This Is Me

I received an e-mail from my publisher yesterday to say they had completed the final edit of the book and are now finishing off the formatting and cover design. I’m hopeful the proofs will be forwarded to me next week for final checks. I’m particularly excited to see what the artists come up with for the cover based on the suggestions I sent them. It feels like Christmas Eve and I’m seven years old all over again.

Although the book is called ‘The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square,’ I’m rooting for Meredith Starc to be the cover star. I’m starting to seriously think about Book 2 but can’t commit to it until ‘Skelly’s Square’ is birthed. Being a typical man, I can’t multi task. The launch excites and terrifies me in equal measure. It’s all bubbling to the surface, about to burst through and become as real as real can be.

Believe it or not I’m painfully shy and take social awkwardness to a whole new level. WordPress is one of the safe places where I can expose myself through my writing. ‘Skelly’s Square’ is the pinnacle of that dream, where I’ve poured my heart and soul into a story which I hope many of you will read and enjoy. The support I receive on this blog never ceases to amaze me. If it weren’t for my fellow bloggers there would be no book.

Exposure is scary, isn’t it? Right now I’m starting to tell ‘real’ people I’ve written a book. Friends, work colleagues, the community I immerse myself in every time I step out the front door. The response has been er…..interesting. While many have been genuinely delighted, others have viewed me as if I had two heads. A few responses have been largely indifferent which I’ve found hurtful.

It’s at times like that I’ve understood how some writers prefer to maintain their anonymity under a pseudonym. Why reveal yourself and your art to the world to be greeted by a blanket of apathy and ridicule? Maybe I’m being a tad paranoid and overtly sensitive but I dread the thought of being mocked. Authors take the bravest of steps when they face the world head on and announce, ‘I’ve written a book.’

Take my author photo. I was deeply embarrassed having it taken in a public place, the Belfast backstreet I was walking through where I first had the idea for ‘Skelly’s Square.’ Passers by eyed me curiously as I tried to follow the instructions of my photographer, Peter, and look natural. Easier said than done, let me tell you. I hate getting my photograph taken at the best of times.

You need to be brave to write, to bare all, to reveal the real you to the judging eyes of others. The book is two years of my life. I want you all to love it, but what if you don’t? You need to be braver to write and publish. The process is daunting and discouragement lurks around every corner. Author photos, interviews and reviews are just parts of that process. So….deep breath:…here goes nothing.

Here’s my official author photo. This is me. Warts and all. Looking awkward in a Belfast alley. Although, just to clarify, I don’t actually have any warts. Kirkwood would be so proud of me. The book is imminent, a whole new chapter in my life. Watch this space for more details next week. Hopefully the long wait will be over soon. Thank you all again for your unceasing support. I will always be grateful.

5 Weeks To Go

IT’S COMING!

‘The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square.’ Only 5 weeks to publication. My first book will be available to buy via Amazon in e book and paperback format.

I’m excited. Are you?

Please feel free to reblog and spread the word. Thank you 😊

I Got The Job

Well, despite my best efforts I passed the interview board earlier this afternoon and have been promoted. I am now officially a BIG BOSS. Two weeks of worry and gnashing of teeth evaporated the second the BIG BIG BOSS told me I was a BIG BOSS. I’m now in charge of a NOT QUITE SO BIG BOSS and a team of human beings. They are also going to give me extra money. Every month, no less.

The interview went much better than I expected. My brain didn’t turn to mush and I was able to string together several coherent sentences. The panel took notes, nodded and smiled throughout. I even managed to give a ten minute presentation without knocking over the flip chart or falling out of a window. It would appear that I’m slightly better at this ‘adult’ stuff than I first surmised.

For those of you worrying I now have to be sensible and mature, worry not. You can still look forward to the normal blogging silliness on a regular basis. Writing remains my passion and I’d miss you all too much if I disappeared back into the real world. I’d like to think some of you might miss me as well. Although given the success of Fionnuala and Hannah’s posts last week, I’m not so sure on the latter count.

If nothing else, the pay hike will be a much needed boost to the Black coffers. Which is always nice. But, more importantly, this has given me back some much needed confidence. I now know I can perform at a high level in the workplace, something I never thought I’d hear myself say again. Thank you again to everyone on WordPress who has been praying or thinking kind thoughts these last few days. It is MUCH APPRECIATED.

My Mind Is Turning To Mush

I’m….ahem….working from home today. My ever so supportive boss authorised this so I could prepare/cram/panic blindly in advance of my promotion interview tomorrow. I’ve hit the books all morning but, as my brain is on the verge of turning to macaroni & cheese, I’ve decided to take a blogging break. Some people boil the kettle or go outside for a sneaky cigarette. I blog….and bite my nails….and drink excessive amounts of Diet Coke.

Studying is hard! I’ve completed my research, written my study notes, and pondered what questions might come up during the interview. Now it’s simply a matter of getting it all to stick in my head. Oh, and there’s a 10 minute presentation to give. Just me, the interview panel, a flip chart and collection of brightly coloured markers. I mean, what could possibly go wrong? On second thoughts, don’t answer that, I’d rather not think about it.

My revision technique is the same one I used back in the day when I was a university student, blasting my way to a glorious 2:1 B.A. Honours Degree in Modern History. Followed by a rather less glorious four years of unemployment as countless companies screwed their noses up at my hard earned qualification. I make notes, memorise them, write them out longhand and so on, ad nauseum. Repeat to fade.

That’s the easy part. The trick is to stride into an interview room and effortlessly rattle off said notes in textbook responses to questions on leadership, resource management and strategic thinking. What, no questions on sport, hobbits or the Battle of Waterloo? My worst case scenario is staring blankly at the panel, before beating a hasty retreat, muttering apologies about being in the wrong room.

Well, I guess I should stop wittering on and get back to the serious business of corporate values and public governance. Whatever that is. Big Boss talk. Twenty dollar words. This time tomorrow it will all be over. Except it won’t as I’m the last to be interviewed so I have to hang about the office all afternoon, talking to myself and avoiding all other forms of human interaction. Bilbo Baggins never had these problems. Plus, he had Sam Gamgee to help him.

How do you study for exams or interviews?

The Job Interview

I’ve been quiet of late for a number of reasons. One of these is that I’ve applied for a promotion at work so have been working on my application. Lo and behold, I now have an interview on Thursday so need to further prepare for that. This has meant less time for writing but considerably more time for fretting and imagining the worst possible scenario when I step in front of the interview panel. I am DREADING IT.

I might appear confident, calm and collected in the bloggerverse but I can assure you all, it’s a carefully contrived front. I have zero self confidence and continually run myself down, before others get an opportunity to do so. I’m at my most comfortable when I’m writing when I can be at my witty, most erudite best. A bit like Oscar Wilde, my fellow Irishman, but without the side burns and frilly collars.

If I’m successful at interview I become a BIG BOSS, as opposed to my current medium sized self. The fools might even give me my own office, although I think asking for a nameplate on the door might be a bridge too far. Maybe I could just make do with a nice potted plant or desk diary. Either way, it’s a big step up in salary, workload and responsibility. I applied for the position very reluctantly and with a heavy heart.

You see, I want to be a writer. I’m a homebird. I want to sit at my laptop on the sofa and tap out stories and tall tales to my heart’s content. I wrote a 350 page book last year. My family loved it. My friends loved it. My beta readers and editor loved it. Two literary agents have asked for the manuscript but still I’m waiting for ‘the one.’ To temper the euphoria I’ve also had my fair share of rejection e-mails.

Am I selling my dream down the river by going for this promotion? Is it the end of my hopes of becoming a full time writer? I sincerely hope not. If nothing else, it could provide me with the finances if I end up going down the self publishing route. It will also put the family in a much more comfortable financial position. I’m being a realist here, much as I prefer to daydream about book deals and signings.

We shall see what Thursday brings. For all my doubts, I’m a competitive bugger so will give this my best shot. Part of me will be bitterly disappointed if I don’t get it, part of me relieved. Does that even make sense? This post has been more a rant off the top of my head, as opposed to a structured, thoughtful piece. I hope you can excuse me the luxury of shooting from the hip in this one.

I’m On Twitter. I Think.

I’ve made the decision to open a personal Twitter account in order to promote my writing. It’s early days yet but I’ll be tweeting bite sized versions of the usual nonsense you find on the blog every day. If you’re on Twitter, pop over and say hello. Or follow me even. My username (is that even the right word?) is:

@stephenRB4

Just click on the hyper link to follow me there

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