Posts Tagged ‘Humour’

Go Indie, they said, you’ll make a mint, they said.

Are you familiar with the fact Johnny Depp uses Laurel & Hardy type fall-down-on-your-butt humour to bring the funny to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies? Depp’s a confirmed lover of slapstick. I feel like I’m doing a slapstick comedy routine of my own at the moment, trying to bring my second book into print. Talk about learning by default. Today I began to laugh about it which I guess is a good sign. Either that, or I’m going mad.


My slapstick movie goes like this: I went Indie in 2015, publishing my first book, ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta,’ ( ) through a local company, BookPrint. They did all the layout and formatting and cover design. This time round, for the second book in the Chronicles of Aden Weaver series, ‘The Sasori Empire,’ I thought I would use Createspace services, the self-publishing arm of Amazon.

Misstep number one

The first thing I didn’t know was how long it would take to go from submitting to being ready to print. I’d estimated about 6-8 weeks based on the initial conversation with the Createspace “publishing consultant.” In hindsight, I realize the six weeks I’d been quoted was based on an ideal world where the book is perfect and no changes need to be made and it sails straight from submission through the different levels of production.

In the real world, errors are found through looking at digital proofs. Changes need to be made and each round of editing changes takes a week to put into effect. In underestimating the time factor, I stumbled and fell over two attempts at book launches. *face plant


Misstep number two

In The Or’in of Tane Mahuta, BookPrint made a fleur-de-lis for me to border the pages, using some of my imagery. Unable to copy their fleur-de-lis though for the second book, I drew it myself in pen & ink. I uploaded the image to Createspace. I requested the vertical image to feature opposite “some” chapters (as they’d been sprinkled throughout the first book). The first proof arrived with the fleur-de-lis opposite the start of every chapter and there are SIXTY-THREE chapters.

I asked to have the vertical images removed. The digital proof returned and in the place of every fleur-de-lis there were blank pages, in other words, SIXTY-THREE blank pages. *head desk

Images opposite start of chapters

Misstep number three

I paid more money.

The novel was checked by my proof reader and me. It was with great wonder and delight that I finally pushed the “approve” button I’d wanted to hit for so long.

The printed proof arrived in all its newfound glory. I gazed upon my creation and thought I’d gone to heaven.

Then, to my horror, within the pretty cover lay a ghastly sight – chopped up sentences everywhere – to fit the lines on the page the computer had hyphenated words like mo-ther, go-ing, to-gether. There were three to four to a page. I went to my friends who have self published using Createspace services. They said they’d had to typeset their own stories before they sent them in! Aha. *belly laugh


And so, through this comedy of errors, I made a lot of rookie mistakes. I took cream pie to the face. I stepped on a few rakes. I subjected myself to what Laurel and Hardy would call “cartoon violence.”

On the plus side, I have learned a lot about self publishing my own book. I’m also closer to publishing this novel than I was before I started. And I’ve been able to share what I’ve learned with others.


I remind myself to take heart from the stirring poem Kristen Lamb put me onto a couple of weeks ago, How Did You Die? By Edmund Vance Cooke:

‘The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce; Be proud of your blackened eye! It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts, It’s how did you fight — and why?’


I was sitting in a pub with old friends the other night, and we were talking about our careers. I tried to explain my strange predicament. I said, “once, I had the comfort of not being published. Now that I have spit on my hand and joined the ring, it’s terrifying. I feel like I’m out of my element, and I’m making mistakes in public.”

But if I don’t put my stories out now, then when?

With book two, there is still some work to be done. That’s okay. I’ve learned something new. I’ve tasted the finish line, so now I must pull my boots up and get crackerlackin’. After all, that’s what Laurel and Hardy, or Jack Sparrow would do!

As Kristen said in her response to my ‘Quit or Stay’ post, ‘Life knocks us down, but that’s just life. The getting up? All on us.’

You have to have skin in the game. And you have to be cool when you get popped in the nose.

It’s not easy to do. What about you, how do you handle the knock backs?


Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol



There are so many reasons most writers don’t make it and very little of it has to do with the writing. This is a mental battle first and foremost. Mastering emotion and will and getting up over and over and over and over. ~ Kristen Lamb


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Or, Editing Woes Noone Warned you About ~

The word “edit” in the dictionary means “to prepare for publication.”

For the author in the last stages of editing their book, the sheer hours spent bum-in-chair can become numbing at both ends of the spectrum.


You see, no one tells you the truth about the writer’s life, either at school or in the way it’s rendered via popular media. As a kind of public service announcement, I’m happy to give you a “heads up” about the possible woes that lie ahead, if you’re thinking of turning that story in the bottom drawer into a viable commodity.

Here’s what to expect:

Editing Woes #1: Temporary Blindness

Stephen King once said, “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” There’s a good reason for keeping that office door open. Besides getting other people’s eyes upon your fiction, you need ventilation. You can succumb to writer’s fatigue. After sitting in a room on your own, staring at those dark marching ants across the screen for hours, you stop seeing the words.

Cure: Get some oxygen, head outdoors, look at nature.


Editing Woes #2: Temporary Book Hate

“The first draft of everything is shit,” so said Ernest Hemmingway. However, given enough exposure to your own work, every other draft of your own precious story will start to annoy you, too. This is a temporary phase.

Top tip: Try not to throw the entire file in the rubbish bin.

Cure: Keep going. Do not give up!


Editing Woes #3: Temporary Loss of Will to Live

There comes a moment, when you’ve just finished your hundredth edit of your story, and you realize you’re going to have to go back to the beginning and start again, that the apple begins to slide off the cherry.

I had a deadline to reach this weekend, my book needed to be submitted to createspace by April 15th. The material had been worked over so many times, but it still wasn’t done. When I found myself at 6.30 in the evening yesterday, and it wasn’t finished and I still I had to keep editing, I felt weak with stress.

The last yards to publication when you’re an Indie are soul destroying. Every time you think you’ve carved off the last word and discovered the last ill-placed comma, you find yet another error.


On the fifth “final edit” I just wanted to put down the laptop lid, walk away and pretend none of it ever happened. I felt I could not read those words again.

Top Tip: This is normal. You will want to give up. You will want to curl in the fetal position. Don’t worry; it happens to all of us. It’s like childbirth or passing a kidney stone, it doesn’t matter how bad it becomes, you will get through it.

Cure: Eat treats. I took “feijoa breaks.”

Editing Woes #4: Temporarily Losing Touch with Reality

Yes, this is a common problem they don’t warn you about in writing class. When those sixth and seventh “final edits” take place, usually late at night, and you’re keeping yourself going by drinking coffee and eating sweets, the hours start to blend. One friend said, “it’s like a black hole that sucks time into it.”

This is true. The further you dive into your nitty-gritty polishes, the more hours disappear. When I finally lifted my head last night, I looked around and it was dark outside. The whole day had vanished. I was blinking like a mole, saying, where is everyone?


Cure: Go be with human people. Exercise. Eat. Drink. Sleep.

The reward is that this really is the last hurdle.

Top Tip: just as with childbirth, it’s all worth it in the end. When the proud author gets to see their story presented in book form for the first time, it makes all the pain of editing worthwhile. The secret is to keep going through the gnarly last part!

At midnight, I had the manuscript, the cover art, a professional headshot, the back cover blurb and three great peer reviews ready to go, and I submitted the whole package to Createspace. I felt immediate relief and joy. Now, I await the first “proof” which is exciting.

But here’s the thing, no work of art is ever truly finished.

As Oscar Wilde said, “Books are never finished, they are merely abandoned.”

I had to choose the point at which to let go. When do you let go? When do you say enough’s enough?


Talk to you later.

Keep Writing!

Yvette K. Carol



“This morning I took out a comma, and this afternoon I put it back again.” ~ Oscar Wilde



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For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.

~ Cynthia Occelli


Growth is painful. I’m pushing myself this year, to step outside of my comfort zones. I decided to conquer, once and for all, my fear of public speaking, and what’s happening is I’m growing beyond the former boundaries I had set for myself.

This week I participated in the Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest. I won first place within my club.

My youngest child had come down with a strep throat the night before, therefore I was nerve-wracked, sleep-deprived, and over-wrought. It perfectly exemplified the point of the topic I’d chosen – for my second speech ever for Toastmasters – “The Perils of Parenting!”

This is the transcript of the winning speech! ~


Contest Chair, fellow members,

Parenting is not for the faint-hearted. To do a good job, we, the parents, need help every step of the way. In the old days, the young generation had the wise women of the tribe, the grandmothers, to turn to for advice on these important life matters.

pregnant with Nat0002

I invite you to imagine that I’m this tribe’s grandmother, and you are the young people come to listen to my wisdom.

“I want to speak on a subject that should TERRIFY you…the perils of parenting.

New Nat0002

‘But, Grandma,’ you ask me. Go on – ask me, ‘What about having babies?’

 No. Don’t do it.

I’d like you young people to make a list of the “mistakes” your parents made with you – the things you DO NOT intend doing with your own precious child. Then take that list and throw it out. I promise you, when you become a parent, you will do every single thing on that list, probably more than once. Put your baby on a leash in a public situation? Yes, you will do it. Use the television to keep them entertained for more than half an hour? Yes, you will do it. Feed them MacDonald’s for dinner and sometimes hot chips for breakfast? Yes, you’ll do that too.

Picture 252

“But, Grandma,” you ask me. Go on – ask me, ‘What about having babies?’

No. Don’t do it!

I remember the first time my firstborn let me know who was really in charge.

It was a sunny day in December, 2008. I was eight months along. My boyfriend and I had decided to join our friends on a nice picnic at the Beach.

It wasn’t until we got home that my ankles started to swell. They had gotten badly sunburned and combined with the fluid retention; my feet and ankles were swelling up like rugby balls. I was carried, raja-like by my friends to the couch – where I stayed for three days, swapping my feet between buckets of ice and raising my legs on a dozen pillows, taking painkillers and crying.

And the baby wasn’t even born yet!


I felt a tremor in me waters then.  Like, they do on Jurassic Park, when the liquid in the cup ominously trembles and someone whispers, ‘It’s coming!’

Parenthood doesn’t sound that bad, you say. No? Well, listen to this!

Newborn Nat

The next thing to go when you become a parent is your sense of dignity.

Within eighteen months of my eldest child being born, I had sniffed the business end of my baby in public. I had also gone shopping at Countdown while still wearing my pajamas and my gardening crocs.

You will shout, “Ooh, look, a dog!” or even worse, go, “Woof, woof!” when you see one. You’ll SHOUT OUT every time you see something that could potentially interest a small child. It’s a hard habit to break! I still find myself, saying, “Ooh, look, a truck!” And the boys are 10, 12, and 32.


The next thing to go when you become a parent is your wallet. That hurts the worst of all. My father likes to say, when you’re expecting a baby, to save time, simply start up the automatic payments immediately for half your wages to go to the supermarket and the other half to go to the doctor. Because you won’t see a RED cent for yourself for many years to come!


The marvelous thing about having babies is that every day is a magical new adventure. You never know what’s going to happen. Mostly, what will happen is dealing with dirty nappies, vomit, and sleepless nights.

However, sometimes, gorgeous things happen. Like the first time you witness your child being kind, or, when you get a chocolate-covered kiss, (the milky acids are good for the skin).

But, the next minute, the same beautiful child will stand on your toe, stick their elbow in your eye and drop your Iphone down the toilet. That’s kids, for you.

Nat & Phil

So I say to you young people brimming with hope, that parenting is full of perils and woe, especially if you’re unfortunate enough to have boy babies like I did. You will suffer! You will curse. You will raise a pointed finger to the sky and cry, “Why?”

You’ll give everything you have to your child and still give more…until you’re nothing but a shriveled up pile on the floor. When your child will ask you, “What’s for dinner?”

boys & Phil0002

So, I say to you, ‘Parenting is not for the faint-hearted.’

“But, Grandma,” you ask me. Go on – ask me, ‘What about having babies?’

Yes, of course you must do it!

One day, when you’re old enough, you’ll have babies of your own. You have to!

Because, while having kids may be hard work, I hear having grandchildren is absolutely wonderful!

Thank you.

Picture 166

Keep Striving!

Talk to you soon,

Yvette K. Carol


One’s destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things. ~ Henry Miller