Monday, September 24, 2012

6 Benefits of Writing Every Day

Firstly I’d like to stress that if you can’t write every day then this doesn’t somehow make you less of a writer. However, there are some clear benefits of making the time to write on a daily basis. Here is what I’ve learned the hard way:  

1. Practice makes perfect: In so much of life it’s about quality, not quantity. In writing, however, I believe quantity is essential to achieve quality. By doing we learn, we stretch ourselves, we hone our skills. When we write only occasionally it takes us a while to loosen our stiff writing muscles. When those muscles have limbered up, our work becomes smooth and our words flow.

2.  For confidence: When we write a lot we grow in confidence—confidence in ourselves, our words, our stories. We gain the courage to step away from the current trends and write the stories our characters call for, those special stories caught in our heart.  

3. Less pressure to get it right first try: When we write now and then, our work tends to need to be good. We’ll agonise over the few words we have, we’ll stress over our rare moments of creativity, and we’ll feel like a failure if the work isn’t perfect. When we write every day—or, at least, frequently—then instant perfection matters less because we suddenly have more to offer. We’ve given ourselves more time to try different things, to experiment, to play. The pressure isn’t there and the perverseness of that simple fact means we tend to write better. Go figure.  

4. To build discipline: As most writers will tell you: Writing ain’t easy! A certain level of discipline is required to turn a writing hobby in a writing career. If it’s a career you want, then by writing every day you’ll practise the kind of discipline you’ll need to shape that career.

5. To ward off writer’s block: I believe that waiting for inspiration is one of the major causes of writer’s block. This is because inspiration is always late to a party and is never around when you need her. By making the decision to write every day, we can’t wait for her. We have to write anyway.  

6. To achieve those goals and dreams: The more we write the faster we write. My first novel took me nine years to complete because I didn’t write every day. I only wrote when I felt like it, which in the beginning wasn’t often. Now that I write close to every day, I’ve written three novels in two years and they are a gazillion times better than that first novel.  

What are some other benefits to writing every day? Do you think there may be some disadvantages?

WINNERS: A big congratulations to LG Smith for winning an ebook copy of Justine Dell’s Recaptured Dreams. Congrats also to Tonja and Shelley for being bookmark winners!!!  

Note: I will return to posting on Wednesday 3rd Oct with an exciting giveaway and a post for the Insecure Writers' Support Group. In the meanwhile, I'll still be around the blogsphere.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Guest Post: Justine Dell and Giveaway

Please welcome the lovely Justine Dell who is here today sharing with us what she learned while writing her latest book, Recaptured Dreams. She is also offering an exciting giveaway. More on that later. Take it away, Justine. 

Probably the most important thing I learned while writing this particular book was: sometimes less is more.

You see, this book is only 63,506 words. The original version was only 42,000. Of course it’s changed and grown since then, but I learned the importance of keeping the focus on the hero and heroine in the story. For me I enjoy romances that are succinct, capturing only what’s needed to be captured instead of adding all those other characters and plot layers.

I love romance stories because of the developing relationship between the two main characters and when I wrote this, I learned just how hard it was to stay focused on them. It was so easy to veer in the wrong direction or add stuff that didn’t really add to the story or developing relationship. So while I like reading stories like that, I found it very difficult to actually do. However, because this story was originally written for a specific line with a specific word count, I had to keep the word count low. Hardest thing I’ve ever done. But one of the greatest lessons, too. I learned, that while hard, I can write a powerful and compelling love story and do it with as few words as possible, keeping the attention and focus on what matters: the building relationship.

Book blurb: Ten years, the Atlantic Ocean, and several rungs in society have kept Xavier Cain from having Sophia Montel. Now twenty-seven, he’s spent his entire adult life building a fashion empire that could finally prove his worth to her family. When fate reunites him with Sophia at London’s premiere fashion show, one problem lodges in Xavier’s path: Sophia doesn’t remember him.

The only obstacle that has kept Sophia from Xavier is a horrific car crash that erased her memory at seventeen. She’s spent the last ten years fighting to reclaim a sliver of her past that her mother refuses to help her remember. When Sophia meets Xavier at the London show, however, all her fantasies come to life in one night of passion. Discovering he is the missing link, she is determined to find all the pieces to their love story and her memory.

Xavier wants forever. Sophia wants her memory. If they take this chance, they’ll have to start over. How far are they willing to go get what they want? And when the past catches up to them, can they handle the truths it has hidden? Contact Justine by email:

Recaptured Dreams on Amazon
Recaptured Dreams on Goodreads.
Recaptured Dreams on Facebook.
Friend her on Facebook
Check out her Blog.
Find her on Twitter.
Find Recaptured Dreams on Goodreads Profile

And don't forget to check out Omnific Publishing. Romance ... without the rules.

Giveaway: Justine will give a copy of her ebook at EACH blog stop! All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment. At the end of every day she'll do the random number generator thing and pick a winner. I'll need the winning blogger's email address and all the prizes will be sent out at the end of the month. On top of that, she'll be hosting a contest on her blog for the entire month. she's going to give away a signed copy of the book, several other new releases, bookmarks, cool, random stuff, and gift cards! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Genre Favourites Blogfest

Alex J Cavanaugh is hosting today’s Genre Favourites Blogfest. To check out the participants click HERE.

Favourite Movie Genre: That would be the pew pew genre. I love the flashy blockbusters with lots of action and lame one-liners. I switch off my brain and have a wonderful time. The Avengers is a great example. My favourite movies of all time however are fantasies: The Princess Bride and Ladyhawk. They are my indulgences.

Favourite Genre in Music: This one varies depending on my mood and why I’m listening to music. If I’m listening while I write then my favourite would be instrumental soundtracks with emotive beats. If I’m listening while doing anything else I think my favourite would have to be Rock, or anything with a strong drumbeat. My occasional guilty pleasure is trance music. I love the energy.

Favourite Genre in Books: No surprises here. While I read a wide range of genres, my favourites are anything speculative—fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, steampunk. If it’s strange and unusual I’ll read it. Occasionally I’ll indulge in reading stories simply for the beauty of the words, something fancy and florally with turns of phrases that make me go, “wow!” However, I do prefer my speculative reading to be written in a non-literary way.

What are your favourite genres?

Thank you to Rita from Thoughts and Musings for the One Lovely Blogger Award!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Guest Post: How to Market Without Being Pushy

Please welcome the lovely and talented Aimee Laine to my blog today:

Every writer knows, or should by now, that just writing ‘the end’ to a book is only the first step in publishing and marketing a book. If we want to sell, we have to actually ‘sell’. In today’s world of ‘classes’ among the publishers of the world (the Big 6 to Indie Publishers to self-publishing) one thing is still the same: the use of social media in the sales cycle.

What does that mean for writers? Get out there and say ‘Buy my book!’ a hundred times a day? You may or may not know that 2 decades ago it took 2-3 impressions to reach a potential buyer. Now the average is 17 (or so I heard somewhere). That’s a lot!

But getting on Twitter and Facebook and constantly exclaiming how good one is does nothing but turn people away!

So how do we get around this conundrum that is selling but not being pushy, getting in someone’s face two dozen times but again, not being pushy?

My belief is that we shouldn’t use social media to outright sell out book. We should use it to engage in conversation, the sharing of information and that over time a writer will develop a following that, if they writer is any good, will develop into fans and fans into sales and fans into word of mouth.

The message has to be clear and consistent though. You can’t just push the book or never mention it. Balance sharing who you are with your excited news, with inspirational moments and with quips on who you are and always, always be sure to do the same for others.

In a world of ‘me me me’ people like to buy from those who help ‘others others others’ just so long as they remember you were the one who helped them, too.

Now that I’ve shared that, let me tell you all about my latest release, Surrender! ;)


Face the past or look to the future? Both will hurt. One could kill her.

All her life, Lily Crane has suppressed her childhood memories, masking the signs of abuse with a variety of looks. From brunette to blonde, tall to short — as a Mimic, changing shape is her gift. Her right. Her achilles heel.

It’s Lily’s latest likeness, chosen simply by accident, which threatens to repeat a history she’s desperate to forget. Worse, she must do so without the one man who takes all her pain away: Cael Aldridge.

Cael has no intention of leaving Lily on her own. He never has. Now, with the woman he loves in the hands of a predator who wants Lily for her genetics, Cael will do everything he can to bring her home.


He can only pray he isn’t too late.

Aimee is a romantic at heart and a southern transplant with a bit of the accent (but not a whole bunch). She's married to her high school sweetheart, and with him, she's produced three native North Carolinians, two of whom share the same DNA.

With an MBA and a degree in Applied Mathematics, there's absolutely no reason she should be writing romance novels. Then again, she shouldn't need a calculator to add two numbers, either ... but she does.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Chocolates and Giveaways

M Pax, Laura Eno, Brinda Berry, and Ciara Knight are co-hosting the ‘What’s Your Chocolate?’ bloghop. Visit the other chocolate lovers and enjoy the party. For the full list of everyone involved, go HERE.

What’s my favourite chocolate?
This might come as a surprise to some, but I don’t have a sweet tooth. I rarely eat desserts, and I steer clear of sugary fruits and wines. However, I love my chocolate, specifically dark chocolate with 70% or more cocoa. Manna from Heaven.

When I want to indulge in something special, I go to my favourite local chocolate store: Nina’s Chocolates. The chocolatiers there create handmade chocolates and supply me from a huge selection of yummies such as their scrumptious plum liqueur bombs, or their orange truffles, or their cream ganache tasties, or, or, or… the list goes on. Yum.

So tell me, what’s your favourite chocolate?

Also on the agenda: The Bigger-Than-A-Shopping-Mall GIVEAWAY

SA Larsen recently signed with Literary Agent Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary. Woo Hoo! Congratulations, Sheri! And because our literary community is, in her words, ‘so freaking fabulous and generous’, she is hosting a Bigger-Than-A-Shopping-Mall GIVEAWAY!! The giveaway consists of:
  • two separate Rafflecopters with multiple giveaways
  • and one grand prize Rafflecopter giveaway - to enter for the grand prize, you must enter either giveaway #1, #2, or both.
The giveaway is open until September 27th. WINNERS will be announced on September 28th. (Entrants may win more than one prize!)

List of Rocking Participants: Lenny Lee, Colene Murphy, LM Preston, Darby Karchut, Joanne Brothwell, Patti Larsen, Christine Fonseca, Catherine Stine, Jessica Bell, Kelly Hashway, Leigh Moore, Christine Danek, Alex J Cavanaugh, Katie Mills, Matthew MacNish, Beverly McClure, Marcy Hatch, Jennifer Million, Nicole Zoltack, Christina Lee, Kris Yankee, JL Spelbring, Sharon Mayhew, Candice Granger, Dianne Salerni, Lisa & Laura Roecker, Elana Johnson, Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, Susan Kaye Quinn, Lydia Kang, Julie Musil, Natalie Agurrie, Talli Roland, Medeia Sharif, Kelly Polark, Angela Brown, Sarah Fine, Stina Lindenblatt, Lynda R Young, Susan Fields, PK Hrezo, Shannon O'Donnell, Shelli Johannes-Wells, Theresa Brown Milstein.

Giveaway #1: click to the rafflecopter HERE
Giveaway #2: click to the rafflecopter HERE
Grand Prize Giveaway: click to the rafflecopter HERE

Picture: A cherry truffle from Nina’s Chocolates. I bought a bigger selection, but I ate the others before I remembered to take the photo. Oops.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Ways to Become an Insecure Writer

Start Querying:
  • Don't write anything while waiting for a response.
  • Check your email every five minutes.
  • Question everything you've written in the manuscript, the query letter and everything else you've written over the expanse of your entire life.
  • Take the first form letter rejection to mean your work is no good and must be tweaked, or better yet, tossed.
Read only the bad reviews:
  • Read those bad reviews just before going to bed at night. 
  • And again first thing after waking up in the morning.
  • Check every five minutes for the number of sales, likes, and reviews. If they haven't gone up since the last time you checked, then that means you're a failure.
  • Ignore the good reviews, because really, what do those reviewers know?
Compare your work to others:
  • Compare your first draft to a polished classic.
  • Strive to write like your favourite authors, even if it means sacrificing your own voice and story.
  • Expect your work to become an overnight success, just like the Greats.
Measure your success by others:
  • Choose the big names like J K Rowling or Stephen King.
  • Or choose one of those authors who claim they got an agent on their first manuscript, which took them only a month to write, during a snow storm, using nothing but crayons on tissue paper.
Keep yourself in isolation:
  • Don't join supportive writing groups, such as The Insecure Writers' Support Group. Those kinds of groups will only give you encouragement and before you know it, you'll no longer be insecure.

Can you think of other ways to become an insecure writer? Which way works best for you?

If you haven't guessed already, this post was written for the Insecure Writers' Support Group, founded by Alex J Cavanaugh. Members of this group post on the first Wednesday of every month. I'm posting a tad early because I like to be a rebel.


T F Walsh tagged me last week in a LOOK challenge where I'm supposed to post a portion of my WIP containing the word look. Continuing the rebel theme, I've instead written a classy sentence for this challenge: Bob looked lonesome as he looked out from the lookout overlooking Look Bay.
Feel free to improve on that sentence.