Category Archives: Books

Characters have lives of their own

Hi

Today is 20 years since the first Harry Potter book was released…happy anniversary to JK Rowling and Harry.

My writing brain stays on almost constantly and can set me challenges I may want to  ignore at 5am!!

I have been known to come up with a plot twist whilst cleaning my teeth or in dreams and basics for articles for my clients can pop in to my head at the weirdest times. This is no 9-5 job! But that’s what I love about writing. Anytime, anywhere unexpected guests and developments arrive.

With fiction you aren’t so much in control of the work as the characters…I’m the ringmaster-lion tamer so the characters don’t run away with themselves but sometimes they write themselves slightly differently from the “plan.”

I may have spent time outlining the plot etc. and they go and rewrite it organically as if my imagination wasn’t the creator of both!!! Sam in Heads or Tails/Love Will Find a Way was originally intended to be sarcastic-cheeky but he wrote himself as a devious immoral b*****d. This made him stronger. A former neighbour proved to be the unconscious inspiration for the main character’s mother. This made her a lot more ridiculous and everyone knows someone like her.

The plot twist subsequently re-twisted. I liked that. An outline is good as a springboard but few of my fiction books have stuck to my plan…the characters got together and mutinied!

Some writers cry when they kill off their characters, they can say through them what they’d never dare say in real life, work through issues, and they can celebrate with their characters when they achieve their victories, large and small. This doesn’t mean we’re insane…we’re invested!

(The book I wrote when I was suffering from serious depression will never see the light of day…it’s pretty bleak.)

For me, after these good, bad and background characters form the centre of the world through the writing-editing and on to publishing, I let them go…toddling off in to the world to make their way to the readers imagination…and every reader will perceive them slightly differently thanks to their attitudes, perspectives and history. These guys are chameleons.

Hopefully, luckily, happily, a whole new set of characters, a plot and a new butterfly storm of ideas will happen in the most inconvenient but perfect ways…Writing is hard work but fabulous!

Love Will Find A Way: Scandal And Historical Romance by [Hayle, Joanne] 

Heads or Tails is the paperback version of the e-book Love Will Find a Way. Both available from Amazon. 

 

Update: historynomystery blog – I killed it!

Hi,

…Or rather, I’m now turning the fledgling blog in to a book – because I can and it’ll be fun to collate all the days in one volume.  So, I’m going to be a busy bee for the foreseeable with freelancing and working on two books simultaneously…lovely!!!

As my brain is not so troubled by the past and I am seeing a bright and breezy today with sunshine and smiles in the future, I am positively getting on with life and that is phenomenal when you consider that depression told me a few years ago that life was pretty much “game over.”

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Fingers crossed, toes crossed and eyes crossed that Prince Harry talking about mental health will help to diminish the stigma. I know that I am so much more than my thoughts and anxiety AND also far more than some people (no longer in my life) would ever have given me credit for.

They wouldn’t like me now…Me, myself and I answer back!! Nicely, of course.

Remember, nothing lasts forever and sometimes the calm after chaos can be a revelation.

Happy rest of the day!

Review reviews

Hiya

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I hope that everyone had a great summer/winter depending on where you are in the world. If your brain is misbehaving I sympathise and just keep going even when you really don’t want to/see the point. Keep walking towards sunrise. It’s beautiful when you reach it, promise.

First a brilliant quote I read from Joanne Harris, writer of Chocolat:

Depression is no more curable by saying it’s “all in the head” than cancer is by saying it’s “all in the cells.”

That lady talks sense…and writes great books!

I, unsurprisingly spent a lot of my time writing. I know, anyone would think I was a writer…oh yeah, I am! Lots of freelance work and regular work…happy, happy, on anti-depressants-happy! And grateful.

Also writing the next book:-)

Occasionally I look at reviews for my books on Amazon and Goodreads , not too often though because it can be a teeny weeny bit scary seeing what people think of your writing.

Guess what? There is no definitive rule about taste and reviews. For the same book I have had a 1* and 3* and a 5* so for any writers out there who get disheartened by reviews just remember that a review is someone’s opinion. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be respected but you can agree to disagree with someone’s opinion.

It’s very easy to read a review of your book that showers with praise and very tempting to kick the furniture when you see a less friendly one. A 1 star makes you want to shout “I put blood, sweat and tears in to this and you gave it a 1????” A 5 star lets you puff out your chest proudly in the knowledge that “someone appreciates talent/dedication/late nights and rewrites.”

 

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My 5* counsellor led me to devise a system where when I read reviews, good, bad or indifferent, that I spend no more than 30 seconds reviewing the review. I assess whether there are useful points which would enhance the book or if I should agree to disagree. Then I move on. This means my emotional state doesn’t fluctuate with the reviews. I can be objective. Just think if mood was dependent on reviews, it’d be like being attached to an internal unpredictable bungee rope!

Happily, my brain is still healing and the progress is promising. I just have to remember not to make myself too busy, too under pressure and too focused on work. Relaxation and rest are important too! Who knew?

I have also enjoyed more reading time lately, currently reading Sabine Durrant’s new book Lie With Me and it’s very good so if you fancy a psychological thriller you shouldn’t be disappointed with this one.

Of course, being the history buff that I am I have been looking at a book by Anita Leslie on her great aunt Jennie Churchill, Winston’s mum.  Interesting, inside view of the family.

Happy rest of September and as the seasons change try to find the poetry in the moment.

Jo

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PS: If you’re giving a review please remember that there is normally a hard working person behind the book/piece so please be constructive, think helpful!

 

 

 

Reading and writing

Hi

I’ve been kept very busy recently with freelance work so thanks everyone, I think I’m becoming not quite expert in an expanding number of areas, but I love information and trivia so my brain is happy.

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Excellent news is that I’m still kicking OCD’s butt, THANK GOD! Had an appt. with my therapist last week for the first time in a while and (not to tempt fate) my brain is mending and it’s definitley more recovered than recovering.

Funny isn’t it, how when you’ve been ill for a long time that when you are reminded that you’re ill it is almost odd? As I’ve been focusing on other things the realisation that my brain is still a little bit poorly actually felt strange…I’m more normal these days and less beseiged by OCD rituals and safety behaviours!

Excellent book – and no, I don’t know him, owe him or get paid to say this! but Matt Haig’s book is brilliant. Titled, Reasons to Stay Alive, it is worth reading whether you’ve been through depression, are going through it or want to understand what someone goes through. It’s got a ton of celeb endorsements too if you like reading those!

My Mary Queen of Scots book is still a work in progress but it will be out before the next millenium, honest!

Have a fab week and please remember to be kind to yourself.

Joanne

TTC_TTTDay1

 

 

2016 is here already – Don’t worry

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I hope you have had a fabulous holiday time and I wish you a happy, peaceful, healthy, joyful new year!! (To those who overindulged, I hope your hangover has gone by now!)

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Our Christmas decorations are coming down today:-( and the holidays seem to have passed by in the blink of an enjoyable eye – but here we are already on day 2 of 2016 with the rest of the year like a huge blank page ready to be written on.

My aims for this year, apart from – spreading joy, love, positivity and hopefully a bit of helpful wisdom while appreciating my blessings – are to build on the progress that I made last year, both in my writing career – thanks to anyone who’s bought/read any of my books – I officially LOVE YOU! and also with my OCD/PTSD/anxiety which has improved miraculously over the last couple of years. In fact, talk about Christmas miracles and I can tell you that an OCD habit (or ritual as it’s known) that I wasn’t able to shake off on several attempts just magically disappeared on Christmas morning, I simply wasn’t doing it. See, miracles do happen. THANK GOD!!!!:-)

As I couldn’t stop myself from writing completely over the Christmas holidays I have got about 9000 words of a book about the Hanoverians written. Call me crazy but if I don’t write for a couple of days (which is rare) I get what I call itchy fingers – in other words I need to write, my hands are ready to spill what’s jumping up and down creatively in my brain on to my laptop and they can’t wait!

I have also indulged in a bit of poetry – I hope you like this one, it’s a reminder to me but will work for all!

 

Don’t Worry

This today will soon be yesterday

Let’s make it the best we’ve ever written

For each tomorrow is a chapter away

We often forsake our now for it, bitten or smitten

 

Try to live in the moment, savour each one

That’s a hard lesson to learn and maintain

But your mind wants to be in the present, having fun

Smell the roses, see sunsets, feel gentle rain

 

It’s not easy to be in the here and now

There are many invitations to fret, false clues

Tomorrow is a mystery, a tremor or still, for now

It will explain itself soon but it isn’t motivated by the blues

 

Tomorrow’s blank page betrays invisible ink what if’s and when’s

Willed for answers won’t always be found in our today

Questions unanswered, we take up our mental pens

Where we normally write a far too dramatic play

 

For when the dreaded tomorrow morphs in to today

Our fears quite often are found to never have in truth lain

Yet for hours, our eyes off course, they’ll have led us astray

A new merry dance for us to review on memory lane

 

Plus, being human, we flick back to see our faults

Liberally douse our life tomes in inner critic stress

Instead try to live in the moment without thunderbolts

Read each word you write and enjoy the ink blots, they’re heaven blessed.

 

Have a wonderful 2016 and remember to treat yourself well and kindly – everyone should feel special!

thR35961T8

Joanne

 

 

 

Happy Friday

Hi peepsflies-161350_640

It’s Friday which means that the first weekend of October is almost here! Fetch me a fab book, my snuggly blanky…and hot chocolate with cute little marshmallows….wanders off in to a delicious daydream…

I’m back!

This week I’ve been working on a children’s story which fingers, eyes and toes crossed the client will like (pretty please!) and next I’m off in to article writing land to write 10 pieces. Research required, it helps if I know exactly what I’m talking about, apparently. Who knew?

I’m also working on another royalty quiz book which should be out before Halloween, I know that ghosts love a good quiz, they do, really.

In the dear old U.K. October means we will probably hear fireworks any time now, even though Bonfire Night is still over a month away, show a Brit a firework in a store and they will purchase and let it off, even sometimes at two in the morning, hmm thanks for that;0)

 

 

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Final thought for the mo, please can we all tell the media to stop writing/speaking so negatively about mental health issues?

Very few people are about to become a danger to their communities, hey, some of us even know that as mental illness sufferers we are more susceptible to being the victims NOT the perpetrators of crime. It would be great if the people charged with the duty of informing viewers/readers (and the powers that be) could remember that before they fall in to stigmatisation yet again. Just saying, right that’s me off my soapbox and off to the land of cute article queen.

Have fun, stay safe and smile.(But never at a crocodile.)

Joanne

 

babsIn paperback and Kindle formats.

 

Made it to the weekend;-)

Hi peeps

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Enjoy your weekend and remember to relax, your brain works hard and it needs a break…give it a treat, make it smile.

I am forcing myself “Little Miss Workalot,” to take the rest of the weekend off, no popping on to the laptop for a “quick” write or plotting for the children’s book I’ll be working on next week, my brain is telling me it wants a short time out from work. In fact, I think it’ll probably ask for a lie in tomorrow morning!

The rugby world cup started last night so the TV and news is full of that and the Davis Cup tie of GB vs Australia is also happening as well as a gazillion football matches so if you’re a sporty bod you’ll be blissfully happy in Blighty…I’m not that sporty, don’t get me wrong, I respect the talent and appreciate the dedication of all concerned but I’d rather read a good book. (Or write one!)

Or should that be read two? Yet again, I am reading more than one at a time…a chapter of a history book followed by a chapter of a novel in rotation. That is unless a really page turning, “I can’t put this down unless you chop my hands off” good bit compels me to keep reading. Ahhh happy days! This is an embarrassment of riches I love.girl-308360_640

I’ve finished editing my book due for release 1st October and have done some freelance work this week and learned stuff while researching that I didn’t even know that I didn’t know that I would ever want to know.

Oh yes, and to the client who asked me to write an article about football betting strategies I had to respond that “a newborn baby has a better concept”of all that…see, told you I wasn’t sporty (and I have the coordination of a cross eyed bat. No, really!) I hope that he found someone that knew what the heck they’d be talking about.

Take care

Joanne

 

Time for a poem!

Hiya

I wrote this a while ago and reread it today, I thought that you might like to take a look….
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Madeleine

Just minutes before she hit the merciless land

She glided majestically towards the sound

Her sails played in the off shore breeze, broadly fanned

Alas, too late the crew felt seawater turn to ground

I watched as the traumatised Madeleine went down

She stumbled as mocking cliffs towered over her

All Madeleine could do was acquiesce and drown

Surrender her soul to the sea bed below, cast aside despair

The crew tried all they could to save their sweetheart

But it counted for nought; she was incomplete, unable to compete

As saltwater suffocated, her deck woefully split, torn apart

Her timbers crack to the echo of nature’s heartbeat

There have been many Madeleine’s over the years

There will be many more in the centuries to follow

The cliffs respected the captain’s heroic lack of fear

Pragmatic, in sorrow our captain dared not wallow

Ashore, later we found a silver tankard belonging to Joe

He cared, this captain of the good ship Madeleine

From bow to stern she was his one true love

Together in the sea their wreckage remains

The mourning crew held the tankard aloft and offered a prayer

For Joe and his dear Madeleine lost to life on this coast

The orange sunset lent a golden glint to the lapping waves there

But the cliffs whispered of menace; spectres to their sea ghosts.

And a bonus senyru titled sculpting…I have under a thousand words to go until the “Ta dah! my book is finished moment…please see my last post if that meant nothing to you!;-)

smiles

Chapter edit day

My first draft infused with play

Sculpting words like clay.

Have a fab day

Joanne

Wish I’d thought of it sooner:-)

Hiya

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I hope everyone is having a great Sunday a.k.a. Funday!

I’ve been editing like a ninja this week, less than 4500 words to go so take a guess what I’ll be doing Monday and Tuesday this week?! After this it’s back to childrens fiction. (Thanks to the lovely man that said yes to my pitch!)

babs

And now for something completely different…you know how on the news we keep seeing images, mainly tragic, of refugees fleeing from Syria and that area? Well, I, like most people I know, was whinging that the government needed to do more, that these people needed help. It was a couple of days before I realised that it’s fine to SAY that but 100% better to DO so I did something that I should have already done – I donated to a charity that is working on the ground with the refugees…so now I have helped in a tiny way instead of just decrying the powers that be from my nice warm and thankfully safe home.

While I know that my donation won’t make a miracle, if it gets added to another someone’s donation and then someone elses…and so on…just think what the human race could do for those that are suffering! Moreover, people find spare cash for a treat so why the heck shouldn’t they find cash to help repair a catastrophe?!

Life eh? It throws up some interesting questions.

Take care and remember to tickle your tum to make yourself laugh;-)

Joanne

 

Err…you can’t say that!

Hi

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It’s a bank holiday weekend here and surprise surprise it’s raining (again) so I am taking refuge on my comfy sofa later with a book about Catherine the Great so here’s hoping that as I’m editing my book about Charles II at the moment I won’t get confused and start rewriting history, you know, just for fun!

 

 

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Anyway, here’s what happened early last night, it made me smile…

OK, the British are legends on the subject of weather, we can’t go thirty seconds without discussing it and we probably dream about it too…so, I was a bit surprised when Mr. Weatherman pointed to his sexy graphics of rainfall over Blighty after the news last night and authoritatively uttered the immortal line “but don’t take too much notice of that.” 

You can’t give a Brit the weather forecast and then tell them that it might be totally rubbish and containing inaccurate pictures and warblings, the nation will go in to mass bemusement and seek therapy! There just aren’t enough therapists in the land to cope with the crisis – I know that the TV company are changing info providers soon but really, are the old lot just yanking our chains?! Heaven forbid that we actually look out of the window and decide what the weather is up to, the very thought is nonsense!!

Just to confirm that the country seems to be OK, people are going out unsuitably dressed for the weather and moaning about it being the end of summer before it’s started as usual so we’ll be fine. No, we will, if we all huddle under an umbrella in sandals and bobblehats and blame the weatherbod for the forecast being almost right.

Have a fab rest of the weekend and remember to relax and to dress weather appropriate, sixteen layers should do it!

Joanneimage