My Weekend Essentials

Here’s a few of my fave weekend must-haves. Note, these are in no particular order. What are yours?

weekend essentials 2Are you looking for a relaxing e-read set in the intoxicating world of wine and food? Try my new e-book LOVE IN THE VINES it’s out now on Amazon Kindle.

Food, wine, love and betrayal. Like wine, love begins in the vines. Betrayal begins in the heart of a marriage. Love in the Vines is a contemporary romance novel best enjoyed with a glass of wine.

LOVE IN THE VINES “a fast-moving, sexy story. You will enjoy reading it. You’ll be asking for a sequel!” 4* Amazon Review

Ten Things I now know as a Newbie E-Book Writer.

I still consider myself to be a certified newbie.
Before I started writing in earnest, there would always be some sort of drama and dialogue going on inside my head. Now, some might say, I have a problem and need to visit the brainy peeps in white coats. But, really it’s just my imagination at play.
Transforming the scenario’s inside my head into stories, and ultimately publishing them as e-books requires more than the “ten things I now know” written below (hello that’s an unintentional rhyme). They are however, ten steps in the right direction.
Please note – if you are looking for a meaty how-to-e-publish post, I’m afraid this post will disappoint. It’s my intention to blog more on this, and e-book marketing in the near future. 
1.  Commit
Make a commitment to write with the intention of publishing an e-book. Commit to wearing more than a writer’s hat. At some stage, and sometimes all at once, you’ll be wearing a marketing, publishing, and a therapy hat. 
2.  Show Up
If you don’t show up to write, not a single word will get written. All you’ll have is a blank screen, or page. Time, focus, and words strung together into creative sentences, are a few of the necessary ingredients of writing. Make, and schedule time to write.
3.  Go with the Flow
As a runner, for me writing is a lot like pounding the pavement. Not one day is the same. Some days I feel like I can run for miles, while the next…my legs feel like I’m lugging around blocks of of concrete. With writing, one day you’re on a creative roll, the next your river of words has dried up to a mere trickle….Frustrating? Definitely. I’m learning, to go with the flow. If you’ll pardon the pun.
4.  Be a Sponge
Soak up as much information from others about writing, and the world of e-book publishing. Follow related blogs, befriend google and ask questions, join forums and groups – Amazon and Goodreads, a great place to start. Take webinars – online seminars cover a load of subjects from publishing on blogging, Kindle, e-book marketing and PR, success stories…they’re free, and jam-packed with juicy relevant information.
5.  Don’t be Afraid
Whether your brazen, über confident, or super shy, you’re going to need bucket loads of courage. To write, e-publish, read reviews, find your readers, navigate your way around the marketing, and dealing with angst and uncertainty. All require a badge of courage, and a willingness to venture into the soon-to-be-known territory
6.  Establish your name
As a newbie author you probably count your Mum, and a couple of good friends as die-hard loyal readers. I know I do. Expanding your reach beyond that precious three, requires a plan to find readers who, over time will like, love, and trust you enough to buy your books, and share the book love with their friends and family. Establishing your writing name/brand is an essential part of the marketing plan.   
7.  Marketing

Writing with the intention of selling requires at the very least, the backbone of a marketing plan. Step one, know from the onset who you perceive your readers are. Step two, know where to find your readers. A healthy mix of digital, with a little traditional marketing is needed to get your name established, readers, and sales. Without going into too much detail – to build a marketing foundation the must do/have basics are:

  • Blog. Create a blog relevant to establish your identity and what it is you want to be known and recognized for. Whatever you do, have a contact me page.
  • Website. At this risk of sounding like an old fashioned fuddy duddy – in this day and age if you’re not online, well let’s just say you risk extinction. Having a digital presence is crucial if you want to have a ounce of e-publishing success. For the budget conscious, like me, my free wordpress blog site doubles up as my website. And I love it.
  • Social Media. Its social, and its media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr connects you with like minded people who are interested in what you do. It’s a platform to interact.
  • PR. Public Relations interacts with social media, your blog, and or website. In fact, they all interact. But, a good old fashioned press release to announce your book, what it’s about, who the market is, how and where readers can buy it from, the price and why people should buy your book is like a one stop shop of information for media, and potential readers.
  • Elevator Pitch. A long lost friend stops you in the street and asks you, ‘so, what are you doing now?’ What’s your 15, ok maybe stretch it out to 30 seconds summary of what you do? By the time it takes you to ride the elevator from the ground to the penthouse suite, is all the time you need to sell yourself, and your book.
  • Be Consistent. Just like you show up for writing, be regular and consistent with your marketing. The key is consistency with relevant and engaging content. It’s not all about sales, don’t be afraid to mix a little sales with social. People want to get to know, like, love and trust you.

8. Accept Not all Reviews will be 5*****
Develop a thick skin. No matter what, getting and reading a review is a daunting task. One, I’ll never quite get used to. The way I survive reading a review and minimizing the possibility of a bad one completely ruining my day, is to allow myself only a couple of hours to think about it. Tops. Then, I have to let it go.
My policy. Focus on the positive, and respect your reviewer’s opinion. If you don’t like what you read, don’t even think about stepping into the boxing ring and going glove to glove with the reviewer. Sure, it’s tempting, but I believe, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Same applies if you get a great review. If you turn around and laud the reviewer with adulation, and praise, you no longer have an honest review.
Whether the review is good, or just plain ugly and brutal, try taking something positive from it. It’s easier said than done. One reader gave my book a 1* rating, and didn’t back it up with a review. Where’s the positive in that I asked? Well, after digging around, I found out the reader wasn’t in my target age group, and more than likely was never going to enjoy my story.
As hard as it is sometimes, I always appreciate the time and effort it has taken the reviewer to read your book, and write and post a review.
9.  Believe
For many self belief is the biggest hurdle. At times I’m plagued with self doubt, and throughout my day I can be heard muttering sound bites of encouragement. ‘Back Yourself’ has become a personal favorite. As Jack Canfield once said “tell people you’re a writer when you think you are.” I now tell peeps I’m a writer. And yes, I believe it too.
10.  Reality Check and Luck
This is a goodie. How do you measure success? By achieving your own goals? Showing up? Sales? Or….is it the little things you achieve, and learning from and surviving the failures, disappointments, dark days, mistakes, crankiness, writers block…that ultimately point us in the direction of “being successful.”
Writing with the intention of selling your book is a magic combo of content, marketing, luck, and giving people what they want at the right time.
Timing is everything. Whether it’s an overnight runaway #1 best seller, or it takes you a few months, or years. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither will your writing career. Either way…believe, believe, believe in you.

Magdalena has recently written a contemporary romance e-book, Love in the Vines. Food, wine, love and betrayal. Like wine, love begins in the vines. Betrayal begins in the heart of a marriage.
Her first e-book was an mage to her cat, Minnie Moo….Minnie Moo The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Cat.
Both e-books are available to buy on Amazon.
Having successfully completed NANOWRIMO writing 50,000 words in 30 days (the month of November), Magdalena is currently working on the sequel to Love in the Vines – Love Entwined.
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Stop Looking. Start Feeling Happiness.

Wikipedia tells me, happiness is a fuzzy concept. 
“A mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.”

Sounds fair enough and I’m happy enough with that statement not to argue to the contrary.

Ah, who cares anyway, right? Happiness is overrated. Especially when you are constantly trying too hard to find and be it, chase it, feel it or, whatever it is that you think it is and, what it should be. Anyway, what is this elusive thing called happiness?

I must admit I haven’t given the nine letter feel-good word –  a noun, thank you google, too much thought. That is, until the other day when I genuinely experienced an ahh-haa moment of “so this is what happiness really feels like.” And, it felt brilliant.

Up until now, I hadn’t thought about taking the time to register what it was to feel happiness. I think somewhere or somehow I vaguely knew I felt it whenever I was upbeat, positive and just well, happy.

Whereas, I can definitely take ownership by admitting I have spent a whole heap of time analyzing the other end of the spectrum; unhappiness, heartbreak, angst, relationship woes and anything that I thought needed my all-consuming attention because life wasn’t going my way.

Yet, strangely I’ve never invested in thinking about how I’m doing on the happiness scale when life is great and going my way.  Doesn’t seem to make sense. Maybe it’s because I don’t know how to define the scale. Or, more honestly, I couldn’t recognize it as happiness even though, I was feeling it.

After my ahh-haa moment of clarity, the penny finally dropped. Despite me being generally happy I had simply misunderstood happiness.

Happiness isn’t something you hope to one day find. Neither do you look for it in yourself, or in others, situations, places and so on, but it is influenced by these factors.

Happiness isn’t hard work and you don’t have to work at it to feel it.

Happiness is a wonderful good-old overwhelming feeling of yumminess experienced in a moment of time.

Happiness is a state where everything seems shrouded in joy leaving you buzzing with a lightness of being feeling that all is well in your world.

Happiness is a feeling. Felt in a moment of time. Celebrate, love, enjoy and revel in the fuzziness of feeling happy.

My life my way takeaway – “Stop looking and start feeling happiness.”

When I saw Minnie Moo The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Cat sitting on the virtual e-book shelf I experienced happiness.
For a moment in time I felt unabashed happiness. Seeing Minnie Moo’s happy furry face on the cover and the accomplishment of becoming an author could only be defined as happiness.

Clear clutter. Make space for you.

Hands up if you regularly hold a pesky conversation inside your head that starts with the well-worn phrase of “if only I had more time…… for me?”

I’m sure that if I could see through the virtual world and into your space many hands would be sheepishly raised. Mine included.

That is until it dawned on me that if I don’t make time for me, who will? If I’m not happy and healthy then how on earth am I going to get through my day? If I’m not feeling good I’m certainly not going to be the best person I can be.

Break the phrase “if only I had more time….for me” into three parts and you end up with three parts of nothing much.

  1. If only
  2. I had more time
  3. For me

With more expected of and from you, more demands on time and with something to do squeezing out almost every single minute of the day it’s a wonder we haven’t all been reduced to a bunch of walking talking jibbering zombies.

With schedules crammed to bursting point some days there’s hardly time to make a bathroom stop and sleep let alone make time for the most important person. You.

I can only speak for myself here, but if I don’t have “me time” my mood takes a quick elevator ride up to the levels of cranky and crankier. Without making time every single day to do something that is important to and, for me, I simply would have a meltdown of epic proportions.

I make it my priority to prioritize me. Make it your priority to prioritize you.

Think about it. If I’m not happy, healthy and generally feeling good about myself then all other aspects of my life will suffer. Neither egotistical or selfish, it makes sense. After all, it’s up to me to get through my day, make the most of my life, make others happy, be a good person, achieve my goals and objectives. The list goes on with the one common factor, it’s all up to me.

To do this and more I need to take care of me first and not make myself the last priority on my to-do-list. Take the time and space that is right for you. Schedule a realistic amount of time that works for you and fits in with the rest of your day.

Whether it’s making time to exercise, go to the gym, read, write, bake, cook, plan, build, create, mediate, do yoga, blob and watch telly or to simply sit in quiet – write it, type it, either way, put it in your schedule and show up like you would for any other appointment.

Not a natural morning person I get up with the birds. As tough as it is to leave the comfort of my beautiful warm bed, I religiously get up an hour earlier for exercise me time. While churning out the running miles or pedaling my way through an RPM Spin cycle class I use this time to think and solve any problems. Often bringing a fresh perspective, stressful situations are eased or sorted. I also plan what to write, market and do that day. Within an hour my mind is clear of clutter and space has been made for the stuff that matters.

Clear clutter. Make space for you.

Put yourself at the top of your list and schedule time for you to do the one thing that will make you feel:

  • you’ve had time for you
  • good about yourself
  • content and satisfied that you’ve had time to do what you enjoy
  • able to give more of you to your family, work and others
  • great about being busy for the remainder of the day
  • less grumpy, dissatisfied, resentful or any other energy zapping negative emotion
  • ready to conquer your day
  • healthy and happy
  • like you matter

Plan to make time for you.

My life my way takeaway for Clear Clutter. Make space for you“Schedule time for you and show up like you would any other appointment.”

Clear Clutter. Make space for you is the title of Chapter 2 of my e-book Minnie Moo The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Cat.

Minnie Moo needed to clear his mind of negative clutter to overcome his fear of hawks and go on his adventure with Mr T.

It resonates with me too. If I don’t make space for me I’m not going to be the best person I can be.

Writing Inspiring Chapter Hooks.

In my last blog “The Power of Sharing Knowledge”I wrote about how much fun I had writing the chapters for my e-book, Minnie Moo The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Cat.

Having cottoned on that these Chapter Hooks can easily multi-task from dividing your writing to parading as publicity hooks I got busy. By using 120 characters your chapters can be used to capture the media, both regular and social, in a short, sweet, sharp and sure way.

I think that’s genius and too good not too share.

Getting down to the business of writing my chapters I scribbled down a creative brief and decided mine had to tick 3 boxes: 1.  Be Inspirational | 2.  Be Fun  | 3: Be true to Minnie Moo. After numerous versions I finally whittled it down to eleven chapters of bite size inspiring fun little Minnie Moo’ism’s that I imagined Minnie Moo might say or at least think…..they need no introduction, but if you get stuck feel free to send me a note. Enjoy!

Now, put your paws together for the 11 Chapters crafted for Minnie Moo The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Cat

Don’t judge a cat by its coat.

Clear clutter. Make space for you.

Chapter 3:
Got a bout of doubt? Breathe.

Chapter 4:
If life gives you the wobbles make jelly.

Chapter 5:
Got a sticky situation. Make toffee.

Chapter 6:
Words spell sword.

Chapter 7:
Stop! Wasting time thinking what others are thinking.

Chapter 8:
Hug your family tree.

Chapter 9:
Let the wind of change blow in.

Chapter 10:
Lighten your load. Unpack baggage.

Chapter 11:
Life dishes all ice cream flavors.

Minnie Moo The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Cat E-Book is out now and available for most e-book formats. To buy or for more information please click here

Minnie’s got his own blog too! You can folllow it here – tanks

The Power of Sharing Knowledge.

I didn’t have the gumption to title this blog “TEN KEYS TO CREATE A BEST SELLER” I’ll leave that glory to the two people who have generously shared their insight and knowledge.

I’ve been upfront about my love of webinars. Always timely and relevant they never fail to point me in the right direction, help solve a problem muddling around inside my head or kick-start me into action.

Without a shadow of doubt, these virtual education sessions have proved a gold mine of blogging, e-book publishing and marketing information. Hosted by experts and, with guest speakers who just like many of us started off with an idea or dream, prove that with time, patience, learning and smarts anything is truly possible.

Perhaps most compelling is their collective desire to want to help you succeed. Positively charged with motivation and practical how-to-do-it hints I always log-off zinging with new found knowledge and, an improved approach to my thinking.

Recently on one cold winter’s morning, I joined a value-packed writing webinar. About half-way through the speakers, Steve Harrison and Jack Canfield, shared 7 magical words, “TEN KEYS TO CREATE A BEST SELLER” that caused my ears and brain to engage in high alert ready to absorb the onslaught of juicy must-have information. With pen poised I wrote down the ten bite size chunks that have become a staple in e-book and self publishing diet.

We all know these ten points are NOT going to pave the pathway with instant overnight success. However, they will bring a different approach, cause you to think differently, be more strategic and will come to serve as a useful foundation go-to reference point. Either way, they’re too tasty not too share:


  1. Compelling concept
    • Simple one sentence book proposition including how it will help the reader.
  2. Catchy Title
  3. Find your Choir to sing your books praises.
    1. Commitment and Daily Discipline
    • Show up! Everyday commit to action steps
    • Step by step plan what to do when
    • My personal fave: Learn the art of effective message sharing
    • Be honest and authentic
  4. Chapter Hooks
    Containing 120 characters
    Great to use as publicity hooks and for Social Media.
    I had a ton of fun with this and promise to write a blog on my Minnie Moo Chapter Hooks like, “If life gives you the wobbles. Make Jelly.”
  5. Connective Writing
    Make an emotional connection with your reader.
  6. Counter a Myth
    Dispel a myth. Minnie Moo is a cat and a hero!
  7. Celebrities/Publicity
    Write forwards and make it easy for media to understand your book.
    Tell them how your book will serve or entertain their audience.
    Outline what you can talk about that is related to them, their audience and show.
  8. Online Community
    Engage with your online community. Use Social Media intelligently.
    Interact and have fun. Celebrate and acknowledge others; retweet, reply, comment, post photo’s, video, repin, repost, share, don’t always shout your sales message but be strategic with it, become virtual friends, treat others as you like to be treated.
  9. Commit and Show Up. Step by step plan what to do when.
  10. Find Promotional Partners
    Companies who may wish to publish or buy bulk copies of your book
    Influencer’s. People who love to share and talk. They understand the “world of mouth”
    Be savvy, give your book  media va-va-voom.
    Make make it easy for media to understand your book.
    Persuade them how it will really grab their audience

Interested in doing a webinar?
Follow and join mailing lists of bloggers and people who are of interest to you. I’m on the mailing list of numerous bloggers, writers, marketers and influencers. Some come with a sales pitch, tune in or out, it’s up to you, others don’t. Once you’re on the mailing list your inbox will grow in popularity, and, if it all gets too much, simply opt out and unsubscribe.

My E-Book Minnie Moo The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Cat is out now. Available for most e-book formats. Click here to buy – many thanks!

My life my way takeaway for The Power of Sharing Knowledge; Listen and Learn. Share and Grow.”

Living my life my way

Not wishy washy but real and definitely not the next one hit wonder song. My life My Way is me saying sayonara, arrividerci, good-bye to my old working life and opening the door to the possibility I can live my life my way while pursuing my dream of becoming a self published author.

Sounds simple huh? Well, so far it’s been a hair-raising-white-knuckle roller coaster ride,  and, I love it! I wouldn’t trade places for the world. With bucket loads of self determination, focus, commitment, passion, friends & family and a true desire to kick any shady whiny thoughts of ‘I want to go shopping, I can’t do this anymore’ to the curb I’m getting there bit by bit, day by day. Slowly but surely.

This blog is a way of keeping me honest while I do the hard yards required to live my life my way and not run away to hide every time it gets too darn hard. Hopefully you’ll be inspired along the way.

Follow my ups and downs as I peel back the layers of what it takes to make the most out of our every day and visualizing dreams into reality. No matter how big or small taking the first step to live the rest of your life is well, the first step.
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