Author Interview with Sacha Black: 13 Steps to Evil

Sacha Black

The lovely Sacha Black

Those of you who have been in the blogging world for some time will know the name Sacha Black. Creator of www.sachablack.co.uk and, of course, The Annual Bloggers Bash, Sacha has now written and published her first book: 13 Steps to Evil (and from all accounts this is the first of many that will be out within the next twelve months) and she’s kindly agreed to let me interview her about her new creation, her process and a little of what makes her… Sacha.

Tell us about your new book – 13 Steps to Evil.

13 Steps To Evil – How To Craft Superbad Villains is every writer’s comprehensive guide to creating kick-ass villains. It’s based on a commonly held misnomer by writers: that their hero is the most important character. Without the villain or antagonist within a story, there is no conflict. Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is. Continue reading

How to Clean Your Make-Up Brushes

How to naturally clean make-up brushes.

Hi. My name is Suzie and I have a Make-Up Addiction.

A few years ago, my make-up collection consisted of a few eyeshadows, a cheap mascara and a couple of nail varnishes that were so old they had separated and gone solid. Nice. However, one afternoon I was intrigued by a YouTube tutorial about creating an effective smokey eye look, and I was instantly hooked. I watched new videos several every evening, buying products and trying out new ideas. And with it came the brushes – blending, foundation, powder, fan, contour, flat liner… It’s been an exciting new education and I’m enjoying the journey, but they are beginning to take over my desk.

One thing I’ve become particularly aware of is the importance of keeping them clean – there’s all sorts of nasty bacteria that can develop on frequently used brushes that can cause all sorts of infections, and dirty brushes aren’t as effective. Generally, brushes should be washed once a week, but avid users should aim to do them twice a week. Continue reading

How to Use Facebook Groups to Increase Your Blog Traffic

How to use Facebook groups to increase your blog traffic

Facebook groups are a brilliant source of information, community and traffic. They differ in purpose and each have different rules, but essentially they can all be used for the same things: to meet new bloggers, ask questions to the community and to promote your posts.

As with many things in the blogging world – it took me a long time to discover the power of blogging focused Facebook groups. I joined one, run by a close blog friend when it had just a few hundred members last year and a very small targeted sharing group, but didn’t actively participate in either. My Facebook traffic was low at the time – I’d had a post go viral with 100,000 views in my first year of blogging, but since that point I averaged between 5-20 views a day, depending on whether I published to my blog Facebook page. Continue reading

A Nice Easter Break

It’s back-to-work for many after the Easter holidays today and, as always, I have an enormous sense of relief that I didn’t have to drag myself out of bed.

The Bloke took a few weeks off work to coincide with the holidays, so I took a break away from the blog. I still maintained my Pinterest and Twitter social media management and my Facebook group, but decided not to write any posts until I actually had something to say. Continue reading

How to Create Flat Lay Images Using Basic Props

When I first started using Pinterest one of the things that I had to learn how to do were pinnable images. It took me a while, developing my own style over a period of time using either my own pictures or ones that were available for free on stock image sites. However, one thing that I always had difficulty in finding were what I now know as Flat Lay images – pictures taken from above of beautifully arranged objects within a specific theme.

In particular, Flat Lays are hugely popular on Instagram and are a fantastic way to tell a story. I’ve seen absolutely stunning examples of everything from travel, blogging and stationery, to clothing, make-up and food.

I’ve wanted to create my own for some time. However, I’m not a photographer. I use my iPhone and my Canon compact camera to take pictures, but my knowledge doesn’t extend past point, shoot and edit via Instagram or Canva. So, I set out to spend a minimal amount of money on some props and use basic trial and error to see what the end results would be.

And thankfully, they turned out far better than I ever could have expected! Continue reading

NOISE at The Old Rep

From up-and-coming Midlands writer and director Thomas Moran and his company presentabsence Theatre comes “a new LGBTQ+ and deaf play.” NOISE follows the lives of five first-year university students in their shared flat, in particular Evan (Nicolas Ancelin) who is deaf. The play sees the development of Evan’s relationship with flatmate Harry (Dominic Holmes) and how they both deal with his impairment.

Despite their young ages and small number, the cast light up the stage of The Old REP, bringing energy and authenticity to their characters. The group work well as an ensemble, being totally believable as housemates and friends, but this is perhaps better shown through the several examples of physical theatre and montages in which all of the cast have co-ordinated their movements to fit with one another, avoiding any slip-ups (not an easy task on The Old REP’s small stage) whilst still managing to create dynamic sequences. Continue reading

Ghosts of Students Past

Yesterday I received a Facebook message from a friend that I haven’t spoken to in a while. We met through a project – the school that I worked at did an annual concert with an orchestra and he was the composer for the music that we performed.

He now works for my former University that is currently moving to a new building. When he was cleaning out some of the cupboards, he found this:

Continue reading

On Becoming a Hermit…

Yesterday was International Happiness Day, and the blogging world was flooded with articles, images and quotes of achieving happiness.

Even without a specifically dedicated day, it’s a prominent topic. There seems to be have been a conscious movement over the last few years that focus on the ideas on mindfulness, self-care, motivation and happiness, which may be partially reactionary to the turbulent times within society, or the fact that many are beginning to realise that there is more to life than a soul-destroying 9-5. Continue reading

Exams, Sore Feet and a Radio Interview!

It’s been an unusual few weeks!

I’ve done a radio interview, which was very exciting, I’ve continued to do some supply teaching, but I took on the role of exam invigilator towards the end of last week too – it’s mock exam season to prepare students for the process of sitting their GCSE exams. When I was initially asked about my availability I jumped at the chance – standing there for a few hours in silence with no responsibility other than to fetch paper and equipment and ensure that the students remain silent (which they do – the exams officer at the school is incredible) seemed perfect. However, after two-and-a-half days I had learnt several things. Continue reading

How to Recycle Old Blog Content

Last week I decided to go through my old blog posts, which had quite a negative impact on my general confidence about my content and I had a little meltdown on the blog. After receiving lots of good advice from the blogging community I decided to ignore my initial knee-jerk intention to delete hundreds of posts that I considered to be inferior and instead spend a bit of time recycling some of my earliest articles.

There were a number of reasons for this:

1. My blog is nearly four years old, and I have a much bigger audience than when these posts were originally published. I wanted to reach my newer audience who would not have seen them.

2. My writing style has changed and my earlier offerings aren’t consistent with the quality (at least, in my opinion) that I produce now.

3. My lifestyle has changed for the better. The negative tone of some of the posts are no longer relevant to my general mindset. Continue reading