Monday, January 9, 2017

Rachael Thomas & Getting Past the Dreaded Block

Please welcome Rachael Thomas back to the blog today!
***
Every writer, published or not, knows what it’s like to encounter that awful demon, writer’s block. That time when you are certain every word you write is utter rubbish or worse, where you can’t write a word. It begins with a little doubt monster and very soon can get out of control, preventing you from writing anything.
It’s happened to me, but thankfully not for any length of time. So here are a few of my go to solutions. 
Write A Different Way
Writing longhand can often free up your mind. So grab a pen or pencil and pad and continue your work from the point you became blocked or even start a new scene or chapter.
Find a new place. A change of scenery often helps. It could be as simple as another room at home or a local café.
If you can’t continue with your current work in progress, try some freewriting. For instance, it is January now, so where does that take your mind? Put your pen on the page and just let your mind wander, writing down every random thought which comes to your mind for the next ten minutes.
Don’t Write
You may be wondering what kind of advice this is, but sometimes it helps to step away from the keyboard and your work in progress. Take a break and clear your mind.
Take a walk. My dog gets extra-long walks when I need thinking time to unblock my creativity.
Relax and watch your favourite television show or even a movie.
Do whatever makes you happy, as happiness generates positivity and that keeps the monster of doubt at bay, stopping it from becoming a complete block.
If the block is really bad, give yourself the rest of the day off. Tomorrow is another day.
Reward Yourself
Give yourself a small incentive if you hit your session or daily target.
For those larger targets, like reaching the half way point or completing the book, reward yourself with a bigger treat. Perhaps a day out with friends.
And Finally
Don’t wait too long for your creativity to return. Force it to come back. Tell yourself you will write just one paragraph or for ten minutes only. Taking the pressure off might be enough to get past that block. Also, always believe in yourself and your writing. Don’t allow those doubt monsters in.

If you have any others to add, I’d love to know!
***
Rachael Thomas 

I love escaping to distant shores with my characters, entering their glamorous world and feeling all the emotions they experience as they discover their love for one another. A love so strong it will overcome all obstacles eventually, leading to that promised happy ever after.
Connect with Rachael Thomas on the web:
Website         Blog        Facebook                Twitter              Goodreads

A Child Claimed by Gold (One Night with Consequences)
A scandal of their own making 

Nikolai Cunningham has kept his family history secret for seventeen years. So when photographer Emma Sanders is granted exclusive access to his childhood home, he returns to Russia to ensure it stays hidden. 
Though she tries to keep her eye on the story, Nikolai's potent sexuality proves too much for Emma's untouched body to resist! But, convinced she only wanted a scoop, Nikolai casts Emma out, unaware she's pregnant! 
When the consequence of their recklessness is revealed, Nikolai will legitimize his heir—with a gold wedding ring!
Buy Links
M&B Aust       B&N     iBooks

Enter to win signed copies on Goodreads. 
***
Thanks Rachael!

I often get attacked by the Doubt Monster - but I'm learning techniques to quiet him down! Working on a different project often helps me.

What about you? How do you get the mojo back?


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

IWSG and the Rules!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

January 4 Question: What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

LOL - a LOT of them!!!

Almost any rule that says "HAVE TO" drives me nuts.
You have to write every day
You have to include description
You have to tell readers the MC's hair colour
You have to plot
You have to follow your gut
You have to ...

I love to learn and I'm always willing to try something new, so I'm willing to try anything.

Over the last few years, I've learned a lot, but I've also spent a lot of time on trying out new 'rules' that don't work for my brain or my life.  On the plus side, I now know a lot of things that DON'T work for me, so it's definitely not wasted time.

How about you? Do the Have Tos drive you crazy as well? Are you an experimenter as well?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Nope, Haven't Done That!

There have been lots of posts on goals and reflections lately. It's got my brain cooking ... in a sideways direction.

So, here's a list of things, I've NEVER done and have NO plans to do...
  • watched an episode of The Simpsons, The Walking Dead, or Game of Thrones
  • finished a full cup of coffee (I tried, I really did, but, yuck!!!)
  • finished a full beer (double yuck!!!)
  • finished a Rubik's Cube
  • played in a real hockey game (yes, I'm still allowed to be a Canadian)
  • dyed my hair
  • made perogies from scratch 
  • held a gun
  • eaten a pickle
  • slept 8 hours in a row (although I'd love to do this!)
  • had a pedicure, a manicure, or a facial
  • karaoke 
How about you? What things have you NOT done that might surprise people?

Monday, December 12, 2016

Joanne Dannon & Indie Publishing

Please welcome Joanne Dannon to the blog today!
***
I started my writing career in 2005 when most books were read in print and self publishing was virtually unheard of. I loved romance, always have, so it was only natural that I would start writing in the genre I loved.
I have to confess that back in 2005 I had no idea what I was doing. Yes, there are some authors who can write and have their first book is published. But I wasn’t one of those writers.
I learnt what writing craft was and started reading as many craft books as I could. I connected with other writers  (through  Romance Writers  of Australia) and soon had a couple of critique partners who provided honest and valuable feedback on my writing.
Fast forward a few years and I was managing to write one novel a year. Not a lot but then I had two children, my corporate job and a hubby who travelled a lot. I had plenty of rejections from romance publishers which was difficult and many times I considered to stop writing. 
I then took six weeks off work, did a Margie Lawson course with a friend and with my newly found confidence, I wrote the story and the hero I wanted to write. 
Note - this book was published in December 2015 as Kisses under the Spotlight which currently has 4.7/ 5 star ranking on Amazon.
Instead of a hero who was a banker or CEO or entrepreneur, I created Alex Jackson, a singing, dancing superstar. Just think of Michael BublĂ©, Hugh Jackman and Adam Garcia all rolled in to one super hero! Yum :) My mentor, the amazing Melanie Milburne, who’s written over 55 books for Mills and Boon told me no publisher would want a dancing, singing hero.
And guess what? She was right! Every romance publisher I submitted to rejected my book. 
But I was determined not to change my hero. I’d written what I loved and wasn’t prepared to compromise. I wrote a series and this was book number 1. Unable to sell the first book, meant my other books couldn’t be published. 
With a corporate job, I just wrote what I wanted. I wrote the heroes, heroines and storylines that I loved. It was a defining moment for me because even though my books were being rejected, I knew they were much better from when I’d tried to fit them in to a “box” of what I thought the publishers wanted.

And then I went through redundancy in my corporate job at the same time my husband had a serious fall off his bike, injuring his vertebra. Then my father-in-law became seriously ill and later died. Our family needed me. I needed to care for my husband, our children and my mother-in-law. I couldn’t even think about applying for a new job when there was so much stress going on in my personal life.

And so I headed down the path of self-publishing. It sounded easy, everyone said so. I’d like to add that advice given to me was wrong, wrong, wrong.
Self publishing is hard. Sure you can stick a book on Amazon but there is much more to being a successful self-published author.
I now have 5 books published and work long hours to make my books, the best romances they can be. And behind is an amazing team that supports me – my editor, my formatter, my artist and my writing friends. 

I love the freedom that being an indie writer brings however, despite the enormous work load, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I write the stories I love but what makes the long hours worthwhile are the beautiful reviews and feedback I get from my readers. I am one very happy romance writer.

***

Joanne Dannon has been living in the world of romance for as long as she can remember.  From doodling love hearts on her school notebooks to regularly reading romances, Joanne’s world has always been filled with the excitement of love stories. So it was just a natural for Joanne to begin writing the genre she’s always loved. 

Formerly a policy writer by day and romance writer by night, Joanne now spends full time writing the books she adores. Creating heroes for readers to fall in love with and heroines to cheer on, her characters are people readers can identify with.

Joanne writes to give her readers the experience she still loves to savor—indulging in a sigh-worthy-happily-ever- after, being swept away from the everyday by diving into a delicious romance novel.

Joanne Dannon is a happily married mother of two heroes-in-training who loves spending time with friends and family.  She can be found on Facebook and her website www.joannedannon.com chatting about reading, writing, cooking, vintage-inspired dresses and all things romantic.  She loves to hear from readers.  

Joanne Dannon on the web:  

Facebook      Website      Instagram      Goodreads

An Unforgettable Holiday

A Magical Christmas In Jerusalem
Australian project manager Kiara Lonsdale is career focussed and determined to provide and care for the grandmother who raised her. Taking time off work to vacation has never been high on her agenda, but this year she’s made an exception. She’s helping her gran fulfil a life-long dream by accompanying her on a Christmas to the Holy Land tour.
Jacques Lenoir and his extended family run tours in Israel and he’s committed to their business. Jacques feels responsible for his grandparents’ welfare since they risked their lives, and others’, as operatives in the French Resistance, during the War.
But over romantic dinners in the desert, camel rides, and mud baths at the Dead Sea, sparks fly between Kiara and Jacques. Will this only be a holiday romance or will a touch of Christmas magic make it last a lifetime?
A Magical Chanukah in New York
Lisa Sassoon has shunned the scandal of her loser-ex cheating on her by escaping to New York. Instead of sightseeing, she’s become a recluse focusing on helping the less fortunate at a homeless shelter.
Gabe Olivari, entrepreneur and savvy business New Yorker, can’t let go of the pain of losing his best friend. So caught up in his own grief and believing he doesn’t deserve to be happy, he compensates by pushing everyone close to him away.
But when Lisa and Gabe meet, there is an instant connection that forces them to question not only their behaviours but their aspirations.
Can a dash of Chanukah magic help Lisa and Gabe realise that sparkling dates and dreamy kisses can lead to more? Perhaps even a lifetime of happiness?
Buy on:

Sign up to my Reader Newsletter and to say thanks, I'll send you a 


FREE e-copy of 
Bidding on Love! 

***
Thanks Joanne! Indie publishing is definitely Hard Work - and you're doing it very well. 

How about you? Indie or traditional or a combination of the 2? Are you a fan of Christmas stories (I am and Joanne's are great!)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

IWSG & Career Goals

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.




Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

December's IWSG Questions: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

This is the toughest question yet!


I'm not a great planner, but I am a great dreamer. So, let's see. In five years, I hope to have 3-5 novels out in my Bloo Moose series. I hope to be starting in on another series while continuing to add to Bloo Moose.


How am I going to get there?


Lots and lots of hard work! I've learned a ton since September (thanks to the amazing people I've encountered via a PitchWars contest) and I think this may finally be a doable goal. I'm still learning and have a ways to go, but I finally feel like that goal is within reach.


How about you? Are you more of a planner or a dreamer? Where do you hope to be?


Monday, November 28, 2016

People Watching - Christmas Shopping Edition

People are endlessly fascinating. As writers, we become expert people watchers and I had some fun this weekend while doing some Christmas Shopping.

Here are some folks who may or may not show up in a future story!!

  • the lady who, on Nov 27!!!, announced to everyone at the checkout that she was officially done her Christmas shopping. Her smug smile carried her through the front doors of the store while the rest of us in line either glared at her or whimpered after her with envy
  • the man wearing leather and chains with tattoos covering his hand whose toddler couldn't keep steady on his feet with all the crowds, so he hefted him up to his shoulders and softly sang Jingle Bells with him while they made their way through the store
  • the elderly couple pushing a cart through the store and chatting about Every. Last. Item. on the ends of the aisles. They held up traffic in the busy store, but, while I watched, not one person got annoyed. In fact, one teenager overheard part of the conversation and stopped to tell them that, yes, that pair of fuzzy slippers would be perfect for a twelve-year-old
  • the two women, busy chatting on their cell phones, who rounded the ends of the aisles and crashed right into each other, both of them dropping their bags and their phones. Just like a cartoon. Luckily, they straightened out the mess without too much trouble
  • the elderly woman who shoved me to the side so she could look at the jewelry I was checking out for my mom. When I stumbled (and nearly knocked down the display!), she sent me a glare and told me I should learn to be more careful. I froze a second before I started to laugh. She shoved her nose in the air, sniffed disdainfully, grabbed a necklace, and stomped off
  • the mom who pulled out a softball sized lump of some kind of homemade Playdoh while she stood in front of me in a checkout line. Her son's face lit up and he shaped and pulled and twisted quite happily while they waited for their turn to pay. Brilliant!
How about you? Spotted any great characters lately?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Layna Pimentel

Please welcome my friend & erotic romance author Layna Pimentel to the blog today with information (and a giveaway) for her latest release! 
***
Saved 
- Layna Pimentel -

When betrayal hits the Highlands once again, the duty falls upon Laird Colin McIntyre to rid his country of those in league with the English. What he doesn’t expect is to fall in love with the most unlikely of allies.


- Contest -

Win a $25 Amazon eGift card. Contest ends November 30, 2016 11:59 PM.




Published by Liquid Silver Publishing. Copyright © 2016, Layna Pimentel.
ISBN: 978-1-62210-360-7
Historical Romance | Scottish
171 Pages

Laird Colin McIntyre is faced with a dilemma. Wed the daughter of his enemy or watch the destruction of his clan. However, he’s captured before he can declare war. Time is of the essence, and if he’s to escape, his only chance rests with the hope that his men arrive before the wedding.

Abandoned by her guardian, Beatrice finds herself stationed as a servant in the keep and ordered by Laird Sinclair to tend to Colin, who is being held against his will. Inexplicably drawn to the Highlander and his kindness, she vows to help him escape, but at what cost?

With their fates intertwined, will Colin and Beatrice finally be free of Sinclair's reign of terror? Or will they be driven apart once again by an invasion led by new enemy forces, never knowing how much they’re meant to be together?

Amazon | All Romance eBooks | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo 
Liquid Silver Publishing


- Excerpt - 

“Are ye angry with me because ye think I’m going to pass ye off to another or because ye want more of the pleasure I gave ye last night?”
Beatrice hadn’t the slightest clue how to respond to his question. In fact, she had no idea how to feel at this moment. She desired him, but she wanted so much more than to become a leman. Up until her exile, Beatrice had hoped to one day marry and have children, and no one in the Highlands would have her.
“I’m not sure why I’m angry, if ye must know. I have no idea why I thought giving myself to ye was a good idea.”
“If yer talking about the lad, I had no idea ye still cared for him. If yer worried that I will hand ye off to another, I will not do so unless that is what ye want. And I have no idea where ye seem to think I would have made ye my leman. I do not want one at all. I haven’t got the time to keep mistresses about, but I do have need of a wife.”
Beatrice stilled in his arms. “A wife?”
“Aye, a wife. How do ye suppose I will have heirs? Immaculate conception?”
“I see,” she said, unsure of where this discussion was going to end.
“Right now is not the time to discuss these issues. Even a laird has to take time away from bed to tend to important matters. I will return to the keep, and Giric will escort ye when yer ready.”
“Why must I go? Yer affairs are exactly that. Yers.”
“My affairs also include you, from the moment I made ye mine. So, ye’ll join me at the keep within the hour, and do not keep me waiting.”
Colin lifted her off of him and placed her back on the bed. She watched him dress just as quickly, splash some water on his face, and walk out of the cottage.
Lord, if they didna have the audience outside of the cottage, she’d have yelled at him soundly and remind him that this was her home and not his.
But Lord, how she adored that man and the very body he possessed.
Beatrice left the bed to see what clean water she had left in the pail. Luckily, she had enough to clean herself up and make herself presentable before Colin and Lady McIntyre.
By the time she met Giric outside, a small group of soldiers had joined him.
“Are ye ready, Beatrice?”
“I thought I was only to be accompanied by ye?”
“The laird thought it would be a good idea to have more just in case there were any lingering soldiers loyal to the Sinclair.”
“I see. Well, if we must, then let us be on our way. I canna imagine he’d be happy if I kept him any longer.”
“Just a word of advice, lass. What the laird wants, he usually gets. So ye might not want to incite his anger.” Giric leaned in and whispered, “Unless yer wanting yer backside spanked.”

- About The Author -

Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Layna discovered her love of reading at an early age. She’s a bestselling author at All Romance eBooks and a multi-published author of historical, paranormal, and contemporary erotic romances. When she isn’t devouring salacious romance novels or writing, she enjoys hiking and researching ancient history, mythology, and weaponry. She lives in Northern Ontario with her husband and two daughters.