CHILLED TO THE BONE

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Do you guys remember Stephen King’s psychological thriller Misery with the awesome Kathy Bates and a tied to the bed James Caan?

Did it scare the bejeezus out of you too?

It terrified me let me tell you. In fact all of Mr King’s books terrify me – especially Salem’s Lot.

I still can’t watch that one alone. I need a big strong man snoring on the couch next to me.

H simply doesn’t get Vampires.

But, back to Misery.

How would you like to meet the next Stephen King who just happens to be a woman? You would? Then let me introduce you to a certain August McLaughlin’s incredible debut In her Shadow 

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Fans of this blog *waving atcha* might have spotted that August occasionally drops by to comment if something catches her eye. And she sneakily quietly released her book  just before Christmas but it didn’t take long for her work to make my radar twitch.

I began hearing good things about this book, like how it terrified a certain children’s author Lynn Kelley for example. So I bought it. And I’ll be honest, I’m nervous of psychological thrillers because they tend to remain in my overactive imagination, which is why I write romance. And just as I’d expected, this one lingered for far too long. Think sleepless nights. Thanks for that, August.

I left this review on Goodreads.

“Fans of Mr King and Mr Koontz will love In Her Shadow.

Psychological thrillers are not my usual reading candy but once I was immersed in the story, I couldn’t stop reading until the bitter end. The author’s main characters are well developed and linger in the mind – the sign of a good author.

This is an edge of the seat read with parts that made me wince. Eating disorders are always heartbreaking and the author doesn’t pull her punches in tackling the psychological fall out either.

I can’t wait to read August McLaughlin’s next work.”

And here’s August, she looks perfectly normal doesn’t she? Just goes to show how looks can be deceptive. The woman has a gruesome imagination.

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According to her bio, the stunningly beautiful (physically and in her heart) August McLaughlin is a Journalist & author of psychological thriller, IN HER SHADOW. Former model/actress, dream-seeking lifer. Compulsive blogger,#GirlBoner founder. Rep’d by @DGLM Los Angeles, CA.

Here’s the blurb:

One woman locked in a basement, nearing death and longing for escape. Another baffled by the inexplicable symptoms wreaking havoc on her life. Both are lost and alone, yet somehow connected. And time is running out…

Near the tenth anniversary of her parents’ unexpected death, Claire Fiksen, a lovely young Harvard-grad and gifted psychologist in Minnesota, develops bizarre symptoms of an eating disorder that threaten her fledgling career, her relationship with a handsome young medical student, her grasp on reality and, soon, her life.
When her beloved grandfather reveals that there may be more to her parents’ death than she’s realized, Claire’s pursuit of healing becomes a desperate search for answers as she delves into her family’s sordid past. Meanwhile, someone is watching her every move, plotting to draw her into her own twisted web of misery.
Claire has something he needs, and he’ll stop at nothing to obtain it. Every step Claire takes brings her closer to the truth and danger. And her life, she discovers, isn’t the only one at stake.
Find August here:

https://twitter.com/AugstMcLaughlin

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6575761.August_McLaughlin

http://www.facebook.com/pages/August-McLaughlin/105914826113271

http://augustmclaughlin.wordpress.com/

So what books have lingered too long in your mind?

Have any kept you awake at night worrying about what happens next?

Or have any scared you so bad you’ve left the light on?

Come and share them with us!

Christine x

DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE ROMANCE AUTHOR IN TIME MAGAZINE?

Thought that might grab you.

A few weeks ago a certain Laird Sapir asked her friends if they’d like to host a romance author on their blog who was being interviewed for Time Magazine.

As you might imagine my ears pricked and I raised my hand and said, ‘Hell, yes!’

Princess-Sheryl

So began a dialogue with the lovely Sheryl Hoyt who writes as Saralynn Hoyt who has set the indie world on fire with her historical and contemporary romances.

Here’s the interview with Time Magazine HERE.

Now Sheryl is a blogging virgin and gave us a few subjects she was excited about and one of those was how she tackles her historical research. Since I’ve recently had the lovely historical author Katherine Bone on here talking about pirates and undead monkey’s I figured Sheryl’s post on historical research would fit right in.

So, take it away, Sheryl!!!

Historical Research 101

By Sheryl Hoyt, writing as SaraLynn Hoyt

I was interviewed just the other day by Indie Author Land and one of the questions they asked me was about how much research I do and whether or not it’s important to me. My answer was a ton and yes!

I don’t know about the rest of you but there is nothing that bugs me more than reading a book that provides wrong information, unless it’s on purpose. That is a very important distinction. If you are writing an alternate history or building your own world, then the reader expects you to mess with the facts. However, the reader also expects you to know the facts first.

So where and how do find and verify your information? Well, I can tell for sure it isn’t on Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a useful tool in your search for facts, but the disclaimer clearly states that Wiki makes no guarantee of validity!  Don’t get me wrong I use it all the time, but mainly to find resources. The other no-no in fact gathering is relying on works of fiction for your facts. Artists of all kinds are really good at making stuff up. So again, things like the movie The Duchess, can be a resource to further research, but it is not validation.

So where do you begin?

How about the library! I normally begin my research by checking out a bunch of library books around place, time period, culture or historical event. Grab as many as you can. My library only allows for 20 books checked out at one time, so I start with 20. I don’t necessarily read them all, but I will peruse all of them. Check the table of contents, the pictures, scan the index, looking for anything that sparks my interest or sounds like what I have in mind for my story. I usually have a bunch of stickies I use to bookmark and by the time I’m done going through all the books, there are a handful that I want to read more of. The rest go back to the library and then based on my discoveries, I check out some more. I repeat until I feel confident that I have a good understanding of where and what period I want to write my book in.

I also read diaries and letters from the period to better understand how people thought and spoke in that period. But, you have to be careful here. I don’t live in 1838 or 1905, and neither do my readers. So I use the historical data to add authenticity to my book, sprinkling it in with a light touch so as not to bore my readeAnother great thing about the library are the librarians. They love to research! Go figure. At the time I was writing Dangerous Heart

Dangerous Heart FinalI had never been to Philadelphia and only had access to a limited amount of books on the period and place I wanted to write about. In 1999 there wasn’t much content on available on the internet yet, but I was able to find an email for the Philadelphia library system. I sent off a quick message asking for some specific information about what various parts of the city looked like in the 1830’s. A week or so later I received a packet of photo’s, maps and copies of pages from books that were only available in that library.

The internet is a fantastic resource as well, but just be skeptical of what you find and try to validate over multiple websites. I find that the best internet resources are usually created by people who are passionate about their topic. And the nice thing about these experts is they are more than willing to share with you. Feel free to email them with questions and they will enthusiastically respond.

Now although I said at the beginning not to use fiction for research, I do use television and movies for inspiration and ambiance when I write. So, for example, when I was editing Heaven Made,Heaven Made-Final which takes place in England in 1905, I had Downton Abbey Downton Abbyand The Buccaneers

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playing on the TV nonstop. I immersed myself in the time period, listening to the vocal inflections and absorbing the costumes and sets. This also helps me keep the tone of the book on track and ensure that the reader’s expectations are met. After all, if someone picks up a book that takes place in 1905 England, they probably already saw Downton Abbey and have that picture in the back of their mind as they are reading.

A few other things that can help are maps and travel guides. You are going to want to know how long it will take your characters to get around by horse and buggy. You wouldn’t want them on the wrong side of a river or lake without a bridge or a ferry nearby, or walking through terrain where no road could possible exist.

And last but not least, your critique partner or beta reader will point out when something is ‘off’ or ‘too modern’ or they found something that threw them out of the story because it doesn’t seem plausible. Just because it’s true doesn’t mean it should be in the story. After all, in the end you’ve created a work of fiction and not a history book.

Bio: Sheryl Hoyt was born and lives in the Seattle, WA area. She resides in the beautiful Cascade foothills with her high school sweetheart and their cats. A business professional by day, Sheryl has been writing novels in her free time for over 20 years. A lover of all things historical, she enjoys research and travel in order to expand her knowledge and add authenticity to her stories.

Thank you very much, Sheryl!

Here are the links to Sheryl’s books and her author facebook page and her blog:

The Scoundrel and the SaintHeaven Made & Dangerous Heartby SaraLynn Hoyt (aka Sheryl Hoyt)
@saralynnhoyt

I’M IN MALTA!

Okay, so I’m not actually in Malta.

I’m a guest on the wonderful blog of writer Natalie G. Owens and she lives in Malta, so it’s the next best thing.

But before I chat about what I’m doing in Malta, I wanted to share with you guys something a lovely reader sent me on Christmas Eve.

by reader, Jane Aschtgen Bowen

by reader, Jane Aschtgen Bowen

Isn’t the pic fabulous?

About a month ago Natalie asked if she could interview me on my writing process for her blog and quite innocently I said yes.

What popped into my inbox was an interrogation interview the length of War & Peace.

When Natalie read it she decided to spread the interview over two days. So if you’re interested in how, why and where I write and how I come up with characters and story lines then get yourselves over to Natalie’s blog HERE.

The lovely Natalie is also offering a Rafflecopter on her site where (since it’s season for giving) ten lucky winners will win all three of The Ludlow Hall series and book one in my Vampyre Legal Chronicles series, Big Trouble in China.

Christine x

 

What do undead monkeys and Nelson’s Tea have in common?

Today I have a guest blogger – the  historical author, the wonderful, the awesome, Katherine Bone!

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I’m so grateful to Christine for inviting me to post on her blog today. Thanks, girl!!  😉

Ahoy, me hearties! I’m Katherine Bone and my tagline is Rogues, Rebels & Rakes. I write about adventure, passion and romance, and alpha heroes who’ll do anything to protect the ones they love. Regency romance is my favorite genre, but I write a bit of contemporary too. Because of that, I happened to meet Christine via the 2011 HQN Mills & Boon New Voices Contest. (Boom goes the undead monkey!)

Pirates used the sea to pilfer treasure ripe for the taking. Thankfully, I don’t have to board a ship to find a treasure like Christine. Modern technology enables me to make friends and forge long distance friendships without the long voyage, undead monkeys, or dangerous seas. The world is a small place, me hearties. As a military brat, wife and mother, I’ve had great opportunities and made friends all over the world. And so— as Christine and I both entered the HQN M&BNVC, it wasn’t a surprise that we discovered a shared passion for romance books.

I actually blogged about this 9/28/11 at Okay, Listen Here, Finding the Positive

By the time I met Christine, my book Pirate by Night had been sitting with HQN Mills & Boon Historicals for a year and I’d written the first chapter of my first contemporary Lost Treasure, Captive Princess for the HQN Presents line. My entry didn’t place, but I finished the book, which will release March 4th, via Crimson Romance.  (12 gun salute!)  And, I rewrote Pirate by Night to fit the single title market, submitted it to Crimson Romance as Duke by Day, Rogue by Night and got The Call on June 11, 2011. The first book in my Nelson’s Tea Series, Duke by Day, Rogue by Night released October 29th.

The idea for Duke by Day, Rogue by Night began when Pirates of the Caribbean starring Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, brought pirates back into fashion, along with romance authors Katharine Ashe, Shana Galen, Jennifer Ashley, Shannon Drake, and Michelle Beattie. (Thanks for paving the way, mates!)

I absolutely love historical research as much as I love pirates! Savvy. You can check out my passionate discoveries on my Pinterest boards here: http://pinterest.com/katlbone/ (When in research mode, it’s like being stuck in Davy Jones’ Locker at Worlds End. 😉

Research, however, offers interesting discoveries. For instance, did you know that piracy didn’t end with the Golden Age? Most everyone knows about the action along the Barbary Coast. But Benito Del Soto pirated along the European Coastline until 1833 when he was caught and hanged. Smuggling persisted along the Cornish Coast for many years afterward.

Discoveries are EPIC! They’re like a map that guides you to buried treasure. So I held my compass and pointed it to what I wanted most, and set my looking glass on a Regency series set between 1804-1805, leading up to the battle at Trafalgar. Twenty men, first sons from every tier of life, trained mercenaries above suspicion, serve Admiral Nelson and his subordinate, Simon Danbury.

Another interesting fact: Nelson never went without his tea, even during battle. So it was fitting to name his mercenary group Nelson’s Tea, the word tea being code for any mission involving his inconspicuous men, primarily one Marques in line to a dukedom, a naval officer eager to move up the ranks, and a smuggler with ties to the Cornish Coast.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you a blurb for Duke by Day, Rogue by Night:

Constance Danbury is fleeing an arranged marriage to lecherous Lord Burton, a man who has blackmailed her father and is nearly twice her age. Her escape takes her aboard a merchantman bound for Spain, where she hopes an aunt will help her procure funds to save her father’s dwindling reputation. But fate intervenes. Constance is captured by a pirate with a wit and stubbornness to match her own, and a secret he’ll do anything to keep.

Nobleman Percival Avery is a member of Nelson’s Tea, an elite group whose members are first sons from every tier in society. Undercover, he disguises himself as a pirate to infiltrate the gang of cutthroats responsible for his sister’s death. But when his vessel attacks a merchantman with valuable cargo, Percy is forced to choose between vengeance and saving the life of his commander’s niece, Constance Danbury. Mutiny is sure to obliterate his well-laid plans. It also aligns him with the one woman sure to see through his disguise. Forced to play the fop by day to outwit his enemies, he masquerades as a rogue by night in order to avenge his sister’s death – and to win his true love’s heart.

Duke by Day, Rogue by Night is a rollicking romp of a pirate romance in the classic style. From ship deck to London ballroom, Katherine Bone’s story is packed with intrigue, and the disguise of her rough and dangerous hero as a town popinjay positively delights.” – Katharine Ashe, author of Captured by a Rogue Lord

“Katherine Bone is an author after my own heart! Duke by Day, Rogue by Night is a sexy, adventurous romp guaranteed to keep you reading into the wee hours of the night.” – Shana Galen, author of The Rogue’s Pirate Bride

Bio: Katherine Bone lives in the south where she dreams of rogues, rebels, and rakes and the happily ever afters every Alpha male deserves. 

Here’s an excerpt:

“Where are my clothes?”

“You’ll not be needing them,” he said.

She struggled to breathe. “What do you mean I’ll not be needing my clothes?”

Even before the question came out of her mouth, his meaning was clear. An abysmal vulnerability unlike any she’d ever experienced forced a heated blush into her cheeks. He stepped closer, looming above her like a hawk stalking prey. She shrank back, scurrying on her hands and feet until her back braced against the wall, intent on putting as much space between herself and the deplorable scoundrel as possible.

“Nothing can come between us, Constance, including clothes.”

His alarming grin proved he meant to ensure every word. Beads of sweat broke out on her brow as her mind labored for a response. Something wicked churned in her stomach as her mind labored over a memory, the sensation of the two of them without clothes, their bodies scandalously intertwined, his warm fingers, comforting touch, and his heart pounding underneath her ear.

“How do you know my name?” she squeaked, trying desperately to block out the condemning images.

“Did you honestly expect me to believe your lies about being Admiral Duncan’s daughter? The man died quite seasoned. His daughters most assuredly wed and bedded before you were born.” His penetrating gaze darted over her body. “How old are you?” he asked. “I wager nineteen — at most.”

He moved closer, his knee resting on the edge of the bunk. Reaching out to grab a lock of her hair, he added, “Too young to be Duncan’s daughter,” he continued, “and far prettier.”

Unsettled, she snatched back her hair. Indignantly, she spat, “You irritating simpleton! My age is of no consequence to you.”

“Yet you claim to be one of Admiral Duncan’s daughters. Who is the simpleton?”

“Are you calling me a liar?”

“If I must,” he said with a wave of his hand, acting as if the effort drained him. But it was the look in his eye that warned her not to insult him again.

She quivered. He stood and crossed the room until he was positioned by the door again. He leaned against it and crossed his arms over his chest, once again causing her eyes to feast on his toned, lean body. The black shirt he wore accentuated his weathered skin. His dark hair, mustache, beard, and eye patch emphasized the reticent set of his jaw. His hair flowed loosely about his shoulders. The red scarf around his forehead stood out like the blush of a cardinal attracting a mate. For the first time, she noticed a gold hoop in his left ear as he dropped his head to the side to observe her with disdain.

“Where am I?” Her voice cracked. She hated being vulnerable, hated herself for thinking the man slightly handsome.

His mustached lip curled upward as if he’d been waiting for such a cue. He stepped away from the door.

“You’re aboard the Striker. Don’t you remember?”

She turned away from him and gazed out the spacious window to replay the previous night’s events in her mind. Her heart raced as bone-chilling images proved she had much to be grateful for where he was concerned. She averted his gaze, hoping to hide the fear listing her heart. Indeed, she remembered all too well that pirates had stormed through her cabin door. She recalled the first time she’d set eyes upon him. She remembered Captain Collins and that heartless brigand, Frink, tearing at her clothes. A tear slipped out of the corner of her eye. Light and moist, it tickled her skin, reminding her of being weighted down by water. She remembered nearly drowning. She remembered hearing her mother’s voice. She remembered him.

“I remember … ,” she admitted, “you saved me from drowning.”

“And I brought you to my cabin,” he finished for her.

“Where’s Captain Frink? Is this his ship?”

“Do not worry your pretty little head about him. He’ll do you no more harm.”

“And Mrs. Mortimer?” Fear took hold when he did not answer. She only vaguely remembered her dearest governess being carried out of the cabin. What had happened to her? Had she been passed from one man to the next like a communal jug of rum?

He approached her slowly, sat down on the edge of the bed and leaned closer, making her heart flutter. “Mrs. Mortimer?”

“Yes,” she replied. “My traveling companion. Is she all right? Is she alive?”

“That crafty old witch is fine. She’s in another cabin.” He held up his hand when she began to ask another question. “Rest assured she is well.” He placed his finger on her lips to silence her when she tried to speak.

Constance brushed his finger away. “Why are we separated? Why aren’t you keeping us together?”

“What joy would there be in that for me?”

What do you think of undead monkeys, Captain Jack Sparrow or pirates who won’t give you back your clothes?

One lucky commenter will win a copy of Duke by Day, Rogue by Night, eBook copy for Kindle or Nook. Good luck, me hearties!

By Katherine Bone
By Katherine Bone

Here’s the link for Amazon

Here’s the link for Nook

Wow! The pinterest boards you have for research are seriously amazing, Katherine!

And I finished Duke by Day and Rogue by Night, in the early hours of this morning!

It’s fast paced with thrills and spills, wonderful love scenes. And incredible research. I loved it!

Excellent read!

You remind me of Georgette Heyer. Take a bow!

Thank you very much for being on my blog today, Katherine, and please come back soon!

Perhaps when your new book is out?

Do you guys love historicals? What’s your favourite?

Mine is The Grand Sophy by Ms Heyer. Still makes me laugh out loud!

Christine X

BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID

 

You may not have noticed, but Halloween will soon be upon us and that got me thinking about things that go bump in the night.

What makes a really good ghost story? What is it about the way a writer tells a story that freezes our blood? How do they do it?

For me, it’s all about sleight of hand. You know what I mean, it’s when a writer has taken your hand leading you down one path while in the other hand he holds a bloody dagger – metaphorically speaking. Quite often the story is about shocking the reader too. And today I’m going to plug an amazing anthology which does just that and more! But first…..

I want to tell you about a true event – the time where I absolutely traumatized a three-year-old girl.

When my son was nine and it was Halloween he’d been invited to hang out and eat at a friend’s house and he was due home around six-thirty in the evening. I’d been shopping in the supermarket and spotted a really cool Morticia Addams long black wig with a white streak at the front. So I used a white concealer stick on my face, painted black liner around my eyes with red lids and hooker red lipstick on my mouth and put on the wig. Even if I say so myself, it looked hot.  I wore black slacks and a black polo neck sweater – cashmere (this is me we’re talking about). I also found a huge cross with red stones attached to a long beaded necklace. Everything was ready, the box of candy and other teeth rotting goodies just at the front door.

The doorbell rang and I opened the door with a deep, ‘Welcome, young man. Please enter.’

My son howled with laughter – it takes a lot to scare my son – and thought I looked pretty cool. By this time my daughters were home and we’d given out a few treats to the ghosts and ghouls who’d come to the door. And as I’d given one or two a bit of a shock I was feeling pretty damn good.

Anyway, I was just about to relax when the doorbell went. By this time I’d bumped up the make-up to look even more scary so I opened the door and screeched like a banshee from hell at an unsuspecting mother and her two young children.

I’ll never forget it.

Her three-year-old daughter almost passed out on the spot and ran screaming for her life up the drive and into the arms of her father. Her mother and older sister were stood before me clutching their hearts.

‘What on earth do you think you are doing? You terrified my baby,’ the poor woman said.

‘It’s…er…Halloween,’ I sort of mumbled trying to smile but if anything their eyes went even bigger. The screams of the three year old could be heard for miles and neighbors popped their heads out of the door wondering what the hell was going on.

There are times when I’m incredibly stupid and this was one of them. I started running up the drive to try and calm the child but she went absolutely crazy and her father yelled for me to ‘Get the hell out of here.’  I felt awful absolutely certain I’d given her PTSD. So anyway the mother and daughter were given tons of tooth rotting goodies and I waved them farewell.

I closed the door to find my son and daughter lying on the carpet, drumming their heels on the floor and crying with laughter. Once they managed to speak they said it was the best thing they’d ever seen in their lives and I was the coolest mother in the world. There you go.  Terrorize an infant and your kids think your amazing. I’ve gone wrong somewhere. Seriously.

Back to the subject at hand – TALES FROM THE MIST – an Anthology of short stories guaranteed to chill your blood, tingle your spine, make you sleep with one eye open and have a sweaty hand clutching the dagger under your pillow – just in case. There are some award winning literary big hitters among this motley crew along with new writers who have a fabulous future ahead of them if these stories are anything to go by.

I read some of them aloud – and I think they’ll work really well if you get a group of friends together with a bottle of wine, light a few candles and tell them a story. It would really help if it’s ‘A dark and stormy night’ too. I’ll leave it to you lot to sort out your own sound effects.

Here’s what some reviewers have said:

Author Aiden James, who penned the Foreword, suggests reading with the lights on.

Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Flesh Eaters and Mutated: “”Tales From The Mist is one of those rare anthologies that gets it right from the first story to the last. It’s a magnificent feast of horror from some of the most assured voices working today. From cold-blooded tales of revenge to Faustian bargains to terrifying journeys into the dark corners of our world, these stories will make the shivers climb your back.”

“Wow, what can I say? Witches, vampire rats, ghosts, a haunted house, shape-shifters and many, many more. It takes a lot to creep me out, but these authors managed it. I’m not going to add to the other reviewers except to say. Wow!”

“While horror isn’t my normal reading material, I found I couldn’t put this book down. It’s the perfect way to start out the All Hallows Eve season and is filled with paranormal stories to fit any mood. From ghosts to rats to tales retold, and things that go bump in the dark of the night, if you’re looking for a scary read – or just a really engrossing book – check out Tales From The Mist.”

So there you go. Don’t say I’m not good to you. Grab Tales From The Mist and organise your own spooky party then come back and tell us all about it it.

What’s your favourite horror movie?

What book terrified you for weeks or months? Mine was Salem’s Lot.

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Tales-From-The-Mist-ebook/dp/B009KRKTIW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349273129&sr=8-1&keywords=Tales+From+The+Mist 

BEHIND THE QUILL – I’M A GUEST WITH THE LOVELY JENNIFER OLIVER

 

A Stormy Spring

A Stormy Spring

Hello, my darlings,

It’s been a busy week.

Today the lovely Jennifer Oliver forced invited me to her blog to torture interview me since she’s under the delusion I know something about writing romance.

When I read the list of questions I thought, ‘This girl knows how to winkle out the nitty gritty.’

So please, I beg you, (I need all the support I can get) drop by and leave a comment – it doesn’t even have to be a nice comment and it’s not often you’ll have me on my knees before you so I’d make the most of it if I were you.

You can find us HERE and did you really think I’d not have something to give you? Yes, a lucky commenter will win the grand prize of a copy of A Stormy Spring! I know, it’s bribery and I have no shame whatsoever. I always admit to my many failings.

Christine

INTERVIEW ON THE HOT PINK TYPEWRITER TODAY – COME AND WIN A PRIZE!

Hello my lovelies!

Recently the ladies who run The Hot Pink Typewriter blog invited me to talk about indie publishing and my books and Lindsay was so nice about it I said yes.

I’ve never been a guest before so I need all the friendly faces I can get!

Please come by and say hello and see how Lindsay Pryor put me in the hot seat and TORTURED me.

She did, the little minx!

If you comment, you might win a copy of A Stormy Spring! Or Reckless Nights In Rome!

Okay, I know it’s bribery but this is me you’re dealing with!

http://thehotpinktypewriter.blogspot.co.uk/

GOALS! WHY OH WHY?

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.)

Christine

Catch the Wind of Change in Publishing – The Reader

PUBLISHING IS CHANGING BEFORE OUR EYES, SO WHO DO YOU LISTEN TO?

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.

Christine

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.