Sunday, 20 July 2014

My mermaid workshop

Yesterday I gave a children's workshop at my local library, based around my first mermaid ebook, 'The Quest'. The workshop was planned as a short reading from me, then getting the children to write their own ending and create their own cover.


It didn't work out quite as I planned. I only had two children come and join me, and both of them were younger than the ideal workshop age of 9-12. One little girl was 6, and the boy was 5. The boy was my friend, Heather's son. The little girl's mum drew a mermaid for her and then the girl coloured her in with pens that the library provided for me. Heather's boy drew squiggles and blobs with sticky glittery tubes. I managed to have a quick chat with Heather in between chatting with the girl.

I didn't sell any of the POD version of 'The Quest' or any of the badges I had with me. Heather did buy a copy of Creature Features Highlights 2 book, which we had arranged for the day.

Maybe another day will be better, I don't know. I didn't think it was that successful, although Heather did tell me on the phone later on that she thought I did a good job.

If you know of a library within London, or maybe even a school, that would be interested in having a mermaid workshop that involves reading, writing and arts and crafts, I'd like to know.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

An Aspie overcoming new experiences

In my last post, I wrote about eating out on a yacht hotel. I mentioned that I would post about what I had to overcome that day, so here I am. As an Aspie, meeting new people and going to new places are out of our comfort zone, but I wanted to meet Rebecca and Lynda, so was determined I'd get there and reach my goal. I'd already Googled how to get to Excel London, so knew which lines to take to get there, it was finding the yacht that end that would be the problem.

The journey there was quite easy. I am a visual person when it comes to directions, so all I did was to look at the signs on the underground and DLR to tell me which way I had to go to get to the right platforms and trains. I got to Custom House station and found my first hurdle. I had to go through a glass covered walkway, and you could see out the sides to down to the street, to go out the other end. I told myself, look ahead not sideways. In a way, it was good for me that I had the distraction of Rebecca being on the other end and waiting for her phone calls to let me know where she was on her way to me. I managed to get out of the station, only to find another hurdle - steps going down. When I have to go down steps I need to hold on with my right hand as I'm right-handed, otherwise I feel awkward and might fall. The railings I went to had left-handed railings on it. I couldn't do it. There were there steps on the other side but they had gaps in and I didn't think I could do it. All this time, Rebecca was being v patient on the other end and being v encouraging. Knowing she was on her phone, waiting for me to reach the yacht, I knew I had to do it. So, I went to the other steps, took a deep breath, that first step and went down them to the bottom. I had done it. Now to get to the yacht, which I couldn't' miss. It was right there to the left of the steps, huge. Rebecca told me that when I got to the yacht, to pass my phone to the staff and she'd tell them that I could order whatever I wanted (within a reasonable price, of course) and they could put it on her room tab. This is what I did.

At 7.30pm that evening, I finally got to meet Rebecca. And found that she is just as nice in person, even more so, than on-line and over the phone.

So, I overcame going to a new place, getting down steps on my own and going into a yacht hotel and waiting on my own (which couldn't be helped), all in one day.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Eating out - on a yacht hotel

Friday just gone, I went to meet my friend and coach, Rebecca Woodhead, and fellow affiliate marketer, Lynda Kenney - on a yacht hotel called The Sunborn London near Excel London. Yes, it is that huge. Couldn't believe it was that when I got there.



 Rebecca got stuck in traffic and didn't arrive until 7.30pm, and I had got there two hours earlier, being early for our meeting. We were due to meet at 6pm, I got there early because I like to leave early to find a place if it's new to me. So, whilst I waited, I had dinner and drinks, in the meantime getting texts and phone calls from Rebecca to say where she was and what was happening.


I had pineapple juice and for the meal I had burger and chips. I forgot to say no cheese with the burger to start, so when I was served it I checked inside, found cheese and asked for one without, apologising. A while later, after I had eaten a couple of chips, burning my mouth, it arrived - like this:

 
 
There is tomato and onions in there with bacon on top. I took out the tomato and onions to eat on their own as veggies. I can tell you, it was tasty. Not had a burger like that in a while. I enjoyed it.
 
I shall post next week about what I overcome to get to the yacht and enjoy the evening with Rebecca and Lynda.

Friday, 27 June 2014

An exciting writing week

This week has been an exciting week for me in my writing life. It all started early in the week when I checked my emails. I had been emailing tips and letters to magazines, and had emailed best magazine with a diet tip. Then this week I got an email from the editor saying that she'd love to use my tip, could I please send a photo of myself. I duly did this. Success number one! I shall start looking in the magazine from next week cos I'm not sure if they inform you when it will be in the magazine.

Second exciting event happened yesterday. I was on the phone to Rebecca Woodhead having a coaching session about autoresponder emailing, when she mentioned that I could be an Amazon bestselling author, Moi? It turned out she was right. When she and I checked the Amazon US store link to 'The Railway Angel' my first YA fantasy ebook published in 2011, it had hit 2 of their best seller lists for sci-fi and fantasy. One was at 66 the other was at 86. Me, an Amazon bestselling author. Hurrah. Anyway, Rebecca then posted a message on Facebook about this, tagging various people we knew, asking them to download it, share the message etc. What happens? By the end of the night, it had reached these dizzy heights in the lists


I don't know if you can see this OK or not, but the top one says it's now at 16, the bottom one is at 32.

So, I can happily say that I am an Amazon bestselling author. And I will do when I do my talks.

Thank you, Rebecca, for finding this out for me, and getting everyone in our team to respond to it, and post messages to me, esp the EMP bosses.

PS If you wish to learn how to write letters to magazines and get paid for them, or find out how to become an Amazon bestselling author, then email me with the header 'letters' or 'Amazon' so I know where it's come from, at

Sunday, 22 June 2014

'The Leaping Angels' is now out

The fourth ebook in my 'Guardian Angels' series called 'The Leaping Angels' is now out on Smashwords, Amazon and Apple. It's yet to reach Kobo. Here are the links:

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/448507

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00L123QJ8?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id890824994

I couldn't believe how easy it was to upload the book to both Smashwords etc. Thought it would be hard, but no. Someone has already bought it from Amazon. There is one more ebook to come in the series. I have already come up with an idea on a side series from it. The idea came to me last night when I watched a programme about benefit tenants and housing agencies.

Meantime, I am working on the second mermaid story called  'The Vanity Quest'. I finished the first draft of it this morning.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

A letter to my 10-year old self

This was originally posted on the AuKids website last year. As I have been posting about living with Asperger's Syndrome and schooling, I thought this would be apt to go on here. So here it is:


If you knew something about yourself as an adult which you didn't as a child, what would you say to your ten-year-old self in a letter? This is what Julie Day would say having been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome as an adult.

Dear Ten-year-old Julie

It's 1981 and in September you will be starting secondary school. You see the building, and will think, 'oh my, it's big.' This will make you believe it is why you are shy. You will find it hard to fit in, as most of the class has either paired or grouped up, leaving you on your own.

You will be quiet and hardworking. You will find it hard to make friends by yourself, and will be too shy to speak out in class. Unfortunately, due to being shy you will be bullied by both a girl you know from primary school and a group of girls who are older than you. This is probably because they see you as different and vulnerable. You will get the better of them. After some time you will either ignore the older girls or speak up to them and that will shock them to leave you alone. They will leave school after a couple of years. When the other girl tries to retaliate, you will get told off by the teacher. It comes to a head when you get her mum involved by getting her to come to the school to see the headmistress. It won't be for a while that things start looking up, but they will, so take heart. When you do decide to volunteer to read out in class, your heart will race and you will be very nervous. And you will do it, although shakily. Things are better for you when you start the sixth form, where you will be doing a business studies diploma. Because this is something you want to do, you will get on with it all right and feel that you are fitting in more.

I am writing to you because as an adult I now know that there's a reason for your shyness. You have Asperger's Syndrome, a low form of autism. Asperger's Syndrome/autism is often called social awkwardness because people with it find it hard to communicate with others, so don't make friends easily. This is why you couldn't and only able to tag on to groups of girls, and make friends that way. If this had been known back then, I feel that life would've been a lot different for you. In that you might have gone to a school specially for autistic children or the teachers would've supported you more if they'd known about you.

So there is a reason that things happen and why you are like you are. Have faith in that, because you do make one friend, whom you meet via a group of girls you latch on to, and you'll see during your adult life. So, it's not all bad. Good does come out of your secondary school years, even if for most of it you find it hard to cope with. Light is at the end of the tunnel, even if it appears years later!

From Adult Julie
 
So, if you know something about yourself as an adult that you didn't as a child, what would you say to your child self? Be interested to know.
 
To receive news about my ebooks, talks and workshops as well as marketing tips, sign up to my newsletter by leaving a comment on here or messaging me your email address on Facebook.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Asperger's Syndrome/autism and schooling

This post is in conjunction with a report in the Daily Mirror the other day about a boy who was excluded from school because he has Asperger's.

Back in the 1980s and 90s I was at primary and secondary school. In both schools I was bullied by other girls, yet I had an education. Some lessons I liked, some I didn't. I still had an education. But it appears that children with Asperger's are not getting this education I had. Why? Well, the report I read in the paper said that this boy had been getting on fine at primary school, albeit he did have habits such as banging pencils on a desk. Then he was diagnosed with AS, and the school excluded him, not being able to cope with him - this was a mainstream school. The same happened with his secondary school, and now he is being home-educated by his mother. I feel that this is really bad, esp as it says that this excluding of children without warning is illegal.

But there can be a good side to this. If the mother is home-schooling her son, then she can teach him the basic subjects and the ones that are most important for when you are an adult, such as maths, literacy, not topics like science or geography.

I have read there are mainstream schools that do have special needs units in them for children with AS or autism, so maybe this mother can find one of these for her son.

So, I wish the mother all the luck in the world with educating her son. From me, who did have an education whilst not knowing she had Asperger's at the time, and was bullied.