Heaven dot com Ten Year Anniversary

Ten years ago today, I published the very first edition of Heaven dot com. I had written the novella when I was 15/16, and in 2007, the age of print-on-demand was dawning, and having always wanted to be an author, I just wanted to see my name on a book, my words in print.

So I published it.

I had no idea, at that point in time, that it would be the beginning of my journey as an author. At that point, all I had written was short stories, poetry and the novella. Though I dreamed of writing full length novels, I honestly didn’t think it would be possible for me.

But apparently, it was possible.

Heaven dot com is a story of love, and hope, and though I cringe a bit now when I read it, because there is so much I would change in it if I could, it was the spark that ignited my calling. And the fire has continued to burn for a decade.

For such a tiny book, it has had a pretty big impact on my life, and I know it has impacted the lives of others too.

If you haven’t read it, then head over to Amazon or Smashwords and pick up a copy. Comment below if there was something that sparked your journey, I’d love to hear your stories 🙂

The first ever edition of Heaven dot com:

The second edition:

The current edition:

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The Sliding Doors Effect

After someone mentioning the movie, Sliding Doors, over Christmas, I decided to watch it again, for the first time in many years, because I remembered enjoying it when I was younger. The idea that when we make a decision – or miss a train – that there is another version of us that splits off into a parallel universe that exists alongside the one we’re in, is actually not a completely crazy concept.

In The Elphite, my main character, Ellie, lives her life over and over, making different decisions in each lifetime which means that her life takes different pathways, though ultimately, keeps ending up the same way. The concept of fate and destiny and whether our lives are already written is fascinating to me, and that’s why it’s a feature in my books and is the theme of many of my favourite movies (like Deja Vu).

Just for fun, I thought it would be interesting to explore what my life would been like if I had made a different decision at a certain point in my life. The decision I have picked was the one I made to quit my degree at Lampeter University. If I had stayed at Uni, then in the second year, I would have lived in Ohio, and studied in a college there for the year. Which to be truthful, was the main reason for choosing that degree, because I had always wanted to live in America.

Perhaps while living and studying in America, I would have made connections with people there, maybe met an American guy or just very good friends. After returning to Wales and completing my third year, I might have then moved back to the US, and through my contacts, and with my shiny new degree, got myself a job over there, doing… erm… something… writing for a magazine maybe?

After living in Ohio for a while, I’m pretty sure I would have then looked to move to either the east or west coast, after all, I’ve never been very keen on living too far inland, and after spending some time in New York previously, I think I would have probably headed there.

Would I have been successful in New York? I’m not sure, I can only speculate. I would hope that I would have still discovered Nanowrimo, and still gone on to write novels, but I can safely say that none of my current books (apart from Heaven dot com, which I wrote when I was 16) would have existed in this parallel universe. Because everything that inspired them happened after 2005, when I started out in Lampeter Uni. I’m Here might have ended up existing, as it was inspired by events that happened in my short time at Lampeter, but it may have had a completely different twist to the end.

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I did actually live in New York in 2008, perhaps I  passed my parallel universe self on the street without realising it?

It’s fun to imagine that there could be a parallel universe me, working for a magazine or in a publishing house in New York (which is entirely possible, as I have connections there that existed before 2004) but I am quite glad to be experiencing the reality I currently exist in.

If I had left Lampeter, but then actually completed the second degree I tried, in Derby University, then there could very well be a parallel universe me who is a fashion designer… now that, is a very scary concept!

What do you think your parallel universe selves are doing? Is there a big decision that you’ve made, and then wondered what would have happened if you’d chosen differently? It may not be the most productive use of your time, but it’s certainly a fun idea to explore. Perhaps it will inspire you to make changes, or just be grateful for your life and the way it turned out. Or perhaps you’ll just end up saying – Michelle is a complete nutter. However it works out, know that the reality you are experiencing is exactly the right one for you 🙂

 

 

The Winner is…

Wenna Macormac!

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Congratulations Wenna! I will send your bracelet to you asap! Thank you to you and t everyone else who entered the giveaway with a comment on my blog or Facebook on what you would do with 20k.

To all who entered, to receive your free PDF copy of The Elphite, please email me at theamethystangel@hotmail.co.uk and I will reply and attach the file to the email. Please put – The Elphite – in the subject heading.

Stay tuned for more mini giveaways in the run up to Christmas and the release of the latest book in the Earth Angel Series.

Anyway, Angel

In preparation for creating the audiobook versions of the Visionary Collection, I was reading through Heaven dot com, and I realised that I hadn’t heard the song I mentioned in it – Anyway, Angel – for over ten years. The band who wrote the song, etcha, who are also mentioned in the book, was a band my brother played bass guitar in.

As a teenager I was basically their groupie, and I used to go to their practices and of course sit front row at all of their gigs, and even, on one occasion, sang the female parts of Pretty Fly for a White Guy on stage…

I have no idea why I am confessing these very embarrassing teenage stories here, I suppose I just started thinking about the times surrounding the writing of Heaven dot com. Part of me cannot believe it was fourteen years ago, and yet another part of me feels like it was a completely different lifetime.

The interesting thing is, that it was during my teenage years that I began channelling stories and poetry, even though at the time, I didn’t understand that was what I was doing. Years later I would find pages filled with words in my scrawl that I had no recollection of writing. I would find beginnings of stories I never finished and I would have no idea where the story had been heading or even what had inspired it. I also remember a story I started writing, that I think I may still have somewhere, about ghosts, and though I was doing well with it at first, I suddenly got a clear vision of how the story was going to end, and so I wrote the last chapter. What I learnt from that, is that I am very much a sequential writer – because though I loved the story, I had basically spoiled the ending for myself and now had no interest in writing the middle.

These days, if an idea for the ending comes up, I make notes, but I do not let myself write the ending, for fear that I will not write the middle. It has worked for me so far! It’s interesting how writing habits are developed, and the reasons why creative people do things in a certain way.

Enough reminiscing! If you want to hear the song, you can hear it below 🙂

Why I Love Being Indie

While chatting to my editor about Indie publishing versus traditional publishing today, it occurred to me that when I write, I love the uncertainty of not knowing where the story will go, but when I publish, I love the certainty of knowing that it is going to be a published, printed book.

Many writers are the opposite. They plot and plan their novels, knowing every twist, turn, sub plot and cliffhanger, crafting their masterpiece exactly how they envision it. Then they print off copies, put them in envelopes, and start sending them to agents and publishers, hoping that someone will recognise the book for the genius manuscript that it is. They have no idea if they will even get a reply from said agents and publishers, let alone an acceptance from them.

I used to think that I was just too lazy to be traditionally published, that I couldn’t be bothered with the query process (which always seemed arduous, painful and long)  But I have just realised that it’s the uncertainty that I cannot handle. Which is why after I wrote Heaven dot com, fourteen years ago, I stopped writing. Because it was just too hard to get published, so why bother writing stories that would never be read? It was the evolution of Indie publishing that then made me think that perhaps I should write more, and motivated me to start writing novels. (Chris Baty’s book, No Plot? No Problem! also spurred me to write)

I’m not the kind of writer who must write every day. I’m the kind of writer who writes to share ideas, thoughts and channellings, with as many people as possible. And so writing without the certainty that I will be able to share the words, does not appeal to me at all.

I do start to feel a little antsy if it has been a while since I wrote anything, and scenes start to write themselves inside my mind, just begging me to write them down. In fact, Elphite fans will be pleased to hear that I have an alternate ending in mind, which I am thinking of writing and releasing soon.

But I don’t wake up at 3am every morning with the urge to write, which I think is both a blessing and a curse. (I hate mornings, but I would love to write more!)

If you are a writer, how do you feel about the certainty/uncertainty of writing and publishing? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

And just because I love it, here is a new quote photo for I’m Here.

im here quote2

The Proof Copies Arrived!

I was crazy excited this week to receive the proof copies of the Visionary Collection this week, they truly are just beautiful! I adore the new matte covers, and the fabulous cover designs and the way they are interlinked. They’re just stunning.

I took a few pictures, and also did a short video which includes a reading for a lovely Earth Angel in India.

Aren't they beautiful?

Aren’t they beautiful?

The back covers

The back covers

They will be available very soon!

They will be available very soon!

 

[youtube http://youtu.be/Rmjhd52ksGo]

 

Distributor Prizes :)

If you would like to win any of these, email me to become a distributor!

I'm Here Book Tour

As mentioned before, I will be entering everyone who has distributed the tour cards into a prize draw to win some fab prizes, and today I managed to photograph them all! If you would like to be in with a chance to win, you can still become a distributor in the tour just by emailing me. It wont cost you anything except for some time and enthusiasm!

So here they are:

First Prize:

A signed set of the newly released Visionary Collection! A signed set of the newly released Visionary Collection!

Second Prize:

A handmade bracelet featuring a quote from The Elphite. A handmade bracelet featuring a quote from The Elphite.

Third Prize:

A beautiful leather diary, with a metal coin that says ‘Destiny’ attached.

Pen not included :) Pen not included 🙂

I am alive. I am awake. I am loved. I am alive.
I am awake.
I am loved.

Fourth Prize:

A large black PAM's Bar t-shirt, which was made for the launch of The Doorway to PAM in 2011 A large black PAM’s Bar t-shirt, which was made for the launch of The Doorway to PAM in 2011

As modelled by my gorgeous partner :) As modelled by my gorgeous partner 🙂

Fifth Prize:

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The Visionary Collection Cover Reveal!

I just can’t wait any longer to show off my shiny new covers for the Visionary Collection! Aren’t they beautiful? They were designed by the fabulous madappledesigns, and I really couldn’t be happier. I am working on the formatting at the moment, so the first three books in the collection (Heaven dot com, The Doorway to PAM and The Elphite) will be available with the new covers on Kindle and in paperback by the end of May, along with the release of my brand new novel – I’m Here.

 

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The full covers for the print copies:

heaven full cover

pam full cover

elphite full cover

im here full cover

5 Years Ago Today…

… I was sat in JFK airport, waiting to board a flight back home. And it was while sat in the waiting area that I got a notebook out and started to write The Earth Angel Training Academy. I wrote the first 900 words in that notebook, then wrote the rest of the book in the two months following, on my old laptop that had no ‘L’ key.

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The handwritten beginning of The Earth Angel Training Academy

I still have my original notes from before I began writing. Most of my ideas didn’t make it into the final book. Once I started writing, I really had no control over the story, or the characters. I was merely a bystander, writing down what they were doing and saying.

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After those initial two months of writing, it took me a further two years to edit it and get it into print, after a brief attempt at entering the traditional publishing world. Originally, I called the book ‘The Angels Calling’ and even printed and hand-bound in leather a copy for my dad. After a handful of rejections, I decided to take the Indie route, having used print on demand services to publish Heaven Dot Com back in 2007.

The first edition of The Earth Angel Training Academy was published and launched in July 2011, at the Heart of the Dragon Festival in West Wales.

The Earth Angel Training Academy

Original Cover

New Cover

New Cover

 

Since writing the book, I have actually met several of the characters in real life, including Shelly, the mermaid, who I met in California last year.

Mermaid Shelly

 

In November 2010, I wrote The Earth Angel Awakening, which I then published in the summer of 2012. Then just last year, I wrote and published The Other Side.

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Print

 

In some ways, it feels like a lifetime since I wrote those first words in JFK, and in others, it feels like just yesterday. As you can see from my scribbles, Velvet was originally called Mulberry. Because the lady sat opposite me in the waiting lounge was wearing mulberry-coloured shoes. I can still see her shoes, and hear the noise of the airport, and see the planes taking off. Though I had been writing for many years by that point, and had self-published my novella, that moment in the airport was the very beginning of my journey as an independently published author, and a visionary fiction novelist. And in that moment in time, I had absolutely no idea what the next five years would bring. There have been awesome times, crappy times, frustrating times and absolutely ecstatic times. And I wouldn’t change a single moment, because it has all brought me to where I am right now.

Do you remember where you were five years ago today?