Thursday, 29 June 2017

Confessions of a Writer



Hello everyone, I am here with another discussion post this week. I know I have been off with my posts (I AM SO SORRY). I am trying to get back in to swings, my personal life has just gone very busy and well what can you do right?

But today I want to share another blogger who found me (I have no idea how, I blame Google but I am so glad she did) who is a wonderful human being and her poetry will bring you to your knees.

SO please Welcome Eve,


Hey there! My name is Eve (a pen name). I run a small writing blog over at Edge of Night, where I've been practicing with poetry and prose near daily since 2014. I'm no published author (although, technically, I do have to hit the "publish" button every time I post something new... Only kidding!), but I've gained an entire new perspective on writers and their craft over these last two+ years, up to and including the crazy research and work involved in putting together a book one hopes to publish.

Using my personal experiences, here below are my responses to a few writing-related questions posed by the wonderful Book Lover, as well as some brief pieces of advice for my fellow writers or anybody thinking about taking up the challenge.


Questions:

1. How do you come up with ideas for your poems? Do you create a mood board? Conversations? Reading other materials?

A: My poems come from pretty much anywhere. A lot of the time it's just a random thought that inspires an idea; other times, it's a conversation, a picture, reading others' works.. Anything that can inspire! I don't create mood boards, no - but I've considered starting. The mood boards that I've seen from people are just beautiful!

2.  Have you ever gotten writer’s block? How do you deal with them?

A: Oh, allll the time.. lol. Writer's block is a recurring thing that plagues everyone. For you, it might be called "reviewer's block."

I actually just recently wrote a post about this. I don't know about others, but I continually have to come up with new methods to get past writer's block. At the moment, my most successful solutions have been telling myself to "just write a brief micro poem or story," instead of a full-blown piece (much less intimidating), listening to music - especially instrumental songs so that I don't start singing along and distract myself - and other common ways like being out in nature, browsing the Internet, watching a movie or reading a book, etc. :) But sometimes, when the block is seemingly unbeatable, a lengthy break might be the only thing that will do it. Come back fresh!

3. Is it hard for writers to kill off their characters as hard it is for us readers to see them killed off?

A: I've actually never killed off any of my characters! It's coming, but it has yet to happen. This is due in part to my terrible character-creating ability. I overthink it, make the process nearly impossible. But I imagine that it would be hard, yes. Assuming it was a character that I enjoyed writing. If it was some prick wearing his ass for a hat.. I could see that being quite enjoyable. *Insert wicked grin here.* But I would think that it’d be extremely sad to kill off a fun character - once they’re gone, no more playing with their personality!

4. What inspired you to become a writer?

A: Nothing specific did, it's just always been something that I found fun. Up until about two years or so ago, the time that I started my blog, I never wrote regularly. I'm talking like, half a short story every 6 months to a year, if that. I wrote about two, three poems before I started my blog in 2014. But I always went back to it. Not often, but I always got the urge to write again. Now I can't stop!

5.  What is your writing process like? Do you outline plots before writing?

A: My writing process.. Oh, what a mess my writing process is.

I don't follow a single process. It's different for pretty much every piece that I write. I used to just simply be a "pantser" - someone who never plans, never outlines, just let's the story unfold as they write. To a degree, I still do that. But I have been trying to do more outlining, more planning, and let me just tell you that bullet points are the most wonderful things in the world for that.

I have a few short stories in the outlining stages right now, and I've been trying to figure out the personalities of my characters, the basic plot - and to do that, I've found that writing a paragraph or two summarizing what will happen in the tale, and then giving each character a section with bullet-pointed details is a simple and great way to go.

6.  What was your hardest scene to write?

A: Hm.. That's a tough one. There aren't too many scenes that I've written that had any actual substance to them, and those that I gave the most thought and effort to are now part of a postponed (*cough* likely to be scrapped) novel, BUT..

In said novel that I had started to write a couple of years ago, so originally titled Renegade, there was a chapter early on that involved the main character, Elena, mourning her fiancé who had died some time prior. She was sitting in her car and found an item belonging to her fiancé that just stirred up all those residual emotions. Grief, anger, the works. I had just gone through the death of a very close family member myself about 2-3 months before writing this scene, so the emotions were ones that I could resonate with pretty strongly. Now that I think about it, though, that actually made the scene a very easy one to write - perhaps not the best example lol!

7. How do you select names for your characters?

A: Hah! I wish I knew! Funny that you ask this, because I'm sort of going through a naming crisis right now. It used to be that I just picked some random name that came to mind and that I liked. Now, I try to make them more meaningful, but I haven't yet found a good way to do that.. I've researched, I've Googled, but it's a case of serious overthinking that apparently no reasonable amount of research can solve.

Websites like Behind the Name are great for browsing. But then you have to think, what do I want the name to mean? Should it be something specific, or a more broad meaning? Will the meaning affect how readers see the story?! How many syllables? What letters sound best and in what combo? Then there’s the problem of picking names that are too similar. Or not similar enough (e.g. you pick a name that has ancient Greek origins, and another that is modern.. I don’t know.. Swahili. They may or may not mesh too well). Then you’ve got to make sure the first name fits with the surname, ahhh... It takes forever. I love names, and I absolutely hate them.

8.  Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?

A: I'm in a similar situation here as I am with scenes - most characters I've created have been very spontaneous, very random, and lacking in any substantial emotional investment. However, there is one that I loved writing so much that I did actually become attached:

Garrett Marlowe, also from my to-be-scrapped novel, Renegade. He's got that sarcastic, dry humor that is just an absolute pleasure to write. Unfortunately, I never got far with him as I only made it about five short chapters into the novel. Maybe I'll give him his own short story sometime..

9. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

A: There are a bunch of things that make writing hard, but a lot of them seem to go in streaks. You know, one day it's nigh impossible to find the right word, and the next they just all rain down from the sky. One day you're terrified of putting yourself out there, and the next you're as bold as ever. It's interesting how writing and all of its processes work - it's such a personal thing and, at least for me, that was (and still occasionally is) a problem. But you get through it, and then you get stuck on how to name your characters.


#writerlyproblems


10. Do yo have any tips for writing?

- Don't avoid writing because you think you're no good at it. No matter what the activity, we all have to start somewhere, and you won't get any better by giving out that excuse. By all means, call yourself the world's worst writer - I guarantee it ain't true, but either way, just keep writing. That title will slowly start fading away.

- A writer's work is never done. You may think it is, but come back in a few months' time and you'll find lots of stuff to fix. Inevitably, you’ll scroll through your past works and go, “What? How on earth did I let this garbage get out in the open?”


- Experiment. Try out new styles, new subjects; try weird, unconventional things. Work with familiar things, too, but drop structure if you feel it’s holding you back at the moment. Return to it later. Personally, I'm crap at following the rules of writing. Just have fun with it, and over time you'll pick up your own tricks!


Tell me Eve, why do you love writing?

Who doesn't love to tell a good story? I have learned so much these past few years - I've got a better idea of how I think, what I think, how to organize it all and how to put those strange, brilliant ideas into words that, just maybe, others can get a little good out of. And if not, then I've at least had a ball letting my imagination run amok. But not only that, writing gives you the chance to learn oddball things about the world we live in, as well as things that are quite useful for everyday life. Not to even mention the obvious skills improvements that come from doing anything frequently.


Writing can be challenging, especially in terms of one's confidence and with finding time. But there are so many, SO many, benefits that come with a little (okay, a lot of) persistence, experimentation, and practice. It's a hobby, and for some, perhaps even a career, that I would recommend to anyone in a heartbeat. :)

Thank you to Eve for that lovely, go and show her some love you guys because she is the best! <3

Let's talk: Do you guys suffer with writer's/reviewer's block? How do you get rid of it? Let me know in the comments below, I can't wait to read your comments!

Arios amigos!

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Monday, 26 June 2017

The Year of Saying Yes: Part 4



Title: The Year of Saying Yes: Part 4
Author: Hannah Doyle
Published: 9th Februar 2017
My Rating: 5/5
Recommend: YES!
Synopsis:

Join Izzy on her journey from January blues to joy. Hannah Doyle's THE YEAR OF SAYING YES will make you dirty-laugh, feel warm and fuzzy, and rediscover life's magic - all thanks to one little word: yes. Fans of Lindsey Kelk, Mhairi McFarlane and Lucy-Anne Holmes, you're in for a real treat.
The fourth and final of four exclusive part-serialisations of THE YEAR OF SAYING YES by Hannah Doyle. Sit back and relax for the final instalment of Izzy's magnificent year... 
Dear Readers 
The time has come... It's the final part of my 'Year of Saying Yes'. Excuse me while I wipe the tears from my eyes. #Emosh
After my crushing heartbreak, New Izzy has bounced back and is stronger than ever:
- I learned to be honest with myself (cue shocking public confession)
- I stood up for all of womankind - take that, cheating ex!
- Something spectacular and magical and wonderful happened - that's all I'll reveal on the matter for now ;) 
What a hell of a year it's been. I've had highs, I've had lows, I've flashed my boobs to a crowd of 500 (but let's not dwell on that...) If I've learned anything it's that life is about taking chances. Now it's over to you - join me in saying yes! You never know what surprises life might have in store for you...
Love, as always, 
Izzy xx


NOOOOOO guys! I can't believe this has ended. Why????? Why do good things have to come to an end?! I really don't want this to end!!!! *cries furiously*

OMG! Alex and Izzy, if I thought he was any hotter in the other books he makes your heart melt in this book. I really don't know how after all this I can still fall in love with him but I have.

In the finale, Izzy ties up loose ends. Nathan and Jamie are becoming a cute pair, Izzy finally feels like herself again. Along her journey, life makes a surprising entrance in the form of Alice and Temple. Because of their ex, they group together in order to teach their ex a lesson and unknowingly a friendship forms that is unbreakable. Awww....howcute!

Also, I can't believe George. What a rotten egg, even after all that he is still has no shame? And yay for Izzy she finally stands up to her mum about her ovaries (honestly what's up with her mother? I know she cares but still woman, chill out!).

I just want to pour my heart out in this review, but how do I do it without revealing any spoilers so I don't ruin it for you guys. I really don't know how to explain, my heart is broken. I don't want Izzy to go, I need more Alex and Izzy. Izzy congrats! Things are really looking up to her in this book. 

I am very saddened by the end of the series but it will always be close to my heart! Thank you to Hannah for writing such a incredible inspiring series!


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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Guest Post: Creation of a Love Story



Hi guys, I thought I would do something different this week and spotlight an author, please go give this author some love and check out her books! You all own my heart 💖


Meet Cynthia 




Creating romantic fiction has been a passion of mine, ever since I was old enough to understand the connection between the sexes.  I think I was twelve, when I wrote my first love story and like most young minds; I truly thought it was a masterpiece.

There’s another masterful connection that has been going on now for centuries, and that, is the one between music and literature.  There is a full alphabet of songs that have been written retelling a work of literature as far back as the 18th century.

“If I Die Young” by The Band Perry was based on a poem, Lady of Shallot.  “Love Story” by Taylor Swift is loosely based on Romeo & Juliet.  The artist Sting’s “Moon Over Bourbon Street” was based on an Anne Rice Novel, Interview With A Vampire.

More interesting though, the anatomy of a song has also within its lyrics a pretty fascinating back story as well.  For more than five decades, authors have been creating fictional pieces and bringing readers deep inside the lyrics.  I grew up listening to my mom’s collection of romantic ballads from the 40s, 50s, and 60s.  Those lyrics have forever been embossed into my brain, I still sing along whenever I hear them.  Lyrics like those back then told a story, and they were so strong, and emotional, their affect were everlasting.

I have a library of love songs on iTunes I listen to religiously, while I write, as a source of inspiration and a tool that gets me in the mood and mindset I need to be in.  It is from this list, I began to formulate a series of ideas, followed by cryptic notes on paper, and finally the creation of my Love Song Standards Series.  I made a list of the songs I connected with personally, whittling it down to thirty-five.  That number was quite overwhelming and I thought virtually impossible to create that many scenarios.  So, I chipped away at the songs and their lyrics, until I decided on a top ten.

I had made a commitment to myself to finish one book a month throughout 2016, writing a chapter every day, leaving me ample time to polish and edit each one.  I knew from the on-start, what I wanted my covers to look like.  They had to resemble each other in a way that would tie them together, but strong enough for them to stand on their own.  My designer Covers by Ramona did an exceptional job tying all my ideas together.

After Book 6, Chances Are, was completed, my brain was fried.  I took a short reprieve and switched it up a bit with a Romantic Suspense, A Pawn for Malice.  Happily, the first two books of my series received a 5-Star Readers Favorite Award, which ended my promotion efforts.  I was forced to take an extended break due to personal issues that had set me back both physically and emotionally.  My focus now is to both promote my series and finish the final four titles All The Way, It’s Impossible, Sincerely, and Unforgettable.

If you’re a lover of contemporary romance, please do check out my Love Song Standards Series.  I know you’ll be pleasantly pleased.  Buy links and descriptions are available on my website at RomanceAuthorCynthiaRoberts.com.  If you subscribe to my mailing list, we can stay in touch as to when the other titles are completed PLUS you’ll receive a complimentary copy of Book 1, Unchained Melody.  All that I ask is for you to please, please share an honest review at the online retailer you use most. It will help me dramatically towards promoting my book and the series.

Hugs from me to you.


Thank you to Cynthia for this amazing post! Check with you guys soon!

Happy reading!

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Monday, 19 June 2017

The Year of Saying Yes: Part 3



Title: The Year of Saying Yes: Part 3
Author: Hannah Doyle
Published: 26th January 2017
My Rating: 4/5
Recommend: YES
Synopsis:

Join Izzy on her journey from January blues to joy. Hannah Doyle's THE YEAR OF SAYING YES will make you dirty-laugh, feel warm and fuzzy, and rediscover life's magic - all thanks to one little word: yes. Fans of Lindsey Kelk, Mhairi McFarlane and Lucy-Anne Holmes, you're in for a real treat.
The third of four exclusive part-serialisations of THE YEAR OF SAYING YES by Hannah Doyle. What's next in Izzy's adventure? 
Dear Readers
Ahoy there! Welcome to Part Three of my 'Year of Saying Yes' which is shaping up to be a corker. I've been chock-a-block with your dares:
- I'm now a health guru (I officially know what an 'alfafa sprout' is... bow before me)
- I faced my fears and shared my wisdom with others #realtalk
- After years of resenting Princess Perfect Pants - aka my sister, Olivia - we finally made up. In Paris, no less. Très bon!
But it hasn't all been green smoothies and gadding about in gay Paris. There I was, floating on Cloud Nine with the man I thought was my dream guy until I crashed down to earth with a big fat bump when I discovered a big fat secret. Ouch.
But don't fear, ye of little faith! New Izzy is made of tough stuff. Right?
Love
Izzy xx 

Stay tuned! Up next Izzy says yes to her hardest challenges yet. She learns to be brutally honest, sassy as hell , and brave in matters of the heart...


And so we continue this epic journey with Izzy. I am actually really sad. I can't believe after this there is just one more book. I don't want this to end....

Izzy is back with more challenging dares, this may be her hardest and emotional one yet. In the second book, we are introduced to Melissa who is a health guru just opened a new shop, the Glow Cafe, I really loved her especially because not only does she give some useful health tips she urges us to eat whatever we feel like but at the same time encourages us to be a little more healthy.

Izzy is dared to learn a new skill, she goes to this cooking course with her best friend Jamie. I am really beginning to love her co workers, Emma and Lucy. Emma because she is so supportive and encouraging and Lucy because she is so demanding she does not take no for a answer. Between these two they are quite a force to be reckon with, throw Jamie in there and you don't want to mess with these three. Her emotional reconnection with her sister Olivia in Paris might make you cry.

Izzy also learns a devastating secret in this book, I cannot believe this happened but I guess this was bound to happen. I really hope she is okay but I can't take the suspense anymore. I honestly love the authors writing. I don't feel like I am reading at all, I am flying by these books.


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