Via Lynne Carmichael

Hello, my lovelies!

Today we’re talking goals. Losing weight, getting fit or accomplishing our writing goals isn’t as easy as it sounds otherwise we’d all be skinny, lean and mean writing machines.

First of all we need to decide about what we want, then work out how we’re going to get there. Sounds easy doesn’t it? But it’s not, especially if you’re new to attempting weight loss, getting fit or writing a sentence never mind writing a novel.

Via media-cen.pinterest.com

This week, I’ve fallen off the writing wagon and I’ve plenty of excuses as to why. A friend was buried. The brick wall my writing crashed into isn’t even cracked never mind damaged. My hero is being a stubborn B******d! And my heroine needs a smacked bottom – no, it’s not kinky (looking at you Myndi, Deborah, Rachel FH and Karen McF) so it’s been shoulder rolls and knuckle cracking time to sort this pair out. The emotional tension needs ratcheted up and he needs less simpatico and more edgy/attitude as well being empathic – not a lot, just a little (I don’t ask for much from my heroes, do I?) And this is at the end of the first draft so why I expect the thing to be perfect God knows – see what I mean about expectations? I know all first drafts are crap so why do I expect mine to be perfect? Why?

Having goals and working towards them is fantastic. But we need to prepare for the unexpected. So we need to constantly re-evaluate our goals and ask ourselves these questions.

  1. Are they realistic?
  2. Are they adaptable?
  3. Are they workable?
  4. Are they achievable?

We can never stay motivated 100% of the time. We need to block out our inner critic and it’s harping voice of negativity. We need to think about what we HAVE achieved and to do that we need to keep a log of what we write/research/mull-over every single day. Keep a diary, or jot it on a wall planner, of your progress and make a note of how what you’ve done, foods guzzled, yards walked, word count etc. Then, when times are tough we can look back and see what we’ve achieved already. Seemples!

And we need to build ourselves a team. Which those of you who are members of We Are Not alone (WANA) already know (link here for you guys who’ve never heard of the Queen of Blogland, Kristen Lamb.) Weirdly, she’s just been talking about teamwork – spooky or what – I think she could be a witch BUT DON’T TELL HER I SAID THAT.

Don’t underestimate the importance of having friends! They help you to celebrate the highs and hug/kick ass during the lows. Remember true friends do not envy you your success – they support you. Teammates can help you with the ‘sticky bits’ on our journey to weight loss, better fitness or publishing success.

And remember 90% of people give themselves IMPOSSIBLE goals, so make sure yours are baby steps. And once you’ve achieved your goals. Do Not Give Up. Keep Going. Set a new goal, even if it’s maintaining what you’ve already done. The wonderful James Scott Bell has written The Art of War for Writers and it’s brilliant for keeping us on track. I love that man.

Are you adaptable with your goals?

Are you part of a fabulous group of like minded people? If so, who are they and can we join too?

Do you wanna be part of WANA? Join here!

Do you celebrate the good times as well as the bad?

I adore hearing from you guys. Seriously, I get all warm and fuzzy when someone stops by and says hello. And sob heart brokenly into my pillow if you don’t. (I’m not above a bit of emotional blackmail.)



Once in a while, it’s screaming/yelling Shake-Down time in this house. You all know what I mean. The kitchen is usually my first port of call when I’m on a tear, rubber gloves are snapped on angry fingers twitching for action. This is the time the sticky milk carton shelf of the fridge is cleaned. The salad drawer is emptied (Ew, what is that green mouldy thing? No idea but medical science might’ve found the cure for botulism.) I put my hands up, because I’m a writer, that my fridge is occasionally a biological hazard. The kitchen bin is nuked which means I’ve inhaled so much neat bleach I’ve lost my sense of smell. And the males in the family have left the building at a run.

This is the time I become known as Evil Mommy because nothing is sacred, the empty crisp packets and sweet wrappers down the side of the sofas are exposed (yes, and I know who put them there, and let me say your- days-are-numbered.) Sometimes in the sofa I get very lucky and find MONEY!

The DH’s study is shovelled out (due to a visit this week from BT to fit a new faster broadband thingy.) The dust bunnies had been breeding like rabbits and all I’m saying is it was not pretty. He found loads of great stuff including a motivational CD on leadership by Colin Powell. But the study’s pretty now, oh yes indeed it certainly is. I wouldn’t like to risk eating my dinner off the floor, but it’s not bad. The room looks twice its normal size and he’s doing all sorts of things in there, including playing with his new camera. And he found CD’s with old photos.

Which, because I feel nothing but love for you guys, I’m sharing some of the best bits – here: This is my spawn a few years ago in Malindi, Kenya.

Since my star sign is LEO, hear me roar! (The neighbours certainly did) Nothing is done by halves.

Next on the hit list was the main bathroom cupboard – I shed a fat tear at this point – how many empty shampoo bottles does a daughter need? And four full bottles of 2in1 Head& Shoulders? Someone with chronic dandruff obviously thought they’d got a deal – but they don’t live in this house!

Think of the movie Twister and it’ll give you an idea of the mayhem of Shake-Down. But how long does it last? Forty-eight hours? Then everything returns to its normal sorry state. Is it all worth it?

I was fine. I was calm and relaxed … until … I got into the car. (Those of you following this blog will know I’ve been u.n.w.e.l.l.) Not a car, it was a SKIP on wheels. DH sat very still, his head turned towards me, our eyes met. And he spoke the immortal words. “Sorry, I didn’t know you’d be out and about today or I’d have had it valeted.”

I opened my mouth to roar. Then I remembered that for over a year I haven’t made a single meal. He does all the food shopping and has looked after me above and beyond the marriage vows. He’s mastered the dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer, and iron etc., so that I’ve ‘got space and time to write and get well.’

I love this man, I just don’t tell him enough. So I’m going to try harder not to sweat the small stuff and to remember what’s important.

Do you guys take your loved ones for granted?  When was the last time you told them thank you? And did you give them back the money you found down the side of the sofa?

What Are You Wearing?

From PassiveAgressiveNotes.com

What Are You Wearing?

If one woman asks another the question in quite that way, fur flies, nails rip and hair is probably pulled out by the roots, especially if that person is a sibling.

Working in an office a certain sartorial elegance is required, depending on the office. Girls on beauty counters tend to wear white uniforms, almost like medics, to sell their lotions and portions. Look at politicians, on second thoughts don’t. But you get the drift.

Now authors, us writer types and people who work from home, don’t need to bother too much about what we’re wearing while we chip away at the coalface of creativity. We roll out of bed, drag on sweatpants, uggs, a hoodie and we’re good to go. But this week I had a moment when I was sure I could be the sort of person who goes to the supermarket in their pyjamas. I actually saw a man in the supermarket with blue striped flannelette bottoms, rocking uggs, a woolly hat with a pompom on the top, matching scarf and blue duck down gilet. And no, I wasn’t wearing pj’s but I had to admire his courage. My mouth opened to ask him if he was an author but my DH caught my eye at just the right moment, the look saying ‘don’t even think about it’.

You see, I don’t get out much these days. My world is my wip and characters who are closer to me than my own kith and kin. I’ve turned into a woman with no filter when it comes to observing life and needing to know all the deets of what’s going on in the lives of perfect strangers. It’s got so bad that the family won’t let me go out alone. The ability to strike up intimate conversations with people I’ve never met is a worrying development. I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked, ‘Who was that?’ and I’ve absolutely no idea but they were lovely, poor things, because they always have issues. And issues are what we writers live for.

(Note to readers – be very careful in coffee shops – if you see a person banging on a laptop wearing earphones do not be fooled it’s an author. We have ears like cats and we hear everything. The affairs, pregnancies from aforesaid affairs, dumping a girlfriend, breaking bad/good news etc., is like gold dust to us. And my personal favourite – tears and tantrums – love them.)

Anyway, I’ve digressed. I bet you lot are wearing some of the following: leggings, jogging bottoms, thick socks, uggs, over big sweaters, layers, hoodie with fleece lining or pyjamas – COMFY clothes – am I right? However, if any of you are wearing those all-in-Onesie things then there’s no hope for you.


Christine xxx




Catch the Wind of Change in Publishing – The Reader


Joanna Terrero, sent me this last year and it’s as relevant today as it was then. It’s an inhouse training vid lasting just over 2 minutes by the UK arm of Dorling Kindersley and it’s absolutely brilliant.  What do you think?

The Reader And The Future of Publishing

Nothing worse than cold sweat trickling down your back, is there? Along with the accompanying chills and temperature spikes, this has not been a productive week by yours truly.

How I’m feeling reminds me of what’s happening to the
publishing world. For a new author this is a scary place. It’s always been a
scary place, but there are times when I’ve wondered if I’ve fallen into a
parallel universe.

You’ll be thrilled to know that I’m not about to debate what’s
happening – plenty of other people are busy doing that – change is upon us and
it’s no use spitting into the face of a hurricane.

The answer to the question, who do you listen to, is, THE
READER. Remember them? They’re the one’s who part with their hard-earned cash
to buy our stories. And in the debate, by and large, they’ve been totally
ignored. And that, in my humble opinion, is a damned disgrace. But does the
reader care if he/she is ignored? Nope, because now they’re able to decide by a
single click of a button what they like, when they want it, where to buy it and
how much to pay for it.

So our mission (should you decide to accept it, this blog
will self-destruct in ten seconds) is to write the best stories we possibly can
for our reader to escape into the peaks and troughs of a rollicking great
romance, with plenty of ‘good bits’ (do NOT forget the good bits, they meet
reader expectation) and a deeply satisfying HEA (happy ever after).  So that’s it, easy?  Well, no, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

The great Kristen Lamb, editor, agent & author, is talking about E-publishing today and has links here to a workshop run by Bob

Mayer & Jen Talty.  I bet Kristen will love the vid too, it’s exactly what she’s been teaching.


Why Revisions need LOVE!

When a writer talks about revisions, most of us turn a whiter shade of pale. But the fabulous Harlequin author Ally Blake says she loves them.  Here she is!
She’s actually stated this fact many times before. It’s only now that I ‘get’ what she means by going through the process myself.
Back in the old days, er, a few months ago. My wip was polished, perfect and couldn’t possibly be better. I thought. It was returned with many comments on how to improve it which were worth their weight in gold. Of course, at the time I couldn’t see what the lovely editor meant. But, boy, I do now.
For the last three months I’ve gone back to basics. The work in progress has been re-structured. The emotional conflicts increased to the point of pain, hehehe. Along with lighter moments when my protagonists tumble completely in love in spite of themselves.
Ally, you’re absolutely right. Revisions rock because they catch plot holes, unfinished threads, polish and increase the emotional journey and ratchet up the tension until the happy-ever-after. They teach a writer to work on structure for character development. How to increase, decrease pace and tension.
Here’s the link to Ally’s blog and you’ll see what a positive inspiration this author has been to readers and authors alike. She has a voracious work ethic and I admire her hugely.

New Voices Competition Hots Up


M&B New Voices competition is hotting up.  The first phase ends on 10th October then the final twenty will be named.  Ten of those go through to the next round where their second chapter will be voted on by the judges.  Then the final four will be announced and they will write their pivotal moment.  Then the public and judges vote the winner.

To date there have been more than 624 entries (bloody hell) with thousands and thousands of comments left.  How the judges are going to read every one, I have no idea.  If I have a criticism it is that the site has been difficult for a reader to navigate.  I mentioned this to M&B and Charlotte from HQ assured me that they would do their best to fix the odd glitch.  Other than that, this has been a great competition.

My entry is here: http://www.romanceisnotdead.com/Search?view=search&AS_fulltext_searchTerms=The+Taming+of+Coco+Monroe

I haven’t been able to read each and every one because my brain would have imploded, but I did love these stories:  Lost Love, Secret Son.  A Dangerous Gift. eWife (five roses for this one). Lying for the Camera. The Courtesan Duchess. The Isle of Sensuality. Bride On The Run (I cried laughing at this one) Mixing Business With Pleasure.

I’m sure there are many wonderful chapters, but these stood out for me.

Good Luck to everyone who entered.