workers are trying to acclimate people into performing conversational techniques I think they’re glossing over the “and then you let them respond” part of it.

You can tell that the buses themselves are nervous about the people that they carry inside them each day. Otherwise why would they cling to each other’s backsides in little tag teams. When the schedule says the buses arrive an average of ten minutes apart they mean when you divide the three buses that arrive at once by the forty minutes until the next one, two, or three.

Still the metro service does occasionally try to spread the little blighters apart. Usually by forcing me off a bus on which I have a seat, onto a more crowded one where I don’t. On one memorable occasion doing this twice before I arrived home. ‘How many buses do you have to take Katherine?’ ‘Oh, between one and three.’

On the other hand I’m home now so I’ll forgive and forget for the moment, there are more important matters at hand.

There’s another toofer on tonight, with my first showing at Two Ends of the Pen, and my late show at Coffee, Books & Art. The tours going to come to a sad close at the end of the week, so if you want to make sure that you’re heartily sick of me AND in the draw for a $50 gift card, head on over!

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08 Dec / Monday Blues

Another roadshow today. Oh yeah. I’m blessed. The roadshow a mere two weeks ago (how times flies when you’re drooling on the floor in boredom) was presented by our local company. The roadshow today (on a Monday. A Monday!) was presented by our holding company – otherwise known as the mothership.

Please don’t beam me aboard.

During the first roadshow there was a lot of informal talking and humour. There was some attempt to relate to us minions, and introduce the personality of the presenters. Today was a blank corporate front.

There were a lot of smiling faces, but they belonged to the actors hired to pretend they were undergoing a catastrophic event which we were helping them with. There was a lot of rousing music, but in the same way that your bank will have rousing music on its ad. Its ad with lots of smiling-faced actors.

It didn’t help that the sound quality was sub-par, and the volume was CRANKED UP!

Note to self: when trying to disguise the inadequacy of a sound system don’t turn it up to full. Opposite of disguise happens. Opposite. End of note.

On the bright side there were biscuits after. Chewy, oaty, honeyed biscuits and crisp, snappy, chocolatey biscuits. One needed some fridge time to be more snappy, and the other needed some microwave time to be more gooey. But for an empty stomach that otherwise would be fed only coffee they tasted like heaven.

I also thought later that given the number of biscuits and the number of attendees, I was probably only meant to help myself to one (and considering the decreasing size of my clothing maybe not even that) but it was too late. I should be more observant I guess, but then I’d go through life hungry and who needs that.

Upon my return to the office I discovered that the functions on my computer that had been working eratically but useably in the early morning, were now not working at all. I called the tech-team, which used to be called the help-desk but had a name change due to experiences not equal to inherent promises, and received an incident number in return. There was some blah-blah-blah which would blah-blah and they would blah-de-blah-blah and then the call ended abruptly. I may have hung up. You can’t prove it.

I failed to do anything useful with MY BARE HANDS AND A CALCULATOR and then went to my optometrist appointment. The ‘two pairs of glasses for $299.00’ promise on the poster was translated into a ‘two pairs of glasses for $1,429.00’ reality on my credit card, and then I had a rather unpleasant surprise.

You know those tiresome tests where they blow on your eye, take a photo of your retina, and then shine a bright light in your face while asking you to look in directions that you usually have to stare at your hands to work out? Apparently they’re not just cool methods of torture to put myopic consumers in their place.

No. They’re real tests that provide real information.

Information such as the retina that I’ve had an operation to place a band around to hold it close to the back of my eye followed by laser surgery to burn said retina into place because the band didn’t quite cut it, now looks like it has a blister in it. A blister that may be a blister requiring further laser surgery to burn it into stability and make sure it doesn’t leak and disrupt the rest of my tattered retina; or it may be the start of another detached retina meaning that another tear has to be fixed by another surgery that runs the risk of creating further scar tissue that may lead to further tears and detachment and will probably hasten the development of cataracts that increases the possibility of retinal detachment.

Whatever.

I’m still upset about my credit card. I’ll leave the rest of it to unpack tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow…

First up on the blog tour this week I have Jersey Girl Book Reviews who is bucking the trend by including the word Review in her blog title and actually providing one! Way to go Jersey Girl. Head over there now for that and a rambling blog post on ‘How to Handle Negative Criticism.’

As if!

Next up we have Beyond Romance. The post isn’t up as I’m typing, but until it is you can amuse yourself by perusing their Sunday Snog. Filthy, filthy, filthy. I’m going back to read it again.

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Today I was poking about on Twitter when I saw that I had a new follower, who just happened to share the same first name as me. It occurred to me that this had happened the day before as well. I checked back through my followers and sure enough, there was another one. A trio of Katherines. Awesome.

An idea sprung into life in my tired little Sunday brain.

What if I located and followed every Katherine that there is on Twitter? Wouldn’t that be uber-awesome?

Well I thought it would. And there was no one else around to ask for a second opinion.

I immediately put my plan into action until Twitter announced that there’s some sort of upper limit for following people and I’d just reached it. I unfollowed a few companies that I’m pretty sure I only followed to get discount coupons three years ago, and upped my number a little bit. This was going to be such fun!

There was even a Katherine Mansfield on there. And here I was thinking she was long dead. Alive and tweeting! I then found another Katherine Mansfield.

In the immortal words of Dire Straits, Two women say they’re Mansfield, one of ’ems gotta be wrong.

But which one? I followed them both to be sure.

I even found another Katherine Hayton with a much better profile photo than me. How wonderful is that?

Now I’m just sitting on Twitter waiting for someone to follow me so I can stalk follow yet another Katherine.

You just wait. We’re going to take over the Internet one Katherine at a time. (Also accepting Katies, Kates, Kats and Katharines but not Kathryns, Kathrines or Catherines. Gotta have some membership rules.)

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I received an offer through my email yesterday saying that I could receive free promotion around Christmas if I wrote a high-quality blog about my book. This is a great opportunity for someone still in the red on her hobby serious book-selling career.

There were a few conditions of course – you can’t be promoting people’s blogs willy-nilly you know. People have a tendency to find weak spots in any plan and exploit them, or are just so inappropriate by birth and upbringing that they can’t help but do the opposite of what you intended.

So here was the first condition. It must be about your book. This was implied in the first part of the offer which was to give free promotional tweets each week to members who create blog posts about their book, but you can’t be too careful because – refer above.

Fine. I shall insert book reference immediately – Found, Near Water is a great book and you should definitely buy it here; and if you can’t afford it you should download load it for free in return for a review here (and hurry – only four days left!)

Reference to book – tick.

Include pictures. This wasn’t specific about what the focus of the pictures should be, but I’m going to make a great bit fat assumption that it’s either meant to be of me…
Or my book…

(That’s my favourite action shot there. I especially like the flame.)

Pictures – tick.

And then we move onto the requirement for it to be written with short paragraphs (automatic tick – the more I insert a new paragraph and white space the less I actually have to think of and write down) and a readable font (18 point or above).

…?

18pt. This text is 18pt. Readable – Yes. Something I’m actually going to do on my blog site – No.

I presume that they meant 18px. Attention to detail people.

The last sentence mentioned that they aimed to encourage high-quality blogging. They didn’t elucidate how that was meant to be achieved through the reference to books, the inclusion of photos, the shortness of paragraphs, and the good-god-are-you-people-blind errors in font sizes. So I gave up.

It’s time to go to bed anyhow, I’ll look into more free promotional opportunities tomorrow.

Posted by Katherine Hayton in Katherine Hayton's Blog Read More

05 Dec / Buzz buzz buzz

Complicated social arrangements were happening all around me today. Bargains to get rides home from sober partners, and early starts for people who most definitely don’t care about getting any worms ever, but were prepared to sacrifice their sleep-ins for the chance to relax with a few bottles glasses of wine.

I am the most useless of all things in these situations. I don’t drink – which would be a great boon to all the drinkers in the team except that – I don’t drive.

I get threatened with driving lessons more often these days than in days of yore. The frequency of mentions multiplied by the number of drinks the government has just reduced the limit by.

Well, that ain’t happening any time soon peeps so ’bout time y’all moved on.

There was also some social manoeuvering between me and my darling. I had my work do at number twelve and he had his at number two and so it seemed stupid not to co-ordinate the trek homewards.

My work do started at two o’clock and his started at… five o’clock?

Well that was okay as long as he didn’t want to hang around more than a few minutes at his one. It seemed fair. He thought it seemed fairer, since he was the one driving, if he determined what time he would leave and I could stay on until then or bus.

Fair point.

In order to give and receive messages we were both taking our mobile phones. This mayn’t seem like such a big thing to you, but to my darling it took a lot of effort and organisation and testing of whether his phone was still working and whether he’d be able to feel it vibrate when it did ring.

I stuck mine in my bra. There’s a sad shortage of pockets on most women’s blouses.

Over the past few weeks you may or may not have noticed that I have a blog tour underway. This means that there are usually tweets going out about me from the blog tour organiser, a few PR retweeters, the blog hosts themselves sometimes, my own account, and anybody who feels the need to retweet when they stumble across any of these messages. On average there are about six tweets going out each hour with my username attached in some way.

I didn’t realise it until today, but when my phone is on and someone tweets something with my username in it, my phone vibrates. It’s a big phone – if you’ve seen the Samsung Galaxy 5 you know what I mean – and there isn’t a lot of room inside a bra. It was sitting snugly against the side of my breast. And part of the front.

So I was sitting at a table with my peers and my manager and her manager, and people started to tweet about me.

You know, there’s a high level of satisfaction and happiness when you see your own name being thrown haphazardly around the twitterverse. It brings a lot of pleasure.

But not as much pleasure as a large phone vibrating inside your bra.

And the last spot of the week goes to the lovely blog of Unabridged Andra. It’s up there right now so just click on the link – go on, click on it – and you can be reading it instead of THE END.

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