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Tag: James Fahy

Self-Doubt: 14 Authors Share Their Advice

Today is an exciting days, friends. Today is the day we kick self-doubt where it hurts because today, 14 wonderful authors have come together to talk about how to go to war with it!

If you’ve written for any length of time – or if you’ve put it off because of self-doubt, perhaps? – you’ll know exactly what I mean. Self-doubt is the reason you haven’t hit that ‘publish’ button on KDP yet. Self-doubt is the reason you can’t continue writing your draft because you’re scared no one will like what you do, or worse yet – what if everyone who reads it leaves soul-destroying reviews? It may even be the reason you haven’t started Chapter 1 despite wanting to.

I’m hoping we can convince you to keep writing anyway, and glare right back when self-doubt is glaring at you and shove it back into its dark corner.

Crippling self-doubt is a horrible feeling, but you’re far from alone, friends. Every creative in the existence of ever has had to deal with this, and we’re here today to tell you why you can’t let it defeat you, and how to tackle it to the ground and tie it to a tree so it can’t escape.

Are you ready? TO WAR! *battle cry*

I’m not going to lie and tell you that you won’t receive any negative reviews, because you will. Your book won’t work for everyone; the sooner you come to terms with this, the better. You haven’t enjoyed every book you’ve ever read, either, but the ones you didn’t like still have five-star reviews! You might get reviews so angry you’ll wonder why people have to use Goodreads and Amazon as an outlet for their aggression (and I’ve seen these, friends, they absolutely exist and defy logic), but they don’t cancel out your shining reviews! Ten one-star reviews don’t negate your fifty five-star reviews! The people buying your book don’t have any obligation to like what they paid for, they are allowed to be disappointed. So they didn’t like it; at least they tried it. Other people loved it, and it’s those people you write for (on the days when you feel you can’t write for yourself, anyway – always write for yourself first).

Don’t be discouraged when your first draft is rubbish. That’s what first drafts are there for; the magic happens when you rewrite and edit and overdose on tea. Don’t be discouraged when one person tells you your book didn’t work for them. As we’ve just discussed, your book won’t be right for everyone but this doesn’t make your positive reviews less valid. You still earned those.

And above all, don’t let self-doubt convince you that you’re no good and that everyone will hate your book and that it’d be better if you just gave up now. You’re not alone, we’ve all been there, and if you reach out I promise we’ll convince you otherwise (tea and biscuits will be involved if you come to me).

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Eden Sharp, Author of The Breaks

Every year I tell the fledgling first year undergraduates I teach the same thing. Sometimes it takes three years to sink in but it’s really very simple yet crucial advice. You have to give yourself permission to write rubbish initially. All work begins this way. Writing is rewriting. Unfortunately, many beginning writers become so critical of their work in the early stages they either block themselves from writing or give up entirely. All early work is bad no matter who wrote it. Think of it this way. When other artists create stunning work they have to invest in the materials first. A sculptor needs to first purchase a leaden lump of clay which must then be worked hard in order for the beautiful finished piece to emerge. Our tools as writers are words. We need to mine lots of them to begin with. Quantity before quality. They’ll be misshapen and ugly and that’s okay because the more we work the mud the hidden gems within will start to appear and it is these which we will work on until they shine. So you have to give yourself permission to write rubbish without judgement. Don’t be afraid of mining mud to begin with. You’re just gathering your materials. As Stephen King said about the pain that goes with the first draft, just write the damn thing. Polishing comes later. Have faith. With enough work your words will eventually shine I promise.

You can find Eden on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon, and her website.

Nadia L. King, Author of Jenna’s Truth

The magic of writing is contained on the page—it’s when you forget about who you are and everything becomes about the story. That magic is why most writers write.

Prolific American author, Richard Russo once said that self-consciousness is the enemy of art. Self-consciousness is where self-doubt and fear reside—it’s the voices in your head which threaten to sabotage your stories. I’m not sure if the voices ever fall silent but I do know self-discipline can help quieten them. Showing up, sitting in front of your desk, pounding out the words, crossing your fingers that the magic will turn up—that’s what moves you forward and overthrows the voices.

Every writer it seems suffers from crushing darkness of self-doubt. Charles Bukowski once bemoaned that bad writers seem to have self-confidence while the good ones suffer self-doubt.

Elizabeth Gilbert in her book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear talks about the need to be brave. Gilberts says artists need to get to that place in creative life where curiosity becomes larger than fear.

As writing becomes more habitual hopefully ignoring the voices will become second nature and as a writer you will experience excitement about what the muse will provide. Don’t let fear stop you from connecting with the magic of writing.

You can find Nadia on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Rhianne Stephanie, Author of The Collective

The scariest thing to do is share your work, but it can be one of the best things to do as a writer who might be a discouraged. Speaking from personal experience, having a writer friend who you can bounce ideas off and share your writing with is worth it’s weight in gold. When I get stuck I share a few lines of what I’ve just written and a bit of background to one or two friends and they will help me bounce ideas on where to go next, and to think in depth about what my characters are going through. They remind me to think about how they would react and feel instead of focusing on the action.

Another piece of advice I would give to writers is to take a break. Work on something else, watch TV and films, read books. Find a way to re ignite your spark for creativity. It doesn’t have to be long, and you don’t even have to work on something else. I found that on breaks where I focused on self-care that ideas and lines of dialogue just came to me when I was in the shower, or watching a movie in bed with my boyfriend.

Take breaks and ask for help. No writer will turn you away, especially when we have all been in the same boat! But don’t expect results instantly, we have our own work to do too. Best to ask in Facebook groups and get people to let you know when they’re free.

You can find Rhianne on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon, and her website.

Michael Chrobak, Author of Brother Thomas and the Guardians of Zion and Where Angels Dwell

As an artist, discouragement can come in a wide range of flavors. We can get discouraged that our books aren’t getting any attention by publishers or agents. We can get discouraged that our books are selling as fast as we hoped they would. Or we can get discouraged that our muse had taken a vacation, leaving us hauntingly unable to write even a simple birthday card greeting. I’ve even found myself getting discouraged after re-reading my work-in-progress and finding it to be very flat – after completing over 40,000 words! (And yes, I deleted almost 90% of that WIP)

Therefore, I believe the first thing to do is to identify what type of discouragement you are having. When you understand what it is that’s bringing you down, you can more easily identify the solution. I find that reminding myself why I chose to be an author in the first place helps me to identify where my frustrations are. For example, since I became an author for the simple fact that I could no longer quiet the urge to write, if I’m feeling discouraged that I haven’t sold a book in a while, I simply remind myself of why I write. To me, I would rather have a handful of readers who love what I do, then thousands of readers who are ambivalent.

Defining your ‘why’ gives you the understanding and strength to endure any ‘how’. It’s when we don’t know why we do what we do that frustration and disappointment come. Trust me, regardless your goal, if you don’t know why you pursue it, it will always be elusive. Define who you are first, and everything else will fall into place.

You can find Michael on his website, FacebookTwitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Ellen Read, Author of The Dragon Sleeps

Whether you’re starting out on your writing career or have several books published you will feel discouraged at least some of the time and plain scared at others. The first time you let other people read your words is terrifying. The moments before then you’ll be certain what you’ve written is rubbish.

The main thing is to believe in yourself and your dream. Think of where you want to go, what you want to do, then understand that in any job we have to take little steps in the beginning. We’ll probably make mistakes but use these to help you grow. Ask for and take advice, talk to other writers, but don’t let criticism cripple you. Remember you don’t have to accept all the advice.

You can find Ellen on her blog, website, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads, and Amazon

Liz Meldon, Author of the Lovers and Liars series and the Games We Play series

No matter how much you love writing, I think we can all agree that there are a lot of aspects about the publishing world that can get very disheartening. And that’s okay. It’s okay to have a moment of wanting to rip your hair out and quit. What matters is that you take some time to breathe, recover from your moment, and keep on working at it. Remember that we all get discouraged. Even the most successful authors out there feel exactly like you’re feeling right now. I promise.

There are lots of reasons why a writer might get discouraged, but I’d like to focus on one: feeling as though your market is either oversaturated or too obscure. Let’s use romance as an example. You worry there are too many romance novels out there—so why bother writing yours? Or, on the other side of things, you fear your rather niche subgenre won’t garner interest, so let’s throw in the towel and pump out some silly romance books. That’ll solve everything, right?

Wrong. Write what makes you happy and your readers will see it. Write what makes you passionate. Write what thrills you. Readers know when your enthusiasm for a genre matches theirs, and they gravitate toward it. So don’t panic. Write your novel, even if there are literally millions out there already. Write your obscure, niche genre 10-book series. There is a reader for every writer. Never forget that.

Find Liz on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, her blog and Goodreads.

K. J. Chapman, Author of the EVO Nation series and Thrown to the Blue

I doubt there is an author alive who doesn’t get discouraged from time to time, whether it be a bad review, or just that nagging voice in the back of your head saying you’re not good enough. My ultimate advice for tackling this discouragement is to ask yourself, ‘Why do I write?’ I’m guessing the answer is because you love it, you enjoy it, you just have to. That’s all you need to remember. You are doing something that you love, and no, you’re work may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s yours. Keep striving to do what makes you happy. Write what you want to read. That’s what comes across in the writing.

You can find Kayleigh on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, PinterestGoodreads, and Amazon.

Becky Wright, Author of The Manningtree Account and Remember to Love Me

I promise you, it’s never been said, that being a writer is easy. We plunge knives through our hearts and bleed through our fingers. We do it because we are tethered to the written word. However, we can all suffer from doubt, those thoughts of ‘why bother?’

It’s at times like these, you should take a step back, evaluate and come up for air. Immersing yourself in those thoughts will only bring you down further. There’s no end of contributing factors, we lead busy lives, maybe it’s shortage of time or the lack of progress on your current writing. A clear idea, a structure, put to paper can be a real lift to your state of mind, to see tangible progression is a great motivator. Allow yourself the luxury of time, even if it’s an hour a day, or a couple of evenings a week, whichever fits your life. But always give yourself goals – aim, achieve, and plot your growth.

To fall back in love with writing is half the battle. Read, soak in the written word, the more you read the easier you will write, and the more focused you will feel.

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learnt is not to compare. The success of fellow writers, can, if you permit it, hinder your own motivation, it’s never a healthy thought set for your craft. Instead, allow it to drive you forward, aspire, let their success boost you. If in your heart you can’t imagine life without writing, then why stop?

You can find Becky on her website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Beverley Lee, Author of the Gabriel Davenport Trilogy

Don’t think that everything has to be perfect the first time around. I fell into this trap for the longest time, and kept wondering why everything just felt clogged up and stilted. The most important thing is getting your ideas on the paper/screen in that first draft.  Everything can be edited. There’s a reason that fledgling draft is called the vomit one! Also, don’t compare yourself to other writers. Just because someone writes for seven hours a day in perfect silence, drinking green tea smoothies, doesn’t mean that you have to copy them. Any word count or planning is making progress on your story. It will unfold in its own time. You need to find your own rhythm and what works for *you*. Try mixing things up a little if you feel stalled – writing by hand works for a lot of people, and you have the added advantage that you can do it anywhere.

Write from the heart. Write what moves you and gives you All The Feels. Don’t be afraid to go where your characters lead you, even if it gets ugly. In truth, trust them, and trust your story.

You can find Beverley on her website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon.

R. K. Ryde, Author of the Stella series

It’s funny that I’m writing about advice for discouraged writers – and that’s not funny in a ha ha way, it’s funny in an woo-woo way because that’s exactly how I’ve felt the last month or so – discouraged.

So, how did I pull myself up by my bootstraps and carry on? By remembering that everyone gets discouraged with their writing at some point in time. AND by reading articles and listening to podcasts about encouragement for discouraged writers.

Here are a few gems I gleaned from my own readings and recent experience:

  1. Give yourself a break. I’m lucky enough to be self-published, so the only deadline I have breathing down my neck is my very own self-imposed deadline. Sure, you may have readers expecting your next novel (and that in of itself is a huge boost of encouragement) but in all reality, if readers are eagerly awaiting your next masterpiece, take the pressure off yourself and make it the masterpiece they are wanting. An extra month or so won’t deter the most devoted fan.
  2. Remember, it’s only a first draft. Especially coming off the back of finishing a fully polished and highly edited novel, the first draft of your next book can seem very clunky and imperfect.
  3. Keep at it. Don’t give up. Only by putting one word after another will that book be finally written.
  4. Read! I have found by using my break time (see point one) to read for pleasure, I am inspired by my favourite authors and can’t wait to get back to my laptop to get my own words down.

You can find Rhonda on her website, Facebook, and Instagram, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Melinda Devine, Author of Gina’s Diaries

What advice do I have for discouraged writers? Make sure you always have a supply of wine, chocolate, coffee and ice cream. Oh, and subscribe to Netflix so you can binge watch series during your ‘I can’t do this’ phase.

I become discouraged for a number of reasons. Self-doubt is a huge one. Another is comparing myself to other writers and their methods. There’s also the crappy writing I can do, and the writing I can’t do when the words refuse to flow. I don’t have a University degree stating I’m a professional writer, so that plays havoc with my mind and don’t forget the dreaded one star review.

To overcome all that and continue on your path as a writer, you need to remember one thing; it’s your journey.

It doesn’t matter what anyone says, negative or positive, bottom line is, it’s all up to you. You’re in control of your actions and emotions. You can sit with pen in hand or in front of your computer and do nothing. Or you can choose to get those words down and finish what you started.

So if writing is what you want to do, sure, entertain those discouraging thoughts for a small amount of time. Drink that wine or eat the tub of ice cream while binge watching a season of The Originals but when it’s finished, get back on your chosen path, believe in yourself and write.

You can find Melinda on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Faith Rivens, Author of Eléonore

I’ll be honest, friends. Ten years into the writing game and I still suffer self-doubt on a daily basis. Some days it’s only a niggling qualm and some days it looms like a supermassive black hole. I fell into a particularly bad rut three years ago and almost walked away from writing for good.

I learned a lot from that experience.

Passion. If you love something deeply enough, it is worth the stumbles and falls. This applies to life in general, not just writing.

One of your greatest allies in this game is realizing that perfection doesn’t exist and so you shouldn’t aim for it. Your focus needs to be writing YOUR best story.

First drafts are supposed to be wonky. Your story will come out in your revisions and edits. Perseverance is key here. Writing YOUR best story requires discipline, but it’s worth it.

Recognize your own strengths. Humility is an important quality to possess, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give yourself credit where credit is due. And never let anyone convince you that your passion is a waste of time. Believe in your abilities. Believe in yourself. Trust yourself too.

Writing might be a personal thing, but it doesn’t have to be a solitary one. Engaging on social media platforms led me to discover a supportive writing community. We encourage each other on our journeys. It’s a good reminder that the struggles we face are not unique to us. We all suffer self-doubt. We all suffer fear. We don’t have to be overwhelmed by it.

Life’s too short to hide away in fear.

You can find Faith on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon, and her blog.

Anna B. Madrise, Author of The Hatter’s Wife

The best advice I have to give to discouraged writers is to remember this one point: “this career choice is a marathon not a sprint.” The decision to go from being a writer to being an author is one that should showcase your passion for the written word through your stories. This is not a way to “get rich quick” but rather a way to see your art come alive and touch others. I have a full-time job on top of writing as much “full-time” as I can. Yes, my goal is to live off of the income that my books bring in but my driving force behind what I do is because I get excited about the worlds I create and the characters I bring to live for my readers. Write because it is your passion and eventually the rest will all fall into place.

You can find Anna on her website, InstagramTwitterFacebook, Goodreads, and Amazon.

James Fahy, Author of the Phoebe Harkness series and The Changeling series

As writers, we are all SUCH control freaks, and SUCH perfectionists, that no matter how many times you draft and redraft, revise, cut and edit, rearrange and review, you are NEVER (no…really…NEVER) going to reach a point where you genuinely, with your whole heart can say to yourself: ‘There. It’s done. It’s perfect. There is no way I could possibly improve this. It can go out to Agents now. Now, finally, I am happy to send it to the publisher.’ We’re good at procrastinating.

Have faith in your work. It should be good enough that you are super-proud of it…of course…but it will NEVER be so good you think it’s perfect. Holding on to that fear and obsessive doubt that either you or your writing is not quite top-grade is one of the first main obstacles to taking the publishing plunge.

The worry ‘everyone won’t love your book’, is also a crippling doubt. The fact is, not everyone will. Some people will love it, some people will cast it aside with a ‘meh’, and others, no matter how much you wish it wasn’t the case, will hate it.

Deal with it.

You cannot write to please everyone, and the important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t TRY to. If you try to, it’s obvious, and it shows, and it stinks of phoney.

I don’t write for other people. I don’t write with a target audience in mind that I’m hoping to ensnare (If you’re writing in any genre, that happens naturally and organically as you pen the story) but even the most loved books in the world will have fanatic fans and sneering detractors in equal measure.

If only a handful of people love your work, that’s NOT a bad thing… that handful of people LOVE YOUR WORK. That’s an amazing compliment. To achieve that kind of connection of minds and ideas through a shared story. That, to me, is the magic of writing, and why we need to confront, rather than ignore, our ‘doubts’.

Doubt shouldn’t ever stop you believing you can make that connection, and you can make it on your own terms, and for all the right reasons.

So stop worrying your writing isn’t perfect. It isn’t. no-ones is. Still write anyway. Singing off key is still music. And stop trying to ‘maximise’ the number of people you can reach and please. You only need to reach one, and your job is done. Any more than that, is just icing on the author cake.

Find James on Twitter, Instagram, FacebookGoodreads, Amazon, and his blog.

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How do you tackle self-doubt? If you need more words of encouragement, you can either grab some cookies and a tea and leave a comment below, or you can check out the two previous posts on self-doubt I published here this month. Author Dana Fraedrich talks about it here, and I talk about self-doubt as well as writer’s block on Nadia’s blogsite here.

Or you can do both 🙂


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Review: Crescent Moon by James Fahy (Phoebe Harkness, #2)

“What do you do when your world is turned upside down?

When you discover your father had a direct hand in the genocide of much of the world’s human population?

Phoebe Harkness’ life has changed forever. Thirty years after a cataclysmic world war that eviscerated one third of the human population, a new sub-species of vampire-like drones has set its teeth to the survivors of humanity.

They’re not the only ones: ‘Genetic Others’ such as vampires, werewolves and more roam the streets of New Oxford, trying – and sometimes failing – to live peacefully amongst humankind.

But that is all about to change.

A spate of serial killings have occurred, rocking the already fragile ecosystem of New Oxford.

Brutal murders and mutilation are now commonplace.

Phoebe must get to work. She is named as liaison between the Genetic Others and the Cabal, the ruling order of the walled city.

She must negotiate with the Tribals, a subset of werewolves cast aside by the cultural hegemony of the Cabal.

But before she can make any progress with the Tribal leader, Kane, she learns of more murders – and three missing students. And Kane’s daughter is among the missing…

One of the victims leaves a message in blood: ‘Crescent Moon’.

Now Phoebe must act urgently with the help of Kane and her former paramour, vampire Allesandro to track down the culprit of these horrific killings.

But who is conducting all of these strange happenings behind the scenes?

And what does it have to do with the Crescent Moon…?

Crescent Moon is the gripping second instalment of the urban gothic Phoebe Harkness series. It follows the young doctor as she stalks through the corrupt dystopia of New Oxford.”

What I thought:

I won’t lie, Phoebe’s sarcasm was the number one thing I looked forward to 😀

I’d never considered, before trying this ambassador lark, what a delicate and dangerous balance we struck between the different GO factions and the humans of the city. And behind it all, patient and hungry outside our walls, just waiting for our brave new civilisation to fail and collapse, were the countless multitudes of the Pale.

In the first book of this series Fahy introduced the vampires of New Oxford, but the focus in Crescent Moon is on the Tribals – a race similar to werewolves but not restricted to wolves. Tribals come in all shapes – wolves, bears, panthers – and they are large. Large as in easily-towering-over-anyone-normal-human-height large. So Phoebe’s in for a treat! I was especially curious about the Tribals after Book 1, so this was interesting for both of us. Although I, at least, was in no danger of being torn to shreds unlike Phoebe.

Throughout the book, tensions between the human movement and the Genetic Others supporters grow as both seem to head towards civil war. It’s a bit like watching water heat in a sauce pan until it eventually boils over (just, you know, you could totally stop the water by taking it off the heat). Neither side is willing to step down or compromise, and so tensions grow. While the situation doesn’t truly escalate, I worry about where it’s headed in the next book.

After months of non-contact, erotic and surreal dreams and waking hallucinations of the man notwithstanding, I was apparently off to meet with Allesandro again, Clan Master of St Giles, at the behest of the tribal Leader. This was bound to end well.

I fervently wished I was back in the lab with the diseased corpse.

One of my favourite parts were the scenes were Phoebe got to leaf through the bloody Voynich manuscript. I admit to mild strong jealousy.

Now, as much as I enjoyed the plot, I have to admit that the heavy use of adverbs was grinding on me. I don’t mind an adverb here and there as long as it adds something, but unfortunately this book was littered with them and it affected my enjoyment more than a little. If they bug you as much as they bugged me, do what I did and ignore them. It took a bit of practice but it helped.

If you’re looking for a gothic urban fantasy then I recommend this series! The first book is Hell’s Teeth, so you’ll want to start there 😉

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Have you read Crescent Moon, or would you like to? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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WWW Wednesday 8th March 2017

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

This meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

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What I’m currently reading

A Shining in the Shadows

I’m so thrilled to be on Lee’s ARC squad!!! The Making of Gabriel Davenport was one of my favourite reads last year, so I volunteered early 😀 A Shining in the Shadows is just as beautifully written and I’m flying through it. I might even be able to finish it this week!

A Shining in the Shadows will be out on the 7th of April, and I’ll definitely have my review ready for it. I’m dying to give you details and quotes, and not just squee and flail at you.

Blurb:

Gabriel Davenport has been remade from darkness. Now, he must adapt to survive .

In a small seaside town, Gabriel’s maker unwittingly takes his wards into the throes of a deadly new game. There are rumblings on The Bloodvyne, the mental web of linked vampire consciousness. Whispers about a cleansing, about the ruling council hunting vampires with impure blood.

Gabriel finds himself thrust into a new nightmare, where the hunter becomes the hunted. When his maker is taken, he must battle to untangle the mystifying clues laid out in an uncovered labyrinth to find the only creature strong enough to fight against those that hunt his new-found family.

Gaze long into the darkness, and you’ll find old vampire foes out for revenge, new ones with their own agenda, and a witch who holds the key. But just who is the monster in the middle?

Crescent Moon

I was happily reading this and enjoying Phoebe’s sarcasm when my ARC arrived on my kindle. Because ARCs take priority it’ll have to wait, but I’m excited to come back to it! I love learning more about Fahy’s worlds, and might have to sneak in a few pages here and there <3 It’d be a shame to not read this at all.

Blurb:

What do you do when your world is turned upside down?

When you discover your father had a direct hand in the genocide of much of the world’s human population?

Phoebe Harkness’ life has changed forever. Thirty years after a cataclysmic world war that eviscerated one third of the human population, a new sub-species of vampire-like drones has set its teeth to the survivors of humanity.

They’re not the only ones: ‘Genetic Others’ such as vampires, werewolves and more roam the streets of New Oxford, trying – and sometimes failing – to live peacefully amongst humankind.

But that is all about to change.

A spate of serial killings have occurred, rocking the already fragile ecosystem of New Oxford.

Brutal murders and mutilation are now commonplace.

Phoebe must get to work. She is named as liaison between the Genetic Others and the Cabal, the ruling order of the walled city.

She must negotiate with the Tribals, a subset of werewolves cast aside by the cultural hegemony of the Cabal.

But before she can make any progress with the Tribal leader, Kane, she learns of more murders – and three missing students. And Kane’s daughter is among the missing…

One of the victims leaves a message in blood: ‘Crescent Moon’.

Now Phoebe must act urgently with the help of Kane and her former paramour, vampire Allesandro to track down the culprit of these horrific killings.

But who is conducting all of these strange happenings behind the scenes?

And what does it have to do with the Crescent Moon…?

Crescent Moon is the gripping second instalment of the urban gothic Phoebe Harkness series. It follows the young doctor as she stalks through the corrupt dystopia of New Oxford.

The First Five Pages

Because of my ARC and Phoebe’s infectious sarcasm I haven’t made much progress on this. It’s one of those theory books that makes me want to write, so I’ve probably chosen a bad time for it to be honest, since I’m editing rather than writing right now.

If you’re a writer and you haven’t read this yet I strongly recommend that you do. It’s well-written, easy to apply, and it’s one of the few theory books that are written with humour!

Blurb:

Editors always tell novice writers that the first few pages of a manuscript are crucial in the publishing process — and it’s true. If an editor or agent (or reader) loses interest after a page or two, you’ve lost him or her completely, even if the middle of your novel is brilliant and the ending phenomenal. Noah Lukeman, an agent in Manhattan, has taken this advice and created a book that examines just what this means, and I have to tell you, it’s one of the best I’ve read. Continue reading (what is it with theory books and insanely long blurbs??)

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What I recently finished reading

The Fool

As expected I sped through this! If it wasn’t for my day job and my edits I’d have read it in one sitting, but a bookworm’s life is tough as we all know. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book in her Lovers and Liars series, but I still enjoyed it and will definitely come back for more when my tbr list allows it! (Having said that, I already have The King on my kindle, so it probably won’t be too long.)

Blurb:

One night can change everything.

That’s what they always say, and for now, vampire hunter Delia hopes it’s true. After years of mediocre performances, she’s still nothing more than a grunt in her hunter league, stuck on surveillance duty and low-level vamp busts.

So, when her informant drops an amazing lead in her lap, she jumps at the opportunity to take down the region’s rumored vampire leader at an invite-only masquerade ball. Clad in a mask and an uncomfortable dress, Delia throws herself into the fray—only to realize she’s woefully unprepared for the night that awaits her.

Also… Some ridiculously attractive guy dressed as the Fool keeps distracting her.

One night. One job. One man. One chance to change her life.

All she has to do is not screw it up.

Blood Gifted

BloodGifted was my first book by Lacoba and I really enjoyed it. It was fast paced with intriguing characters and many plot twists! Because my tbr pile has grown to dizzying hights I’m not sure when I’ll get to the sequel, but it’s definitely on my list <3 If you love urban fantasies with sexy vampires and curses I recommend this! My full review will be up on Goodreads soon, too 🙂

Blurb:

What’s a girl to do when she learns she’s the key to breaking a centuries-old family curse? Become dangerously intimate with a jaw-dropping vision of male hotness hiding a secret agenda of his own.
Nothing could be simpler.
Or is it?
When primary school teacher, Laura Dantonville, learns of her family’s dark ancestral legacy, she’s propelled into a secret underworld ruled by magic, mystery and murder, and stalked by vampire clans who would do anything to possess her. For her protection, she’s assigned a guardian not knowing that part of her role in ending the ancient curse that has plagued her family for centuries, involves having a child with him.

And she has one day to make a decision.

With only five years left of servitude to his sire, Alec Munro reluctantly accepts to act as Laura’s guardian or risk remaining in slavery forever. But can he maintain a platonic relationship between them when something far more intimate is required to end his sire’s family curse?

With time running out, Laura must decide to either accept Alec or allow her vampire-hating detective boyfriend to end the legacy his way – by eliminating the undead side of her family.
After all, they’re not human are they?

Being unable to age is just the beginning.

Zero to 100,000

Overall this was disappointing for me. As someone who isn’t new to social media I couldn’t take much away from it, but if you’re new to Twitter, blogging, and other similar sites you’ll be sure to pick up a thing or two! I’m not sure if there’s a more recent version out there (I borrowed this one from my library) but this one wasn’t up to date. Several social media sites aren’t covered, and some of the information isn’t as relevant today as it was then.

Still, if you’re just starting to get into the vast social mediaverse you’re bound to learn a thing or two! However, if you’ve been using social media for a while there’s likely a better book you can use.

Blurb:

I work in digital media publishing, yet I’ve struggled, like most of the business world, to understand how to make social media work for me. Sarah-Jayne and Dean tackled the challenge with an energy that has to be seen to be believed. These two are now my #1 source of information and have provided simple and effective strategies that have helped me to monetize social media. Continue reading (It’s a really long blurb…)

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What I think I’ll read next

I’m not making any promises this week. I’ve got so many current reads on the go that I’m not sure when I’ll pick something new. I’m not like most of you, I can’t read three books in one week 😛 I should have a better idea in two weeks when my next WWW post publishes.

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Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

6 Comments

WWW Wednesday 22nd February 2017

 

Hey look, it’s my first post on my new website! 😀 <3

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

This meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

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What I’m currently reading

Blood Gifted

This month I was part of an indie author event on Facebook called Our Books Are Not Free, and this is one of the many books I bought as a result! I had my eyes on Lacoba’s books for a while, so this was a great excuse to spend some money on an eBook haul 😀

I’m almost halfway through now and enjoying it. I haven’t read too many books in this genre so it’s a welcome change.

Blurb:

What’s a girl to do when she learns she’s the key to breaking a centuries-old family curse? Become dangerously intimate with a jaw-dropping vision of male hotness hiding a secret agenda of his own.
Nothing could be simpler.
Or is it?
When primary school teacher, Laura Dantonville, learns of her family’s dark ancestral legacy, she’s propelled into a secret underworld ruled by magic, mystery and murder, and stalked by vampire clans who would do anything to possess her. For her protection, she’s assigned a guardian not knowing that part of her role in ending the ancient curse that has plagued her family for centuries, involves having a child with him.

And she has one day to make a decision.

With only five years left of servitude to his sire, Alec Munro reluctantly accepts to act as Laura’s guardian or risk remaining in slavery forever. But can he maintain a platonic relationship between them when something far more intimate is required to end his sire’s family curse?

With time running out, Laura must decide to either accept Alec or allow her vampire-hating detective boyfriend to end the legacy his way – by eliminating the undead side of her family.
After all, they’re not human are they?

Being unable to age is just the beginning.

Zero to 100,000

This year I want to read more theory, so I figured I might as well include my theory books here 🙂 I know some of you are writers, too, so hopefully you’ll find this beneficial! (If this is you, would you like to see reviews for them here, too?)

It’s been interesting although most of the information wasn’t new to me. Because it’s an old book some of the information is outdated now, but I still picked up a couple of tips nevertheless. There might be a newer edition which my library just doesn’t stock. If you’re new to social media, or specific corners of it, you’ll learn a lot, but for someone like me who’s been using social media for a while new information is scarce.

I’ve still got a bit left to go, so it’s not too late to change my mind!

Blurb:

I work in digital media publishing, yet I’ve struggled, like most of the business world, to understand how to make social media work for me. Sarah-Jayne and Dean tackled the challenge with an energy that has to be seen to be believed. These two are now my #1 source of information and have provided simple and effective strategies that have helped me to monetize social media. Continue reading (It’s a really long blurb…)

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What I recently finished reading

Ashael Rising

It seems like so long ago since I finished this! I really enjoyed Ashael Rising. Since my review will follow soon and since it’s already on Goodreads I won’t go into too much detail now. It had excellent world building and intriguing characters. Kinsella is an author to watch for sure! I’ll be keeping an eye on future releases 🙂

Blurb:

Ashael is a hunter-gatherer woman, apprenticed to Bhearra, the healer and spiritual leader of their tribe.

The Zanthar are invaders from another world who extend their own lives by stealing the life-force of everything around them. They were last seen on KalaDene 200 years ago. They have returned, looking for The Vessel, a being prophesied to hold the life-force of the land.

Iwan is a slave to the Zanthar, descendant of the folk that were taken as slaves the last time the Zanthar visited this world. He is sent out as a spy, while his mother is held hostage to ensure his compliance.

When Iwan and Ashael meet and she invites him to stay in Oak Cam, neither of them realise that she is the one the Zanthar seek. The fate of KalaDene and all of its people rests on Ashael’s shoulders.

Ruin and Rising

You guys, Ruin and Rising was so good! Definitely the best book in this trilogy <3 I flew through it. My only regret is not having more books set in Bardugo’s incredible world, I think I’ll be hungover for a while <3

Also, I’m struggling to hate the Darkling. All I feel is pain.

Blurb:

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

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What I think I’ll read next

The Fool

Last year I discovered so many fantastic new authors, and Liz Meldon was one of them. Paranormal erotic romance is quite far away from my usual genre, but I really enjoyed hers and am looking forward to The Fool. I believe this is a short one, so I’ve put a little more on my tbr list this week ^-^ You can all laugh at me in two weeks time when I fail miserably 😛

Blurb:

One night can change everything.

That’s what they always say, and for now, vampire hunter Delia hopes it’s true. After years of mediocre performances, she’s still nothing more than a grunt in her hunter league, stuck on surveillance duty and low-level vamp busts.

So, when her informant drops an amazing lead in her lap, she jumps at the opportunity to take down the region’s rumored vampire leader at an invite-only masquerade ball. Clad in a mask and an uncomfortable dress, Delia throws herself into the fray—only to realize she’s woefully unprepared for the night that awaits her.

Also… Some ridiculously attractive guy dressed as the Fool keeps distracting her.

One night. One job. One man. One chance to change her life.

All she has to do is not screw it up.

Crescent Moon

I read the first book in this series last year (don’t read the blurb if you want to avoid spoilers) and loved it. Fahy was another author I came across last year, and now he’s on my insta-buy list, same as Meldon (once I’m caught up on what they’ve released so far, that is). Urban gothic was a new genre to me, too, so I dare say last year was a bookish success! 😀

I’m really excited to read on, and will get to it as soon as I’ve finished The Fool <3

Blurb:

What do you do when your world is turned upside down?

When you discover your father had a direct hand in the genocide of much of the world’s human population?

Phoebe Harkness’ life has changed forever. Thirty years after a cataclysmic world war that eviscerated one third of the human population, a new sub-species of vampire-like drones has set its teeth to the survivors of humanity.

They’re not the only ones: ‘Genetic Others’ such as vampires, werewolves and more roam the streets of New Oxford, trying – and sometimes failing – to live peacefully amongst humankind.

But that is all about to change.

A spate of serial killings have occurred, rocking the already fragile ecosystem of New Oxford.

Brutal murders and mutilation are now commonplace.

Phoebe must get to work. She is named as liaison between the Genetic Others and the Cabal, the ruling order of the walled city.

She must negotiate with the Tribals, a subset of werewolves cast aside by the cultural hegemony of the Cabal.

But before she can make any progress with the Tribal leader, Kane, she learns of more murders – and three missing students. And Kane’s daughter is among the missing…

One of the victims leaves a message in blood: ‘Crescent Moon’.

Now Phoebe must act urgently with the help of Kane and her former paramour, vampire Allesandro to track down the culprit of these horrific killings.

But who is conducting all of these strange happenings behind the scenes?

And what does it have to do with the Crescent Moon…?

Crescent Moon is the gripping second instalment of the urban gothic Phoebe Harkness series. It follows the young doctor as she stalks through the corrupt dystopia of New Oxford.

The First Five Pages

I’ve actually already this one but since I’m editing my second book now, I figured it’d be a good one to read again. Last time I borrowed it from my library and then bought my own copy right after I finished it, so I must have liked it.

Blurb:

Editors always tell novice writers that the first few pages of a manuscript are crucial in the publishing process — and it’s true. If an editor or agent (or reader) loses interest after a page or two, you’ve lost him or her completely, even if the middle of your novel is brilliant and the ending phenomenal. Noah Lukeman, an agent in Manhattan, has taken this advice and created a book that examines just what this means, and I have to tell you, it’s one of the best I’ve read. Continue reading (what is it with theory books and insanely long blurbs??)

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Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

9 Comments

Review: Isle of Winds by James Fahy (The Changeling #1)

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“Isle of Winds is the first instalment in a Middle-Grade age fantasy series.

Robin Fellows lives with his grandmother and lives what appears to be a rather ordinary life for a normal twelve year old boy.

But when Robin’s Gran dies, quite suddenly and a bit mysteriously, his world is turned upside down. A long lost relative comes out of the woodwork and whisks him away to a mysterious new home, Erlking Hall, a quiet estate in the solitary countryside of Lancashire.

Suddenly Robin must adjust to his new reality. But reality is no longer what he thought it was…

Erlking has many secrets – as do his newly found Great-Aunt Irene and her servants. After a strange encounter on the train and meeting a cold, eerie man on the platform, Robin begins to notice odd happenings at Erlking.

There is more than meets the eye to this old, rambling mansion.
Little does he know that there is more than meets the eye to himself.

Robin is the world’s last Changeling. He is descended from a mystic race of Fae-people, whose homeland, the Netherworlde, is caught in the throes of a terrible civil war.

Not only this, but in this new world there is a magical force that has infiltrated the human realm.

Before he can wrench power from the malevolent hands of the Netherworlde’s fearsome tyrant leader, Lady Eris, he must first search for the truth about himself and the ethereal Towers of Arcania.”

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What I thought:

Isle of Winds was my second read by this author. Hell’s Teeth was a massive success for me, so I had to read this one, too!

As it turns out, Isle of Winds is nothing like Hell’s Teeth. In fact, the two couldn’t be more different! Isle of Winds is magical, enchanting, and the effortless writing and inclusion of magic in our world reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s writing several times. If that’s not enough to convince you, read on 🙂

Any minute now, Gran was going to jump out of a bush, crying “I got you! Snakes and ashes!”, and they would go home again.

But of course, being dead, she didn’t do that.

To summarise, Isle of Winds is about a boy, Robin, who doesn’t realise how special he is until his eccentric and wonderfully weird grandmother dies, and he has to move in with his aunt – who happens to live in a mansion, complete with large gardens, strange doors, and – oh, yes – an entrance to the Fae realm.

My personal highlights were the dialogue, which was natural and smooth and made the characters all the more real (in their magical strangeness), and Erlking, the mansion Robin’s aunt has been the warden of for many years. It’s made it onto my list of fictional places I need to visit, so if anyone could forward a form or something I can fill in, that’d be great!

The characters are well developed and the world, especially the Fae realm’s ties with our world, is beautifully created. While all the characters bring something unique to the story my personal favourite was Woad for his childish, eccentric personality.

“Old stories and tales,” he said eventually, with an air of dismissal. “I stopped believing in prophecies long ago. Stories don’t keep you warm at night, or out food in your stomach.” He narrowed his eyes at Karya. “Not all that is broken can be fixed, little twig.”

“Hope is never broken,” Karya replied, levelly meeting his gaze.

While this book is targeted at a younger audience I didn’t feel like it was too young for me. It’s a magical tale about adventure, friendship and bravery, and as such works well for any audience. It’s an easy recommendation for me!

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Have you read Isle of Winds, or would you like to? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

2 Comments

My Favourite Reads of 2016 – Indie Edition!

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A couple of weeks ago I gave a shout-out to my favourite reads this year – and today I’m doing exactly the same thing, but for the incredible indie authors I’ve discovered this year!

I know we indie authors don’t always have a good reputation, due to the ease of self-publishing. That’s why I’m hoping that you’re going to take away some great recommendations from today’s post! A lot of us really do put our backs and souls into our books, and all of the novels below are great examples of indie authors who’ve done just that.

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EVO Shift was my second read by K. J. Chapman, and the sequel to her debut novel EVO Nation. They’re fast paced, the characters are beautifully developed (especially Yana) and there are plot twists and cliff hangers everywhere!

The Siblings

The Siblings is A. Morgan’s exciting, fast-paced, action-packed debut novel. As the title suggests, it’s about a brother and a sister in a dystopian future, where intense sun radiation has destroyed much of civilisation. They get separated, and discover terrible truths about the survival of humanity.

TheMakingofGabrielDavenport

I couldn’t believe this was self-published, it’s that good. If a dark urban fantasy with demons, shadows and sexy vampires (the traditional, awesome, dangerous kind, not the sparkly fairy kind) sounds like your thing I beg you to give this one a go. You won’t regret it.

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I devoured all three of these. Infernal Ties is the prequel novella, so it won’t take you long at all to decide if this series is for you! I’m looking forward to reading the final book next year, too. It features beautifully vivid mentions of Prague, and the character development is superb!

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I found so many amazing indie books this year simply because I know the authors on my various social media hangouts, and Awaken was one of them. I loved the plot immensely, and am really glad I decided to pick it up. While it has some religious sub tones they are very slight and background info more than anything, and didn’t in any way effect my enjoyment of the book (being not religious myself at all). The writing had a strange familiar feel to it, and I flew through it!

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I hadn’t read urban gothic before (although, The Making of Gabriel Davenport can probably also fall into that category) so I had no expectations going in, but I loved every moment of it. It was dark, it had funny moments, and – best of all – the MC Phoebe’s sarcasm matched my own! I’ve got the sequel Crescent Moon waiting for me now, and am really excited to get to it.

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Having read Chapman’s EVO Nation series I was looking forward to seeing how she handled high fantasy. This is her first novel in the genre, and with magic and prophecy playing such a huge part in it she’s handled it rather well! If you love destined lovers, prophecy and a villain you’ll love to hate, then this is for you!

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This was two kinds of firsts for me. I’ve never read erotic novels and I hadn’t read anything by Meldon before, either, so I went in with no expectations. Since this is a novella, and fast-paced, I could easily have read it in one day if my day job wasn’t a thing *shakes fist* It features both a lot of steamy action and an intriguing plot, which has Aphrodite and Loki solving murder mysteries. You also get a small insight into old religions, which made for interesting side info!www-07122016-3

Eléonore is Faith Riven’s debut novel, but it doesn’t read like one. It’s confident, action-packed and emotional, and I’d have read the whole thing in one sitting if it wasn’t for responsibilities and the day job *shakes fist some more* My review for it went up last week, so do check it out! 🙂

What are your favourite indie reads this year? Which ones would you recommend? Get a tea and some cookies, and let’s chat! 🙂

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For all my book reviews, please take a look here.

For Cookie Break’s home page, click me!

12 Comments

Eight Writerly Routines

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What’s better than one writer’s routine? You guessed it – eight of them! 😀 As writers we’re naturally curious and, yes, nosy, so today I’m bringing you the routines of eight writers from all stages in their careers. Some of the amazing people below are at the very beginning of their game, while others have published several books already. All of them have published at least one book – which makes this post a great source of information!

For a lot of new writers the routines they’re meant to have elude them. Truth is, there’s no right or wrong way of putting the words to paper/screen, and the eight authors below show just how different a routine can be. I hope this puts your mind at rest if you’re a new writer starting out, and if you’ve already released a book baby into the scary world I hope you get something from this post regardless 🙂

Holly Evans Profile PicHolly Evans, Author of the Infernal Ties series

I was honoured when Sarina approached me to talk a little bit about my writing routine! Then I realised, with a little awkwardness, that I don’t have much of a routine. I’m one of those writers who only write when they’re inspired. I absolutely refuse to sit down and write unless I’m in the right headspace. Fortunately I write pretty quickly, so I can pull this off. This means that I don’t set aside any set time to write. What I do instead is finish up pretty much everything I have to do in that day, my freelance work, niggly paperwork, errands etc, then I relax and run the story through my head. That means that I rarely sit down and waste time going ‘ssooo… what am I writing next?’ When I sit down, it’s already straight in my head and I get those chapters written as quickly as possible.  If I can write, I do so until I can’t any more. If I can’t, I read or watch a movie.

This does get a little bit difficult when I look at my deadlines, because they’re pretty tight. I have a strict publishing schedule that means I have around about 10 weeks to produce one book, from start to finish. About 6 of those weeks, (sometimes more) is then devoted to editing so I do have to write at a reasonable clip. To do this, I do a good amount of character development and world-building, with loose outlines for the plot. I freaked myself out when I tried a truly in depth outline, I need the freedom to play and explore, otherwise I shut down and can’t do it. Knowing my world and characters gives me the space to play in, without taking away that freedom. Oh and I absolutely must have music when I write, Spotify is a godsend! All in all, it’s a bit chaotic, but it works for me.

Find Holly on Twitter, her blog, and Goodreads

kathryn-evansKathryn Evans, Author of More of Me

I’m a really busy person– I work full time on our family farm, have two kids and do a lot of volunteering plus I have a couple of time consuming hobbies. I’ve learned to jam my writing in wherever and whenever I can – It’s getting trickier now, with all the book promotion stuff, but it’s the same rules really. I’m lucky that I can work in short, intense bursts of time – give me 40 focussed minutes and I can usually turn around quite a lot!  If I can get to writing first thing in the morning, it’s usually the best time, but that’s quite often not possible. Am often writing on trains, in the hairdressers or while waiting to pick up a child from somewhere!

I’m a sort of Plonter or a Plattser…I need to know where I’m going and what the highs and lows of my story are, but then I just write. It does mean a lot of going back and forth but we all have to edit, right? I wish I could plot properly, I think it would save a lot of time – but maybe it wouldn’t, maybe all the time I spend correcting stuff I would have spent plotting!

Find Kathryn on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, her blog, and Goodreads

liz-meldonLiz Meldon, Author of the Lovers and Liars series and the Games We Play series

My goal is to write daily. Whether it’s just a few hundred words or two thousand, I aim to get a little done each day. Now, I write both as a freelancer and as an indie author, and I split my week up accordingly. At the moment, three days a week are dedicated to freelance work, with a set weekly word count decided in advance that I split equally between the three days. Personal work gets three days too, and Sundays are usually my day off.

Both freelance and personal writing days tend to go the same. Before sitting down to write, I go through all my social media, emails, or any other internet distractions so I don’t feel the need to check during my writing stints. Twitter distractions are my biggest struggle!

Once I’ve sorted out my online distractions, I occasionally disconnect the WIFI on my laptop so I won’t be tempted to go clicking around while writing. I then set up my timer (I write in 15 minute stints, then take a break), open my word count app, and confirm what scene I’ll be working on or what word count I need to hit.

Stretching out my wrists is incredibly important—and it should be for you too! Find a little routine that works for you to maintain wrist health. You need those hands to write, after all.

From there, I just go. I write until my timer goes off, maybe a little over, record my word count (yeay accomplishments!) then take my break to avoid burnout. Rinse and repeat this routine until my word count is hit or my designated scene for the day is complete!

Find Liz on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, her blog and Goodreads

kjchapmanK. J. Chapman, author of the EVO Nation series, and Thrown to the Blue

When it comes to a writing routine, I’m stretched to pull one together. I’m a pantser and a slap dash drafter; take an idea and run with it. Every draft is a journey of discovery for me. That being said, I do keep notes and snippets of dialogue that may or may not make it into the final cut, but my most important notes are the ones I write specifically for when I get to the editing stage- aspects that need more research, or chapters to add to make the ending plausible etc. Due to family life, I have to write when and where I can. On bad days, I don’t write at all. On good days, I can manage up to 3k words or more. The triumph is getting that first draft under my belt, no matter how I do it.

Editing is where routine features more highly on my agenda. I always redraft using my notes, and more often than not, I redraft my redraft. Being a pantser, I have to sift through the ramblings a fair bit. Once the redraft is complete, I comb through the manuscript for spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes. A rough deadline helps me to get through the edits in time to send the manuscript to my proof reader. I’m not an editing fan, so deadlines help me to slog through it.

My best advice is to do what suits your goals, lifestyle, and your sanity. Right and wrong is subjective when it comes to creativity. Do whatever it is that helps you get that first draft written.

Find K. J. Chapman on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, her blog and Goodreads

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James Fahy, author of the Phoebe Harkness series and The Changeling series

I know there are writers out there who plan every last line and detail of their books. Flowcharts, post-it notes pinned to the wall and joined to one another with a web of cotton like some serial killer’s crime scene investigation, but that’s not for me. I think too much micro-management can lead to dull writing. Your characters need room to breathe and express themselves. (within SOME kind of framework of course)

I like to initially split a novel into three ‘Acts’, as though it were a movie or a play. The Setup, the ‘Meat’ and the Conclusion. I have to know exactly what needs to happen in each of these three chunks to move the story forward and control pacing well. Once I’ve rolled the tale around in my head for a few weeks, and I’m sure of the shape of it, I’ll then usually break each of these three acts down into working chapter titles (even if these don’t make it into the final book)

It’s at this point you have to trust your characters to get you from A to Z. You’ve drawn the map as best you can, now it’s time to hand over the wheel to them and trust them to drive it forward. Hopefully, if your characters are strong and well realised, you can trust them to do all the work. It’s always surprising to me what back lanes, unexpected turn offs and occasional dead ends they take you down along the way, but it’s the absolute joy of writing just to fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the ride.

Find James on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, his blog, and Goodreads

beverley-leeBeverley Lee, author of The Making of Gabriel Davenport

I don’t have what I deem a ‘normal’ routine, as in sitting down at a certain time of day to write, but it tends to be the afternoon most recently. I like to get the real life things out of the way first as I find I can concentrate more. When I am in writing mode (as opposed to editing mode, which seems to be my default right now!) I usually have a word count for the day that I like to complete. There’s something so satisfying about seeing that number creep up daily. I rarely plan what I want to write in any session, I always just listen to what my characters tell me and where they want to go.

With all my drafts I write from beginning to end, even if I know what certain scenes will be further along. I find it helps keep me focussed more than jumping about. As far as rituals are concerned I write in silence and I have to have tea on my desk and be comfortable. Writing in lounging wear somehow makes the words flow much sweeter 😉

Find Beverley on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, her blog, and Goodreads

alan-morganA. Morgan, author of The Siblings

My writing can be varied. I can write pretty much anywhere, but mostly use my phone (as I have done for this) using the Werdsmith app. My favourite place to write is in bed. Nice and chilled. When I was writing my first novel The Siblings, I was writing a minimum of a thousand words a day, everyday. After a few months I had a draft but it was brutal. It can be hard to keep up a schedule like that with full time work commitments, a busy home life with visiting new places and other things I like to dabble in.

I have now changed it up and write to a less strict word count. I am a pantser at heart but have been  known to make notes and outlines where necessary, to ensure that certain stories do not get out of hand. I have so many ideas rattling around right now in my mind that it’s hard to stick to one. But my main focus soon will be The Siblings Two in the new year.

Find A. Morgan on Twitterhis blog, and Goodreads

gr-thomasG. R. Thomas, author of The Avean Chronicles

Initially I had zero routine when I began writing. I was quite literally free-range. Many a post-it-note was plastered to my walls; yellow, pink and blue ones with scrawled ideas. My plotting to this day still relies heavily on voice memos and those little coloured squares.  Often though I still just write off the cuff and let the story take me where it wants to go. Characters in particular, seem to develop themselves, despite what I may actually want for them.  

I developed an effective daily routine for the writing of my second book as my life is chaotic. Three kids and a farm to run, I needed a dedicated writing time.  I began visiting my local coffee shop after dropping the kids to school. I now dedicate at least 2 hours to solid writing. Whether that is plotting, editing or putting down new words.

So, what did I discover when I treated my writing as a job? It worked! Surrounded by the smell of coffee wafting through the air, punctuated with the white noise of the chatter-chatter in the back ground, I actually zone out and achieve more than I did previously. I would often look up and the hours had melted away as the cups and saucers piled up.

This is what works for me and I love every second of it.

Find G. R. Thomas on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, her blog and Goodreads

How do you fit writing (photography, sculpting, painting, marketing, etc.) into your daily routine? Get a cookie and a tea – believe me, you’ve earned the break! – and let me know in the comments!


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WWW Wednesday 23rd November 2016

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This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW WednesdayThis meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

No outlandish amount of books in my post this week! We’re back to the normal three! 😀

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What I’m currently reading

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Fay Storms

I received an ARC of Fay Storms in exchange for an honest review.

So far it’s a bit of a slow start for me and the sentences are too long for my liking, but I like the characters, especially Fifer, and am looking forward to learning more about her. Because Fay Storms is out next month I’ll prioritise it to give me enough time to write a review for its release day. I’m hoping to get through it late this week.

Blurb:

Thief by trade. Half-breed by blood. Fifer is part-Fay and all pluck.

When her partner goes missing and she is abducted by demanding clients, Fifer finds herself trapped in a plot she wants no part of. By fulfilling her contract with the Aestus, the brotherhood of powerful and secretive warriors, she will discover that she’s not what she thinks.

The Aestus need her—even though Arkadius, Master in training, can’t see it. In order to stop the Aestus clans from warring among themselves, Arkadius must rely on Fifer to steal a powerful magical artifact. But how can a woman save the mighty Aestus? When he discovers the answer, the fate of the Empire will rest on the edge of his sword.

and

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The Colour of Magic

I really wanted a light, witty, and maybe slightly silly read, and since I also wanted to read more Terry Pratchett (it’s a resolution for next year but why wait?) I thought I’d combine the two!

I’ve done this in an odd order. I’m sure I’ve read Books 2 and 3 earlier this year but The Colour of Magic was always out, so when I saw it available in my library I had to borrow it. So far it’s everything I knew it would be, and I’m enjoying it a lot <3

 

 

Blurb:

In the beginning there was…a turtle.

Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different. Particularly as it’s carried though space on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown). It plays by different rules.

But then, some things are the same everywhere. The Disc’s very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the world’s first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. Unfortunately, the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death, is a spectacularly inept wizard…

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What I recently finished reading

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Isle of Winds

This was so different to my first read by this author, which was an awesome urban gothic novel called Hell’s Teeth (you can check out my review here). This was light-hearted, magical and while it’s aimed at a younger audience than my usual reads I didn’t feel like it was too young for me. I really enjoyed this, and my review will be up next month 🙂

Blurb:

Isle of Winds is the first instalment in a Middle-Grade age fantasy series

Robin Fellows lives with his grandmother and lives what appears to be a rather ordinary life for a normal twelve year old boy.

But when Robin’s Gran dies, quite suddenly and a bit mysteriously, his world is turned upside down. A long lost relative comes out of the woodwork and whisks him away to a mysterious new home, Erlking Hall, a quiet estate in the solitary countryside of Lancashire.

Suddenly Robin must adjust to his new reality. But reality is no longer what he thought it was…

Erlking has many secrets – as do his newly found Great-Aunt Irene and her servants. After a strange encounter on the train and meeting a cold, eerie man on the platform, Robin begins to notice odd happenings at Erlking.

There is more than meets the eye to this old, rambling mansion.
Little does he know that there is more than meets the eye to himself.

Robin is the world’s last Changeling. He is descended from a mystic race of Fae-people, whose homeland, the Netherworlde, is caught in the throes of a terrible civil war.

Not only this, but in this new world there is a magical force that has infiltrated the human realm.

Before he can wrench power from the malevolent hands of the Netherworlde’s fearsome tyrant leader, Lady Eris, he must first search for the truth about himself and the ethereal Towers of Arcania.

The first instalment of The Changeling Series, Isle of Winds is an engrossing tale written in the traditions of high fantasy story-telling while carving out a magical new realm. It is perfect for fans of The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series.

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What I think I’ll read next

So many options! It might be a spontaneous decision once I’ve finished Fay Storms, so I won’t declare anything now. If you keep an eye on my Instagram I might well ask for suggestions later this week 🙂 I’ve had so many short reads recently that I’m quite far ahead in my reviews now (my review of The Colour of Magic won’t be published here until January), so I’d like something longer… Not too many options there on my bookshelf, so I expect there won’t be much to choose from 🙂

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Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

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WWW Wednesday 9th November 2016

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This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW WednesdayThis meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

Prepare yourselves, it looks like I’ve speed-read my way through the last two weeks! In reality I didn’t finish one because it didn’t feel like a finished book to me, and another was really short. So it’s not as impressive as it looks 🙂

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What I’m currently reading

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Isle of Winds

I’d been meaning to read this for a while since I loved Hell’s Teeth, but it turns out Isle of Winds is nothing like it! It’s a completely different genre, and it’s every bit as magical as you might expect, say, a Neil Gaiman novel to be. I fell in love with the effortless writing style and the ease with which magic flows into our world immediately. I’ll likely finish this today, so watch out for my review on Goodreads later this week, or early next week!

Blurb:

Isle of Winds is the first instalment in a Middle-Grade age fantasy series

Robin Fellows lives with his grandmother and lives what appears to be a rather ordinary life for a normal twelve year old boy.

But when Robin’s Gran dies, quite suddenly and a bit mysteriously, his world is turned upside down. A long lost relative comes out of the woodwork and whisks him away to a mysterious new home, Erlking Hall, a quiet estate in the solitary countryside of Lancashire.

Suddenly Robin must adjust to his new reality. But reality is no longer what he thought it was…

Erlking has many secrets – as do his newly found Great-Aunt Irene and her servants. After a strange encounter on the train and meeting a cold, eerie man on the platform, Robin begins to notice odd happenings at Erlking.

There is more than meets the eye to this old, rambling mansion.
Little does he know that there is more than meets the eye to himself.

Robin is the world’s last Changeling. He is descended from a mystic race of Fae-people, whose homeland, the Netherworlde, is caught in the throes of a terrible civil war.

Not only this, but in this new world there is a magical force that has infiltrated the human realm.

Before he can wrench power from the malevolent hands of the Netherworlde’s fearsome tyrant leader, Lady Eris, he must first search for the truth about himself and the ethereal Towers of Arcania.

The first instalment of The Changeling Series, Isle of Winds is an engrossing tale written in the traditions of high fantasy story-telling while carving out a magical new realm. It is perfect for fans of The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series.

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What I recently finished reading

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Thrown to the Blue

Exciting stuff, guys!! Thrown to the Blue is out in two days!! (*ahem* I enjoyed it a lot, if you couldn’t tell by my excited shouting)

I was really happy to receive an ARC of Thrown to the Blue, and devoured it! My full review will be out tomorrow, one day before its release, so keep an eye out! 🙂 Alternatively, my review is live on Goodreads already!

Blurb:

Foretellings have no place for goodness, only greatness. Princess Ezrahli is far from good, but she is a great woman in a conventional Kingdom, followed by whispers and scorn. However, across the waters is un-convention, magic, and fable. Her existence has been foretold in the battle against dark magic, and destiny shall weave itself into her life because darkness cannot be fought with goodness, only greatness.

Smuggling and sorcery leads to adventure, and adventure leads to destiny. Reed is a prince of the streets, but what he lacks in title, he makes up for in skill; a skill that sets him on a path already written in fate. Can he be more than what is expected? Can he enable greatness in another and survive the process?

Vengeance is a motivator, but it can never be your friend. In the end, it will ask for sacrifice, and only the great will pay the fare.

and…

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The Last Day of Captain Lincoln

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

I have mixed feelings about this. I did like it, and I love that it made me think about our mortality, but to me it felt more like a creative essay on mortality than a novel. It was definitely interesting, but the blurb tells you everything you need to know: It’s one man’s last day alive, going through his routine – no plot twists, no surprises. It’s just not that kind of book.

My full review is live on Goodreads and Amazon already, and will be published here in a few weeks, too 🙂

Blurb:

Captain Lincoln’s last day is the hardest day of his life.

An old, onetime Captain of the interstellar spaceship USNAS Hope Eternal, Lincoln always knew that this day would come. For just as birthdays are carefully planned, so are deaths. And although he must reckon with his fate, this is not a somber story. It is a tale of love and sacrifice, told in the context of the most advanced civilization ever to exist—a society that has taken to the stars in an effort to save all that is best in humanity.

Follow Lincoln through his internal struggles, his joy in having lived, and his journey to peace.

The End is just the beginning.

and…

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The Finite

I received a copy of The Finite in exchange for an honest review – so, hard as it is, that’s what I’m going to do here. I hate writing reviews for books that didn’t work for me. The blurb is what got me hooked on this one, and the idea was great, but it was let down by the execution and lack of editing. This had no editor and no beta readers that I can tell, and because of that it read a lot like a first draft for me. There was so much potential there but it wasn’t ready to be published.

I’m going to leave it at that. In my opinion this wasn’t finished, and because of that I’m not going to review it properly. If the author ever comes back to it and gives it the edit it deserves I’d be more than happy to give it another go.

Blurb:

Claudia lives in the hoop, a space city that orbits around earth. She follows the rules her society built for everyone. Just like everyone in her society, perfection is essential to maintain a peaceful society. Without war, or destruction. Claudia discovers that people gone missing. There were wicked plans for the abducted people. She meets Ricky Maxwell from earth, and starts an alliance with people she met from earth. She and her friends sit to find the missing families, and try to stop wars between planets.

and… (nearly there, I promise)

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Manhatten (Lovers and Liars #1)

This really wasn’t my usual kind of read, but I felt like something different and the author is so lovely and sweet on social media that I decided to give it a go. I’m really glad I did because it’s really well written and the story ties in perfectly with the smutty bits 😉 I loved the concept of ancient gods who’ve lost most of their power because people no longer believe in them or have forgotten about them but still live amongst us (Aphrodite works as a columnist), and will definitely come back for Book 2!

Blurb:

The glory days of Ancient Greece are long gone, and the gods of the Old World are scattered across the globe. As their popularity dwindles, as their worshipers forget, their power fades. Luckily for Aphrodite, she’s a household name. After all, how could anyone ever forget the Greek goddess of Love?

Unfortunately, no one seems to know or care about her divinity. In a world of skeptics and technology-crazed mortals, loneliness and boredom have taken hold. Her life consists of romance advice columns, martini bars, and flings with empty-headed men—until she meets Loki.

She’s intrigued: it’s been decades—centuries even—since she laid eyes on another god, particularly one outside her pantheon. In their short time together, she realizes just how much she needs the companionship of one of her own. Loki, however, seems more interested in catching a murderous maenad than swapping stories about the old days.

Can she convince Loki to stay and make her life a little less lonely, or will he persuade her to join him on his quest for more worshipers? His questionable tactics make her uneasy, but how can she turn down the opportunity to live as she once did: freely, powerfully, and lustfully as Aphrodite of Olympus.

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What I think I’ll read next

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Fay Storms

This is the last of my review copies, so once I’ve read this I can get back to my tbr tower! I’m really looking forward to this and will make sure that my kindle is charged by (hmm… what seems realistic…) tomorrow?

After Fay Storms it’s time for a longer book, I think. I’m quite far ahead in my reviews since my last few reads have been quick, and since I only post one a week, losing one to author interviews every month, I’m pretty far ahead by now. I don’t have many really long books on my shelf, so the decision should be simple 🙂

Blurb:

Thief by trade. Half-breed by blood. Fifer is part-Fay and all pluck.

When her partner goes missing and she is abducted by demanding clients, Fifer finds herself trapped in a plot she wants no part of. By fulfilling her contract with the Aestus, the brotherhood of powerful and secretive warriors, she will discover that she’s not what she thinks.

The Aestus need her—even though Arkadius, Master in training, can’t see it. In order to stop the Aestus clans from warring among themselves, Arkadius must rely on Fifer to steal a powerful magical artifact. But how can a woman save the mighty Aestus? When he discovers the answer, the fate of the Empire will rest on the edge of his sword.

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Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

11 Comments