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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Book Series or Stand Alone's: Which Have More Success?



Over the past five years as a writer, I've seen a lot of discussions on this topic and a lot of success stories from authors on both sides of the coin. It's also made me think of another question - does it depend which genre you write in?

All the really famous writers including Janet Evanovich and Lee Child have had huge success with their book series. Who hasn't heard of Stephanie Plum or Jack Reacher? But writers like Danielle Steel have had huge success with stand alone novels.

People may expect crime thrillers to be in the form of serials. Lee Child has written twenty Jack Reacher books in his series, so no wonder he's had phenomenal success and it's the same story with Janet Evanovich.

But does that mean you can only write serials in crime and stand alone's in romance?

What do you think?


I've made my book: Confessions of a Webcam Model  FREE THIS WEEKEND! That's the 28th-30th March. Grab your copy while you can! Just follow to links on my blog to the appropriate page. Happy reading!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

How Can Writers Research Taboo Subjects?





Here in the 21st century life is impossible if you can't access the Internet. Everything now depends on modern technology and pretty soon you'll need the World Wide Web to make a simple cup of tea.

As so much information is now available on the Internet, libraries are becoming obsolete and other research methods are taking a back seat to the computer.

All this may sound fantastic but as writers this is a potentially terrifying concept. Imagine you're the next Stephen King and you have to research a particularly gruesome murder. How are you going to do this without putting the authorities on high alert?

Gone are the days where people could innocently make a mistake on the Web. Every phrase you type is instantly recorded on your browser history, so how is the sentence how to make a bomb going to look to the FBI?

Now, as I just write chick lit, I can sleep well at night. But to other writers this issue must play on their minds. So many terrorism groups exist in Cyberspace that just the mere hint of something suspicious will be enough to wave several red flags in the government's security department.

And if officials do pay you a visit, are they going to be satisfied when you tell them you're just an unknown writer and that your next book happens to be about Islamic State?

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Do Real Life Events Affect Your Writing?





Writers are prone to living in a bubble. We work by ourselves with limited interaction from the outside world. And occasionally, it can be hard to separate dreams from reality until an event from the real world occurs.

We can be so removed from this world that such an event can feel like a meteorite has hit the Earth. The effects can last for months, even when it's clear the episode is over.

I was happily living in such a bubble until Christmas day when I decided that a lump I'd had for a while had gotten considerably bigger.

Now most people assume the worst when they discover a lump and they automatically think of cancer, but as I am only twenty-nine with no family history of such disease, I didn't jump to that conclusion. Besides, I'm a healthy weight, don't smoke and don't drink that much so I wasn't in any high risk category.

Only when the doctor said she was going to send me to see a specialist straight away under urgent care did I start to panic. She said she didn't think the lump was anything nasty but better to be safe than sorry. By this stage I thought it would be too late if it was anything nasty.

I went to the hospital, trying not to panic. The specialist sent me for a biopsy and an ultrasound after saying he was absolutely convinced it would be nothing to worry about. He said he was sure it was a fibroadenoma, a benign lump which is common in my age group. Never the less as it was so big, I'd have to have it out regardless.

Fortunately the results came back and it wasn't cancer. I had it removed, feeling extremely lucky that the lump was just benign. Even so, I'm still quite shaken by the whole thought of the results coming back as something else, especially as I met someone my age who has had aggressive cancer. Twelve months later she's had chemotherapy and seems to be all right. But even though you don't expect to have cancer in your twenties it can still happen.

So now my ordeal is over (it could have been much worse, so I'm still thankful,)  I'm even more focused on my writing and living life as much as I possibly can.

Now it's over to you. Has any event occurred in your life that's made you determined to see things through?

Saturday, 27 December 2014

2014: The Year I Finished My Fifth Book





As 2014 is drawing to a close, I'm celebrating with yet another goal of finishing my second chick lit book - my fifth book overall.

This year has been productive for me. I started my fourth book in January and released that in late May. Then I started Second Time Around in June and this past week has seen me complete the first draft. This time the book's plot-line is focused on romance and even though chick-lit can sometimes be predictable, I always try to finish my novels with a twist.

I think I'm going to take a well earned break until the new year before I make the necessary alterations and just generally tidy things up before I send the manuscript over to my editor. Right now, my brain is kind of frazzled and I definitely feel burned out so I think a rest is my best option. After all, I have written two full length novels this year so what normal person wouldn't feel worn out?

The plan for 2015 is to outline and write my sixth book. I haven't decided on the title for that yet but I know the genre is going to be chick-lit.

So, what are your plans for the coming year and have you achieved your goals for 2014? I vaguely remember this time last year saying that I wanted to write my fourth book - Confessions of a Webcam Model and plan out Second Time Around. But back then I didn't know whether I'd have enough time to actually write that book as well.



Saturday, 22 November 2014

Character v Plot Driven Novels: Which Should You Be Writing?






This is an email I sent to my editor last week:


I see an awful lot of information about character v plot driven novels on the Internet and it got me wondering - are my books character or plot driven?

And ...

Do you think certain genres demand a book to be one or the other? I'm reading a chick lit book at the moment that seems to be character driven and if I come to think about it most chick lit novels I've read seem to be this way. Although I can imagine most thrillers would be plot driven as they're usually fast paced etc.

Which begs a further question ... if my books are plot driven - do you think I should be writing them this way if I continue to write chick lit?

So, one question has turned into three.

Help, dear editor! :)

His response was extremely detailed. In fact, he hit the nail on the head. He states all my books are character driven and if I continue to write chick lit then this is how all of them should be.

But, what do you think about the issue I've raised? Should certain genres be written in a certain way or do you think that it would be a refreshing change to have plot driven women's fiction or character driven thrillers?

I am eager to hear your thoughts ...


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Celebrating My First Amazon.com Royalty Cheque







I published my first book Secret Confessions of a Backpacker: My Adventure Down Under on April 16th 2011. A year later on August 17th 2012, I published its sequel: Secret Confessions of a Backpacker: My Maple Leaf Adventure and by that time I was hell bent on having a career as a writer.

Since then a lot has happened. I've published two more books in different genres and I'm half way through writing my fifth book. In fact, I've spent so many months just solely focused on writing, I've forgotten the fact that I'm actually selling these books as well.

When I first started writing the 99 cent ebook was extremely popular. Writers like Amanda Hocking and J.A. Konrath said such pricing methods had enabled them to make a fortune.

Back then I was more like a sponge than a person. I wanted to soak up as much information as I could and that sort of price for an ebook seemed like a good idea to me.

After all, ebooks should be cheaper than print books. All you have to do with an electronic book is download it onto your reading device. There's no paper and ink involved, resulting in no printing costs.

As my first two books are aimed at backpackers, I've decided to keep the price low, so it's no wonder it's taken so long for my Amazon.com account to be credited with the minimum of $100.00, especially when at that price Amazon takes 70% of the cut. Don't get me wrong, I've made money from the other Amazon sites across the world, but until recently, I haven't sold that many books in the States. Plus, I get paid electronically from all the other Amazon sites and they don't have a minimum amount to reach, either.

So, to get back to my original point - the actual title of my blog post - I received my first royalty cheque from Amazon.com last week and I wasn't even here to open it!!! Instead my partner took the task upon himself and text me the good news. I was down in Cornwall at the time, picture shown above, enjoying a rare holiday with my mother.

Finally, I can say I have received my first official cheque for my writing. I am now a real author, receiving royalty cheque proceeds from my books. Books which complete strangers overseas have bought and read.

It is a fantastic feeling. Here's to the next three and a half years. I might have received another cheque by then!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Are Writers Prone to Telepathic Communications?



It's funny. You can grow up for years with people and with some you're so out of synch. But sometimes you don't have to meet a person to have a telepathic relationship. For example, I haven't met my editor: we don't even live in the same country. But there are times when he'll just pop into my mind and the very next minute I'll have an email from him. And vice versa. 

Weird ...

But as a writer is this an 'normal' thing to experience? Should I list this skill on my C.V to impress potential employers?

After all, I communicate with my book's characters every day. They may not exist or be on show for anyone else, but I see them clearly in my mind. And I believe authors have to make their characters behave in a way that their readers would expect. If you want to be a writer who connects with people, you have to draw characters who are capable of showing human emotion. 

I believe you have to be in tune with people to write well. You have to be a good judge of how people are going to react and in my experience it is these sort of people who are more prone to this sort of phenomena.

So, please share your experiences. Are you prone to telepathic communication?