How To Act Like A Writer With A Bad Cold #SundayBlogShare #WritersLife #Writer


Have you ever wanted to know what it is like to be a writer?

Are you currently battling against a heavy cold?  Sneezing, coughing, shivering and feeling a bit grumpy?

Why not take this opportunity to act like a writer…. with a nasty cold?

The important thing to remember is that writers will still experience high levels of creativity whilst suffering with a heavy cold.

Here are my top tips on how to act like a writer with a bad cold:

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12 Difficult Things You Need To Accept About Being A Writer #AmWriting #Writer


Here are some difficult things about being a writer, which are hard to accept and may cause you to take a few solitary walks in the rain:

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10 Things You Ask Yourself After Rewriting Your Draft Novel #Writer #AmWriting



Ever rewritten a draft of your novel?

Now, I am not talking about revising a couple of chapters…I mean rewriting the ENTIRE draft!

I have just finished rewriting 73k words of my draft novel, so this post has been based on my experience.

For noting, this is my current mental and physical state. Swap brunette hair for blonde.


I want to go out and wrestle with the silly person who advised me to rewrite it… have just remembered I came up with the idea of rewriting it. Sigh!

Here are the things you ask yourself after rewriting your draft novel:

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28 Reasons Why A Writer Might Be Having A Sleepless Night #Writer #AmWriting


There are so many reasons why a writer might be having a sleepless night:

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Author Interviews Andrew Joyce @huckfinn76 #HistoricalFiction #Author

Author Interviews-2

Welcome to my weekly blog series – Author Interviews.

I love interviewing inspirational and interesting authors. They make my Saturday!  In these interviews I get to glean some insight into their writing life and understand what obstacles they encountered whilst writing their books.

BlondeWriteMore readers we are in for such a treat as author and blogger Andew Joyce has agreed to come sit in my red chair!  He lives on a boat, has a dog called Danny, has six books under his belt and I have heard he once threw his TV out of the window, before writing his first short story. As you can imagine I am bubbling with excitement about this interview. I do hope he talks about the TV incident and I hope his short story was worth it!

Hey Andrew!  Welcome to my blog and red chair. Tell my readers about yourself and the book/books you have written.

I live on a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with my dog, Danny. I write books. And when I’m not writing, I’m working with my editor. And when I’m not working with my editor, I’m marketing my latest book. Then I start the process all over again. I pace myself to one book a year. That way I don’t have to work so hard. Four months for writing, three for editing, and five for marketing (which I detest).

When did you write your first book?

One morning, about six years ago, I went crazy. I got out of bed, went downstairs, and threw my TV out the window. Then I sat down at the computer and wrote my first short story. Just for the hell of it, I threw it up on a writing site. A few months later, I was informed that it had been selected for publication in an anthology of the best short stories of 2011. I even got paid for it. That’s when I started writing Yellow Hair.

Oh my goodness Andrew – I am loving this crazy TV chucking stage you went through before writing a short story!  In my experience I tend to chuck things after I have written and have gone back to edit. 

Wow – your story got selected for publication! I need to go through this crazy stage of yours. I just hope my family are supportive when I lob our TV set out of the window. 

What was your motivation to write your first book?

It all started way back in 2011. My first book was a 164,000-word historical novel (Yellow Hair). And in the publishing world, anything over 80,000 words for a first-time author is heresy. Or so I was told time and time again when I approached an agent for representation. After two years of research and writing, and a year of trying to secure the services of an agent, I got angry. To be told that my efforts were meaningless was somewhat demoralizing to say the least. I mean, those rejections were coming from people who had never even read my book.

“So you want an 80,000-word novel?” I said to no one in particular, unless you count my dog, because he was the only one around at the time. Consequently, I decided to show them City Slickers that I could write an 80,000-word novel!

I had just finished reading Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for the third time, and I started thinking about what ever happened to those boys, Tom and Huck. They must have grown up, but then what? So I sat down at my computer, banged out REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in two months, then sent out query letters to agents.

Less than a month later, the chairman of one of the biggest agencies in New York City emailed me that he loved the story. We signed a contract and it was off to the races, or so I thought. But then the real fun began: the serious editing. Seven months later, I gave birth to Huck and Tom as adults in the Old West. And just for the record, the final word count is 79,914.

The book went on to reach #1 status in its category on Amazon—twice. And it won the Editors’ Choice Award for best Western of 2013. The rest, as they say, is history.
But not quite.

My agent then wanted me to write a sequel, but I had other plans. I was in the middle of editing down Yellow Hair (that had been rejected by 1,876,324 agents . . . or so it seemed) from 164,000 words to the present 139,000. However, he was insistent about a sequel, so I started to think about it. Now, one thing you have to understand is that I tied up all the loose ends at the end of REDEMPTION, so there was no way that I could write a sequel. And that is when Molly asked me to tell her story. Molly was a minor character that we met briefly in the first chapter of REDEMPTION, and then she is not heard from again.
So I started to think about what ever happened to her. After a bit of time—and 100,000 words—we find out what did happen to Molly. It is an adventure tale where Huck Finn weaves through the periphery of a story driven by a strong female lead. Molly Lee was my second book, which achieved #2 status on Amazon.

Now I was finished with Huck Finn for good. Now I could go back to Yellow Hair and resume the editing process.

But not quite.

It was then that Huck and Molly ganged up on me and demanded that I resolve their lives once and for all. It seems that I had left them hanging—so to speak. Hence, RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure.

Then I went back to editing, Yellow Hair.

I am speechless. Wow – what a literary experience!  

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

I encountered no issues while writing my first three published books. My muse was working overtime.

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

While writing Yellow Hair, I had to stop to learn the Lakota language. I wanted to immerse myself in the Sioux culture and I wanted to give them dignity by using their language whenever possible. I also wanted to introduce them by their Sioux names. So, I had to learn the Lakota language. And that wasn’t easy. There is a consortium that will teach you, but they wanted only serious students. You have to know a smattering of the language before they will even deign to accept you. I had to take a test to prove that I knew some Lakota. I failed the first time and had to go back to my Lakota dictionary and do some more studying. I got in on my second try.

As to what kept me going, I could opt for the funny answer and say “vodka.” Or I could go with a pretentious answer and say, “The thirst for knowledge.” In reality, it was just so much damn fun.

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

When I have an idea for a novel, I know the first sentence and the last paragraph (more or less). Then I sit down and start to tell the story. But the finished product is always different from what I set out to write. Sometimes I will take my characters to a place and they will rebel and take off on their own. Then I have no choice but to follow where they lead.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

The writing.

What is the worst thing about being a writer?

The marketing.

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

If I stopped writing, I’d probably buy a TV and watch soap operas all day long. The thought of that alone keeps me at the computer.

What does a typical writing day look like for you?

I prefer to write in the early morning hours when things are quiet. I usually get up around 2:00 a.m. and go to work. The commute is not long . . . only a few steps to my computer.

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


Great answer Andrew! I am loving this interview. 

Which is more important, plot or characters and why?

I just tell stories. I don’t think about things like that.

What have been your biggest learning experiences during your writing career?

  • There is no escaping the marketing process.
  • Unless you have the sales of Stephen King, it’s better to be an Indie than have a big-time agent and a publishing house behind you.
  • How many books that I have to compete with on Amazon (8,000,000)!

How do you manage social media as a writer?

I don’t.

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

  • Read, read . . . and then read some more. Read everything you can get your hands on! Reading to a writer is as medical school is to a doctor, as physical training is to an athlete, as breathing is to life. When one reads stuff like the passage below, one cannot help but become a better writer.
    “The afternoon came down as imperceptibly as age comes to a happy man. A little gold entered into the sunlight. The bay became bluer and dimpled with shore-wind ripples. Those lonely fishermen who believe that the fish bite at high tide left their rocks and their places were taken by others, who were convinced that the fish bite at low tide.”—John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat
  • Never, ever, ever, ever respond to a negative review!!!

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

My problem, if you can call it a problem, is that I have too many words in my head. Apart from my novels, I have 150 short stories almost ready for publication and another thirty that I’ve started but don’t have the time to finish—at least not at the present time.

Do you ever think of the next book whilst writing?

Only as a fleeting thought.

What do you wear to write?

I’m not tellin’.

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

Andrew, that has to be one of the most entertaining Author Interviews – thank you! 

I am taking several things from this interview:

  • I loved how Huck and Molly ganged up on you and demanded you resolve their lives. 
  • I love how the thought of buying another TV and watching soap operas all day keeps you at your writing desk. 
  • You are the first writer to be interviewed who chooses to get up at 2am to write. Fab!  I am at my best in the small hours too so I might try this…
  • Your writing tips are great and that passage is awesome. 

Thank you for a fab interview. 


If you are an author and fancy sitting in my red chair please leave me a message in the comments box. 

photo credit: <a href=”″>the chair in the attic</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>(license)</a&gt;


Author Newsletters & Author Crushes #Author #AmReading #BookWorm



It is not easy when you have an author crush. You read a book and after screaming ‘OMG that book did things to mewho wrote this?‘ suddenly you want to know everything about the author, you retweet all their tweets, you bravely fight their corner when someone in the office is criticising their latest book and you daydream about them one day replying to one of your many comments on their Facebook page.

Trying to control yourself when fangirling an author is difficult – if you are currently getting obsessed about a certain author….I feel your literary pain.

Author newsletters are becoming a big thing. You sign up to a author newsletter and they email you regularly with lots of exciting news.

After months of signing up to a LOT of author newsletters and going through a lot of author crushes (I read 4-5 books a week so I am fangirling over some author most weeks….its no wonder my emotions are all over the place!) I now believe a good newsletter can actually work wonders for your author crush.

If the author gets their newsletter right you – the reader – will get a real literary treat. If they get their newsletter wrong…well…that’s another blog post.

Here is what I think makes a good author newsletter.

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If an Online Dating Site For Writers Existed… #WritersLife #Writers


Photo Credit: StockSnap.

Have you ever found yourself wondering how an online dating site for writers could work? Don’t worry – I got this topic covered!

I think an online dating site for writers is a great idea. Luckily for me, my loved one has not yet traded me in for a younger model, grown tired of my emotional breakdowns, creative tantrums, hormonal fluctuations, frequent use of a shrill voice and my inability to reduce the ironing pile to a more manageable level. However, that doesn’t stop my mind from thinking through this gem of a business idea!

I am sure writers would want to date other writers. Can you imagine dating someone who understands your editing pain, lets you off the housework when you need to focus on your first chapter and gives you constructive literary criticism during pillow talk?  I know…it sounds like the making of relationship bliss!

An online dating site for writers probably exists somewhere in the world, but here is how I think an online dating site for writers could work:

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Author Interviews Ian Probert @truth42 #Writers #Author #Boxing

Author Interviews-2

Welcome to my weekly blog series – Author Interviews.

I spend a lot of my time pestering amazing authors and getting them to agree to an interview on my blog.

These interviews provide my readers with valuable insight into a writers’ life. I get to understand how they overcame tough challenges whilst writing their books, what learnings they have for aspiring authors and most importantly what they wear whilst writing their literary masterpieces.

This week I have managed to persuade author Ian Probert to sit in my chair.

Ian is a ‘fighter not a writer’ and on his website describes himself as ‘incredibly handsome. Indescribably intelligent. The most brilliant writer since… Since… Since… Well… William Dickens or Charles Shakespeare’.  He used to play guitar in the Beatles. he’s an opera singer. Beyoncé is his stalker (she’s so irritating!). He played football for Real Madrid. He has an Olympic gold medal for water polo. Andy Murray used to be his ball boy. He played clarinet with Lorraine Bowen and is the secret love child of Marlon Brando and Tessie O’Shea!’

I love his imagination! Almost as good as mine 🙂

Ian knows a bit about boxing, so I am putting on my virtual boxing gloves to do this interview.

Ian – welcome! Please take a seat in my red chair..

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

Over the year I’ve had eight or nine books published. These range from children fiction, to teenage fiction, to adult fiction and autobiography. I’ve even had couple of book on photography; kid of a hobby of mine.

When did you write your first book?

My very first book would have been when I was about 12, although you’d have to call it a novella. What I used to do was hand in stories that were several exercise books in length to my bemused English teacher. The poor woman would then have to read them – she must have dreaded giving me homework.

How long did it take to write your first book?

My first published book was called ‘Internet Spy’. That was in 1995. It took about a month. It wasn’t very long.

What was your motivation to write your first book?

What basically happened was that I pitched a teenage fiction series to Kingfisher and they went for it.

I was then commissioned along with people like Terry Deary to write the books.

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

Well apart from the obvious one of typos, which I still don’t understand the psychology behind our ability to totally miss them, it’s always about making things interesting enough for readers to want to carry on reading. Obviously it is. I used to try to get a handle on this by drinking alcohol at the end of the day and then reading what I’d written. I was hoping that I could see things from a different point of view. I don’t think this approach was particularly successful. Although I did used to get very drunk.

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

I went through a 15-year long bad writing patch, in which my brain was in a complete fog due to undiagnosed hypothyroid disease. This is one of the many symptoms of the disease – the inability to concentrate. And nothing kept me going – I eventually stopped completely until three years ago, when my condition finally diagnosed.

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

I like to have a basic framework or premise and then see where it takes me. If I can surprise myself then hopefully I can surprise others. In the kids book I did a couple of years ago – Johnny Nothing – I actually had no idea how it would end until suddenly the book was finished.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

To be in control of the entire universe.

What is the worst thing about being a writer?

To have no say whatsoever in the universe you inhabit.

Also, no sick pay or paid holidays.

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

Apart from my 15-year enforced hiatus, not really. I’m at the age where there’s nothing else I could do. I don’t see anyone suddenly offering me a job. Unless it’s an unpaid one at the local Oxfam.

What does a typical writing day look like for you?

Start around 8:30 when everyone has left the house. Write until about 1:00 or 2:00. Then try to do marketing, household chores, etc.

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

Erm… Well… I… Um… Let’s see… No, not at all.

Which is more important – plot or characters and why?

I don’t see either being any more important than the other. It’s no good having a great story with rubbishy characters. And it’s equally useless having great characters with a crappy story. You gotta go for both at the same time.

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


1. To be honest.

2. To read your work aloud to others – that way you’ll soon discover if it’s of any value.

3. To learn to accept criticism.

How do you manage social media as a writer?

It’s a necessary evil these days. Although I’m unconvinced that I’ve ever sold a single extra copy as a result of a tweet or a Facebook post. However, if you want a publisher to take you seriously you must have a pretty noticeable web imprint.

As well as a personal website and the obligatory WordPress blog, I tend to do everything. My motto is ‘Facebook for friends and family; Twitter to swear at and insult people you don’t know…’

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

Don’t do it. Seriously. Don’t. There are plenty of other ways out there to earn enough money to have a varied and full life.

Writing is like acting and music – only the top 5% make any money, the rest are waiters. And, of course, the fewer people decide to write the less competition there is out there for me!

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

I’d say my entire life is a case of writer’s block. The only time I can manage to squeeze any words out of me is when i have a deadline two days away.

Do you ever think of the next book whilst writing?

Yes, sometimes. In Dangerous some of the writing was done at my daughter’s hospital bedside while she fought for her life.I also blogged about it a lot, which the hospital found out about. They then asked me if I’d write a kids book to raise money for the hospital, which is what I’m working on right now.

What do you wear to write?

I’m always completely naked. This stops unnecessary interruptions and intrusions. Believe me, nobody wants to see me naked.

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

The usual places: Twitter, Facebook, and there’s an email address on my personal website. On Thursday’s you’ll often find me in the Flask in Highgate.

Ian’s new book Dangerous came out on 15 September 2016.

Wow Ian – what an intervew! So many things to think about:

  • I totally agree about typos and our amazing ability to miss them or in my case ignore them! 
  • I love the idea of being in control of the entire universe. 
  • Your learnings are great – especially the one about being honest! 
  • Love your approach to Facebook and Twitter. 
  • So many authors are writing naked nowadays –  feel like I am missing out. Do edit naked as well?

Thanks for a great interview!  



If you are an author and want to appear on my blog please leave me a message below in the comment box and I will get in contact 🙂

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Author Interviews @ShelleyWilson72 #writers #authors

Author Interviews

Welcome to my weekly series – Author Interviews. 

In these posts I delve a bit deeper into the person behind the book and at the same time get some useful tips on writing.

This week I am super excited and struggling to get a grip of myself.

The author of one of my favourite 2016 books (How I Changed My Life in a Year) is sat on my red chair – squeal!!

Have you ever had one of these weird moments where you read a good book and then half way through realise the author is one of your blog readers?  OMG – it happened to me and it was a very surreal moment. The author of the book that I was enjoying was Shelley Wilson!

I got a bit carried away readers and started bombarding her with fan messages. To get me off her back she agreed to do this interview – lol!

BTW – Shelley was born in Leeds – my home town –  and has a black cat! All the best people in the world are from Leeds and have a black pet cat. Sigh!

Ok I am going to calm down now and not give Shelley the impression l have a weird author crush going on.

Let me welcome author Shelley Wilson to my red chair!

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5 Stages of the Writer’s Bath Break #writer #writerslife


The Writer's Bath Break

  1. Writer Distress. The writer will be showing signs of distress. They may have run out of cheese, ideas, the coffee machine might be on the blink, Wi-Fi might be down, Twitter might be quiet, they may have fallen down a plot hole or the new idea for their book, that they came up with over breakfast, might not seem as earth shattering as it did whilst eating their porridge. There will be lots of huffs, puffs, strained expressions, loud sighs or a lot of pacing the room.
  2. Awareness. During times of distress the writer will become aware of a little voice inside their head instructing them to either take a little nap or go for a warm bath. Some writers look forward to hearing this little voice as they know peace and harmony will be restored in Writing Land, once they have either got their head down for forty winks or had a long soak. Once they hear the voice all writing tools will be put down and the writer will disappear. For noting, there are some writers out there who may not need to hear the voice telling them to have a sleep or a bath. These two activities are already built into their daily routine – sigh!
  3. Bath Creativity. A writer’s creative skills will be reflected through their choice of bath products and accessories. Cue bath foam resembling giant fluffy white clouds, a unique blend of tropical bath scents, a flamboyant bath brush, a vibrant flannel, an assortment of candles and a small army of happy looking  yellow rubber ducks. It is worth noting that the bath ducks must be happy looking as no writer, when faced with a serious issue like a weak opening chapter, wants to watch a load of miserable looking bath ducks float by.
  4. Bath Time. The writer will soak for some time as the only thing waiting of them when they get out of the bath is a half finished novel or a painful editing session. As they relax, letting the warm water soothe their aching body their mind will start to wander over their creative work. As they are in a relaxed, semi comatose state writing issues and problems will not seem so pressing. They may even get lucky when staring at their army of bobbing ducks and get some creative inspiration. The main thing from this stage is that the writer is no longer in a state of distress.
  5. Post Bath. The writer will emerge from their bath happier, more relaxed, reeking of tropical scents and a bit wrinkly. They will resume their place in Writing Land and their creative world will seem like a better place. After laying down a couple of sentences on their draft they will check their watch and head off for a nice cup of coffee, followed by a good old fashioned tweeting session. Being a writer can be tough! Sigh!

Have a great day writers!

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