Category Archives: Stuff I wanna say

Large Families, Birthdays, Writing Moments, and a bit about A Beautiful Danger

I’ve been crazy busy with life lately. Most of you know that I have five children, a hubby and two dogs to wrangle with my Wonder Woman lasso. It’s a lot of work on most days, but right now it’s our household’s birthday season. That means there is a birthday at least every two weeks. We put a banner up in our dining room and leave it there to mark the constant events, and we make a big deal about everyone’s special day because in a large family (especially one with a young baby) the focus isn’t often on just one person. It’s a lot of fun for the individual, and I love how much joy each person gets out of it, but for me, it feels like I’m either preparing for a birthday or celebrating one. That coupled with easter and ANZAC day holidays, plus the upcoming mothers day and I’m one very busy lady. (My birthday is actually one of the last, so when it gets to me I’m kind of over celebrating, but don’t tell anyone)

Obviously all this leaves little time for writing, but I’m managing to get a minimum of a thousand words out a day just working from my phone when I get a few minutes spare.

My current WIP is A Beautiful Danger which is about Ruby Garvan, a waitress at a top restaurant in Sydney’s Lane Cove. She’s had a bit of a rough time with men in her life thus far, and blames a lot of it on the fact her father abandoned her when she was twelve. To make sure she stops following the same relationship pattern, she’s purposely seeking a relationship with a man who is the opposite of everything she normally goes for. In her head, it’s all working out. But her friends don’t seem to think so, especially when they see the sparks that fly whenever Flynn Trotsky enters the room. Flynn is a bit of a daredevil, and when we first meet him he’s being chased by police and evading them using parkour. Ruby takes one look at him and decides he’s bad news–a danger to her and what she wants out of her life. But when Ruby needs someone, Flynn is always there and soon her friends start to intervene…

So this book is slowly coming along. I’ve never had to write this slow before and while it’s making me antsy, it’s also teaching me a bit more patience with my writing. Normally, I push myself day and night, needing to get ALL of the words out of my head as fast as possible. But this time, I have to think about it all very carefully because my time is so limited and I need to be concise to avoid writing in the wrong direction. It’s an interesting process. And while I don’t mind it, I’m sure I’m going to be writing my butt off the moment my seven month old starts sleeping better!

I’m trying to get her into a solid routine at the moment, so we’ll see how she goes with that in the near future. It’s just been hard to get her sleeping at specific times every day because I’m always running around after everyone else and she’s just had to come with me. So, we will SEE!

Speak of the devil, she’s awake and calling for me now. More updates to follow!

Lilliana xoxox

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What to expect from me in the next twelve months. Hint – it’s not books…

Hello my dear readers! It’s been a fair while between posts for me, and while I’ve been trying to keep up with my social media, the best I’ve managed is sharing a few things that have made me laugh or made me feel something good. The reason for that is that I’ve been ill since late January and just haven’t felt up to anything due to constant nausea. Before you get too worried, I’m not sick in a bad way, I’m almost 15 weeks pregnant and the nausea and the exhaustion has all been hormone related.

Even through the sickness, we’re super excited about having a fifth baby to add to our brood (We currently have one daughter and three sons).We actually lost our last pregnancy, so we’ve been extremely careful this time around (making sure I actually rest was top of the list for this workaholic) and so far everything is progressing perfectly. The children are ecstatic and my youngest is full of funny questions about babies and pregnancy that have been very entertaining for everyone. So, I can actually update you all via my Facebook profile when he comes up with something now that the cat’s out of the bag.

photo credit: Hellä kosketus via photopin (license)

 

As wonderful as this news is, unfortunately, it means that I haven’t gotten any writing done. Something about pregnancy hormones seem to have broken my imagination, and every time I think about my characters, they’re all standing around, drawing pictures in the dirt with the toe of their shoes. I am hoping that when the nausea finally subsides that they’ll all spring back into action and start yelling at me again. But for now, I have to accept that the writing isn’t going to happen and announce a brief break from writing until after the baby is born and I’m able to function like a normal human again.

And I do apologise sincerely to all those who were hoping for the next Beautiful series book next month. It will come, it’s just unlikely to make it out this year.

That’s not to say there will be absolutely nothing coming from this house in the coming months. We’re currently working on the audio for Drawn Obsession, Drawn Redemption and 47 Things. And on top of that, my husband has tackled his first romance, and it’s almost ready for me to take a look at. I’m excited about reading his full work as he’s always been a gifted writer (I met him when I was fourteen and he was fifteen and he wrote a story with a strong female character based on me :sigh:) and writing a book has been his long term dream. But with working to provide for our family for so many years, then working in the house as a house-husband to support my writing career, he’s continued to put his dream on hold. So I’m really happy that he’s finally had the chance to get at least one of his stories out of his head – more on that later…

But for now, I’ll be here focusing on growing this baby. I’ll put updates on my FB profile as my belly grows (you’ll probably all get sick of me!) As for my next reader event, I’ve had to pull out off, or not sign up for a few, but I’ll be back signing in 2017 at Fictionally Yours, Melbourne. Until then, I’ll be on mummy duty, and I’ll sneak in writing whenever I can.

Thanks so much for understanding,

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New Adult Romance. No, it isn’t just ‘sexed up’ YA. #AussieNA

There seems to be quite a misconception out there as to what the New Adult genre really is, and therefore, it’s developed a bit of a stigma. Many readers and reviewers have previously shown a knee jerk reaction to the genre by shaking their head and saying ‘Oh, I don’t read NA’. It’s led me to wonder why? So many of our industry’s favourite authors actually got their start in self publishing by writing New Adult Romance – what happened in the space of only a few years to change people’s minds?

Wikipedia describes the genre as –

New Adult (NA) fiction is a developing genre of fiction with protagonists in the 18–30 age bracket.[1]St. Martin’s Press first coined the term in 2009, when they held a special call for “…fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an ‘older YA’ or ‘new adult’.”[2] New Adult fiction tends to focus on issues such as leaving home, developing sexuality, and negotiating education and career choices.[3] The genre has gained popularity rapidly over the last few years, particularly through books by self-published bestselling authors like Jennifer L. Armentrout, Cora Carmack, Colleen Hoover, and Jamie McGuire.[4][5]

The genre was originally met with some criticism, as some viewed it as a marketing scheme,[6] while others claimed the readership was not there to publish the material.[7] In contrast, others claimed that the term was necessary; a publicist for HarperCollins described it as “a convenient label because it allows parents and bookstores and interested readers to know what is inside”.[8]

Examples of books in the new-adult genre include Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Wait For You, Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster,[9] Colleen Hoover’s Slammed,[10] and Cora Carmack’s Losing It.[11]

My thoughts are that the genre has been misunderstood. By many, it’s seen as the sexed up version of Young Adult, and when it gained popularity and became an actual category in 2013, it seemed that every author with a protagonist within the 18-25 (which is the industry gauge of a NA character) age range selected NA as a category to help with their visibility on Amazon. That has created a genre that is filled with so many sub-genres that it makes your head spin. And, like any popular category, it attracted a slew of ‘get rich quick’ authors who very quickly filled up the market. Eventually, it turned readers away when their expectations weren’t being met by poorly thought out story lines that were too dramatic or too ‘porny’ for their liking. As a result, the New Adult genre was given a bad wrap and became widely dismissed by those who had a bad experience with it at the height of its popularity.

However, in recent months, I’m seeing that things are changing. Reviewers are starting to say ‘I didn’t think I liked New Adult, but this book changed my mind…’. And that’s not just on my books, I’m seeing that comment on books by my peers as well. I’m seeing that comment in blog posts by people who had previously turned away from the genre. I’m seeing that comment within articles in magazines. I’m seeing that comment in Facebook posts.

Every time I see that comment, it makes me smile. Because finally, readers are starting to see that New Adult Romance isn’t just ‘sexed up YA’. At the base of its existence, the New Adult genre focuses on finding one’s path in life.

Do you remember that period in your life? Are you going through that period right now?

It’s that time of life when you are literally a ‘New Adult’. When you first get the chance to spread your wings and fly out into the big bad world, following your own path. For the first time, your decisions are your own, and if you want to eat pizza for breakfast, you can. If you want to have a sordid relationship with the bad boy down the hall, you can. If you want to drink until you’re sick, you can. But at the same time, you also have your first real taste of responsibility, and are in complete control of your successes and your failures. Sometimes, you have to make really hard decisions. Sometimes, you have to let something go that you wanted so much. Sometimes, you have to face something that has been stopping you from living your life. Sometimes, you simply have to pay for what you did, and learn to live with regret…

There are a million different scenarios, but essentially, New Adult focuses on finding one’s own identity within the freedom of living your own life. You’re away from your parents, and the great path of life is laid out in front of you. It’s such an exciting but difficult time in almost all of our lives, and I find that many of my readers are women (and sometimes, men) who have already lived that part of their life and enjoy looking back on it fondly. And for those readers who are at the age, reading in the genre helps them feel as though they aren’t alone in feeling a little lost.

New Adult romance has angst, comedy, passion, all laid out in a journey of discovery that, if done well, will give you ‘the feels’ and leave you feeling hopeful and happy. It isn’t a genre that is widely popular in Australia, and it has been difficult for me to find other New Adult authors who write within an Australian setting as I do. So far, I’ve only come across CJ Duggan (Summer Series, Paradise City, Paradise Road) and Lauren K McKellar (The Problem with Crazy, How to Save a Life), and really, I’d love to find more. I’d love to champion this wonderfully personal and nostalgic genre with them and make it something great within our sun kissed shores. So, if you know of any other Aussie stories that fit under the NA banner, I’d love to know about them. I’d also love to know what New Adult romance means to you – do you agree with the above, or do you see it as simply an age classification? Comment below to discuss.

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It’s that time of year again. Authors, sit tight.

This post is getting filed under ‘stuff I wanna say’. It’s not a rant. It’s just an observation and hopefully a little perspective for some of the writers who haven’t experienced the ‘yearly slump’ yet. 

What’s the ‘yearly slump’?

Well, it’s the time of year when most authors see a downward turn in their sales. It generally starts in August and continues to decline until after christmas when people are receiving shiny new kindles and iPads, along with gift cards with which they buy lots and lots of books to read while they’re on holiday. Generally sales will be good until March. Then they’ll drop a little, even out until the end of July (just enough time to make new comers feel as though they have an ‘income’) then you’ll hit August and be right back at the beginning again.

The key to getting through it is to plan your year in advance and spend your money wisely. Authors make income via royalties. We don’t get a wage. Our income fluctuates with the market and if writing is your sole source of income it’s important to plan ahead and save every extra penny to keep you afloat when you do have ‘bad months’.

Wait, wait. Shouldn’t authors write for the love of it and not worry about the money?

In a perfect world, yeah they should. And the majority of us start writing because we sincerely love it – the stories are in our bones and must be written down so our characters don’t torture us with their cries for release (I’m not even going to address the writers who throw together books in the hope of making a quick buck here, because that’s their prerogative, and really, it’s none of my business.) But, when your books start selling well, and your readers ask for more, you find yourself in the midst of Bookworld, running a small business with its own costs and budgets. It’s a place where creativity is sometimes stifled with the mountains of paperwork you have to deal with, and the numbers you are forced to recognise. Sometimes, it sucks the fun out of it. Sometimes, it makes you feel so overwhelmed that you want to crawl into a little hole and give up.

That’s what we’re seeing now. We’re seeing writers who didn’t know the slump was coming hit their panic buttons. They’re talking about quitting, and since being an author is a lonely job, a lot of those authors are posting about this on Facebook. They’re posting about it because they’re worried. They have bills to pay. They have children to feed. They have a car that is barely running. They’re struggling and just need to say something.

I can understand that. It’s not something I would personally do. But different strokes for different folks, and who am I to judge? Who are any of us to judge?

Fact of the matter is, when you have a family to feed (or even just yourself) and bills to pay, money matters. It matters to all of us. Writing novels is demanding work. A book that takes readers hours to devour, takes an author months to develop, write and deliver. We can’t all be EL James or JK Rowling and have a few books that hit it out of the park – they are the exception, not the rule.

Many authors enter into this industry, and they have a hit, leave their job, and then suddenly, the numbers aren’t adding up anymore and they’re forced to go back to paid work to make ends meet. Others write for years, toiling away until they have enough titles to collectively make an income so they leave their jobs then. Others write in their spare time, work a day job and release when they can because writing is their passion – not their pay.

There is no right way to be a writer. It’s not a competition. Suffering with no money in the name of your art isn’t going to win you a medal. Voicing your financial fears because you’re struggling doesn’t make you weak, and it doesn’t make you a sell-out because you openly talked about the money – it just means that you’re struggling, and may have to plan better next time. Sure, you might need to get a job in the meantime, but if you love writing, you’re going to do it anyway, so you’ll find a way to pay your bills and produce more stories for readers.

You are not a failure

This is where numbers are actually an authors best friend. There is so much focus placed on hitting that ‘top 100’ that people forget what success in this industry really is. For the sake of ease, we’re going to focus on the Kindle store (since that’s where we’re all looking anyway) and we’re going to take a look at percentages. Ready?

There are almost 3.5 million books available on the kindle store. Using that number, that means that the top 10% of ALL available books are ranking within the top 350,000. Top 100,000 is less than 3%. Top 10,000 is less than 0.3%.

See where I’m going here?

Let’s break it down a little further just to get a little more perspective.

Top 1000 is 0.03%

Top 100 is 0.003%

Do you see how hard this industry is? Do you see how hard it is to actually sell enough books to make any sort of income?

YOU. ARE. A. SUCCESS. and just because you’re struggling right now and feel as though your career is over doesn’t mean it is. It just means we’ve hit the slump, and if you keep at it, things will change. BUT, you may have to get a job to supplement your writing for a while. And you’ll do it, because writing is in your blood, just like it’s in mine and countless other writers out there who will type in the middle of a hurricane if the story is strong enough in their mind.

How do I make it through the slump next time?

Personally, I map my expenses twelve months in advance. The biggest obstacle for the money that comes with a hit book is the understanding that the money isn’t your typical income. It’s best to look at all book income as a windfall. Plan your life and don’t expect large sums to keep coming. The majority of books have a lifespan, and while they’ll continue to earn in the future, most won’t always be making that initial launch money. Plan your releases, plan your expenses. Don’t go emptying your bank account on trips to Disneyland because you get excited and think the only way is up. Because it’s not, we work in the entertainment industry and what’s popular today, might not be popular tomorrow. So, unless one book has made you enough money to live off comfortably for the next ten years, you’re going to have to budget well and plan sensibly. It sounds boring, but that’s the best advice I have – save your pennies. That’s how you make it through.

 

OK. That’s it from me. Hopefully this isn’t too long winded, and has helped someone. I’m by no means an expert, and you can tell me to shut up if you like. But, I’ve been around long enough to gain a little experience, and make it through the slump myself. Good luck to everyone from here on out.

Write well. Read more.

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Catch up: Sydney Signing; The State of Me; & The Drawn Series Continues…

Hello to all of my beautiful, beautiful readers! There is so much happening in Lilliana-land, so, with the busy holiday season upon us, it’s time to do a big post that catches you up and gives you a guide on what to expect from me over the next few months.

 

Firstly – The Sydney Signing

I just want to say that if I met you at the Sydney Author Event 2014 on Saturday, November 29, I had THE BEST time. I was in a little slice of author/reader heaven and I think I could have happily stayed there with you all forever! I loved it and can’t wait until the next signing – here’s a little montage of the pics I’ve been collecting.

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I met so many current fans, as well as hopefully made some new ones. And I met authors I’ve never spoken to face to face.  I also got to catch up with my author soulmate, Cj Duggan, and the lovely Callie Hart, who is part of the trio of ladies that help keep me sane every day while working from home. We were only missing Lili Saint Germain, who will be with us next March at the Gold Coast signing. I can’t wait for us all to get together! Everyone was lovely, and welcoming and my hubby was my wonderful helper for the day.

At the signing, I sold almost all of my books and gave out a stack of preorders and beautiful swag. I talked so much that my throat was sore and it was awesome! I can’t wait for March to come so I can do it all over again.

 

Secondly – The State of Me

For those of you who have been following me for a while, you’ll remember that around this time last year, my hands packed it in and I couldn’t write at my usual speed. I thought I had learned from the experience (my hands swell in the heat, so I planned all of my writing and releases so that I would have the hottest months off) but unfortunately, mother nature had other plans. She was kind enough to send Australia an early heatwave, which means that my hands ache terribly all the time and I’ve been unable to write. Today is the first cool day we’ve had for a while, which is why I’m typing this up. But I’m trying to dictate during the hot days, but that is a very slow process when normally, you can type as fast as you think.

So, what I’m saying, is that I’m pushing back my planned December release. In fact, I’m moving the Fire & Lies series to Wattpad where you’ll be able to read it for free while I write it. You can follow my profile HERE (http://www.wattpad.com/user/LillianaAnderson). You’ll find that Partners is already up, and in the next few days, I’ll be adding chapters for Played. Eventually, Played will be published, along with the final instalment, Paid to iBooks and Amazon etc. But while I’m a bit slow with my writing, I want those who are anxiously waiting more of Chloe and Aiden to have the chance to read along at no charge.

Now, this hasn’t been an easy decision for me as I really dislike having to alter release dates, and it’s very rare that I will. And I sincerely apologise to those I’ve disappointed, I just hope that reading along for free will help you understand how much you, my dedicated reader, means to me. You see, when I write Romantic Suspense, it doesn’t sell very well. But I write it because I love it and regardless of how much money it makes, I’m going to keep on writing it, so this is my way of thanking you all for sticking with me over the past couple of years and enjoying my slightly different spin on the romantic world.

So, because of my hand issues, I’ve chosen to focus my official publishing on my New Adult series’ – The Beautiful Series and the Drawn Series. Which brings me to my next piece of news…

 

Thirdly, The Drawn Series Continues

I cannot tell you how often I’m asked for a continuation of the Drawn Series. At first, I didn’t think it would work, then I realised that the Drawn sequels were all about voting for your favourite hero, and the clear winner was Damien. As a result, and a nod to the beautiful relationship he and Etta share, I have recently released a Christmas short, featuring them in a sexy Aussie-style xmas. You can grab it as a part of 12 Days of Christmas: Naughty or Nice? for only 99cents. All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society, so you’re buying something that goes towards a worthy cause and you’re getting your hands on some wonderful christmas tales as well.

So, a christmas story featuring Damien and Etta is awesome. But that isn’t the best news about the Drawn Series.

This is—>

That’s right! Evie, Damien and Etta’s daughter, is getting her own book. She’s all grown up and out there attracting the attentions of some gentlemen admirers. Although, being Damien and Etta’s, she of course finds herself drawn to the local bad boy, Zac Rivers.

Zac & Evie, will start the spin-off series, Drawn to Fight. It will feature both Damien and Etta in secondary roles, with Damien embarking on an exciting new venture when begins to train troubled young men and teach them to channel their emotions in the same way that Etta’s father trained him as a troubled teen. There will be drama; there will be secrets; and there will be LOTS and LOTS of passion as Zac and Evie fight with each other and the world at large.

This novel will release mid-February and can be preordered now on iBooks – http://bit.ly/1voLdL2

 

SO…I’m hoping that you’re as excited about Evie’s story as I am. I really can’t wait to start sharing excerpts with you all over at my Facebook page. And I thank you all for understanding the change in plans – with my hands the way they are, I just can’t produce a book every month or two like I have before. So I really need to focus on my two major series so I can produce quality work while giving myself enough time to rest and heal.

Be sure to keep an eye on Wattpad. I’ll aim to add a new chapter every week so you can follow along. But if you follow me on facebook, or join my Raunchy Readers group, where I share EVERYTHING book and writing related, you’ll never miss out on any information.

Also, feel free to shoot me any questions you have. I’ll do my best to answer them all as quickly as I can.

Love to you all!

Lilliana xoxox

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Music and my moods

Recently, I had my car serviced so I could take the family on a short vacation to Phillip Island (yes, the very same place that Drawn 2 is set in – I even visited the house Etta lives in 😉 ) and as a part of the service, they disconnected my battery to check its charge. This to me was a bit of a disaster because it cleared all of my radio presets, and with my CD stacker jammed, the radio is all I had to occupy me on the long drive.

Those of you who know me, know that I’m very particular about the music I listen to, and with a brain as addled as mine, I never remember exactly which frequency my favourite stations are. So it’s a bit of pot luck when I’m searching to find them. Basically, I listen to TripleM which plays a lot of 90s alternative rock, and TripleJ which plays a lot of alternative rock (are we sensing a theme here 😉 ) throw in the occasional oldie station (I love the Beatles, the Doors and Cat Stevens) and I’m all good for any long drive. But, give me a repetitive pop music station and for a while, I’m ok. Then suddenly, my brain starts to enter what feels a lot like a hormonal angry moment, and my eye begins twitching while my jaw clenches and I feel as though I’m scream.

So, on the trip to Phillip Island, we set out on the road and not realising my stations were gone, I just had to hit search and hope to find a good song. With the kids in the car, they all called out to stop when I came to a pop music station. I believe Taylor Swift was singing ‘Shake it off’ at the time.

Deciding that for the sake of my children’s happiness, I can handle pop music, I left the station on Nova. Boy, was that a bad mistake.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against people who like pop music. I get that the tunes are catchy and fun and if I only hear them once, I don’t have a problem. But when I hear that same song, three times in a short period, I begin to lose it. Because pop songs, follow a very basic rhythm (which is what makes them so catchy) and they have very little actual lyrics.

Why is this a problem? Because I am a walking juke box. I learn the lyrics to almost every single song I hear, whether I want to or not, and new songs repeat in my head, over and over and over again. So that hour and a half trip, taught me quite a few songs which I then had on repeat in my head for the entire holiday which meant that I eventually hated all of those songs.

Sorry, Taylor Swift, it’s nothing against you. It’s me. It’s all me and my crazy brain.

Anyway, after singing ‘shake it off’ in my head from dawn ’til dusk, we got back in the car and STILL I couldn’t find one of my stations in the search function. That’s when bloody ‘shake it off’ came back on again and I lost it, I started demanding that my husband (who is tone deaf and doesn’t care) to PLEASE find out what the frequency for TripleM is so I can listen to some of MY music – the music that tells a story and calms my mind and helps me see the beauty in the world. The music that is poetry and has a message. The music that is clever and beautiful and all things I love…

Laughing at me, he obliged and googled the station (I know, I should have thought about this before we got on the road. My excuse is – Four kids, a husband, and being the one who organises everything for everyone). It’s 105.1 by the way (I’ll remember it forever now). Then he did something better than buying me flowers, he changed the station and Smashing Pumpkins were singing Tonight. It was bliss. It was soothing. And that crazy feeling in my head relaxed and drifted away, and I breathed a sigh of relief, while my husband continued to laugh at me for being so picky about my music choice.

 

Since then, I’ve reset all of my radio stations, but I have kept Nova for short trips with the kids. I can handle pop music for a little while, so I can pull up my big girl panties for the sake of the other people in my life. But it does amaze me the difference a piece of music can make to your mood, and I do use music a lot to help focus my emotions when I’m writing. If you’re interested, I have a playlist I listen to a lot on Grooveshark that shows the kind of music I listen to http://grooveshark.com/#!/playlist/Music+I+Write+To/84788610 It’s all fairly mellow stuff to keep me calm and focused.

So that’s me. What about you? What’s your favourite music to listen to, and is there any that drives you mad when you listen to it? Comment below.

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Window into my Overtired Mind

**Be warned: I’m about to ramble, and it’s possible that there’s no point to this blog post.**

A friend of mine (I’m looking at you Cj) told me I should blog more, even if it’s just about random things I’m feeling because we always think we’re alone in this world (especially the writing one, because we literally are, sitting in an office alone most days with only a virtual connection to our colleagues). So, here I am, taking her advice, because she’s my Yoda and I’m going to ramble a bit about the world as I see it.

I’m a bit of a sporadic blogger, I go through times when all I do is put some information up about upcoming releases, and then at other times, I’m on here all the time, trying to find interesting things to share and talk about.

On Facebook, the majority of my feed is basically the same, although I have a penchant for sharing funny images or news articles because I love to have a laugh. I don’t get involved in any sort of public rants and one of my pet hates are those posts that are so vague that even your closest friend has no idea what you’re on about.

Twitter, is so fast moving, I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do, so I tweet about books. And instagram, well, occasionally, there’s a photo worth sharing. But most of the time, there isn’t, because I spend most of my time, sitting on my arse, typing away doing the thing I love–writing books.

So, essentially, I really do think I suck at this social media thing. I try hard to be entertaining, but more often than not, I’m not feeling particularly entertaining at all.  You see, I’m just a person, and I’m struggling along, trying to write enough to keep readers happy and to keep up with the ridiculously fast pace of Bookworld. And on top of that, I’m trying to be a mother to my four kids and a wife to my husband.

It’s hard, and there are a lot of demands on my time, and I seriously feel like this most days –

But then I talk to some of my writer friends, and guess what? We’re all feeling the same way. We’re all feeling beat down by our inner critic that’s telling us we’re crap, or we’re not doing enough, or that no one will ever like our stories. We all seem to have a fear that we’re a flash in the pan and that we’re going to get lost in tidal wave of books that are available these days.

I seriously, feel incredibly blessed that somehow, someone picked up A Beautiful Struggle and started reading it, and then someone else did, and someone else did. Never, when I was writing it, did I actually think that two years later, I’d have made a career out of writing. And never did I think, that it would be quite this hard.

And it’s not that I’m complaining, in fact, I couldn’t imagine having any other job. I freaking love my job. And the fact that I work so hard, is attributed to the fact that I am passionate about my writing, and I’d rather be working than doing anything else. And I suppose, in my rambling way (this is why we have editors, people 😉 ) what I’m trying to do with this post, is to simply say – me too. I’m stressed too. Other writers, other mums, other dads, or carers, or students–anyone, who works their arse off and flops into bed every night with 6,452 things still to do on their list–I just want to say, I get it. I feel stressed and overwhelmed too. But I’m doing my best. And really, that’s all any of us can do.

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When a character whispers in your ear…

 

I often get asked where inspiration for my characters come from. Normally they just pop into my head at random times, I don’t know who they are or what book they belong to. But they tell me a small part of their story and who they are.

Sounds a little crazy – I know that. But it’s true.

The reason I’m posting this now, is that it happened to me today. I was sitting on my couch, minding my own business and suddenly she was there. I have no idea where she belongs or who her man is going to be. But I thought I’d show you all how my characters starts. 

This is how she came to me –

Desolate. That’s the word that describes how I feel most of the time.

Outside, I’m smiling. I’m functioning. But inside, I feel like I’m fighting to survive. Fighting just to get up and continue to function every day.

It isn’t even as if I’ve had the hardest life in the world. It hasn’t been easy either. But many have had worse.

And I’ve been given opportunity. I’d love to say I squandered it, and that’s why I didn’t succeed. But I did. I did succeed – every single time I succeeded.

It’s just that there’s always someone. Someone who’s there to tear me down. To put me in my place and make me feel like I’m hurting them by trying. There’s always someone, yelling in my ear, holding me back when all I want to do is be free.

I don’t think I’ll ever be free. I’ll always be stuck. Just as I am now. And forever struggling.

Perhaps I’m just weak…

 

Honestly, I got upset after hearing that. I feel responsible for her now and I want to find a way to give her that freedom she so deserves.

Now, I just have to wait for her hero to visit me, so I can match them up…

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Time to Breathe…

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I don’t like leaving my manuscripts unfinished.

Generally, when I start writing, I work every day until the first draft is complete. Then I start again.

This time though, I needed to stop. Even if it was just for today.

Paige is a hard character for me to write, she’s had a hard life. Living in her head isn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done and it’s been emotionally draining for me.

I feel nervous every time I start working on her story. I’m worried that I don’t have the words in me to explain her. I’m worried that no one will understand her.

I’ve forced myself to keep going, to get through the worst part of her life so we can move on. So she can recover. So she can meet Elliot.

I admit that I have been in tears more than once while writing this book and last night, I got through the part that was hardest for me to write. I could have glossed over it, but it’s important to be there with her and understand the pain that is the turning point in her life.

This book has been a journey for me so far, and I look forward to waking up in the morning and watching Paige start to get her life back on track.

But today, I’m drained. Today I rest.

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To the Movies

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As many if you may already know, I have the hots for Green Arrow. The Stephen Amell version, not the pretty boy version from Smallville. That being said, I actually have a bit of a thing for the hunky modern versions of almost all the superheroes these days… Sigh…

Which of course bring me to Man of Steel. Hubby took me to the movies a few nights ago, and this is what we saw. Now, the first part of the movie was awesome. Full of lots of drool worthy moments as the quiet strength of our young Clark Kent is shown while he finds a way to live in a world that isn’t quite ready to embrace a super human.

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From that point on I don’t really know what happened in the story line. I just found myself wishing I had worked on set in the capacity of this person…

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Me – just stay still, I think you have something stuck on your chest *runs hands over pecs* oh, silly me, that’s just your enormous muscles.

Him- Errr… Does this girl even work here?

Me – scurries off before I get arrested.

Seriously though, I did pay attention to the movie and it was pretty good. I did however feel very sorry for the tens of thousands of people that would have been decimated in that fight scene with all the buildings coming down – or were they somehow magically transported to safety? I don’t really know, but I figured that Superman of all people, could have at least taken the fight to space or a desert somewhere so there wasn’t so much destruction. You can just hear the government officials going “no Superman. Please don’t help us, you cost us millions of dollars in damage last time. This time, just let us be enslaved by the alien race.”

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