Tag: writers

#42 – Valerie Stivers – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 42 with Valerie Stivers – writer, editor & journalist

“The spirit of the book comes alive when you’re cooking from it.”

Episode 42 – Valerie Stivers – Show Notes
  • Personal non-fiction is the favourite or novels if the words are flowing
  • The Muse has to know where to find you
  • Afternoon tea and scones
  • Connections between people – both non-fiction and fiction
  • Training in an old-school newsroom – learning to write concise & communicative copy
  • Time pressure of modern newsroom – erosion of standards in journalism
  • Cooking along with writing
  • “Outrun your inner critic” – from Pat Barker
  • Food styling – the skill of the photographer
  • Ivan Doig, George RR Martin
  • Eat Your Words – The Paris Review Daily

“I want to show other people what’s inside my head.”

“Those years I spent getting yelled at by old newspaper guys were priceless.”

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#41 – Nin Harris – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 41 with Nin Harris – author, poet & Gothic scholar

“I really love to dig into the guts of a novel to see how it works.”

Episode 41 – Nin Harris – Show Notes

  • Inspired to write short stories by Angela Carter
  • Both a plotter and a pantser
  • Water or rooibos tea
  • SFF and gothic but writing about the human experience
  • Identity, memory and difficult connections between people
  • Gothic in space
  • Reading carefully – go outside your fishbowl
  • Throwing books across the room – like a book poltergeist
  • Beat sheets: major beats and minor beats; cause and effect
  • Frances Hardinge, Graham Joyce
  • Different writing depending on mood. Academic v fiction writing

“The first draft does have a bit of vomit in it.”

“For me, space is very gothic.”

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#40 – Kira Leigh – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 40 with Kira Leigh– content marketer, artist, tech & games writer

“I’m a nerd so I just think of it as role-playing as another person.”

Episode 40 – Kira Leigh – Show Notes
  • Prefers long-form articles because ideas are so big
  • Playlists and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Anger
  • Nabokov
  • Trying YouTube
  • A disappointing career in tech turned into a successful writing career
  • Describes current career as ‘Tech creative’
  • The Russian Masters and random bloggers on Tumblr and reddit
  • Use of online comments to build characters
  • Writing reviews for anime
  • Reaching people is the intent of writing
  • Writing for LinkedIn

“If I feel like I’m stale, I go read Nabokov.”

“A typo is like a palette knife mark in someone’s story.”

“LinkedIn is the place to be for content writers and even artists.”

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#39 – Alexandra Sokoloff – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 39 with Alexandra Sokoloff – thriller author & screenwriter

“You are directing a movie onto the page.”

Episode 39 – Alexandra Sokoloff – Show Notes
  • Good and evil and what good people can do
  • Screenwriters have to be plotters. Journey from impro to screenwriting
  • Milk
  • Exploration of violence against women using a female serial killer
  • Using screenwriting techniques to become better authors
  • Multi-task while appearing to have a social life
  • Taking your favourite movies and working out what the classic movies are doing: Silence of the Lambs, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Casablanca, When Harry Met Sally, The Hunger Games, The Wizard of Oz
  • Editors want a movie in their head
  • Shirley Jackson, Daphne du Maurier, Denise Mina, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Mo Hayder, Tana French, Val McDermid
  • Huntress/FBI series – to be read in order – like a binge watch TV experience
  • Hunger Moon is an unhappy read for Trump supporters

“If you’re going to talk about good and evil, you need to talk about people and what people do.”

“I do this with a total agenda of changing rape culture.”

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#37 – Emma Viskic – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 37 with Emma Viskic – award-winning crime author

“I kept one word from the story. It was Commodore.”

Episode 37 – Emma Viskic – Show Notes
  • Plantser, vomit and polish
  • Writing at the extreme ends of the day
  • Belonging, communication and loss, deaf and indigenous characters. Exploration of themes throughout a series
  • Training wheels novels
  • Taking the first sentence from a novel chapter to build a short story
  • Short stories teach how to cut words, cut characters and have a clean line throughout
  • The difficulty of a crime short story
  • A 10 month unfinished vomit draft
  • Each book is written in a different way with different pressures; first book, second book and third book
  • Hilary Mantel, Peter Temple, JM Green
  • And Fire Came Down – scars and fire season

“Sending them to the farm to play with the other words.”

“There’s vomit and there’s polish. It’s a mess.”

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#36 – Michelle Worthington – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 36 with Michelle Worthington – award-winning picture book author

“Kids are so bombarded with visuals these days, they love verbal storytelling.”

Episode 36 – Michelle Worthington – Show Notes
  • Picture books can be scribbled on the back of napkin or receipt
  • Learning the industry & the craft after getting the first book published
  • Coffee and Mum chocolate
  • Writing a story for one person in particular. Empowering kids who are not represented in other books.
  • Reading and ask your audience what they’re reading and why they like it.
  • Talking with teachers about child development and the stages.
  • Be a lifelong learner
  • Authors are small businesses. The best businesses are the best storytellers.
    The story you create around yourself as an author. Creating your author brand.
  • Publishers are looking for people to work with, not stories
  • 80s picture books with Australian voice; Mem Fox, Mulga Bill, Man From Snowy River, YA, Stephen King, Jackie French, Nevermore
  • Pugs Don’t Wear Pyjamas based on a real person with a real pug.
  • Worries about creativity after publishing fifteen books. Stop and listen to your creative voice.
  • Coming up  – Beards and Middle Grade fiction

“Lovely words that not only look good but sound good too.”

“Authors are small businesses.”

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#34 – Fiona Ross – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 34 with Fiona Ross – songwriter, singer & jazz journalist

“I get more creative and crazy as the day goes on.”

Episode 34 – Fiona Ross – Show Notes
  • Go with the flow – music and lyrics go together
  • A late night writer – daytime writing doesn’t feel right
  • Piano, pencil, notebook and cup of tea
  • Songwriting is always inspired by a personal experience.
  • Journalism and interviews – the purpose is to reveal the person being interviewed
  • Discovering journalism voice – it’s about the artist
  • Interviewing legends, jazz history and research. Women in jazz and bringing jazz up to date
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, F Scott Fitzgerald, Upton Sinclair, Ricki Lee Jones, Billy Joel
  • Family history of writers
  • Didn’t set out to write a concept album but ‘Black, White and a Little Bit of Grey’ has an intertwining story
  • Marketing and genre

“I won the reading cup when I was at primary school.”

“If I’m not jazz and I’m not pop, what am I?”

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#32 – Margaret Skea – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 32 with Margaret Skea – historical fiction writer

“I like taking myself and my readers to a place we’ve never been.”

Episode 32 – Margaret Skea – Show Notes
  • Storyboard on cardboard with post-it notes
  • Silence, chocolate & freedom from distractions
  • Exploring conflict and tribalism after growing up in the Troubles.
  • Self-editing, being ruthless, editing as a puzzle
  • Details, getting research wrong and rabbits
  • Journey into historical fiction
  • Trying writing in 1st person and present tense
  • Katharine Luther as a shadowy character and inspired by 500th anniversary of the Reformation
  • Winston Graham, Daphne du Maurier, Rumer Godden

“The more words I lose in the editing process, the more successful I think the editing is.”

“A good editor challenges me.”

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#31 – Josh Larsen – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 31 with Josh Larsen – film critic, editor & broadcaster

“Sometimes it’s not fair to the film to dash something off the hour after you’ve seen it.”

Episode 31 – Josh Larsen – Show Notes
  • Editing every day
  • Writing outside with tea or an IPA
  • Daily newspaper movie criticism background
  • Pop culture and faith, akin to feminist film criticism
  • Working with good editors, the demise of newspaper industry
  • Still wrapping mind around faith based film criticism
  • Horror movies and faith
  • Print deadlines – stressful but the best training. A negative can be writing too quickly
  • Manohla Dargis, Richard Brody, Dana Stevens, Roger Ebert, Pauline Kael

“I miss having an editor to bounce ideas off.”

“There’s no time for writers block. It’s a luxury.”

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#30 – Angela Savage – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 30 with Angela Savage – award winning writer & Director of Writers Victoria

“Good strong writing comes from using simple words in a compelling way”

Episode 30 – Angela Savage – Show Notes
  • Writing on the train and “the work of the couch”
  • Inspired by songwriters like Springsteen, Waits and Earl
  • Wine for writing like drinking when playing pool
  • South East Asia, reproductive health, kinship, culture and human nature
  • “Just get the story down”
  • Reading, study the craft, learning, playing with verbs, mentoring
  • Critical reading – underlining and making notes in books
  • Why crime fiction is so pleasurable for some readers
  • Overdoing the research in historical fiction
  • Inspired by Emma Viskic, Julie Koh, Barbara Kingsolver, Christos Tsiolkas
  • Deadlier – 100 of the best crime stories written by women
  • Daughter as sensitivity reader

“My writing was inspired by the fact no one wanted to hear my travel stories.”

“You need to know how it ends to know how it begins.”

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#29 – Lara Meone Savine – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 29 with Lara Meone Savine – writer & editor of Musae Mosiac

“I have to be creatively engaged everyday or I’d go insane.”

Episode 29 – Lara Meone Savine – Show Notes
  • Getting into a mindset and committing to a project
  • Friday Phrases #FP flash fiction. A mini release of creativity
  • The rewards as a host of word game prompts
  • Safety jacket, tea and K-Pop
  • The journey of the mind and the soul. Symbology of dreams
  • Hypnotherapy and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) to focus energies
  • Tolkien, King, Chris Mahan, Keats, Coleridge
  • Developing “Neuro Creative Reinforcement” techniques
  • Musae Mosiac magazine, 200 Word Tuesday #200WT and community

“K-Pop is super important to my writing.”

“With a destructive mindset, I can’t be creative.”

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#28 – Andrew David Barker – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 28 with Andrew David Barker – author and film-maker

“When you finish something, it gives you the fire to do more.”

Episode 28 – Andrew David Barker – Show Notes
  • Pantser for fiction, Plotter for screenplays
  • Fueled by independent US film makers; Duplass Brothers and Joe Swanberg
  • Writing about 80s kids and movies as backdrops. Harking back to period which personally inspired the creative life
  • Wayward journey into writing; leaving school with reading and writing difficulties, self education
  • Finish everything
  • Playing with Point of View
  • Stephen King, Spielberg, Scorsese, Paul Auster, Cormac McCarthy, Bret Easton Ellis
  • Screen adaption of own novel – screenplays are all story, everything has to drive the story forward
  • Screen writing teaches a minimal and clean approach to prose
  • Renaissance of the novella
  • Making short films

“I’m a creative cannibal.”

“I use movies like John Grisham uses lawyers.”

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#27 – Charles Chu – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 27 with Charles Chu – non-fiction writer & Medium top contributor

“You need to do a little guerrilla warfare as a new writer.”

Episode 27 – Charles Chu – Show Notes
  • Starting with an emotion or aesthetic in essays and non-fiction
  • Walking as a ritual and Japanese coffee
  • As a Chinese American growing up in a white culture
  • Psychology first – consistency, then building on improving writing practice
  • Writing for the internet; how digestible is the writing? Trial and error approach
  • John McPhee, On Writing Well by William Zinsser, copywriting
  • Moving into fiction; the Year of 100 Rejections
  • Gene Wolfe, Haruki Murakami, Ken Liu
  • Juggling lots of projects to balance out the failures
  • Ray Bradbury inspiring the year of 100 rejections
  • Tips on how to get stories featured on Medium

“I grew as a child questioning where my place was.”

“Visualising things from the reader’s perspective.”

“Reframing failure as something I should try to do.”

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#26 – Burhan Wazir – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 26 with Burhan Wazir – award winning journalist & editor

“Why is this happening? And why now?”

Episode 26 – Burhan Wazir – Show Notes
  • Career progression from reporter to editor and back to writing
  • Morning person and productivity
  • Proper Scottish writing fuel
  • Middle East, immigration, Brexit
  • The personal in journalism; adding yourself into the story
  • Constant refining: 20% writing and 80% rewriting
  • Reading other good writers: William Finnegan’s Cold New World
  • More historical context; the world has always been complex
  • History of British mosques and the Rotimatic
  • WikiTribune model: news stories as living documents
  • Madeleine’s tip – strange writing rituals

“20% writing and 80% rewriting.”

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#24 – Sione Aeschliman – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 24 with Sione Aeschliman – editor, writer & writing coach

“Approaching both praise & constructive criticism with curiosity”

Episode 24 – Sione Aeschliman – Show Notes
  • Pantsing short stories but plotting novels
  • Defining Prose poetry
  • The Beverage Triangle
  • Key theme – being your true self without shame
  • Attitude towards feedback both positive and negative
  • Learning about reader’s expectations and ask questions
  • Giving editing clients at least a week to process their feelings
  • Editing improves ability to read critically. Making notes as you read and going back to analyse why you reacted this way.
  • Learning about structure and storytelling. Working on beginnings
  • Margaret Attwood, Ursula le Guin, Alexander Weinstein, James Tate, Russell Edson
  • #RevPit: annual Twitter contest focused on editing and learning. Starts April 21st 2018
  • Working on four or five projects at the same time, including historical pirate romance novel and an ebook on structure, plot points and pacing.
  • Madeleine’s tip – Grief and change

“It’s hard to know what you’re going to write until you’ve written it.”

“We all need an outlet for our angst.”

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#23 – Dean Mayes – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 23 with Dean Mayes – romance, family saga & thriller writer

“Cherrypick techniques but develop your own style and process.”

Episode 23 – Dean Mayes – Show Notes
  • Balance between structure and disappearing down rabbit holes
  • Writing story notes by his patient’s bedside
  • Writing romance in Star Wars pajamas
  • Spending a lot of constructing characters and people watching, women and men and their responses to challenges
  • Understanding the Aboriginal experience
  • Process of outlining with Scrivener
  • Using pencil to get away from plastic
  • Molly Ringle, Simon Winchester
  • A world exclusive!
  • Madeleine’s tip – Reading Critically

“Outlining has been a positive tool to improve my writing.”

“A love letter to the two towns I’ve lived in.”

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#22 – Kaaron Warren – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 22 with Kaaron Warren – acclaimed horror, sci-fi & dark fantasy writer

“Trusting yourself. You don’t have to write like other people.”

Episode 22 – Kaaron Warren – Show Notes
  • The power of novellas
  • Snatching the moments to write: making the most of time and place
  • Fuelled by chai: cardamon is good for concentration
  • Inspired by darker elements of humanity, inspired by darker fairytales like Bluebeard as a child
  • Exploring the afterlife, fear of death and ghost photographs
  • Practice, reading others, believe in yourself
  • Experimenting with a diary form; each character with a distinctive voice and their public/private face. Part of a new ‘unnamed’ novel about prisoners in a time-ball tower
  • Important to have non-writers as beta readers
  • Inspired by Lisa Tuttle, Steve Rasnic Tem, William Golding, Alasdair Grey
  • Impact of Transcendental Meditation
  • Madeleine’s Tip: How To Publish Your Book by Jane Friedman

“I don’t think there are any definitive rules in writing.”

“In dark fantasy you can’t hold back.”

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#21 – Amanda Bridgeman – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 21 with Amanda Bridgeman – space opera & sci-fi thriller writer

“Take all writing advice with a pinch of salt.”

Episode 21 – Amanda Bridgeman – Show Notes
  • Not necessarily writing every day, but working on the book business every day
  • Dead cold silence to write
  • Fueled by crumpets
  • Sci-fi thrillers but ongoing character driven sagas with a bit of romance
  • Writing military without a military background; research including Facebook groups and input from fans
  • Learning from other writers but with limits. Finding stories you like and analyse why
  • Ernest Cline, Andy Weir, Emily St.John Mandel, Stephen Moss, Lindsay Buroker
  • Time of The Stripes inspired by a walk to the shop to buy chocolate and current events
  • Setting stories in the US
  • Madeleine’s tip – Taking a Break

“Believe in yourself and your voice.”

“The key to a good book is mystery and intrigue.”

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#20 – Caroline Mitchell – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 20 with Caroline Mitchell – best selling crime & thriller writer

“I say ‘how could you not have ideas?’ Look around you.”

Episode 20 – Caroline Mitchell – Show Notes
  • Writing a synopsis and the hook before starting to write
  • Coffee, music and social media before a day’s writing
  • Dark themes, exploring the darker side of human nature and the ripple effects from crime. Nothing is black and white in the police.
  • Silent Victim is a story of grooming and a body buried in the backyard
  • Keep learning all the time, always push yourself
  • Dictation; first draft without touching the keyboard
  • Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Mel Sherratt, Angela Marsons
  • Combination of her past experiences in the police along with fresh ideas
  • Pivoting to reach more readers
  • Madeleine’s tip – explorations in dictation

“If the gin comes out I’m not having a good day.”

“Dialogue is lot more natural when you dictate.”

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#19 – Karen Rose Smith – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 19 with Karen Rose Smith – Romance & cosy mystery writer

“Writing, along with cats, is my therapy.”

Episode 19 – Karen Rose Smith – Show Notes
  • Writing after back surgery to deal with pain
  • Husband and cats
  • Dictation; more editing involved but writing goes faster
  • Relationships; family, romantic and in small towns
  • Writing every day hones your instincts
  • Writing 13 books before being published
  • Getting manuscripts in early and saying no
  • Daisy Tea Garden mysteries; tea shops, Amish country, family relationships
  • Emilie Loring, Glenna Finley, Kathleen E Woodiwiss, Harlan Corben, Jodi Piccoult, Dan Brown, Lisa Scottoline
  • Madeleine’s tip – dealing with comparisonitis

“When I’m alone in the dark with the tape recorder, I’m good”

“Reading a genre you don’t write sharpens your skills”

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#08 – Dave Hutchinson – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 08 with Dave Hutchinson – award winning sci-fi writer & prophet

“You know in your head what a good book is. Try and be that good book.”

Episode 8 – Dave Hutchinson – Show Notes
  • A natural short story writer and more comfortable in 1st person but currently writing novels in 3rd
  • Winging it
  • Europe books: prophetic by accident
  • Write something that satisfies you as a reader. Read widely – it’s all writing
  • Discovering ordinary people in sci-fi
  • Struggling with the fourth Europe book
  • Madeleine’s tip – no internet before writing

“I’m a better writer than I am a plumber.”

“John Le Carre is the guv’nor.”

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#06 – Harmony Williams – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode o6 with Harmony Williams – Period romance, cosy mystery & ghost writer

Romance, Co-writing and Regency Research

“I want to lift you up from your daily problems for a few hours and drop you off feeling better”

Episode 06 – Interview with Harmony Williams – Show Notes
  • If you write 500 beginnings, you will only get good at beginnings but not middles or ends
  • The co-writing process
  • Inspiration for the Regency period; Austen, Clarke and Novik
  • Humour and romance
  • Madeleine’s tip: musings after GenreCon

“Everything’s better with dragons”

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Recent reads – Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley

Today I’m talking about Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley, a collection of personal essays by science fiction author Kameron Hurley, published by Tor in 2016.

Hurley is an award winning author and her personal essays covers feminism, geek and internet culture, the perils of being a writer, health and rebellion. Hurley critiques and challenges in a raw and honest way, drawing on her own personal experiences and life story.

Coincidence is a funny thing. I picked up this book right after finishing The Female Man by Joanna Russ (a feminist sci-fi novel I reviewed a few weeks ago). Hurley credits Joanna Russ with lighting her feminist fire. In fact, the book is dedicated to a “Joanna’.

The book is divided up into sections starting off with a section about writing and  the rollercoaster ride of a writers life. As a writer myself, I found this section heart-warming and depressing at the same time. My favourite essay was the first, named Persistence and the Long Con of Being a Successful Writer. The title says it all.

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Marty says you can ‘Finish the Damn Book!’

Apparently 80% of Americans want to be authors. Today I have a guest post from Martin McConnell. Marty is a writer and first-class motivator and he’s here to convince you (if you’re one of the 80%), that you can “Finish the Damn Book!” And if you read to the end, there’s a little treat for my blog reader. 

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First of all, I want to thank Madeleine for allowing me to write this post. In case you haven’t engaged with her directly, she’s a terrific person, and someone any writer would be lucky to count among their friends. Even though she’s an ocean away, I’m glad to have the honor of regular communication with her.

I’m here to talk about writing, maybe for those of you who have thought about writing a book someday, but are having trouble finding your muse, or maybe you think that you don’t have what it takes.

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What book are you most grateful for?

I think I’ve established here, I’m a bit of a new age-y personal development type (in amongst the love of horror movies and heartless disdain for anything romantic).

As part of my routine, I keep a gratitude journal beside my bed and at the end of each day, I write down five things I’m grateful for. Sometimes the five things are puerile and short (coffee seems to feature often), other days they are fundamental and deep (being safe and empowered to make my own decisions in life).

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I stumbled across a “30 days of gratitude” infographic and I’m using these suggestions as a prompt for new things to remember to be grateful for.

I checked Day 8. – what book are you most grateful for?

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My novel writing process is like making a fancy layer cake  

I’m in the process of writing my umpteenth novel (I’ve no idea how many exist on dead computers or in notebooks probably recycled into toilet paper) but I’m still learning what my process is. I’ve decided my process is like making a real fancy layer cake.

Warning – this blog post is going get a bit hippy-dippy. You have been warned.

I can be a force of nature when I put my mind to something. Get out of my way, people. I can make anything happen through sheer will power and hard work. Until I can’t and I end up banging my forehead against a wall. The universe kicks me in the bum quite often and tells me I can’t force everything. Like creativity and inspiration.

But where’s the cake, you ask? I’ll get to it…

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How I got over my self-doubt this time

This week has been another brutal week in world affairs.

I feel quite selfish talking about my own struggles with trivial words on a page when there is pain and death in the lives of so many others.

But this week, I’ve really battled with self-doubt and motivation. I was sick of Evangeline and didn’t want to write another word about her. I was convinced I was writing a bunch of rubbish and would never be able to write again. Blah, blah, blah. Self-indulgent writers rant.

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The Deepest Black by Rainy Kaye – launch and giveaway

new release rk

Today, we’re celebrating the release of THE DEEPEST BLACK by USA Today Bestselling author Rainy Kaye. THE DEEPEST BLACK is 99 cents for a limited time! Check it out, then scroll all the way down to enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card!

 


 

the_deepest_blackEmber has a little problem…fairies want her dead.

Ember spends her Friday nights lurking in the bad parts of town, killing fairies. It’s either that, or become a victim to their flesh-eating hung

Then she meets Remy, a fae who, despite getting on her nerves, isn’t evil. He tells her that a shadow has been consuming his world, changing its inhabitants and letting destructive beasts into his city. He is searching for his brother who went missing during the catastrophe.

When a team of mercenaries come for Ember, she has little choice but to join Remy in his quest. Together, they decide to bait a trap. What they find reveals the destruction of the fae world means the end of the human world, too–and it’s Ember’s fault.

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Rainy Kaye writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona. She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA, and her Summoned series was acquired by Bastei Lübbe. In 2014, she reached the USA Today Bestseller list. Today, she’s taking care of her small zoo of furry animals and trying to remember where she left her coffee.

Twitter | Facebook | Website


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Why My Advice Won’t Work for You

The internet is full of advice. Do this. Do that. Lose weight. Find Mr Right. Make millions from home. Get a billion followers and rock-hard abs by lunchtime.

I could do the same. This is how I managed to conquer **insert “flaw” here** and achieved **insert “success” here**.

But what works for me won’t work for you. Necessarily.

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Interview with Beverley Lee on dark fantasy novel, The Making of Gabriel Davenport

Today I’m speaking with Beverley Lee as she launches her new dark fantasy novel, The Making of Gabriel Davenport.

Beverley is also the moderator of April 2016’s Monthly Writing Challenge. A great way to form habits in your writing. But let’s hear about Beverley’s exciting new release.

How would you describe The Making of Gabriel Davenport?

It’s a dark fantasy, set in the present but with definite ties to the past.FC

In a house built on truth something lays hidden.

Beth and Stu Davenport moved to the English hillside town of Meadowford Bridge to give their young son, Gabriel, an idyllic, rural childhood. But in a single evening, the Davenports’ dream is shattered by a hidden, ancient darkness– and their lives are forever changed.

Years later, Gabriel Davenport, now a capable, curious young man, makes the ill-fated decision to go looking for answers about his mysterious past. As soon as he begins his quest, his life becomes a place of shadows. The people he loves and trusts are acting abnormally. The strange woman who lives upstairs is even more haunted than usual. Even his most trusted friend seems to be hiding something.

As one fateful night deepens, and the line blurs between darkness and light, Gabriel must confront the terrible events that destroyed his family all those years ago. He is faced with a choice: continue living the life that was never his to begin with, or give himself over to a terrifying new reality more sinister than anything he’s ever known.

The darkness is watching.

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Writer’s Residence in a Scottish Castle – interview with Margaret Skea

Hmm…who would like the opportunity to write for a month in a Scottish castle?

Um…me.

So when I heard that Margaret Skea – fabulous historical fiction writer – had secured a residency at Hawthornden Castle, I was overcome with jealousy.

I caught up with Margaret after her experience and she shares a glimpse into the writing fellowship program at Hawthornden Castle as well as the imposed periods of silence, broken boilers in February and eating porridge from a pewter bowl.

Hawthornden Castle

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Writing spaces – ideal and real

In an ideal world, my writing space would be in a room overlooking craggy cliffs.

The floor to ceiling windows would open out to the sea, where I’d watch the ever-changing weather roll in and the waves crash against the rocks. I’d be inspired by the power of nature, the wild and moody weather.

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Unfortunately named “Suicide Cliffs” in Okinawa

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Recent Reads – Europe in Autumn

Why did I love Europe in Autumn by Dave Hutchinson so much?

The book is a spy thriller set slightly in the future, in a time when the countries of Europe is dissolving. Every man and his dog is seceding, setting up their own principality. Borders are a bureaucratic nightmare and black marketeers are taking advantage of the chaos.

The hero is Rudi, an Estonian chef turned courier, who gets deeper and deeper into the murky world of espionage.

The book is in four parts following Rudi from his first gig until the point when it all goes wrong. It is almost like four novellas, pieced together eventually. The middle section with Rudi’s family in Estonia seems out of step at first until more details are revealed. I adored the excerpt from the map-making of Whitton-Whyte and the twist delighted this little sci-fi fan.

Why did I enjoy this book so much?

Perhaps it was the mix of vivid characters; the burly Hungarians, the obnoxious mentor Fabio, Rudi’s bizarrely robotic English captors, the grumpy crusty Pawel. The characters were well rounded and real.

Perhaps it was the slight weirdness of the world. Quite similar to our own, yet with minor technological and geo-political differences.It was familiar and yet intriguing. There was little time spent world building, the story jumps right in and explains the world as we go. Yet there are enough odd little details to remind the reader that this is not your ordinary Tom Clancy thriller.

Perhaps it was the wry English humour. The dialogue was sharp and believable. I chuckled out aloud a number of times.

Plus a cracking plot.

Let’s just say, I really liked this book.

But the topic of genre provoked the most thought for me. This is classified as a science fiction novel – which it is. The world is futuristic, but only looking a few years into a possible future. I was so curious about the genre of this novel, I contacted the author. I had a nice conversation with Dave Hutchinson over Twitter regarding the genre classification of this book. Hutchinson describes it as a “near-future espionage thriller”. This is a very apt description.

I struggle with the “science fiction” label because it brings to mind aliens and spaceships. My own writing is in a similar vein to Hutchinson’s – a different world not too dissimilar to our own. Is speculative fiction a better description or “fantastika” as Hutchinson offered? Yet, your average punter doesn’t use the expression ‘speculative fiction’. When I look at the categories for sci-fi in Amazon, the only vaguely applicable are “dystopian” and “post-apocalyptic” but my own writing and a book like Europe in Autumn does not fit with the other zombie invasion novels.

Anyway less about me and more about Europe in Autumn. If you like a well built near-future world with espionage, great characters and good writing, I recommend you take a look at Europe in Autumn.

I’m off to read the sequel…when I’ve finished The Wise Man’s Fear.

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