Writerly Thoughts #Writerslife

Hey, welcome back!

How are you? I’m good. Here are my writerly thoughts from last week:

  • I listened to a few podcasts on song writing. Before you all grip the edge of your seat and gasp – ‘OMG Lucy’s going to be the first romcom author to write a pop song’ – I can assure you I didn’t listen to them for that purpose. I was interested in the creative song writing process. I find listening to other creators talking about how they bring things (art / music / books) to life really interesting. My favourite was the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast on Spotify and ‘How Harry Styles Made ‘Harry’s House’ – Kid Harpoon, producer song writer. I loved listening about how ideas for songs are born, how the creative process can be as chaotic as writing, how they take pieces of songs they wrote years ago and slot them into new songs to make something which works, how they will revise again and again, how they build a body of work over time and how some songs take months, even years and some take days. So much of this is the same for writing.
  • Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book, ‘Big Magic‘ was right about when a magical idea comes knocking, you have three options. This idea will try to get your attention. A lot of the time you won’t notice it as you’ll be too wrapped up in a funny TikTok, the book you’re reading, a conversation with someone or shopping. If you do recognise it the idea will ask – do you want to work with me? If you don’t fulfil your half of the invisible contract it will go find somebody else. In 2020 I had an idea for a book. It was a detailed idea with an unusual premise. I wrote it out in a notebook with the title, plot and synopsis. Then a pandemic got in the way and my idea sat in a notebook for two years. Clearly the idea viewed the pandemic as a rubbish excuse for me not fulfilling my part of the contract and it went to find a new home. New ideas are so disloyal. Last week I saw my idea on Twitter – someone else had been contacted by the EXACT same idea. They had gone further and written a book with my title and premise. All credit to that writer 👏🏻👏🏻 The fault here is all mine. I had locked it away in a notebook with a vague promise of a return. The bit which really made me angry at myself was that the other writer had secured a book deal. The moral of the story – don’t trust new story ideas and don’t think cute story ideas will be happy to sit and look pretty for two years in a dusty old notebook. Sigh!

  • First rule of writing: hoard notebooks. Second rule of writing: never write in your 28 notebooks that you have hoarded
  • I had an amazing new idea come to me in the frozen aisle of the supermarket last week. It asked me to work with it by the frozen breaded turkey burgers. All my ideas come to me in the freezer section of a supermarket. Most arrive as I am reaching for the fish fingers but this one pinged in as I gazed longingly at the freezer food. Now that I have been betrayed by a new idea (see above) I am wary of them. I have written it down in a notebook and I plan to write it next. Watch this space.
  • I will leave you with a photo of a supermarket freezer aisle in case any of you are struggling with new ideas. The colder the better. Good bye my friend – until next week!

#AmWriting #GuestPost – My Unsupportive Ex, Imposter Syndrome @elodiegarroway

I am thrilled to bring you a super guest blog post from a romance author who I think is brilliant – Élodie Garroway. I am a fan of her romance stories and I am excited she’s here today on my blog putting a unique twist on Imposter Syndrome.

Please welcome Élodie Garroway.

Hi everyone.

If you’ve ever tried to create something, you’ve heard the term “Imposter Syndrome.” Imposter Syndrome is feeling like your skills and talents are in doubt, not by others but by you.

I’ve been having a not-so-secret affair with imposter syndrome since I was seventeen.

I had secured an audition for a school of music I wanted to attend. It wasn’t a perfect audition but I got in. I was proud until I realized I was one of two trombone players. I got in because of what I played, not what I could do– quantity over quality.

And that is how I met my unsupportive Ex, Imposter Syndrome. It didn’t matter if everything it said was lies. I believed it. It ate at my confidence. It invaded my speech, my actions. In spite of it, I graduated top five.

I made it. Right? That ish was over?

I wish.

This Ex invaded every aspect of my life and I unknowingly made it room, questioning how I was raising my son, teaching my students, and yes, my writing.

And I am not its only relationship, maybe you know it too?

So how do we do ensure we never get back together, even though they keep coming back?

Keep telling yourself you are amazing until you believe it.

There is nothing more powerful than positive self-talk. Remember it’s you. You feed the syndrome and let it pay rent in your mind. Naturally only you can keep it at bay. You have to decide to not feed it anymore. Just like you tell that ex that you aren’t getting back together, you have to tell yourself, “I’ve got this. I can write. My words are worth reading.”

Surround yourself with positive people.

It’s hard to make headway if the inner voice doesn’t match the out voices. Maybe those who love you can’t get on board with your “hobby.” That’s okay because we exist. Who’s we? Why the writing community of course! Trust me, if you have a genre, there is a group for you. Just find us. We want to meet you and support you!

Prove yourself wrong over and over again.

The Ex won’t stop calling with nasty comments? Fine. Prove it wrong. Do you doubt your world-building abilities? Take a class or ask a fellow writer for help, find a way to learn and improve. Then what can the voice say? Challenge that voice and make its argument worthless.

Do what scares you.

Don’t be the one holding you back. It is scary to put yourself out there. I put it off for years. I didn’t hit the top of anything the first time I published solo. Heck, I still haven’t. That doesn’t mean I should give up. What I should do is put myself out there again.

You should too. Even if you get a negative response. Then go back to number three and now prove them wrong. Keep doing what scares you, it’s the only way to move forward.

And break up with Imposter Syndrome. It never did anything for you anyway.

Author bio

Élodie’s first taste of reality came from her Southern upbringing.  She climbed majestic Dogwoods, chased fireflies, and ran from mosquitoes and no-see-ems.  This idyllic world helped her see beauty, love and magic all come with a cost.  That never stopped her from dreaming big!

Life continued to reinforce its duality – she overcame personal trials that would threaten her life and her vision.  Dreams don’t die easily, so she pushed through and found a way to share the love stories that kept her on the lighter side of life.

She also managed to find her brooding prince and against all odds, have the most wonderful son with an imagination that rivals hers.  Proving once again, the price of love is always worth it!

Grab a mason jar of lemonade and let Elodie Garroway show you the ups and downs of real love, so you can Capture the Feeling.

Élodie’s contact links

Élodie’s Website: https://elodiegarroway.com
Learning to Love Again: https://books2read.com/u/mYZGQM
Joyeux Noël, Elinor: https://books2read.com/u/3yeadL
Falling for Farris: https://books2read.com/u/b6OvW0

Author Interview – Bettina Hunt @BeautySwot #romance #amwriting

A few creative moons ago I read, Without a Hitch, by a romance author called Bettina Hunt. From the start of the book I loved her humour, her relatable characters and her take on romantic comedy. I went onto read one of her other novels; A Tempting Trio, and laughed so much at her hilarious book I nearly fell off my chair. Since then I have become a bit of a Bettina Hunt author superfan. She still hasn’t managed to shake me off – lol.

In real life she’s one of the funniest people I know and always makes me smile. Now that her fabulous new book, High Heels on the Beach, is out I have persuaded her to come on my blog.

I thought it would be fun to do an author interview so you can all find out more about Bettina Hunt.

Please welcome one of my favourite romantic comedy & women’s fiction authors, Bettina Hunt.

Hello, thanks for having me on your blog, it’s such an honour!

  1. Bettina – can you tell us about yourself?

Such a difficult first question, Lucy!

I’m a forty something writer of romcoms and women’s fiction. I have two young boys and I can tell you that homeschooling them during Covid was certainly not an easy thing as one thing I’ve never wanted to be is a teacher, huge respect to those who are!

I used to work in product management however, at one time I was thinking of becoming a lawyer… that attention to detail that I learnt during my law degree has held me in good stead 😉

As a gemini I have so many interests, I can be known to be indecisive but the one thing I knew was that I always wanted to write in some capacity. I started writing a blog about beauty and afternoon tea when I was at home with my eldest boy and then added a Friday Column so that I could share my poetry and short stories. My first book – A Tempting Trio – was originally a short story on my blog.

I’ve published four books and partially written another five. My ultimate dream is to have at least one of my books made into a film. I would also love to be part of a comedy writing team, writing either comedy sketches or a sitcom (i’m not fussy!) Sharon Horgan is one of my favourite writers and she’s written two of my favourite TV Shows – Catastrophe and Motherland. Most recently I’ve become obsessed with the BBC ONE series This Is My House. It’s a brilliant concept, so entertaining and funny.

Just before lockdown I also discovered Schitt’s Creek which is the ultimate heartwarming, feelgood comedy series. With perfectly written characters that evolve beautifully as the series plays out I laughed and cried. It’s the best series ever.

  1. Tell us about your new book?

High Heels on the Beach is a heartwarming contemporary romantic comedy set in both London and the fictional seaside town of Sunny Bay. It tells the story of Becca who’s used to letting her bestie make decisions for her in a twist on the Choose Your Own Story books that they used to read. When her world comes crumbling down, Becca realises she needs to stop relying on others and take control of her own destiny. Her planned voyage of self-discovery is thwarted by the need for her to return to the one place she’s been avoiding, home. In Sunny Bay she’s forced to take on the running of the family’s B&B, bringing her face to face with old flames and adversaries and meeting a host of colourful residents at the B&B. The story follows Becca’s emotional journey and her struggle between the pull of her old corporate life and a new life in Sunny Bay.

  1. Where did the idea for the book come from?

I actually got the idea when I was on holiday in Spain. I was looking around at the people by the pool and wondered how many of them were not looking forward to getting back to their jobs and the idea spiralled from there. I had planned to start writing it during NanoWrimo in November, however I felt compelled to write as soon as I got home and wrote 30,000 words during the Summer Holidays.

  1. When you are not writing books what do you like doing?

Most of this hasn’t been possible since COVID struck but … I love going out for afternoon tea, eating out and enjoying cocktails. I love going on mini breaks. I love the theatre, the west end shows. I love watching comedy shows on TV to lift my spirits. And I LOVE to sing 🙂 just for me mostly although I do lip syncs on Instagram too.

  1. Best piece of writing advice you have ever been given?

You have to turn on the tap to let the water flow AND you can’t edit an empty page.

  1. How long have you been writing books?

I wrote my first full book in 2015 but i’ve always had ideas bouncing around in my head. Still do. Every day in fact. Especially when I’m doing the washing up or in bed, trying to sleep.

  1. What book are you reading at the moment.

I’m reading a romcom (not much of a surprise there!) called The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent. It’s made me laugh out loud so that’s a good sign.

  1. Who are your favourite authors and why?

I love Lucy Vine for making me laugh out loud. Milly Johnson’s books are like a cuddle, warm and funny with fantastic characters. John Grisham for page turning suspense – My favourite book of his was The Runaway Jury. More recently I’ve discovered JP Delaney for thrillers. But honestly I read so many wonderful books that I wish I could give them all a shout out.

9.Favourite social media channel?

Twitter I think – I love how instant it is and I love to talk and chat, connect with people 🙂

  1. Favourite romance film?

How can I choose! I love romantic films and even better if they make me laugh… But if I really, really, had to choose – Okay I have 3 films in mind.

Some Kind of Wonderful made me cry buckets and has some fantastic lines in it. My two favourite romcoms are Sweet Home Alabama and You’ve Got Mail. I could happily watch all three over and over again.

Decision shy Becca is used to her best friend making decisions for her, but after a disastrous 30th birthday, London living Becca realises she needs to stop relying on others and take control of her own destiny.

With her life plans in tatters, she’s forced to return home to the quiet seaside town of Sunny Bay and the family’s B&B, where the bedrooms are covered in chintz and her mother is still serving up culinary delights from the 1970s. Adamant that she’s not staying, Becca embarks on a soul-searching trip to Europe.

She’s barely stepped foot abroad before a family crisis sees her back in Sunny Bay and in charge of the B&B. Coming face to face with old flames and adversaries, Becca’s reminded why she left and is determined to get back to her old life in London.

But when the mysterious Madame DoTell, fortune teller to the stars, insists that home is where the heart is, Becca begins to wonder if she should listen…

If home is where the heart is, where is home?

High Heels on the Beach is a light-hearted and fun packed Summer tale perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk.

Book purchase link: click here.

Author Newsletters – My Top 10 Tips @eroyalauthor #MondayBlogs

I have been threatening to do a newsletter for sometime but haven’t felt like I know enough about the subject to whip one up. So, you can imagine my excitement when historical romance author Emily Royal told me she had a guest blog post for me on the subject of newsletters. Now, I am on Emily’s newsletter distribution list and I love them. They’re filled with photos, info on her new books and a lot of Emily Royal book vibes.

This blog post is packed full of Emily’s top 10 tips for newsletters and I am so grateful she’s here today.

Right I know you are keen to read on. Please give a warm welcome to Emily Royal:

Many authors have a newsletter, and you might be wondering whether it’s worth the effort—or even what it involves. A newsletter is basically an e:mail which is sent to a list of people who have signed up to hear from you, and could be anything between a couple of paragraphs, to something a bit longer with images and links. The benefit of having a newsletter is the direct contact with readers—you’re not advertising through Facebook or Amazon, or using a service which sends details of your book out to its own list (such a bookbub)—you’re contacting your own readers, so you have total control over what they read, and when they get it. To me, a certified control freak, that sounds ideal.

Continue reading

5 Tips For Writing Comedy @AnnaBell_Writes #AmWriting #Romcom

I am super excited because the author of heart-warming and funny romantic comedies Anna Bell has come to take over my blog today. She’s going to share with us her tips on writing comedy and I am hoping she will also tell us about her book which I can’t wait to read as it sounds fab.

Please give a warm welcome to Anna Bell:

Hello everyone,

Here are my top 5 tips for writing comedy:


1 – Belief
One of the hardest things about writing comedy is believing in yourself. Jokes are subjective, and they’re also personal. Sometimes writing comedy and exposing what you think is funny can make you feel vulnerable. But chances are if you find it funny then someone else will too. I don’t think there is anything nicer, both in real life or in your writing, than making someone laugh.


2– First Drafts don’t have to be funny

It’s very easy to get hung-up on making everything you write sound witty, but you have to remember that your readers are there just as much for the story as they are for the laughs. It’s almost easier to add humour on the next draft when you can spot if you’ve got clusters or deserts of funny scenes. On the second draft, when you know your characters better, you’re more likely to understand what pushes their buttons and how they’d react in any situation, making it easier for you to imagine the humorous situations they could find themselves in.


3– There is a fine line between funny and cringey

This is one of the hardest things to get right when writing comedy. It’s also a line that changes from reader to reader too. One person’s threshold for rolling on the floor in hysterics is another’s basis for a one-star review. One of the ways to avoid it being too cringey is to try and build reader empathy with the character, so that if the reader cringes, they cringe with the character, not at him or her.

4 – Make scenarios relatable
Watching stand-up comedians with live audiences is a great way to see what people find funny. Quite often it’s the most mundane things that people find the funniest, the jokes about extended family or ordinary situations that everyone finds themselves in. It’s often easier to relate to humour if you can imagine it could happen to you. It’s worth remembering this when writing. Scenes that are too over the top or unbelievable can seem like they’re trying too hard to get laughs.

5 – Outside the Room
Watching sit-coms can also help you learn how to write comedy. Shows like Frasier give excellent lessons in comic timing and build-up. There is nearly always a final big comedic scene that the whole episode builds up to, but to get the laughs you need to understand what has driven each character to react in the particular way they do. When you are writing a big scene with an ensemble cast, it’s worth bearing that in mind. What has happened to each of your characters prior to this scene? What is their mood? What has led them to the point they’re at? If the audience are in on the joke and understand why the character is reacting in the way they are, it makes it funnier. But you don’t always have to signpost the events that happen outside the room either. If you’ve got a big ensemble scene having someone other than the main characters arrive in the aftermath of an argument, or guarding a secret, can add to the humour and tension too. Usually that storyline would play alongside the big main event that’s happening to the protagonist, and the poor protagonist is left trying to put out fires from all sides, ramping up the humour.

Follow Anna on Twitter: AnnaBell_writes Instagram: anna_bell_writes
Anna’s latest novel is The Man I Didn’t Marry and it’s out now.


Ellie has the perfect life: a happy marriage, a gorgeous daughter and a baby on the way. But when her husband Max develops amnesia, he forgets everything about the last five years . . . including their relationship.
Now the man she said ‘I do’ to has become a stranger, and she has no idea why. Yet Ellie is determined to reconnect and find her Max again – he has to be in there somewhere, right?

As they get to know one another afresh, Ellie finds herself seeing Max clearly for the first time. But then she discovers that before his memory loss, Max was keeping a huge secret from her. Will their new beginning prove to be a false start, just as it seemed they might fall in love all over again?

Amazon
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Man-Didnt-Marry-heart-warming-hilarious-ebook/dp/B086VWRWZY

#BookReview #2021reads Beneath Cornish Skies @KateRyder_Books

Firstly I am back after my festive blogging break and I would like to wish all of you a happy and healthy 2021. I have some amazing stuff lined up for my blog this year. Lots of fab books to be reviewed, loads of funny writing tales, some inspiring guest bloggers, and news of my next book 😯 More details to follow so watch this space.

Secondly, I will be posting a writing related post on here tomorrow.

Thirdly I am back with a FABULOUS read for you – ❤️ this book from Kate Ryder. If this isn’t on your 2021 to be read pile – get it on there!

Here’s the blurb:

Beneath Cornish Skies


To an outsider, Cassandra Shaw’s life looks perfect. She lives in a beautiful, luxurious house in the English countryside, with a handsome, wealthy boyfriend who insists she needn’t do a day’s work in her life. But Cassie knows that something is not right. Her boyfriend has grown colder, treating her more like a housekeeper than a future wife. And her time feels empty and purposeless.

Cassandra has always been riddled with insecurities and self-doubt, but, just for once, she decides to take a chance on a new beginning. She answers an advert for a live-in nanny, dog walker, cook and all-round ‘Superhuman’ for a family living in a rambling manor house on the rugged North Cornish coast. The work is hard and tiring, but Cassie has never felt so fulfilled.

As Cassie learns to connect with the natural beauty unfolding around her, Cornwall starts to offer up its secrets. Soon, Cassie starts wondering if she was drawn to this isolated part of the coast for a reason. Why was she guided to Foxcombe Manor? What are the flashes of light she sees in the valley? Is it her imagination or does someone brush past her? And who is the mysterious man living deep in the woods?

A beautiful romance with a hint of ghostliness, Beneath Cornish Skies is for anyone who has ever longed to start their lives again.

Here’s my review:

Wow – what a read!

This book is breathtaking in terms of setting and atmosphere. Kate Ryder does an amazing job in whisking you, the reader, away to the beautiful northern coast of Cornwall and the stunning Sussex Downs. if you are struggling with lockdown and need fictional escapism – read this. I felt like I was there.

I loved this book because it had all the ingredients for a great story, one heroine who needed to reclaim herself, one troubled and mysterious potential love interest a large serving of gorgeous scenery, a spoonful of romance and a sprinkling of Cornish magic.

Cassie is the heroine and her experiences at the hands of her controlling partner, David, tugged at my heartstrings. I loved her journey of self discovery which started after she replied to a magazine ad.

The romance is slow burn but I think that was needed as this story was more about Cassie finding her authentic self again after years of David’s controlling ways.

There are a few twists and turns in the story which kept my interest too.

This was just the sort of inspiring book I wanted to read.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/364FTKy

Author Bio –
Kate Ryder is an award-winning, Amazon Kindle international best seller who writes timeslip and romantic suspense in a true-to-life narrative. On leaving school she studied drama but soon discovered her preference for writing plays rather than performing them! Since then, she has worked in the publishing, tour operating and property industries, and has travelled widely.

Kate is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. In 2017, she signed a 4-book contract with Aria (digital imprint of award-winning independent publisher, Head of Zeus).

Summer in a Cornish Cove, a contemporary romantic suspense set on the Lizard Peninsula, gained her a nomination for the RNA’s 2018 Joan Hessayon award, while its standalone sequel, Cottage on a Cornish Cliff, reached the heady heights of #2 in Kindle Literary Sagas.

‘Secrets of the Mist’, a mysterious timeslip romance, not only achieved #1 Kindle best seller flags in the UK, Canada and Australia, but also reached #49 in Amazon UK Paid Kindle. In the original, self-published version (The Forgotten Promise) it was awarded the first Chill with a Book “Book of the Month”.

Originally hailing from the South East of England, today Kate lives on the Cornish side of the beautiful Tamar Valley with her husband and a collection of animals.

Social Media Links –
Author website: http://www.kateryder.me
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateRyder_Books
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kateryder.author
Instagram: @kateryder_author

Don’t miss tomorrow’s writing post – it is a cracker!

A Job Description For The Writer’s Pet #amwriting

Sometimes, the best part about writing is that my dog is always snoring nearby, offering sleepy moral support as I sit at my desk, agonizing over my latest fictional romance.

Lots of well known writers have had pet sidekicks; Charles Dickens’ cherished animal companion was a raven named Grip, Edgar Allan Poe was a cat-person and his pet feline was named Catterina, John Steinbeck had a dog named Charley and Virginia Woolf had a dog who was called Pinka.

So, I have been thinking about what sort of qualities are needed for a writer’s pet. Here’s how I think a job description for a writer’s pet might look…

Vacancy For A Writer’s Pet.

About The Role:

Animal / bird / fish / reptile needed to provide long-term emotional and creative support to a writer.

Hours:

Can vary each week. Dependent upon a number of factors:

The writer’s feelings towards their writing.
The writer’s procrastination levels.
The amount of emotional support a writer gets from a human loved one. If they don’t get enough emotional support from a loved one, their pet, will have to step in and do overtime.

Location:

This is a live in role with the writer.

Key Duties / Responsibilities:

  • Must be able to look alert at the start and at the end of the writer’s 678th recital of their first chapter.
  • Must be able to sense the writer is strugging with chapter twenty-two of their draft novel and allow the writer to sob hysterically into their fur or up against their cage / fishbowl.
  • Must be able to silently listen and not give judgment on the dodgy mid section of their writer’s new draft novel which is as saggy as their pet bed.
  • Must be able to break wind at key moments and distract the writer from their frantic typo search.
  • Must be able to look ‘cute’ at short notice and willing to star in Instagram pics when the writer is busy procrastinating.
  • Must be skilled at snoring gently while the writer is writing into the early hours.
  • Must be willing to be named after one of the literary greats or one of the writer’s characters. If it’s the latter, they must accept that their pet name could be changed at the drop of a hat should the writer decide they hate their story.
  • Must be willing to accept the writer will be constantly creating imaginary and elaborate lives for them. These imaginary lives can vary with each writer and will be dependent upon the writer’s preferred genre. The pet might find they spent many years travelling across magical lands, fought in a great battle and were a stowaway on a famous voyage before they came to live with the writer. It’s important the pet just plays along with this.
  • Must be willing to sit and listen to the writer’s literary woes.
  • Must be able to keep the writer’s keyboard warm when they are away from their desk.
  • Must be willing to bark, mieow or hiss at the mention of the writer’s book title.
  • Must be willing to feature in their writer’s stories and novels.
  • Must get the urge to chew up the writer’s paper manuscript or walk muddy paws over it whilst the writer’s back is turned.
  • Must be willing to perform amusing animal stunts or tricks for inclusion within the writer’s tweets, blog posts and author newsletters.
  • Must accept that the writer will regularly ask them questions like, “what do you think about that chapter…my reviewers thought the start was a little weak…your thoughts?” and “what do you think about my foreshadowing?” and “do you think I will ever be an international best-selling author?”

About you:

  • You will be a loyal and patient animal / bird / fish / reptile.
  • At times you will understand your writer owner better than their loved one.
  • You will have known from a young age that you were destined for the literary world.
  • Just like your writer you will also go wild around the kitchen and lose control of your bladder at the news of your writer’s unexpected literary success.

Salary

This role is paid in love, nibbles, cuddles, pet biscuits and a leading animal star role in one of your writer’s many stories.

Perks:

  • If the writer becomes famous you will be known as their pet. This may result in you getting your own blog, Instagram or Facebook following.
  • You will get to hear the writer’s work before anyone else. You LUCKY animal!

Thanks for reading,

Have a great day.

If you want to read more about writers and their pets check out this article.

How To Come Terms With…Your Book Is Not Going To Write Itself 😧 #AmWriting

This is a tough one and can take some writers several years to come to terms with.

You have an unfinished draft novel, sat in a drawer or lounging on top of your writing desk or loitering in your writing file on your computer and the thought of finishing it gives you an uncomfortable gut sensation and you have to reach for another chocolate biscuit to make it go away.

Or, maybe you are like me and are taking part in NaNoWriMo2020 and book writing momentum has sadly left your writer body. After a day off you have fallen behind and the thought of putting in the effort to catch up makes you want to binge watch The Crown on Netflix while flipping oreo biscuits into the air and catching them in your mouth.

The thought of sitting down and ploughing on for another thirty thousand words will not be an appealing one.

It’s at this stage you start to consider the possibility of the following happening:

  • Magical elves scurrying in during the small hours and writing the rest of your book.
  • Waking up one morning to find its all been a bad dream and your completed manuscript is lying on your bedside table.
  • A famous best-selling author with time on their hands replying to your ‘my #unfinishednovel is making me sad’ tweet with ‘let’s meet for coffee over Zoom and I might be able to help you finish it!’
  • Planting ‘magical book seeds’ in your vegetable patch with the belief you will be able to dig up your finished novel in a few weeks time.
  • Being visited by your ‘writer fairy godmother’ in the night who waves a magical wand and transforms your unfinished manuscript into a completed one, edited and with no typos.
  • A white book stork flying over your house with its own version of a new baby in its beak – a finished manuscript.
  • Walking along a beach and finding a bottle washed up on the shore with the rest of your manuscript inside it.
  • Your unfinished book writing itself.

So, how do you come to terms with your book is not going to write itself?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but your unfinished novel will stay unfinished if you carry on spending time in fantasy land.

There are no literary elves, magical book seeds, book storks or writer fairy godmothers. Best selling authors have better things to do with their time.

Your book is not going to write itself.

It’s time to wake up and drag your lazy writer self over to your chair and write the rest of your novel.

Get to work writer – only you can make the literary dream happen.

Have a fabulous day!

PS: I have written this post in the hope it gives me a kick up the writer ass.


Psst…if anyone does know of some efficient and reliable literary elves, send them my way 😊

Creating Pets For Your Characters – The Hidden Benefits #amwriting

I am the owner of a small gang of unruly cats and an over excited dog. As an enthusiastic pet owner I often project human traits onto my animals. I am always talking to my cats and dog. They all have elaborate fictional histories and we often speak to one of my cats about his time as a stowaway on an old sailing boat in the eighteenth century.

Giving a character a pet side kick was something I thought writers did when they had an overwhelming urge to write about a particular animal or to leave a legacy for their beloved pet by adding them into their best-selling novel. I have come to realise there is so much more to fictional pets.

One of my favourite authors, Nicola May, adds brilliant pet characters to her romantic comedies. They all have their own personality and leave you with great book memories. I still chuckle about the hilarious African Grey parrot, Lady P and her foul mouth in, Love Me Tinder.

Before I talk about the benefits I think it is important to explain what I believe are the golden rules with fictional pets.

I don’t think you should add your real life pet into a story because you will end up assuming the reader will automatically relate to your pet in the same way you do. They won’t. It is a bit like adding your loved one into a romance story and expecting everyone to fall in love with their strange ways. You are the only one who can relate to your pet (and loved one).

Pet characters need to have annoying or frustrating traits, as well as loveable ones to be relatable. Most of the time my animals disobey everything I say to them, make a mess of my house, vomit at the wrong times and leave me tearing my hair out. In your books you cannot create angelic household pets who are always alert and on the look out for life saving opportunities. This does not happen in real life. My pets tend to be either squabbling, sleeping or digging holes in the garden.

Here are the hidden benefits of giving your fictional character a pet side kick:

A fictional pet can bring two characters together who are trying to avoid each other. In my novel; Instructions For Falling In Love Again, used Maria the bulldog to get my characters in close contact. Maria loves showering people, wary of dogs, with her affections. She makes a beeline in the park for Mikey, dragging Pippa with her, after he displayed a look of fear.

A fictional pet can bring some light relief to a gloomy tale. In real life pets can bring a much-needed smile to your face during dark times and this can apply to fictional characters and their pets. They can also add some fun into the writing process and boy do we need this!

Animal / owner relationships don’t have to follow the norm to be endearing to the reader. I love Caitlin Moran’s description of her pet in her book, How To Be A Woman. ‘The stupid new dog is under my bed. She has got pregnant by the small dog, Oscar, who lives over the road. None of us can quite work out how this has happened, as Oscar is one of those small, yappy types of dogs, only slightly bigger than a family-sized tin of baked beans, and the stupid new dog is a fully grown German Shepherd… I look into the dog’s eyes. She is as stupid as a barrel of toes. Galaxies of nothing are going on in her eyes. I’m going to talk to Mum,’ I explain. The dog remains under my bed, looking, as always, deeply nervous about being a dog. The phrase ‘stupid as a barrel of toes’ and coupled with the dog ‘being deeply nervous about bring a dog’ conjure up a comedy picture of the dog.

A fictional pet can assist character development, they can help illustrate an important characteristic of one of the main characters. This could be in shown in how the character speaks to the pet or cares for the pet. Useful for characters who live alone and have limited human contact.

Unusual pets are brilliant for showing bringing out a character quirk. Giving your hero or heroine an unconventional pet to love can add an unexpected dimension to their personality.


A fictional pet can help cause conflict and present their character owner with numerous obstacles. This is where those annoying and frustrating animal traits come into play


Fictional pets are great ways to bring your characters and stories to life.

A big shout out to all fictional pets – we love you guys!

Writing Romance? 5 Things About Writing Kisses @KileyDunbar

I am so excited about this post. As a huge fan of all things romantic and someone who gets very carried away at the sight of any romance, within a ten mile radius, this blog post is going to leave me lying on my sofa with a cold compress on my forehead. Today we are talking about how to write a good kiss. 

Now, back in the day, when I was looking for love in Leeds (in the 90s) kissing was a big thing. Especially since most of my dating was done in Ritzy’s nightclub and once a male suitor had impressed me with his dance moves, surrounded by clouds of dry ice, we’d go in for the kiss.

The kiss was an important stage – because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with anyone whose kissing skills reminded me of:

  • My washing machine on a fast cycle
  • A plunger for my blocked sink.
  • Snogging a block of ice.
  • Snogging some sandpaper
  • Snogging a Jack in the Box – his tongue was the Jack which popped out when I wasn’t expecting it and made me jump.

Back in the day I thought I had struck gold when my suitor had velvet lips, no crab stick breath, a shy tongue (at first), a gentle swaying action and maybe one of his hands gently running through my hair. Kissing heaven 😂

When we write romance we have to bring the joy of kissing to life and this is tough. We have to get so much right as writers so that our reader lets out a sigh as they read about our characters engaging in a delicious kiss.

So, I have asked fabulous author of heart-warming and escapist romantic fiction, Kiley Dunbarto come on my blog and give us some tips.

Kiley Dunbar

In their last moments on earth nobody every says, ‘you know what, I wish I’d done less kissing.’

In fact, I can guarantee if you think back to your hottest ex, or take a glance at your significant other, you’ll be inclined to agree it would have been nice if there’d been a lot more kissing and a lot less humdrum.

There’s just isn’t enough kissing in the world. Happily, the romance genre has always been around to redress the balance and to inspire us all to perfect our pout, take one step closer and lock lips.

As well as being oh-so-much fun, kisses are an expression of attraction, an opener for intimacy, and they bring reassurance and reconnection when things have gone wrong. Kisses also make for very special moments: first kisses, you-may-kiss-the-bride-kisses, break-up kisses and make-up kisses. There are some kisses you’ll just never forget, and this applies to kisses on the page too.

As romance readers we’re literary kiss connoisseurs. One of my all-time favourites is Pernille Hughes’s divine eight page clinch in Probably the Best Kiss in the World (One More Chapter, 2019) which has lips that linger long enough to rival Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr’s epic screen smooch amongst crashing waves in From Here to Eternity.
I love writing kisses too. Whether you are crafting a slow-burn love story that builds up to one perfect smacker on the final page or a sizzling snog-fuelled steam fest, here are my top five tips for writing kisses your readers will really feel.

1. Consent.

The reign of the grabby hero who stifles a heroine’s protests with a stolen kiss is over.
Long live the considerate, consenting kissers of modern romantic fiction. If it’s not mutual and enthusiastic, it’s not romantic.

2. Desire.

On-page kisses are motivated by wanting.

When your characters’ lips meet there must be the full force of their attraction behind it. Even if your characters are good at communicating with words, their kiss should also speak volumes about their feelings. A kiss is also a good way of showing any lingering internal conflict: can your characters give way to their desire or is the moment less than perfect due to niggling worries, doubts or obstacles that still require resolution?

3. The bubble.

A really good kiss should be powerful enough to shut out the rest of the world.

You can draw readers into the bubble with unique little details that make the moment intimate: eyes locking; Adam’s apple bobbing with swallowed nerves; the steadying grip on the lapel of a sharp suit; fingertips straying into hairlines and thumbs caressing cheekbones as your lovers move closer. Delicious! And never underestimate the magic of antici … pation. Make your kisses worth waiting for and everyone will be satisfied.

4. Kisses add character.

No two couples are alike so no two on-page kisses should be alike.

Does your cinnamon bun hero live up to his adorable, attentive characterisation and deliver sweet nose-tip rubs as a prelude to mouth to mouth contact? Does your sensual couple linger over eyelid, temple and earlobe kisses to make your reader swoon? Does your whip-smart heroine who knows what she wants guide her partner’s kiss so it’s just right for both of them? Make the kiss fit what readers know of your characters and the dynamic you’ve built up between them.

5. Embodied kisses.

Take the chemistry further than just lips caressing.

The heat of a good kiss should spread through the body. If you can convey hitched breaths, goosebumps rising, hearts beating harder, inner muscles tensing and softening, and the acceleration and deepening of arousal then your reader will be right there in the bubble with your characters.
Right – that’s got me fired up for writing a nice new kissing scene in my Work In Progress. My hero happens to be just-the-right-height-for-delivering-a-forehead-kiss (swoon) and my heroine deserves a truly unforgettable kiss (the kind you feel all the way down) after all the pain I’ve put them through. I hope you’re feeling inspired to get your characters closer too. Now more than ever the world needs the unique healing magic and loving connection of (good) kisses.

Wasn’t that great?

I am going to nip off and start writing a few kissing scenes. Thanks, Kiley, you did me proud with this fab post.

Kiley’s latest romance novel is out and is just a click away.

FINAL Summer at the Highland Coral Beach cover