I feel so blessed I’ve decided I’m doing a giveaway for writers. Later this year, I have the chance to teach an ongoing ‘master class’ to paying students on romance and fiction writing! My babies have gotten me noticed. To celebrate the publishing of the third book ( far right-hand side), and the new venture I’m doing a signed copy giveaway.
Here’s the link to enter and pick your book. Good luck.
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 ParadiseandRomance in The Citybooks 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.
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?
Really cool question for day #3 of the #90DayBlogChallenge. There’s really only two authors and books to answer this question! I became a writer in the genre I cover (romantic suspense, crime,thriller,mysteries) from being a big reader. And I mean BIG reader.
This is the exact cover and copy that I have, I read it years ago! I just stumbled upon her books in a charity shop. This was the first ever romantic suspense that I read, and boy was it a good read! So good I went on to read every book she ever wrote before she passed. I always have to pay homage to Jackie Collins for her influence on why I gravitated naturally towards romantic suspense from this one book I read. While we have very different styles of writing, Jackie is naturally I feel a very talented and good story teller. From what I remember there were so many plot twists in this book! Also in her Lucky Santangelo series of books. It’s also cool that Jackie was a British author, even though she lived in the USA
When it comes to crime/thriller/mystery/suspense I must say one of the biggest influences came from reading Faceless by Martina Cole. Another British author I love. While our styles again are very different this book was a page-turner to read. Another one I picked up in a charity shop years back! This cover has changed so many times, but this is the original I have.
Generally, I am really drawn to romance as I just love the gene to read. Suspense as the sub-genre as I like a story that moves, has twists, and things to keep me interested. I like to write stories like this too for readers. Mystery, thriller,suspense, and crime again as a massive lover of it to read, I think I naturally gravitate here because I love to read it. That said, within both these genres I like to create stories with more diversity, location based in different parts of the world, and stories I would love to read!
If you’re a fiction writer what drew you to the genre you write? Let me know, blog it, join in the challenge link your blog below. Or just leave a comment.
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
I was yet to come across a publishing house, with a literary magazine that’s purely dedicated to the romance genre. That was until recently Tallon Lake seem to be it, and I can’t believe my application was successful for the Associate Editor’s role! I submitted Sacrificeswhich is published on the 30th of this month, for consideration to be featured and saw the advert for the role. On the off chance I asked about the job, and what it’s all about. I really liked the sound of it so I applied, as of this week I landed the job to my surprise. Here’s a bit about the Tallon Lake:
Tallon Lake (TL) is a digital quarterly literary magazine that specializes in romance short fiction, poetry, and art. It represents the specific subgenres of contemporary, historical, and paranormal. Within these subgenres, various romance relationship levels will be explored, from insta-love to slow-burn and from innocent struggle to closed door. TL focuses on the relationship and its struggle, character development, and sensuality. The magazine does not print sexuality explicit content.
One goal of the magazine is to open opportunities for diverse voices, providing inclusivity. This means that the editor welcomes content from all writers, poets, and artists, including BIPOC, LGBTQ, and international creatives. Another goal of the magazine is to pamper readers and to help them escape into a much safer, warmer environment – far away from the harsh reality of today’s stress-filled world, one page at a time. The last goal of the magazine is to give back to the community. Each quarter, the editing staff will select a charity that benefits critical social issues — like mental helath awareness, human trafficking, child abuse, homelessness, and addiction — and gift 10% of its sales to help create a better world for all.
Tallon Lake isn’t just a magazine… it’s a legecy of good will, entertainment, and positive energy.
To learn more about the people behind TL, see TL Staff.
What’s An Associate Editor’s Role?
Well I’ll read the submissions that come in from writers, then agree with the team which stories are a good fit for us. Then, it’s my job to work with authors who receive conditional publishing contracts, covering the editorial side of things, before the publication of their work in a nutshell.
Am I excited? You bet! The first magazine is published on my birthday in February. (That’s fate LOL). I really look forward to this role, it’s the second editorial role I’ve had. My last one I enjoyed for a current affairs magazine, it’s just a shame the founder let the project go. I have faith that Tallon Lake as a publishing house and literary magazine will do great things! Plus, it’s the genre I love to read and write (other than thriller), it’s a dream job really.
Also, Tallon Lake’s main focus is to publish marginalised voices, this I am all about and I love that. This was a massive selling point for me when I decided to apply. BIPOC ( Black, Indigenous, People of Colour), and LGBTQ stories and writers are sooooooooooooo welcome at this small press! I look forward to reading what comes in. Note that BDSM and erotica genres are not accepted by Tallon Lake.
Do You Love Reading Romance Like Me?
Right now, the team are preparing to publish the February issue, there will be a preview copy available this November. If you’d love to grab a preview then just check out https://www.tallonlakemag.com/ and add yourself to the newsletter. There will be NO spam or unnecessary emails, don’t worry. You’ll be notified when the preview is ready!
Does This Mean I’ll Stop Writing?
Hell-to-the-no! Writing is my first love, you can make a writer an editor, but I don’t think you can convert or convince a true writer (who loves it) to give up that part for pure editorial work. Well, at least not in my case! I will be writing my romantic suspense stories and thrillers/mysteries just like normal. In fact my focus is my series of mysteries I shared the covers for last week. That will not stop. You might be thinking, ‘so why are you doing this?’ To be honest, I love magazine work, and I love reading too. I always have and it’s even better when it’s focused on things I feel passionate about, be it current affairs or the genre I write in. Plus, this is so exciting I am yet to really see a romance only focused literary magazine, so why the hell not!? I’d read it even if I never had the role, if there’s a chance to be part of it even better. I may enjoy it it’s worth a try!
I did a blog post last night about my views and personal thoughts, after reading on a book reviewer’s site……
“they won’t read books by self-published authors.”
Yeah, I felt the same when I read that. I was traditionally published before self published, I have a strong view point on this statement by book reviewers. You can read the blog post here, which also lead to a conversation with Sascha in the comments. Interestingly she asked what she could do to help support self-published authors? Even though from what I understand, she has had a bad experience with some. Well I dunno? I guess try to keep reading work from self published authors.
But if you’re a self published author what could help improve the image self published authors have? And how can book reviewers support indie authors? Rather than have a hostile board-line discriminatory attitude toward those that do self publish. Oh and guys please what is your view on “vanity publishing” is that what it’s called these days? I did laugh have you heard this?
I have just a few things/ideas on this poll, add your own in the comments and do give feedback. It would be great for Sascha and I to hear all of your POV’s, as I am only good at talking up for myself… as you can probably tell 🙂