Monday, 19 September 2016

Seasonal Writing

A couple of weeks ago, I posted for this month's IWSG and answered the question about finding the time to write in a busy day. I'm an early morning writer (like 5am) and while I really enjoy the quiet that can be found at that time of day, I posted that sometimes tiredness affected my writing flow. Well, I'm pleased to report that since then, things have been on more of an even keel and I've been getting some words down each day, 500 words at a minimum but hoping to exceed 1000. It might be something to do with the time of year. We're firmly embedded in autumn and I love the mellow light patterns, the crisp feel to the air and the leaves that crunch underfoot. All of it sparks my creativity. Especially now that we live in an area where we're surrounded by farms, I feel closer to nature than I did before. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big believer in writing every day and that's something that I always try to do, but those of you with young kids will know that summer can be a trying time! The words definitely flow much easier when I'm inspired by my surroundings, and now that I'm back in a good routine for the first time in a while, I'm hoping to keep it up year round.

I'll also be applying this new-found inspiration to my blogging and being more active on here. Hopefully, I'll have a post every week where I talk about various writing-related matters, and I'm also planning to reinvigorate my monthly goal roundups that I started a while back. As I've been quite lacking in reviewing the books I read, I'm also thinking about a monthly post where I recap what I've read and make recommendations. This should motivate me to do more of both reading and reviewing.

I also want to branch out and embrace other social media, starting with Twitter where I'll be upping my interaction. I'm thinking about tweeting some daily tips or prompts; something to inspire other writers.

Finally, this blog will be turning five in a few weeks from now. This came as a surprise to me when I realised the other day! Watch this space for the upcoming celebrations...

Do you have a season that inspires your writing more than others? Why?

Monday, 12 September 2016

Timeless Cover Reveal

Hope everyone's having a great Monday so far. Today I'm honoured to help out Crystal Collier with the reveal of her fabulous cover for Book 3 of her Maiden of Time trilogy. I've read the first of this series so far and highly recommend it!
TIMELESS (#3 Maiden of Time) by Crystal Collier #CoverReveal

Book Title: TIMELESS (Maiden of Time #3)
Author: Crystal Collier
Genre: YA Paranormal Historical
Release Date: November 1, 2016


In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her Blog, FacebookGoodreads, or follow her on Twitter.

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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

IWSG September 2016

Autumn is here and with it time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. The brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, the group offers a safe haven for writers of all kinds to share their doubts and insecurities and offer helpful advice to others. Today's co-hosts are C. Lee McKenzieRachel PattinsonElizabeth SeckmanStephanie FarisLori L MacLaughlin, and Elsie Amata!

Today, I'm going to go straight to this month's IWSG question, as it ties into my insecurity in a way: How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

I do editing as my main job - for fellow authors as well as an ongoing gig for a company where I will apply corrections to things like term papers, reports and resumes. I'm quite lucky in that it's not exactly a full-time job and I can pick and choose my own hours. But generally, the mornings are reserved for editing, while I might clean, walk the dogs, or run some errands in the afternoon. My writing is done from about 5.30am-6.30am, then I will get a head start on my editing before waking my daughter for school at 7.30. I could change this up, of course, as all my work is at home, but I definitely like having that sense of quiet when I can get space to mentally inhabit my fictional world. Now it's September, it's also dark as I'm writing this, which suits me fine, and it starts my day off on the right foot knowing I'm that bit further forward on my work.

The downside - and my insecurity - is that I'm often too tired for the writing to flow easily. This might sound like a bit of a whine, because I've got a comfortable job that I enjoy - it's not like I'm out digging roads for 12 hours a day. Still, though, it can take a while to get going, although once I start I generally keep going until I reach a good 1000 words. I don't know whether this is because I'm reaching the last part of a trilogy that's hugely important to me - I feel a lot of pressure to end well and do the whole thing justice, and I'm not used to having the weight of so much story under me. But then, that's silly, because the pressure is self-imposed and anything can get fixed in editing.

Overall though, I'm pleased with how it's going, especially as this is a book I struggled to get anywhere with for the best part of a year. If the words are going down, then the battle is in full swing.

Look forward to reading your answers to this month's question! Check out the list of IWSG participants here.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Between Two Fires blog tour

Hope everyone's having a great weekend! I don't think I've posted on a Sunday before, but there's a first time for everything, and I'm happy to do so to help out a great friend of mine, Mark Noce, with the release of his debut novel. Here's everything you need to know.

Praise from Bestselling Authors for Between Two Fires
“A spirited ride through a turbulent slice of Welsh history!” – Paula Brackston, NYT Bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter
“A fast-paced read that has a wonderfully visual style and some memorable characters. Mark Noce combines Welsh history with a touch of folkloric magic in this promising debut novel. Lady Branwen is a strong and engaging narrator and the turbulent setting of early medieval Wales makes a fine backdrop for an action-packed story.” – Juliet Marillier, Bestselling author of Daughter of the Forest and Wolfskin

Synopsis of Between Two Fires
Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales’ last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King.
But this fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen herself becomes the target of assassinations and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan her world threatens to tear itself apart. Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.

Places to Order Between Two Fires
Release Date: August 23, 2016

Mark Noce writes historical fiction with a passion, and eagerly reads everything from fantasy to literature. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he’s an avid traveler and backpacker, particularly in Europe and North America. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he also met his beautiful wife. By day, he works as a Technical Writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. In addition to writing novels, he also writes short fiction online. When not reading or writing, he’s probably listening to U2, sailing his dad’s boat, or gardening with his family.
His debut novel, Between Two Fires, is being published by Thomas Dunne Books (an imprint of St. Martin's Press and Macmillan). It is the first in a series of historical fiction novels set in medieval Wales.

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Wednesday, 3 August 2016

IWSG August 2016

Hosted by Ninja Cap'n Alex J. Cavanaugh, today's group posting of the IWSG - a safe haven for us writers to share our doubts and insecurities - is co-hosted by Tamara NarayanTonja DreckerEllen @ The Cynical SailorLauren @ PensuasionStephen Tremp, and Julie Flanders.

Well, it's August and it's also my first post here in two months. Last time I said I was hoping to shake things up - well, this time last month we were just heading off on a two-week road trip through Scotland, England, France and Spain on a mission to rescue a puppy. It was fun, the weather and scenery were fantastic, we got some time to relax and we were shown great hospitality by our dog rescue friends in Spain. Our new baby Benji is a big boy for four months old, but so sweet. In the couple of weeks since we got back we've been acclimatising and bedding him in with the other dogs and I think he's going to do great.

Hard to see what he's cuddling, but it's a toy dolphin we got for him on the ferry from Spain to England that he has to go to bed with every night. Such a baby!

So June was more of the month for writing. I did spend more time planning than writing, but I had a go at those mind maps and I think I've got a clearer idea of where things are going. I'm looking forward to getting stuck back in this month.

I don't want to have an insecurity about my writing, I just want to keep my attention focused, but I do have one about keeping up on the social media side. I've hardly been around and I'm also late on a couple of reviews I had promised. I hate this, as I feel like I've let people down. The plan is to rectify this and then stay on more of an even keel - with only a couple of weeks until school goes back here too, I'll hopefully feel in more of a routine. Looking forward to seeing what you've all been up to!

Also, having just been to the IWSG site, I thought I'd jump in on the interactive side and answer the group question that has been posed. This month we are asked: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

I guess 1997 was when I first thought about pursuing some sort of writing career. I was 16, just finishing secondary school and going to sixth form (where I joined a journalism group). I wrote a story while I was finishing school that was my first conscious effort at writing a proper, polished short story - it was typed, rather than being a piece of handwritten scrawl. Set in the not-too-distant future, it concerned a worker on an extension of the Channel Tunnel that was being dug throughout France encountering the ghost of a soldier from the World War I trenches. I remember being quite satisfied with it, but I didn't do anything with it, and that computer has since bitten the dust, so it only exists in the ether and in my memory. Still, I guess it means next year marks my 20th anniversary as an aspiring writer. Gulp!

Go here to check out more IWSG posts!

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

IWSG June 2016 - Moving Forward

The first day of summer and time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. The group represents a safe harbour for writers to share their doubts and insecurities. Today's co-hosts are Murees DupeAlexia ChamberlynnChemist Ken and Heather Gardner.

I'm going to make this a short post today. I know this is the venue to air our insecurities, but the last thing I want to do is have another moan about how I can't move forward with my work. I feel like I'm in some kind of time warp this year in terms of progress, but next month I hope to have some other kind of insecurity to bring you, so I'm going to spend June shaking things up and trying things I haven't done before, like writing out of order or maybe sketching some mind maps. What I need now is to make a step forward. I still might not be posting much, but I'm really looking forward to seeing how you're all doing and I'm hoping to soak up some inspiration and enjoy the fantastic weather Scotland is offering right now.

So that's it from me. Back with a progress report next month!

Check out the other IWSG participants here!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

IWSG May 2016

Time for another posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the monthly safe haven where writers can talk about anything that is ailing them. Founded by Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, the May posting is co-hosted by Stephen TrempFundy BlueMJ FifieldLoni TownsendBish DenhamSusan Gourley and Stephanie Faris. Check 'em out!

Can we be into May already? Star Wars Day too, so I'm hoping the force will be with me as I try to reboot this year. Writing has become a daily struggle over the last month or two - more so than usual. I'm not sure, but I might only have scraped out 1000 words in this time. The inspiration isn't there. Seriously, even writing this is hard. I'm not sure what's wrong with me?

As you may recall, I was attacked near the start of the year, but I can't use that as an excuse for killing my confidence. A CP pointed out an issue with my book that was causing her trouble and I still can't work out if I agree. It's not like it's something that's never been covered, even within YA. I don't know if it's the approach that's the problem - I haven't brought myself to go over the offending sections yet, but as it hinges on what I'm writing now, it's kind of brought everything to a standstill. But I wouldn't lay the blame at my CP's door. I value her feedback, but sometimes I find it hard to listen to others' advice and instead forge ahead with what I think is right. The idea of rebuilding a large portion of my series is daunting, but that's my job, isn't it? This wasn't meant to be easy.

So that's where I'm at. I haven't talked about this with anyone yet, but maybe now I have I can take some steps to fixing the problem. Have you ever had to drastically rethink your work? How important is your CPs' advice to you? Hope all enjoyed the A-Z Challenge who took part. I sat this one out but I'm hoping to be back in force next year!

Check out the other IWSG participants here.