Don’t Use The P Word!

I’m not talking about racist slang or words for what dwells in men’s underpants, the P word in question here is politics.

Now, I’m not an activist, far from it; I’ve only ever been to one march and if I’m perfectly honest I left part way through to go to a pub. It’s not that I don’t have a political viewpoint, I do, quite a strong one, I just don’t usually have the energy or inclination to argue about it.

(FWIW I’d say I’m a left leaning liberal with some socialist ideology)

The other day I broke my ‘don’t use the P word’ rule and tweeted in a slightly less than complementary way about the Unintelligent Kill Immigration Party (you know the ones, they like real ale and dislike accurate figures), I *might* have even retweeted the suggestion that people book tickets to the public meetings and not go. And I *will* admit that I might have said that I, myself, have done this. I got a couple of negative tweets, blocked a couple of people and thought nothing else of it.

A couple days later I was reminded of my tweets. My book got 10 one star reviews within a minute or so of each other, all of them not verified purchases. Some of them were boggling. some of them just meant to upset, almost all of them badly written.

My favourites are this angry yet somehow poetic description of my chick lit as some sort of Marxist propaganda:

DO NOT BY (sic) THIS FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR RESPECT FOR HUMANITY. Absolute disgrace to literature. The left wing propaganda is just a whole other plane of madness. A true leftist hates freedom.

and this one which, if it is an ironic mis-spelling, could be pure genius.

What tripe. Honestly couldn’t believe I paid money (um…you didn’t) for the intelligible (well, thank you.) ramblings of some socially and politically illiterate dolt. Don’t even bither (sic) (snigger)

And I was linked by a friend to an infamous internet forum that is the technological equivalent of the underneath of the bridge that the Billy Goats Gruff liked to clip clop over. I was being torn to pieces as leftie scum and there was a link to my book. Mystery solved.

So I had an idea. As I don’t really do the p word thing I thought that rather than a flaming war of words I do something good. Let’s show the trolls that they make no difference, go to Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiger-Nicola-Sheehan-ebook/dp/B00D5EYHAM), buy my book and I’ll donate my next two weeks profits to charity.

I did wonder if I could find the ‘Eastern European Builders Who Want Your Jobs LGBT Division’ to really make their troll blood boil, but instead have decided on a charity that is very dear to me, the Albert Kennedy Trust who help displaced LGBT teenagers to find help and support.

So please, buy into my ‘left wing propaganda’, let’s show the trolls and make a bit of money for an awesome charity.

http://www.akt.org.uk/

The Unread Copy

I’ve started and deleted this post so many times. It’s hard to put into words the heavy sadness that I’m trying to describe. One of the good things about writing is the pride that your family feel about your achievements; one person who was especially proud was my Auntie Jenny. She excitedly messaged me when my local paper ran a piece on my book and eagerly tracked down a copy. She downloaded a copy of Tiger Tiger and said she would save it to read during her recovery from a kidney stone operation; tragically she had the operation and never recovered. On the 28th of August my Auntie, Jenny Healey passed away, even though she never got to read it I know that she’s proud and I’m determined to make her even more proud. I’d like to think that her and her mum, my much missed Nanny, are together now and laughing at all of the willy words, and maybe adding a few more to the mix.

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Tiger Tiger is available to download from Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiger-ebook/dp/B00D5EYHAM

Text and Submission

I love writing. Love it. It’s all I ever wanted to do; the tricky thing is if you are ever going to make any money from it then you really need a literary agent and to get a literary agent you have to tackle the thing that I hate more than anything: submissions.

It’s like writing an uber CV. Sell, sell, sell. It’s not enough to go ‘here are a couple of chapters, let me know what you think’ you need to include a punchy synopsis, you need to pick out a USP, you need to let them know why your book is the one out of the piles that they receive that they need to take onto their books. And it’s hard.

The rejections are even harder, the ‘I liked it, I just didn’t LOVE it.’s hurt more than the standard rejection letters.

But it has to be done. I believe in myself, I believe in the praise that Tiger Tiger has received and I believe that one day a submission will be successful. In the meantime I’ve just got to do a Dory.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

Tiger Tiger is available from the Kindle Store http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiger-ebook/dp/B00D5EYHAM

Pixels to Paper

I’m currently embarking on a very exciting project. Thanks to the support of a friend I can self publish copies of Tiger Tiger. Actual books I can hold and smell and hopefully sell.

That’s the scary bit, what if they don’t sell, what if I’m left with a pile of books that no one wants? A mere vanity project.

I have people supporting me who think that won’t be the case; my backer, the manager of my local Harris + Hoole who wants me to do a book launch there, the people who have bought the eBook and left a trail of 5 star reviews. It’s still scary though, the switch from pixels to paper and the possibility I’ll have a product that will please no one but me. Guess I just need to take a leap of faith…

 

The electronic version of Tiger Tiger is available for £1.99 in the Kindle Store http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00D5EYHAM/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

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What’s In A Name..?

When can a writer describe themselves as a writer? Is there certain criteria that you need to hit in order to state that as your profession rather than your hobby? Like how often you write each day? Or how much money it makes you? Or is it like gender or ethnicity? It’s simply down to what you identify as? Though if that is the case perhaps I would like to identify as a supermodel as much as the majority would disagree.

Let’s accept for now an ‘I write, therefore I am a writer’ perspective; then when does a writer become an author? An author is broadly defined as “the person who originated or gave existence to anything” and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.

So by definition I can describe myself as not merely a writer, but an author. Awesome.

So when does an author become a novelist? In Tiger Tiger the eponomous heroine, Rebecca Somersby describes herself as a novelist before she has written a novel: 

“allows me to indulge in my actual profession, which is being a novelist. I say novelist, I haven’t actually written a novel yet but I definitely intend to soon therefore that is who I am and what I do…”

 

Is this fraudulant representation on Rebecca’s behalf or are we allowed to call ourselves what we feel inside?

My name is Nicola Sheehan. I am a writer, an author, a novelist, a burlesque superstar, a Man Booker prize winner and I am going to rule the world!

One step at a time, eh..?

 

In the meantime Tiger Tiger is available for the Kindle Store on a summer promotional price of £1.99, go, read it…

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00D5EYHAM/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

‘Bro’motion.

Ok, ok, it’s a tenuous pun, I have a higher ratio of female to male friends and even then I don’t think I’d ever refer to my male friends as ‘bro’s’ but I’m in a bad pun kinda mood so suck it up.

What I am talking about, of course, is the priceless support of my friends in helping to promote my first book, Tiger Tiger. They really have been above and beyond. Though my friends I have had advice on setting up web pages, I’ve had my gorgeous graphic design for my cover and my posters (by the beautiful Aimee Davies at aimeecreative.com), I’ve had a piece written in both my old girl’s newsletter and in my hometown paper the Stamford Mercury. I’ve had great reviews, social media support, posters printed and posted in various locations. All in the name of friendship. Who needs big company marketing when you have awesome friends, eh?ImageTiger Tiger is available in the Kindle Store: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00D5EYHAM/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

An Artistic Temperament?

In June 2011 my life was very different to how it is now. After the breakdown of my marriage in 2009 I had managed to pull myself together and become a successful working single mother. I was a clinical nurse specialist in palliative care at St. Thomas’ Hospital. It was my dream job. All was good.

Well, apart from the increase in anxiety that I’d felt and the panic attacks that started sneaking in.

The panic started to get so bad that at work I would hide in the toilets and pray that no one paged me. I had friends I could talk to, my manager tried to be supportive though obviously she had a service to deliver and my emerging illness was interfering with this. As my health got worse I turned to the Samaritans, when I’m unwell using the phone causes me massive anxiety so I exchanged emails with an anonymous ‘Jo’. I knew that each ‘Jo’ I spoke to was a different person but ‘Jo’ was still a huge support.

Despite me talking my despair through with the ever understanding ‘Jo’ in late June I hit crisis. My head went to the darkest place it has ever gone to. I was terrified. Luckily I had a friend, Emily, who had experienced mental health problems herself and she fought tooth and nail to get me the help that I needed.

I lost my job. Probably for the best. Even with help I had to admit that I was very unwell, years of supressed emotions had come rushing out and my life would never be the same.

I’ve had two years now of not working, of being in constant contact with psychotherapists, psychiatrists, the wonderful people at Mind. I now have a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and still struggle with my condition.

One thing that has helped me through has been my writing. Since I’ve been unwell it’s been the thing that has given me an outlet, it’s given me an identity away from motherhood, away from my illness, something to hold up and be proud of.

You read a lot about people with mental health conditions being artistic, hordes of celebrities have regular walks with the black dog; I’m not sure if there is a correlation but a friend of mine who also has BPD suggested recently that the BPD was a tax on being fabulous. I’ll take that.

http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you?gclid=CKz9voPIp7gCFQTMtAodcVkAkQ

http://www.mind.org.uk/

Tiger Tiger is available in the Kindle Store: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00D5EYHAM/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

The Secret Handshake of the Old Girls’ Guild

I grew up in the sleepy stone town of Stamford in Lincolnshire; home of 17th and 18th century stone buildings, historical almshouses, equestrian events and medieval churches. It is also home to Stamford High School for Girls of which I am an alumni or as Stamford High would call me an Old Girl.

Whilst I was at school the idea of the Old Girls’ Guild didn’t sit so easily with me. I’d gone to public school on a council scholarship, I viewed myself as fiercely working class and didn’t feel that I fitted in in the very middle class of Stamford High School as it was; to think of myself as an ‘Old Girl’ seemed ludicrous, it felt very jolly hockeysticks with lashings of ginger beer. I wound up a member of the Old Girls’ Guild due to my (typical) forgetfulness regarding the opt out form but it wasn’t ever something that entered my consciousness.

As I wrote and started to promote ‘Tiger Tiger’ someone pointed out the Old Girls’ Guild to me. I exchanged emails with a very lovely lady called Tooty who embraced my work and swiftly put a piece about me and my writing in the Old Girls’ Guild newsletter. No negotiation or secret handshake was needed and I feel a little bit silly that I ever had a chip on my shoulder about it.

So I’ll say it loud and say it proud, I’m a Stamford High School Old Girl, and I always will be.

Image Tiger Tiger is available now at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00D5EYHAM/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

In My Hometown

ImageI’m back in my hometown, Stamford in Lincolnshire this weekend. Taking advantage of the sunny weather, looking at all of the beautiful stone architecture, feeding baby ducks down on the water meadows and tinkering about in all of the independent boutique stores that this quaint town has to offer. This isn’t all I’ve done though; Stamford has a rife coffee shop culture and many of these coffee shops are now adorned with posters promoting my book, I even had a little chat with a fellow Stamfordian who assures me she’ll be downloading it as soon as she gets home. Let’s hope that this ancient town that has been the backdrop for literary adaptations such as Middlemarch can get behind something a little more modern and embrace a year in the life of Rebecca Somersby.

Tiger Tiger is available in the Kindle Store. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiger-ebook/dp/B00D5EYHAM

 

But I don’t have a Kindle…

I’m hearing this a lot. Lots of people don’t have Kindles, I get it. I like the smell and feel of real books too but in the cut-throat world of modern publishing eBooks are often the best route for authors like me.

Now Amazon want to sell Kindles so they don’t make it that obvious that you can read Kindle books without a Kindle but you can!

You can read Kindle books on:

a computer

a smartphone

a tablet

You just need the free Kindle app. SO go to Amazon and search ‘Tiger Tiger Nicola Sheehan’ and the right hand side of the screen will appear as below.

Then you can install the software for free on whichever platform you choose, sign in with your Amazon password and even get a sample of the book before you choose to downoad it. Simple really!

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

How sampling works

Read books on your computer or other mobile devices with ourFREE Kindle Reading Apps.