Heaven Calling Blog Series – Part 3 #Comedy #Heaven #ComedyWriter 

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Welcome to my comedy blog series – Heaven Calling.

This series is out every Thursday on BlondeWriteMore. 

For Part 1 – please click here.

For Part 2 – please click here.

Quick recap: Camilla’s enjoyment of heaven life came to an abrupt end after she discovered her husband Gerry had started dating. He’d spent two years grieving her.

Two years felt a little short to Camilla. In view of her amazing wife skills she was expecting Gerry to grieve for at least twenty years.

With her own team of angel assistants; Anna and Gabriel plus God’s help, Camilla is certain she can influence the outcome of Gerry’s dates from heaven.

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Heaven Calling – Part 1 New Fictional Series #Comedy #Chicklit #WomensFiction

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Welcome to my new weekly fictional series – Heaven Calling.  

Writing novels is hard and sometimes a writer needs to have a break. This is like a mini break for me. I miss creating a fictional blog series and getting the chance to write a new chapter each week.

This is meant to be a comedy but I am sat here wondering whether anyone will find it funny. If it tanks I will just have to write something else. Sigh.

It will be out every Thursday on BlondeWriteMore.com.

Check out part 1 below.

I hope you enjoy getting to know Camilla and Gerry.

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How To Keep Smiling Through Tough Writing Patches #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation

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I’m currently going through a tough writing patch and to my amazement I am still smiling!

If I had endured this struggle last year I think I would have quit and thrown myself into hand painting egg shells with bits of watercress growing out of them. I can’t paint to save my life, nor can I grow any sort of plant, other than a good strong weed, but after experiencing the rigours of the literary world I feel this hobby would bring me some creative calmness. 

Here are some ideas on how to keep smiling through tough writing patches. These are currently working for me so they have been road tested.

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Author Interviews @Writeright4u #author #WritersLife #AmWriting

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Welcome to my weekly blog series – Author Interviews. 

In this series I get the chance to interview some fab authors and glean some insight into their writing life, their motivations and the challenges that they have overcome with writing their books.

This week I am super excited as 2 x award-winning paranormal mystery thriller author Kimberly Brouillette has taken the time to come sit in my chair!  Squeal!

I don’t think I have interviewed many paranormal writers in this series, so I am bubbling with excitement and I can’t wait to hear how Kimberly gets her inspiration for her fabulous books.

I do love it when award-winning authors agree to let me interview them – sigh!

Hey Kimberly – welcome to the BlondeWriteMore blog, please take a seat. 

Tell my readers about yourself and the book / books you have written:

I have written 2 award-winning, paranormal murder mysteries:

I was also contributing editor for ‘Abram’s Journey: Quest for the Man in the Stars,’ written by Pamilla S. Tolen. For the past 12 years, I have edited numerous books for Comfort Publishing and various authors.

When did you write your first book?

I actually co-authored my first book, ‘Secrets in the Shallows’ (Book 1, The Monastery Murders) with Karen Vance Hammond in September, 2013. I wrote my second book, “Devil in the Details’ (Book 2, The Monastery Murders) on my own and released it in August, 2015.

Both books have won the 2014 and 2015 Paranormal Awards for fictional literature, respectively. Currently, I am finishing my third book in the same series, ‘Method in the Madness,’ which is scheduled to be released fall 2016.

Wow love your awards!

How long did it take to write your first book?

‘Secrets in the Shallows’ and ‘Devil in the Details’ each took approximately 18 months to complete. I hope to finish ‘Method in the Madness’ in only 13 months.

Working full-time at my day job at a regional magazine only allows me to spend nights and weekends on my personal projects.

What was your motivation to write your first book?

‘Secrets in the Shallows’ was inspired originally by a nightmare that my co-author for book 1, Karen Vance Hammond, had experienced. 

The prologue for book 1 is directly taken from that scary dream. Once Karen and I began working on the first book of the series, we developed a paranormal murder mystery that has been called a combination of Hitchcock’s suspense and Christie’s mystery with a dash of King’s horror.

Book 1 does end with a cliffhanger, however the story continues into the second book, ‘Devil in the Details,’  where the actual killer is finally revealed with a twist. The back story which explains why everything began in the first place will unfold in book 3, ‘Method in the Madness.’

What writing issues did you encounter along the way and how did you overcome them?

I learned a great deal throughout the process of writing this entire series. Even though I had previously edited a number of books, I made the mistake of trying to edit the first book, initially. After some harsh reviews concerning my typos, I quickly realized that it was not the wisest choice, so I hired an editor to work on ‘Secrets in the Shallows.’ It was re-released in August 2015. It is so easy to become blind to your own work. I have learned my lesson and won’t attempt that again.

Did you go through any bad writing patches during writing your book – what kept you going?

When I began working on book 2, ‘Devil in the Details,’ Karen Vance Hammond, my co-author of ‘Secrets in the Shallows,’ had some significant life changes due to a family member’s health. The adjustment process that resulted caused the project to slow down considerably for a few months. When we realized that her situation wasn’t going to change quickly, Karen released the project to me so that I could finish it in a timely manner. Since then, I have continued working on this series for the past 2 1/2 years on my own.

Are you a plotter or do you just write / see what happens?

I have a general sense of where the story is going to end up, however there are many aspects to the story which change along the way, especially with a mystery. Originally, I attempted to plan everything out for most of the book. However, once I started writing, I realized that it isn’t uncommon for me to gain wonderful inspiration as I’m working on the story.

If I move too far ahead of where I am at in the story, then I may have worked many hours on chapter summaries which may not be written. For this reason, I have developed what I call as the headlight method  By this I mean, I have a general map which allows me to know where I’m heading, however the specific routes I take can change.

I will write chapter summaries for about 15-20 chapters at a time and focus on those chapters until they are completed.

Basically, I only write as far as I can see using my headlights, or chapter summaries. Once I finish those chapters, I repeat the possess until I complete the book.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

It’s hard to reduce the best thing about being an author down to a single aspect. However, if I must, then I would say that the best thing about being a writer is having the ability to create a wonderful, tangible story from your own mind and then share it with the world. Inspiring words can be eternal if they are shared. How many thousands of authors claim that Charles Dickens has inspired their own works, almost 150 years after his death? A captivating or inspiring book can become a legacy which continues to endure, even after the writer is long gone.

What is the worst thing about being a writer?

I believe one of the worst things about being a writer is that there is so much required in order to become a successful writer which has little to do with the writing itself. Since I have a day job, my available writing time is already limited. Combine that with the normal responsibilities of life and family time, then there is even fewer hours that I am free to write. That time is reduced even more by the need to promote my books via social media, write blog articles and conduct author interviews on websites, radio shows and podcasts.

Unlike most authors, I am also a graphic designer, so I save a great deal of expense by designing my own book covers, bookmarks and any promotional materials, but again, my time is reduced significantly. Due to my available time or looming deadlines on some days, I must choose between designing my book related graphics, writing my book manuscripts or promoting them. My ultimate dream is to be able to focus my attention on all aspects of my books by becoming a successful, full-time author. I realize that the responsibilities for my writing career wouldn’t change, but I would have more time available to spend actually writing.

Have you ever considered quitting writing, and if so how have you worked through this?

I only started focusing on my own books within the past 6 years and have no plans on stopping any time soon. As of right now, I have approximately 7-10 years worth of projects in mind. On top of that, I have many additional ideas for screenplays, novellas and short stories that I haven’t even begun. I’ve found that I am happiest when I am able to be creative. Writing is one of the outlets I need to be content, so I will continue as long as I have a story in my head.

What does a typical writing day look like for you?

I basically alluded to this when I spoke about the worst thing about being a writer. I would never say there is a typical writing day for me. My writing days can vary greatly, due to whether I have other responsibilities that I need to focus on. Whenever possible, I try to spend my time between 9 p.m. and  1 a.m. writing on my current project.

However, should I have a radio show interview or need to design a new marketing graphic, then I may not spend as much of that time actually writing.

Do you suffer from procrastination and if so how do you handle it?

The biggest contributing factor for any procrastination directly relates to social media. As I mentioned before, social media is a large aspect of my promotional activities. It does require continual self-discipline so that I don’t spend too much time on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. I have my good days and less successful ones, in that regard. The upside is that even if I do spend more time than I should on social media, it is usually to help promote my books, so it isn’t a waste of time.

Which is more important – plot or characters and why?

I don’t believe one is more important without the other. In order to create a truly remarkable story, both are needed. Should one or the other be less significant in the story, then it will show in the reviews.

I believe that realistic characters who enable the reader to empathize, rejoice and cry will make a story worth reading. However, if the plot isn’t very original or creative, then those wonderful characters will fall flat in the reader’s mind.

A great writer knows how to utilize original plots and memorable characters to create a world where the reader can escape to and never want to leave.

Do you have any tips or advice for budding aspiring authors?

  • First and foremost, I recommend that aspiring authors spend a great deal of time actually READING the works of great authors. Try to take in a variety of genres, not just the ones that you usually are drawn to.
  • Allow yourself to read for multiple reasons. Find a new appreciation for different styles, formats, perspectives, approaches and themes. There are so many rules on writing which were written long ago. Some of those rules may need to be broken in order to unleash your true potential.
  • Develop your own writing style that makes your work unique. Discover the true reason you want to write and then do whatever you need to in order to reach your goals.
  • Above all, don’t become stuck in the mire of self-defeat. Only you can stop you.

Do you suffer from writer’s block and if so how do you overcome?

I would not say that I suffer from writer’s block. Whenever I find that I am unable to work on a certain part of my book due to lack of the right inspiration, I simply begin working on another aspect of it. Fortunately for me, my books have dream scenes, differing time lines and even multiple point-of-views (MPOV), so it is not very difficult to focus on another segment. I determine which part I am most inspired to write at that time and then begin writing.

I will add that there have been times when I was unable to write on specific parts of the book, or even certain characters, due to a need for inspiration. For example, in my current project, ‘Method in the Madness,’ I was unable to write the prologue for three months due to the fact that I have set a PG-13 standard for my books. I had to determine the correct approach to deal with a very violent and delicate matter in the story line. While the specific inspiration eluded me for that part, I went ahead and wrote the next five chapters, which involved another time line.

When I desperately am seeking a story line epiphany, I have found that riding our motorcycle has allowed me to be able to get away from the world just long enough to find the creative spark I need. There is something that happens when I’m able to block everything from my mind which allows new ideas to spring forth.

What do you wear to write?

I like to be as comfortable as I can be as I write. It’s not unusual to write in a loose t-shirt and shorts, or even my Pj’s. I don’t want to be more concerned with what I’m wearing than what I’m writing.

If readers want to get in touch how do they contact you?

I am very accessible via Facebook, Twitter, Good Reads, Instagram, Pinterest, E-mail and my author blog. My books are available via paperback and Kindle on Amazon and most standard book outlets. Autographed paperbacks are only available directly through me (e-mail for more information).

See below for the links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KimberlyBrouillette.Author.Editor/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/writeright4u

Good Reads: www.goodreads.com/Kimberly_Brouillette

Instagram Profile: AuthorKimberlyB

Pinterest Profile: www.pinterest.com/kimbrouillette

Author Blog: www.kimberlybrouillette.com/on-the-ragged-edge.html

E-mail: info@kimberlybrouillette.com

 

 

Thank you Kimberly! 

Fantastic interview. 

Ok, I have so many things to take from this. 

  • I love how you were inspired by a nightmare to write one of your books. Brilliant! 
  • I LOVE your headlight method and I am hoping you will come back and do me a guest post on that as it sounds really useful. As a writer who hates planning but needs some sort of direction this method appeals to me.
  • OMG you have 7-10 years worth of projects in mind! How does your brain cope? 
  • Your tips for aspiring authors are great! 
  • I can relate to having a story line epiphany moment and I love how you get on a motorcycle to get your creative juices going. 

Thanks again 🙂

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Photo Credit: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/79577679@N00/5448848999″>the chair in the attic</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Author Interviews @EdDavey1  #Writers #Writerslife #Author

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Welcome to my weekly blog series – Author Interviews. 

Each week I invite an author to sit in my red chair and tell me about how they write their books, the challenges that they overcome and their writer habits.

This week I am thrilled to announce that BBC Radio4 journalist Ed Davey is sat in my red chair. In his spare time Ed writes mind-blowing thrillers. They combine history and crazy adventure travel. I LOVE what he has done with the thriller genre.

So, grab a coffee, get comfy and let’s go meet Ed. This interview is going to be pretty special.

Ed, welcome to my blog!  

Tell the readers of BlondeWriteMore about yourself and the book / books you have written

I’m a journalist at the BBC who loves history and crazy adventure travel. A few years ago in a lecture at the British Museum I discovered that the ancient Etruscans – a little known civilisation that was the precursor to Rome – believed you could predict the future by studying bolts of lightning. The shape of the lightning bolts, where they hit, the date of the strike. The hairs on the back of my neck went up! There’s something so otherworldly about this belief that instantly captivated me. Rome inherited lightning prophecy from the Etruscans after their civilisation fell, and that too I found astounding. For a people who were so advanced – so like us in so many ways, from law to democracy to our aesthetics – to have adhered to this pagan science for centuries? It blew me away. Then and there I decided to write a thriller on the premise that lightning prophecy actually works.

The result was Foretold by Thunder, which came out last year – my first published book. It’s based in the present, but looks back to the ancient world and Nazi Germany, with a slight sci-fi edge to it. The action takes place in London, Turkey, Ethiopia and Rome; all the predicting the future stuff allowed me to get into some really interesting questions about fate and free will.

The sequel – titled The Napoleon Complex – has just been published. I think it’s a darker and more multifaceted book than the first. There are more subplots, more ethical uncertainties, more going on. I tried to make all the baddies and henchmen three-dimensional characters too, with their own motivations, the belief they are the good guys. I don’t want to give too much away, but I decided to spice things up a bit by including a maniacal Prime Minister who hopes to rebuild the British Empire by very foul means indeed …

When did you write your first book?

This was an unpublished novel I penned back in 2008. It’s the tale of two British backpackers who get kidnapped by pirates on the Amazon. When Stockholm Syndrome kicks in they begin to identify with their kidnappers and eventually became pirates themselves, sparking a worldwide tabloid race to find them. I suppose in many ways it was a bit of a naïve book, however many of the elements that are present in Foretold by Thunder and The Napoleon Complex were there. Principle among these was the inclusion of surprising, exotic and sometimes dangerous locations, all of which I have researched on the ground for authenticity. For The Napoleon Complex, I visited Sierra Leone, Burundi, Tanzania, Israel, Thailand and Austria … and even got chased by a hippo in West Africa. (I had to climb a tree to escape!) The idea is that I visit some madcap places so you don’t have to …

How long did it take to write your first book?

It took about a year to first draft, with another couple of months editing. For my subsequent books – which have a strong historical element – you can add another nine months of pure research onto that before I write a single chapter. And I spend a lot longer on the edit too now, at least six months. I have a full-time job as a journalist for the BBC, so let’s just say I don’t spend masses of time relaxing in front of the telly each week …

What was your motivation to write your first book?

I love reading unashamedly ripping yarns that zoom around the world – escapist adventure stories against a backdrop of mystery and intrigue. For some reason there’s a strange dearth of classic adventure fiction being published nowadays, perhaps it’s seen as a little old-fashioned. One of my favourite authors is Wilbur Smith, who does the swashbuckling adventure travel stuff better than I ever could. But alongside strapping, six-foot five hunks (deadly in combat and irresistible to women), I think the flawed, humble, everyday chap deserves a place in fiction too. My hope is that readers will identify with an unassuming hero thrown into an extraordinary setting and unstoppable chain of events. I couldn’t find anyone else writing those sort of main characters in the swashbuckling adventure fiction format, so did it myself.

What writing issues did you encounter along the way and how did you overcome them?

My unpublished novels included comedic elements, which in hindsight I don’t think worked in a thriller context. So that’s something I removed from my later novels, which I hope are more unsettling and dark. I also used to overwrite copiously, using about twenty adjectives in a sentence when none would do! I’m certainly not averse to using the odd adjective nowadays, but the word count is so much lower without masses of them clogging up the page. With just as much happening in the plot but 15,000 less adjectives the whole is a far pacier read.

Did you go through any bad writing patches during writing your book – what kept you going?

Writing The Napoleon Complex – my first sequel – was a particular challenge. How much of the story from the first book to retell? How to take the characters on another convincing internal journey, when all the loose ends were (hopefully!) tied up and resolved in the denouement of Foretold by Thunder? How to create new tension with the fundamental mystery of the series already out there? The most important thing is that I was determined that the book could stand alone, and that the reader doesn’t have to have read the first novel to make sense of it. I wanted it to be a sequel that you could pick of the shelf and get stuck into without having read book one. This was a fine balancing act, so I had to write, write and re-write.

Are you a plotter or do you just write / see what happens?

I embarked on my first (unpublished) book with only the barest notion of how it would end, but now I’m a complete convert to plotting. I create a word document with bullet points for each chapter, every development mapped out; I also create character profiles, plotting the internal journey of each protagonist so that these intersect with the main plot. I think it’s impossible to create a thriller with lots of twists, turns and reveals without plotting it all out in advance – you’d have to be some kind of Mozart of the typewriter.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

When you get that first sense that maybe – just maybe – your plot is working and it’s all coming together. And in the research stage, when you make those fist-pumping discoveries – real historical events that fit perfectly into the plot you’ve got planned. I use only genuine historical events and documents as evidence of the entirely fictional conspiracies at the heart of my books, so it can take a lot of reading and hunting about before I find the smoking gun document I’m looking for.

What is the worst thing about being a writer?

The extent to which gaining any kind of traction with your work feels like a lottery that you are utterly powerless to control.

Have you ever considered quitting writing, and if so how have you worked through this?

Yes. I wrote two novels that I was unable to find a publisher for, before finally getting lucky with the third (I decided against self-publishing, though I may yet do that one day). So I certainly had my fair share of setbacks before Duckworth took a chance on me.

My second unpublished novel was about a hunt for the Great Library of Alexandria, which I wrote in 2011. I researched the period painstakingly and flew out to Egypt to visit all the locations involved at considerable expense. Two agents were interested, and for a while I really thought I had a chance of getting representation for it – only for Pan Macmillan to sign A.M. Dean’s The Lost Library, killing my chances stone dead. I had written 85,000 words and it was back to square one.

After a period of mourning I dusted myself off and wrote Foretold by Thunder, the first of the Book of Thunder series, encouraged all the way by one of those two agents (the other had left the profession). When I finished it, convinced it was my best work, she rejected the manuscript almost immediately. I was so devastated that I didn’t send it out to any other agents. I had officially thrown in the towel; Foretold by Thunder sat in my drawer for more than a year. Then in 2013 I met someone completely by chance (on the day Andy Murray first won Wimbledon!) who knew Robin Wade of the RWLA agency. She introduced me to him, and with nothing to lose I sent it to across, which is how I got my first book deal. I signed the contract in 2014 … seven years and more than 350,000 words after first setting out to get published. So I cannot emphasise this strongly enough: NEVER GIVE UP!

What does a typical writing day look like for you?

Get up early-ish. Have a light breakfast and two strong cups of coffee. Go for a run, thinking about the chapter I’m about to write so my brain is buzzing with ideas, images and phrases before I start typing. Then sit down and bash out 2,000 words in two hours. After that I cannot write another word for at least three days; I need space to let the next chapter permeate through my mind and new treatment ideas occur to me. If I have time I go for a workout and a sauna before writing – even better than a run. The sauna/steam bath is my secret weapon!

Do you suffer from procrastination and if so how do you handle it?

No – once I’ve embarked upon a novel I write two chapters a week – every week – until it’s finished. (With breaks for a much-needed holiday every now and then!)

Which is more important – plot or characters and why?

That’s a very hard question to answer as both are of the essence when it comes to fiction. But at a scrape I’d say plot (for the commercial thriller genre only, this certainly is not the case for literary fiction). One of the things that I got wrong in my unpublished books is that I focused too much on plot, while neglecting character somewhat. It sounds obvious, but if you can marry them together you’re onto a winner.

What have been your 3 biggest learnings during your writing career?

  • The importance of character development, and how this must be intrinsically linked to key moments in the plot.
  • Restraint in my prose. The writers I look up to most – John Le Carré, Frederick Forsyth or Robert Harris, say – write beautiful and elegant sentences, and are not averse to the odd unusual word or adjective. But these are only deployed in highly controlled circumstances. I’ve earned that the most important thing is that the writing is clear and efficient and never brings you out of the story.
  • Be lucky.

How do you manage social media as a writer?

I tweet things on a daily basis, but I’m not convinced I make a particularly good fist of it! I see many self-published authors with vast social media followings and book sales that far outstrip my own and I’m in awe of how they do it. Perhaps I’m just a tedious tweeter!

Do you have any tips or advice for budding aspiring authors?

  • Try to persuade someone who doesn’t know you to read your work – you’ll never get objective criticism from friends or family. Don’t be precious about your prose in any way – learn from all the advice you’re lucky enough to get, don’t be defensive, be willing change things.
  • When you are writing the first draft, bathe your mind in the very best exponents of prose there are: Roald Dahl or Winston Churchill, say.
  • Contact experts in the field you are writing about and try to lure them to meet you for a coffee – some unexpected detail will emerge from your meeting that you could not possibly have invented, which will give your novel more authenticity.
  • Change the font in your manuscript before you edit the first draft, it’s much easier to put yourselves in the mind of a fresh reader and you’ll spot things you’d otherwise have missed.

Do you suffer from writer’s block and if so how do you overcome?

I used to but not anymore. My only advice is just to crack on and try to push through it. If the worst comes to the worst, go for a run and try again.

Do you ever think of the next book whilst writing?

Always – I have a permanent list of about four or five novels I’m considering writing next, jostling to be the one that gets written. The book I’ve just started work on, The Sapien Paradox, is a thriller about prehistory that’s been bubbling away in the back of my mind for a decade now.

What do you wear to write?

I dress up as a zebra.

Wow Ed – my blonde brain is boggling! Thanks for a great interview. 

Your interview is jam-packed with useful stuff. 

Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. I must try this sauna / steam before writing approach. Especially if I end up writing two chapters a week. 
  2. I also believe that the flawed, humble, everyday chap deserves a place in fiction too. Who wants to read about strapping, six-foot five hunks anyway?
  3. Your writing tips are fab!  The one about changing the font at editing sounds interesting. Seeing as I am about to start wading through my first draft I might try this. 
  4. I love your ‘just crack on!’ approach to writer’s block. 
  5. I am sure the readers of BlondeWriteMore will be disappointed at not getting a pic of you dressed as a zebra. Sigh!

Ed – fab interview and thx again! 

Good luck with the book promo

If you ever fancy doing a guest blog post on writing tips please let me know 🙂

If you are an author (published or self published) and would like to sit in my chair and be part of this popular series please get in contact with me! 

For more great interviews check out my Author Interview page. 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/79577679@N00/5448848999″>the chair in the attic</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

20 Fab Writing Tips From 20 Author Interviews #Writingtips #WeekendBlogShare

Author Interviews

This week I am having a rest from my Author Interview Series and reflecting on the useful insight gleaned from these interviews.

I am so grateful to all the authors who have taken the time to share their book writing experiences with me.

You can find all the interviews by clicking here. 

In each interview I asked for some handy writing tips for aspiring new writers. I thought it would be great to summarise these in one useful post.

These are great tips from people who have actually written books. They have all experienced the many challenges that come from writing a novel and have come out the other side …smiling and proudly clutching their beloved book.  Sigh!

So, here are 20 writing tips from the first 20 authors interviewed as part of my blog series – Author Interviews.

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The Blonde Creative Agony Aunt #writers #WritingTips

 

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When I am not writing my debut novel I like to transform into a Blonde Creative Agony Aunt.

I like to help troubled writers resolve matters of the heart.

My qualifications for being a Blonde Creative Agony Aunt are:

  • I like to talk a lot.
  • I like to give advice on things which I don’t know much about.
  • I consider myself to be a very creative person. (sigh!)
  • I care about my readers.

Here is the email from this week’s troubled Blondewritemore reader:

Continue reading

Different Blogger Reactions to Winning an Award #BloggersBash #bloggers

Different Blogger Reactions to Winning an Award

Picture this. You are at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards waiting to hear whether you have won an award.

After weeks of campaigning for votes you are broken and a shadow  of your former self.

Added to this, the cruel committee members have left your category to the end of the awards ceremony – as if you need more pain inflicted upon you! 

You check your competition one last time. They are all great bloggers! Cue sinking feeling. 

You know that you struggle to contain your emotions on a daily basis. Those self help books better pay off!  

“Must not let my emotions run away with me!” you whimper. “Must keep up the image of being….all there mentally!”

Nerves and emotion build inside you as the Committee members announce the results of the votes in your category. 

Your heart pounds in your chest, your mouth runs dry and a nervous blogger next to you squeezes your clammy hand.

When the committee members reveal that you are the winner – how do you react?

I was lucky enough to be at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards 2016 at the weekend and there were some different reactions from winning bloggers.

  1. The Cool as a Cucumber Blogger. The news of your victory does not faze you. With the hint of a smile you walk calmly to the front to collect your prize.
  2. The Grinning Blogger. The news of your victory brings a huge grin to your face. You bound up to the front and maybe raise a hand to your applauding fans.
  3. The Delighted Blogger. With a hop, skip and a jump you race up to the front and hug every committee member on the stage before accepting your prize.
  4. The Air Punch Blogger. You leap up from your seat and roar ‘YESSSSSS!’ This is quickly followed by some rapid air punches. Unable to contain yourself you charge up to the front (air punching as you go). You snatch the prize from the shocked looking committee member and race back to your corner, still air punching. Once seated another blogger has to quietly tell you to stop air punching.

 

I will let you decide on how I reacted to the news that I had won Funniest Blogger.

Think about how calm and collected I am on this blog! Sigh! 

Thank you for all your support. I have been blessed with some great readers and followers. 

Photo Credit: Seth Doyle via Unsplash

Tina’s Writer Diary – The Writing Retreat #Writer #comedy

 

tinas-writer-diary

 

Thursday

9.23 a.m. Keith, my partner, knows which of my literary buttons to press to get me going.

One of Keith’s mother’s friends has a cottage by the sea, which she occasionally rents out for free to family and friends.

On Sunday Keith suggested that I should go away for a few days, on my own, and finish writing my book ‘Beautiful & Kidnapped’.

I shrieked with joy at the prospect of finally becoming a proper author, who locks themselves away in an idyllic place to finish their novel. All the big literary names do this.

Unable to control my euphoria I leapt up from my chair and launched myself into the air at Keith, lying on the sofa.

After spending a couple of hours at the Accident & Emergency department of our local hospital and hearing a medical professional reassure Keith that his back wasn’t broken, we returned home to give his idea some thought.

Keith made a few phone calls, to his mother Pamela and then to Sandra, the woman who owns the cottage. It was agreed that I would travel down on Thursday and come back Monday, with a completed novel.

I spent the rest of Sunday wandering about in a daze visualising what it was going to be like waking up in my cottage, throwing open the window shutters, greeting the world, bursting into a joyful song and then settling down to write… twenty four thousand words in four days.

The rest of the week has been spent compiling my ‘to do’ list, whilst away at the cottage.

Keith was surprised to see that I was making a ‘to do’ list.

“Do you not think writing twenty thousand words in four days is going to be enough love?” he asked, whilst devouring his Turkey burger.

I shook my head and carried on scribbling.

“What’s on your ‘to do’ list then?” he asked, before taking a huge bite of his burger.

“Write some amazing posts for my blog, which will make out I am a writer who lives and writes by the sea, collect shells, take some arty Instagram photos using the shells and do a night-time skinny dip!”

Keith choked on his Turkey burger. He knew that I meant literary business with this trip.

So, I am on the road.

Keith and I had a tearful goodbye before I left. He was unusually emotional with me going away, however was quick to pack my car and usher me into the driving seat. He even packed my car with fizzy drinks and chocolate, as he knows that I produce my best literary work whilst high on E numbers and sugar.

11.34 a.m. Arrive at cottage, which is in the middle of a quaint seaside town. I leap out of my car breathless and excited.

Wave hello to the neighbours Mr & Mrs Jones, sat out in deck chairs on their front lawn.

“I am a writer!” I cry out. They give me a nod and mutter something to each other. Word has got round that the author of ‘Intrigue at No.10 Downing Street’ is going to be staying here.

2.56 p.m. Have only written 234 words since I arrived. It is not easy being sat next to an open window, with a busy beach in view.

I am also struggling with my main character Vivian, the beautiful one who gets kidnapped.

Vivian’s a bit dull, sat in that attic all day, with nothing much to think about. I need her to be missing something from her previous life. So far she’s been longing for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. Something tells me that a quality piece of literature needs to contain deeper characters. As I gaze out of the window I get a flash of inspiration.  Vivian could have a spiritual connection with the sea.

OMG a connection with the sea! Now that’s deep! Yes – Vivian could be into fishing or even a …surfer!  Gasp!

3.01 p.m. Spend the rest of the day lying on the sofa, eating chocolate and watching a surfing film which I found in the DVD drawer.

Tomorrow morning on the beach I will do some more vital surfer research.

Friday

7.23 a.m. Struggle to open the wooden shutters.

8.10 a.m. Arm myself with notebook, pencil, camera and a plastic bag for shells. Hurtle across the sand towards a group of surfers.

3.34 p.m. Today has not gone well. Those surfers were not interested in answering my questions about surfing life, surfing language and surfing parties. They were all desperate to get into the water.

No one wanted to talk to me so I plodded home carrying a bag of shells.

Out of literary despair came a new plan. I will just ‘wing it’ with writing about Vivian’s surfing passion. All the big literary names must resort to this. How hard can it be to write about the joy of surfing when you haven’t surfed?

Have been struggling to write. It is not easy writing a literary masterpiece and at the same time taking some arty shots of some shells on a window ledge.

Some pesky teenagers have been making a racket in the road below causing me to scream ‘KEEP THE NOISE DOWN!’ three times. They continued making a noise so I took extreme measures and tipped a bucket of water out of the window. I’m sorry but a successful author needs peace and quiet to write. As they walked away cold and shivering I smiled sweetly and returned to my masterpiece.

7.34 p.m. Vivian sounds a lot more interesting locked up in that attic. It has surprised me how a load of surfing flashbacks have brightened up a dull character.

10.09 p.m. I have decided that its time for a skinny dip. This is something which has been on my life bucket list for years.

Also, the more I think about it, skinny dipping is the sort of thing carefree and sea loving Vivian would have done all the time…before she got kidnapped in a supermarket carpark by evil Frank.

10.11 p.m. The beach is dark and deserted. Under moonlight I tear off my clothes and race into the sea, squealing with delight and imagining myself to be beautiful and carefree Vivian. I love it when I transform into one of my characters.

10.34 p.m. Stagger out of sea. To my horror my clothes have gone. There is a note saying ‘thanks for the shower this afternoon! Enjoy your walk home x!’

10.55 p.m. Roger Jones and his wife Liz were locking up their French windows before retiring to bed. As Roger went to draw the curtains he saw something outside.

“Good grief Liz what is that woman next-door doing!” he exclaimed in horror.

His wife Liz followed his stare. “I knew she was peculiar the moment she stepped out of her car!”

Photo: Stocksnap

 

Tina’s Writer Diary – The Assistant #writers #comedy #Writer

 

 

tinas-writer-diary

 

Monday

10.56 a.m. It is hard being a successful author. The thing that people don’t understand about my profession is that it is not just about writing stuff.

On Friday I had an emotional breakdown. I was so busy and everything got a bit too much for me. There was so much to do; post quotes on Facebook, tweet motivational stuff on Twitter, pin inspirational affirmations on Pinterest, take photos of a shaft of sunlight from the window, which was shooting across my empty writing desk, for Instagram, browse through all my newsfeeds and make myself endless cups of tea. Writing didn’t even make it onto my ‘to do list’.

Luckily Keith, my partner, phoned home during his lunch break and calmed me down. I was a sobbing mess. There were not enough hours in the day to do everything. It took him a good half hour and the promise of a Chinese takeaway later to get me to come to my senses.

We both came to the conclusion quite quickly that I need an assistant. Sometimes in life you are forced to turn to others for help. I am not afraid to put my hand up and say “I need another pair of hands to help me on Twitter!”

After a bowl of Chicken Soup (Keith’s suggestion, he says it works wonders for troubled souls) and a nap (my suggestion), I sat down and wrote out some ideas on my requirements for an assistant:

  • Cannot afford to pay an assistant so I am looking for someone to do it for free / for the love of literature.
  • Ideally I need someone who is good at tweeting, pinning, posting, browsing, taking photos, writing and who makes an amazing cup of tea.

When I ask the universe for something it delivers most of the time (obviously book sales are an outstanding action for the universe).

During Keith’s mother’s Coffee & Cake Morning yesterday an assistant materialised.

Pamela, Keith’s mother, likes to recruit people for all sorts of things; coffee mornings, cake baking and charity sponsored events. Keith always says that if Pamela decided to join an international terrorist group we would all be in trouble!

So, I was busy consuming a large piece of carrot cake, when Keith informed Pamela that I was looking for a volunteer to help me with my busy literary career.

Pamela certainly has her finger on the volunteer pulse. Without a second thought she turned to Beryl, rumoured to be enjoying the dating scene, to say “Beryl you clearly have time on your hands with all those trips to the seaside with that nice, rich gentleman with the flash sports car. Why don’t you give Tina some help?”  

Beryl made a face, involving a roll of the eyes and a twisted mouth. Pamela took that as a green light. I was struggling to swallow the huge piece of cake in my mouth and could not quiz Beryl on her social media skills.

Pamela kindly made the decision for me. Beryl is my new assistant.

I am currently waiting for Beryl to arrive.

11.09 a.m. Beryl and I are sat on the sofa running through roles and responsibilities.

As Beryl knows next to nothing about social media and has just admitted she won a writing competition, when she was a child, we have agreed that she will work on my book draft. I will take on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and general online browsing.

12.34 p.m. Starting to think I have got the bigger job as Twitter has gone crazy with the #amwritingbestseller hashtag. I can’t stop tweeting about ‘Beautiful and Kidnapped’.

Beryl on the other hand is giving my draft a leisurely read through to get a feel for where she can add value. I have not seen her tap out a single word.

1.05 p.m. I wish Beryl would hurry up and write some of my book. Twitter is hungry for my work.

1.34 p.m. I have gone into social media meltdown. Someone on Instagram liked my photo of the sunlight hitting the writing desk. I am currently frantically snapping away at an old rusty typewriter found in the garage. If readers see that I have an eye for arty shots they will flock to my political thriller on Amazon.

Beryl is still reading my draft.

“I am desperate for a cup of tea!” I exclaim, before wiping my sweaty brow and adorning the typewriter with colourful flowers.

“White with two sugars please Tina love!” coos Beryl, with a smile.

1.56 p.m. My assistant has been gazing longingly at Mr Thompson over the road, attending to his flowers.

“Beryl how are you getting on with my draft?” I ask.

“Still reading through!” murmurs Beryl, with her eyes fixed on Mr Thompson.

“Which part of my book are you up to?” I ask.

“Still reading the first chapter Tina love!” says Beryl, clearly distracted by the man across the street.

I can feel myself getting agitated.

Here am I slaving away over social media whilst my new  assistant seems desperate to nip across the road to help Mr Thompson prune his bushes. I am an author not a matchmaking service.

I am not sure whether Beryl is right for me. She doesn’t make cups of tea or helps me write my book.

14.09 p.m. Beryl has clocked off for the day. She apparently had some urgent business to attend to, which probably involved Mr Thompson.

I am laid on my sofa exhausted and in need of a nap.

As I said earlier it is tough being a successful author.

 

photo credit: Stocksnap