Disneyland Paris Quirky Writing Prompts


Hi everyone

To those of you who enjoy my Quirky Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompts and wondered has happened to them, they will be back.

As I have a ton of photos from my Disneyland Paris/London holiday to share with you, as well as video footage, I will be predominantly posting posts about those for at least the next couple of weeks.

I am pleased to say that Snuggles has improved in health and seems to be healing. I am praying it stays that way. Thanks to every one of you who has sent their well wishes. After Cinnamon was suddenly severely sick and passed away before my holiday, it’s been an intense and emotionally difficult time for me. Snuggles is my furry kid and furry soulmate. It’s her 3rd birthday tomorrow, and she has plenty of potential years ahead of her. I have her birthday party stuff ready for tomorrow evening when I see her.

To give you a taste of Disneyland Paris. Here are some quirky Disneyland Paris writing prompts to wet your appetite.

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Terror Tower – Enter at your peril!

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The coffin moved! Welcome to Nutterville, where only the quirky nutters live.

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It was a back to the future moment.

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The castle was on fire!

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It was a fairytale come true. I knew from this moment on, my life would change for the better, forever.

Embrace your quirky and write soon.

Sandra

Quirky Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompts


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Here are this week’s writing prompts, to fuel your creativity.

1) She stared at him. Was it really that long ago ……….

2) This moment, was the opportunity of a lifetime.

3) She was a business woman by day, and a disco diva by night.

4) He couldn’t believe his eyes.

What do you think?

Write soon
Sandra

How do you ensure you find time to write?


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Hi everyone

I am so sorry I haven’t been able to visit many of your blogs recently. I have had to put myself in a Creative Lock Down mode, to knuckle down to creating websites and writing. This is the only way I can ensure I find time to write at the moment. How do you ensure you have time to write?

I have had a children’s publisher interested in my idea for a series. I sent them a rhyming picture book manuscript and although it wasn’t suitable because it was in rhyme; the Editor thought my idea for a series was strong, and one that kids would find compelling.

I am a member of the Association of Freelance Writers. Part of my membership entitles me to one free appraisal per year of up to 3000 words. This is ideal for picture book manuscripts because mine are usually under 500 words.

In order to strike while the iron is hot, I have written a non-rhyming picture book based on my idea for a series, and sent it off to be appraised. If it comes back and is deemed to be of publishable quality, I will send it off to the same publisher to find out if it’s suitable for them. I have also written a second book in the series, but I haven’t sent that one off for appraisal yet.

Besides my writing endeavours, I am currently working on creating my new design http://www.beatredundancyblues.com website. As well as my new http://www.BlogTrainer.co.uk site. I have clients waiting for the sites to be built, and that is why there is a sense of urgency to complete their creation.

I create all of my own websites using WordPress.org. It doesn’t help time wise, when I have recently found faults with some of the WordPress.org themes, which has meant I can’t use them and I have to reselect another. This is not good, because many businesses build their websites using WordPress.org.

Taking all of this into consideration, I have had to put myself into a Creative Lock Down mode, and will have to continue to do that on a regular basis until my mission is complete. This is so I can be utterly focused on getting my work done, outside of my day job working hours. For me this means:

● Either switching off my phone or putting it on silent

● Putting a notice on my Facebook wall, which states I am going to be off Facebook on my days off, or all evening, to focus on my work. Also, that I will have my phone on silent or switched off.

● Using my breaks in my day job for catching up with friends, posting new blog posts, replying to Facebook comments and Tweets. So I can use my days off and evenings for focusing on work, without distractions or going off on tagents. My breaks are very short, and currently I can’t keep up during this time.

● Working extra hard to group tasks together, to take time out to do my work. Such as washing up, administration and shopping. This also applies to checking emails; replying to blog comments and Tweets.

Unfortunately, I can’t interact as much as I would like to at the moment. I am working until the
early hours most days at the moment, and going to sleep at silly o clock. I went to sleep just before 4.20am today and had to get up for work in my day job at 8.20am.

I hope you will continue to be part of my wonderful world of quirky. Although I am locking myself down to work; I always want to be in your blogging life.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Have you ever put yourself into a Creative Lock Down mode? If so, how successful was it for you?

Write as soon as I can
Sandra

How the Digital Revolution Exhibition can Inspire You to write


Hi everyone

If you read my last post, you will know that while I was in London last month, for the Success 2014 Seminar, I went to the Digital Revolution Exhibition.

I have more amazing videos to share with you.

Sometimes you may wonder how my activities relate to writing. Almost everything I do, I can connect to writing in some way. Some directly and others indirectly. I also feel it’s important for any reader to be able to understand what makes a particular writer tick, in order to better understand their writing and their nature.

From my own experience, this is how the Digital Revolution Exhibition, can help inspire you to write.

● Unlimited writing prompts

A good example of this, was seeing the original Altair and Mac designs. These can inspire you to write a drama set in the period they were produced. Alternatively, what’s the story behind those specifically. Why did someone buy each of them? What work is saved on them and why?

● The feeling of magic

The music, the atmosphere, things moving by sensor, touchscreen, special effects, create a feeling of magic. Can inspire you to create fairytales.

●Taking a behind the scenes look at films; Inception, Gravity and How to train your dragon 2.

Helps you to understand how a script can be brought to life.

●Fantasy becoming reality

Seeing things move by themselves and come to life. Such as a lamp like the one in the Pixar shorts, can get your creative juices flowing.

● Not believing your own eyes

Seeing yourself on screen; one minute with smoke coming from your face, the next stage, seeing yourself with wings and birds eating your body. Conjures up stories of illusion and fantasy.

● Future technologies

There is a solar powered dress on display which lights up. Couple that with the information that clothes in our future will be used to charge our mobile phone, makes you think up future Sci-fi adventures.

The Digital Revolution Exhibition, is at the Barbican in London until 14th September 2014.

If you have been wondering why I haven’t been blogging on here quite as much lately, I am currently working on my new design www.beatredundancyblues.com site. As my web host no longer services the site builder I used to build the site on, I have to create a new site using WordPress.org. This has to be done before I finish the final formatting of my Break through the barriers of redundancy book, because I cannot update the site and it is advertised on the front cover of my book. Thankfully, I love designing and creating. To create a new one is hard work and very time consuming, but pleasurable at the same time.

Write as soon as possible
Sandra

 

How to obtain an EIN for self-publishing with CreateSpace


Hello, how are you?

As you are aware from my previous posts, I began the journey of self-publishing in the earlier part of last year. I announced that I would be completing my Break through the barriers of redundancy book in the beginning part of this year, to sell on Amazon and in the future through my own e-Book store, quirkybooks.net, that is still in the early stages of construction. You are probably wondering why on earth I haven’t just got on with it and published it by now. The truth is, I have been getting on with it, most weeks, over a number of days, for many hours. I guess I naively thought when I started out, that I would write a book, get a good cover design, upload it and hey presto, job done. I was wrong. In the most simplistic of terms, yep, that’s what you do and it’s good to think about it in those simplistic terms, otherwise it can be a real mind boggler, particularly when trying to publish through CreateSpace, that is for print, as well as KDP, for Kindle. After hours of writing and time spent on styling the book; page layout, formatting, indexing, pagination, I could go on, I finally created my CreateSpace account. When I next logged into CreateSpace, I had this message alert from them:

Welcome to CreateSpace!

Some things you should know about your account and how we report your earned royalties to the Internal Revenue Service: We are required to report your earned royalties to the Internal Revenue Service. If you currently reside in the United States, you must provide us with a Tax ID number, payee address and business type before your title can go live and be available for purchase. If you are currently living outside of the United States, you must provide us with your payee address and business type before your title can go live and be available for purchase.

Please refer to http://www.CreateSpace.com/International for additional information for non-US members.

To update this information, visit https://eu.createspace.com/pub/accountsettings.royaltypaymentinformation.do to access your “Royalty Payment Information.”

Upon opening this link:

https://eu.createspace.com/pub/accountsettings.royaltypaymentinformation.do

On Monday the 2nd of June 2014, I spent hours trawling the internet to find out what I needed to type into the Tax and Business Information section of my Royalty Payment Profile. I needed to type in a Tax Reporting Name and Business Type, plus a Tax Identification number, that I hadn’t got a clue about. I had previously bought a book on self-publishing and even that confused me.

Tax & Business Information

US Tax Information

Tax Reporting Name
Sandra Bellamy
Tax Identification Number
**-*******
Business Type
Individual
After hours of tearing my hair out (not literally, I am not bald) and painstaking arrrrgh! Moments; to cut a very long story short, I managed to find out what I needed to type in, as you can see from the above screen shot. To do this I discovered; if you sell books on Amazon through CreateSpace or KDP, all UK and EU sales, have no tax withholding on your royalties. However, the USA withholds 30% tax on your book royalties, unless you obtain either an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) otherwise known as TIN or EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) from the USA. Then fill in a W-8BEN and post it to CreateSpace at the address given in your CreateSpace account. Because the UK have a treaty agreement with the USA, residents of the UK can pay 0%. From my research, it was clear that getting an EIN is a lot easier than obtaining an ITIN, which can take several months. As soon as I discovered that if you are self-employed, you can apply for an EIN, and it’s as easy and simple as downloading a form and making a phone call to the IRS in the USA, I did it.
The procedure I followed is below:
  • I got the phone number of the IRS in the USA  – From the UK it’s 00 1267 941 1099.
  • I contacted my phone company to find out how much it would cost to phone the number, so I didn’t have any nasty surprises. I had read that the phone call would be between 20 – 30  minutes in duration.
  • I downloaded form SS-4 (Application for Employer Identification Number) from the IRS website to have to hand when I made my phone call.
  • I filled in the form SS-4. I wrote my name and address details. Type of entity I wrote; Other – sole trader. (I was told during the conversation with the IRS  that is was Sole Proprietor because I am a sole trader not Other.) Reason for applying was Compliance with IRS withholding regulations. A date that I started my business, (registered with HMRC). Principal merchandise sold, specific construction work done, products produced or services provided, was book royalties. Has the applicant entity on line 1, ever applied for an EIN – No.
  • I downloaded the form W-8BEN-E to send to CreateSpace. (I was subsequently advised that you actually need form W-8BEN 2006 version, until July 2014, because the new W-8BEN-E that is 43 parts long, has been released too early and there are no instructions for it yet!)
  • I then phoned the IRS in the USA, that I was informed is open 12 hours a day.

The lady at the IRS gave me her badge number at the start of the conversation, I had to say that I was applying for an EIN, that I own my own business and I am a sole trader. After 20 minutes of talking to the lady at the IRS and answering the questions that I had filled out on the SS-4 form, I was given my EIN number on the phone that was a 9 digit number starting with 98-. I asked to be put through to another department to have help filling in my W-8BEN-E, that ended up being the W-8BEN (see previous mention). I needed to post this form to CreateSpace Asap, because it states they only process these forms on the 10th of each month.

Filling in W-8BEN

  • Part 1: Identification of Beneficial Owner. The beneficial owner was my name and the type was Individual, as I am a sole trader.
  • Part 1 – (8): Is the EIN number that I just received, with a tick in the EIN box.
  • Part II Claim of Tax Treaty Benefits was A – Resident of the United Kingdom (no abbreviation) and B.
  • Part II 10 Special rates and conditions Article (12) of the treaty identified on line 9a above to claim a (0%) rate of withholding on specify type income): (Royalties.) Explain the reasons behind the beneficial owner meets the terms of the treaty article: (I was told to write the following)…...I am a resident of the United Kingdom and all of the products are made in the United Kingdom with no fixed base of operation within the United States.
  • Part IV Must be signed, with an original signature, dated and title added (Owner).

I posted my W-8BEN form off by airmail to CreateSpace the next day. It takes 4 days to get there, so it should get there in time for processing on the 10th of June 2014. Something else I need to bear in mind, is that US sales are only paid in $, so I may want to open a USA bank account because of conversion fees. More stuff to boggle the mind. I hope this step-by-step guide will help a ton of people, including yourself, and ensure you don’t go bald in your journey into print.

One article I found particularly helpful about an ITIN and EIN was:
I don’t have the instructions for the ITIN because I decided to not go down that route and if you Google ITIN or TIN, there is a ton of information about what to do.
Until next time, write soon
Sandra

The Blog Tour and Staying Relevant: I Hope


Hi everyone

Welcome Mike to the Blog Tour. I tagged him in my Blog Tour post on Monday and it is enriching to find out more about this superstar amongst us. He has made it! He is living proof that you can achieve your writing dreams. He has a full-time career as a professional writer for the Guardian Liberty Voice. He is an actor and an all round great guy. Find out about his writing process, write here – couldn’t resist that one!

Write soon
Sandra

Mikes Film Talk


I need to thank Sandra over at quirkybooks for tagging me in this exercise. As usual, I have a love/hate relationship with these blogging “pats on the back” events that we indulge ourselves in every so often. They are, for the most part, quite fun and it gives us a chance to pass on our admiration for those whose work we admire. The Blog Tour is yet another of these attempts to help bloggers in their battle to stay relevant and I hope my severely truncated answers to the very short, only four, questions posed suffice. I will, as usual, have problems choosing other’s to tag since I have very little interaction with fellow bloggers at the moment. As I feel incredibly guilty for having to turn down two very dear friends who tagged me quite some time before this iteration, I decided to accept this and respond, however quickly…

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Snuggles Joins in Blog Tour Fun!


Hi everyone

In case you missed it, last week I took part in the Blog Tour.

Unfortunately, due to formatting issues with coding in WordPress, my answers to the four Blog Tour questions, were bunched up. Not the sort of layout I usually allow on my blog, or want for you. Here is my attempt to answer the questions again.

Thanks to Carolyn Huges from The Hurt Healer for tagging me, I have the opportunity to share some exclusive insights into my Break through the barriers of the redundancy book, as part of The Blog Tour. As a Freelance Writer Carolyn’s work can be vast, in her blog tour post, I believe she has captured the essence of why her blog and writing are so popular:

“Although there are lots of blogs of a similar genre to mine, I think what makes The Hurt Healer different is the amount of sharing of myself that is included in each post. When you read my blog, you read the work of my authentic self and not just the facts of the subject.”

Check out the full post: http://carolynhughesthehurthealer.com/2014/05/04/writing-the-blog-tour/

What am I working on?

I am still working on the final amendments of my book: Break through the barriers of redundancy to get back into work: An A-Z ‘How to’ guide. I keep saying final amendments because I keep finding things to amend, although some of my latest amendments are not needed because the original work is better. That is how I know it is almost ready for publishing. At the moment it is indexed for the 131 A4 pages, but once it’s uploaded to CreateSpace on Amazon, it will be almost twice the number of pages in booklet format and therefore I will need to re-index and repaginate it beforehand. A writer’s work is never done!

How does my work differ to others of its genre?

It is different because it takes a holistic view of redundancy, treating the inner being before treating the outer being. It’s about dealing with the initial grief and depression of redundancy, going back to the roots of what you were born to do, before family and other commitments took priority and finding out what you really want to do with your life and career. It’s about exploring what your dream job would be, how to get it in 6 simple steps, how to work out if self-employment would be right for you or not. Then it deals with the practicalities of getting back into paid employment, the insider secrets of creating an irresistible CV and cover letter that gets results. In a nutshell, it provides a complete system for getting back into work. It covers 26 aspects of redundancy and provides eighty benefits to you, the reader.

It is unique because it combines two genres; the technical know-how of a how-to book, with the simplicity of an A-Z guide. That’s what makes it a quirky book.

Why do I write/create what I do?

I love reading non-fiction, how-to business books, because I can learn so much from them. I discovered that I have a lot of knowledge from both sides of the redundancy fence that would prove invaluable to others. The recruitment side, whilst managing, and the applying for jobs and being interviewed side, whilst redundant. It is from both points of view that I have been able to create a complete A-Z system for breaking down your barriers of redundancy, to get back into work. It is written from my own life experience in order to help others.

How does your writing/creating process work?

As usual, it starts with a creative explosion, a brainstorm if you like. That in this case was for an A-Z of redundancy, which started with the first few letters in posts on my http://www.beatredundancyblues.wordpress.com blog, and I have adapted for the final book. Once I had written an A-Z of redundancy, I then had to go through every letter and write a how-to for it. I wrote the front and back matter after finishing the main contents of the book. It was tricky to get the font size right and to distinguish the headings from the sub headings in the index. To my knowledge, combining an A-Z guide with a How-to book, has not been done before, and it has been a huge challenge for me to combine them into an easy to read, palatable style, but the challenge has been well worth it.

I tagged three others to continue to keep the blog tour going on Monday 19th of May:

Al from http://kattermonran.com

Mike from http://mikesfilmtalk.com.

Rohan from http://rohan7things.wordpress.com.

So far, it’s just Rohan who has been able to answer the questions. Check out Rohan’s Blog Tour answers: http://rohan7things.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/rohans-writing-methods-madness-and-more-blog-tour/
Wheeks of thanks from Snuggles. I hope you enjoyed her debut?
Write soon
Sandra

 

 

 

Weekend Edition – Too Old, Stealing Ideas + Great Reads and Writing Tips


Hi everyone

I got back in the early hours of this morning from London, having been to The Business Show at the ExCeL centre, for two days. I heard from some super authors that have had their books published by Wiley, who publishes the Dummies series.

I read this post and felt compelled to share it with you. This is a fantastic post about not being ashamed to read whatever books you like and creating originality out of stories that have been written before, using your own ” mash up“.

Look out for my interview with Author Ian Kane, coming soon to this blog. His new book is called “Rising Storm” and is part of his “Fading Empires” series. You are going to love his book, love his answers and love him.

Write soon
Sandra

Live to Write - Write to Live

You’re too old for that.

pin lengleI was in the children’s room of my beloved library earlier this week and was horrified to hear a mom tell her son to put a particular book back because he was “too old” for it. She said, “That’s too easy for you.” I actually winced.

I’m sure this mom was very well-meaning. I’m sure she just wanted to encourage her son to try something a little more challenging. But, you are never – NEVER – too old for any book. I’ve shared it before, but I’m going to share again the wonderful quote from the fabulous Madeleine L’Engle, “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”

I am, by chronological reckoning, a full-fledged adult, but I will never, ever stop reading so-called children’s books. Some…

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