Losing the Groove

Ok, I know…

I’ve been a terrible blogger and social media-person 😀

I haven’t been around much to comment or even post!

The deadline for my first draft is this Friday, and I still have tons to write. So, pretty much I’ve been writing constantly lately!

But still, that’s not really an excuse.

To be honest, I am still really struggling to find my groove again after getting back from my break.

I know, right? It’s been nearly two months 😀 But, this blog is about being honest, and that is what I’m doing.

I’m just having a pretty difficult time lately, and not sure how to fix that yet!

Hopefully soon I will find my rhythm again.

Everything feels very stale and static at the moment, but I think that will change once I manage to get a new book released. Hence why I am working so hard on this one so as I can get it ready for release at the end of March!

Sorry I haven’t been around much, but hopefully soon that will change. Know that I am reading your blogs even if I don’t manage to comment :/

Have you ever had a bit of an unproductive time? How did you get out of it?

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 34,692 (+11,752 since last check-in).

Books read towards challenge: 2/50
Currently reading: Thyme in a Flask by Glen Quarry

Books and Reading Thursday: Enjoying your own creations

Bit of strange post for this week’s Books and Reading Thursday!

I saw a quote on Pinterest the other day which pretty much summed up part of the reason I started writing:

‘If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.’ – Toni Morrison

I write because I have stories that I want to read all bundled up in my brain and I just have to expel them 😀

So, I write these tales that I am so desperate to read and then what happens?

I have to re-write and edit them so much that the thought of reading them again makes me want to start rocking in a corner somewhere mumbling to myself!

But in April, I plan to re-edit and refresh the books I published last year in time for their one year anniversary. I learnt tons last year, not just about writing itself, but about the whole publishing process.

A while back, Sierra from Permashift, updated her book, The Soul (a book I highly recommend checking out), and I realised how much I also wanted to go over my older books and give them an update.

But, at the same time, I am also kind of excited to go back and read them.

I know I will be doing some editing and re-writing, but there won’t be too much (I hope 😀 ), so I’m hoping I will be able to read the books mainly for the stories I was so desperate to write in the first place.

The main books I will be refreshing are Stolen Bloodline, Heart of the Arena, and The Queen’s Jester, my first batch of books I ever published. I will also be going over Prophecy of Stones and The Magic Spark, but probably later in the year.

It’s getting on for a year since I published those first three books, and though some of the writing might make me cringe, I am hoping that the long time away will allow me to once again enjoy these stories and characters that I spent so long creating.

So, April is going to be a busy month getting all the books updated whilst writing a new one, but a fun month nonetheless 🙂

I highly recommend going back and reading the stories you spent so long creating, especially if you haven’t looked at them in a while. It might be difficult to read them without completely turning off the nagging voice inside that tells you bits you could have improved and things, but you worked hard on those characters and stories, why not go back and enjoy them after you’ve had some time apart? 😀

Do you enjoy going back and reading your own books? Do you ever miss the stories you wrote years before?

One of those random thoughts…

No Romance Weekly today, unfortunately!

Instead, have a post on something I been thinking of a lot lately 😀

The other day I watched Divergent (and my excitement had nothing at all to do with the fact Jai Courtney was in it…), and I will admit now I haven’t read the books, but what I want to talk about I can guess is part of the books.

The movie was going ok, I got the jist of the world and things and then it came to the point where Tris had to choose which faction she was going to be in for the rest of her life.

She had five choices- Abnegation (Selflessness), Erudite (Intelligence), Amity (Peaceful), Candor (Honest), and Dauntless (Brave).

She was originally in Abnegation, but she changed. Can you guess which faction she chose?

You were most likely right- it was Dauntless.

And that was great and all, and I could see it coming from a mile off, but I couldn’t help but sit there and think, ‘Why couldn’t she have been the heroine and still have been in abnegation?

What was wrong with the character’s main trait being selflessness or kindness and not the ability to kick someone’s butt?

Is that what makes a strong character now? The ability to knock someone out? Would someone who didn’t have the ability to beat of attackers be considered weak?

Ok, Tris has different circumstances with her being divergent and all, so she is all of the traits, but the main trait that is still focused on is her bravery and fighting skills.

I understand action scenes make for more excitement, and I, myself, enjoy the fight scenes.

But if Tris had stayed in abnegation or switched to amity, would the book have been so popular?

Would a book with not only a female lead, but one whose favoured trait is something that doesn’t involve fighting, have gone down well?

I don’t know, but it certainly got me thinking.

A few books I’ve read even start off with the character having no abilities, and then they go through a training chapter, and develop these fighting skills and only then are they classed as a good, rounded character and able to continue the story.

I write fight scenes in quite a few of my books, but in my stories I enjoy having the plot resolved in some way other than violence, even if there is a big fight scene. It’s part of the reason I enjoy writing romance, because it can be the powerful connection between people that can overcome things, not necessarily the fact that my female character can right hook the bad guy into oblivion!

Still, I admit myself that I would second think making a character, especially a female one, who didn’t have the ability to defend herself for the fear of having readers think she was weak.

But to be fair, I wouldn’t have the faintest idea how to fight off an attacker, and I am not a fan of violence, yet anyone who has met me knows I certainly wouldn’t be called weak!

So, maybe it’s time to start thinking about that more? If we didn’t push the ability to kick butt as such a highly valued trait, and focused more on the nicer qualities, it might help people to see that violence isn’t always the answer and that being a nice person isn’t a weak thing?

Well, that post got a lot deeper than I meant it to 😀

Anyways, I’m not saying these awesome fighters aren’t great characters, because they’re brilliant! It was just a random thought I had 🙂

What do you think of this topic? Do you think characters could be written without the ability to fight and still be classed as a strong character?

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 22,940 (+6094 since last check-in).

Books read towards challenge: 2/50
Currently reading: Thyme in a Flask by Glen Quarry

Happy Valentine’s!

Hope everyone is having a lovely Valentine’s day, with or without someone.

If you’re with someone, then enjoy the love and romance!

If not, then don’t forget to love and pamper yourself! Maybe with a good romance book. The best people are fictional people anyway, right? 😉

Just a quick post today, sorry haven’t been around much yet again. Hopefully next week will be back to a normal week and I can catch up properly!

Seeking Solace | Cover Reveal

For Books and Reading Thursday today I thought I would share the amazing cover of Callum McLaughlin’s upcoming poetry collection, which I am very much looking forward to. His poetry is… well, no other word but breathtaking!

Callum McLaughlin

Seeking Solace Seeking Solace

I’m incredibly excited to be able to share the cover for my newest book and first poetry collection, Seeking Solace. I’m really happy with how it turned out and hope you like it.

The book should be available in both Kindle and paperback formats within the coming week or so – I will of course keep you updated here on my blog.

It’s been a long time in the making and as much as I’m looking forward to having a neat, documented way to look back at a significant portion of my poems for my own benefit, I can’t wait to also share it with anyone out there kind enough to spare their time to read what I have to say.

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Romance Weekly Blog Hop #lovewritechat

Just before I hop to the Romance Weekly blog hop, I just wanted to say sorry for the lack of blog posts last week! I was pretty ill, and couldn’t get onto my computer, but thank you to everyone who commented, I’m sorry again for not replying! 🙂

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Welcome to all those joining me from the lovely Elizabeth Janette’s blog, author of Redemption for Liars.

This week’s question is- What would you say your writing strengths and weaknesses are?

It’s kind of difficult to decide my strengths to be honest, because I’m very critical of my own work 😀

But I do think character interaction might be one of my strengths. I’ve had quite a few comments from people who’ve read my books and enjoyed the way I write dialogue and interaction between characters, as I’m able to show their relationships well and in a way that is easy to read.

As for weaknesses, well, probably my top one has to be description, or lack of it 😀 When I write I tend to see it like a movie in my head, and sometimes I forget that the reader doesn’t see what I see, that they don’t know the scene is set in a dank forest or a bright room. So yeah, I need to work on that!

Also, my over use of commas, but thankfully my readers do pick up on that in editing!

What would you say your strengths and weaknesses are?

Now hop on over to the amazing Jeana E. Mann and see what she has to say about her writing and maybe check out her latest release, Vindicated 🙂

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 16,846 (+14,323 since last check-in).

Books read towards challenge: 2/50
Currently reading: Thyme in a Flask by Glen Quarry

Grá mo Chroí: Love Stories from Irish Myth by Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty

So today I am really excited to host a couple of fellow bloggers who have collaborated on a book!

These bloggers are the wonderful Ali Isaac, and the amazing Jane Dougherty!

Now, I have to say, when I saw this book was coming out I got very excited. I love Ali’s posts she does on the mythical, and I always adore Jane’s writing, so when I saw the announcement of this book, my reaction was:

give

The book is called, Grá mo Chroí: Love Stories from Irish Myth.

And it comes with stunning cover art!

grocover

It’s will be available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in the release which is 11th February.

Normal price 99c/ 99p FREE Wed 11th Feb – Sun 15th Feb

When I offered to host the book on my blog (because again, am very excited to read it!), I was interested to know why they wrote it together.

Why did we write this book together?

Ali: We had already become friends through our blogs. I had this idea of re-telling stories from Irish mythology kicking around in my head for a long time, in fact, I had been incorporating some of them into my Conor Kelly books. It turned out that Jane, too, had already been re-writing her favorite myths. It just seemed natural that we would join forces and work on a compilation together. The first stories we worked on and subsequently revealed to each other just happened to be the most tragic ones, the love stories, perhaps because we connected in some way with the characters and what happened to them. We noticed the theme, and thought it would be fun to launch them for Valentine’s Day. That was in November, so we had to work fast… the Christmas and New Year celebrations held things up, but it’s amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it!

Jane: I started these retellings about a year ago with the story of Deirdre. It was cold, we had had a flurry of snow for about five minutes that had everybody gazing in wonder up at the sky, and the blackbirds were taken by surprise and fussed about in the trees. Something in the combination made me think of Deirdre and her feelings as a young girl kept in seclusion, just waiting to be married to an old king. One story led to another, and when Ali, at the end of last year suggested we have a go at rewriting some of these tragic stories, I knew I could do it. Tragic usually means love stories. Love stories means Valentine’s Day. Our collection had to be ready for February 14th. And it is!

Blurb

Long ago in a green island surrounded by protective mists, a people lived among the relics of a bygone age of which they knew nothing, not being archaeologists, but around whom they created a mythology. They were a volatile people, easily moved to love or war, and motivated by a strict sense of honour. They had women warriors and handsome lovers, wicked queens and cruel kings, precious heroines and flawed heroes. Magic was in the air, beneath the ground, and in the waves of the sea, and hyperbole was the stuff of stories. They were the Irish, and these are a few retellings of some of their beautiful stories.

Excerpt

From the Story of Baile and Aillinn

Bailé, the soft-spoken, left Emain Macha in the north to meet Aillinn, his betrothed. Rare was such a wedding host, and uncommonly joyful. For the king of Ulster’s only son and the daughter of the king of Leinster had made a love match. Even the sun shone bright on Bailé’s journey, the hounds danced and milled about the horses’ legs, fancy bridle bits sang silver songs in the wind, and the company was filled with joy.
Bailé left behind his own lands of Ulster, the blue lochs and gorse-yellow hills where the eagles cried. Before him, beyond the purple peaks of home, lay the low, wooded hills and the rich plains of Leinster. He saw his Aillinn in the contours of the hills, in the white plumage of the swans on the river. She was soft as new grass and spring foals, wild as the March wind, and generous as the blackbird singing to the world. His heart was full of joy that soon they would be wed and their union would bind together her rich beauty of soft hills and birdsong, and his wild majesty of the eagle and the red deer.

Introduction

Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty are writers with a shared heritage. Ali has woven that heritage into the fabric of her stories about Conor Kelly and his adventures in the Otherworld. Jane consistently slips references to the old stories and the old heroes into all of her novels.

This collection of retellings of some of the great love stories from Irish mythology is our tribute to this culture which has so captivated us.
Love in the Iron Age, as you will see, did not have the benefit of Disney. The Ancient Irish had to contend with far more violence than modern lovers, and their ideas of what constituted happiness were not necessarily the same as ours. An Irish princess was not going to languish at the top of an ivory tower waiting for a knight in shining armour. She was much more likely to get on her horse and drag him out of his bed with a curse if he hung about too long.

But in many ways, love through the ages has not changed one iota. Grief, sorrow and passion are all there in spadesful.

If the only thing you know about Irish mythology is Saint Patrick, serpents, and Leprechauns, it’s about time you read this collection. If you like what you see, this could be the start of a life changing experience.

Links

Jane can be found on her blog, www.janedoughertywrites.com, on her FaceBook author page, or tweeting.
You can find out more about her on Goodreads, and all her books are available on Amazon.com, and Amazon.co.uk.

You will find Ali pottering about most days on her blog: www.aliisaacstoryteller.com, her Facebook author page, or tweeting.
Alternatively, you can email her at: ali@aliisaacstoryteller.com. Her books are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

So why not check out not only this incredible book, but these amazing authors? 🙂

This book is definitely on my TBR list, and I will be doing a review for it after reading!

*This is a scheduled post and I will be back on Monday. Have a great weekend!* 🙂

Character Sketch: Cosmas

Thought I’d do something a little different for today’s post. I recently got a graphics tablet and have been having great fun playing around with it.

I was inspired to draw a younger, care free version of Cosmas, who is a character from Prophecy of Stones.

Cosmas

Cosmas was one of my favourite characters to write, along with her bond mate Otto. There’s something really gentle but at the same time strong about her.

Excerpt:

“Will you not join us in celebration?” the man asked, spreading an arm behind him to gesture at the joyful crowd. “Will you dance?”

“Does she look like a woman who dances? Really?” Sindrin scoffed, leaning close to the man and jerking a thumb in Milana’s direction. She shot him a glare and put a hand on her hip. He took an instant step back, raising his hands before him in mock innocence.

“We will join you.” Cosmas’ soft voice flowed from Milana’s side, and she flicked her glance to her.

“Cosmas, we can’t-”

“Oh, come Milana, just for a moment,” Cosmas interrupted. She tugged Otto towards the crowd, the two of them spinning around, their laughter merging with the music that drifted over the area. Otto jigged on the spot whilst Cosmas’ agile, fluid moves made her the envy of the other dancers as she swirled and dipped with graceful ease around her bond mate.

If you’d like to find out more about Cosmas, why not check out Prophecy of Stones?

Prophecy of Stones

The bond of love can conquer all, but only if it is accepted.

Prophecy states that three champions imbued with the best virtues of the mortal race: heart, strength and soul, will be the ones to save them all from an enemy which threatens to steal the life from their world and those who live upon it.

These three, along with their scribe, his bond mate, and an overly sarcastic oracle, must set off on a journey which will take them through forest, city, swamp and mountain. On this quest they activate the magical stones which charge the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Tildar and his cult of Dwell.

Yet the closer they draw to journey’s end, the more it seems that it is not the evil which will be their downfall, but the fear of a champion unwilling to accept the bond of their destiny.

Prophecy of Stones is a tale of adventure, love and magic.

Links:

Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Barnes and Noble

*This is a scheduled post, I will be back on Monday to reply to comments and emails. Hope everyone has a brilliant weekend!* 🙂

Books and Reading Thursday: Two birds, one stone…

So, as you might have read, I have currently been reading and completing the first practical writing craft book on my TBR list.

And I have to say it’s brilliant! The confidence it has boosted in me as a writer is amazing, and it’s really helping me to see what I’m capable of.

In fact, it has been so awesome I have made the decision to always have a writing craft book on the go.

Now, I have said before that I’m not very good at reading two books at a time, but seeing as I will be reading a fiction and non-fiction, I think I can probably manage that. It will also mean I will be able to get through my TBR list a little faster!

I will also be doing it this way partly so as I can get back to reading fiction, which I am really missing! I will be reading the next book on my list, which is The Woodcutter by Kate Danley, which I will do a post about another week.

To any writers reading this, I highly recommend trying out some practical writing exercises either by finding them online or by getting a book. My word, I cannot begin to say the amount of confidence in my abilities it has given me!


Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft again, finally!
Word count: 2523

Books read towards challenge: 1/50
Currently reading: The Creative Writing Workbook by Matthew Branton.

Romance Weekly Blog Hop #lovewritechat

It’s Romance Weekly time!

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Welcome to all those joining me from the awesome Dani Jace’s blog, author of White Doe.

This week’s question came from Sarah Hegger and was about opening lines:

A great opening line draws the reader in, makes them want to know more and compels them to read further. Share a great opening line, can be a classic or a more recent novel, tell us why you like it and then share the opening line to your newest WIP.

I was going to go the classic Pride and Prejudice route, because, well, it’s a classic and it’s one that pretty much everyone will have heard.

But, when I thought about it, there was another one that struck me.

It’s actually from a book I haven’t finished reading, and started years ago.

‘Burn this book.’

A striking line, right? 😀 It’s an opening that really caught me because of it’s sharpness, and has made me remember it for years, even if I never finished the book (which I will at some point!).

It’s from Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker.

As for the opening line of my newest WIP, well, as I stated last week, I have restarted it. So, this is very, very much a work in progress!

“Tut tut, Dr Murphy, nobody likes a coward.”

This won’t be the final version, but it’s something written so as the first page isn’t a stark blank page! 😀

So, there you have it!

Now hop along to Fiona Riplee’s blog and see what opening line catches her attention!

Is there an opening line you remember? What’s your WIP’s current opening line?

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Planning.
Word count: Eh heh…

Books read towards goal: 1/50
Currently reading: The Creative Writing Workbook by Matthew Branton.