Category Archives: Writing

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. 

 

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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!

New history blog coming 1st April 2017

Hi, hello and long time no speak…been lost in freelancing world, which was rather lovely;-)

Just to let you know that there’s a new blog on here from 1st April- My new history blog historynomystery.wordpress.com (You’ll find it on Amazon too.) is going live on 1st April 2017.

Fun, educational, informative and captivating history facts…Go on, take a peek and join me in my love of history.

Find out what happened on particular days in history. See you there…fingers crossed!!

 

Jo

 

And it wouldn’t be this blog if I didn’t do this:

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

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Brain drain

Hi

It’s been a while, time flies! I hope you missed me…what? you didn’t notice I’d been away…Charming!!

thJ7EILSRXAnyhow, I’ve been a busy bod freelance writing a lot of diet, fitness, superfood, exercise blogs and lifestyle articles…it’s amazing how you think you know a subject fairly well but there’s always more to learn! I’ve switched white bread for wholemeal and increased almond eating…apparently they are very good for you. I live, I learn.

It’s lovely when you get good feedback too, thank you to anyone who gives me a fab review, I appreciate the compliment and I know that you don’t have to comment. It’s great for the soul though.

What’s not good is that I’ve been naughty…slapped wrists time…I worked without taking a day off for almost two weeks and guess what? My brain and body kicked my butt! As much as I love a searing headache, feeling overtired and wrung out like an old dish cloth (NOT) I have to remember that my OCD, anxiety brain needs a rest or I’m playing double jeopardy with my recovery which thankfully has been very good these last few weeks. I’m fine now and lesson learned – the hard way. Hmmm.

I’ve also been working on a new book for my series Royal Rifts, this one is on Mary Queen of Scots and her marriages. Stormy! It will be out in the spring. Publication date to follow.

Well, that’s me, and my brain and writing life for the last few weeks so take care and remember to rest your brain cells. They’ll be glad you did!

 

Joanne

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

 

 

 

Mrs Santa – Fun Christmas Poem

Hiya

Tis the season to be jolly so here’s a fun Xmas poem…enjoy!

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Mrs Claus

The keen little elf said “Err, hello.”

In a tiny voice, not an elfin bellow

“Have you seen Mr. Santa Claus?

Is he in his office behind those doors?”

 

Mrs. Claus smiled her kindest smile

Newbie elves were sweet, just like a new child

For she and the toy making crew knew

That her husband was turning the air blue

 

Not in the office, paperwork amassing

But outside in the chill enduring a gassing

The poor beardy guy was again falling prey

To back drafts caused not by his sleigh

 

The reindeers were enjoying giggling fits

The mayhem was courtesy of Mrs. S’s titbits

She would insist on giving the reindeer molasses curry

Before their MOT’s she’d get cooking, all of a flurry

 

It’s a strange coincidence Santa thought

As some fresh air and his breath he caught

That it’s always somehow a curry dinner the night

I say the next day it’s MOT’s and practice flights

Dishing up for all, Mrs. S would sweetly smile at him

And say that she’d cooked up curry on a whim

Poor Rudolph’s nose never lost its glow

After the 1924 vindaloo went down below

“Daydreaming, Mrs. S?” Her sleeve was tugged by elf, Ed

“You’d better give it five minutes,” she knowingly said

“Or it won’t only be your clothes that are green.”

Ed frowned, “Whatever, lovely lady, do you mean?”

 

“Well, Santa’s doing reindeer MOT’s in the snow

With last night’s dinner he’s meeting ho ho ho!”

“Surely you’ve not indulged in foul play, Mrs. Claus?”

She folded her arms, grinned through the pause

 

“Ask the elder elves, they’ll tell you Santa won’t let me take flight

Or steer the lovely reindeers on any Christmas night

Always it’s a no ho ho when I ask but he’ll get the hint one day I’m sure

In the meantime for his Christmas roses there’ll be spicy manure

And for us an annual work day bonus of entertainment galore!”

 

Have a fab rest of the day and holiday season, Joanne :-)X

Quick Plug!


Hi

I hope everyone is enjoying December, so far it’s been writing busy, fulfilling and with lovely surprises for me so that’s all good. Great start to the day, a Christmas story of mine will be used on Bedtime FM soon – thanks and Yay!

And this lovely tome went on sale on Amazon in paperback and Kindle this morning too. Another Yay and a Thank God! Some people have already bought it!!! It can be borrowed too – shameless plug moment!!

CJ

Here’s a little present from me to you…a senryu poem! I wrote this last Christmas time but it’s just as, if not more so, needed this year…

dove

“Wrote to Santa Claus

Asked for wars and hate to cease

A gift of world peace.”

Have a great, safe and full of love and peace week,  Joanne

Bonus flippant Yay…I’m a Celebrity is OVER!!!! not a lover of it, as you can tell.

 

 

Reach out, make it a goal.

Hi

It’s Monday, fancy a superduper fabulously brilliant pep talk/great idea?

Excellent! Have a read of this…Pretty please with a cherry on top!

Think serious, think goal for the week/month/year/millenium.

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I’ve just been reading an article about women who have chosen not to have children, not because they are horrible people with no compassion but they just don’t feel maternal and so feel it would be worse for them to bring a child in to the world that they don’t really really want than to conform with the status quo and procreate. One of the women pointed out something that I instantly related back to mental health although the two matters are entirely different. Bear with me, it’ll make sense.

She commented that a girl could get pregnant legally at 16 but not having children was not the traditional expectation, NOT having a child was somehow unacceptable and deeply frowned upon.

In the world of health and illness I would say that there are things which are considered more acceptable and others less so. Imagine “I’ve got diabetes” versus “I’ve got depression.”

Chances are that diabetes will get a sympathetic smile, a question like, “do you take insulin?” or “how does it affect your diet?” and the chemical defect in the body will be “acceptable.”

Now, let’s look at “I’ve got depression.”

Possible comments are “Buck up/Perk up/Snap out of it.” “What’ve you got to be depressed about?” “Oh yeah, I was ****ed of last Tuesday.” or “Are you on happy pills?” All accompanied by a wary or dismissive look or gesture.

Loud and clear a message is sent back to the unfortunate sufferer: “Depression = Not acceptable.”

Hmm, that’s not fair.

It took me far too long to accept that depression is also a chemical imbalance, there is no real difference between the two illnesses if you take them back to the words chemical imbalance. Insulin is seen as necessary medication to live a normal and rewarding life, anti depressants are given a derisive name “happy pills.”

So a person with depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD etc. is classed as what? Weak? Lacking? hey, that’s YOUR BAD not the sufferer’s. They can quite easily feel weak, swamped, like they are deficient, alone and fighting themselves and the world’s stigma so they really don’t need any additional unhelpful comments.

BTW: Yes, sufferers know that you think you’ll say something wrong and we’ll burst in to tears so you subtly avoid them/the subject but please be brave, you don’t have to hold a psychology degree to help…how’s about these comments plus a smidgen of your precious time instead:

“Do you need to talk?”

“Can I help?”

“I’m here for you.”

“Remember, it’s an illness nothing to feel bad about.”

“You are 100% NOT WEAK. It’s a chemical thing.”

“Don’t be ashamed, the medication will make you feel more like you.” 

As a sufferer even knowing that you aren’t alone can feel like a miracle when your brain seems to be working against you.

So, if there is someone around you who is suffering from a mental illness they may just need to know that you’re on their team not chief judge, jury and executioner of any of their remaining self esteem. Reach out, a small gesture moves mountains. 

Alone is a lonely place, everyone knows that! Give someone a hug, give their brain a friendly smile and not an unfortunate comment.

We all know that stigma can be overcome, please be a someone who does that rather than a someone who helps to build the crappy stigma pile up to the sky.

THANK YOU!

Have a fab week.

Joanne