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!

#Writerslife #Haiku Inspiration #amwriting

I took this picture and wrote the following haiku, a few minutes ago, this evening, when I looked up from my desk, as I was enthusiastically writing the last chapters of the first draft of my fourth novel.

Inspiration

Subtle and intense.

My heart quivers, my head whirls.  

That fleeting moment…

****

There are times, special moments, when words flow more easily.

It’s hard to know why, I wish I did, so that I could clear my schedule and prepare for the onslaught of overwhelming inspiration.

Sometimes I blame the full moon, the waning moon, the new moon, the blue moon or the harvest moon!

Other times I blame clear blue heavens, breathtaking sunsets, amazing dawns, stormy grey skies, or pearly white clouds.

Who knows?

What I do know is that when I feel the ideas rushing to my mind and the words flowing from my pen or fingers, it’s such a unique feeling that I wish I were there all the time.

Such is the delirious moment of creation, of course it must end, or else I’d never edit, rewrite or improve, or publish my work!

Happy weekend! I’ll be writing away…

****

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