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  • Blog

    Books I’d like to read in 2020 and why.

    Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

    Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

    I know I’m late but I’m no quitter and especially not in week 2!

    This post is supposed to be about what books I’m looking forward to reading in 2020 and you want to know something weird – I don’t even know.

    This seems like a strange thing for a person who reads over 200 books a year but it happens to be true.  I think part of that is because I read what appeals to me when I find it. I’m on the mailing lists for loads of authors I love and when I see they have a new book out I am all over it. If I love your books I download them on release day and if I find a new author I love I literally read every one of their books.

    I have authors who, in 2019, I read fifteen or more books of theirs because I “discovered” them. I’m what writers call a whale reader. We’re the big fish everyone wants to catch. If those authors whose names I probably don’t even know – seriously I’m the worst – put a book out I will buy it.

    I saw Lucy Score has a new book out soon. I will buy that. Kristan Higgins has a new book out mid-year, yes I will but that as well. I’ve read Whitney Dineen’s newest series recently, I’ll get book three when it comes out. I read everything Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery publish even though I prefer their older series to the new. That’s about all I can remember of the top of my head.

    Maybe that’s because I have so many friends who are authors and I buy all their books and maybe it’s because I’m on every known email about new books and my inbox is bombarded daily with new releases and I just but the shiny thing that catches my eye, who knows.

    What I can tell you is I look forward to voraciously reading my way through 2020. I hope I discover lots of new series to devour and I hope some of those are unknown authors who crack the big time. I hope some of my favourite authors create new worlds I can delve into. I hope my chicklit friends write funny books that make me laugh and I hope my romance friends write me some swoon-worthy heroes.

  • Blog

    Goals for 2020 – the 52 Week Blogging Challenge

    Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

    Well you’re reading this blog post on my shiny new website so I’ve already achieved one goal that I’m pretty happy about. And I’m a few hours late but I’m participating in this  Wednesday Weekly Blog Challenge  over at Long and Short Reviews as well so 2020 isn’t off to a bad start so far.

    I also have new covers for lots of my books that I spent much of 2019 getting ready to go so I feel like I’m in a good place to leap into the year ahead.

    I have very specific publishing goals in 2020 which include participating in three box sets, two books in the No Brides Club series for Sweet Promise Press (March and September) and finally releasing the final two books in the Courtside Romance Series.

    Beyond that I also have a new trilogy I’m excited to kick off this year.

    Aside from publishing new titles I have some box sets coming of my older series which I’m really looking forward to. As an author my main goal in 2020 is to monetize my back-list. I’m just shy of 30 books published and it’s time I started making some serious money from them.

    If you’re a regular follower of me or this blog you’ll know I often talk about how so much of being an author, especially and indie author is embracing new technology.  There are so many platforms and pieces of technology you can use to help you but each one however amazing has it’s own learning curve.

    The past eighteen months I’ve been so exhausted from a combination of life and my day job situation that I’ve shied away from new platforms to my own detriment.  (I continued to write and publish because for me that’s the joy of being a writer – I’m a story teller at heart ).

    So one of my major goals in 2020 is to embrace the technology I need to in order to succeed as an author.

    That’s probably enough for one year. My experience with goal[i] setting is that I’m better to concentrate on a few bigger goals rather than lots and lots of little ones.

  • Blog

    Let’s meet the editor of the new magazine BLUSH, designed just for romance readers

    9/3/2019

    Writers on Wednesday - Rose

    blush-magazine-issue-8
    Let’s meet Jacqui Greig the editor of the new magazine BLUSH, designed just for romance readers.

    I was recently at the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in Melbourne where I met Jacqui at a cocktail party. She and her husband looked like glamorous super-models. I had a terrible cold and looked like death warmed up. Still lovely soul that she is we got chatting about all things romance, books and the media. It turns out we did the same degree at the same university – although I was more than a few years ahead of her.

    Naturally I started following Blush on social media and reached out to ask her about the magazine for this blog. What could be more on theme for Writers on Wednesday than writing a blog about someone who writes about writers.

    So here we go:

    1. What made you decide to start a magazine in general?
    My background is in journalism and I’ve worked on several different magazines – I actually published my own print women’s lifestyle magazine for a couple of years! I was aware of some amazing platforms that allow you to host a digital magazine (no overheads!) and I’d always thought that if there were a magazine for romance readers, I would definitely read it! Plus, I kept reading romance novels and getting to The End and wanting MORE! I wanted to know about the author and their inspiration and their thoughts and, basically, what they had for breakfast. Blush gives me an opportunity to fangirl over authors without getting slapped with a restraining order. With so many amazing blogs already dedicated to the genre, I thought a digital magazine could be fun and different.

    2. Why romance novels? What is it about them that excites you?
    I pretty much exclusively read romance. Okay, I definitely exclusively read romance. There is no other genre of book that I could imagine dedicating a whole magazine to. 12 times a year. Nope. But romance? Where do I start?! There is so. much. to. talk. about. I adore the community of romance readers and writers and just want to revel in their awesomeness, which Blush allows me to do!

    3. Who is Blush Magazine for?
    Blush Magazine is for those many, many readers of romance who want more than ‘The End’.​It is a digital magazine taking readers beyond the pages of their favourite books – to meet their favourite authors. ​This the first editorial-based magazine focused solely on the romance novel industry – interviewing authors, following trends, delving into tropes and the many intricacies specific to the romance genre.
    ​Blush Magazine provides insightful, thought-provoking, and fun editorial content on a monthly basis. The September issue just released…and guess whose book happens to get a mention?!

    You can learn more about Blush Magazine here.

    And look here’s Jacqui doing her editorial thing for the magazine and you can see Shut Up and Dance With Me right there!

     

    Blush Magazine Editors Letter

  • Blog

    Today I interview myself about my writing life

    3/26/2019

    Writers on Wednesday - Rose
    Today I thought I’d ask myself the Top 5 questions I get asked about my writing life.
    Something to Savour - Jewel Sisters Series - Monique McDonell - Cover
    1. How’s your writing going?
    This is the question people who know I write but don’t really know about the details ask. It’s the most common question I get.

    It’s going fine. I have another book out next month and my last release was okay although I didn’t promote it properly. It was a novella and I don’t think people really want novellas from me. My January release No Time For Temptation went well and readers are giving it great reviews which makes me happy.

    2. When is the next book out?
    This is the question from my friends who read and love my books.
    Girlfriend, I’m doing my best here. It takes a lot longer to write a book than read a book you know. I’m working really hard here and but you’ll have books in April, May, June so don’t panic. There will be lots to read. I do really appreciate that you love my books and your support makes me cry all the happy tears.

    3. Can I get it in paperback?
    Asked by lots of non e-reading friends.

    You know I used to do paperbacks and they just don’t sell unless you have a book launch or a signing but I have No Time For Temptation in paperback and it will be live on Amazon soon. I’m also ordering duets of the Upper Crust series soon, I promise.

     

     

    Here’s an example!

    Upper Crust Series Any Way You Slice It and Any Way You Dream It - Paperback Duet Example

     

    4. How do you write so fast?
    This is usually asked by other authors who don’t write as quickly as I do.

    Firstly, I have had years of practice at being quick at turning work around in my day job where I’ve basically written all day for a living. Secondly, I’m not bad at time management in general so I’m really good at using 15 minute increments to get stuff done – a Facebook post, some emails, or some behind the scenes activity. Thirdly, I know my best times of day for creativity and it’s good to work these out for yourself. (Mine are 10am -12noon , 2-4pm, and 5-6.30pm) If I can get two one hour blocks in these times I can get 2-3,000 words of a draft done. I try and do a minimum of 1,000 words a day. That adds up. Fourthly, by writing every day I can dive straight back in where I left off which saves time and backtracking. Finally, i enjoy writing (editing and promoting not so much) but I do it because I like it and that makes it easier.

    There is no correct pace to write at. It depends on a lot of things. I like to release regularly because as an indie romance author that helps me with sales, visibility and the pesky Amazon algorithms. Also I read quickly so I understand that kind of reader who wants to read a series back-to-back. That means I need to write quickly and it’s important to me so I make time for it.

    Also I don’t watch TV hardly at all (except the odd cooking show). I haven’t seen a movie since January 2018 and I don’t play sports or have a time consuming hobby. As does meal preparation (we don’t eat take-away) and planning on the home front. Oh yes, and my house isn’t company ready 95% of the time. You’d be amazed how much time that frees up.

    ​5. How do you come up with your ideas?
    Lots of people ask this.

    Ideas are not an issue for me. I have books planned out and so many things I’d love to write that I’ll never get to. The characters appear before me and then I want to tell their stories. Picking the right stories in the right order is the challenge for me as is deciding what people would like to read. I’ll have a plan and then get distracted by shiny new things. Staying focused is the challenge.

    ​If you have any question please feel free to ask me in the comments below.

  • Blog

    Today’s Writers on Wednesday Post is a Q&A with romantic suspense author Karen Botha

    1/22/2019

    Writers on Wednesday - Rose

    Down in the Well - Cover1. What was the inspiration for your novel?
    My brother in law used to be a rodeo rider and so, what a perfect sounding board to use to write my next book. Especially as he lives in Florida, so I took the trip from the UK to spend a week chatting to him about it.

    2. When did you take up writing?
    I have always written and wrote my first book when I was sixteen. It never got published and I’m willing to bet that my mom threw it away with the rest of my school stuff years ago. But, it was a start. Since then I’ve been writing my entire career. For many years it was copy in my marketing job. When I gave this up to become a therapist, I needed an outlet for my creative side and so that’s when I started writing books again. It’s almost three years ago now.

    3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
    It depends on the book. I’ve written a 6 book series about a racing car driver, so obviously with that the setting is important because this is where everything happens. But, as with all things, life moves us in different directions so usually the starting setting will end up evolving anyway. It’s a great place to get my thoughts together about the character though.

    4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
    I love Tommy. He’s such a complicated and misunderstood character with such a lot to give. This is the first book in Rodeo series and I can’t wait for the opportunity to develop him further in the second book. Down in the Well is just the start of his story and while it has a HEA and is a standalone, there’s just not enough word count to be able to understand everything that goes on in his head. And why.

    5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
    Don’t’ give up. Pure and simple.

    6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
    Sometimes, it depends on where I am. Last year I set myself the task of releasing one book a week from 3rd Sept through to Christmas. So, that was quite a hefty schedule. I made it, but it was stressful. The issue is that I thrive under pressure and during that period I produced my best work. I had to think on my feet and my characters, particularly in the Daisy series are wonderful examples of living on the edge.

    7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
    I’ve tried plotting and my work is flat. I love the winging it, just not when I’m committed to one book a week with my editor. That’s rough.

    9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
    Right now I am working on the follow up to the Love Series. It takes some of the characters that we fell in love with in that series, (titles include Daisy, Idris, Cassius) and develops their stories. The series is called Close Protection, if that gives you a clue…

    10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on
    their journey?
    The same advice I received, don’t give up. Ever. Not if you love it.

    Down the Well
    When the grass isn’t greener; run.
    After leaving his home and everything he’s ever known for a new life away from a violent step father, Tommy finds himself alone with no plan. But, he’s not concerned about that, because how can whatever is around the corner be worse than what he just left?
    It can’t, unless you meet and fall in love with Hope, a sexy older black woman with a past that threatens to haunt them both. Tommy ignores the signs, loving working on her ranch and learning the ropes as a rodeo rider. Until it’s too late.

    Down in the Well is a BWWM suspense with more than a hint of romance along the way. This pair put their romantic differences to one side to pave the way towards a cowboy love like nothing you will have read before. This book by Karen Botha is full of romance, mystery and suspense while keeping it real with funny moments we can all identify with.

    This BWWM Cowboy mystery romance is the first in the Rodeo series of Romantic suspense books and is available as ebooks in the kindle store.

    Download this romantic mystery book now, and cheer Tommy on as he fights one twist after another to come out fighting for his HEA.​
    Grab your copy here:
    Amazon.com – https://amzn.to/2Mix57Y
    Amazon.co.uk – https://amzn.to/2T1KqnK

    Karen Botha
    Karen Botha was born in Lincolnshire England where her father was in the royal air force. As a young girl she always had a passion for reading and writing. Working most of her adult life in digital marketing didn’t leave her much time to pursue her passion for stories. at the age of 36 She retrained for a reflexologist and started working for herself. This helped her free up more than enough time to enjoy a re-found passion for writing.
    Her first novel was inspired by true life experiences and tales from clients. But don’t believe everything you read.
    She enjoys traveling rugby and motor sport, this gives her inspiration and ideas for her books.
    The first in the new lgbt series is a mm romance novel about a racecar driver and his mechanic.
    She currently lives in London with her Husband and rescue dog called Shadow.

     

  • Blog

    Writers on Wednesday – A Q&A with author of Lovestruck Two Step, Mariposa Cruz

    1/15/2019

    Writers on Wednesday - Rose
    Today for Writers on Wednesday we feature a Q&A with Mariposa Cruz
    1. What was the inspiration for your novel?
    I intended to end the Rhythm & Romance series with “Wedding Tango”, but while having dinner with a friend of mine mentioned her club had a band for all of their dance events. I started thinking about a two-man band in a dive bar and by the end of the evening I knew had the final story in the series.

    2. When did you take up writing?
    I’ve been jotting down stories in notebooks since childhood. I published my first short story in the college literary magazine and wrote articles for the campus newspaper. Once I saw my writing in print, I was hooked and I’ve been alternating between writing fact and fiction ever since. I write romance as Mariposa Cruz and I write women’s fiction and freelance articles as Susan Winters.

    3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
    The stories I like most as a reader is ones that “take you there” and I strive to do that with my own writing. The Rhythm & Romance series has been a joy to write because I love dancing and it has been a blast bringing readers out with me on the dance floor.

    4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
    My hero’s Uncle Greer, co-owner of Last Chance, has a gruff exterior but a tender heart. He first appears in “Package Deal” and managed to elbow his way into “Ladies Man” and winds up sharing the stage with Carson in “Lovestruck Two Step”.

    5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
    A friend of mine who wanted to entice me into a home-based business forwarded me a recording extolling the benefits of being an entrepreneur. The speaker stressed the importance of treating the enterprise as a job, not a hobby you pursue when you feel like it. I passed on the “opportunity”, but I took a business-like approach toward writing, keeping a writing schedule and setting tangible deadlines. By having more structure in my writing life, I’ve been able to get more accomplished while still having a good time.

    6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
    I’ve always written during the morning before anyone is awake except for Bentley, the cat. He’s an ideal writing companion. Bentley doesn’t criticize my work or interrupt me except for an occasional nibble on my computer screen to get my attention.

    7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
    I tend to wing it. When I start a story, I have the ending in mind, but I’m not always sure how I’m going to get there
    .
    8. Can you name three of four of your current favourite books?
    “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” by C.S. Lewis-I love the entire Chronicles of Narnia series, but that one is my favourite.
    “Still Life With Bread Crumbs” by Anna Quindlen-A well-known photographer at the crossroads of life finds love and new life where she least expects it.
    “The Eight” by Katherine Neville-Though I’m more of a checkers girl, this novel about a mysterious chess set is absolutely riveting.

    9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
    My current WIP is the first book in a new romantic series, Men of the Silver State. It’s in the early stages of the first draft, but I can tell you it involves a beer- imbibing knitting circle, karaoke and a horrible car accident (not caused by the knitters).

    10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on
    their journey?
    Believe in yourself. I know that sounds like grade school advice, but sometimes you have to hold tight to the basics when facing an incredible challenge (like finishing a novel). When you are serious about your work, eventually people will get it.

     

    Lovestruck Two Step - CoverLovestruck Two Step Excerpt:
    “You don’t have to do this,” Becca said quietly as he led her to the center of the dance floor.
    “Dance with the most beautiful woman in the room? Of course I do,” Carson replied, taking her in his arms.
    He paused for a beat, listening to the vocals, before starting to dance. Becca heard the playful undercurrent of the keyboard while Eleanor and Greer sang in harmony that they weren’t going home alone tonight. Somehow, Carson had mastered the quick, quick, slow steps integral to Two Step just from watching her teach it. He moved easily with the rhythm of the music, smoothly leading her into a turn without rushing the move.
    “You’re good,” she exclaimed.
    “I always pay attention in class with the right teacher,” Carson replied. He smiled at her, and the rest of the world disappeared. His touch was subtle, yet firm, as he led her in perfect time with the music. No words were needed. Too soon, the song drew to a close, and with his arm circled around her waist, Carson escorted her to her table. With a light kiss on the lips, he thanked her for the dance, then turned and walked back to the stage.

    Grab your copy here today!

     

     

     

    Mariposa Cruz
    About Mariposa
    Mariposa Cruz balances writing with working as a fulltime corporate paralegal. For her Mariposa Musings blog she has interviewed a variety of real life characters from romance authors to psychics. She works, writes and dances Salsa in Reno, Nevada.

    links:

    Blogs https://mariposacruz.blogspot.com/
    https://createontheside.wordpress.com/
    ​Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mariposa.cruz.180

  • Blog

    Writers on Wednesday – Q& A with Laura Boon, Author of the Millionaire Mountain Climber

    10/30/2018

    Writers on Wednesday - Rose
    Q&A with Laura Boon
    Millionaire Mountain Climber - Cover1. What was the inspiration for your novel?
    I wanted to set my story in a place that was inspiring and a little exotic so that the characters had to consciously consider their environment. Being “out of place” heightens one’s awareness and raises the stakes on any difficulties. I had previously visited the Chamonix-Le Tour valley in the French Alps and thought what a wonderful setting it was for a romance. Beautiful but challenging, especially for an English-speaking person.

    2. When did you take up writing?
    I first started writing at university. I had written essays at school but always thought of them as assignments rather than writing. Taking a course in creative writing at university dared me to think that I could be a storyteller rather than just read the stories of others.

    3. How important is setting/place in your writing?

    Setting is very important to me. The space we occupy affects our behaviour, from our home outwards. Place can be safe or dangerous, from both a physical and an emotional perspective. Until I understand the environment my characters inhabit, I can’t predict how they will behave. Is walking down the street a ho-hum experience, so familiar they don’t even notice the shops or is every shop window an inspiration and a curiosity? Likewise, how do they fare in nature? Do they love the challenge of the environment or are they always on the lookout for spiders and wondering how soon they can turn around and head home?

    4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
    I have a soft spot for my heroine Hailey Gordon. She’s always trying to do everything right and is flummoxed when life refuses to play along and follow her rules.

    5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
    “Bum glue.” If your butt isn’t in the seat, you won’t produce any words.

    6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
    I don’t have a schedule although now that I am not working full-time, I am hoping to write more regularly. I am easily distracted – by the dishes, my dog, Facebook; you name it, I can be distracted by it. I aim for a particular word count per day, but it doesn’t matter when I do it, except of course if I leave it too late because then it doesn’t happen.

    7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
    I would love to be a plotter. Plotting makes sense. Unfortunately, my characters are very uncooperative and have their own ideas. I start with a rough outline of the key action points in each chapter. By the time I finish the novel, this outline has been rewritten four or five times.

    8. Can you name three or four of your current favourite books?
    Only four? I’ll try. Lionheart by Thea Harrison (it is book three in a fantasy romance trilogy set between the contemporary world and other worlds people by magical beings and Arthurian legends. Rough and Tumble by Rhenna Morgan. This is book one in her six book Men of Haven series. It’s been my go-to comfort read since it came out. The others are fabulous as well. I just reread the whole series and I’m waiting (very impatiently) for book six. The Pursuit Of by Courtney Milan, a beautiful, sensitive, same-sex novella that is the origin story in her Worth Saga series. The Laird’s Wilful Lass by Anna Campbell, her first full-length novel in some time. It’s set in Scotland. There are kilts and accents and high-handed men who need to be taken down a peg or two.

    9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
    I have two projects on the go, Lion Dancing for Love, which is part of the Deerbourne Inn series from The Wild Rose Press and book two in Romancing the Alps, currently title-less.

    10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?
    Join a writing group or association, keep learning by taking as many courses as you can, and keep reading. Reading is the best education of all.

    Laura BoonAuthor bio
    Laura Boon stole her first romance from her father’s bookshelves as a teenager, The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss, and was immediately captivated. After holding a variety of positions in publishing, from bookseller to sales rep and publicist, she eventually found the courage to write her own stories. She was born in Zambia, grew up in South Africa, and went to university in America. She now lives in Australia with her husband and their Pekingese Beau. When she is not reading or writing, she enjoys sleuthing for artisan chocolate and beautiful stationery, watching tennis, and walking alongside Sydney’s beautiful harbour.

    You can find her at:
    Website and blog: https://lauraboon.com
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LauraBoonAuthor
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/LollyRussell
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-boon-russell-ae-6734145/
    Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/laurabrussell/
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lauraboonrussell66/
    Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18376534.Laura_Boon

    Blurb and excerpt
    When danger threatens a bona fide city girl, an adventurer is her only hope of rescue
    Mountain climber Matt Hanley is a former investment manager whose lean body and rugged good looks epitomize an outdoor adrenaline junky. When his business partner in their country hotel is injured, he needs an efficient replacement in a hurry.
    Hailey Gordon lives a chic city life free of adventures and daredevils. She craves stability and security but loses her job and boyfriend on the same day. A holiday job in France is the perfect escape from her troubles.
    Sparks ignite when Matt and Hailey meet, but she resolves to ignore the flame flickering between them. Aside from the fact Matt is her boss, she is convinced he is not her type. Matt is determined to teach Hailey to look beyond appearances. He needs to show her how good they are together, even if he must risk life and limb to do so.
    Extract from The Millionaire Mountain Climber
    Hailey drank in the landscape, noticing the clarity of the late afternoon sky and the way the snow-capped peaks glistened despite the fading light.
    “Beautiful, isn’t it?” said Matt. “Trending down the valley, you have the villages of Argentiere and Les Praz and the town of Chamonix. Behind Chamonix you can see the Grand Mama of all the peaks, Mont Blanc.”
    “Yes, the pens––and the chocolates.” She shook her head. What hubris to name a pen after the magnificent towering peak, but what marketing genius.
    Matt grinned. “Ah, you know the chocolates, do you? We’ll have to buy you some.”
    “From the lips to the hips,” she murmured, “and I am sure they don’t do the mountain justice.”
    “Come on, let’s get you inside before your face turns blue, and I earn a reprimand from Genie for chatting up scantily-clad women in sub-zero temperatures.”
    “Really? You were chatting me up? I’m flattered.”
    The smile turned wicked. “You’re welcome.” As he bent to pick up her suitcase, he dropped his head next to hers and murmured into her ear in a low, deep voice, sending shivers down her spine. “For the record, Hailey, your curves are perfect. A little chocolate won’t do them any harm.”
    She blushed, and the fire of his words flickered all the way through her belly. When was the last time her ex had paid her a compliment? An appalling thought crossed her mind; she, the High Priestess of Order and Long-Term Planning, was ripe for the picking and contemplating a holiday romance.

    Buy links
    Amazon Australia: https://tinyurl.com/y9v28sq3
    Amazon US: https://tinyurl.com/yabt9gww
    Amazon UK: https://tinyurl.com/ya26ljwh
    IBooks: https://tinyurl.com/ycjzhpks
    Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/y9c93n6t
    The Wild Rose Press: https://tinyurl.com/y7n7ghg5

  • Blog

    Writers on Wednesday – 5 time management tips for authors

    9/25/2018

    Writers on Wednesday - Rose
    I haven’t done a Writers on Wednesday Post in a while, at least not one written by me, but I’ve been thinking a lot about how people spend their time and why some people are super productive and some people aren’t. I don’t think productivity necessarily equals success but I do think it is a lot easier to be successful if your are productive.

    Lots of people ask me how I manage to get so many things done. I work basically full-time, have a family, I have a fairly active author profile on social media, I’ve just written my 20th book and I do have a social life and I read.

    I’ve thought about this a lot. Here are some of my thoughts and tips on time management. (I’m a big believer in the 80-20 rule but you don’t need me to tell you about that.

    5 Time Management Tips

    1. Perfection is the enemy of good
    I’m not a perfectionist. I’m sure many people think this is a great failing of mine and I’m not sure they’re entirely wrong but I do think you need to get out of your own way. A first draft doesn’t need to be perfect, you’re going to go back and redraft it again and again anyway. Spending an hour finding the perfect image for a social media post is a waste of time…if it’s a Christmas post, choose a festive image and get it done. Not sending out a newsletter because you don’t have the perfect graphic is also crazy. You will get better the more you do things. Some times you will have to compromise but getting it done is more important. I’m not saying be sloppy and I’m not saying put crap out into the universe, I’m just saying don’t let perfectionism stop you from making progress. Keep in mind so much of what we do is subjective anyway, not everyone will agree that thing you spet hours perfecting is amazing anyway.

    2. Set goals and stick to them
    It doesn’t matter what your goals are you need them. It might be you want to write one book in a year. If you wrote 500 words a day you’d have around of 130,000 words. It will probably take you 30-45 minutes a day (you’ll get faster). That’s a book done and edited.

    Write 500 a day and then edit 500 a day and you have one book i half an hour a day. You can do that.
    You can post on social media 3 times a week. (Half an hour total).
    You can spend one hour a week on marketing your books. (Less than 10 minutes a day.)

    I think you need to write goals where you can see them. A whiteboard, a sticky note on a mirror, the back of your front door, on your car’s sun visor. You need the visual reminder.

    3. Life happens in small chunks of time – use them.
    I wrote a post a while back about how to make a difference if you only have 5 minutes. I think this is where we lose a lot of our time in the 21st century. We say we have no time for our author social media and yet we spend hours on platforms doing idle stuff.

    I’m a big believer in using small blocks of time. If I had waited for a big chunk or time I’d never have done anything. I wrote my first book, and many since using 30 minute chunks or as long as a children’s TV show lasted. Maybe you believe you need a whole hour to write anything. That belief is a big part of your problem. There’s a way around that. If you have a 15 minute break in the day (in the car waiting for the kids, your lunch break at work, waiting at an appointment) make some notes on the next scene or chapter in your book and then when you finally get half an hour use that as your jumping off point.

    Some people would call this plotting. Lots of people hate that word and many of the people who hate that word also struggle with deadlines, procrastination and time management. Don’t call this process plotting – I call it pre-thinking. I pre-think about what I want to write so that when I go to write I know exactly what I want to say.

    4. Be honest with yourself.
    If you have time to watch every episode or the Bachelor, This Is Us, Survivor and the Great British Bake-Off you have time to write. If you spend an hour a day on Facebook, you have time to write. Look at how you really spend your time and cut something out. I’m not saying everything, just something.

    If you don’t make writing a priority it won’t happen. I’ve done NaNoWriMo several times now. I love this as an exercise in showing you where you waste time. It’s taught me excellent time management skills just by discovering where my free time really lies and where my procrastination takes place.

    Be honest about who you are and what works for you – life is not one size fits all. I am not a morning person. I do not write well at six in the morning. I know that. I’m not going to lie to myself and pretend otherwise. I’m better off getting an extra hour’s sleep and writing at eleven in the morning or six at night. I don’t feel bad about that any more.

    Here’s another thing to consider – maybe you like the idea of writing but you don’t really want to write. Writing is hard, it takes commitment and it’s not for everyone. Some people have one or two books in them and that’s it. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    I know lots of people who spend more time reading writing books, attending talks and classes and conferences than they ever do writing. That’s absolutely fine. They love the world of writing and the wonderful people in it and the idea of being an author. I love all those things too, but maybe they don’t love the process and practice of writing as much. Just be honest with yourself if that’s you. Let yourself off the hook and have fun. Don’t spend your whole life guilty about not getting any writing done.

    5. Be adaptable. Learn to pivot.

    Life is messy. Plans change. People get sick. Books are published and don’t sell. Deadlines are missed. You need to learn to let the time between the change and the time you adapt be as small as possible.

    If your day hits a bump at 10am and you planned to write then rather than think “I guess I can’t achieve anything today” try and think “How can I claw back some of that time and still get something done.” It might not be the same something but something. Maybe you can book some promo, maybe you can schedule some social media, maybe you can put on the washing and fill out the school notes you were planning to do tomorrow so you have extra time tomorrow.

    Alter your plan, be adaptable but don’t change your goal…just change how you reach it.

    This list is not exhaustive. I haven’t discussed any tools I use to help me manage my time. Time is just a construct so how we approach it and how we treat it is just as important as what we actually do with it. These tips are really all about respecting time and be honest with yourself about how you really want to use it. For me, that’s the biggest challenge.

  • Blog

    Writers on Wednesday Featuring Andrene Low

    2/7/2018

    Andrene LowAndrene’s love of writing was instilled by her mother, although if her mum was still alive, she’d be smacking Andrene across the back of the head given the direction her writing has taken. Irreverent, cutting and reflecting her background as a stand-up comic, it’s edgy with humour that’s very dark in places.

    1. What was the inspiration for your latest novel?
    My latest novel is “Strapped for Cash”, the third book in my Sexy Seventies Series (although it can definitely be read as a standalone). It’s been described by one reviewer as being “Not chick lit. Not pure comedy. Not romance. Not crime. But a delicious mixture of all those genres.”
    The inspiration was where the main character, Brenda, chose to take me, something that can happen when you’re writing a series. Being something of a loner, I wanted her to find the love of family and that wasn’t going to happen with any of her blood relations, mainly because most of them were doing time for various petty crimes. While starting out in Melbourne, the main part of the story is set in London allowing me to catch up with favourites like Eadie, an old aged pensioner who’s going down fighting and Charlie, the world’s largest black and white cat, who’s also prone to going down fighting.

    2. When did you take up writing?
    I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, from essays at primary school through to poetry in high school. I even remember reworking the lyrics to several songs for a talent contest when I was travelling around Europe on a bus tour – we won!

    After that there was a long break with work getting in the way, but it was this very thing that got me back into my writing. I was sent on a presentation skills course for work and part of that was writing a speech for the graduation ceremony. Mine was entitled “Breeding Before Forty”, with a funny take on just how loud that body clock can sound in the small hours of the morning. This was recorded and a workmate at the time saw it and next thing I know I’ve been signed up for a Rookie’s Night at a local comedy club.

    Luckily for me it went well and the organisers asked me back and I stayed on the professional stand-up circuit for three years. It could be either an amazing or a gut-churning experience, without a lot of middle ground, and it didn’t get any easier. Eventually, I made the decision to concentrate on the writing as it was this I’d always enjoyed most. Fast forward to me taking a lot of writing courses leading to a finished manuscript and the rest, as they say, is history.

    3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
    It’s important but I certainly don’t think it’s the be-all and end-all. I like to put enough in there that my readers can picture the setting, but I’m not a fan of there being so much about the setting that the book reads more like a travel or real estate brochure. To me, this distracts from the main story and can slow the pace. Unless it’s vitally important to the plot, I tend to leave it out.

    4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
    Yes, I’ve actually got three. Flo an 80+ plus cleaning lady whose energy levels are such that she could “Clean for England”, Eady, who’s the wrong side of 70 and an ex-dominatrix to boot and Brenda, my protagonist. She’s rough around the edges, but buried deep beneath that hard exterior is a heart of gold.

    5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
    Without a first draft, you have nothing to edit.

    It seems obvious, but when I was first starting out, I’d keep on going back and editing and re-editing and editing some more, making sure that what I’d written up to that point was 100% perfect. It’s called a ‘draft’ for a reason and so now I go for it and keep moving forward, no matter how rough the draft is. If I think of something that needs to be fixed, I make a note of it, knowing I can do this when I complete the first full edit. This approach has saved me months of work.

    6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
    I like to write first thing in the morning and I’m lucky I don’t need to be at my day job until 10:30am giving me a good chunk of time to get stuck in. Afternoons are for editing and plotting.

    7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
    I do plot but not to the inth degree. I prefer to call myself a plantser. I plan out quite a lot as regards what happens in each chapter and overall and after that, I fly by the seat of my pants. I’ve also learned to give my characters free reign because they often have a better idea of what they’re up to than I do. I used to try to corral them into shape, now I give them their head and hold on tight. They don’t often let me down and often the story is stronger for me leaving them to it.

    8. Can you name three or four of your current favourite books or recent reads?
    Yes, and they all belong to a series I’ve been following. The Blackwood Security series by Elise Nobel are a wonderful read. Emmy Blackwood is a bit like a female James Bond, and the books are full-on action with the bad guys getting a good dealing to. They’re also very funny in places (in a dark sort of way), and with lots of hot men in the offing, what’s not to love?

    9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
    I’m currently working on DietVale, a comic horror set on a fat farm in a remote corner of New Zealand. The inspiration behind the novel was watching the likes of Survivor and the Biggest Loser and wondering what would happen if those two worlds collided? Both shows put their contestants through hell, so why not ramp it up and have a few laughs along the way. It’s amazing the ‘gallows’ humour that comes out when people are truly facing adversity.

    I’m up to the editing stage, adding more tension and fixing any plot issues. So far, it’s reading well and I hope to have it out to my horror beta readers in the next week or two.

    In the background I’ve been working on my next adventure, which will be a seven book series, but it’s too early to talk about that yet, with far too much research still required.

    10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?
    While I believe there are those who can sit down and write a cracking book, these individuals are incredibly rare. Even if able to tell an amazing story to friends and family, I believe every budding writer needs to take a course or two, especially when it comes to the fundamentals like structure, plot, characterisation, etc.

    Having said that, there also comes a time when you have to put pen to paper, or fingers on the keyboard. Don’t become a course junkie, simply take one or two to get you going, confident you’re not going to have to rewrite everything when you realise the rookie mistakes you’ve made.

    Strapped for Cash
    Strapped for Cash - Cover
    Historic art thefts and forgeries. Blackmail capable of bringing down a government. Slap and tickle that could prove fatal. Will Brenda ever make a living that doesn’t involve crusty old men? Since puberty, Brenda has never had any issues with money. She’s always been more than well cared for by the old guys she’s latched onto. She drapes herself over them in public, providing company and kudos; they pay for everything.

    Set in London at the end of the seventies, when the country was grappling with the iron rule of Margaret Thatcher, and the economy was in serious need of some CPR, we see Brenda struggling to sort out her own finances, with the irony she’s being screwed out of her own nest egg by a bloke not lost on her.

    But, never keen on the nine-to-five and much preferring ninety-five-and-loaded, Brenda opens a school for girls, teaching the art of opening the wallets of old chaps who can afford it. She hopes it pans out, because apart from the financial implications, she doesn’t fancy a love life that’s destined to be littered with dodgy prostates and emergency CPR. Perhaps the most valuable thing she learns through her school is there’s a lot more to family than the blood relations you’ve been lumbered with.

    Strapped for Cash is the third in Andrene Low’s Sexy Seventies Series with humour that takes no prisoners—unless that’s what they’re paying for.

    ​Originally published as “Screwed for Money” so check out all the lovely 4 and 5 star reviews over there

     

    Excerpt of Strapped for Cash
    CHAPTER 1

    ALL THIS EFFING WHITE! Jeez, Martin might just as well have popped his clogs already. Cue the sodding harp music.
    Brenda hates hospitals with a passion and adding to this misery, her arse hurts, thanks to a chair designed to ensure any visit is brief. It hasn’t been upholstered: the bloody thing’s been panel-beaten.
    Holding the clammy hand of her elderly lover, Martin McGowan, she can’t help but feel responsible for his current condition. It had been her idea to try that particular position and it was only due to her rough and ready mouth-to-mouth that he hadn’t snuffed it on the spot. Although, he’d assured her while they were waiting for the ambulance that he wouldn’t have minded kicking the bucket in such a spectacular fashion.
    A vision in white pops her head inside the door of Martin’s private room. “She’s on her way.”
    “Bloody hell, I’d better go.” Brenda disengages her hand and is unable to stop herself from wiping it on her jeans. A quick kiss to Martin’s forehead confirms this is also covered in a fine sheen of cold sweat, though how anyone could feel chilly in Melbourne in the middle of a stinking hot February is beyond her. If anything, it feels even hotter inside the air-conditioned hospital than it had outside where there had at least been a lacklustre breeze.
    Thoughts of longer goodbyes are forestalled when they both hear Mrs McGowan’s strident tones at the other end of the ward, already ordering people about.
    “You’d better go or we might have another heart attack on our hands,” says Martin, grimacing.
    Brenda isn’t sure if he’s referring to his harridan of a missus or if he’s experiencing more chest pains. Either way, she punches the call button before hightailing it out of the room, managing to disappear into the patient lounge just along from his room without being spotted.
    Waiting in hopes that Mrs McGowan’s visit will be of the brief variety, Brenda stares out the large window that allows unforgiving light to flood the room. If it hadn’t been an emergency, Brenda doubts Martin would be in a public hospital but the ambulance had come here and so here he stays. His bitch of a wife hasn’t stopped living up to her reputation since the first hospital corner had been tucked in using a T-square and protractor.
    She’s flipped through all the women’s magazines and is down to reading pamphlets on prostate health before she decides to bail. Bloody woman’s arse cheeks must be iron.
    After a steadying breath, she readies to make good on her escape, releasing her long, dark hair from the ponytail high up on the back of her head and draping it artfully around her face. Pulling her jacket on to cover her skimpy red boob tube, with head down, she hurries past Martin’s glass-windowed room as fast as her platform shoes and ankle-trapping flares will allow. It’s not that she’s worried about having a showdown with Mrs McGowan but she’d prefer to avoid anything that might upset Martin.
    She’d take that cow on in a heartbeat.
    Brenda’s surprised at how upset she is over Martin’s ill-health. Sure, he’d started out as a meal ticket, but she’s come to care for the old codger. Even the sex hadn’t been too bad, although she’ll be cautious about that in the future. It wasn’t as if either of them wanted to risk necrophilia.
    Near the double doors fronting the ward, she hears Mrs McGowan’s cut-glass tones. “For goodness sake, if you haven’t managed to find a pulse by now, he doesn’t have one.”
    Freezing, Brenda listens hard. Unable to hear the nurse’s response, she retraces her footsteps to one side of the door to Martin’s room. On hearing him trying to placate his wife, she slumps back against the wall.
    “How much longer must I suffer visiting my husband in this, this …?”
    Brenda can clearly envisage the expression that must be pasted on the woman’s face. It’s the ‘poo under the nose’ look she uses at the least provocation and Brenda’s borne the brunt of it in the past. So what if she was caught swimming in the McGowan’s pool in her undies? Martin hadn’t given a hoot.
    The distinctive rattle of the clipboard being unhooked from the end of Martin’s bed follows, then the sound of charts being flipped.
    “It looks as though it’ll be another week,” says the nurse, her voice firm. She adds “Maybe even longer,” and Brenda hears a touch of glee.
    “For goodness sake, this simply won’t do! I’m going to arrange a transfer right now.”
    The visitor’s chair screeches in relief and Brenda knows she’ll never make it out of the ward in time. Luckily there’s a door right behind her and, without hesitation, she opens it, walks in and closes it quietly before sliding to the side so she’s not visible through the tall skinny viewing pane. Her hopes that the room is vacant are dashed when a creaky and rather hopeful voice says, “Are you here to give me my enema?

    Where to Buy Strapped for Cash
    Universal Link

  • Blog

    Writers on Wednesday Featuring Tracy Krimmer

    1/31/2018

    Writers on Wednesday
    tracy Krimmer
    Tracy Krimmer loves coffee, popcorn, Drew Barrymore, and the movie Saving Silverman. She enjoys reading great books (of course) and writing realistic characters for you to enjoy. When she listens to music she prefers the 80s and 90s music she grew up on. In a typical day you’ll find her writing at one of her favorite spots–on the couch, at the kitchen table, or at her favorite hometown coffee shop.

    1. What was the inspiration for your latest novel?
    Christmas! My upcoming book, Something Just Like This, is very loosely based on How The Grinch Stole Christmas. I wanted to write a holiday book based on a favorite. The story took on a mind of its own, which they often do!
    2. When did you take up writing?
    I can barely remember a time NOT writing. I’ve always loved reading, and the earliest I can remember writing is around third grade. I wrote stories, poems, and journal entries from the time I was young.
    3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
    All my books take place in smaller towns or cities. I’ve never lived in a large city, and I like to write what I know. I’m not a big city person. The crowds are too much!
    4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
    My favorite in Something Just Like This is my main character’s brother, Hunter. He’s going through a lot and wants a second chance in life. Even though he’s not in the book a lot, I liked writing him.
    5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
    Don’t listen to other’s advice! Everyone’s journey in writing is their own. You can only follow your heart and your own path.
    6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
    Yes and no! I tend to work out in the morning, watch The View, eat lunch, and then write for a few hours. When I’m really in a groove, I’ll write for a bit right when I wake up. I tend to never write on the weekends. If I do anything writing-related on the weekends, it’s usually administrative or putting together newsletters.
    7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
    I’m a little bit of both. I like to plan out the first few chapters and then let my characters take over.
    8. Can you name three of four of your current favourite books or recent reads?
    Yes! In no particular order, Three Last First Dates by Kate O’Keeffe, Snowed in with a Billionaire by Karen Booth, Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, and Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris are reads I read over the past year I really enjoyed.
    9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
    Well, Something Just Like This releases on February 14. Once that release is all set, I’ll be revisiting All That Doesn’t, book 2 in my All That series. I want to revise the first draft and get that off to beta readers and start writing the last book, All That Matters. I want to release both in 2018.
    10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?
    The only thing a writer can do—write. The more you write, the better you get. And you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t write.

    Something Just Like This
    Something Just Like This - Cover
    Love? Second chances? That crap is for romantics, not realists like Juliette. She has a bad attitude about love and an even worse one when it comes to second chances. And she may dress like an elf for a few weeks out of the year, but that doesn’t mean she loves Christmas.
    Stability? Purpose? Landon is surfing a pleasant wave of both until he’s fired. Devastating news from his sister certainly doesn’t help. At least he has the holidays to look forward to.
    ​When Landon shows up at the mall and Juliette prevents a disaster, he can’t stop thinking about that sweet elf. Juliette doesn’t believe in the spirit of Christmas, but she can’t help but wonder why Landon was in her line that day. Could Landon deserve one of those second chances she’s so unwilling to give?

    Excerpt of Something Just Like This
    ​“Don’t be a Grinch!”
    “Huh?” I lift my gaze and my best friend and co-worker Carly stands in the doorway, the smile so bright on her face it almost blinds me. “What do you mean don’t be a Grinch?”
    “Oh, you know,” she says as she makes her way into the room, planting herself in my chair. “Like you are every holiday season.”
    “I’m not a Grinch.” Maybe I am. I try my best not to show it. It’s possible I don’t have a convincing poker face. Poker was never my game, anyway.
    “You most certainly are. Every Christmas party you sulk at the table drinking gin and tonic and refuse to join in on anything. This year, you are in. You’ll be the life of the party.”
    “Over my dead body.”
    “Shit, Jules, your stiff body would be a better time than you are alive at these functions.”
    She’s right, and I know it. Why is she always right? I want to take offense but it’s no secret I’m not Christmas’s biggest fan. I may be the only elf working at the mall that despises it. The elf job isn’t for me, though. I do it for others. That’s festive, isn’t it? Isn’t Christmas about giving? I do plenty of that.
    “Leave me alone. And why are you so bubbly? Did you drink a bottle of bubble bath or something?” I grab the container of pens, staples, and paperclips out of the box and place them on the desk. This is much easier to deal with than the picture of my family with our fake smiles.
    “Oh, I don’t know.”
    She dots her face with her fingertips, moving them around from one side to the other. Why is she acting so weird? “Wait.” I stop when I see it. “Are you wearing an engagement ring?”
    She squeals and pops out of the chair, rushing over to show me. Her hand misses smacking me in the face as she shows off her princess cut ring, sparkles and all. “Pretty.”
    “Pretty? Are you kidding me right now, Jules? This ring is gorgeous and fit for the fairest princess in the land.”
    “Which is you, I assume.”
    “What crawled into your pants this morning? Or should I ask who didn’t? Another bad date, huh?”
    I shrug, not in the mood to discuss my date with Romeo. No joke. My cousin Dana claimed she found the perfect guy for me, and I said yes to a blind date. His name was Romy, like Mira Sorvino in that movie Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion. I’d only ever heard the name Romy from that movie. It turned out he used Romy as a nickname for Romeo. Yeah. Dana set me up with a Romeo because of course we’d be Romeo and Juliette. Barf. I don’t even spell my name like the Shakespearean character, and the last thing I would ever do is poison myself over a man. Dana had her fun. I did not. She’s never setting me up again.
    “Let’s say I got home very early, watched an entire movie, and was asleep by ten.”
    “Ouch. That is a bad date.”

    Where to Buy Something Just Like This
    Amazon