I warn you now, this is a rambly one. You need tea, or gin, and possibly something else to read instead.
I was chatting to blogging friend Eva Keogan, aka Nixdminx yesterday about her plans for a 30 day life overhaul. It’s spring (nobody told the weather, but it is spring in theory) and it’s time for starting afresh. So I’m joining her with a mission to blog every day this month and try and make some changes.
I spent a long time making internet friends because I’m an introvert. I’ve got internet friends going back 15 years. (Hello, my name is Rachael Lucas, and I’m a geek.)
The thing about being an introvert is that I want to engage with people. But simultaneously, I want them to shut up and go away. I like to be able to put you lot down and go and have a bath and know you’ll still be there when I get back. I’m a writer so I have to write stuff down: it’s how I process things. This means I quite often write stuff, press publish on here then hide in the bedroom, terrified to look at the blog because I can’t believe I’ve been so open.
What I love about this world of blogging is the introverts who pour it all out here and then run off, feeling sick. They do it, and then readers say “You too? I thought I was the only one” and the sharing, the communal feeling of we-can-do-this is beautiful to behold.
I don’t do religion at all. But after years of evangelistic atheism I found myself absorbed in the gorgeous world of Momastery. It’d be easy to take the usual slightly mocking British approach to the God-stuff part of Glennon’s blog, but you’d be missing SO much. Thousands of women from all over the world, holding hands and being brave.
Momastery is a place to practice living bigger, bolder, and truer on this Earth. It’s a place to practice disagreeing with love and respect. It’s a place to remember what you already know: that Love Wins and that We Can Do Hard Things.
“Here’s my hunch: nobody’s secure, and nobody feels like she completely belongs. Those insecurities are just job hazards of being human. But some people dance anyway, and those people have more fun. On my deathbed, I’m not gong to wish I had danced like JLo; I’m just going to wish I had danced more.”
I’m resolving to be braver. To write more, celebrate success, be positive, support my friends. Do hard things. Starting here.
Sealed with a Kiss will be available in paperback later this month, which is lovely news for those of you who want an actual copy that you can hold in your hands. Hooray. I’ve been working with Michael from Evertype, a fab indie publisher from Ireland, and he emailed to say that it’s gone to press and I can now start spreading the word!
I set myself a goal when I decided oh sod it, I’m going to self-publish like my friend Melanie. I thought if 100 people actually downloaded a copy of Sealed with a Kiss I’d feel like I’d done okay, because I don’t actually have 100 friends, so that’d mean that some people had actually bought it because they wanted to, not because they felt they ought to be polite.
Downloads happened. Writer friends said ooh, I hope you’re screengrabbing this because these Amazon chart figures are good. I was completely clueless about what was going on and whether it was A Good Thing. Mainly I was worrying because I was BORING MY FRIENDS TO DEATH on Facebook and Twitter talking about the book (thank you all for being so tolerant).
Then I decided to give the free promotion tool a whirl on Amazon.
Ooh ooh, I’m in a chart, I thought. Yippee.
Top ten! I was by this point completely giddy with delight and my friends were alternating between saying well done and wanting to hit me on the head with something heavy. The trouble with self-publishing is that you have to try and let people know you’re out there. You’ve got to give the book a bit of a push before it gains momentum and starts doing something for itself.
And then there it was. My book was no1 in the Amazon Kindle free downloads chart. Over the course of the promotion Sealed with a Kiss was downloaded around 25,000 times. Lots of friends and family thought I was completely barking mad to give away my book – but my main aim wasn’t making a fortune* really, it was getting the story out into the wild.
*That’s not to say I wouldn’t like to make a fortune. Please send any spare millions my way, thank you.
So that was that. I imagined it’d just disappear off into the depths of Amazon. Occasionally, someone might buy a copy and that would be it. I have to confess that after a week of having to cheerily point out that look, my book’s available free right now, it was going to be rather wonderful to just ignore it and have a little rest.
SO, the next day the book went back onto the Amazon sales listing and off the free promotional chart. And then this happened:
Right now Sealed with a Kiss is no.7 overall in the Amazon Kindle Store and I am still too astounded to know what to say. But I wanted to save it here for posterity, because one day I’ll have stopped being amazed and then I can come back here and read this and realise it actually happened. Today alone over 1200 copies have been sold in the UK. It’s completely and utterly bonkers.
Thank you to everyone who cheered me on, tweeted links, told their friends, shared on Facebook, bought the book, left a review on Amazon or GoodReads and especially thank you to all my friends and family who have put up with me droning on and on and ON about this.
If you’d like to buy a copy (if you haven’t already) you can download a Kindle edition of Sealed with a Kiss here at the Amazon.com site (currently only 99c) or pop over here to buy it for 79p. Or you can wait and splash out a bit more on a shiny actual book, which will be available both here, and on Amazon.
If you’d like to put your name down for a signed copy leave me a comment here. Ooh, that’s a lovely thing to be able to say. Eeeeek.
So. Yesterday’s picture, for those of you who were wondering, was my Liverpool Roller Birds training shirt and the obligatory stripy socks that all good derby girls love to wear. I was off to Rainy City with a gang of my fellow hatchlings for a roller derby bootcamp.
There I met up with dear blogging friend Heather from Not from Lapland who has succumbed to the derby bug too and is training with the fab Rainy City Rollergirls.
So anyway, before normal service resumes tomorrow and the shiny new Tales from the Village revamp is revealed (yay), here’s the news. From now on, if you want to keep up with my roller derby ramblings, you can find them over here at Gin and Fishnets
Off for another soak in a hot bath. Ouch.
If you follow me on Twitter you’ll have read about my latest hare brained scheme. Or midlife crisis, or whatever you want to call it (I just turned 40, I have a pass to do odd things for a year, don’t you think?).
On Saturday this week I’ll be putting on these and heading to a village hall in Liverpool where I’ll be hanging out with 30 other people who’ll be helmeted and armed with knee and elbow pads and wrist guards.
Yes, roller boots. I’m joining the Liverpool Roller Birds as a rookie derby girl, or Hatchling, as they’re known. I used to skate all the time as a child. There were a couple of years when we first moved back to Scotland from Australia where my friends and I spent all our time on skates and I had a reputation for being the one who always got up from every fall and carried on skating. I’m not quite sure that my aged bones will be quite so bouncy now but you only get one life, and being 40 is all about doing exciting things, isn’t it? I’ve also heard that derby is the best way of getting rid of your pent up fury (what other sport lets you thump people for fun whilst roller skating?) and I’m really looking forward to doing that part (heh heh heh).
If you’ve never seen roller derby in action, have a look here for what I’ll be up to, eventually. I think to start with there’ll be a lot more falling over, a lot less glamour and rather more scruffiness. There’s a fab blog post here from one of the newly fledged Roller Birds, Bobby Mean. (Best bit about fledging is you get to choose a Derby name…I’m already plotting mine.)
There’ll be the usual updates as ever on the Facebook page and I’ll be blogging my progress here, too.
Any ideas for a Derby name? I was quite taken with Nigella Lawless but someone got there first…
Drinking gin and eating apples. Watching the world go by. Reliving my student days with a weekend away with friends I hadn’t seen for fifteen years, and staying up talking until 6am.
Visiting a dingy little venue in Bedford and seeing my favourite singer live:
Evan Dando from the Lemonheads, ambling onto the stage. One amp, one guitar, nothing more.
I stood at the front with Sandy Calico and it was magical. Magical and poignant, bringing back lots of memories and reminding me of my past. I’m in a strange limbo right now, halfway between one place and the other (still no house sale, mind you, so not really) and my heart aches.
And this month I’m in Handmade Living magazine as their featured blogger, which is lovely.
Oh, I’m homesick and I haven’t left yet. I’m sure it’s normal. Right now I can’t think of anything to say, except I’m going to miss everyone and everything so much.