Friday 21 August 2015

My words are missing

My writing has felt like an uphill struggle for the past six months or so. I take one step forward (a shiny new idea) and three steps back (my rational head tells me the idea is too rubbish to contemplate).

I've chosen Glastonbury Tor to illustrate this post because I walked up it in July, on a beautifully warm and clear day. From the top, you can see for miles across Somerset. I wish I could see my writing so clearly. (See what I did there??)

Last week, I had the house to myself. Even the dog was out for the day, so I didn't have the distraction of taking him for a walk, or letting him out into the garden, or playing tuggy with his favourite toy.

And yet, I wrote nothing. I wrote some ideas. Made a cup of tea. Came back and scribbled out my ideas. I tried to rewrite a different story, but it was rubbish - so that got saved (I save everything) under the title To be buried forever and ever.

I know what the problem is: I finished a novel in February. Whereas most writers move on to their next shiny idea, I'm a gibbering mess. I try to stay positive - I announce new ideas on my Facebook page, as though saying it out loud will consolidate them, and I write blog posts that sound relatively upbeat - but the reality is just a little bit different.

I'm going to make a couple of changes:

  1. I'm going to change the place where I write - I'm going to move to the dining table.
  2. I'm going to limit my wasteful web surfing. I spend a lot of time on the internet, but still don't manage to visit blogs or do meaningful research. I end up on bodybuilding web sites, reading their forums about how to get bigger biceps. (Actually, my biceps are coming along pretty well...)
  3. I'm going to manage my time (related slightly to my point above). There will be strict no internet hours, with ten minutes surfing every so often for light relief.
  4. I may try dressing in smart clothes, as though I am working in an office. I once read about a writer who did this to put herself in 'work mode'.
I'll only need to do this until I get myself stuck into a new project. Once I'm there, I will be totally focused to the point of ignoring everything around me and walking around with a glazed look on my face while my characters take over.

Comments will be disabled for this post, just because it's a little but whiny - and you all commented on Melissa's post on Monday which dealt with the same subject. I would however appreciate some positive thinking - thank you.

Monday 17 August 2015

Melissa Maygrove’s Top 5 Tips for Writer’s Block

I'd like to welcome Melissa Maygrove to my blog today, to help me with a problem I've been having for a while now. Plus, there's a chance to win a copy of Melissa's new book Precious Atonement. I'll leave it to Melissa to explain more...

I’m grateful to Annalisa for inviting me to visit. When I asked what she wanted me to write about, she posed this question:

I'm blocked, completely. What advice would you give me? [Imagine a really panicked whine here - Annalisa]

  1. Take a break. Pressure to write can make you try too hard, which usually leads to nothing or nothing good.
  2. Read some quality fiction. Often, a good book can get the juices flowing.
  3. Read some nonfiction. It doesn’t matter what it is—a biography, the newspaper, some general research—it can be the spark that lights a fire under your muse.
  4. Watch some movies or even a silly game show. You never know where inspiration might lurk.
  5. Click through images on the web. You can do a Google search or meander through a stock image site. This is especially helpful when you need to add some description to a scene.

Bonus tip:
Do you have an idea for a plot, but keep hitting a wall?
Ask ‘What if ______?’, then mentally carry the plot idea to its natural conclusion.

Didn’t work?
Fill in a different idea and carry it through again.

Don’t be afraid to insert something that seems totally opposite of how you envisioned things would go. (e.g. What if her mother really isn’t her mother?) Sometimes entertaining a radical idea brings about a twist that transforms a good story into a great one.

Thanks for having me. I hope this helps.

Thanks Melissa, great advice. I'm going to curl up with a good book, a good film and plenty of chocolate... (because I know #6 would have been 'eat chocolate'!)

Ruined women don’t hope, killers don’t dream, and the dead don’t feel pain.
Rachel Emerson is resigned to live as a spinster. Her parents keep her shameful secret, and her only brother, Seth, vanished mere days after witnessing her rape, taking her dishonor with him and giving them all an alibi for their grief. But none of that matters. Appearances are useless if she can’t bear the touch of a man.

Jacob Evans welcomes pain as much as he seeks to escape it. The graves of his wife and child remind him of his sins every day. When Lawrence Emerson offers him a job and a chance to move west, Jacob permits himself a fresh start. But letting go of his past is only an illusion. Lawrence’s sweet, shy daughter captures Jacob’s heart and provides him a perfect tool for self-torment.

Despite painful lessons of the past, history soon threatens to repeat itself, and as Jacob’s love for Rachel grows, so does his agony. Giving his precious new wife the life she deserves might cost him the very thing he values most—her.

About Melissa Maygrove
Native Texan Melissa Maygrove is a wife, mother, nurse, freelance editor, and romance writer. When she's not busy caring for her tiny nursery patients or shuttling teenagers back and forth to after-school activities, she's hunched over her laptop, complicating the lives of her imaginary friends and playing matchmaker. Melissa loves books with unpretentious characters and unforgettable romance, and she strives to create those same kinds of stories for her readers.

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Friday 14 August 2015

Yay, it's Misha Gerrick

Today I am welcoming Misha Gerrick to my blog to share her experiences of publishing her two books, The Vanished Knight and The Heir's Choice. Take it away, Misha...

Five Less Than Nice Things About Self Publishing

Over the past few weeks, more than a few people have been interested in why I chose to self-publish, and why I think it’s a good idea.

However, there are a few things about the process that’s not as nice. Especially when you’re like me and doing everything yourself. So I thought I’d share them to give a more balanced view of self-publishing…

1) There’s no one to tell you that it’s time to let go.

This is the worst thing for me. When I published through a publisher, I had an editor who told me “Congrats! You’re done. Now the book’s going into formatting.”

Without the publisher, there’s no one to tell me everything’s okay to publish. I have to decide for myself. And even though the books are out there now, I’m still cringing, waiting for people to tell me I didn’t work hard enough on getting the book ready. This brings me to my next point.

2) Impostor syndrome.

You know how sometimes, people live in perpetual fear that they’ll be called out for not being “the real thing?” This could be anything, from being a smart person to being a “real writer.”

I’m trying really hard not to feel this way. I put ten times as much effort into getting my books up to publishing standard. And I know my standards are higher than an average publisher’s. But I just can’t help thinking that some people will point out that something is somehow… not standard and that my self-publishing efforts failed.

3) Conflicting feelings

At the same time, I’m actually much prouder of my accomplishments self-publishing my books than I was selling them the first time.

Which makes my head a really interesting place to live in at the moment.

4) Time

I haven’t written anything fictional in three months, because I was too busy with all the publishing related things for my books. Writing this is actually the last purposeful thing related to publishing that I’ll do for these books.

Except that in order to hit my goals aimed at making a living at this gig, I need to publish another book very soon. So I might have about two weeks before this roller coaster starts again.

5) I’m my own nightmare boss.

Oh, you thought things are cool, calm and collected when I’m doing everything myself? Not like I have any deadlines or anything like that…

If you thought so, you’re dead wrong.

I measure everything I do against: Would I have paid someone if they delivered me this service at the quality I did it myself?

Which means that I am relentless in driving myself to get tasks done, while being absolutely focused on doing it to the best of my ability. There’s no such thing as “I can’t do this, so I’ll pick something easier” in my process.

There’s only “I better learn how to do this and how to do this well in two days or less.”

So although I love self-publishing, there’s a definite cost to doing it. Good thing the process is worth the effort.

What about you? Do you self-publish? What’s your least favorite aspect to doing so?

 The Vanished Knight

The entity living inside Callan’s soul orphaned her at age eleven. By the time she’s sixteen, it’s ensured her being shunted from one foster family to another.

Her thirteenth foster assignment should be routine. Except... it's not. A psycho in medieval armor kidnaps her and she ends up in a magical world. There, she accidentally discovers a secret her parents had kept until the day they died.

Both actually came from this magical world, but left before Callan was born. To cover their tracks, they’d lied about everything. Even who they really were.

Driven to find out where she comes from, Callan’s trapped in a race for life and death. Walking away isn’t an option, but if she stays too long, the entity will find its next victim.

In this world where secrets are sacrosanct and grudges are remembered, finding the truth will be near impossible. Especially when Callan has her own homicidal little secret to deal with.

One with a taste for destroying her life.

The Heir’s Choice

After discovering her parents had kept a whole world secret, Callan races to discover her past. Not easy to do with an increasingly agitated entity living in her soul.

Going to her long-lost elvish roots should answer all her questions. Instead, she ends up in the middle of a nightmare.

The elves are on the verge of an apocalyptic war. Their enemy, King Aurek of Icaimerith, will only be appeased if Callan marries his heir. It’s either her life getting messed up, or an entire country’s lives lost. Simple enough, right?


Because when the entity wants the elves blotted out of existence, saving them gets taken to a whole new level of complicated.


Misha Gerrick has been creating stories long before she could write and is currently going after her dream of making a living as a writer.

If you’d like to see how that’s going, you can visit her on her blog, where she also discusses all things related to writing and publishing.

Or, if you’d just like to know what she’s reading and get updates on what she’ll be publishing next (Sorry, no newsletter just yet.):

You can follow her Tumblr, you can follow her on Twitter, dnd you can circle her on Google Plus