I was recently asked for my ‘author story’ and tbh it made me think more than I’d expected. Like so many of you, lockdown has been tough for me, but even before that I was struggling. I was deep in the depths of depression, dosed up on pills that were pretty much keeping me functioning and not much else – I managed to drag myself to work, do what was necessary to make sure the bills were paid and there was still a roof over our heads and that was pretty much it. No more spoons left! Things that I used to enjoy held little to no interest, I simply didn’t have the energy or the motivation for them. It made me sad and frustrated, which just made it even harder to want to try – and round and round we go!
When I finally managed to speak to a therapist I told her about how worried I was about not being able to do things; how I didn’t want to let down work by calling in sick again, or let down my best friend by not having this month’s rent, or let my family down by making them worry about me. Then she said something quite extraordinary. She said, “What about you?”
Does that seem extraordinary to you too? I know I’m not the only one who always puts themselves last, and let’s face it the longer you do it the more it becomes a habit that’s hard to break. Life is busy and stressful, there’s so many balls to juggle in the air and we tend to find ourselves right at the bottom of the list of priorities. But here’s the thing, if we don’t take care of ourselves, if we don’t carve out that little bit of ‘me-time’ to relax and recharge and just do something for us and no one else, then eventually we’re going to burn out and be no good to anyone. By looking after ourselves, we’re really looking after everyone else as well. But more than that, we deserve that ‘me time’ – consider it a reward for a job well done 🙂
Now, you may be thinking, ‘I thought this was supposed to be an author story’ – and you would be right! (Though would I really be an author if I didn’t go off on long and rambling tangents?) One of the things I most missed when I was struggling was being able to write. To get those words down on paper, to escape into my own worlds and into my characters. Since I was a kid then books and stories have been magical to me, that they allow us that chance to step away from everything that might be stressful in our own lives and go on an adventure to someplace completely new. It’s something I’m so happy to be getting back to and I honestly feel it’s being a big boost to my mental health.
I did have a long think though about whether I wanted to be an ‘author’ again. Yes, I was loving getting back to writing but that didn’t mean I needed to publish again. I could keep it as a hobby and not have to worry about any of the ‘less fun’ parts such as editing, marketing, one-star reviews (eek). But I kept thinking about that magic of escaping into a book, and while I’m under no illusions I’m the next JK Rowling (or, you know, someone as talented but less transphobic) then maybe, just maybe, I could do that for some of you. That if you’re having a rubbish day – boss is being a jerk, kids are screaming, boilers broken, dog threw up, etc. then you could pick up one of my books and just get away from it all for a little while (sadly I have not yet figured out to publish a ‘boss telling off, kid calming, boiler fixing, dog vomit cleaning book’, but I’ll keep you posted!)
So, that’s my goal, that’s my journey, and I really hope you come along with me on it xx
If anyone is still following this blog you will no doubt be aware it’s been a loooong time since it was updated. Life has very much ‘got in the way’ so to speak, between world issues, lockdown, mental health blips, and god knows what else, I must admit both my motivation and inspiration for writing took a nosedive. I’m really happy to be getting back to it though – and extra excited for all the new things in the pipeline.
Firstly, I have a new series coming out. It’s a paranormal romance with some fairytale elements, and is set in the Scottish Highlands – so there’s plenty of wolf shifters in kilts 😉 I’m currently doing edits on the first book and have just got the first draft of the cover back from the designer – spoiler: it’s gorgeous! I can’t wait to share it with you.
I’ve also got lots of plans in the pipeline for audiobooks and some shorter story collections – bedtime stories for grownups only 🙂
You may also notice various changes going on around the website. Please bear with me, it’s a work in progress and I’m trying to do a bit at a time. When it’s finished I’m hoping it will be much easier to access and I’m wanting to have an additional section for my art stuff as well, in case anyone fancies having a peek.
Now, I feel like I’ve done a lot of talking about me – so I’d love to hear how you’ve been doing! I know lockdown has been rubbish but hopefully there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I’m also trying to focus on some good things have happened – for example, I’ve got back into painting after a long break, had a go at Twitch streaming, and met some lovely new people online. So do you have anything positive that’s come out of it? Have you picked up a new hobby (or gone back to an old one), have you volunteered, or started walking more, got through your TBR list (haha, yeah just kidding on that one!), actually met your neighbours, or did you just manage a few days where you got out of your jammies 🙂 I’d love to hear x
Can you believe we’re into October this week? I have no idea where this year seems to have gone. It’s been a busy week, lots on with the day jobs and trying to get caught up on lots of writing bits and pieces. My wolves book is currently with my editor so hoping to get that back soon – no doubt covered in shiny red marks for me to go through. (I’ve already been told I have a comma splice problem – it’s true, I def need help lol!).
Still working on my current WIP but getting into the final section I think (of course, there’s still the big climatic ending so not done yet!) and thinking about joining in Nano this year to try and get a decent chunk done on the next in my series.
In the meantime though, we’ve been busy at home too. These two came to ‘join the family’ last weekend and so have been spending the week helping them settle in. The wee black one is Drizzt and the black and white one is Dresden. In typical me fashion, Drizzt has baby vampire teeth and Dresden has the bat symbol on his nose (Batcat!). Didn’t even notice until we got them home, but think they were definitely meant for me 🙂
Anyway, better go get my kitty cuddles in 😉 Take care x
Well, it’s weekend and thank goodness as it’s been a bit of a hectic week! I get to relax today though, with the fab Pippa Jay dropping by to chat about writer’s block (yes, it does exist!) and ways to get past it, as well as her brand new release.
Hi, I’m Pippa Jay, author of scifi and supernatural stories to engage your emotions.
I’ve always been an advocate of exercise as one way to get past writer’s block (though I find housework the number one fix. My muse will do anything to avoid my kids’ dirty washing or cleaning milk splashes and crushed cereal from the dining room floor, and so on. Well, almost anything).
But last year my fitness levels plummeted and my weight went up in response. Writing is a horribly sedentary profession! I’d tried to get back into my freestyle street dance (no flips – I’m a bit too old for that now) but injured myself twice in 2015, laying myself up for nine out of the twelve months. I’m not sure if the additional weight or allowing my fitness to lapse or just getting older were at fault. Maybe all three. Whichever, the frustration at being told to rest when my aim was to get fit made me completely miserable. I had to accept that I wasn’t going to be able to get back into dance so easily this time.
So I went back to what my doctor said was the best exercise anyway – walking. I figured my chances of injury would be less doing something a bit more natural for the human body, and maybe in time build up my fitness levels and muscle tone enough to return to dance (BTW, I hate diets and never stick to them. Thinking about limiting my food and what I should eat just makes me feel hungrier!). Every morning I would drop my youngest monster at school and take an hour’s walk. I live on the edge of town, too far to walk out to the countryside but I found myself a route away from the busier roads. I listen to my mp3 player as I walk, and as I walk my mind wanders. So far it’s helped me through a difficult set of edits, help me fix some major plot holes in book three of my main series, and got me thinking about other, even abandoned projects languishing on my hard drive. And I’m feeling healthier too. While I’m still not back to my dancing, I can at least run up and down the stairs now without feeling that little bit puffed, and my muse has definitely benefitted.
Sounds like great advice – and it’s obviously paying off! Check out the details for Pippa’s fab new release Gethyon.
Abandoned. Hunted. Out of control.
Gethyon Rees had always felt at odds with the universe, and hoped for an escape among the stars. But discovering he has the ability to cross time and space with just a thought brings more problems than it solves: a deadly bounty hunter who can follow him anywhere, the unwelcome return of Tarquin Secker—the mother who abandoned him—and an ancient darkness that seeks him and all those with his talents.
When an unforgivable act sets him on the run, it’ll take more than his unearthly powers to save his skin and the lives of those he cares about. It’ll take a sacrifice he never expected to have to make.
A science fiction adventure novel previously published by BURST (Champagne Books), and part of the Travellers Universe. A 2014 SFR Galaxy Award Winner for Most Awesome Psychic Talent and a 2015 EPIC eBook Awards finalist in the Science Fiction category. Also now includes the SF short story The Bones of the Sea.
“With colorful worlds full of nuance and dimension, characters that walk off the page, and themes that anyone who has been either parent or child can relate to.” J.C. Cassels, author of The Black Wing Chronicles series
“This fast-paced, gripping ride zips through time and space, love and loss, rebellion and acceptance.” Anna McLain, SFR Galaxy Award judge
Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend. Sadly the sun seems to have disappeared here but at least I have the fab Liana Brooks dropping in. She’s chatting about her new release, Decoherence, in her Time & Shadows trilogy. Looking for some exciting sci-fi for the weekend? Look no further 🙂
So, let’s start with you telling us a bit about yourself.
I am a California-born vagabond who has lived in ten states and visited most of the others. I love sushi, summertime, science fiction, and not doing laundry. And I am celebrating the release of DECOHERENCE which is the final book in the Time & Shadows trilogy.
Was there a specific moment where you first knew that you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t even remember learning to read. I picked it up early, took THE HOBBIT to kindergarten for show-and-tell, and always planned on being a marine biologist. Telling stories, and later writing them for friends, was something that kind of happened as an afterthought.
I always loved stories and books, but I didn’t dream of being an author, in part because so many of the authors I love aren’t just authors. They were soldiers, inventors, playwrights, parents, explorers… none of them were ever presented as Just An Author. Which, I think is probably for the best. The more multifaceted the author, the better their books tend to be.
True, the more experience you have the more you can bring to the writing I suppose. Do you have a particular writing routine, or any special rituals?
The only thing I really need is a screen, a keyboard, and my sticker calendar. Secretly, I’m still in kindergarten and getting a sticker for writing 1000 words is enough motivation for me to sit down and write regularly.
Beyond that… no, I don’t have rituals because I don’t have time for them. My writing time is snuck in during the day between cooking, running errands, and going to meetings.
Hehe, I think I might need to get myself some stickers! Tell us about the genre you write in, and what drew you to it.
I write primarily SF/SFR because I’m an optimist I guess. Science Fiction is the future. Every great invention we enjoy was in a story first, and I love being part of that process. I love imagining what the future will bring for everyone, and I hope it brings something wonderful.
Aww, that’s a lovely thought – here’s hoping. Are there any particular authors or books that have really inspired you?
I could never pick just one. There are so many great books out there and I rip through them. I’ll go on binges and read five or six books in a day. Go read Terry Pratchett, Ilona Andrews, Blake Crouch, Wes Chu, Jim Butcher, Beth Cato, Lexie Dunne… go. Read everything you can get your hands on. Books are amazing.
They are! Also a big fan of Terry Pratchett and Jim Butcher. What five things could you never do without?
Oxygen, water, heat, people that love me, and imagination. If you have those you can get out of any problem eventually.
Tell us a bit about your new release.
DECOHERENCE… I am going to try to keep this as spoiler-free for the series as I can, but if I slip up, sorry…
DECOHERENCE is the third book in the Time & Shadows series and picks up almost five years after the end of CONVERGENCE POINT. When Mac is kidnapped by a rogue iteration, Sam has to travel between continents and variations of reality to find him.
For me, the best part was being able to write so many different versions of the main character, Sam Rose. She’s introduced in THE DAY BEFORE as this very young junior agent who really is out of her depth. By the end of CONVERGENCE POINT she’s survived multiple near-death experiences, depression, the loss of friends, and come out stronger. In DECOHERENCE there are four different Sams, or rather, Sam as a POV character in four different points in her life. And she has to face herself, channel her inner Tatiana Maslany as it were.
Look, go read it! Go read the series. Things explode, there’s witty one-liners, there’s escapes and fire fights and pirate ships. It’s a fun series. Come for the explosions, stay for the clones and the cute puppies.
Wow, that definitely sounds interesting (and yay, cute puppies!) Where did your inspiration for it come from?
Almost ten years ago I saw THE FACE ON THE MILK CARTON and I wanted it to be a murder mystery. A recognition that the person in the ground is also the person narrating. THE DAY BEFORE was spun around that original idea.
CONVERGENCE POINT and DECOHERENCE simply followed the natural consequences of the characters’ choices in the first book.
What did you find most enjoyable about writing it?
Being able to write my hero as a villain was a lot of fun. Every author I know loves playing with this trope. Whether you’re writing Evil Spock or Dark Side Luke Skywalker, it’s fun to see your hero’s strengths used for evil.
It is always fun 🙂 What was the hardest part about writing it?
Finding an emotionally satisfying ending for this series without killing everyone was hard. One on hand, I knew from the start that I wanted a trilogy. On the other, finding the right ending for what the story had become, to make sure the fans got the ending they deserved, that was a lot harder to find.
In a series like this it’s tempting to go full-on Hamlet and just kill everyone, but I didn’t want that. Some named characters die. They always do, but I tried not to have deaths just for shock value. There’s a reason each character dies.
*sniffs* I suppose some of them have to. Who’s your favourite character in it? (I know, I know, favouritism!)
I should say Sam and Mac, but I have a soft spot for minor characters. Ivy Clemens, the clone version, remains my favorite minor character. Her and Agent Edwin. They’re good people who do their job, but who you still want to invite over for dinner.
Why should we run out and buy it right now? J
Look, THE DAY BEFORE opened with a body on the ground and readers have been waiting since May 2015 to learn if it’s our Sam that dies, or another Sam. Don’t you want to know who Jane Doe is?
At the end of CONVERGENCE POINT, Mac proposed to Sam on a beach in Australia, don’t you want to know if Sam said yes?
Don’t you want to read books about time travel and clones????
…if you don’t, well, go buy the book because Puppy needs more treats. You don’t want to make Puppy sad, do you?
Nooo, we can’t make puppy sad! If you’re wanting to make puppy happy (and you know, get a great book as well) here are the details:
Readers of Blake Crouch’s DARK MATTER and Wesely Chu’s TIME SALVAGER will love Liana Brooks’ DECOHERENCE–the thrilling, time-bending conclusion to the Time & Shadow series!
Samantha Rose and Linsey MacKenzie have established an idyllic life of married bliss in Australia, away from the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, away from mysterious corpses, and—most of all—away from Dr. Emir’s multiverse machine.
But Sam is a detective at heart, and even on the other side of the world, she can’t help wonder if a series of unsolved killings she reads about are related—not just to each other, but to the only unsolved case of her short career.
She knows Jane Doe’s true name, but Sam never discovered who killed the woman found in an empty Alabama field in spring of 2069. She doesn’t even know which version of herself she buried under a plain headstone.
When Mac suddenly disappears, Sam realizes she is going to once more be caught up in a silent war she still doesn’t fully understand. Every step she takes to save Mac puts the world she knows at risk, and moves her one step closer to becoming the girl in the grave.
Well, first I guess I should apologise for the lack of posts lately. Unfortunately real-life has been kicking my ass. I won’t go into too many details, but just been feeling rather down and fed-up which makes it a bit harder to ‘switch on’ the creative side. Still, it happens sometimes and we get through it x
Anyway, onto more positives! Had a lovely weekend catching up with family and things are slowly picking up this week. Back on edits and should get the next book over to my editor in the next few days. Am just working on those last little tweaks – and of course, de-Britishing it lol! My heroine is suppose to American but since I’m obviously not, all sorts of British terms and phrases tend to automatically pour out when I’m just getting the story down – and then need to be ruthlessly cut out in edits! It’s a tricky process sometimes, and while I love you Americans then sometimes you don’t just have good substitutes for certain words and phrases 😉 I think for my next one I definitely need a British main character then I can happily go nuts with the UK words lol.
Once I get this off for edits then should hopefully be able to get back to writing (well, and the other one I need to edit). I also have a cover almost finished, which I am loving – shall share soon and hopefully you’ll agree 🙂
Well, it’s back to to the day job today, but at least I have the fab D.F. Krieger dropping in. She’s talking about genre and her brand new release, Joy’s Edge – which is part of the Coming in Hot Medical Romance Box Set (if there’s one thing better than a hot medical romance, it’s a whole bunch of them, right?).
What genre do you write in and why? What drew you to it? Have you come across any difficulties, pre-conceptions or judgements because of this, and if so how have you dealt with these?
I’m actually glad you asked that. Believe it or not, I often write BDSM because I’m actually involved in the lifestyle. It upset me that there were so many books out there with preconceived ideas and notions of how BDSM works. Let me give you a couple of examples of the truth behind BDSM that you often see misrepresented. No one can just walk into a BDSM club like “Oops, teehee, I’m in a club where people are having sex? How did I get here?”
You are not allowed to touch anyone without permission. Even a sub. Especially someone else’s sub. If you do, you will get kicked out. Consent is a HUGE principle in BDSM. Period.
BDSM is not a guy beating a girl while he gets off. There are so many facets to BDSM, and so many different ways to practice. It’s a shame more people aren’t aware of it. Not all kinks are violent, nor are they “dirty.”
“No” means no, even in BDSM. The only time it doesn’t mean no is if the couple is in a scene and they’ve already agreed that no doesn’t mean no. If this is the case, I can guarantee you they’ve come up with a safe way to say a word that absolutely does mean “Stop right now. I’m not comfortable with this.” It’s called a safe word for a reason.
If you’ve never read BDSM, I suggest looking at certain authors, myself included, for a taste of the real thing. Cherise Sinclair is also a wonderful author and one day I’d like to grow up to write just as well as she does. Regardless, the point is, just because a book is popular, it doesn’t mean it’s an apt representation of its subject. Hope you’ll give us a chance to spank you via literature.
That sounds like an offer that’s hard to refuse 😉 Check out the book details here:
Joy wants two things from life—to be the best damn veterinarian possible, and to meet a Dom who can handle her deepest desires. The problem is finding a man who knows the difference between “no” and “make me.”
When a new potential Dom starts messaging her on the kink site she frequents, she’s torn between making her dreams a reality or letting her desires be nothing more than talk.
Boxed Set Blurb: Get a dose of romance, STAT! **Brand New and Exclusive** novella to novel length books. Featuring NYT, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling authors, we’re Coming In Hot with paranormal to contemporary, and sizzling to seductive bedside manners by the doctors, nurses, paramedics, and more in this boxed set.
Well, another week rolls around and I must apologise for the lack of updates. There’s been a lot going on – some good, some bad. Just over a week ago we had to say goodbye to our gorgeous furbaby. Objectively, you kind of know it’s coming, she was 16 and was diagnosed with cancer over a year ago, but I don’t there’s ever really any way to prepare for it. We’d had her from a kitten, so a long time, and must admit am feeling a little lost. Keep expecting to turn round and she’ll be walking in, or running to greet me at the door, or hopping on the bed in the middle of the night to wake me up. The quiet is unnerving and not something I think I will ever get used to. Still, if we dwell on that too much I’ll end up not being able to finish this post, so here we go.
I did say there was some good. Got to head back down to England for a good friend’s wedding and was lovely to see family and friends again, even if I probably wasn’t the most sociable. Also really appreciate since I’ve got back, friends who are keeping an eye on me, and even *shock horror* getting me out of the house. Saw a festival show on Tuesday with the fabulous Axis of Awesome, and had a fun day of Firefly-binging complete with Mudder’s Milk cocktails yesterday.
Writing-wise, it’s been going a little slowly. I’ve admitted defeat on the submission call, the deadline is tonight and it’s not going to be finished. I was attempting to get it done, but was feeling a bit rushed and forced which is not what I wanted. I am enjoying the story, so it will get finished – just in my own time and then can decide what to do with it 🙂 Going to get back to the edits this week, so hopefully will be able to announce some dates for things soon.
Apologies for the lack of posts lately, personal stuff has been happening and will try and catch you up later. For now though, it’s weekend and I have the fab Katherine McIntyre dropping by 🙂 She’s chatting about researching setting for your story, as well as her shiny new release, Scrying for Summer. Take it away Katherine!
The Adventuring Side of Book Research
One of the aspects of research I enjoy the most with my latest manuscript is work I put into investigating the setting. It’s one of the reasons I adore paranormal romance and urban fantasy, because it allows me to manipulate and twist modern day cities. What it also does is gives me an excuse to visit said places, and since I’m someone who loves adventuring, I’ll take any excuse I can get.
My latest release, Scrying for Summer, centered around Philly, which worked well for my research since I happen to live in the suburbs. The city is one train ride away, which offers the perfect opportunity to go scope out locations and investigate different areas. While I’ve driven through enough of the decay in West Philly to illustrate that aptly (it’d be way too dangerous to walk out there on my own), there were certain landmarks that cropped up in Scrying for Summer that came from my own travels.
One of the most pivotal scenes of the book takes place at the Shofuso Gardens in Fairmount Park, which my husband and I visited a couple years ago during cherry blossom season. While I could’ve chosen a ton of different locations in Philly or fantasized one up on my own, this gorgeous place has a surreal beauty to it that inspires magic. The Japanese tea garden is meticulously taken care of, and if you happen to be in the area, it’s well worth checking out. However, the wonderful part about reading is that even if you’re nowhere near the area, Scrying for Summer will transport you there.
With the third book of the series in the writing stages, I’m already scanning through my lists of new places in the city to check out in my city. I love the integrative aspect of writing this genre and how the sense memories of visiting a location can also provide a more evocative read. So to those currently stalling on a setting, take a breath outside and go for a local adventure, whether heading to your local park, unique old building, town square—anything, really. Inspiration awaits.
Great advice 🙂 If you want to check out Katherine’s new release Scrying for Summer (and get transported to Philly!) the details are here.
Jev was looking for an adventure, however she wanted the usual variety of stomping out nasty fae in the city as an enforcer of the Philly Coven. Instead, handsome as sin Liam O’Reilly shows up on her doorstep dropping news of the worst organization of fae they’d dealt with on the rise again. Except, he’s a traitor, an asshole, and the absolute last person she wants to work with.
However, the longer they work together, the more the fire between them burns, turning from rage and irritation into something primal. And as she gets to know the real Liam O’Reilly behind the charming smiles and sexy lines, he becomes so much deadlier. Because the protective, self-sacrificing man underneath his facade is just the sort she could fall for.
The start of another week and can you believe we’re into August now? This year just seems to be speeding by! I’ve had a good weekend, some friends up visiting so was lovely to catch up and ‘show them round’ 🙂 Another week and the festival will be in full flow – and the centre will be jam-packed with tourists and performers.
It does mean that I’ve not got much writing stuff though. I put in for a publishers ‘proposal call’ last week, which is rather nerve-wracking and a long wait to hear back now. I’m also working on my novella, which needs to be finished, edited and tidied up by the 15th – so I definitely need to get my butt in gear!
Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the next book in my wolves series. I’m hoping to set a release date very soon, though it’s going to be September now I think.
Hope you all have a good start to the week. Take care x