Saturday, November 24, 2018

Fear of speaking in front of an audience? Have fun reading this!

Well, we all know that speaking in front of an audience made of people you've never met before, and who are also going to be your potential followers is something scaring. We have been taking the speech at the dinner table during the parties, we have been through job interviews, but what when you have a hundred people listening to you?

This is what happened to me when I had to present my book at the Author Academy awards in October. From Finland, I had to take the flight to reach Columbus, via Chicago, and this for the Wandering Writer is almost the story of my life, so nothing to see here.

The fear was that I was supposed, as one of the 10 finalists in my genre to talk about my book in.
Another reason to be nervous was that on that occasion nobody could come with me to support me emotionally, so I had to look at the mirror:
"There is no other option, so you do this right, or you do this right!" I said to myself, and it was true, I couldn't come back when I reached that far.
My husband who helped me to prepare my 90 seconds (!) of speech told me something that actually worked. Besides the old trick to imagine the audience and the judges naked, he said that when you are talking in front of five, ten people, the attention is definitely conveyed at you, because the group is so small that you will definitely be the only voice. When the number of the audience increases, then it starts to become just a human mass. Some might listen to you, others will browse on their phone, others will wonder whether it would have been better staying at the bar. But you will not be able to understand who is really listening to you so treat the big audience like a mass.
Well, that is easy to say, but not to do, mainly when "the mass" is anyway looking at me.
I had to go with the flow. I knew I learned my speech, I was confident of my book, a friend of mine borrowed me a great dress, and there was that awesome book of mine. It had to work, and if it didn't, no problem at all, it will be what it has to be.
 I guess that sometimes we just need to forget about performance and think about just enjoying ourselves.
Talking to an audience can be fun if you take it with the right attitude, and that is that there isn't any right or wrong way to say what you have in mind. It is just you taking time to have fun in a way different than your usual ways.
Now, if you think you are going to have fun, it shouldn't be that scary anymore.
Of course, the butterflies will be shaking their wings in the stomach anyway, and the voice might be shaky in the beginning.
But you know what happened after the first sentence?
I looked at the people listening to me, and then I realized that they were all like me, people without any perfection, who were not there to judge but to hear what I had to say.
At that moment I started to feel better, and I really enjoyed.
Of course having 90 seconds to tell about your book, might be challenging, but in the end, who knows your book better than you?
So here I was talking about my ghosts

The speech went great, I had a lot of fun and enjoyed every second. People came to congratulate me, and I also sold a book.
Most important of all I met a lot of new friends, amazing writers and people, which I would have never met had I decided to stay comfortably at home for fear of failing.
I wasn't the winner of the evening, but once again I felt like I won because I gained more confidence in what I do and in the person I am, I will for sure participate to other events, whenever the possibility arises.

So fear of speaking in public? There is only one cure, get out and talk to the audience, but most of all, enjoy every moment.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Changing hat to the 'Marketing Writer'

Although recently I am always on the road, I also need to take care of my writing career, hoping one day it can become the only one.
Today I wanted to share with you my next to release novel, the second book of the series Deadly Deception.
So, Title: Deadly Deception - Insomniac-

My husband continues to say that it sounds like a horror story, rather than a thriller/crime story. Nevertheless, I think that what some people can do when blinded by greed and thirst for power, is more horrific than zombies and vampires, so we might also call it a horror story.
The name comes from the common thread that bounds the whole story which is insomnia, a common problem experienced by many of us. Some people are suffering from it just occasionally, others can reach the real chronic state.
But what if those people who seek help in treating their insomnia will be inserted in a twisted test to become unaware killers?
Following the line of Book 1, in this book more and more people will get tangled into an intricate net of lies and deceptions.
Nothing is what it seems.

So get ready because in December, date yet to establish but much probably for Christmas, there will be a new release, and I am planning it to be full of surprises and great deals.

One thing, I got confirmation about is that I have a fantastic team of followers. I do not have tens of thousands of them in my email list, but those who are there are showing me such support as I could never imagine.
I send them a monthly newsletter, they go and click to my links, but that is all. This time, as I asked for volunteers to join my review team, I got an unexpected amount of positive reactions, who couldn't review, promised to help me with the promotion.
I am speechless, and I feel so grateful for their support, as I couldn't really imagine possible.

I drop a couple of links, just in case you might be interested:
Join my awesome team in my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dny4RL
Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PJ.Mann.paperpenandinkwell
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PjMann2016
Follow me on Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PJMann
Check-out my website: https://pjmann2016.wixsite.com/pjmann


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Never miss Nha Trang! You'll regret...

As our journey reached the fourth leg, we felt as surprised as hell to discover a place that resembles more a wester city, than a vietnamese one.
Nha Trang is a real tourist attraction, maybe it is for the perfect beach, for the fantastic climate, for the exciting nightlife, and for the Asian twist that Vietnam has to offer.
Whatever your reason, this is a place where you need to stop.

A few things grabbed our attention.
I was sure that such a touristic place like Nha Trang, would have all the shops names, restaurants menus, and street signs in two languages, Vietnamese and English.
Everything I could expect except finding the second language being Russian (!)
Shops, cafeterias, and restaurants, hotels, tour agencies, you name it they were all in those two languages, and only in a few spots, the signs are also in English.
When we asked for this reason at the hotel reception, they could not offer any answer, mostly because their English wasn't really good, and my Russian is a bit rusty (LOL).
As usual, our best friend, in this case, was Google, where I found a blogger explaining that the reason lies on the fact that Russians consider Nha Trang as the best place for a holiday, and honestly I have to say they are right.
The place is awesome.
Not the right place to find quiet and peace, but it is perfect to have fun. My research led me to another fascinating piece of information, which is that many Russians who can work from home, decide to move to Nha Trang and work from there. They buy apartments, and they establish their "office outside the office" there.
Some other come to spend months here during the right season (far from the monsoon's season that can be a pain in the neck for those looking for fun).
So, let's talk about the main attraction, the beach:

That is something you really want to enjoy; fine, white sand, stretching as far as the eye can see, inviting you to undress and lay down to be caressed by the gentle breeze from the sea and kissed by the Sun as your mind drifts away with the crashing of the waves.

Second, the food. In Vietnam I have enjoyed mostly the local cuisine, and taken aside a couple of not so good experiences, I can say that you need to dig into what the local culture has to offer. Of course, a place like Nha Trang has to offer international cuisine to accommodate the most of the tastes, but, at least for me, going to Asia to have a cheeseburger, is out of the question.
Another thing that will attract your attention is the things that are forbidden on the beach:
Some of them I can understand but really flying a kite is prohibited? Why in this world?
Although, as usual rules schmules, there were people flying kites and fishing.
I am not sure what you might fish on shallow water, on the other hand, I am not a fisherman, so I might be wrong.
Next leg, it's back to Saigon, but there are a  few sites you'll need to see, so stay tuned for the next adventure!
Have a great weekend!



Saturday, November 3, 2018

Train traveling in Vietnam, the Wandering Writer




Hello and happy Friday everyone!
Today this post will be dedicated to the different way to travel by train in Vietnam. For many of us, train traveling means having a comfortable seat, if you're going by day or a sleeping berth if your journey is overnight.
Vietnam, instead, offers a few more choices depending on your need and economy. Although the price difference between the classes doesn't much differ, unless you need to count every penny.
From here the say "a cent saved is a cent earned."
We traveled twice by train, the first time from Danang to Nha Trang. Then, from Nha Trang to Saigon, where was our final destination for this interesting loop travel between two countries.

So, the Vietnamese Railways offers four different classes of travel that can be used regardless of the length of your journey or whether you travel by day or night.

1. The soft berth,
2. the hard berth,
3. the soft seat
4. the hard seat

I guess you can imagine by yourself the difference between the four classes, but perhaps, just like we thought in the beginning, your idea might still be flawed by the concept of train travel you have in your own country, and there is where you will get surprised.
The soft and hard berth, do not have really much any difference between one another (yes, we tested them). At least concerning the comfort of the berths, they were much comparable with each other and the hard ones were not uncomfortable at all.
I can say this because we traveled for 10 hours on the "so-called" hard ones. The difference is that instead of having four berths in each cabin, our had six berths, but there is anyway enough space to move.
I was happy with this solution because I felt it very comfortable for reading (and sleeping), which I did for most of the travel.

The soft seats also are very comfortable, and the cabin has AC perfectly functioning so you can have a good trip in all comfort either by sleeping, reading or playing cards.
https://12go.asia/images/operator/1847/class/14-inside.jpg
The part that gave us big question marks were the hard seats:
We could not even think about sitting there for ten hours like our trip required without injuries on the lower part of your spine. There isn't any comfort for doing anything, and I hope this is the choice for people who have to travel for maximum one hour.
The longer the travel and I start to consider it as torture.
https://halongsapapackages.com

Likewise in many other places we have traveled, we suggest to bring something to eat, because there is no restaurant in the train.
Regardless of this detail, quite often someone is passing with a trail from where you can purchase snacks and food. Not being able to have a table where to eat, you might want to opt for a snack, instead of a meal, just to avoid making a mess.

One big plus in the trail in the cleanliness level. Every now and then there is someone passing and cleaning the floor, changing the sheets of the berths for the next customer and the restrooms are spotless.

I generally love traveling by train, but for long routes, unless it involves a good night sleep, it might become a bit tedious, but on the vietnamese trains, I can say that it is a real enjoyment.

Take care and see you next week where I will tell you something about the beautiful Nha Trang.
Stay Tuned!

It's birthday week

It has been three years since the day when, for the first time in my life, I have pressed the ' publish' button on what it was ba...