AtoZ Blogging Challenge April 2022 #ThemeReveal #WritingMentors #MondayMotivation

My Mentors

Following the main blog’s theme: ACCOMPLISHING YOUR DREAMS, AND THE DUALITY OF 22. I’ve decided to write about my mentors, the people who have helped me accomplish my dream to be a published author since I started my blog in 2013.

These writers and speakers have enlightened me with their spoken and written words, in fiction and non fiction, as well as with their YouTube channels and podcasts.

Their spoken and written words have inspired me to follow my own writing journey and shown me to believe in myself by generously sharing their knowledge, experience, and wisdom.

They do not know it. But they are my mentors and I will always be grateful for their help. During the month of April, I’d like to share what they taught me in the hope that it will inspire and help you in your journey, too.

I look forward to sharing my posts and reading other participants’ posts, too, throughout April. If you’d like to join in follow the link on the image below.

Happy blogging! And Happy first day of spring!💖♥️

Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘7 Lessons Learnt in 2022’ #amwriting #writingtips #January2022 #BookBlogger

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts, and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!

The awesome co-hosts for the January 3 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Olga Godim, Sandra Cox, Sarah Foster, and Chemist Ken!

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7 Writing Lessons Learnt in 2022

1: Amazon KDP select is my best option at the moment.

I decided to go wide in summer 2021. I signed up with Draft2Digital, and although they are professional and helpful, I’m going back to working exclusively with Amazon. Going wide is not worth the extra work at this stage of my writing life and writing career. I have only sold six books, and it is probably my fault for not advertising with the other book sellers more actively, but I don’t have the time. I need to simplify my life and at the moment Amazon exclusive is my best and simplest bet.

2. A solid morning routine is beneficial for my life and my writing.

I used to get up at seven and go to work, but when I took early retirement in 2019, I had some difficulty adapting to a new writing routine. I had never written in the mornings, as I was working as a teacher. I used to write in the evenings and weekends. After reading The Miracle Morning for Writers in 2020, I decided to implement the routine in my new life. I’ve discovered that the first three hours of writing, from 7-10 are my golden hours. I’m more creative and productive.

3: I’m a plantser

I started out as a pantser. I had four clearly define characters and an idea and I started writing to see where the characters would take me. It was a wonderful experience. I had the time of my life writing my sequel to Jane Eyre and new characters and plot lines grew so much that one novel became and trilogy and then a series. However, I soon realised I needed a structure to tie all the strands, so I read plenty of books on plotting, which helped me structure and finish my novels. I recommend Save the Cat for Writers as one of the most useful and practical books on the topic. And I thought I had become a plotter, but it was just a phase!

Now I’d describe myself as a plantser. I start with a few characters and a conflict which I explore and when I have about 10,000 words and a good number of scenes, I write a loose outline, to help me stay focussed, and write. I allow the characters to drive the action and the outline gradually meanders, so I feel I’m exploring as I write.

4. The Eyre Hall Series will have many more installments.

I’ve written three new books and one novella in the series this year. I’ve also reedited three novels in the series, that means I’ve worked on seven books this year! So my morning routine is definitely working for me! I have lots of ideas to continue and expand the series even more. I’ve also planned other novels in the series and revised a contemporary thriller I had written a few years ago.

5: Writing is my lifesaver

Throughout these two difficult years of Covid plus numerous personal issues, writing has helped me wake up feeling optimistic and energetic enough to carry out a healthy morning routine, write, look after my family, make time for friends and hobbies. My novels have been my lighthouse in a dark, stormy sea.

6: I still love blogging

I’ve been doing more creative writing than blogging this year, but I’ve realised I don’t want to stop blogging. I enjoy having a little window to the world where I can be seen and heard, and interact with other bloggers. I hope to have more time to blog in 2022.

7: The more I read the better writer I become

I’ve been reading widely this year; fiction as well as non-fiction. I especially enjoy thrillers and historical novels, but I’ve also read science fiction, memoirs and non-fiction books this year. I’ve incorporated many books on personal growth which have helped me immensely. I’ve shared many of them in my #MondayMotivation posts. Everything I read helps me improve my craft.

What lessons have you learnt as a writer in 2022?

If you want to find out more about my novels check out my home page, and if you want to find out about my new releases and special offers, subscribe to my newsletter below.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Here are six of my titles and covers in The Eyre Hall Series.
Book 5, Snow Moon will be published on 17th February!

Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘On Writing Book Titles and #Blurbs’ #amwriting #writingtips #November2021 #BookBlogger

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts, and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!

The awesome co-hosts for the November 3 posting of the IWSG are Kim Lajevardi, Victoria Marie Lees, Joylene Nowell Butler, Erika Beebe, and Lee Lowery!

November 3 question – What’s harder to do, coming up with your book title or writing the blurb?

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

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On Titles and Blurbs

First On Titles

I start my novels with a specific idea which includes at least two main characters and some supporting ones, a place, a time, and a conflict. Once that’s a vivid picture in my mind, I start writing freestyle or if you like pantsing, until I get the feel of the characters and the story, which at the beginning is a jumbled mess in my mind.

I don’t think of scenes or chapters or plot points, or even the ending, I just write. Usually when I’m at 10,000 words, which may take about a week, I know if it’s a story I want to write, or I put it away just in case! (I have a hard time killing my babies!) and work on another one.

Once I’ve reached the point I’m sure I have the potential for a novel, I write an outline for the whole story, divided into scenes. I take a simple approach which works for me for overall initial plotting.

Basic elements of each scene: Who wants what, why, and what is the obstacle? How does it move the plot forward and/or what does this scene lead on to (i.e. what happens next).

At this point, if not before, I’m ready to select my title and start looking for a cover. Both things are intimately tied up for me. I print the cover with the title and put it up on my wall in my study, where I usually write. It gives me focus, motivation and joy to see my cover and title every day.

This is one of my favourite covers. It’s just perfect for my Novella, Resurgam. It was a ready-made cover (almost; I asked for Eyre Hall to be added in the background) by BetiBup, one of my favourite designers.

There’s a universal link if you click on the image. By the way, it’s a free gift if you sign up for my newsletter, link at the end of the post.

Now for the blurb

I write the blurb at the end and it’s much more difficult and stressful than deciding on the title and cover.

I have a structure for writing my blurbs, which I have developed over the years, and I usually stick to it.

When I write a blurb I follow this basic structure:

  1. Initial hook. A question to draw the reader in.
  2. Introduce the main character and make the setting/situation clear to the reader.
  3. One or two sentences about the conflict.
  4. Final hook. A hint at the solution with a question to entice the reader.

Here’s my blurb for Resurgam

Relive the mystery and magic of Jane Eyre (Initial Hook)

Nine years after her marriage to Edward Rochester, Jane has everything she ever wished for. She is married to the man she loves, they have a son, and they live in a grand house, Eyre Hall, built on the grounds of Thornfield Hall. (MC and Genre/setting)

When Mary Anne Wilson, one of her best friends from Lowood Institution for Orphans, appears unexpectedly at Eyre Hall with distressing news about their deceased friend, Helen Burns, Jane realises she must return to the orphanage where she has crucial unfinished matters to attend. (Conflict/Problem)

Will Jane find a way to keep the promise she made to Helen over fifteen years ago when she was a penniless orphan? (Final Hook: a question about the solution)

*****

I suggest you read as many blurbs as possible for your genre and others, to give you more ideas about how to approach writing your own. Here are two videos for more ideas: a great 8-minute video by Alessandra Torre which gives some good ideas, so does Joanna Penn here at The Creative Penn.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Here are six of my titles and covers in The Eyre Hall Series. The last two are still in process!

Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘Defining Success as a Writer’ #amwriting #September2021 #BookBlogger

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts, and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!

The awesome co-hosts for the September 1 posting of the IWSG are Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!

September 1 question – How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

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Defining Success as a Writer

Success as a writer will be unique to each author.

A writer’s perceived success will depend on the goals they set out to achieve as an author in the first place.

In my case, I wanted to publish a sequel to Jane Eyre that would include the premise of the prequel Wide Sargasso Sea, which gave Bertha Antoinetta Mason, the first Mrs Rochester, a voice.

I imagined a daughter, born in the attic at Thornfiled Hall, Annette Mason, who was rejected by Edward Rochester and taken to Jamaica by her uncle Richard Mason.

In Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, Richard Mason returns to the Rochester estate while Mr Rochester is on his death bed. He brings his niece, Annette Mason, who is now twenty-two years old, with him, in order to claim her birthright.

Link to my UK Author page

The Eyre Hall Series (Amazon.com link) is the sequel to Jane Eyre. Especially for readers who love action packed, neo-Victorian romantic thrillers, with gothic mansions, evil villains, unforgettable main characters, lots of drama, and unexpected twists and turns, reminiscent of Victorian novels.

I imagined I would write one novel, then I realised it would be a trilogy, and now it has become The Eyre Hall Series of six novels (four already available for purchase and two more will be published in 2022).

And Resurgam: An Eyre Hall Series Novella will be available for preorder shortly.

My aim in 2013 was to write and successfully publish one novel, which I did, so mission accomplished. But that doesn’t mean I’m satisfied with my writing career in 2021.

Goals are not fixed, they are constantly being revised and expanded.

Now I have new goals, which I haven’t yet achieved, namely to complete my series. I’m fairly confident that by the end of 2022, I will have published the entire Eyre Hall Series,.

I also have plenty of other literary projects underway, such as a A contemporary thriller, which is finished and on the waiting list for a second edit and proofread. I have also started work on another series of non-fiction books called, you guessed it: Rereading Jane Eyre! But more about those future projects in the coming months.

I am determined to present readers with a polished novel, which has a professional cover, is well written, edited and proofread. I cannot expect all readers to like my novels; they are not for everyone, no book is.

My ability to market as an independent author is limited, but reaching international fame and fortune is not my primary goal, as I have my retirement pension and I’m quite shy.

I’m happy to write to my heart’s delight and produce a polished product I enjoyed writing and which I can be proud of. So, as far as I’m concerned, I’m a successful writer!

If you click on the image, you will be taken to my newsletter sign up page. Go ahead, make my day and sign up if you want to get news of special offers, new releases and updates on The Eyre Hall Series and all things related to Jane Eyre.  

Thanks for reading! And I hope you’re having a fabulous Friday and weekend!

Happy Reading and Writing!

Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘My Favourite Writing Craft Book’ #amwriting #August2021 #BookBlogger

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts, and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!

August 4 question – What is your favorite writing craft book?

The awesome co-hosts for the August 4 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox! 

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

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My Favourite Writing Craft Book

When I started writing my first novel in 2013, I had read hundreds of novels and even taught literature to undergraduates, so I thought I knew all about writing. I had an idea, four main characters, a location in space and time, and I started writing ‘by the seat of my pants’.

Although I enjoyed the experience, I wasn’t able to finish the novel as I had started it, because I didn’t have a plan. I had no idea what a story beat was, or a character arc, etc. I had taught literature concentrating on style, themes, and context, not from the point of view of creative writing, so I didn’t have a clue.

I realised my handicap and started reading all manner of books on the art of writing, which you are all no doubt familiar with, and fortunately, one of them was Save the Cat.

Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by [Blake Snyder]

I was literally awestruck by the simplicity and clarity of the proposal which was definitely life-changing for my writing career. That said, I confess I have never followed it to the letter, but it opened my eyes to the elements of a dramatic story and showed me a way to structure my novel, which had become a rambling mess, which I couldn’t finish.

In 2018, Jessica Brody wrote a fabulous follow-up called Save the Cat Writes a Novel, which is a far better manual for novel writers, because the original Save the Cat is aimed at screenplays. Jessica Brody, adapts Blake Snider’s proposal to the novel with invaluable examples, checklists, ideas and inspiration to help writers with their first novels.

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You'll Ever Need by [Jessica Brody]

I soon developed my own writing strategy which still incorporates some of Save The Cat’s structure as well as plenty of other great books I’ve read and podcasts and YouTube videos I’ve listened to.

I visualise the main points of my novel before I start writing. Then I jot down my ideas in a summary and continue visualising it for weeks, until the whole story takes shape in my mind, as if it were a film. That’s when I write the scenes on cards. The structure tends to fall into three acts. I order the scenes chronologically and check that no scenes are missing in the story flow. Finally, I rewrite the summary and when I’m satisfied that I have a complete story, I write the scenes which are most important and clearest in my mind first.

Although I would never call myself a pantser, the final version is rarely exactly the same as the initial summary. New characters and scenes often appear and others are deleted or changed. I have a plan, which I use to guide and help me. I do not allow it to constrain my creativity.

I made this banner for The Eyre Hall Series myself on Canva. It used to be a trilogy, but it has now become a series of six books. Book One, Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, is available for preorder and it will be published on 22nd August. And books two and three, All Hallows at Eyre Hall and Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall will be published the same week. Book four, Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall will be published in the autumn and Snow Moon and Midsummer in 2022.

If you click on the image, you will be taken to my newsletter sign up page. Go ahead, make my day and sign up if you want to get news of special offers, new releases and updates on The Eyre Hall Series and all things related to Jane Eyre.  

The Eyre Hall Series is the sequel to Jane Eyre. Especially for readers who love action packed, neo-Victorian romantic thrillers, with gothic mansions, evil villains, unforgettable main characters, lots of drama, and unexpected twists and turns, reminiscent of Victorian novels.

You can preorder Blood Moon at Eyre Hall here, or you can ask me for an ARC in the comments, or sign up for my email list by clicking on the image above.

If you’d like to read or reread Jane Eyre, I’m posting one chapter a week, every Friday, in flash fiction, directly from the original novel, for readers who prefer to read an abridged version, here, just click on the banner below:

Thanks for reading! And I hope you’re having a fabulous Wednesday!

Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘What would make you quit writing?’ #amwriting #July2021 #BookBlogger

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts, and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!

July 7 question – What would make you quit writing?

The awesome co-hosts for the July 7 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, Victoria Marie Lees, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

 
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What would make you quit writing? 

I would never, ever quit writing.

I started writing poems, stories, and novels when I was a teenager. I can’t imagine my life without writing, every single day.

The only thing that would stop me would be a serious illness, which would make writing cognitively or physically impossible.

If I stopped writing novels, which I’m (almost) sure I wouldn’t, I’d still write poems, diary entries, blog posts and perhaps even my memoir.

On the other hand, I might quit publishing one day (although I can’t see this happening any time soon), because, especially when you’re an indie author, there is too much to do in this wonderful but exhausting profession. 

As well as learning about and improving our writing craft, blogging and using social media, we have to learn about the business of publishing and marketing. We have to outsource experts such as proofreaders, editors and cover designers, and hundreds more things.

I’ve learned where to find experts, on goodreads, you tube, reedsy, fiverr, and following the advice of some generous bloggers, podcasters and youtubers who share their knowledge and advice, such as The Creative Penn. 

I’ve learnt how to use Canva, Facebook author page, Goodreads, Amazon Author Central, how to format and upload my books on amazon, and use wordpress. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is simple-stay-in-bed-facebook-cover-1.jpg

I made this banner for The Eyre Hall Series myself on Canva. It used to be a trilogy, but it has now become a series of six books. Book One, Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, is available for preorder and it will be published on 22nd August. And books two and three, All Hallows at Eyre Hall and Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall will be published the same week. Book four, Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall will be published in the autumn.

This may not seem like a lot, but hey, the first computer I ever saw was on Star Trek when I was ten. I wasn’t near enough to touch a real one until I was nearly thirty and it was called Amstrad (does anyone else remember it in the 80s?). So I feel quite proud of my digital competence!   

Right now I’m learning how to set up a mailing list with mailerlite. After watching a handful of videos hundreds of times, and trial and error, I’ve done it, but I haven’t managed to link it to WordPress. That will be my next milestone.

Here’s the image for the landing page. If you click on it, you will be taken to the sign up page. Go ahead, make my day and sign up if you want to get news of special offers, new releases and updates on The Eyre Hall Series and all things related to Jane Eyre.  

The Eyre Hall Series is the sequel to Jane Eyre. Especially for readers who love action packed, neo-Victorian romantic thrillers, with gothic mansions, evil villains, unforgettable main characters, lots of drama, and unexpected twists and turns, reminiscent of Victorian novels.

You can preorder Blood Moon at Eyre Hall here, or you can ask me for an ARC in the comments, or sign up for my email list by clicking on the image above.

If you’d like to read or reread Jane Eyre, I’m posting one chapter a week, every Friday, in flash fiction, directly from the original novel, for readers who prefer to read an abridged version, here, just click on the banner below:

Thanks for reading! Have a fabulous Wednesday and keep writing, no matter what!

Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘Readers’ Surprising Responses’ #amwriting #Histfic #JaneEyre #May2021

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts, and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

May 5 question – Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn’t expect? If so, did it surprise you?

The awesome co-hosts for the May 5 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, PJ Colando, Tonja Drecker, Sadira Stone, and Cathrina Constantine!

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Have my readers’ responses surprised me? Definitely!

I have over a hundred written reviews on Amazon, and over two hundred reviews on Goodreads, which may not seem like a lot, but it never ceases to amaze me. The fact that so many readers, people I don’t know and who may never have heard of me, a relatively little known author, in a vast ocean of millions of books and writers, have been motivated to read my books and taken the trouble to write a review, amazes me.  

I feel encouraged by the good reviews, which fortunately account for the majority, and that used to surprise me when I started publishing, seven years ago, in 2014, because I was very insecure!

I used to feel upset when I got a negative review, again, because I was very insecure, but now I’m less insecure and I appreciate them too, because some are useful, and at least they all count as reviews!

At first, I was surprised that so many readers disliked my novel because they thought I had treated Mr Rochester too harshly. In my defense, I’d say I didn’t lock him in a windowless attic, or make him suffer any physical torture! He lived a good life, with his wife and son, even though he went back to some of his old ways. 

I mean, locking your wife in an attic in dire conditions, hidden from everyone (in spite of being a moneyed heiress), and pretending you’re single to the point of intending bigamy (until your wedding was interrupted at the altar) with an innocent nineteen-year-old, is pretty objectionable behaviour, even for 19th century standards.    

On the other hand, I can appreciate the fact that Mr Rochester has been an icon of passionate love, aka the brooding Byronic hero/lover, who is brought to his feet due to the love of a ‘good’ woman, for almost 200 years, but that’s due to an erroneous interpretation of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Jane Eyre is the protagonist the reader should root for, not Rochester. Jane is the independent, resourceful and single-minded nineteen-year-old woman who stood up to a manipulative rake and won him over on her terms, with her money (Spoiler alert: at the end of the novel she becomes an heiress herself), once he was a widower, and once she had made her way in the world working and living on her own, a feat not all women achieve, even nowadays.  

I’d love to continue to be surprised by my readers, and I hope to surprise them too with more novels. I started by writing The Eyre Hall which will become The Eyre Hall Series shortly, as two new novels, Blood Moon at Eyre Hall and Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall are coming soon! 

Take a look at my provisional banner, I’m still making changes and adapting the covers. Do you like them? 

If you’d like to read or reread Jane Eyre, I’m posting one chapter a week, every Friday, in flash fiction, directly from the original novel, for readers who prefer to read an abridged version, here, just click on the banner below:

Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘Favourite Genres and Novels’ #amreading

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the March 3 posting of the IWSG are Sarah – The Faux Fountain Pen Jacqui Murray, Chemist Ken, Victoria Marie Lees, Natalie Aguirre, and JQ Rose!

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March 3 question – Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?

I love reading, and although I make sure to widen my scope by reading outside my comfort zone, I have a favourite genre: romance.

I’m an incurable romantic, so novels that include an exciting, breathtaking, convoluted or epic love story with a reasonably happy or optimistic ending will give me great joy.

Some examples of classic romances I reread regularly for pleasure and inspiration are: Persuasion, Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, Gone with the Wind, and the Thorn Birds.

Gone With The Wind

Now for more contemporary examples of novels which include romance and have moved and inspired me recently and I’ve reviewed on my blog:

Recursion a techno thriller by Blake Crouch including a recurring love story which defies time.

The Kiss quotient a fun and moving romance including a heroine with Asperger’s and a complex hero.

Kissing my Killer by Helena Newbury an enemies to lovers mafia romance.

The Last Necromancer by C J Archer a steam punk fantasy romance (this one is part of a series)

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris a historical romance set in a concentration camp

The Book of Two Ways a contemporary romance by Jodi Picoult involving a woman who loved two men at different times and is faced with heart wrenching choices when they come together.

Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas a Victorian Romance set in London

Sustained, A contemporary romance between the guardian of six nephews and nieces and a high-powered lawyer who prefers one-night stands.

Captured a vampire romance by Erica Stevens (this is part of a series)

Captured (The Captive Series Book 1) by [Erica Stevens, Leslie Mitchell G2 Freelance Editing]

The Baron by Joanna Schupe, about a fake medium and a railway baron, set in New York’s Gilded Age.

Missing You a crime thriller by Harlan Coben about a man who will never forget the woman he loved, even when she died, but is she really dead?

Holy Island by LJ Ross is the first novel is a series featuring DCI Ryan, who is the lead detective in the series. He meets his love interest in book one and she will appear in 17 of the 18 novels in the series. Crime fiction.

Holy Island: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 1) by [LJ Ross]

I don’t care about the genre as long as there’s a moving love story in the narrative. I’m not referring to a typical romance of boy meets girl and they fall in love, I want novels to include other themes and plots, too. A love story which focusses on two characters obsessively is not enough to keep me reading.

What kind of romance novels do you enjoy reading?

 

Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘7 things which stop me from finishing a book’ #amreading

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the January 6 posting of the IWSG are Ronel Janse van Vuuren , J Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner Sandra Cox, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

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January 6 question – Being a writer, when you’re reading someone else’s work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people’s books?

Life is short, and getting shorter every day, and there are so many books to read that no one can read all the ones they’d like to read, so we have to pick carefully, and even then, if we’re not happy we can stop reading, because we don’t have to finish every book we start. I certainly don’t.

I’ve identified seven issues which could stop me finishing a book.

1- Unmet Expectations.

There are many reasons to read the first line of a new novel. But if it hasn’t been written or recommended by a fellow author or blogger, I decide to download a sample after reading the title and the blurb, although the cover also entices me!

If the book is described as a legal thriller, that is what I expect to read, and if I discover it has a dystopian setting, or it is a romance, I may not continue. On the other hand, I may like the writing style and proceed anyway.

2- Unlikeable characters

I don’t mean villains. I love villains, especially if they’re complex and part of the main plot, such as unreliable narrators!

An unlikeable character is one I can’t relate to, find irritating, whiney, or unbelievable. If there is only one, that may be ok, but if several characters, especially the main one, fall into this category, I will probably stop reading.

3- Poor editing

Repetition of events, words, phrases, too many adverbs, swear words, clichés etc. can put me off, but not always, because the characters and story can pull me in and persuade me to continue.

4- Trigger topics

We all have topics we do not want to read about explicitly, because they upset us. These topics are often related to sex, violence, drugs, trauma, etc.

I have a few personal ones, which is why the blurb should advise readers if the novel includes any sensitive topics.

5- Pacing

Sometimes I like the writing style and characters, but little seems to actually happen by means of a traditional plot. If I already know this might be the case because it’s what may be referred to as ‘literary fiction’ I may continue reading, anyway. But if I’m expecting a fast-paced thriller, according to the blurb, I would feel deceived and might not read on.

Contemporary readers, unlike Victorian readers who revelled in three-volume novels, are impatient and demanding, so books should respond to their audience’s needs. 

6- Implausible plots

I prefer history and reality to fantasy, so I don’t read a lot of fantasy. I’m not happy when novels take a sudden and implausible supernatural twist and I might not read on, although other factors, such as writing style and characters might keep me reading.

I like plot twists and unexpected turnings, and even open endings, but loopholes in plots or ones that work out because of a sudden implausible event, or novels that drop a plot line or character in the middle are often annoying.

7- Writing style

This is a make or break one for me. I can read about any topic if I like the way it’s written, sci-fi, fantasy, vampires, erotica, westerns, warfare; it doesn’t matter if the writing draws me in.

The problem is, I have no idea how that happens.

I believe it when they say agents read the first line, paragraph or page and decide if they want to read the book, because I do exactly the same. I only carry on regardless if it’s one of my many favourite authors, or if it has been recommended by someone I trust.

So, what’s the secret to drawing the reader in?

I have this quote pinned on the wall in my study and I read it every day, hoping it will inspire me, because it’s the hardest and most important thing to do as a writer.

Not only the opening line of a novel, but I’d apply this proposal to every chapter, because you need to get the reader hooked on the first page and continue reading after the first paragraph of every chapter.

So, what makes you stop reading a novel?

By the way! Happy New Year!

 

#IWSG Why do I write what I write? @TheIWSG #amwriting #WWWBlogs #amwriting

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the November 4 posting of the IWSG are Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!

November 4 question – Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

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This is a question I rarely ask myself explicitly, but I do think about the answer, because so many people ask me, and on this occasion it’s the Insecure Writer’s question for the month, so I’ll do my best to reply.

As I understand it, this question has two parts, a) why I write and b) why I write what I write.

a) Why do I write?

I write because I can’t not write, the same as I can’t not think, or feel, or walk, or talk.

Once I learn to do something which is useful and rewarding, it becomes part of my life and I can’t unlearn it or undo it.

I can’t stop writing a poem when I see a beautiful image, or have an emotional thought, or memory.

I can’t help carrying a notebook and jotting down ideas for poems or scenes for my books, and I’m sure I’ll never stop doing it, in fact I shudder to think I could ever stop the creativity flowing through my mind.

Now to the second part of the question, b) why do I write what I write?

I write about topics which I feel strongly about. This doesn’t mean I’m on a mission to change or improve the world, I would never be so presumptuous, it just means that I write about what is significant for me.

I write poems because I love capturing my emotions with a few symbolic words and giving them an artistic shape and sound, based on syllables and rhythm or rhyme.

I write Victorian novels because I admire Victorian authors who gave me so many hours of joyful reading and inspiration, and in so doing, I offer them my humble tribute.

I write about Jane Eyre, because when I first read it in my early teens, it was the first novel that inspired me to even think about writing myself, and I’ve never been able to get Jane Eyre out of my mind.

I write my blog because I want to reach out to and communicate with other authors and readers. It’s thrilling to know I can ‘meet’ and interact with other people who I’d never be able to reach or talk to or read about in my day-today life, if I wasn’t an active blogger.

I could go on, and if we could sit and chat with a coffee, a tea, a beer or a glass of wine, depending on our mood and the time of day, we’d share more ideas and reasons, because I’d love to know why you write too, and of course, why you write what you write.

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to like and/or share and/or leave a comment 🙂

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