Katherine Hayton | BLOG
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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.

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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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and you’re not invited unless you already work with me in which case you know all about it already so may as well stop reading.

I have a new outfit (of course) and a good attitude (which may last) and a hearty appetite (as always) and nowhere else to be. I also have a ride home at seven-ish maybe so I can stay on late and par-tee.

I may even splash out a little and redeem my free drink voucher on, ooh I don’t know, a Coke Zero maybe? Or I’ll stay on the wagon on top of the wagon and have a tonic water which is my fancy I’m-at-a-bar-and-I-can’t-drink drink.

But first I have to commit a sacrifice. A blood sacrifice.

En route to the office tomorrow I have to stop off in a seedy part of town and walk into an office I’ve never been to before, roll up my sleeve, proffer my arm, and have at least two tubes of blood drained out.

Not quite as dramatic as when I wander down the road to the blood drive and they take almost a pint, but close enough.

I’m not that bothered by needles and blood (obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t have mentioned blood drive in the above sentence) but there are still the occasional thoughts rattling around about how I possibly shouldn’t let too much of it go. Even for the bonus weight-loss.

The good thing about dropping by the blood-test lab rather than my doctor’s office is that they’re professionals at doing this. They know how to aim and how to hold their hands steady. They can whip out the little plasters while pulling out the needle, securing the rubber caps on the test tubes, wiping the stick site and teaching you how to apply pressure with a cotton wool ball.

My doctor’s hands aren’t that shaky, but she does sometimes forget there’s a patient in the room. Once, she was talking aloud while trying to work out how many vials of blood she needed her medical assistant to draw, and exclaimed ‘Gosh, we’re going to have to use the biggest needle.’

Nice.

My eldest brother would always faint at the sight of blood (his own, not others) so although I don’t share the same traits I am aware of what they can elicit in others. Enough to laugh in astonishment.

Still, that’s not as bad as the time I was complaining of stomach pains and mentioned that my mother died of stomach cancer. ‘It would be awful to have cancer at your age,’ she exclaimed while trying to print out a referral on her computer.

And this is why we have alternative medicine. Or not-medicine as it’s more accurately known.

While I’m having my veins pierced with large hollow needles, you can relax and have a lovely read through…It’s Raining Books and Long and Short Reviews. They’re not up there yet, but they will be shortly so check back in later and have a nice catch up.

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03 Dec / Job Interviews

I have one looming tomorrow. The only bright spot is I only found out today so at least I haven’t been brooding about it for weeks on end. Just hours. Hours and hours and hours and hours of brooding. My darling is truly impressed.

I’ve read through some trial questions and come to the conclusion that I shouldn’t be trying out for new roles. ‘Think about a successful business and why you think it’s successful.’

I can’t think of a successful business. I can’t think of a business. WHAT’S A BUSINESS? Does the business I work for count? Is it successful? If it is successful and it does count as a business why is that so? Does the answer ‘because it sells stuff’ work as an answer?

There’ll be no sleep tonight, I can tell you.

The last time I went for an interview the feedback I received later was that I’d talked more than the interviewees had expected. I had kind of guessed that myself as when I was a third of the way through my ‘behavioural’ answer both of them had stopped taking notes, and halfway through one of them put her pad down on the table.

I might try for the opposite approach this time. One-word answers. Sweet.

There’s a single, glorious spot tonight at the wonderful Laurie’s Thoughts & Reviews. As is now traditional with any blog with reference to a review – there won’t be one. Carry on.

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I’ve knocked back a few addictions in my time. Alcohol – done. Cigarettes – done. Dieting – done.

But a new addiction has crept up upon me. It’s sweet. It’s sparkling. It’s sugar-free. It’s Coke Zero.

A few years ago I thought it might help with my afternoon tendency to fall upon the sweet wagon and inhale if I had a sweet drink. Low-calorie and sugar-free of course. Otherwise it would just be replacing one bad habit with another.

I tried lemonade. I tried ginger ale. But I needed something stronger. Something with a little kick to it. Something with the buzz of caffeine to get me through those long afternoon hours until I could stumble through the front door fall upon the sofa kick up my feet and nosh down on some actual food.

And then our supermarket had a special on 8 cans of Coke Zero and I was sold.

Eight cans was a bit of an awkward number. I only needed one in the afternoon, and it’s only during the weekdays, so I bought two lots of eight expecting it to last for three weeks.

And it did. On the last day I couldn’t be arsed leaving one can on my desk (I like it room temperature) so I upped my intake to two. Magic.

On the following trip to the supermarket I came across the eighteen pack special. They were less than a dollar each. Bargain. That should easily last me for…

A week. That’s how long it lasted. A week. Shameful. But buzzy as well. Very, very buzzy.

I continued on in this fashion, three cans a day Monday-Tuesday, then end-of-the-week celebrations with four cans a day Wednesday- Thursday-Friday.

Then one trip to the supermarket left me perplexed as the eighteens cans were full price. Full price is quite a lot more than on special. Quite a lot more. So much that I felt guilty about paying that much money (or making my darling pay that much money) for something that was only going to last me a week.

Looking further afield I did notice that the thirty can pack was remarkably cheap though. Sorted.

My not-yet-addiction faded back to three cans a day because this made the carton last for a fortnight and I like precision. Fairly awesome.

That was two years ago. Last week I started the week off with a carton of thirty cans, and ended up going to the vending machine for the last one I needed on Friday.

Gosh.

That’s a bit out of control, isn’t it? That’s a bit in-your-face about time you got this sorted out, isn’t it? That’s a bit give up your last pleasure and surrender to the grim realities of oncoming death, isn’t it.

Yeah, well when I haven’t had my allocation of Coke Zero for the day I tend to get a bit overly dramatic!

If the years of giving things up have taught me anything, and they’d better have otherwise what was the point? they’ve taught me that when you give up you go COLD TURKEY.

None of this nonsense I’ll-just-cut-down-and-then-when-I-stop-altogether-it’ll-be-easy bollocks. If you’re gonna stop riding the needle you don’t cut it back to every once in a while, do you? No. You sign up to the methadone program and you take your three doses all at once in the morning like a grown-up.

Monday’s are a popular day for going cold turkey, but they don’t work so well when you’ve got change in your pocket and a vending machine in the cafe downstairs. Day one – failure.

But I had a secret weapon in my arsenal. Laziness. The floor below ours is being remodelled at the moment, and from today if I want access to a vending machine I have to walk across an airbridge to another building, walk downstairs, walk back across to our building through the outside courtyard and enter the cafe. Work the vending machine. Walk back to the opposite building. Walk upstairs and back across the airbridge and sit down at my desk (with cans of not at all room-temperature Coke Zero clutched in my chubby arms) and then have to take a break from work until I catch my breath.

You can see why I thought I was safe.

I caved by nine-thirty. Four cans. I even had to buy a packet of chips to break down the tenner I had on me because the Coke machine only takes coins or credit cards and I hate a row of $1.50 debits coming out of my credit card which is why I also avoid buying things in Farm Heroes.

Tomorrow I’m going to try to fool myself. I plan on taking a two-litre bottle of Sprite Zero into work and making myself drink it while appreciating the damn taste and who cares that it’s not sickly sweet? Who cares that it’s not all buzzy? Who cares that it reflects the light of my soul instead of the deep darkness of my psyche?

Coke Zero would care.

Blog tour. Get yourself some Blog tour here.

Tonight the tour is upping the ante once more to TWO stops. First port of call is Wake up your wild side. Mmmmmmm – saucy. Then we’re calling in at Room with books. Mmmmmmm – booky.

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01 Dec / Fleas

This morning I was working away, in a good mood – well, good for a Monday that is – when a fellow workmate came along to complain to our unit manager that there seemed to be fleas or ants or something infesty in the building.

She knew this because despite living with dogs she had not had any itches at home, but as soon as she arrived at work she had started to itch and to scratch and she couldn’t stop so it definitely must be an office only infestation.

There was a grunt of acknowledgement and instruction to call through to our receptionist who also doubles as an office handyman appointment arranger when our lights need replacing, our floor tiles need sticking down, and apparently when our carpets harbour real or imaginary fleas.

I know nothing more about the infestation. Nothing at all. I do know that as soon as the incident was reported I could feel at least a dozen sites on my body that required some urgent scratching. Not flea related. I knew that. In my brain. For some reason however, my brain proved reluctant to communicate this message to the rest of my body.

Especially the front of my calf where I could feel something – not a flea, no not that, but something – burrowing deep into my skin.

All of these phantom insects were not helped out at all by my skin being dry and flaky. At any given moment I have a dozen different nerves reporting a dozen different pieces of misinformation about things that my skin isn’t going through but my nerves keep insisting they is.

It lasted about half an hour all up. Then I went off and got a coffee and completely forgot the entire conversation. Along with the conversation I’d started up afterwards about scabies, mites, tics and all manner of human skin dwellers. Do not bring it upon myself.

Monday again, and you can all guess what that means…. BLOG TOUR!

Tonight the sole glory goes to Book ’em North Carolina. “Buy a Book and Stop a Crook!”

Pop on over (the posts already up) and read my biography, an excerpt, and find out all my opinions (and Lord knows I love to express an opinion) on balancing life and writing. Like a full-on serious writer chick.

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30 Nov / Statistics

As well as legally requiring you to fill out a census form every four years (when not interrupted rudely by earthquakes in Christchurch) Statistics New Zealand also embark on little side-projects such as keeping an eye on the levels of unemployment, the average salary and wages, and some other thing no doubt that I’m not familiar with but which I have to mention because my sentence structure follows the rule of three.

Last year we were picked on selected to participate in the earnings information portion, and we will have to provide answers to intrusive questionnaires about out income from all forms of employment and investment for two years – reporting quarterly. We’ve done two so far. That means we have another six to go. We’re not even close to halfway through.

The first interview was in-depth and conducted in the dubious hospitality of our dining room. Not by choice.

The second (as will be all subsequent ones) was conducted by phone. There were a lot fewer questions, and a lot less teeth-gritting. It’s still all a bit invasive. And no I don’t want to see the examples of articles based on your research, I just want to be left alone. Bah-humbug.

First one early June 2014. Second one early September 2014. The visits and phonecalls have been on the weekends so far, since we’re hard to catch hold of during the working week.

We get a lot of cold calls at our house. Lots of people asking am I Mrs so-and-so and me genuinely replying no I’m not due to the benefit of my darling and I living out of wedlock. Speaking of whom, when my darling answers the phone to a cold caller he lets them get a sentence out and then says ‘I’m not interested, thanks for calling though,’ and hangs up the phone.

The only variation to this is when he can hear the call connecting through the automated dialing machine in the call centre. The pause is usually long enough that he says ‘Hello,’ waits a moment, and then puts his finger down on the disconnect button before they even begin to speak.

So he went through the palaver of option A this afternoon, and then went back to cooking his tea. A moment later he came back out of the kitchen with a puzzled look on his face.

‘What’s the matter?’ I asked.

‘The phone-call,’ he replied. ‘The woman said she was from Statistics New Zealand.’

Neither of us has had the courage to answer the phone again. They might send up to jail.

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29 Nov / Irish Blood

No, not spilled over the driveway. I have some. In me. Still. Of course with genealogy if you go far enough back you can find relatives anywhere. Apparently my haplogroup is H3 which makes me predominantly Basque. Yip – some of those separatists running around terrorising France and Spain are my rellies.

That got off-topic quick, didn’t it?

I mention the Irish blood in me only because of my deep love for potatoes. I’ve given up on much of the gardening I took up with wholehearted enthusiasm about 6-7 years ago – most of my garden survives only because it thrives on neglect – but I still love planting out potatoes each year.

For the past three years I’ve been particularly obsessed with Pink Fir Apple potatoes. Don’t know where the Fir and the Apple came into it, but I can verify that they are definitely pink. They’re also the best waxy potato in the world IMHO. Sometimes I can even be tempted into eating them as a potato salad, and I’m a salad averse woman.

On the whole though, I tend to scrub them down, boil them up, and slather them with butter. Does adding butter to things make it a recipe? If so, I have a lot of recipes. Maybe enough to write a cookbook. Katherine’s guide to cooking with chocolate and butter. Guaranteed bestseller.

Today was my second mounding of the little darlings. One more and then I can leave them alone to flourish. Truth be told they’re not the type of potato that does flourish. Not like the urinika potatoes that I planted once six years ago and have decided they’ll live here until I die. They’ll probably live on after that, but at least I don’t have to see them.

I still love the bright purple colour of those potatoes, but my palate is never going to get down with a fluffy potato when there are waxy potatoes lying around, or being forced encouraged to grow.

And now onto the blog tour.

HA-HA. That was a trick. It’s the weekend so there ain’t one. Feel free to peruse the blog links out to the side to catch up on old stops, or see the ones I’ll be appearing in shortly.

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There are some weeks that speed by, some weeks that drag, some that pull you into a dark pit of despair. And then there was this week.

This is about work only – my home life is sweetly predictable. Apart from the wireless on my laptop suddenly deciding to disconnect itself for a couple of hours there was nothing out of character. And that was really quite well timed because I needed to swear a lot and it’s nice to have an excuse.

The only blessing out of the sorry mess is that I actually like the break of the roadshow despite all my earlier protestations. It got a little slow in places, but turned out to be quite interesting. I learned a lot about some people; the best ones were the things that I don’t think they would want me to learn.

I now feel like a bus has run me over, then picked me up, sat me at the bus-stop again, and made me wait another two hours for the next bus.

Or I think that’s how I feel. I’m not willing to try out the experiment to test it all scientific like – but if you’re game let me know how you feel after and I’ll compare it legitimately. Where legitimately means to continue to hyperbolate the hell out of it.

Well that’s my moan over. It’s now the end of the day on Friday – yes I know it’s not yet eight-thirty but some of us haven’t slept this week because our little brains have been turning little conundrums over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and hello it’s five-thirty – and I’m winding down to go to bed for a change instead of winding myself up.

Tomorrow at the supermarket I might buy a few little bits and pieces of things that I probably would live longer not eating but would live unhappier not eating and mix them up into a pre-Christmas treat. That’s the sort that you mix up at the beginning of December to test out and make sure it’ll be okay for Christmas day but then you end up testing it so many times that you get sick of it and end up bringing something else.

And what wondrous recipe am I going to whip up tomorrow? Vanilla Ice-Cream, Lemon Curd and baby Meringues. Lazy woman’s summer lemon meringue pie. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

On that note it’s time to catch up with Ye Good Olde Blog Tour.

First up we pay a visit to Nickies Views and Interviews which is ironically not doing a review or an interview, before heading onto the foreign shores of Italy with Libri Amori Miei who is.

Visit them and I’ll catch you up again in the beautiful release of the weekend. Saturday, here I come.

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