Monday, May 23, 2016

Writing A Series - Friend Or Foe?


I thought I’d blog quickly about writing my first series. Yes,  I did say first. And I’m only two books in. But I’m writing this because it’s still new to me and it strikes me there are distinct pluses and negatives involved.

 The Good
1 Yey. You get to meet beloved characters again. How good is that? You get to explore characters who stayed on the periphery yet winked at you beguilingly. Double yey! I say, hold me back.
2 If people liked your other books then they have an added incentive to buy your book natch. Triple yey. And isn’t that just a biggie?
3 It’s a bit like climbing back into a cosy, toasty bed made up with favourite sheets and comforters. You know it felt so good in there and you know before you begin why you love it so much! So pull back those sheets and jump inside! Surely past experience isn’t lying?
The Bad
4 The angst. What if you fail to deliver? What if the characters don’t flow like they did in the last one? What if what if what if? And again what ‘neurotic’ if!
5 The pressure. People liked that book. It got praise! What if they hate this one? What if I make a pig’s dinner next time? This one’s different – eeek, again you’re filled with woe.
6 Can you keep delivering books at this wordage? At this pace? Will you dry up? Aaaagh.
The Ugly
7 Um what if I’m getting sick of them. And what if they whispered tales to me that I just can’t rise to when I need to put fingers on keys?
8 What if I stretch myself as a writer as a result – pushing new limits. Breaking new boundaries. Perish the thought!!! What if a series is the next step in developing. Hush my truth-pushing mouth!
Unfortunately the above, now that I look back on it, seems like a bit of a negatives over positives. But please believe me when I say pish and tush I love a series. I’m new to it but it’s great – like a wonderful vista promising untold adventures. It gives me structure. I find comfort in going back to a world I know and love. I also like nothing better than fleshing out characters who’d dazzled in miniature.
I also love reading series books most of all so I guess I’m a committed fan. Which boosts me in the conviction to try.
So in summary – writing a series brings comfort and familiarity to the writing journey but there’s still no room for complacency – just because you know the characters or location doesn’t mean they’ll be kind, easy to work with or the stay will be pleasant for both parties.
What do you think? #MondayBlogs #amwriting

Monday, May 09, 2016

Release Day - Terror, Trepidation or Trumpet Voluntary - Which?

#MondayBlogs #AmWriting

So I have a long awaited release day this week. BITNG KNUCKLES! And I'm honestly DISCOMBOBULATED.

Yes I love that word. One minute I'm uber excited. The next I'm wracked with writer's angsty paranoia. What if nobody buys? What if bad reviews flood in like tiny scary babies from a radioactive spider? Can you tell how terrified I am yet? Happy but hyper?

That's the thing about putting all you hard work into something that's out there to be either bought, loved, avoided, hated or worse still - loathed and picked apart at the seams.

But there's also the wonderful things about the writing craft. And it is a craft. With the dropped stitches and holes in the sock to match. Things like having characters come alive in your head that you love and can let live and breathe inside you. Having other people tune into that, how awesome. Meeting other great writers you adore too and feeling the love.
The good days at the keys. The bad period where it just won't come. All of it. Just all of it.

Being a writer may be all about the kindle charts, the product and living up to the last book with your next and feeling the fear. The heartbreak when you get a toe-clunking review. But it's all the above and more.

Writing is what makes my life tick. And if release day is a triumph or a damp squib it won't take away the joy that it brings in all its moments. I'm giving it my best show. So... is that how it is for you too? I'll hold off playing any trumpet yet...


Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Fab Review!

Slap my thigh and call me Marmaduke I got a fabulously thrilling review for Scoring With Sir...

Here's the proof...
Thanks muchly to the lovely Danielle at Romancing The Book.

And here's the link...

Excuse me while I run around the house like a crazed cat doing a turbo midnight mad fit.
Unleash the excitement jets now!!!!!! VROOOOM!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Plot Twists And Sneaky Characters

Is it just me or do plot twists sneak up on you like dirty black ops muggers hiding in a skip?

I have this strange idea that 'proper authors' know what they're going to do. At least before it jumps out and gives them the hoo-has. In my fantasy author-scape they set out on the writing journey thinking - a-ha, I have a sneaky twist they won't see coming and it'll smash them!

Not so for me. I'll be jogging along on my happy writing way when I'm wrestled to the ground by a big thumping ugly plot twist that not only knocks me for sixty five gazillion hundred thousand. BUT it actually takes me more days to recover from this mad, surprise occurrence than it does to write the darn scene.

I don't set out to write plot twists. They happen. Often  upsetting me rather a lot.

Which brings me to my second gripe of the week. Characters who hold out and hide the story on purpose. Yes. They deserve time behind bars and months without chocolate. It's not part of the deal. But I do seem to end up having at least one or two characters who make me wait...and wait...and angst...and overthink. And then just like the dirty fat skunky PLOT TWIST from hell they are sharing company with, the good for nuthin' character suddenly winks an eye and says - ah you see, what you failed to pick up on was my past jigsaw piece you missed.

So is this just me? Dysfunctional?

Am I slow? Deranged? Deluded?

Or do my books just hammer into smithereens every ounce of good sense I have left by making me work and surprising the socks off me in equal measure.

Views and shared experiences welcome. Pesky plot twists (grumble grumble..)


Monday, February 29, 2016

You know it, you really, really know it when...

You know you're a (mad) writer when...

  1. You make it your mission to find a spelling mistake in menu boards
  2. One rogue typo can utterly spoil an otherwise stellar facebook joke meme
  3. You get up at all hours of the night to write notes because if you don't you'll forget the brilliant idea that will elude you foreverafteramen
  4. Your friends think you live in a fantasy world and affectionately eye roll behind your back but still indulge your book speak (these friends are the good ones by the way). The other ones avoid you and cross the street to evade it
  5. You can't have too many pens or notebooks. Ever. Simple fact. It may even involve building extra space to house them
  6. You develop obsessions about emdashes, endashes and rogue tabs
  7. You get emotional when you find a new amazing blow you away writer because it matters THAT much
  8. Your family do the 'she's writing face' - it's the same face I pulled about Mum 'playing and or polishing her PIANO'
  9. You get 'writing' fixations (crushes, movie addictions, must have author stampedes at new book releases...the list goes on)
  10. You start blogging about being a mad writer and the extent of your obsession!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Ten Things I Love About Writing (Feeling The Love Here)

So here's ten random things I love most about writing. I'd go so far as say they give me the writing fuzzies. Especially because I write romance too -

  1. I get to meet fab like-minded writing friends and partake in tea and cyberfun and tips swapping. I love that this is good for my soul. And my laughter muscles.
  2. As above but add in the fact that this in itself enables me to discover fabulous new books written by these people. And the books are all the more special for it so I am in awe of my totally talented author friends. Yes!
  3. Procrastinating on the internet and social media is in the job description *kinda*. You gotta keep it current after all. Chatting and crazy can't be wrong can it?
  4. Even if I take time out to refill that well (and it happens) or just to have me time nobody actually minds. And in the spirit of being kind to myself, nor do I! Eventually the writing muse will yank me back Writers are supportive like that, period. We just accept and motivate and that's a very special thing.
  5. I get to gander at pics of men (whether that be in kilts or in black and white disrobement) and it's okay. Nobody minds and I can blame my author foibles. It's visual story-scaping you see. Move along and let me enjoy - in fact why not enjoy with me. The more the merrier.
  6. I get to listen to overheard conversations and justify it's for my job. I also get to daydream like crazy and deem it research. How many other jobs are that understanding? I do both a lot btw. A big holy fat truck of a lot!
  7. It's okay to have crushes. As a writer it's just part of the toolkit. Whether it's a movie actor or several or some BBC drama heroes even though I'm a forty something mum, nobody fusses. Because it's just work, helping me conjure up that magical novel man.
  8. The more I do it the better I get. I love this. The more I try something new the more I love writing too. And sometimes the harder a book is to write the more I stretch - kinda writing yoga. And I love that! Did I mention I love what I do with ardent passion?
  9. I can do it in jammies. Or a onesie. And with bad hair. Whilst eating or slurping smoothies. And I frequently do.
  10. I love that reading is as vital as writing and brings a beloved spin off hobby benefit two for one.

P.S. One Extra Likey. Blogging random stuff and retweets from lovely writing peeps. I really love those - retweet if you dare or agree or both. And remember - we all rock. Every single one of of us has the best job ever. Because we try!

#MondayBlogs #AmWriting

Monday, February 15, 2016

Inspiration, Poldark and Throwing Rule Books At Walls

I’m exploring what inspired me to get writing again after two years of zilch words. It wasn't about forcing myself behind the keyboard – the spark drove me to simply try putting one word in front of another. Almost against my will. To me daydreams and feeling the love are the precursors to finding a story and putting fingers to keys. So what things changed to make somebody who'd vowed no more to try...

Bring On The Poldark - The BBC's Poldark came along and many millions of other avid women watchers (and men plus me) fell deeply and dropped jaws at a certain Mr Turner. Not only because of the aesthetically obvious reason but because of its power. Demelza and the rest of the cast were so preciously, fittingly picked. Suffice to say I heart Poldark hugely. Enough to scotch last year’s writing drought by giving me the urge to write a fanfiction fest with the characters in my own story. Let’s just quietly admit the hero of my next release has collar length dark hair and a penetrating stare... If it fires you and it works, use it.

Senses Reunited - I’d been taking my youngest swimming at my old High School. It shocked me to find the place so changed yet unaltered. But it smelled exactly the same transporting me right back. That sensory hit made me itch to write a book set in school. So even though I’ve set it in a London Secondary my old school featured large. The return was more overwhelming than I’d banked on. But kinda like going home. Well, they say write what you know.

Toss The Rules - My biggest step was waving in the crazy and silly and mad without apology. For many years I targeted category contemporary romance, sticking to learned rules carefully. Last year I threw the book away. Comedy, banter, flights of fancy, full voice without apology and a full cast of accomplice characters. Liberating to take a total u-turn on how I used to write. And I found I loved doing this much more.

So in summary. Feel the love, dive into a world so real you can touch it and then toss the ideas of how it should be. Sounds trite but write from the heart - just try it out for size. Be vivid. Innovate. You don't have to show anybody what happens. But you just might. And you may well be glad you tried.  #MondayBlogs #Poldark #AmWriting