Creating a Story Bible

storage-1209059__180Writing stories of whatever length, can mean gathering a lot of information. I don’t know about you, but I think I’m organised, then spend hours looking for that one snippet of research, or a name I thought would fit, or a picture of a setting. And the longer it takes Continue reading

New Release: The Morning Gift

First one of the Daisy Plan line!
First one of the Daisy Plan line!

At the beginning of the year I set myself some challenging goals, the main one was my Daisy Chain Publication Plan. I plan to edit and publish five books during this year. The Morning Gift is the first of those five dusty manuscripts Continue reading

Establishing a (Self) Publishing Presence

Publishing Presence
Publishing Presence

If you read my post, Daisy Chain Publication Plan, at the beginning of the year you’ll know that I’ve set myself some pretty challenging writing goals for 2016. I have five projects which I plan to publish over the next twelve months, all novels which have been scribbled over the last seven (maybe ten) years.

The year did not get off to a good start but I’m not defeated and will not be defeated. One of my goals was to set up a presence for my self published work. I could, of course, just continued with publishing under my author name. I already have two books published; The Duke’s Shadow (2014) and The Good{Expat}Life (2015), so I have form.

For me, it’s important to separate the writing from the publication. My brain already resembles a mushy mess and I work better when I divide things into compartments. I learnt, only very recently that I’m not the super duper woman I thought I was, and that multi-tasking just doesn’t work for me. How I wished I’d discovered that years ago, but there you have it. A lot of wisdom comes with fifty odd years of understanding, and accepting, myself. I enjoy all aspects of the writing process, right through from first ideas and musing along to pushing the publish button. I’m not that great at the next bit, marketing, but that’s something I’ll tackle next year.

I’m currently in the ‘production’ process of my first project of the year. The Morning Gift is set in the times of the Vikings and is a very light romance sprinkled with un-forbidden love. It was due to be published by the end of February and yes, you’ve guessed it’s now March. If you read last months posting, Reviewing Your Writing Goals, you’ll understand why. Anyway, I shall have finished formatting the manuscript for print and ebook format by tomorrow. Then just a final last glance and we’re away with my first publication of 2016.

And so, White Wolf Books, is born.

Bertie and Freya Italian Maremma's
Bertie and Freya Italian Maremma’

I thought long and hard about the name and many of the ones that came immediately to mind were already taken. I have a fascination with wolves and with their descendants; the domestic dog. We have two Italian sheepdogs, Maremma’s, who resemble wolves in very many ways. I must record our youngest, Freya, howling one day. It really is quite eery. There are many myths and legends about wolves, most famously I suppose Little Red Riding Hood (another good name perhaps!)

The other reason I chose this was because I wanted a catching image that would be recognisable with the brand. And I think this does it, don’t you?Picture3

Until Later,

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p.s. if you want to read more about the nitty gritty of my writing life, warts and all I journal (when the urge takes me) over at My Writer Within.

Reviewing Your Writing Goals

Courage: The Lion in The Wizard of Oz
Courage: The Lion in The Wizard of Oz

When I wrote my New Year blog post I knew that I’d set myself a big task and I also knew that my plans were not going to travel a straight forward path. I’ve just returned from two and a half weeks in the UK where I’ve been helping my family at a time in need. So did I fail at the first hurdle like the media predicted? Continue reading

Daisy Chain Publication Plan

At this time odaisy-583090_640f year every writer will be thinking ahead. Indeed many people, writers or not, will be thinking about what they want to happen in this fresh New Year full of opportunities and the unknown. The sceptics of setting goals and resolutions are predicting that Continue reading

Journal: 4th January 2016

mask-875534_640
My Writer Within

Based on my last posting about changing the way I blog, this is the first of the changes. I’m going to post some short updates. Snippets of my life. About what has gone well and not so well. Just the way my day has been… short and snappy. My writer within, behind the mask.

Today I’ve been catching up. My father was taken ill and I had to make a mercy dash back to the UK just before the New Year. One of the most difficult things about living abroad is the distance from your family when things are tough. As I used to be a nurse in a long ago, previous life I find it difficult to stand back. He’s being well looked after at the moment and I can’t do anything very practical so I shall be returning when I can be of more use.quote

My writing goals are set for 2016, I shall be sharing them in a post later this week, but I’ve also set a couple of non-writing goals. One of which is to improve my Italian with a daily target of ten minutes on Duolingo,  it’s approaching 6pm and I’ve not done it. So armed with a treat (known as a glass of wine in my book) I’m going to do my first session. 

Ciao

My Writer Within

My Writer Within
My Writer Within

I’ve spent several years trying to keep up with blogging. It’s a good thing for a writer to do, I really believe that. After all, writing is what writers do and a blog is a way to develop a healthy writing habit. However, it’s something I’ve found difficult to maintain for reasons I’ve yet to fathom out.

I know I can create a writing habit and I know I can stick to it. So what is it with my blog? I think the key thing is that there are so many good blogs out there on the process of writing. The technical stuff that we writers need to know. In fact, I think many writers are very generous with their ‘gifts’ of knowledge, helping other writers by sharing what has worked for them or systems they’ve developed from the big picture to the nitty gritty. And there is a blog on every aspect of writing every week, and probably every day. That’s a lot of blogs. And I’m not sure there is room for any more. And, more to the point, I don’t want to blog about what everybody else is blogging about.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

So back to basics. The modern blog originated in the late 1990’s, not that long ago in the big scheme of things, and it progressed from the concept on an online diary or journaling. I’ve kept diaries for years, a habit that was instilled in me by my mother who regularly scribbled notebooks of all shapes and sizes; including a tiny one dating back to the mid 1950’s when she met my father.

I’m going to blog about my writer within, the face behind this committed scribophile. Like many writers, I’ve had a life ‘before writing’. I’m a daughter, a sister, a mother, an aunt and a wife (including an ex-wife). I’ve been a nurse, a manager, a human resource consultant and I’ve ran my own company. I left school with three O levels and in my late twenties I completed a Masters in Business Administration whilst working full time and a single mother of a very active five year old son.

I’m going to blog about my writing life in the context of the world around me. What’s gone well and not so well. What strengths I’ve pulled on and the times I’ve fallen of the treadmill. And I’ll be honest, I’m not doing this for anyone else but me. It’s a warts and all kind of thing. A personal record. Something that I can look back on and remember (or maybe choose to forget). Having said that, I’d be honoured to have you along…

P.S. Check out my new home for My Writer Within where I can’t promise not to ramble but hopefully share the things that make up my life behind the mask.

happy-new-year-1060607_640

Until Later,

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New Release: The Good Expat Life

The Good Expat Life
The Good Expat Life

An exciting week as I release the first series of The Good Expat Life. This started life as a number of short vignettes about the main characters, Penny and George.

The stories are influenced by one of my all time favourite TV series in the late 1970’s (when I was very young, you understand) and sparked by some of my experiences of moving to another country and have been such fun to write.

The Good Expat Life is not a tale of renovating a tumbling down property; Penny and George live in a property classed as hovel status and have no ready cash to restore it. It is not about Prosecco by the pool; more like a treck in the wild gardens of their Italian casa. It is not about the golden, hazy days of retirement; more about learning from scratch the way to self sufficiency.

The Good Expat Life is about friendships; new and old. It is about laughter; usually at the expense of Penny and George. It is about the nuances of misunderstandings; the language, the culture and the odd malapropism (or what George fondly refers to as ‘Pennyisms).

Penny and GeorgeReaders Comments:

‘I love these guys…always good for a laugh!’
‘Very funny. The dialogue keeps the pace up.’
‘What a great opening – man shackled to a lamp post. I loved it. ‘
‘I had a smile on my face reading this, all the way through.’

Available in the following formats:

 

NaNo Prep 1: Ideas

NaNoFollowing my post last week about writing habits and NaNoWriMo challenge, I thought I might share my preparation for the big event. I’m not doing the novel challenge but instead will be drafting a short story every day in preparation for submissions next year. I’m aiming for around 2000 words per day and in order to get ahead of the game, no it’s not cheating… Continue reading

Writing Habits and NaNoWriMo

habits and Lao TzuAs Autumn descends in my part of the world my thoughts are being taken over by one thing. NaNoWriMo. As November, National Novel Writing Month approaches, writers in their hundreds… no their thousands of hundreds are sharpening their pencils, filling their inkpots and exercising their typing fingers. To NaNo or Not to NaNo. That is the question.

 

NaNoWriMo challenges writers to write 50,000 words in one month. 30 days. That’s around 1666 words a day to be precise. Every day. Now some purists say that 50k doesn’t make a novel. But that isn’t the point. The point is that a story gets told. Well a rough draft. It’s about forming a habit, supported by other fellow habit forming writers and watching your progress on a daily basis. Some people don’t make it. Some people write double that. And some writers go on with the NaNo project to publication.

There’s an old folk saying that goes: whenever you delete a sentence from your NaNoWriMo novel, a NaNoWriMo angel loses its wings and plummets, screaming, to the ground. Where it will likely require medical attention.”

― Chris Baty

The initiative started in 1999 with 16 participants. In 2013 they reported 310,095 writers signed up for the challenge of which 14% achieved the challenge. So, it’s not an easy task and some do fall by the wayside. But again, that’s not the point. NaNo puts writers in touch with writers, develops local communities, provided tips and suggestions and a forum for participants to share information. It’s a huge family of writers and really it doesn’t matter if you don’t reach the target. What’s the worse that could happen? It’s about trying to form a habit. The habit of writing. For how else is that novel going to be written? And there is so much more. Two Camp NaNo challenges in April and July as well as help with editing and plotting the next challenge.

“Whether or not you write well, write bravely.” -Bill Stout

I’ve participated in four challenges. One I had to pull out of as a family illness became a priority and rightly so. I love the buzz it gives me. And I have signed up. But I have five Works In Progress, rough drafts of on average 60k words and my priority is to edit and revise them before I start another large writing project. Otherwise I’ll just end up with a load of sh*tty first drafts.

“It’s not always about writing more words or drinking more coffee. Sometimes getting to the end of a novel simply takes remembering that the world is more complicated than we know, and then sticking some of those complications into the story.”

― Scott Westerfeld

But I’m still going to participate because I’d like to encourage the buzz it gives me outside NaNo. I want to create a regular writing habit that sees things through to an end. I also believe that writing short stories can develop my skills as a writer, especially for scenes, which need a beginning, a mithe way to writeddle and an end. So scribbling away in my morning pages at 6.30 am I decided to write a short story a day. Around 1500 words, some may be longer some shorter but I hope to reach the target. My own personal NaShoSto month. And hopefully I’ll have some fodder for some competition entries in 2016. Who knows what can happen?

 

So what about you? How do you form a writing habit? And will you be participating. If so, my NaNo name is The Duchessa (another story for another time) we could be buddies!

 

Until Later,

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