It’s autumn, I’m in the throes of writing a new short story book (set to be published March 2022) and I’m feeling super generous so I have decided to do a book giveaway! ‘Hoorah’ I hear you cry as you jump up and down with excitement.
Subscribe to this website and also to MyriadLifebooks.com to be in with a chance of winning your very own copy of The Isolation Sex Stories. Please note that this giveaway will only apply to adults of 18+ and to UK residents. I will pick winners from my good vibes only rainbow mug on 1st November 2021 so you won’t have too long to wait. You will be notified by email if you are a winner.
Pleases note that The Isolation Sex Stories is an adult read so if you are easily offended it might not be for you. *Contains sexual references and strong language, so be warned!
It is however a funny read… read the Amazon reviews here.
MyriadLifeBooks.com is a sister site to this one where you will find beautiful notebooks to get creative with, it’s also a site I am growing to showcase other authors and offer tips on self publishing. You will even find a collection of secondhand books to buy, it’s a small list at the moment but I will be adding more soon. It is definitely worth subscribing as every so often I do a notebook giveaway too.
I’ve been spending more time engaging with the writing community on Twitter and finding some great indie authors. There’s still snobbery out there when it comes to whether your book has been traditionally published or not, but the barriers are gradually being beaten down.
I’ve been doing my bit by offering to feature indie authors and their work on my new website MyriadLifeBooks.com. I know what it’s like trying to market your books to the big wide world and quite frankly it’s daunting, time consuming and at times nerve wracking. However, it is also enormously satisfying! It’s a really special feeling to see your book in print and to get feedback from your readers.
While the debate of whether it’s better to be traditionally published or self-published rages on, I’ve made my decision and it’s to stick with being an indie author for now. Of course, I never keep any door closed and this is not to say I’ll never go the traditional route but I know that it’s hard work either way and you still have to market your work and put the hours in so I’m happy to get on and do it all myself.
While I am still learning (and no doubt always will be) my aim is to pass what I learn along to other indie authors. I don’t see others as competition, I feel we are all in it together and should help one another. People will always want to read and with 7.8 billion people in the world, I think there is enough readership for all of us!
What I want to do with MyriadLifeBooks.com is to create a place where indie authors can show off their work and readers can go to find authors from around the world with a good mix of genres. Supporting indie authors is the same as supporting small businesses, it feels good and you get something away from the mainstream.
In time, I hope to add editing professionals, proof readers, illustrators and cover designers. If you are a professional in any of these areas and would like to feature on the website please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
I’m currently writing my next set of short stories – I’ve set a publication deadline for October 2022, which the way time is going will be in the blink of an eye! Please be patient with me…
It would be great if you could go and read my current stories (scroll down for links), if you could leave reviews at Amazon that will help enormously. Us indie authors need 50 reviews to get into the Amazon newsletters – not a lot of people know that! Every review is hugely appreciated so please take the time if you can.
If you’d like to be updated with new posts on this website please hit the subscribe button here and at MyriadLifeBooks.com
Here I am navigating how to market my books as I go. I’ve always been one to learn on the hoof, so to speak. It helps with my impatience to get things done. I am trying to be consistent in what is turning out to be a pretty inconsistent way.
Having video’d myself reading from 12 excerpts of The Isolation Sex Stories I find that Facebook doesn’t want to post the videos – maybe it’s a download thing or maybe they don’t like the content. I have no idea as I haven’t received a notification as yet. They are simply proving impossible to upload. The first introductory one was fine but nothing since has worked. My phone rarely lets me down so I’m pretty sure it’s not that.
WordPress to the rescue where happily I have discovered that by using Anchor my blogposts can be created as podcasts. So now you get to listen to a nice American lady instead of my sultry tones and you don’t have to look at me. This could well be a blessing in disguise! Having said that, videos are fun to do when I’m in the mood, so I will persist with those when time allows.
You can listen to the podcasts via the links at the bottom of this page and all future blogposts will be available as podcasts too. Maybe I will eventually get to use my own voice but for now I’m happy with the American lady as it saves time and time is particularly precious at the moment.
It’s a bit tricky when you have written a book containing adult content. It’s not porn but obviously there are some scenarios and language that could cause offence and that’s why I did put a warning at the beginning at my videos (even though I made sure the excerpts weren’t anything too naughty). This is all a great learning curve. I am glad I wrote the book and I know it has given a number of people great amusement which was always the intention during these tough times. It will certainly be fun to look back on it in ten years time…
My next book of short stories is a completely different subject and looking ahead I now know how much easier it should be to market. Someone once said that I never do things the easy way and that’s pretty much true. However, it does prepare the way and I’m always suspicious when things are too easy. Life has conditioned me to believe that if something is easy it’s probably not worth doing.
Marketing certainly isn’t easy but it can be fun researching what to do next and interacting with other indies and readers on social media.
As I type this we are in the middle of a mini heatwave in the UK and it has been a long time coming. Consequently, for the first time this summer I have been able to move my office out onto the balcony which I have to say is some kind of bliss. As well as roasting nicely in the sun (with necessary precautions of course), I get to listen to the conversations people are having on their balconies. Yesterday some women were discussing which parts of their body tan first and a man was on the phone arranging a date. It’s impossible not to earwig and as a writer I certainly see it as my duty to do so! Who knows what could turn into my next story? The seagulls are squawking, music is playing and the herbs are growing away in their pots. Apart from the odd gnat bite, this feels like the perfect place to work. Oh hang on a minute, the women are back, the word ‘literally’ and phrase ‘going behind my back’ are being repeated quite a bit. If it gets really interesting I will let you know in my next blog. She just told Alexa to be quiet… that’s a shame, I was enjoying Ed Sheeran!
Social media tips for indie authors and anyone who is a writer or artist.
I have been studying social media and how it works for the writing community. Here I break down my experiences with each platform.
Just recently I have been observing Twitter quite closely and how writers interact and support one another there and it’s heartening to see. Twitter has worked in the past for me when I was promoting The Eight of Swords and I got some great feedback and gained new readers. Fast forward several years over the period when I wasn’t writing and now I am back there finding my way again. Of course the writing community is massive and worldwide and even stronger than before.
There are two main trends at the moment it seems. One is to ask questions about any kind of subject ranging from what did you have for breakfast, to: you have been given a boat, you have to name it, what is the name of your boat? The other is: I only need 50 followers to reach 5000, let’s all have a writer’s lift, post your links.
The first method of interaction I really enjoy because there is a vast array of questions and it encourages lots of friendly conversations and interesting outcomes. I’m not so sure about the second one, some days my timeline gets a bit too filled with such requests and I avoid them. It feels like begging as opposed to genuinely connecting with people but there you go, each to their own.
What I always find interesting and useful is the shared experiences of writing. The honesty from people when they get their work turned down by agents. The encouragement from other writers to keep on going. The rightly indignant retorts when an agency, publisher or individual criticises the indie market. The shared experiences and the kindness of people offering reviews.
Writing is such a mixture of culture and business and the two make for an interesting mix. I still see authors who don’t get that it’s not enough to write a book, it has to be marketed if readers are to be found and money is to be made. In my other life I am a photographer and occasionally I see artists and sometimes photographers claim they aren’t bothered about selling their work (trying to look cool) and later on whooping because they sold something. There is no shame in selling your work! You are not considered a professional at what you do until you do sell it. Yes, it takes effort but how much effort did it take to write that book? Money is what makes the world goes round and enables us to keep writing so don’t fight shy of selling just don’t push it too hard and end up boring everyone. You have to find the right balance and a balance that suits you. I’m no expert, |’m still trying to find the right balance myself. Watch and learn.
I guess I am lucky because I have always enjoyed and been fascinated by social media. It is like most things in life, try not to take it too seriously, stay away from the crazy and unpleasant folk, be kind and enjoy making new connections.
Over the years I have made a lot of friends through Twitter and it has been pretty good for my love life too as it happens… so it is always the first place I go to when I want to promote something because in my experience it has been a friendly and encouraging place. If you don’t go looking for trouble it is unlikely to find you. If you are careful about who you follow and respectful about what you say, I don’t think you can go too far wrong.
If you are a writer who is reading this and haven’t already given it a try, go do it! I remember when I first joined, I didn’t have a clue how to use it but there were plenty of friendly tweeters there to greet me and help me on my way. Persevere.
If you are a reader reading this, go look for some authors, read their books and be sure to leave them feedback. Before social media, readers never had the experience of connecting with authors so easily so it’s a great privilege.
Years ago, when I wrote The Eight of Swords I managed to gain quite a good following on Facebook. I let it lapse when I stopped writing for a while and when I revisited my page there earlier this year upon the launch of my new short story book The Isolation Sex Stories, I found I need to do quite a bit of work to get it going again and regain the interest.
While Twitter hasn’t changed all that much, Facebook has evolved in a number of ways. Now you can ‘go live’ and I used this to do my book launch. That was nerve wracking! However, it did create interest and great feedback plus some sales. It’s a great time for authors to be seen and heard as well as read so take advantage of it if you can. If you can’t face going live, try videos. People love watching videos, I know I do, so it make sense.
What I didn’t think about when I titled my book was the controls Facebook would put on such content so I’ve had to rethink a bit on that platform but it’s all good and I’m learning fast. Recently I learned that you don’t have to do paid advertising if you learn how to reach your potential readers organically. I’m still finding out about this so when | understand more I will do an update. It’s been a bit of a problem with Amazon too as they won’t allow me to advertise given the title/content of my book so bear that in mind if you are writing something that could hit this little wall. Where there is a will there is a way so it’s not stopped me, just slowed me a little.
I am trying to spend more time on my Facebook page so I will give more detail at a later date.
As a photographer I loved Instagram from the off so I decided to see how it works as a writer. Obviously it is very visual which is good for me as I am enjoying learning to promote my books in this way. My photography account was relatively easy to build for obvious reasons but my writer account took more getting to grips with. Rather than posting my usual landscape pictures I had to be extra creative and personal with my writer account. I’m generally a private person so it wasn’t easy but I think I am finding my way now.
The eye opener is Reels. If you can create some fun stuff they work well and this attracts more followers and I’m hoping in time, it will encourage more interaction. While Reels may seem an unusual way to do this, it’s a challenge worth trying I think. Keep an open mind. You wrote a book to entertain or inform, this is a way to extend that to people who wouldn’t necessarily be your usual audience but may be encouraged to check out your work.
Of course you don’t have to go on about your books all the time and this is the fun part. Show off your interests, be interactive and encourage conversations. Enjoy yourself, this applies to all the social media platforms. You simply need to find the one that you feel most comfortable with and work at it. It’s probably best to focus on a couple if you can but one is fine. I am spread across three because I like to see how they all differ and develop.
Obviously this isn’t an in depth analysis of social media and how to market your book on the different platforms but I hope it will help if you are dipping your foot into the writing world.
One thing I will say… it’s not cool to try to be cool, just be you.
It is almost two months since I published The Isolation Sex Stories and what an amazing time it has been. I’m feeling a little worn out if I’m honest. Putting a collection of stories out into the public eye is a pretty daunting exercise and I waited with bated breath to see what people would say.
I didn’t really worry too much about the title I’d chosen, until it came to the day of the book launch, then suddenly it hit me that all sorts of people would be watching my live reading. Suddenly I felt nervous! It’s one thing to joke about the saucy stories with your friends, quite another to launch them out onto the unsuspecting general public. Let’s face it, everyone has an opinion. What offends some folk will tickle others. Pop the word ‘sex’ into the title and who knows what might come back at you?
It has been very amusing and gratifying to get feedback. Most readers have a particular story that they enjoy the most, or strikes a chord. One said he felt like he was actually in the room with the characters of Don’t Touch Me and while he felt like he was a voyeur, he found it really funny. Another said that he could identify with a character from almost every story. This is brilliant for me, any writer wants their characters to come to life and be truly believable.
Here are some of the things my reviewers have said so far…
A great collection of short stories! Written with intelligence, warmth and wit. Some much-needed light relief after a difficult year.
Witty and amusing, a really good fun read. Petra Kidd puts warmth and understanding with humour into what has been a difficult time for all of us. This is an easy quirky read that will make you chuckle. I loved it. Makes a good present for friends who are struggling, it will give them a good laugh.
Petra captures the mood of our Lockdown Nation in a saucily humorous way, she nails it! Each short story is captivating, intriguing and very funny … I actually found myself laughing out loud so many times with tears rolling down my face.
It’s also entertaining to find out what shocks readers. With Fifty Shades of Grey being one of the most successful books of our time, I hardly thought my little collection would raise many eyebrows. The everyday antics of my locked down characters seem nowhere near as shocking to me as Christian Grey’s predilections. However, we are all different and apparently some people have even learnt new words thanks to my stories. I’m feeling proud, it may help them when next they play Scrabble!
I am wondering if I should create another cover/title for The Isolation Sex Stories for people who might feel embarrassed reading it in public places. My other idea is to run a competition called ‘I dare you,’ daring readers to take a selfie with the book while reading it in a public place. Let me know what you think… As the world begins to open up again, this could be the right moment, the prize will be sweet, I promise you.
While I am working hard on promoting The Isolation Sex Stories, I have started writing my next two books. They are two very different subject matters so I hope I can pull it off.
If you do go ahead and read The Isolation Sex Stories, please leave a review at Amazon. Every review is incredibly important and special to me. I worked hard to produce the book so it’s a very much appreciated reward to receive them. Please be honest, that’s even more important. I want to know what you didn’t like, as much as what you did.
Also, please use Smile.Amazon.co.uk or .com to buy my books because that way Amazon will make a donation to charity (at no extra charge to you.) I’d love it if you could choose the Samaritans but of course, whatever charity you choose is fine by me. I love to think that others will benefit while readers enjoy my books.
Being an indie author is a never ending learning curve. Follow my blog to join me on this adventure!
For now, stay safe and please connect with me via social media. Don’t be shy, come say hi!
They say not to judge a book by its cover but I need you to do just that. If you liked the cover of my book The Eight of Swords, please vote for it in the ‘Cover of the Month’ contest on AllAuthor.com by clicking on the link below. There’s not long to go before the first round is over, just a day left to vote!
Read below what reviewers had to say about this suspenseful short story.
If you haven’t read The Eight of Swords yet, it could be the perfect read for you . It’s a short story with plenty of drama and intrigue.
Here is what some of the reviewers on Amazon have said…
Really enjoyed The Eight of Swords, the storyline was original and kept you guessing! Rich descriptions throughout and really quite evocative … It divides opinion too, perhaps like me you will side with the story teller and then as the story unfolds your heart leaps in-between!
I downloaded this to my phone- which was a bonus as I couldn’t put it down; it was engaging and made me think of what I would of done, how I would have dealt with the same situation- it was intriguing to follow
Just finished reading this short story – it kept my attention from beginning to end (no mean feat!) and I enjoyed reading about Jayne’s reactions and feelings about the family who had moved into her home. Looking forward to reading the sequel.
The Covid-19 pandemic sure threw a spanner in the works for all of those singletons out there who were going out on dates and looking for the next Mr/Miss Right. Overnight everyone had to isolate and give up any hope of amorous adventures for the foreseeable future.
Recently I found a big box of old letters from my younger days, some of which are from friends detailing their romantic lives at the time. We all took it for granted we could go out and meet whoever we wanted. Oh, how we complained and revelled in the ups and downs of our youthful adventures, no clue of what the future might hold. In one letter a friend says her boyfriend complained about having to wear a condom, if only he had known that by 2020 a condom would be the least of his concerns!
Fast forward quite a few years (no, I am not going to say how many) and suddenly single people found themselves having to not only date online but having to have virtual dates rather than real ones. Previously, those home alone were used to online dating sites like Tinder and Grinder, they knew that they could meet the dates in real time if they wanted to. Covid-19 changed all that. While they might find someone they liked online, now they could only see and talk to them online. No meeting up at a restaurant or bar. No first kiss. No one nightstands. No holding hands on romantic walks, no weekends away.
The whole conversation about ‘protection’ came with a new aspect to it. Not only are sexual diseases an issue; The Virus is a major problem too. We are all wearing masks and keeping our distance, all physical intimacy quashed. It’s all very bizarre and lonely for the singletons right now.
One of the stories in my new book The Isolation Sex Stories takes an older couple on a first date via Zoom, it is a fun story but I can imagine all the lonely people who have been in need of companionship. It’s an exciting date for the lady in the story but will she be thrilled to find a new companion? There’s only one way to find out…
All of the stories in my new book are quirky and different, let me know which one(s) you like best.
Tell me your lockdown story – a free signed copy of The Isolation Sex Stories could be yours if it gets published on this site.
It’s time for you to tell me your funny lockdown stories… I am you must have some!
I will choose five of my favourite stories to publish on this website and if your story is chosen, you will win a free signed paperback copy of The Isolation Sex Stories. (Please note the book is meant for 18+ only as it is adult content. )
Please keep it to 300 words max, 150 words minimum. If the story involves real people, please obtain their written permission before sending the story. I can’t publish without their consent to do so.
Sorry but this competition is restricted to UK entries only and will close on April 1st.
The story can be about anything that has happened during lockdown over the past year. Did you lock yourself out during lockdown? Did your baking efforts go spectacularly wrong? Did your pets get confused by you being home all of the time? I’m sure you must have had some funny experiences. Please do share!
You will need to subscribe to my website with your email address to enter.
All of the stories in The Isolation Sex Stories are entirely fictional, I have a very vivid imagination. They are saucy, sometimes dark but always meant to amuse. This has been a difficult time for most people so hopefully funny stories will lift spirits and help folk see the lighter side of lockdown.
One of the best things I have done in the past year, without a doubt, is to give up having a TV. When I moved to my new apartment just before lockdown no.1 I decided to do without one. I have not looked back or regretted a single minute of it.
Sometimes people go a bit quiet when I tell them this. I admit, there was a time when if someone I knew said they didn’t watch TV I thought they were a bit boring or odd. If they didn’t know about the latest TV shows or watch the news, what did they do with their evenings?
My timing as it happened was excellent. As the UK went into lockdown, I broke free of the daily COVID briefings, the figures, the charts, the daily doom. I’d dip in to see what was happening via the Internet then break free back into my own world again. Instead of worrying and fretting, I read more and began to write again. My head clear of the daily jargon and politics, I could concentrate on things that I could change, not the things I could not. Suddenly I was working more productively and feeling much stronger and happier.
That isn’t to say I didn’t watch anything, I still have Netflix on my Mac and I would watch an episode of whatever took my fancy once or twice a week but I didn’t feel that slave like draw to switch on the TV at the end of the day. It’s an amazing freedom. I honestly thought I’d cave in after six months but here I am, still enjoying the lack of a big black box in my living room. The living room is more aesthetically pleasing without it too.
It has been a year where I’ve been able to produce a book, take more photographs (albeit only very locally), learn how to code (a little), read non-fiction (not usual for me), learned the rudiments of sailing, and I’ve rediscovered a passion for cooking. Plus I’m fitter because I used my bike more. Instead of slumping in front of a TV, I took to two wheels to spin around the city in the evening. I meditate a few times a week and have increased my repertoire of yoga poses (no I’m not going to show you).
Not once did I miss anything or feel ill informed because I don’t have a television. My only regret is that I didn’t give it up years ago.
In other news, a few people have asked if I based my first story – The Clap, in The Isolation Sex Stories on myself just because I live in an apartment now and the main character lives in an apartment. The answer is a definite NO! I did use living in an apartment block as inspiration but that, I can assure you, is as far as it goes. I can sympathise with the character but in addition to all my other new healthy living behaviours, not a drop of alcohol passed my lips for around two months. Having said that, I’m not quite so saintly now…
In case you didn’t already know, I launched a new book on St Valentine’s Day. It has ‘sex’ in the title. When I named the book, I didn’t really think about the repercussions this might have. I titled the book The Isolation Sex Stories because all of the short stories mention sex in some form or other. It is not a sex instruction manual, nor is it particularly graphic. It’s nothing like Fifty Shades of Grey! It’s a bit saucy, humorous, somewhat dark at times but mainly it is meant to amuse.
Yesterday, as part of my marketing plan, I tried to create an Amazon ad. Up came the message ‘At this time, books that contain mature or erotic content are not eligible for advertising.’ Great. So I took to Facebook where pretty much the same message came across. So here I am with a new book I can’t advertise on two of the most powerful platforms.
Facebook goes on to explain that according to their research people get offended by such titles. I’m not sure my title is that offensive? OK the stories might be a bit too risque for some people but if you read the book blurb, you can pretty much guess that if you are easily offended, this might not be the book for you.
Two of my favourite TV shows Fleabag and Killing Eve are far more extreme (I think) than my new book and yet they are both award winning shows. Granted my book isn’t a TV show (yet) but I think that if people have enjoyed these shows (millions have apparently) then they are unlikely to be offended by my stories.
This kind of setback doesn’t stop me, it spurs me on. I have created different kinds of ads to help people find my books. Where there is a will, there is a way!
I’m not easily offended myself. I have only written to the BBC once to complain and that was about Ricky Gervais’s Extras. As I remember it, it was a reference to rape. Maybe I misunderstood but I didn’t like it and never watched the rest of the show.
When I wrote The Isolation Sex Stories, my primary desire was to entertain but also to make people think about the emotions we have all been going through during lockdown. One of the themes is loneliness. Weather Girl is a story that particularly highlights this, as does Puppy Love to some extent. The human condition is a never ending source of fascination to me. We all have our weaknesses, our desires, our faults and all of this has been exacerbated during lockdown. What people get up to behind closed door is up to them but given we are in a pandemic, the human condition is highlighted more than ever.
The Isolation Sex Stories sits above Sex And The City when you search for it on Amazon. Another of my favourite shows. It does explain why, when you search Amazon, you don’t find Sex in many titles. Other authors must have wised up to the issues of using it. Then again, look how popular SATC has been.
After all the hard work that goes into a book, finding you can’t advertise it in the most obvious ways is a bit of a blow but hey, it won’t stop Petra Kidd!