Can You Keep A Secret?

I’m very excited to tell you that I will be launching a new and exciting Cool Camping Magazine called Inspired Camping on 30 March. It’s a free resource ideal for the busy camper as it brings high quality, cool, retro, vintage, funky and eco-friendly news and inspirations together in one place.

I’m not quite ready to share the content but I would like to share with you a SECRET glimpse of some of the articles due for the launch on 30 March. Have a good look around and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you.

Oh… and don’t forget to sign up to the site to receive bonuses and more information about the launch and the freebies I’ll be offering to the lucky few.

Now that’s something to celebrate!

Inspired Camping The Free Cool Camping Magazine

Inspired Camping The Free Cool Camping Magazine

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Surf Up… And Not At The Beach!

Amazing, consistent surf … and not at the beach!

Ideal for kids, beginners and others…            *  smile  *

By the way… if you have a lake as big as this you could have a wavegarden too! This one’s in Bristol.

x

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The Wonderful World Of Pinterest

Source: amanda-loverseed.com via Sarah on Pinterest

Recently I have been taking quite an interest in Pinterest. If you haven’t heard about it already I really recommend you check it out. It’s full of amazing imagery and allows you to pin anything you like on your pin board so you can come back to it later. Your pin board then becomes a collection of everything that lights your fire. For me it’s the outdoor life, anything to do with cool camping, beach life and family activities. You get a flow of images every time you visit, which helps you learn about new and exciting things. For example, I wouldn’t have heard about the artist Amanda Loverseed (above) if it hadn’t been for Pinterest.

The best bit is it gives you a very easy way of sharing things you find on the net via your pin board. This saves time and concentrates your inspirations, which is particularly good if you are working on a personal project… such as room decoration, wedding planning, a new style, learning to cook, a holiday, etc. It really is as endlessly inspiring as that. The only problem is limiting the time you spend on it. If I’m not careful an hour can pass in the blink of an eye when I’m pinning after the kids go to bed.

So I would thoroughly recommend you give Pinterest a look, if you have the time and a burning desire to be inspired. And if you feel inclined to join I would be very happy if you would follow my pin boards and let me know about yours.

Happy pinning!

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Want To Get Inspired About Cool Camping?

Yes… Well you’d better keep an eye on this clock then!

Spring’s on it’s way and the call of the road is starting to get louder. If you can hear it too pop back to Inspired Camping soon to get your weekly dose of camping inspiration, tips and tricks, ready for the warmer weather. If you can’t wait that long then sign up to their newsletter to find out what’s going on before everyone else!

 

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Get It While It’s (Not) Hot!

It’s cold (in the northern hemisphere) and if you’re dying for a read to help you revisit summer, beaches and surf, and forget all about tinsel, frosty mornings and snow covered hills, then visit Lulu to get 25% off a summer surf adventure that will get the whole family inspired to buy wetsuits and surfboards and hot-foot it to the beach in any weather. Happy reading!

25% off Beach Potato By Sarah Riley (Paperback)
Coupon Code: LULUBOOKUK305
Coupon expires 31 January 2012
£50 Max Savings

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I Have Lists Of My Worries, And Worry About My Lists!

And it’s no joke! I have lists. I have lists about lists. I even have lists reminding me about deadlines of other lists. They litter my house in every corner like little annoying voices tantalising me with all the things I have to do. I have loads of them. They lie discarded by my bed as I attempt each night to de-clutter my brain so I can sleep. Sadly they are also reminding me that my time is not my own any more, and they are definitely a cause of irritation when I just can’t seem to get it together enough to complete even one thing from my lists.

Sometimes for kicks I compile all my mini lists into one giant list. It makes me feel better, for a while at least, as I feel less burdened, more efficient and a little bit more organised. I’m fooling myself of course, but then I might even be able to complete one thing and take great delight in crossing it off my list. That simple act alone might be enough to encourage me to do something else on the list, to try to achieve more. But what’s this? Is it yet another interruption? Oh yes… It’s another unexpected email or phone call, and a sibling fight followed by wailing that sends the type of nasty vibrations through my bones that could sink ships or bring NATO to a grinding halt. Then there’s a meal to be cooked, a nappy to be changed, a suspicious stain on the furniture, a vegetable patch that needs watering, school uniforms that need cleaning, a shopping list with more priority than my tea break, and a husband wanting some well deserved attention after a hard day. Then while this is all going on, there it is… it creeps up behind me, pops up out of the shadows and takes me by surprise. Yes, it’s another thing for the list and it’s got me wondering where on earth these things keep coming from.

During my time as a producer of lists I find that I am someone who likes paper. I use my phone memo often, but they usually get transferred eventually to a paper list. I like to touch them, shuffle them, read and re-read them, stack them in a ‘to do’ pile and scatter them in prime positions to help remind me that they WILL need attention eventually no matter how much life likes to distract me. As I look around me now I find they are everywhere. In fact I’m beginning to worry that I’m single handedly responsible for the demise of our rainforests! At the very least my husband must be thinking that I’ve gone mad! So as my frustration increases in tune with the volume of lists that fill my house I’ve found myself wondering how everyone else manages to fit in all that life has to dish out.

I actually find it quite intimidating at times to observe how everyone else seem so much more in control of things than I am, that they know more about most things than I do, and how they certainly seem to be achieving so much more than me on a regular basis. Ok, I’ve not done too badly, after all in the past few years I’ve brought 2 lovely girls into the world, published my children’s book, survived a stroke, and started to dabble with social media in a very slapdash way, but that’s because I don’t watch telly, go out or have much of a ‘real-life’ social life.  Even the seagulls were having a party outside my house tonight. That’s more than I’ve done for a pitifully long time!

So I can’t help but wonder again how I… in fact… how WE’VE all arrived at this place of being so busy. Is it part of the ‘side-effect’ of this modern age as our Twitter, Facebook and Google+ feeds continue to keep buzzing? This is the age of technology and information after all and I, for one, am mopping it all up like a greedy sponge. But should I be closing down my Macbook and enjoying the blissful delight of putting my feet up instead?

When I took an extra long holiday away from it all with my family where there were no computers or Internet, I did find that my brain de-cluttered and the lists no longer seemed that important, but that only lasted for as long as the holiday and as soon as I returned everything seemed more urgent and desperate than before. So I don’t think disconnecting is a reality for me anymore.

Maybe it’s because everything is so accessible these days. If we want to write and publish a book, we can… if we want to set up a website, we can… if we want to earn a living from home, we can… if we want to win awards, we can. Everything is within our grasp. It’s no longer just for the chosen few… for those who are rich enough or who’ve been shown how. Now Google can show us ALL how, and none of it costs as much as it used to. So it seems in this modern world we can literally do anything. Yes really! The only restrictions are our imaginations.

There is no doubt that this is an exciting, liberating and wonderful, if just a little bit frustrating, daunting and exhausting, time for us all. A time that will enable us to realise our dreams, no matter how big they are, and no matter how many lists they generate.

So, have you thought about how big your dreams are?

…And while you’re thinking about that I’m going to make a list of some things I need to pick up from the store tomorrow… and one of those things just might be some more paper so I can de-clutter my brain some more and write a few more lists. Sorry trees!


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DO YOU HAVE A BOOK INSIDE YOU JUST BURSTING TO COME OUT?

Well if you have there isn’t a better time than now to get it published… and it couldn’t be easier!

Gone are the days when self-publishing was considered to be just for the vain. JK Rowling has proved this recently with her huge step into the independent authors market with her work soon to be self-published as eBooks. Has anyone else heard of Pottermore? Well if you haven’t I can assure you that you soon will!

 

As soon as JK did this she showed that even established writers now want a piece of the self-publishing pie. And why wouldn’t they? The returns are better, it’s incredibly easy and it costs almost nothing. As some self-published authors have hit number 1 in the Amazon/Kindle best sellers list with 35-70% returns, it’s become almost mind boggling what someone can achieve from their home office. So not only does it provide authors with a flexible and lucrative business, it also gives a more exciting range of books to the reader as it allows new authors through the door who, because of commercial reasons, may not have been picked up by publishers before.

So being an independent author not only has more credibility these days but it also puts them in the category of being an entrepreneur… and as long as what’s published is good enough, the returns can be great too.

So how did this all begin?

Well the magic started with eBooks, but it didn’t really reach the tipping point until the most popular electronic book readers were introduced. Now the Kindle, Nook, Sony reader, iPad *swoon*, iTouch and iPhone have been launched, the hunger for eBooks has REALLY taken off. They’ve even been blamed for the demise of many on-street bookstores, but haven’t we seen all this before with music moving from vinyl to CDs and then to digital files? Yes, we have. We are clearly in the middle of yet another consumer and technological evolution… and a VERY exciting time for writers.

The amazing thing about eBooks is readers can browse, download, read and review many different types of books while on their lunch break, riding the bus home, warming the baby milk, taking out the trash or cooking tea. They even come in handy when the kids are ill, they need a new bedtime book or the summer holidays are approaching. It’s become the modern way of helping kids read like bookworms while retaining their element of ‘cool’, all for cheaper than ever before after the initial investment in the reader.

This new crowd of eBook readers also actively seeks independent authors out because their writing is less traditional and much cheaper than the big names, allowing them to fill up their libraries for their annual holidays, lunch breaks, school trips or new ventures, for a fraction of the cost. Niche writers will also be able to release their books to an audience that may not have got the opportunity to read them before this digital new world. This type of writing may only sell a few thousand eBooks so publishers would never have taken them on before. Clearly this is going to open up the book choices for readers and make it easier for writers to instantly earn money for their craft with very little financial investment… just a bit of time, marketing, patience and skill. But don’t just take my word for it… ask JK Rowling!

*****

To celebrate the summer holidays in the northern hemisphere Sarah is offering 50% off the Beach Potato eBook price. Just use the coupon FP52T at the Smashwords checkout to buy it for just $1.50, approx. £0.92, (usually retailing at $2.99, approx. £1.85), but this offer ends on 5 September 2011 so don’t hang about!

If you would like to connect with Sarah or take part in the Beach Potato book competition, please click the site links above. If you would like to read more about Sarah’s experiences and learn how to get published yourself, please make this request using the comments box below.

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Announcing The Beach Potato Book Competition!

Now You Can Become A Character In The Next Story!

The response for Beach Potato has been fantastic, especially the reviews from readers through Barnes & Noble and Apple iBooks. Thank you. I am humbled, inspired and motivated by your comments. You have made me very happy!

Also, as I’ve had so many requests for ‘Beach Potato 2′ from genuine readers I’ve started writing Jess and the gangs next adventure and this time they are going to get into REAL trouble… so readers…watch this space!

In the meantime I would like to say thank you to all those who have supported my sweat, toil, and endless hours shaping my craft. So the question I would like to ask is:

Would you, or someone you know, like to become a character in a short story involving Jess and the gang in Titterstone?

You would?  Well, as from today you have the chance of winning a cameo roll in a short story from the Muckabee series, and therefore to meet everyone you’ve read about, as well as being able to stay in Beach Potato. You will even get to visit Titterstone, and hang out at the beach. All you have to do is tell me what you liked about Beach Potato when you read it and what you would like to see happen in Beach Potato 2. It might be that you want more surf action, to find out more about Joe, or you would like the Staffords to be REALLY nasty! Whatever it is, I would like to hear about it.

The closing date for entries is September 2011 and all you have to do is complete the form below to have the chance of your name being pulled out of the hat. The winner will be notified in September, with the completed short story being finished before Christmas 2011. It will therefore be presented to the winner as a short paperback novel just in time for Christmas. Can you imagine telling your friends and family that you are a character in a short novel, let alone giving them a copy of the book for Christmas???? It’s a no brainer!! So get typing now… I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

By entering this competition you are agreeing that:

I will only publish the short story, if I wish to, but you will get five signed paperback copies regardless; That your contact details will NOT be shared with anyone but that I may use them to inform you of future book releases; That the story and details of the competition may be used for marketing purposes; That shared ideas for the story may be used by me in future publications.

What I love about this last point is the very fact that readers can now say what they actually want to read about, and make it happen. That’s the new EBook revolution going ‘BOOM!’ Amazing stuff… and I’m very happy to be a part of it! So what are you doing… don’t hang about or you’ll miss out. Contact me now to have a chance of being able to win this exciting competition.

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Beach Potato: Now In Paperback!

Things on our beach have been very busy!

Summer is almost upon us, the garden is threatening to turn into a jungle, the beach vibe is humming, there’s a smell of barbecues in the air, the surfboard wax is sold out and Beach Potato has just been launched in paperback… yay!!

So if you want your copy just in time for your annual holiday it’s currently at a specially discounted price of £6.74 (roughly $10.18 for my American friends). All you have to do is visit Lulu and follow the simple online instructions.

Added to that, more information about the Beach Potato competition will be coming your way soon.

Happy reading! x

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The Wolf Is Knocking At Beach Potato’s Door!

I am humbled by the reviews I’ve been getting for Beach Potato that, be in no doubt, have made my year… even my life!

“this was the best book I’ve ever read.” Thanks ‘Book_worm113′

“Recommend this book to anyone.” Thanks ‘Ikklefairy’

“I love it bring out a number two please please please.” Thanks ‘Figen Agin’

“Heartwarming and enjoyable. Could almost imagine being there.” Thanks ‘Lwod803′

“I really enjoyed this book. A fun story that I will reread in the future.” Thanks reader on Barnes & Noble

“This book is great! I can’t put it down because its such a page-turner and exciting. It makes me want to go to the nearest beach…” Thanks reader on Barnes & Noble

I could go on but I won’t. I’ve had hundreds of reviews and I’m very happy to still be 4 and 4.5 star out of a potential 5 on download sites. Not bad at all! However, this post isn’t to rave about the book’s success, rather than help explain the following news.

I’ve had a lot of comments about the fact that I’ve offered the book for free for almost 6 months. Many readers have commented that this made them think the book would be ‘stupid’ or ‘rubbish’, before they reluctantly downloaded it. So a lesson I’ve learnt recently is there is such a thing as ‘too cheap’. Added to that is the fact that I’ve lost my job. Yes, I’ve not escaped the economic climate and I’ve been made redundant along with many other unfortunate souls. So I’ve had to make a very difficult decision. I can no longer offer Beach Potato for free… and I’m very sorry about that indeed!

So, unless you download it quickly in the next few days, there will be a small charge to read the book of approximately $2.99 / £1.49 in the future (subject to exchange rates, download site pricing policies, etc).

Again I’m sorry, but the wolf has been knocking at Beach Potato’s door for some time now, and this one isn’t in sheep’s clothing!

Thanks to My China Connection for the image.

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