Blog Archives

Daylight!

Hiyapenguin

I been so busy in the last week working on various writing projects that today was going to be a day off BUT I woke up wanting to write something so, here I am. This might give me my writing fix so that I can relax for the rest of the day! Or, knowing me, I’ll keep writing!

Apparently there was daylight during my week in writing hibernation, I think I saw the sun once or twice but I’ve been absorbed in writing and editing a childrens book, doing a couple of freelance jobs and researching for my new history book.

The childrens book, The Amazing Treasure Hunt, is sitting with a publisher now so fingers and toes crossed that all is well…I might cross my eyes as well – Feel free to join in!!

The history book is part written and I’ve been building up the data so that I can write like a ninja from tomorrow onwards!

Meanwhile, I think I’ve sourced an artist for my “coming soon” children’s story website and I’m waiting on news for another couple of freelance jobs.

I’m so grateful and I guess relieved too when the client says that they like what I’ve produced, it really energises me to tap away on my laptop and let my imagination run wild.

Have a fab day,

 

Joanne

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Working!

Hiya

 

smile-737278_640I have to admit that I love the feeling when you start writing and it flows as if there’s an electrical inspirational charge from brain to fingertips as you type away.

I wrote a short story out of nowhere after I finished another project, there was still an hour or so until I wanted to finish work and so I thought OK, let’s see what happens…

What happened was an 1800 word short story and it looked like a miracle when it arrived on the page! I get amazed when it happens.

It’s easy to take things for granted, the “I’m writing this today and tomorrow and the day after it’s…” but I don’t think that the magic involved in a creative piece arriving from the ether will ever diminish for me…and I don’t want it to. EVER.

I am very lucky to be able to write each day and some of it may be cringeworthy when I look back at it pre-edit but just to be able to have the freedom and the brainpower to do what I love is totally fab.

Hope you’re doing what you love to do, have a great day.

 

Joanne X

PS please keep your fingers crossed that the freelance job I bid for earlier gets a big fat YES from the client! THANKS!

 

 

Chillax, Read, Walk, Rest…Repeat

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I have been doing something in the last few days that I don’t normally do…NO WRITING!!!

As I finished one project I realised that to leap straight in to another one would not give my brain and creativity a break so I’ve been strict with myself. No writing anything – on purpose for four days – I bravely jumped off the industrious treadmill.

(OK, I’ll admit to writing a poem on Sunday! Guilty as charged.)

I get so busy working that I sometimes forget to remember that my brain might just like a rest, a change of scene, a something out of the ordinary…and that’s what I’ve been giving it. Time off.

I have to remind myself as I recover from the OCD/PTSD that my mental strength is a work in progress and that although THANK GOD I’m nowhere near as fragile as I was I still have to be mindful – excuse the pun – that overworking the brain does me no favours short or long term.

Same for people who have their mental health in what they think is A1 condition, if you don’t take time off sometimes and remove the strains then there is a probability that your brain will go ping. You need to take time to reconnect with you.

So, I’ve walked in the sun, shopped in the rain, had my hair done, read some fab fiction and just tried to relax without lingering too long on thoughts of the next book, the chapter content, the research etc.

The nagging OCD voice wants me to work but it isn’t blaring as it once used to, so I can relax more these days…when I remember to!

Right now, I am typing this, earlier I wrote a children’s story and tomorrow I’ll start my book and will probably get so immersed in the project that it’ll be another month before I take a whole day off.

This afternoon is a half day off.

The plan reads: Chillax to the max.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m not ridiculously keen to get back to my beloved writing!

Take care peeps.

JoanneTTC_TTTDay1

Family – Biased readers?

books

Hi

Is it just me or do other writers find it just plain wierd when a family member is reading their book?

My mum has been reading my novel Heads or Tails and it’s not a comedy although I have made one of the characters a slightly hysterical social climber – Mum keeps laughing as she’s reading.

I am a strong believer that each reader will have their own experience of a book and there have been a couple of times that I’ve heard her say “that is so you” or “I can imagine so and so saying that” but overall I think that she has genuinely been enjoying the story not because I’m her daughter but because she actually likes the story and the characters in it.

But at first in the back of my mind came the inevitable voice…maybe she’s only laughing/commenting because it was written by me, she knows my habits and the inspirations and she can see them in my writing…love me, love my writing by default?.

I stopped analysing for the sake of my sanity! Mum is enjoying the book whatever the reason and family loyalty over 100000 words might wane anyway so if she likes it – she likes it – end of.

I have not pummelled her for critiques and I learned quickly to let her react how she wants to without me questioning why and which chapter she’s in.

She should finish it today and I’ll just let her read for herself, by herself same as every other person who reads it.

Could you imagine going to everyone who bought your book and giving them an inquisition? NOOOOOOOO!!

Last week I finished the first draft of my book on Marie Antoinette. It’ll be out on 4th May.

I won’t advocate sending anyone to the guillotine but at crucial moments when she could have tried to win the peoples favour she really didn’t help herself.

But she was a human being with flaws and strengths and that is what makes people interesting – past, present and future.

We all have life stories, we are the main character through the good and the bad times and who knows where our story will take us next? We live, we learn.

Have a great week.

Joanne

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Reading: more eyes please!

Hi

My Kindle is stocked with great books to read over the festive season and probably well in to 2015.

Just one teeny tiny issue though…I am going to need more eyes to read them at the same time!!

penguinAs I write I am part way through

Tolstoy’s War and Peace…a must read and a test of stamina!

Two historical biographies – research for articles/books etc.

A Maeve Binchy novel, A Week In Winter – it flows beautifully.

A book on writing articles.

And Lillie Langtry’s autobiography, she was one of King Edward VII’s conquests, in case you’re wondering who she is/was.

So, the fact that I have just bought two royal history books and another book on writing means that I need about 9 pairs of eyes!

I have always been an avid reader and I’ve forever been starting books and setting them aside for a day or two to read something else. E.g fiction for three days and a couple of days non fiction to mix it up – unless I am 100% engrossed in a book then  the others can wait! The last book that I read which I couldn’t put down was Les Miserables and before that Jane Eyre.

I missed that book for weeks after I’d finished it!

The great thing about being a keen writer is that it goes hand in hand with being a dedicated reader. YAY!!

People who don’t read books are missing out on so much magic.

Anyhow, I have to go Christmas food shopping so there’s no reading time for a couple of hours yet today!

Have a great weekend and remember there’s only a few more sleeps to Santa!!

Joanne

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Grab the reader!

Hi

I’ve spent a lot of this week looking at markets, marketing and the business related aspects of being a writer.

Books won’t sell themselves (boo) and not everyone is a born sales guru.

Although in a previous life I was a travel agent selling “your dream two weeks in the sun” that requires a slightly different approach to book sales even though you can still work with a features and benefits base. e.g. This hotel is on the beach so you’ll only have a couple of minutes walk to get there or this book was written by a travel agent so you can be sure that you are receiving expert advice.

It’s interesting to learn about how certain phrases/writing devices/cover designs can affect how someone responds to your book.

I read something that is both obvious and yet often forgotten so it resonated with me: Don’t use passive language.

Example:

I posted a blog is an active sentence. 

A blog was posted by me is a passive sentence.

The writer won an award is active.

An award was won by a writer is passive.

It makes sense to grab people’s attention if you want/need them to say “Wow, this looks like a great book, I’d love to read it,” rather than “blah, blah, blah,…oh, this other book looks much more interesting.”

I was reminded that no one is obliged to read a word that you or I have written, no matter how much blood, sweat and tears we’ve poured in to producing the work our precious books need as much help as they can get.

I shall edit even more carefully from now on!

I’ve been planning projects for 2015, which led to an odd train of thought…OCD – you gotta love it! – I was thinking of ideas for fiction and non fiction books when this ran through my mind. What if I run out of ideas? What will I do? Nice bit of OCD scaremongering, don’t you think?!

My answer – when I’d stopped “oh no, that would be awful-ling”…the world is full of stories, people, subjects, news, memories, anniversaries, inspirational events and inventors.

The list of things to write about should therefore be endless, not that my OCD liked that answer, it’s a bit of a doom and gloom monster so it forecasts that the end of the world will have to occur the same day that I don’t have fresh inspiration!

Besides, if I place pressure on myself to come up with a ton of ideas on the spot I can still only write one at a time so why not go with the flow instead and allow my mind to be open to inspiration as I amble along?

It’s a tough lesson but I’m sure that my brain will agree with me one day.

I saw a fantastic observation on writers block the other day…nurses don’t get nurses block, surgeons don’t get surgeons block, pianists don’t get pianists block…so why do writers sometimes cling to the myth of writers block? A great point!

Have a fabulous weekend.

Jo Penguin

It started me thinking…

Hi

It’s odd but sometimes ideas or suggestions seem to throw themselves at you until you notice and act on them.

I’ve had a bit of that this week.

My new tablet has the app for Google Play/Google Books preloaded on it. I also had to set up my mum’s new tablet…so I had the app staring me in the face the next day too…In recent months I’ve been Amazoning 100% but I took a look at Google via their app.

Two days later I was reading a 2014 published book which told authors that they’d found that diversifying had worked for them and that increasing the number of marketplaces had been a beneficial step.

Google Play and Google Books appeared as suggested markets (among others) and this made me investigate as this was the third day in a row that I’d seen the words!

I now have placed one of my novels on Google Books and Play and a German site, Xinxii, as well as my normal outlet, Amazon, to see how it performs in all these areas.

I find that reading other writers guides and helpful advice can be a fantastic way to get me out of a particular train of thought or encourage me to keep going along a particular course of action.

They can also illustrate why certain activities or approaches can prove time consuming for little return when tested.

Prompted by a theory I read month or so ago I placed an advert for my books on a free UK online advertising/selling site.

I’d read that customers find clicking from an ad (third party) site to the book retailer site a pain…and I can tell you that after a week my ad had been viewed over 1500 times and clicked on for more info 65 times.

So, it could just be me, I could be ridiculously hopeless at pricing, marketing etc. (hope not!!) but from my sales stats I can conclude that whilst It wasn’t a lost cause to place the ad it also wasn’t a hugely productive promotion activity.

Who knows? Someone out there could have found it a wonderful exercise to increase sales. Maybe. At least I’ve tested the theory.

It started me thinking that many books advise to do all the online and social networking that you can, to throw yourself in to the public eye and be noticed and there are others that state that online outlets will promote you insite and that the product will still sell if you do no third party advertising.

It’s too simple and limiting to say A is correct, B is incorrect.

I read other writers and publishers books to learn – what to do, what not to do, to challenge their findings, to acknowledge that they’re right and that in some cases what works for one writer might not suit another.

I think that it’s important NEVER to think that you know all that you need to know or assume that nothing changes.

It does, all the time, whether it’s market share, new outlets, styles, management, publishers, agents…the list goes on and on.

Whether in the world of writing or any other business sphere there is always something new to learn, Always.

It pays to keep your knowledge base topped up so that you can make wise business decisions that can aid creativity and productivity.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating today and Happy Day to everyone.

Joanne

Rosalind Frontcover

Microfiction Monday – 26th Edition

Some fab stories on here, mine is at the bottom, 100 words maximum limit…glad to be included. Thanks! 🙂

Microfiction Monday Magazine


Special thanks to Jessica Standifird for her editorial assistance. This week’s artwork is by Kate Salvi.


MMMNovember24

Leaving on a Ghost Train
by Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri

The ghost train came to take me, the night after the dead took over. It came through the kitchen, blinding my sister and me with its melting light.
“Bugger off,” Margaret said, wrapping an arm around me. “You can’t have him.”
“All twelve-year olds work for the dead,” the train said in a Yorkshire accent. “They’re the most fit to serve the new order.”
“I’m not going,” I said. “Take the neighbors.”
The train plunged into my sister, wheels grinding up strands of red hair, eyes, spinning like hypnotic Ferris wheels. She waved and smiled, her smile turning to crinkled stardust, falling away.

The Staircase
by Joey To

Jane slipped her shoes off, then glanced at the longcase clock and sighed: 10 p.m. and unsurprisingly…

View original post 392 more words

Article, poetry and busy busy me! ;-)

Hi

A brand new follower asked for the link for the OCD article that I was working on in June this year…only my daft brain cell jumped to the Christmas related one (see more recent post) so I responded that it was on hold.

I am pleased to completely contradict myself! and say that the OCD article is alive and well and I’m pitching it to magazines so stay tuned! Fingers crossed, toes crossed, eyes crossed…you get the idea!

I did use part of my research for a book I’ve placed on Amazon How to write, heal and grow.

The basic overall message that came back to me was that people know what they SHOULD do but they don’t necessarily feel that they can.

e.g. People look at someone with a mental health problem and would not openly say “I’m a bit freaked out/don’t feel confident/don’t fully undertstand” and this makes them awkward so human nature being what it is, people avoid the discomfort and stigma lives on. More information is desperately needed for people to set aside misconceptions. (Any comments welcome.)

Hopefully as I write I can help in a teeny tiny way!!!

Big thank you’s to all followers – I do appreciate that you could be reading something else instead!

Great news yesterday – Poetree Org http://poetreecreations.org/  uploaded some of my work on to their site, feel free to take a peek! Fab site!! 

Anyhow, yesterday after a few days I wasn’t thinking of Christmas…I was thinking poetically about time…today? I’m Little Miss Edit. It’s a mystery short story. The Mystery of Billy Burrows…out soon! (Or more precisely when I finish editing the little darling amongst other projects – I LOVE being busy!)

Have a great day and remember to smile, if only to make someone mad wondering what you’re so happy about!!

Joanne

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CHEEKY REMINDER!!!! :-)

Hi all

Heads Or Tails is on a Kindle Countdown Deal for a limited time…it’s all over by Friday the 13th!!
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K5UWGZC

If you like a good read and you want to be kind to a hardworking and hopeful author please take advantage of the countdown deal and click on BUY.

Full length novel  amazon.com and amazon.co.uk

Full length novel
amazon.com and amazon.co.uk

Bonus: You’ll make my Mum really happy.

Plot:
As 1900 begins Victoria Fordham finds herself in an unenviable situation and the new century offers her a devastating choice, to salvage her reputation or to hope that it might be saved through inaction over time.
Her mother Eugenie is preoccupied with social position.
Her father is kind and pragmatic but careworn.
Her brother Jack is often a staunch ally and also a harsh critic.
Cordelia Blake is an intriguing guiding light to Victoria but will she hear Cordelia’s timely advice?
Sam Blake, Leo Trewinn and Matthew Peel prey on her mind for different and dramatic reasons.
Her grandmother introduced her to the idea of flipping a coin to make choices.
Heads or tails has a fifty/fifty chance of giving Victoria a chance of happiness.
Can she abide by the coin’s decisions?
Heads Or Tails is a spellbinding tale of family, duty, love, reputation and sacrifice.

A full length novel.  

Thank you for your support.

Joanne