Thursday, 19 April 2018

How to Beat Writer's Block

Writer's block - it's a common complaint.
I see many asking how to overcome it, their pitiful pleas are plastered across pages and forums.

So, you want to know how to overcome it?
Shh (*puts finger to lips, and eyes the room suspiciously*)
Come closer.
It's a secret.


"What?" I hear you cry indignantly. 

OK, OK, calm down. 
Here's the thing...

By naming it "Writer's Block" you are in fact putting a block on yourself. 
That very word brings images of brick walls slamming down in my brain, imprisoning me. 
(*pulls on collar*) So claustrophobic!

Help! I'm blocked. Trapped in. No escape.


It is not a block at all. Take a deep breath with me.
and out...pheeewwwww

OK, so it's just a "ponder point".

Maybe you've written yourself into a corner? My dark elf made me do that, and I've still not forgiven the little git.
Perhaps you've been writing happily, and all of a sudden the thoughts stopped.
Did your friends stop talking to you? You know, those little character voices in your head?
Whatever the symptom, do you remember the words on the front of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"?


It is but a moment in time. This too shall pass.
Take yourself away from your laptop/typewriter/writing pad.
Go make a cup of tea (or other beverage).
Take a walk outside. I hear your shocked gasp. Yes, the outside is still a place, and you ARE able to venture out into it.
Go horse riding, swimming, play a musical instrument, sing, dance, draw, have a bath, read. Whatever.
"And now for something completely different" (as the Monty Python boys said).
Distract your mind. Do something fun. Something for YOU. Set yourself free.

If you continue to sit still, running your fingers over your face and/or through your hair, you'll drive yourself crazy.
When you're in a hole, stop digging.

Honestly, it is NOT a block.
You can and will get through this.
The words will flow once more.

This has been a TL service for all the suffering writers out there.
Thank you for listening.

I'd love to hear some of your distraction techniques.

Always with love & light,

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Free books - traditional and indie authors

Extra extra, get your free books...! 

No, I'm not offering. Sorry. 
Instead, you will find my ramblings on the topic of free books. 

Now, I see a lot of indie authors moaning how it's us against them, with 'them' being traditional publishing houses.
But as we continue down this path of free access to publishing, this is becoming less and less the case. 
Trad pubs are struggling too. 

OK, they have bigger advertising budgets. And sure, they let celebrities publish through them; they come with their own publicity. I can't blame them. 
But make no mistake, they are finding times tough too. 

The biggest challenge facing us all is the free book. 
As I was scrolling through Amazon, I realised just how large this problem is. 
Here's some actual screen shots, spanning different genres. Do you see how often the word free crops up in people's searches? And that's without typing the word free into my search! 

There are companies with massive mailing lists, eager to tell their subscribers of free (or heavily discounted) books. 
Authors sign up to this, often paying for the pleasure, eager to get more exposure for their hard work. 
Readers rub their hands in glee at the marvellous amount of books they can get. 
It's all harmless, right?

But here's the thing. 
How much value do you place on a book you got for free?
Did you just download it because it was there? And now it sits, unloved, on your virtual Kindle (or other ereader) shelf? Will you ever read it? And if you do, will you review it? 
Most won't. 

But more than that. The book was fairly and competitively priced to start with. 
ALL authors work hard at getting their price point right. 
It may be free to press publish on the likes of Amazon, but once it gets bought, they take their cut out of the royalties. 
And then there's all the other hidden expenses; the editor, the cover designer, the stock images, the marketing campaigns etc. etc. etc. 
It all adds up. And authors usually have to have a full time job, just to keep the roof over their head. 
Very few have the luxury of being a writer full time. 

And readers then come to expect free books all the time.
"What? Pay for a book? No. I get all mine free. What mug would pay?"

Writing is hard. It takes blood, sweat and tears. We authors pour our souls onto the page. 
The immense amount of work can take months or even years. 
Oh, if you only knew the agonies we suffer. The crippling self doubt which takes over. The arguments we have with our characters as they start behaving in a way we didn't expect. 
Not that I'm complaining. I love writing. 
But many call their books their book babies. We nurture, care for and love our creations. 
We press publish and offer you our innermost thoughts. They get laid bare for you.

And yet you don't want to pay even $2.99 for all this? 

Let me ask you? How much did you spend on your coffee today?
Hm? A little over $3 or £3, was it? 
One little coffee. How long does it take you to drink that? 
Now, how long does it take you to read a book? 
Oh, but you could buy a book for the same price? That seems like good value now, doesn't it?

Would you walk into a coffee house and demand a free coffee? Would you? 
Fancy a free outfit from your favourite clothes retailer? 
Or perhaps you'd wander into an art gallery and demand a free painting? 
No, I thought not.
So why do you expect free books?

Incidentally, coffee is another large expense for authors. It is often considered writer's fuel. 

So go on, buy us a coffee. Pay the reasonable, original price for our books. Please.
Then we can afford to keep writing more. Everyone wins. 

This has been a public service announcement on behalf of all kinds of authors everywhere. 
Thank you for listening.
(opinions are all my own, and I do not represent any others). 

Always in love & light, 

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

REVIEW - A Witchy Business - hot witchy goings on

Date read: 27th March 2018

My rating: 5*

Genre I reckon: Steamy paranormal

Buy link: Amazon

Well, my lovelies, you go how long without a book review? Then two come along at once!
This, I believe is my first 5* of the year. 

This book is action packed, and I read through it like a speeding bullet train.
I'm so glad I had an afternoon off. I forced myself to rest. Of course, resting for me is still like working, but hey, it's all for a good cause.

So, this book then...
It starts off with "a good little witch". Elle has been raised to be in complete control of her powers.
But her insurance investigation soon has her uncovering more then just a missing artefact.

Edinburgh is a magickal city, and is the setting for this marvellous tale.

I love Elle; I was rooting for her from the very start. I felt her confusion, and was willing her to find the truth.
Plus, it always helps to have a hottie like Niall added to the mix ;) 

This is definitely on the adult side of paranormal romance. Although not as steamy as I would normally like. However, the story didn't require any more raunch than it has. 

Should I ever find the bottom of my TBR pile, I'll be reading the next book! 

Like vampires and witches? The answer should be yes, as you're following me ;) 
Well, presuming it's yes, give this book a read. 

Love & light,

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

REVIEW - Breaking the Gladiator; but who is the master?

Date read: 21st March 2018

My rating: 4.5*

Genre I reckon: Sexy historic novella

Buy link: Amazon

Phew, it's getting hot in here!!

I've been in a bit of a reading slump lately, but this has got me fired up. 
At last; a book worthy of a blog review <3 

This is NOT for the faint hearted. 
It is dark, it is dangerous, and it's deep desire!

In Ancient Rome, who is the slave and who holds the power in this realm of masters?
Power play is utilised well in this raunchy tale.

A rich woman with an abusive husband seeks solace in the arms of a dirty dirty gladiator!

There are scenes abuse, but they are there to illustrate Livia's torment.

A fabulous novella.

Thursday, 15 February 2018


Oh sweet distractions. We've all done it, right?
Please tell me it's not just me.

I have all this wonderful sweet sweet time. I used to dream of this; the availability to write full time.

I actually 'won' NaNoWriMo in November; over 50,000 words in just one month.
I know I can do it!

But then a bad back, Christmas, flu etc. got in my way.
But last week I finally managed to finish draft 1 of my work in progress.

The dreaded 'editing' looms like a loomy thing in loomy town.
Actually, I normally quite like it; shaping and molding my little booky wook.

But what have I done?
Bugger all this week!!

  • Monday I had to rest thanks to a rare migraine overnight.
  • Tuesday I went out with my mother-in-law; it's a public service she provides for me. It means I get a little fresh air from time to time.
  • Wednesday I was prepping for a photoshoot (this includes shaving, waxing, bathing). But then I saw the leak in the roof had started up again, worse than before the repair. A minor hissy fit may have ensued. 
  • Today is Thursday and I've waited around for the roofers to come back and fix what they fixed before, and social media'd as it's easier to pick up and put down. 
  • And now I've started organising a group promo for my folks in the Facebook group Indie Coffee Lounge  Ooh yes, muchly organising must be done. Yes, even writing this very blog post can be added to my list of important stuffs I simply must do. 
What am I doing? Really? I'm procrastinating. 
Come one, I've not been so busy all week I couldn't have found the time to do some editing. 
But I've wriggled out of facing it. This is my confession.

I know why too. 
I am suffering The Fear.
The fear that I will start going back through all that hard work and decide it's total tripe and will never be good enough to publish. 

This is what it looks like in my head. I'm still that little girl. I fear the pointy fingers of derision. The ones which tell me I'm crap, and not worthy. That I'll never achieve anything. Just not good enough. 

Time to tell them to fuck off!!! (excuse my potty mouth)
No. Bollocks. I'm not apologising. Sneer and jeer all you want at my naughty words. They're my words and what I feel and no pointy fingered people are going to dissuade me from venting my spleen! 

Piss off pointy fingers. 
I am a grown woman. 
I am an author. I have 7 books out, all of which have some lovely reviews.
I CAN and I WILL do this. 
So boo yar shucks (*pokes out tongue*)

Hear me roar.
(ooh, scared myself a little bit then)

Ah, that feels betterer. 
Tomorrow I will dedicate the whole day to editing. Because I can. 
And you can too xx

Always in love & light,

To view my selection of lovely books which I've successfully published please go here

Friday, 26 January 2018

Hello from actual me

Over the past (almost) five years I have shared many things with you.
You know how I'm a British indie author of romance novels, of course.
You may have gathered intel on the things I like (or not e.g.coriander!).
And if you follow me on Instagram you've seen all sorts of things, especially my cat and food ;-)

But what you have not ever seen is me. Actual photographic evidence of my face.

So, I set a challenge. When I reached 1,000 followers on Instagram, I vowed to change all my author profile pictures to one of my actual face.

Well, today I reached that target, so have been true to my word.

It feels very exciting to meet you all at long last.
I was very protective over my identity, for many reasons. But those reasons have lessened over the years.
I did a fantastic photoshoot with a wonderful photography company, and they gave me bags of confidence.
I must say it feels very liberating.

So, here I am. Hello!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

My Year as a Writer

Wow, has it been a year already? Where did it go? Wait, I want a do-over! I wasn't ready.

When I cast my mind back to 2016, I see it as a year of illness. I was sick with colds for over half the year. These all culminated in a charming illness named Labyrinthitis. And as exciting as that sounds, it did not involve David Bowie or any singing fantasy creatures at all. No, it's a nasty inner ear infection type of a thing, which leaves you immobile. Every time you try to move you are met with a tidal wave of dizziness and ensuing nausea.

But I thank that illness. October 2016 was the start of it. I was off work for 8 weeks. And at the end of that time the dizziness was subsiding, but I couldn't face returning to work. The thought of it made a stone plummet inside me, seemingly wrapped up with a ribbon, given the tied knot feeling which accompanied it. I felt sick.

So, with some savings behind me, I quit. Just like that. I phoned up my boss and, with terror gripping my heart, I told him I wouldn't be returning. I was quivering like a bowlful of jelly (see; seasonal reference there). What was I doing? Were those words really coming out of my mouth? 
I did consult hubby first by the way. Just to clarify.

But as I got off the phone and the shock wore off I felt a great weight drop from my shoulders. My spirit soared. I was free!!! 

It took me another few months to truly begin to feel like myself, and even now I tire easily. My energy had been completely sapped. 

I had already begun to write Love Bites the year before, but it was agonisingly slow progress. Most writers will tell you how they have to hold down a full time job, household duties etc. and fit in their writing as and when they could. And that was me.

I had been stuck at my joyless desk at work, fantasising about unlimited free time to write. Stories were always forming in my mind. "If only I had the time to sit down and write them," I would inwardly cry. 
This did not help the soul sucking job seem any less so. Not at all. 

I had been working full time for about 20 years. And despite many redundancies, I'd had very little time away from an office. I'd been employed most of that period, working full time jobs which offered monetary compensation only. Nothing made me feel happy, work wise. Not until writing came along. It just feels right. I can't imagine not writing now.

This year was a golden opportunity. In 2017 I was going to release my book, and as I had time to dedicate to marketing, I was sure I'd have a success on my hands. 

Well, I wrote Love Bites. It went to a beta reader, who quite rightly pointed out it should become a duology. So I wrote book 2, which involved reconfiguring some of book 1 as I went along. It was really hard. I don't recommend this approach. 
It also meant twice the editing :-/ 

Having gone through more editing, proof readers, and another beta read, the duology wasn't ready for release until August. 

I threw everything I had at its launch. This was my big chance. Adverts, social media, launch party, business cards; everything at my disposal was loaded on my success waggon. 
I think I took a wrong turn; it was met with a somewhat quiet reception. 

What had gone wrong? 
Well, nothing was wrong. It just wasn't my time. 

But what was this year for if this wasn't my big break?
Well, I had plenty of time for rest and recuperation. 
My days had been spent with me waking up naturally, and sitting down to write/edit as and when I could. No pressure. 

But here's the thing, without the pressure, there was no backlog. The urgency fell out of my writing. It became a gentle plod. The furious scribbling never happened. Well, not until NaNoWriMo at least. 

Yes, my first ever NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words written in the month of November. But as December became manic, I've barely touched it again since. I began a whole new novel, this time focusing on loving oneself. I'm hoping to pick that up in January.

But I should also start searching for a new job. I don't like not paying the tax man. Words I thought I'd never say! But I don't feel like I'm contributing to society. It feels wrong. 

My Christmas miracle doesn't seem to have happened. I've not had an enormous flurry of sales. So, if I want to be able to continue eating next year, I suppose I ought to go job hunting. 

I've really enjoyed this year. It's been relatively stress free. It's been an absolute privilege being able to write. I've not been lazy. I've actually worked really hard. But I had more time to worry too. I've worried The Darkness and Light Duology into release. So much fussing! But I think it was worth it. 

And I've worked on myself. More healthy eating, exercise, and really taking a long hard look at how my life is and what I want it to be. 

I'm still waiting to hear back from Waterstones. Who knows, perhaps they'll decide to stock my book soon? That would be amazing.

2016 - my year of illness
2017 - my year of wellness (or recovery, at least)
2018 - my year of success? I hope so.

Where will your 2018 take you? What are your hopes and dreams?

Always in love & light,