Category Archives: Blogging

Trouble Ahead – Stand Up for Equality and Be Counted

There is trouble ahead – times of turmoil, division,
and loss of liberties are invading our lives.
What will we do about it?

trouble-ahead-stand-up-for-equality-and-be-counted-the-last-krystallos

I’m not getting into politics or policy – I’m assuming we all know what is going on throughout the Western World right now – if you don’t, you can scroll Twitter Trends or check out your Facebook newsfeed, or search #Trump for that.

I’ve got friends who have stepped back from politics because they are overwhelmed with the current state of affairs, and others who are stepping forward to fight for their rights and their beliefs. Neither response is wrong, but if we really want to prevent inequality then we need to stand up and be counted.

the-only-thing-necessary-for-the-triumph-of-evil-is-for-good-men-to-do-nothing-edmund-burke-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

There are people across the world, not just in the western world, living in fear for their lives because they are not the majority, or they are different, or they are repressed by regimes and powers that have control.

Those who are strong enough need to protest the status quo, fight the patriarchy, and stand up for civil liberties and human rights. As the rights of those around us diminish – those hard fought for rights that Suffragettes Susan B. Anthony, Emmeline Pankhurst, and movement leaders and activists Martin Luther King Jr, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Sanger and Marie Stopes, Rosa Parks, Malala Yousafzai, and many, many more – battled for.

darkness-and-light-i-have-decided-to-love-martin-luther-king-jr-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

We need to Stand Up for those who can’t.

We must Stand Up for Equality.

We must Stand Up for Gender Equality, Racial Equality, Religious Freedom, the Right to Vote, Consent, Education, Working Conditions, the Control over our own Reproductive Organs, the Right to Safety, the Right to Health Services and Medication, Fairness, and Liberty.

We must Stand Up for those who are discriminated against, whether they are Women, Men, Native Americans, Refugees, Trans, Gay, Young, Old, Poor, no matter what Nationality, Colour, Sexual Preference, or Religion they are or have.

brick-wall-thelastkrystallos-lisa-shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

When walls are being announced, divisions widened, gag orders and censorship put in place, and freedoms curtailed we must Stand Up, we must Stand Up for what we know is right. So, March, Write, Protest, Contact your political representative, and make your Voice Heard.    

acapulco-gold-catatonia

Acapulco Gold – Catatonia

We are Human Beings – Brothers and Sisters – and we are all different but all the same.
Let the same blood that runs through each of us enlarge our
Hearts with Compassion and Love. Stand Up for Love.

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How to Create a Strong Author Platform that Works for You

How do you create a positive and visible author platform?
How do you bring readers to you instead of having to search them out?

How to Create a Strong Author Platform that Works for You - The Last Krystallos
Having published, with or without the help of Traditional Publishing, you will need a platform. The book market is saturated and if you publish and sit back waiting for people to find you and your books, you may be waiting interminably. Even traditional publishers require a huge amount of author input and rely on you having a good social media platform to begin with. So where do you start?

facebook-author-page-lisa-shambrook

I began with Facebook. I had a personal account with strong privacy settings, but that won’t inform the world about your books beyond your friends and family. So, you’ll need a Facebook Page. There’s a lot of debate about whether Facebook’s algorithms make Pages worthwhile, but it’s still a good place to start and build up a following. It’s important to note that unless you and your followers/likers interact it’s unlikely your posts will be seen, so make an effort to interact and post regularly.

Facebook allows you to add several great functions to your Page. The Call to Action button allows you to add a link to your shop/Amazon, so people can immediately find your product. Add the Author Marketing App so you can add your books either manually or via their ISBN and have easy access to all your books from your Facebook page.   

twitter-page-lisa-shambrook

Then there’s Twitter. I cut my teeth on Twitter before anything else. I wanted everyone to know about my book so joined Twitter – I will be forever grateful, though, that I never crammed my twitter feed with my books above interacting. There it is again that word – interact – the most important word on social media. Even if you’re only using social media for marketing, you are building relationships first and foremost. Don’t underestimate the value of friends and relationships online.

Make sure your Twitter Bio is strong, a brief introduction to you and your audience. Add a link directly to your books or website or blog whichever is your primary source for information and sales. And Twitter is the Queen of Hashtags so use them – in your bio and in your tweets – to help people find you and your content.

Some Twitter etiquette advice:
Don’t be the person who Tweets endlessly about your books and nothing else – and don’t RT endlessly everyone else’s books. People will tire of a stream of book ads and will either turn off your RT’s or unfollow you.
Don’t use DM (Direct Messages) unless you are actually contacting someone for a reason, and not to advertise yourself. If you DM me as soon as I follow you with ‘Thanks for following you can find my books (here) and my FB page (here) and please buy my books – because I’m getting desperate…’ then I will unfollow you. Direct Messages are almost sacred and should be used sparingly, as such. By all means when you’re followed tweet the new follower with a welcome message and interact with them, but don’t use DM’s unless you are asking them something that can’t be shared publicly.
I will also unfollow those who Tweet ‘I’ve had 26 unfollowers today – I know who you are…’  Nobody cares who follows or unfollows you and if I see you using this app when I check out your feed before following, you’ll have lost me straight away.
Some people believe Twitter is all about numbers and how many followers you have. Maybe that works. However, I follow someone because I’m interested in what they might have to say not because I just might, and might is the operative word, sell you something. If I had hundreds of thousands of people to follow I’d never be able to interact and to create friendships and relationships, and for me Twitter gave me friends and a writing community which I adore.

google-plus-lisa-shambrook

Google+ is important, more because its content is indexed and it helps you raise your profile and online rankings. I don’t understand a lot about SEO, but I do know that if someone shares your content on Google+ that post will rank higher and can be found within the hugeness of the web much more easily. I find Google+ difficult to work with, but persevere and benefit from it. Create your Brand Page or personal page in a similar way to Facebook and interact.

amazon-com-author-page-lisa-shambrook

Your Amazon Author Page is of utmost importance when you’re starting out. It shows up with your books on their sale pages on Amazon and adds dimension and interest. Think about when you search for a book on Amazon – when it comes up you read the blurb and scroll to check out the author. This is their Amazon Author Page. Go to Amazon Author Central (and there are several: .com, .co.uk and other countries) and fill it out. Link up your blog on the .com site and add your author photo and books. People can also follow you and get updates when you release a book.

pinterest-lisa-shambrook

The next few social media sites are more optional, but worth signing up to and using. Of these Pinterest is the most useful and fun. Pinterest is a giant online noticeboard, you can pin pictures and return to them whenever you wish! Each picture should link to an article or blog post from whence the picture came. Many links are broken on Pinterest, but you can utilise Pinterest by adding great pictures to your own blog posts and adding a ‘Pin It’ tag. Make sure any pictures you use are yours to use and don’t fall foul of copyrights.

instagram-lisa-shambrook

Other useful sites are Flipboard, Stumbleupon, Snapchat and Tumblr. I also love Instagram. Instagram is becoming more useful for marketing as you can post your own ads and personal interest pictures for your followers. Who doesn’t like knowing more about their favourite author’s personal life and what makes them tick or what inspires them? You can share your Instagram pictures on most other social media and spread the love!

Blogs are the best way to get your writing out there and to find new readers. I began blogging on Blogspot, posting my Flash Fiction to a number of sites I followed: Five Sentence Fiction, Visual Dare, Mid Week Blues Buster to name but a few. These sites and exercises helped me to hone my writing and my skills and made me a far better writer than I was. Slowly, my own writing took over my time and my flash fiction decreased.

the-last-krystallos-blog-lisa-shambrook

I re-evaluated my blog and transferred it to WordPress, a site I find much more writer friendly. I had no idea what to post, but blogging is an important way to keep a presence on the internet and to keep my writing public. Often, we writers sit at home and churn out the words, but until a book is released no one sees us and blogging can keep you in the public eye. I decided to pick a few subjects that I loved and wanted to write about, and that fit well with the books I had or was writing. I chose to write about Nature; Mental and Emotional Health; Positivity and Dreams; and writing and reading. Mixed in would be fun posts about whatever took my fancy and flash fiction! I adore nature, the outdoors and its beauty, and nature inspires my writing a great amount, and it meant I could add my own photographs and pictures of flowers and trees! Mental health and reducing its stigma is personally important and I would be able to share my own issues and helps. Dreams and fighting for what you believe is another passion of mine, and all three of these subjects are paramount in my ‘Hope Within’ books, so I love writing and sharing about them!

It’s up to you what you blog, the most important thing is to choose what you love, what’s important to you, and not to get bogged down. You need to love what you’re writing about.

A few tips on blogging:
Love what you write.
Know what you write.
Link back to great sources.
Get and be guest bloggers.
Use your own photographs and pictures to avoid copyright issues, or find free image sites.
Be consistent, in both posting and how you post. Your blog will become part of your brand.

website-lisa-shambrook

Your website is a first stop for most of those searching for you online. They might have seen your business cards, ads, or just heard about you. They need to be able to find you.

Your website might be your blog too. Make sure it’s clean, strong, and consistent with your brand.
I choose to have a Weebly website and a WordPress blog, both link easily to each other via one click. Be sure they do, like me your blog may be named differently to your personal brand, and it needs to be linked. People may find you via your website or blog, so make sure all your social media are linked on both sites. Links to your other media are imperative. Keep them clean and easy to find.

I have several pages on my website: a home page with ads and my author picture; an about page; a book page with links to all my publications; a page of reviews – you can see what readers have thought about my books; a news page; an extras page with downloadables, gallery, fun facts about me, and a few snippets of my flash fiction – try before you buy; and a contact me page with my media kit. I then have direct links to my Blog and Etsy shop!  Make your website fun, informative and accessible.

Once you’ve decided what platforms are important to you, stick with them. You may start using Pinterest and decided it’s not for you. There are no right or wrong answers. No one will force you to interact on Twitter if you hate Twitter! Many people will tell you they sell enough books purely by blogging, or whichever social media suits them. Many will tell you they can’t sell any books despite having every social media set up they can find. You need to learn what works for you. Unfortunately to sell books, you need to market and unless you have a great deal with a publisher right behind you, that job is going to be yours.

The-hope-within-business-cards-lisa-shambrook-books-2015

My last tips are:
Consistency is vital. Use the same author photo across the board on your public platforms. I have a different personal profile pic for my own Facebook, but that’s mine, not my author profile.

On the same note, use the same name. I used to call myself LastKrystallos on Twitter, and you’ll still find The Last Krystallos as my blog name, but changing all my social media to Lisa Shambrook means that I’m much more easily searchable and discoverable. Though my blog is still called The Last Krystallos, you will see that my name and author picture are very visible.

Intersperse your links to your books/blog posts/ads etc with genuine conversation and interaction especially on Twitter and Facebook. You are a person, not a repetitive bot, let people get to know you. If I like someone I’m 100% more likely to buy their writing than if they bombard me with ads and links. Interact.

I hope some of this will be useful to you and will help you create your online presence.
I hope that you’ll interact and discover friends and supporters like I have,
who will delight in both your words and in you yourself!

Let me know if you have any further platform building tips?

Stigma Fighters – Lisa Shambrook

My #InShadowSelfie for Invisible mental and physical illness Awareness © Lisa Shambrook

My #InShadowSelfie for Invisible mental and physical illness Awareness © Lisa Shambrook

It was a privilege to be invited to share my story about living with mental health issues with Stigma Fighters. It’s a fairly raw process with deep reflection, but also very cathartic…

It’s important to me to help fight the stigma of mental and emotional illness.

© Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

Which is why I regularly blog and write on sensitive subjects that have affected my life, and I am committed to bringing awareness to people to avoid and curtail stereotypes and misinformation.

Please read up on some important Emotional and Mental Health issues when you have some time.

And please follow Stigma Fighters on Facebook and Twitter.

Autumn Bliss and my Favourite Hot Chocolate

It was actually September last year that I discovered
my most favourite ever hot chocolate…

I called it chocolate heaven!

autumn-bliss-and-my-favourite-hot-chocolate-the-last-krystallosBekah and I spent a couple of years wandering the streets of Carmarthen trying out all the hot chocolates in town and had fun compiling a ‘Best of’ list, which you can find in the aptly named ‘Hot Chocolate’ in the menu above. We thought we had a winner…then Calon Café and Interiors opened its doors and stole the show. There have possibly been new coffee shops in Carmarthen since, but we haven’t strayed!

Calon Hot Chocolate © Lisa Shambrook

Calon Hot Chocolate © Lisa Shambrook

As many know I suffer clinical depression and severe anxiety and, you know, chocolate helps.

Chocolate contains chemicals which lift moods. It contains phenylethylamine and tryptophan, which both work as antidepressants by combining with dopamine which is naturally present in your brain, and produce serotonin, the neurotransmitter that creates feelings of happiness.

It also contains anandamide, a chemical found in marijuana, but in tiny amounts, nowhere near enough to get you high! Anandamide was discovered by a scientist in 1992. He named it after the Sanskrit word ananda, which means bliss.

Sometimes you need chocolate, and don’t worry you can’t get addicted, no matter how much you crave it!

So, sometimes you can and should indulge, and one of my chosen ways is with a thick Spanish hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream…otherwise, I stock up on Lindt Lindor, Galaxy, Green & Blacks Organic Blood Orange Milk Chocolate, or Riesen…and I love Dairy Box if you’re offering!

This is why I love Calon’s Spanish Hot Chocolate…

Just walking into this coffee shop is a delight. Beautifully rustic, yet modern and comfortable, with earthy colours, wooden and metal tables, an eclectic mix of seating, including wooden chairs and leather sofas. A fire roars beneath the menu boards, and you can even buy the decorative wares that decorate the shop! It also offers conservatory seating in the quiet backstreet where it resides.

The hot chocolate is thick and full of flavour. Generously topped with cream, chocolate dusting and marshmallows if you so choose. Great temperature and great value! The chocolate is like velvet, and creamy, and tastes heavenly. Advertised as Spanish and certainly made me a convert to European hot chocolate…

For the taste alone, it comes out top, and is one of the best hot chocolates I’ve had. Absolute heaven!

Calon Cafe and Interiors, Carmarthen © Lisa Shambrook

Calon Cafe and Interiors, Carmarthen © Lisa Shambrook

Go on, you know you want to…and isn’t autumn the perfect time to wrap up warm
and pop out for the perfect hot chocolate?

What are your favourite chocolates?

How We Lost 8 Stone in a Year – My 365 Days with My Fitness Pal

how we lost 8 stone in year, my 365 days my fitness pal, last krystallos, losing weight, weightloss, Last year, a new phenomenon hit my family’s life – and we lost 112lbs in 365 days.

Bridesmaid Bekah © Lisa Shambrook

Bridesmaid Bekah © Lisa Shambrook

My oldest daughter began using My Fitness Pal to lose weight. She wanted to be a slimmer bridesmaid for her best friend’s wedding, and once we saw the pounds falling away, we joined in!

I’d been unhappy with my rising weight for a while, and though I wasn’t overweight I was far off my preferred mark on the scales. So I decided to follow Bekah’s example and download My Fitness Pal, a free calorie counting app. Several weeks later, after a loss of a fair few pounds, hubby joined in. We very much wanted to return to sizes we were many years ago…

What we once were... © Lisa Shambrook

What we once were 2001… © Lisa Shambrook

Vince was overweight, but not unhappy, just disillusioned with the idea of dieting. He didn’t think he’d stick to a diet, as such, and didn’t believe it would be easy to lose weight. It was seeing Bekah lose a stone (14lbs) that spurred him into action. We explained that calorie counting wasn’t dieting in the sense of banning certain foods, but more about understanding calories, how much we needed to eat and how many calories you needed to allow you to lose weight.

What we were in 2011 and now in 2015 © Lisa Shambrook

What we were in 2011 and now in 2015 (or from cosy to bad ass) © Lisa Shambrook

The recommended calorie intake for a man in the UK is 2,500 Kcal, and a woman 2,000 Kcal, advised by the NHS. My Fitness Pal asks about you, what you weigh, how much weight you want to lose and gives you a daily calorie intake to achieve this*, over a period of time.

*Note: it’s advisable to contact your Dr, when making serious weight loss plans or if you have health problems.

healthy food, salad, egg and bacon salad, soup, watermelon, tomatoes, lettuce, eggs,

© Lisa Shambrook

We soon realised we knew nothing about calories or the amount we were actually eating each day, and, certainly, it was far more than the recommended intake. For our goal weights My Fitness Pal reduced our intake, mine was decreased to 1,200 Kcal, to lose one to two pounds per week. You can adjust the intake to what you desire.

We very quickly learned how many calories lurked in each item of food we bought! We then went about changing our diets. We didn’t eat much processed food to start with, I prefer cooking from scratch, but we did learn that our portions needed to be downsized, fast! We cut our intake of carbohydrates drastically, reducing potatoes, bread, pasta etc by about 80%, and I soon realised I was putting cheese, large amounts, on and in everything! Dairy and carbs were the first things to go. I stopped buying mild cheddar completely, preferring much smaller amounts of good quality mature cheese instead. We switched to semi-skimmed milk, and cut the amount of desserts and chocolate. We didn’t ban anything, but discovered that healthy, low calorie was better for us. We experimented with soups and salads, and lean meat, and cut our portion sizes.

my fitness pal, the last krystallos, keep fit, lose weight, losing weight, weightloss,

My Fitness Pal © Lisa Shambrook

Now, far from making us hungry, the smaller portions helped us appreciate what we were eating and stopped us feeling bloated from ‘too much just because we could’ syndrome. We found low cal snacks and just ate less of what was higher in calories.

My Fitness Pal requires you to fill in what you eat each day and how much you exercise. From that information it predicts what your weight loss will be. It was dead on. The weight began melting away.

trainers, weight loss, tape measure,

© Lisa Shambrook

Six months after starting using the app, we joined the local gym. Up ‘til then our exercise consisted of long dog walks, and as we lost weight, the walks got longer. Now we added a gym plan, and instead of just losing weight, we began to tone. Vince noticed the results most, the strength exercises worked for great muscle development and cardio offered stamina and fitness. Calorie counting to lose weight works, but exercise is the key to maintaining and toning.

My two stones - all gone © Lisa Shambrook

My two stone – all gone © Lisa Shambrook

After nine months, I’d pretty much lost 2 stone (28lbs) and hit a plateau. You can kick start a plateau in several ways, have a few rest days, then step up the exercise, or vary your calories and then reduce for a few days. I plan to lose more, but have decided not to use My Fitness Pal to do so. It taught me everything I need to know and I can count my calories in my head with the knowledge I have. Our family eats much healthier and I don’t feel the need to log it every day. You can find me on My Fitness Pal as lastkrystallos, and I may return to it one day, if those pounds creep up on me!

Vince's weightloss, before, during and after.... © Lisa Shambrook

Vince’s weightloss, before, during and after…. © Lisa Shambrook

So at the end of 365 days, I lost 2 stone (28lbs), Bekah lost 3 stone (42lbs) and so did Vince, a total of 8 stone (112lbs) between us!

We are truly shadows of our former selves who love the vitality and va va voom we’ve caught…now we get out into the fresh air and enjoy it! 

cloud chasing, clouds, wispy clouds, blue sky, the last krystallos, lisa shambrook,

Chase the Clouds © Lisa Shambrook

What are you doing to become healthier, or have you lost weight and how did you do it?   

Who am I, and who are you? A Guide to Being Yourself…

How to be yourself and love who you are…

who am I and who are you, a short guide to being yoursefl, bio, about me, being yourself,

I was in a good place when I began blogging, way back in February 2010, and my very first post was about being happy and being myself.

not-all-wander-lost-the-last-krystallos-tolkienIt had taken a long time to get to a comfortable place within myself. Quoted from my first post: I turned from a quiet and shy schoolgirl, into a teenager caught within a cage of responsibility, desperately trying to assert and rebel, to a young woman finding love and needing acceptance, but I had no idea who I was… I become a wife and a mother, but who was I? In my twenties, I had no idea who I was…now, two decades later, I do.

How do you know who you are?

You be yourself.

Not always easy, and it makes me recall the meme… ‘Always be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn then always be a unicorn.’ We very often try to be something/someone we’re not. The answer is in my quote above…acceptance. Accept who you are, love who you are, be a decent human being, be who you are, and make no apologies for it.

Meyer Briggs 16 personalitiesHow do you tell others who you are?

I remember trying to write bios for my author pages, blog and website, and having no idea how to describe myself. I decided to go poetic for my blog ‘About Me’, and more personal on my website, but it’s difficult to cram your entire personality into a few paragraphs. We, human beings, cannot be described in a matter of a few sentences!

When you write your bios and about me narratives, try to keep to your own style, show who you are within the words you use, and draw people in. Most of all – be yourself!

If you’re anything like me, you love exploring who you are, and I’m often distracted by a plethora of Buzzfeed quizzes! The only one that really hits the point for me, though, is the Myers Briggs test… so indulge and see what you are with one or all of these Myers Briggs versions: Personality WorldPrelude Character Analysis and 16 Personalities…enjoy!

Her sentences were icebergs - Gregory Galloway

And, so, what am I?

I am compassionate, an observer, a writer, a thinker, and a dreamer. I believe in myself. I’m an idealist and a perfectionist. I’m an artist, with an eye for beauty and elegance. I’m a loner, a star-gazer, a cloud-watcher, a wanderer, and a romantic. I’m emotion and love. I am waves upon the ocean, the wind in the trees, and the morning sun resting on your skin. I am broken and unfinished. I am whole. I am INFJ, I’m intricate, and I’m complicated. I am lost and found, and a cliché. I’m an empath, an introvert and a warrior…and, oh, so much more.

 And what are you?

Burn with the Brightest Flame and Believe in Yourself…

Dream big, and you can be anything…

dream big, burn with the brightest flame, believe in yourself,  the last krystallos,

Driving home last week, through the most beautiful welsh countryside, I felt on top of the world, truly amazing! I was thinking how blessed I and my family are living our dreams. What a great feeling…and then The Script and Will I Am came on with ‘Hall of Fame’, and I realised just how true the lyrics read.

“You can go the distance. You can run the mile. You can walk straight through hell with a smile. You can be the hero. You can get the gold. Breaking all the records they thought never could be broke.
Yeah, do it for your people, do it for your pride. How are you ever gonna know if you never even try?
Do it for your country, do it for your name, ’cause there’s gonna be a day…
When you’re standing in the hall of fame, and the world’s gonna know your name, cause you burn with the brightest flame, and the world’s gonna know your name, and you’ll be on the walls of the hall of fame…”

It’s what I’ve always believed…you can do anything, be anything…
but, you’ve got to live your dreams…

castle on a cloud, lisa shambrook, the last krystallos, clouds,

Dreaming of the castle on a cloud © Lisa Shambrook

There was a time, many years ago, when I was a shy little thing and I let my dreams escape. I didn’t believe my dreams were worth dreaming. My default was to put aside my own feelings but be sure to fix everyone else. This continued from early childhood into my teens, where I allowed someone else’s preference push me to a different path than the one I wanted, and then on into adulthood.

I became the mother with holes in my boots for a decade because I refused to buy myself a new pair, deeming everyone else more important. There’s a time and a place for others to take priority, but that should never be a permanent condition!

My family © Lisa Shambrook

My family © Lisa Shambrook

As I hit a breakdown and emerged, still snow blinded, the other side, I began to be coaxed by my wonderful husband and children into believing in myself. Now I know that I’m important too, that my dreams are worth dreaming, and more than that, they’re worth putting into action!

There’s nothing I want more for my children than for them to live their dreams…

My oldest is extremely talented and enthusiastic, and always threw caution to the wind when embracing her dreams! She lacked direction, but as she’s matured, her direction evolves and her plans are coming to fruition. We’ve been able to instil self-belief and a confidence I only wish I’d had thirty years ago! She’s recently had the strength to do something my younger version would have cowered from, which is to close some of her enterprises and head towards a new ambition. She stands with assurance and ability and dreams. My soul bursts with pride as I see my child grow and plan and act towards her new horizon…

My son is moving into an exceptional period of his life. He struggled greatly at school, and had some real soul searching to discover what he wanted to do once he left. He has since excelled in the work he’s done, to the point that his employer would love him to stay on at work, but he’s made a decision to explore life. He has, of his own volition, decided to serve a ministering mission for the church which we belong to. This means accepting a call to preach in a place he’s never been. He’s been called to serve in Halifax, Canada for the period of two years, and he is bursting with excitement and opportunity, and so am I…

My youngest is still at school and of an age where I struggled to be anything but a shy little bird. Exams and subjects she’s not keen on bury her, and I see her heart trying to decide where it lies. Those middle teens are years I’d not choose to return to, but they are the years where you grow, where you begin to learn who you are and where you want to go. These are the years where my daughter will begin to grow wings, to emerge from within and to want to fly. These are the years when I will refuse to stand in her way, and I will encourage with everything that I have, just as I have with her siblings, to be just who she will be. ..

© Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

My husband and I both waited years to begin to achieve. I lived with clipped and broken wings for many years, but I want my children to believe in themselves, to spread their wings and fly.

To do that they, and we, need to dream, and dream big!

To quote The Script again “Be students, be teachers, be politicians, be preachers, be believers, be leaders, be astronauts, be champions, be truth seekers…” and we can, we can be all of those, if we just dream and believe!

Did you get encouragement to believe in yourself?

Have you achieved what you set out to do, or is it an ongoing goal?

Share your dreams and encouragement…

What’s in a name? Choosing your social media brand…

How do you choose your social media brand,
the name you’re going to be known and recognised as?

what's in a name, choosing your social media name, how to choose a social media name, twitter name,
Many new to social media and those looking to brand themselves online wonder where to start when asked to choose a name.

For some it will make sense to stick closely to your given name, especially if you’re a writer or your product bears your own name. For others you can introduce a little more fun or intrigue, whichever you prefer!

The Last Krystallos © Lisa Shambrook

The Last Krystallos © Lisa Shambrook

When I first joined Twitter, I was shy and was faced with quickly choosing a name to sign up with. I grabbed my favourite dragon and title of a yet to be finished novel, and became @LastKrystallos.

I had no idea how important this name would become to me.

When I began writing my series of dragon adventure novels over a decade ago, I researched names to call my dragons. I have several, which I won’t name here, but as my last Krystallos has been out there for a while, I’ll talk about him.

Kryos, my last Krystallos and my social media moniker*, is a dragon that lives within my fantasy tales…he’s been featured in several Flash Fictions: Love, and Memories, and the latter piece placed in a contest. I wanted a name that meant something to me, that would be instantly recognisable and that people would ultimately connect with me.

Last Krystallos Publishing

Last Krystallos Publishing

*I joined Twitter back in 2011 and have since become @LastKrystallos on Instagram, I am The Last Krystallos on Flickr and eBay, on my now defunct Blogspot and on WordPress. I comment on Blogger blogs with Last Krystallos, and write flash fiction under it, and many other sites also are familiar with my nickname. I use my own name on Pinterest and Google+. I am also owner of the Last Krystallos Publishing imprint and both myself and my books are linked intrinsically to the name.

If you Google Krystallos you can find me, and if you searchLast Krystallos, it will be pretty much predominately my sites. I’ve also tagged almost all my online photographs with the name too, so they appear quickly within image search parameters.

My Blog banner containing my blog name and branding... © Lisa Shambrook

My Blog banner containing my blog name and branding… © Lisa Shambrook

Now what does this say? Firstly, your name will spread, it will appear across the span of the internet faster than you think and once there, it will remain. Secondly, that your choice is of great importance. If your name is out there, you need to be sure it’s the name you want and are comfortable with.

My website - note consistent photo, colours and imagery © Lisa Shambrook

My website – note consistent photo, colours and imagery © Lisa Shambrook

Consistency is very important. My branding of Lisa Shambrook as the Last Krystallos is successful; the two names will always be associated. I am careful that across my social media I use the same names, the same photographs, logos, and images. For instance, this blog has the same background as my website and I use the same author photograph to identify myself. You’ll find different photos on my personal Facebook page, but my Author Page and in general my social media will be easily identifiable as mine. Your social media are an extension of you and recognition is paramount.

Also remember, as you progress you will need to periodically update. When you change your professional media photograph remember to change it across your media.  

So, when choosing your name:

Be sure you think about what you want to be known as, it’s going to be very difficult to change once it’s out there. Is it memorable, can people spell it?   

Choose carefully and research the name you want to use. Don’t choose a name that is already associated with another person or product, or you may drown amid their surge. For instance if someone wanted to brand themselves Krystallos, one Google search would show my social media presence and my association may damage theirs, or vice versa. Also, none of us want to tread on someone else’s feet!

Research the meaning of the name you wish to use, be sure it has no derogatory connotations or hidden meanings.

Find a name and stick with it, be sure to use it across the board so you can be instantly connected to that signature. 

Have fun with it, even if you use your own name, you can find an identifiable tag line. Play with ideas, but take your time to choose the right one.

Short and sweet, memorable and different, unusual and intrinsically you…what suits you?

What are some of the more memorable names out there? Why did you choose the name you have?

*EDITED August 2015: I have since decided to change my opinion on Twitter and Instagram particularly. I am now known as @LisaShambrook on Twitter and Instagram.

The reasons are to offer more consistent branding and to be more easily discovered. After all, if my books are known by my name, and they are, then that’s what readers will search. I stand by my love and reasons for The Last Krystallos and my blog will remain the same as it is my personal place. However, I do agree that using your own name, especially as an author, will ultimately make your brand stronger and more identifiable. Make it work for you, but keep it easy to find!