Hello… Remember me? #writerslife

 

Love of writing.jpgEvening guys!

You probably thought I dropped off the face of the earth… I kinda did! For a hot minute. My blog posts have all been promotional for other authors, you probably noticed the lack of personal ones, or writing prompts while I’ve been tapping away at my keyboard. It’s been a while  since I said hey,so here I am with an update and to see how you all are?

Well… what’s goin’ on, Didi and I have taken a short pause from the weekly stories as we’re working on volume #2 🙂 . And we have volume #3 mapped out. You’re going to love it! I won’t spill the beans too much ( she’ll probably curse me out on Skype if I do LOL) so all I’ll say is, the next two volumes will be as suspenseful, if not more, and we have a great idea for volume #3 … longer stories…and…wait wait I better stop there, that’s all I’m saying for now.

Aside from this, I also revisited a manuscript I started to write a few years back, it was my first ever idea for a novel before I wrote A Stranger in France... And then won an award ! I’m glad I wrote it,but this story has been knocking around for so long. I ‘ve redrafted it way too many times before I settled on the plot. You know me, the plot is very important to me, it’s 100% a thriller with a touch of romance, rather than a romance with a thriller element. This means…a wicked who-dun-it is in progress and I’m so excited to write this novel with this spin on it years later!

Also I’ve got my beloved Romance Set in Paradise Series that I’m actually writing for.Book #3 is set in Greece in the Mediterranean this time,and a wonderful throwback to an era I love as well as in the present day. The writing style of this one is a little different from Havana Heat and Lover’s Retreat. I hope you’ll like it.

With my editor’s job at Conscious Talk Magazine I’m learning and loving every moment of this role. My team are outstanding, from work ethic to talent. The magazine is really an interesting read. Sadly, we’ve had a “gremlin” this week  it’s under maintenance online while the technical support look into the problem. We hope to be back online by the end of the week the latest, with some thought provoking articles for issue #3.

NaNaWrimo is approaching and you bet I’ll be involved. My last attempt at writing a novel in the month of NaNWrimo sucked! Only as the timing was right by two book releases over the summer… I can’t be mad with myself for not completing book #3 of the romance, this autumn I will put my best foot forward and knuckle down to do some serious writing.

So that’s it, that’s why I have been absent, finalising one anthology to do another co-author gig with Didi, plotting away with my thriller, editing at CTM and writing too. Some how I’ve also been a mama in between all that. 🙂

How have you all been? Great to connect with you all again.

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The Editor’s Life: Oh Boy! What Fun. #amwriting

Editor of Magazine

A new online, diverse magazine launching in August 2017. We aim to be in print too! http://www.conscioustalkmag.com

It’s been a week of the usual crazy days being mama and family life, writer and doing short stories, book reviewer and reading, and now editor! But a very productive week. Over at CTM we’re now a team of eleven strong writing warriors, preparing for launch day! All the columns I want to feature in the magazine are covered, apart from LGBT. Which is sad, but I am on a mission to allocate the column to a talented writer, I’m still recruiting. My other areas are covered, but I’d like a good few writers working on each section. Especially the Men’s Corner and Sport section, so I’m still considering submissions for areas.

We’re on social media now too you can catch us on Facebook, if you want to give us a like @conscioustalkmag and Twitter if you want to Tweet and follow us @conscious_talk. 

My days and evenings have been spent reading all the submissions from writers, I’m actually really touched and surprised at the response rate to the recruitment campaign! Some submissions have been poor of course and to be expected, some have been excellent and some have been mind blowing! So mind blowing it has led me to open up a new column, Conscious Poems. The team are international UK, Brazil, and even as far as Africa and the Middle East. This I’m so pleased about. The team are also super talented.

What have I learned?

Time management is key, even more as an editor than writer I think.

It’s not just about how good someone writes, it’s about the overall attitude of the person when it comes to building a team.

How to write a  snappy team brief with direction, so everyone knows what they are doing.

Sometimes, a writer may not be perfect. However, there might be a lot of passion in their work and you can see the potential.  Don’t be the editor to shun them with that f*ck off rejection letter, help them to develop maybe even give them a chance.

How to give balanced constructive feedback to someone you don’t know well,  and don’t  have a full idea of what they are capable of. (As you’ve never read their work before).

 

I better get back to my inbox! Have a wonderful Thursday!

 

 

 

 

Writing Prompt: Mid Point State Of Your Year? #reflections #inspiration

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I pulled out my writing prompt book, one prompt for every day of the year. Under today’s date this is the prompt, write up your mid- year  “state of year”... well all-righty then. Hmm, this prompt has really made me stop and think, pull out a bar of chocolate from the fridge (I’m not kidding). Sit back, listen to the rain beat down on my window at a silly hour of the early hours of  Sunday morning, and reflect. I can’t believe we are half way through 2017. For me the year has been a  year of personal growth in a lot of ways. I’d say if I were to sum it up this is what I’d say “growth” as a person, human being, mother and woman.

I took a lot of s*it personally over the last few years. This may surprise you, as I may come across as probably a no nonsense kinda girl. You’re not wrong. But I think sometimes we do things because we feel obligated to, so I did.  I got to a point where I stepped into the last half of 2016, and start of 2017 singing a different tune. It served me well, I’m in a complete new head space. This is personal growth.

So far this year, I’ve knuckled down in what I wish to achieve. I remember I did a writing prompt asking romance writers what their dream would be? Mine is to have a large collection of works our there in the world! So, I’m taking steps toward writing more seriously. As in completing my novels and novellas. I actually can’t believe that in almost one year of signing my first publishing deal, I have six books under my belt. That makes me smile. I’ve also decided to start submitting my work to publishers again. My  full completed romance thriller has been requested by a publisher in the USA, a different one to my last one. They liked my three chapters I sent, all I need to do is write it! With my contemporary romance/ suspense stories I’m browsing publishers that seem to work with romance authors mainly. No more random publishing places, I’d like somewhere I can call home long term for my works. Until I find it, I’ll happily keep self- publishing.

I think the first half of 2017 has been about hard work  and learning too, it’s now I feel like I’m seeing the fruit of this. This fruit has put me on a path to write a whole romance series, of stand alone novellas. Now three books in the hard work has put me on a nice track. Don’t get me wrong it has pulled me away from what I was working on, before this creative idea came to me. I was working on the romantic thriller that got called up from a publisher. It happens to be my first ever real serious idea for a novel before I wrote A Stranger in France!

As a mother I have grown into this role so much and I love it so much. My son is now at an age where his personality is blooming.  I feel like I know who my son is,  and what he will and won’t do as much as I can at this small age. Sounds strange, but I’m sure any parent understands what I mean when you look at your child’s personality. At just three years old he’s a handsome ball of fun, laughs, caring nature,energy and sometimes tantrums.  This first half of the year has allowed me to bond differently with my boy due to his age, and awareness of the world around him. We can do different things now he is a little older and can understand, he can understand what we read in the picture books a bit better now too. He is a true mama’s boy. But not a push over.  A few months ago  his nursery school reported to me one afternoon when I went to collect him ” errm we had an incident today Blake had a fight, yes, yes hmm, we caught him sitting on another boy’s head. The young boy called for help, that’s when we realised Blake got him down on the floor, pinned him down and would not let him go.” Now most parents maybe upset by this or disapprove. My poker face said nothing, inside I was like ” that-a-boy Blakey, hold your own in that playground.” Why? because I  know my boy he is no bully, he is an loving boy, the kind that will come and kiss and hug you and say sorry after a tantrum, he won’t fight unless he is provoked. I’m glad those other boys now know Blake is no push over in the playground, if you provoke him. Did I tell him off? Nah what for? Standing up for himself? That said, if I get poor behaviour reports that’s another story.

This year I’ve also completed a goal I have had for so long! I finally sat three exams in FRENCH back in May. Yep, speaking, reading and writing and listening. My results will be out in August. I swear if I get a B grade or above I’ll be so proud of myself.

Overall, my mid point year review is growth, hand work and learning, a clear direction of where I’m going as a writer and human being. How’s your mid year review? I’d love to read it?? Blog it let me see and link in below if you want.

Romance Writer’s Blogging Challenge Week #15: My Love Hate Relationship With Social Media #MFRW

Okay it’s now just after nine London time. I’ve made myself yet another large mug of coffee and  sat down to work on Lover’s Retreat, novella #2 of my series. I’ve been distracted by the fifty two week Romance Writer’s Blogging Challenge. I’ve missed a few weeks, I do have a good excuse I’ve been writing. So here I am catching up with Jazz FM playing nicely in the background. Week fifteen is all about social media hang-ups  we may have as writers… well what can I say, believe it or not I have a rather love hate relationship with social media.  Which is probably not the best thing to say as an author! As it does so much to reach out to readers and showcase our work.

Here’s the deal, before I was a publish author, when I just messed around writing and journaling with no real intention to publish anything  or write novels I NEVER used social media personally. I hated it. My view was (and I say was as I use it for a different purpose now) I don’t need a Facebook account to keep in touch with friends and loved ones. If I know you you’ll be in my phone book  or contacts and I’ll call, text or whatsup message you. I don’t need to email you, or put an update on the internet to tell you what I’m up to, you’ll  know via phone or in person.What the fuck is Facebook all about? What’s the point in that.. huh?  That was me before this whole new direction in life kicked off.

I also thought that social media was the cause of many relationship problems, your other half spending too much time on it, sending messages to random people, keeping in touch with ex- partners that kind of a thing.  Anyone here ever watched Jeremy Kyle the day time talk show… umm you know what I mean now? Why are all the people on that show obsessed with Facebook? Or have some kind of problem that started with ” I saw this on Facebook and so I ….” So I just ignored social media.

My hang up with it (social media)  was as I thought it could be  used to just paint a picture of your life, that may not even be true. You may not be as happy as Larry, enjoying all the updates you post. I thought Facebook was full of smoke and mirrors. As for Twitter… who? I’m a rather talkative person, I could not imagine squeezing all I have to  say into 140 characters LOL.

Now, of course I see the benefit of social media, and it has done wonders for me to grow as an author and continue to grow. My feelings now are that social media can be a positive thing, you can connect with people you’d never have a chance to meet in real life. Take for example my new monthly feature Meet The Author, this has been sooooooooooo popular! I’ve had so many authors contact me for a feature, which I am over the moon about. I would never have  the chance to  connect with them, or read their wonderful work if it were not for social media. That’s because I put out a call for authors over Facebook and Twitter, authors from the other side of the world as well as the UK have connected with me. I can’t wait to share all their interviews with you. Meeting a lot of you out there who are reading this, has all been down to social media. Which is great. I now see that social media does have a place in the world with some kind of use and meaning.

So I guess, my hang-ups on social media have changed  (a bit),as I can now see how it can be used to my personal advantage as a writer.  In my personal life I still think just call me don’t FB me and ask me how I’m doing!  I doubt I’ll ever entertain it for personal use, as an author yes and that’s as far as it will ever go.

Do you have a hang up with social media? Do you love it or hate it?

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Just Entered Top #100 on Amazon.com #amreading #romance #halloween

Technically Halloween is over in the UK it’s almost 12.30 a.m and I’m about to go to bed. But I just have to say this is the best Halloween ever! And now I REALLY  want to say  Thank you.  A Stranger In France  just entered at #85 in the romance, suspense and mystery category for top downloads internationally on .com, and hit #30 here at home on the UK Amazon. I’m amazed both here at home and away I’ve entered the top 100- how has this happened? Every author’s dream.

Believe me when I say it does not matter to me it’s free and I’m giving away my book, it’s encouraging  and enough to know that I’m appealing to readers, and building on top of the sales/readership I’ve already banked since release day. Still 7 hours to go until the free download ends…

People THANK YOU and happy reading.

 

Writing Prompt: What Would You Do If … #amwriting

I’ve been playing around with some of the 100+ writing prompts I shared with you earlier this week. I’ve had a really good time with the  one line generator, especially the random situation generator. Here’s one that got me writing.

Writing prompt: What Would You Do If… You Had No Money To Feed Your Children?

It’s really sad, but I think in this day and age this is not an uncommon thing in society, I’m not talking third world countries I mean built up society. I can’t speak for elsewhere but here in London, the cost of living is ridiculously high. I have spoken about this before so I won’t rant again, but take rent for example if you rent from a private landlord the prices are sky high in some of the more “nicer” parts of London. Here in the UK we have a system that does offer help with rent payments to those on low incomes or out of work, under the current government we have, when they first came into power the amount of support offered was capped. The result of this was many of those on lower incomes were pushed out of the ” nicer” areas of London they were renting in, and had a struggle to find more cheaper homes to rent. Really sad. Then there’s the average salary vs things like rent costs, food costs, and transport. All very expensive outgoings in London- not to mention child care. 

Parents ( especially women) are often faced with the tough decision of staying at home or reducing their working hours as the cost of full time child care in London, easily eats up a huge part of your income- trust me I know! Just while children are under school age a woman’s career may be set back. Some how here in London economically in some cases it can make more  sense to stay at home rather than work, as the living wage just won’t not cover  all the bills and childcare. This is a blog post for another day! It’s a big subject.

So with these points in mind, I saw this writing prompt and thought this is something a lot of parents may (at one point) have been faced with. The extent of it will vary but we’ve all been there. I have decided not to pay a bill in order to survive, I have no shame in saying that! LOL just life and real, London is expensive!

Luckily, I’ve never been put in a position where I could not at all feed my son, but let me tell you if I were ever in this situation here is what I would do. He is my king and he always comes first. Let’s assume I had no mum, sisters, support system  etc and I was totally on my own…

  1. I’d ask my local shop keeper (really nicely) if he will help me out and explain my situation. I’d like to think after going to the same corner shop (as we call it here in the UK) for almost ten years where I live, he’d help me out with food. Just until I can repay him.
  2. I’d steal it- I tell you no lie I would. This is my son we are talking about. Yes I know this is wrong but I would actually steal food from the store, if the shop keeper said no. I don’t know if I should confess this but oh well! I would probably head to one of the larger food chains. The major ones who can afford to miss the cost of one meal as their profit turn over is ridiculously high. 
  3. I’d try to find a food bank. Here in London or actually around the UK they became very popular when the recession hit back in 2007. I’d turn on the news and see news reports on how much local charity aid  increased in demand, due to job loss vs the need to feed a family.
  4. I ‘d look in my cupboard and see what I can possibly russel up for dinner from what I have. One thing I learned from my mum is keep emergency supplies of things like pasta, tuna, rice etc. To this day I always have these tucked away – just in case.
  5. I’d go out and swallow my pride and ask strangers for help. I really would for the sake of my son. About two weeks ago, I was  outside a cafe, I just stepped out onto the pavement and started to debate what errand to run first on a Monday afternoon. A young girl approached me she looked around her mid -twenties. She said to me ” excuse me miss, do you have any cooking , cleaning or babysitting work for me?” I was quite shocked  and politely I said ” no I’m really sorry.” She then continued  to explain ” I have just come here from my country and it’s really hard, no work for me so I can’t eat or survive.” My heart strings were tugged, I asked her where she is from, it turned out  imagine this from  Greece! Of all the countries. I’m sure you all kept up with the crisis that country experienced when it went bankrupt and residents were limited to just something like sixty euros per week to withdraw from the bank, as there were no funds!  The country and its people were left high and dry. I could not believe what she said to me. While I had no cooking or cleaning jobs I did give her some money for food, just my luck I had no change so I ended up giving her a full £5.00 note. Before I handed it over, I thought to myself what is £5.00 in this day and age? It can just about buy lunch, or a travel card for the day this is not a large sum of money I’m parting with. She was so grateful. All I asked from her is that she did not spend it on drugs or alcohol, I watched her walk into the Wimpy cafe and take a seat ready to order. I walked away feeling like a better person for that charitable deed that day. If I ever have no money to feed my baby, I hope if I stop a stranger on the street and explain they will feel no ill feelings about parting with £5.00 just as I did.

Writers Life… #amwriting #writerslife

I ‘ve not blogged this late for a while, but I have my radio tuned into Magic Soul and Motown hits, I’m feeling bright -eyed even though it’s late. And the best bit it’s half -term break, I have a week off. I also have a massive to-do list writing wise. As many of you know I have a few writing projects I’m juggling, here’s a little update on how they are coming along.

Today, I printed off my manuscript for Not Just for Christmas and sent it over to my band new additional UK based editor and proof reader. I’m really excited about this up and coming new release. It’s a festive themed story, and Christmas is my favourite time of year. The story has a different feel to A Stranger in France which is full of suspense and unpredictable twists! Not Just for Christmas is a sensual feel good romance. I plan to do a chapter preview a little later this month, but for now you can see my book cover.

The Code Redhead Serial Novel story I’m writing for charity is also coming along nicely. My goal is to complete this short story this week, and submit to my publisher. You can find out more details about Code Redhead  the charity book I will be featured in by clicking here. Its release date is February 2017.

Last week, my publisher put out a call for valentines day romance stories to publish, it was quiet at work last week, on the back of a bit of tracing paper I whipped up a short story-line! More excitement (and juggling), if I do go ahead and answer this call and write the short story idea I have.

Then, there’s my baby my romance -thriller story I started to write one full year ago. I left it to simmer and completed  A Stranger in France. This is a full length novel in my mind with suspense twists and turns  and I HAVE  to finish writing it. The idea has been knocking around between my ears for way too long. So I aim to make this my focus before the end of 2016 and see where it goes into 2017 in terms of publishing.

Over the weekend I also did another author interview which I hope to re-blog for you in a few weeks when it’s published. And in November I have another virtual tour kicking off for A Stranger in France.   On Halloween… I have a surprise for you also, stay tuned!

So guys, that’s the 411  at the moment, #writerslife is busy , busy , busy but loving every moment of the madness. 

I hope all’s well your end!