What’s Your Favourite Tense and POV to Write in? Thoughts and Experiences? #90DaysBlogChallenge

Good question for the 90DaysBlogChallenge , personally I can write in both past or present. I can also do first or third person. I would not say when it comes to storytelling, that I do one better than the other– I do ’em all, and all well! But in the past I have gravitated naturally to present tense and first person. Most recently while writing my Unsolved Mysteries I’ve actually been drawn to the third person and past tense. More what readers are accustomed to you could say.

My next novel, Sacrifices is written in the present tense and third person, my Romance Set in Paradise and Romance in The City books are in the present tense but mixture of first and third. I guess I tend to mix it up depending on how I feel or how the story calls me to tell it.

My preference?

Well, if we’re talking about preference yes I do have one LOL. I love the present tense style of writing, and also as a reader. Yes, it’s probably gotten a lot more popular now, compared to when I first started writing. I remember I had editors and publishers telling me, ‘no, romance is not written in the present tense, or first person.’ I gave that advice the middle finger, and kept it real and how I wanted to write. But in all honesty, what I love about the present tense is this: as a reader I’ve always found that it brings you closer to the story. While others may argue ‘that’s not how you recall or tell a story’, I really give this no attention. I love it as a reader, and some stories I’ve read I can’t even imagine it in the past tense, the present suits it. I also have found as a reader that it brings me closer to the character.

As a writer, when I first ever attempted to write a story I naturally, and I mean naturally gravitated to the present. I have no idea why? It didn’t even bother me or really occur to me to place it in the past tense. I just wrote and found it much more comfortable. I have heard other writers say it is, ‘more of a challenge.’ I really can’t comment I’ve not found that ever.

When it comes to the POV and person, again as a reader I do love a first person POV. Mainly for the same reasons as the tense, the closeness, getting to know the character. But I do agree it can be limiting, as in what you can show a reader I feel this as a writer and reader, who loves the first person.

How Do I Decide The Story Telling Style?

I let the story tell me, simple. Once I’ve outlined it and sit down to write whatever tense comes to me and feels more natural, I’ll go with. It’s as simple as that. I must say for some odd reason I did go with third person past tense for my Unsolved Mysteries the first two that I penned. I can’t guarantee that they will all be like this at all LOL. I let the characters and story talk to me, I have no real rules. But, as explained I do have a preference or where I may naturally gravitate.

Are There Pros and Cons For Each Tense and POV?

Sure, yeah I feel that there are. Some of which I’ve mentioned and do go into detail when I wrote The Art of Short Story and Novella Writing. However, I do feel that really it’s only a decision the writer can make, keeping in mind the ‘vibe’ I call it, they wish to give the reader. Do you want a little distance, or up close and personal? At the end of the day, I don’t personally feel that one tense or POV makes a story better, that’s down to how the writer writes it, or they show the story. I don’t feel that tense or POV really can enhance a badly written story, or make a good one even better if it’s already good!

What Have I Learned From Experimenting With Tense and POVs in writing?

First, to stick to what you naturally like. Ignore the words of others telling you, ‘this genre does not do that.’ Do what you want. Secondly, I think from writing more in the third person I’ve learned about ‘head hopping’ my editor has called it. The all important omniscient style of writing in third person. In fact, I really managed to curb the ‘head hopping’ and remain truly omniscient in my writing from writing Sacrifices!! And that’s from having a very strong editor to tell me to ‘pull up my socks.’ If you’re not sure what this is, basically head hopping is like jumping from one character’s POV, to another in the same paragraph, page, chapter etc. Either by internal thought or action.

I never really noticed that I had done that that often, but apparently I did LOL. So now I am much more aware of it, and how I could still show different POV’s in a better way in the third person, or remaining truly omniscient it was a great realisation.

In a nutshell, I like all tenses to write in but love the present. Same with the POV too I like them all, but have realised that the third does allow me to show more! Even if the first is something I love to read, and in the past have naturally gravitated to more when writing– not so much now. That said, I can’t say I would never write first person again. I just know I will, when the right story and character pops into my head.

Do you have a preference as a reader or writer? Or does it not really matter, as long as the story is told well?

90 Days of Writing: How Did You Start Writing? #90DaysBlogChallenge

A very good question! For day #2 of my #90DaysBlogChallenge. In all honesty you could say out of pure creative, therapeutic, time-passing, chance! I never really premeditated this career move, or making it an actual profession I take seriously at all. Here’s the thing I guess while it’s true that I’ve always been a writer. Journals, diaries etc I’ve always loved the written word, and placing my thoughts down . (I have some journals from my school days, I read back and laugh at how my eleven-sixteen year old mind worked back then), in all honesty I never sat down and said, ‘ you’re going to do this for your real job, or at least try to lol.’

Where Did it All Start?

The first ever book I penned was a 90,000 word novel A Stranger in France. It was rough as hell in terms of the manuscript. I had no conscious thought for ‘how to be a good technical writer’ back then, but it’s a good story. This is when I realised my talent, and that a good writer is a GOOD STORY TELLER not (just) a good technical writer. As you can pay people to become good with grammar etc, and do that part. Plus you learn it as you write more. Story-telling natural talent, is not something you can teach, or pay people to really give you naturally. Yes, you can attend courses, read books I’ve written a writer’s reference too on writing good romance, but all they give you and all anyone can give you is, an outline and guide. You, the writer, must bring your talent and A-game and that’s what makes a good story teller- you-your talent. You have it or you don’t I feel. You as a writer will know, regardless of who says what.

Anyway, even with my lack of regard for being a technically good writer with grammar etc (at the time in 2015/16), my focus was just to write and get my idea down on paper then edit it all later. To my surprise after sending it out to the first publisher I had ever approached, I got a response! A good one! A contract! OMG what happened??

So fast forward the first version was published in 2016, but I was very unhappy. with the publisher’s standards of working, and marketing, I learned a lot. The main difference between a good publisher willing to help you grow, has high standards with regards to quality, and ones that are really not worth the paper they offer you the contract on. Especially as you market the hell out of your book, to bring them money, but the end product is piss poor if you want me to keep it real. So that’s how I fell into writing.

I wrote that book because I had a story inside me to tell, and wanted to get it on paper. I had no idea about self-publishing or KDP at the time. I was a total virgin writer in every way! Once my cherry was popped in a way that woke me up, I learned all I could about self-publishing, how to do it well, and the role of a good publisher. I kinda didn’t really trust anyone with my work for a while. I kept writing, self publishing, and loved it I did a few books but then found my home I’m at now. A publisher who I am happy with so far! And they are happy with me.

What Was Going on in Life When You Penned That First Novel?

At the time I started to write my first ever novel, I was thirty-four years old I was running a book club in London too. Some of you may already know this. I ran it for about five years, met some wonderful girls (it was just for girls). We’d meet in London’s biggest book store Waterstones with five floors of books! It was heaven, and I was reading at least two books a month if not more back then. I just opened up a word document, and started to write what was in my heart, how I felt, and what characters came to me. I was also in a terrible relationship, nearing the end. I think that writing actually gave me the strength to say ‘times up, good bye’. So I did! I moved forward with life. Writing really was my saviour, I went on to write more books. Now I’m on about number fourteen (off the top of my head), at the time that I write this. It’s not a hobby, it’s a habit, something I have to do, something that came to me later in life, something that was ‘woken up’ within me, my talent came out from experiencing trauma and self-realisation! For that bull-shit that happened I am thankful for.

Never once did I imagine that in under five years of being a traditionally published author, I’d be an award-winning and best-selling one. Nope, never. I never had any of those common goals or wishes many writers have in mind, in order to 1. validate themselves as a writer 2. validate their talent as a writer 3. make them feel as though ‘they’ve made it’. It just happened by writing and being myself. My only goal has only been to get these characters out of my head , on paper, and into stories that I would love to read and hope others would. I guess I’m the kind of writer that writes for me first, and then hopes others will enjoy it. Sure, if I notice that readers like a particular story, style, series I create etc I will aim to keep them happy! But I guess when I sit down to write, the first thing that comes to me is ‘what do I want to create?’ rather than ‘what will sell?’ ‘ x,y,z would love this’, if that makes sense.

So my route into writing was a very random one, it flourished from experiencing joys with getting a publishing contract very easily or early, but not being happy with that experience, to learning myself how to put out my work, to then securing a publisher who is on the same page as me! My only hope is one day of course for one of the BIG, BIG BIG publishing houses to take onboard a manuscript of mine. But for the here and now I just want to keep going as I am, just write.

What Else Do You Write?

Outside of romantic suspense and crime/thriller/mysteries, magazine writing came later, I expanded on my love of non-fiction writing. I wrote for one magazine that did not stand the test of time sadly, and carried out editorial here. Then I landed my gig with Aspiring Authors Magazine LLC. Then I was blessed with an Associate Editor’s role for a romance literary magazine this year. Tallon Lake publishes quarterly.

How did you get into writing? Leave me a comment, blog it and link back to it here. Join in the writing prompt challenge use #90DaysBlogChallenge

90 Days of Writing: Average day and Routine? #90dayBlogChallenge.

I woke up this morning in a very good mood, not that I don’t normally but today just felt like I had an extra spring in my step. I don’t know if it’s because release day is nearing for me, or just from reading some very uplifting books these last few days. Either way it felt good as I fixed my morning tea and thought about what’s on today’s to-do list.

I can hardly believe that we’re already in October and if I’m honest, it’s always in the last quarter or so of the year I personally get more productive. Whether this be with writing and/or personal goals. This year it’s been very different, the Covid-19 pandemic in a very ironic way pushed me to get more done. I was and still am at home so often, that I have not much choice put to get on with what I should be doing, around managing the household.

So anyway, this morning I woke up and realised, ‘damn it’s already October’ and I felt like I really wanted to focus my time on my personal blogging. I’ve had this blog/official author site since 2016. Back in the day I did a hella-lot of blogging and writing prompts. I slowed down though because of other projects. I decided I’ll do my very own blog challenge that I included in my writer’s reference book , and respond to all the blog challenge topics myself as we close out 2020! Reason being 1. to actually do the challenge myself 2. allow you a little more of a glimpse into me the person, and my life 3. as mentioned I felt like I wanted to spend more time on my blog, personally rather than just featuring others and posting reviews etc. it’s been a while since it’s had a ‘personal touch.’ If your interested you can find out more here on this page, ‘personal blogs n’ rambles’. The funny thing is in the book I’ve set the challenge from the months October- December so it’s perfect timing LOL.

Also I’d like to say do join in with me on the prompts and topics, feel free to link back to this page! I’d love to actually spend more time reading personal blogs of others. Back to that habit I developed years ago. Use #90DayBlogChallenge if you’re onboard.

My Average Day and Routine?

I really wish my day was that simple, wake up, coffee, the rest… since March my average routine has flip itself upside down, around, backwards, and God knows where else. The reason? Yep you guessed it Covid-19. Here’s what my day looks like now as we move through this second wave of the virus in Europe.

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday

7.00a.m: Alarm goes off, I moan, curse ,and generally ask myself WTF it’s time already? by 7.30ish I’m out of bed.

7.30-8.00a.m: coffee, tea, or a herbal tea, switch the heating on if it’s chilly, sit down at the kitchen table, express my gratitude for the day and think about what needs to be done today. Quick check of emails.

8.00-8.30a.m: Most days I try to fit in about twenty to thirty minutes Yoga. I really like Vinyasa, Astanga more dynamic yoga in the morning to wake me up! During the summer when I started this new routine, I’d take my yoga mat out onto the patio and practice there. If it’s chilly I’ll practice in the kitchen lol.

8.30a.m: Wake everyone up! Make breakfast, then I jump in the shower and get ready for the day.

9.30a.m: Shower time and dress my son.

10.00a.m: Home school starts! Now this is the major change to my average day since the pandemic. My son has not returned to school since they opened, closed, then opened again. I’ve made the decision to home school until the risk with Covid-19 is a little less. I would rather my son goes to school and has social interaction, yes. But in all honesty health first. I know maybe I’m over protective so much so that I will disrupt my ability to work and earn to home school, but there are ‘vulnerable at risk people’ in the house. The thought of him bringing the virus home (sans symptoms as kids don’t have them), then passing it around. Or him becoming very ill in anyway frankly, it freaks me out. We focus on all the subjects for his age, the national curriculum for his key stage, and we follow the work sent home from school etc.

12.30p.m/ 1-ish until around 2pm: Lunch time. I’ll prepare something, or we’ll have something from the night before. As we all take a break from the day, I allow my son to watch his tablet if he wants, or play a game. Generally he gets to chill. I will check on emails, calls, anything I need to do. Sometimes if need be we’ll eat then head straight out to run errands.

2.00p.m- 4.30ish: Back to home school. We will change topics and/or subjects.

5.00p.m- 7.00p.m: Me time! Finally I get to chill and do as I please. My son will go off and take his time also.

7.00pm: Cook dinner.

by 8.00pm: We all eat!

9.00p.m until bed time: Family time, chill time, reading, writing, enjoyment at home. I actually will do my ‘day job’ around this time I work from home part time.

So Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday that’s generally my ‘pandemic routine’ before this there would be no home school. My son would be at school, I would work and write in the days.

Wednesday officially there’s no school, my son only ever did four days a week anyway. This is a day of rest for us all and enjoyment. I may write a lot on a Wednesday, catch up with work in the evening. On the weekend Saturday and Sunday we take it as it comes, wake up whenever,eat whenever,get dressed whenever and general it’s whatever and whenever I love it. The changes to my week and days has been a lot to get use to. But we’ve managed, it’s working very well. In all honesty I see the improvement in my son’s overall educational abilities from the one to one focus. As mentioned I do really hope that he can return to his normal traditional school soon. But only when this ‘second wave’ is not so risky.

How does your day or routine look? Has it changed since the pandemic? How do you feel now with the changes? Let me know below, join in the blog challenge link it back if you want or comment

When Was The Last Time You Got Excited?? #amwriting

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Prompt> When was the last time you got excited?

Today actually!

First thing I want to say is thank you to everyone who has recently followed this blog, I will get around to visiting all your pages. Anyway, so excitement is the topic for a writing prompt in my book for later  this week, but I will do it now as it applies. It was about 15 mins ago, my son who is about to turn six just started what us British call ‘Primary School’, or First Grade if you’re in the USA. It’s his second week, it’s 9.15am and I just dropped him to school.  I teared up (again)  like I did on the first day.

It’s exciting as a parent to see the little person you felt kicking inside you be so tall ( he is half the size of me already I am 5’5), so handsome,  have such personality, and progressing so well after a rough start to life, and undergoing surgery. He also is starting to lose his baby teeth, the bottom one is shaking and over night a new tooth popped up behind it, ( we need to go to the dentist). Last week as I was going over his own teeth brushing I noticed it…it was not there the night before. Also, shout out to all the parents who survived the summer holidays… we made it *high five*.

Second Excitement

As I walked through the door organising my day in my head I got excited and very thankful for all blessings, I took the morning off my ‘day job’ to finish reading over the last 40 pages of my work, to send back to one particular publisher who requested it which is exciting me. I am very excited as back in April I submitted to a few and got two full requests. One medium sized, predominantly romance and fiction publisher with an excellent reputation, some of their authors have made the New York Times best sellers’ list got back to me. I have submitted there about three times different ideas,  over the years I have always had feedback of  ‘adjust this part, or this could not fit this line because…’ with good reasons such as it being a novella, but they always said come back to us again in the future. *Sighs* so I never bothered to rewrite back then I moved on,  and thought, maybe next time I’ll get lucky, This time I submitted a full manuscript of 72k words to a call the actual CEO put out for certain stories, for a line they are trying to add new writers to,  from what I read on the call she actually reads all submissions as well as the senior editors.  I saw it last moment and very happy I did, the closing date was a few days away.

The feed back this time was it was very enjoyable as always Kim, and to resubmit  this full manuscript again making some minor adjustments to one character’s POV, like deepening it – that’s all they said in the email.  I was like…. *did I read that right, that’s all you want?*. I was also offered a chance to have a ‘master class’ from the CEO’s publisher on writing for them, a live webinar. I am excited as the class is this week ( at 3am my time but hey I will stay up rather than watch the recording).  I have never had a master class on writing, so I am excited to see what I hear and learn… that could be useful.

I am also excited that after submitting to this publisher at least three different times since about 2017 ideas, finally I get  not just ‘we like it but…’ I actually get ‘ send this one back please Kim’… even if they reject it again, I am happy and excited to be one step closer and understand what they are looking for, and to have this class, it could really be helpful. They have a really good reputation and  I would love to be added to their line of writers. Personally, I think if they let me loose to write for them, I’d do a really good job… *toot toot* yeah, I’m blowing the horn as no one else does it for us writers.

This week is a big week, as I will be sending this story back to the other one who requested  also,  if I decide to go with the second one I need to research more, after my experience with traditional publishing before I am very selective I won’t jump at just anything. I am entering it into a competition this week also now it’s done, f*ck it why not aye?? I may as well I have worked really hard on it from 72k now to 78 k words, wrote in different eras and developed what I would call some good twists on  romance relevant to the characters. Then I will wait for responses from the other submissions I made also, I hate this part as it can be such a long wait to hear news if at all. But I will keep going with them, while I crack the thriller I am almost done with too!

Third Excitement

National Novel Writing Month is approaching…. yeah baby! I  have a few ideas I want out of my head and on paper. I love this time of year as we head into the autumn, I always find I get more productive, and I like to write Christmas theme stories as it’s my fav time of year. This year, it may not be a romance one though I am thinking of some kind of crime or thriller around Christmas a short story that I can manage of probably about 25k words or so.

I am also excited  for NaNoWiMo, I will have just one focus for the month to write this time and no editing or corrections on other works, and then look at the Christmas short story. I think this year I may just actually complete the story during the full month as I have over 20k words of my focus ( that I have been trying to get done, but this romance I am submitting this week has taken up my time). I am excited I might just have a successful NaNoWiMo if I really apply myself. I actually don’t have any personal life stress now… for once!

Fourth Excitement

Now this is big people…I went on Facebook briefly this morning, after an alert and my co-author Didi Oviatt– you know her right, the suspense author from Utah in the USA? She is on Audiable her books are there!! I can’t believe it, that is amazing I can’t wait to speak to her hopefully this week. What an achievement.

Fifth Excitement

I am alive and healthy!

What is exciting you this week, or right now? Tell me? I’ve got two hours to read through this work. I better crack on!

2018 Blogging & Reading Challenge Sign Up: 20 books, What A Year It Will Be! #amreading #books #bookworm

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Good morning,

I’m still up reading at past 1am. I just received an email from Herding Cats about a reading challenge ‘the blogger’s shame’. Bloggers who are book lovers receive LOADS of author review copy books (ARC) that we don’t always get to read, the pile grows. Over at Herding Cats they are pushing us bookworms to whip through the ‘to be read’ pile in 2018, with a cool blog challenge. I thought why not? Sounds like a great challenge, and blog hop. I will continue to do read and reviews for Enchanted Book Promotions and Net Galley. I’ve gone through my TBR on my Kindle, ARC emailed books,  and Netgallery here is a list of books  to read for 2018, no excuses. Take a peek if you’re an author maybe you’re there! If you have sent me an ARC of your book and it’s not here contact me here I don’t want to miss it. If you’re a book lover head over to Herding Cats see what this is all about, sign up.

I hope to complete this list. I know I will get side tracked with other great books that come up, but the intention is to read them all. 🙂 #bookworm

  1. Snatch Girl- LJ Kane, thriller ( reading this now)- FINISHED 12.1.18 reviewed here.
  2. Alpha Male- AC Melody, paranormal romance
  3. Reunited- Tammy Tate, romance
  4. Kiss & Tell and Dead Man’s Hand- Luke Murphy, thriller
  5. The Professor & The Bird – R. Franklin, romance.
  6. Pearls of The Past, M Rajakumi, fiction, contemporary.
  7. Search For Maylee- Didi Oviatt, thriller, mystery
  8. When Black Boys Are Left Alone- K. Harry, African- American.
  9. Claimed by Vampires, Seduced by Werewolf- Krissi Fortune, paranormal/ fantasy
  10. Pure Hollywood- C Schutt, contemporary fiction/ short story anthology- FINISHED 13.1.18 reviewed here.
  11. Coffin Path- K Clemants, Mystery, crime.
  12. 19 Souls- JD Allen- Thriller, Mystery
  13. A Cold Day in Hell, L.M Redman, thriller mystery
  14. Riders- Jilly Cooper Erotica, romance ( 900 pages!! I stopped about 400 pages through such a fun old classic).
  15. Daddy’s Girl- Ben Burgess, African American fiction
  16. Love & Happiness – Ben Burgess, African American fiction
  17. Wounded- Ben Burgess, African American Fiction
  18. Alice In Wonderland- Lewis Caroll – The FRENCH version not in English 🙂 ( Just cos I feel like reading this book in French  to remain bi-lingual I’ll add it).
  19. Capital Crime- Lisa Wilson, crime fiction
  20. A Time To Kill- John Grisham, fiction ( I have had this on my shelf for too many years).

Update 30th December 2017… The list just keeps getting bigger!!

  1. Make that twenty one books! How can I forget Only One Women – Jane Ridson & Christina Jones!!
  2. Infatuation books #1 and #2 – Kandie Marie- Erotic Urban Novellas
  3. Be The Architect  Of Your Mind, Body And Soul- Lara Alexiou, mind, body soul genre.
  4. One Love-  Denna Cabinian, Fiction