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Sunday, 15 January 2012

You have to see this!

Family Magic Book Trailer

Those of you who have been reading my blog over recent months know I have seriously fallen in love with Patti Larsen's Hayle Coven Series ... since I learned how to share Youtube videos on my blog 2 days ago I figured you all had to see this!

I think I'm abandonning my latest bedtime read tonight - AGAIN!


Thursday, 12 January 2012

Relexing Research

One of worst things about my 5-9 (or 9-5 for some) and my student life, is it tires me out. I get physically and mentally drained. My head tightens up and I have to take breaks. I actually burn out after a few hours. Hence the 5-9.

As a writer, I never feel like this. I can sit at my laptop from morning until night, or get down 10-12k words in a single session and not feel like I've worked at all. But my time is restricted and when I'm physically and mentally burnt out and when getting the words down isn't an option the writer in me still needs to work.

Where else can you watch TV and movies, listen to music, or read magazines and books and still call it research?

TV and Movies help the mind create mental pictures of situations I've never experienced myself. For example, the television show Touched by an Angel helps the imagination figure out how my Agents of Devine Intervention can guard the lives of their clients. And the Movie Marley and Me gave me an insight into the world of canine ownership as well as bringing back some incredibly painful memories over the death of my cat Kiara, that I have brought into Valentina Secrets.  

I draw a great deal of inspiration from music. Lyrics mean a lot to me and sometimes I pull a deeper understanding of a character because a particular song speaks to me about the character at that particular moment of their story. Duffy's I'm Scared instantly reminded me of Meg's situation in A Fairytale Ending? and Kelly Clarkson's You Can't Win speaks of Myleigh's awkwardness in Fake it to Make it?

The most important relaxing research, I think has to be the reading. Reading helps a writer to become a better writer. Magazines are a valuable source of information about what's selling, how to sell, techniques, tips, and books ... well... they're just fabulous source of everything. Characterisation, plot, narrative, speech, foregrounding. structure ...  I could go on and on. I read a lot within the romance genre and the romantic comedy/chick lit/women's fiction genre because it helps me understand the conventions of the genre that I write. But I also like to read outside this genre, Dan Brown, Stephenie Meyer, Martina Cole, JK Rowling are all on my list of authors outside my usual reads. I also pick up lesser known authors and since being involved with writing communities online indie authors make my bookshelf too.

Many people tell me to take it easy, watch I'm not taking on too much as a student, writer and responsible adult but my writing life gives me the best of both worlds. I get to relax and research at the same time.


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Post 2011 - Who am I? Where am I going in 2012?

This blog post is 10 days later than it usually is. My non-alcoholic NYE celebrations allow me to be up bright an early on the 1st January to reflect on the year gone by, aim high for the year to come and to wish you all a prosperous new year. A belated Happy New Years by the way :-)
Last year I wrote:

Broken New Years Resolutions

To find a publisher for Life's A Ball - I have to finish it first.

To start writing and submitting my short stories for publication.
To keep on top of my blog entries and social networking and Internet marketing. They're important.
To find more readers and get more feedback for my work.
New Year's resolutions 2011
See above!

Well, I did finish Life's A Ball. I put it in a drawer and re read it found a few problems, re drafted it. Put it back in the drawer. I've been waiting to have it professionally edited.Short stories... well, I didn't think I was a short story writer until I knocked out 600 words at 2am for a university task and the feedback was 'easily the strongest task showing originality and flair in style of writing'. The introduction of university life has meant I haven't been able to keep on top of blogging or social networking, or finding more readers or getting more feedback on my work.

New Years Resolutions for 2012...

This year is different, there has been a monumental shift in my prospective brought on by a couple of life changing events. Firstly, yes I'm sorry I have to say the forbidden M word. migraines. They're here to stay. Between June and October I was suffering the most I have ever before including an over zealous doctor who thought maybe one migraine had caused permanent brain damage and sent me to see the stroke team. Now I have a tremor in my right hand from the recurrent loss of sensation down my right side. But the new meds are working fantastically and apart from the side affects and the occasional migraine I feel like my old self from pre migraine 2010 once again.
Secondly, my decision to go to university and pursue something that really interests me, my back up plan has really interfered with my writing life. I'm a student, but I'm also a responsible adult with bills and a mortgage. I have to work. And therefore I'm an employee. Writing is being pushed further down my list of priorities.... whoa! Stop right there! This should not be happening. How do I make it stop?

I've read a couple of really interesting posts this week that have really made me think about who I am and where I want to go in 2012.

Dean Wesley Smith wrote about writers vs authors. 12 months ago I was an author. Even though Life's A Ball? was one of five novels in The Pink Ribbon Collection. My focus was and has really only ever been about Life's A Ball? In the past four weeks alone I have had more ideas for novels than I've known what to do with. I've simply had to open a new folder on my desktop, jot a brief outline of idea down before returning to my current work in progress, Valentina Secrets: When In Vegas. I have planned three novels in the Valentina Secrets series and I have redrafted the plans for the three novels in the Devine Intervention Series and added a fourth. Not to mention I have the four remaining novels of the Pink Ribbon Collection, The four Starlight novels, single titles Finding Holly and Tinsel and Tiaras, and now I have fourteen other ideas currently waiting further development in my ideas folder. In Dean Wesley Smith terms I am definitely a writer. So in 2012 I need to remain focused on finishing one project before moving on to the next.

Kimberly Kinrade wrote about getting published. Is this the year I get published? I certainly hope so, or I fail one of my personal goals to be published before the big 30. This post didn't tell me anything I didn't already know but it cemented the fundamentals of being successful in publishing whether you self-publish or go mainstream. Its good to be reminded of whats important every now and again... there maybe things you neglect... like a certain website left half transformed due to the forbidden m word... mentioning no www-dots ( LOL. So in 2012 I must remember the fundamentals to success in getting published.

India Drummond wrote about her choice to move away from mainstream and the success she's had with indie publishing. It wasn't the success that inspired me, but the planning and the targeting and the thinking beyond year one. Another author friend of mine Patti Larsen wrote about planning back in September during the To Be or Not To Be discussions, but I guess maybe I wasn't ready to listen, or to busy to hear what she was saying. But in 2012 and beyond planning is the key.

So who am I? and where am I going in 2012?

I'm a writer with a fascination for digital communication and web design driven to become a mature student and trapped in the world of paid employment. As the new semester begins and asphyxiates my free time I must plan my days wisely and ensure my writing life not only survives but flourishes. The steps I take today will change what I do tomorrow, next week, next month, and even next year. With this in mind I my aim is to write a plan not for this year but for the next three years. No more writing resolutions. The countdown to my personal goal has begun.


Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Wild: Patti Larsen - Book Review

So Santa Claus brought me a Kindle for Christmas and I've been itching to try it out... but with University and my part time job my writing time it limited - I've been saving my procrastination days for the excitement that is Patti Larsen's The Hayle Coven Series.

Just as you'd expect with so much heartbreak at the end of book 3 The Wild (Book 4) is tense from right the start. Syd and her mum receive the warning in Chapter 1 Syd is going to bring trouble to the coven once more. But why would she? Syd has everything she ever wanted right? She's powerless, ergo... She's normal! Without the magical complication her love triangle has just been made so much simpler and there are no coven duties to interfere with her social life. Syd's about to learn a valuable lesson in life... whether a witch, a demon, a daughter, a sister, a friend... a girlfriend... or a centuries old Sidhe princess... whoever... its the being a teenager and having no control that sucks.

Its time to take some action Syd style! Not the insecure little girl who didn't know what she was doing we met in Family Magic. Not the frustrated teen who couldn't quite control what was going on Witch Hunt. Not the scared young lady who shied away from her ability in Demon Child. But a determined and mature young woman with no access to any magic but ready to fight for her cause anyway.  

Cast your mind over the three books before, everything that once was significant and seems forgotten is not. You don't need to have read these books to read The Wild, although I most certainly recommend you do for the sheer pleasure of it all. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the tiny attention to the details that keep these books real is amazing. The ending is both sad and yet so painfully real I wanted to cry for Syd.

Well I could go on all day! So sad my time with Sydlynn Hayle appears to have come to an end. But excited Patti is introducing a new Hayle shortly with Smoke and Magic.

5/5 -  Come on, would you expect I'd give it anything less?

The Wild is available for Kindle and other Digital Editions


The Hayle Coven Novels - reviews you may have missed

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The Legal Bit

All characters have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation to anyone baring the same name. They are not inspired by an individual known or unknown by the author and all incidents are pure invention.

The articles, excerpts, and other written work published under the pseudonym Erin Cawood are copyright protected by the author. Guest articles are published by arrangement and also copyright protected by the guest author.

Images of Erin Cawood are provided by Paul Miguel Photography.

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