The Arrival of the Paperbacks

Book News, J.S. Strange

It’s always exciting as an author to hold an actual, physical copy of the book you’ve been pouring your heart in to for the past year or so.

It’s an incredible feeling. It’s one that can’t really be explained or described, other than an overwhelming sense of pride, a massive smile you can’t control – your words as you intended them to appear.

My publisher, Panther Publishing, received their paperback copies today of Murder on the Rocks and they look so pretty!

The plan is to eventually have paperback copies available to buy directly from Panther. If you want to support independent publishers and small time authors, that’s the best way to do it – buying directly from the person who took a chance on you.

I also know some paperbacks are being sent to some stores, and a few Instagrammers! How exciting!

My new novel, Murder on the Rocks, is out now!

Preparing to Travel: Edinburgh

Travel

It won’t be long, and I’ll be travelling to Edinburgh. It’s the first time I’m visiting, so I’m really excited. It’s a place I’ve wanted to go for a while!

Part of the preparation for travel is finding out what to do once you get there. Sure, flights are important, but a big decision for me is working out why I’d want to go somewhere.

Finding things to do:

I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, and knowing that J.K. Rowling lived and wrote the series in Edinburgh is a big selling point for someone like me. In Edinburgh, there is no absence of Potter. You can visit a street that supposedly inspired Diagon Alley. You can visit The Elephant Cafe, where J.K. Rowling wrote some of the novels. You can visit a graveyard where one of the graves reads Thomas Riddel. And there’s even a Harry Potter Escape Room! Am I doing all of this?! YES.

As well as Harry Potter, I’ll be looking into the history of Edinburgh, so I’ve found some locations, such as Edinburgh castle, to visit.

Finding flights:

Always browse incognito or on private browsing when looking for flights. Many people check out prices a few times before actually booking anything, by which points those tracking cookies have upped the price, and you’re paying more than you should be paying.

I wanted to fly from Cardiff airport – support the local airport and all that – but flights were £100 more expensive. I instead went with EasyJet, knowing they would be reliable and budget friendly.

Because I’m going for only a few days, I’ve booked an early arrival and a late departure. Absorb as much of Edinburgh as I can!

Now, the importance is knowing our flight time, booking airport parking, and day dreaming about the airport food.

Fashion

ASOS is my friend. And new holiday destinations means new clothes. But I’m only taking a carry on, so I have to be sensible. But hey, new clothes. Even if not for Edinburgh, why not just for general life?

Did you know my new novel, Murder on the Rocks, is out now? Get your copy now!

A Sunny February

J.S. Strange, Visit Wales

February has been a good month. It was my birthday on Valentine’s, so I turned 24. It was a great celebration with family and people who mattered. It also made me realise who I don’t need in my life anymore. Dramatic, isn’t it?

Spooky.

Since my birthday, I’ve been promoting my up-coming novel release, which publishes this Friday with Panther Publishing. Murder on the Rocks features a gay male PI, based in Cardiff, and is released March 1st, also known as St David’s Day.

February has also brought warmth and sunshine. In February! I’m enjoying it, but it does make me wonder about global warming, and what we can do to actually try and stop it – not much, by the looks of it.

But whilst the sun is great for now, and in our lifetimes Global Warming might not affect us as much as it will affect further generations, this 20 degree weather in FEBRUARY seems strange.

After our glorious long BRITISH SUMMER last year, it seems to have come back so quickly.

Maybe it’s just a blip, a freak weather incident. We’ll have to see if summer has come early, or if the rest of the year will be like this. Maybe, finally, Britain has great weather – at a cost?

Did you know my new novel, Murder on the Rocks, is out now? Get your copy!

Why is it so hard to tell people you’re a writer?

Book News, J.S. Strange, writing

‘Congratulations!’ A friend said to me. ‘We had no idea!’

I wonder what they meant. I looked confused, and asked them.

‘On your book! That’s amazing! We didn’t know you wrote!’

Them and many others. It got me thinking, ‘Why can’t I just tell people I’m a writer?’

I’ve published two books, and my third book is publishing March 1st 2019. I’ve always had an interest in writing, and took it seriously from the age of 17. Since then, I’ve sought out ways to improve, challenged myself, and continued to think of new ideas.

Writing is a big part of who I am. But people don’t know about it unless they ask, or find out from social media.

Inevitably, it always comes out. As people get to know me they find out I’m a writer or a published author. There’s always the awkward talk after they find out. ‘You’re published? How many have you sold? Is it a best seller? Can I get it in book shops? Are you the next J.K. Rowling?’ Promptly followed by a search on Amazon and my books and my author page full screen on their computers.

I don’t get embarrassed. But I don’t revel in it, either. Which is strange, because I want people to know about my books. I want people to read about them and possibly buy them.

But I can’t actually talk about it or tell people about it.

Why?

I think it stems from my over-awareness of ego. When getting to know people, I don’t want to be like, ‘I wrote a book. Yes I’m a publisher author.’ Out of the blue. It sounds like I’m showing off, taking myself too seriously, and trying to impress people.

So I never mention it.

‘What have you got planned this weekend?’

‘Oh, nothing,’ I reply, even though I plan to sit in my writing room and plot and get the words down. But I’m fine to mention if I’m going to the cinema, or a wedding, etc.

My friends and people who find out are normally supportive. It strikes conversation in publishing, sales, hopes for the books I’ve published. Most people immediately understand how hard it is to get that desired best seller. Others are enthused and want to read what I’ve wrote. Other people spread the word for me, proud of my achievements.

It’s not that I’m not proud. But it’s the modesty of not being able to tell people I’m proud. I’m unable to shout from the rooftops: I WROTE A NOVEL!

Without making this entry woe is me, it stems from a youth of bullying. Whenever I tried anything creative, my whole school ridiculed me. Since then, I’ve been guarded on what I share with people, for fear I will see those sneering faces of pity, of looking at me like I’m stupid for even attempting to join the big authors.

It’s strange that we can’t talk about what we’ve worked hard on. But maybe going forwards I’ll be more forthcoming on telling people what I’ve published, and what I’m writing next.

Why Smart?

Cars, J.S. Strange, Smart, Smart Car, Travel, Visit Wales

When I got my new job in May 2018, the first thing I did was buy a new car…

It was top of the agenda. I first passed my test in January 2016 – slaying that parallel park – and my first car was a blue Ford Street KA, which I loved until it felt flimsy and like I was driving a toy.

Despite feeling exquisite in my convertible, I had bought a dodgy car. My wheel kept losing power, meaning every steer was heavy. I also had other little gremlins, and I just knew it was going to cost more than it was worth.

I went from a blue Street KA, to another blue Street KA, which I think I ended up breaking tbh, and then I left went to a Ford KA.

Now, you’ve seen a pattern, yeah? KA, KA, KA. I was sick of Ford. But I had always wanted a KA. And I loved my 2002 KA. It was black, not blue, and finally I had 4 seats. 4 seats.

I was working retail. It was a cheap car to have. But as my insurance was coming to renewal, and my insurance beginning to decrease, I realised the KA was going to cost more than a new car.

Come a stroke of luck, and I landed a new job. An actual career progression job. I was excited! But it was 45 minutes away from where I live, and I couldn’t be driving my 16 year old KA across the M4 every day. It was already close to 100,000 miles.

So the hunt was on for a new car.

Enter Smart.

Smart had caught my eye for a while. I remember being a young kid and saying I wanted to drive a Smart Fortwo when I was older. The only thing that stopped me getting a Smart when I passed my test was insurance costs.

By the time I passed, Smart had changed their style. They had a facelift, and looked a lot better for it. Courtney Cox take tips. Their ForFour was sexy now. Red and black was popping, and that had been a desire of mine for a few years.

It happened that a local delete was selling a 2015 Smart ForFour in red and silver. I could compromise on colour, considering I would be upgrading from a KA with a replaced stereo to connect my phone through USB, to a smart interface with a built in SatNav, Bluetooth and USB connection, and a car that was new and stylish.

It was so me!

I’m not a car person. I don’t know how fast they go. I don’t know what goes where, or how they’re built. I know nothing about them. All I know is that the Smart ForFour passion looks beautiful. It’s cute. It’s comfy. It’s Smart.

That’s why I chose Smart!