Things My Draft Novel Made Me Do Last Week #amwriting

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Here are the things my draft novel made me do last week. Do you like how I am blaming everything on my draft novel? I knew you woiuld – ha ha!

I am not going to say the title of it or the premise as it will take away the excitement. I will say that it is a forced proximity romcom (where circumstances throw the main characters together) and it’s crammed full of comedy, chaos and some touching romantic moments. I am currently doing several rounds of edits. This book has been continually revised since last September. It has had more revisions than I have had hot dinners. I am about to swan dive gracefully into the literary agent query pool so I am just dusting off my frilly costume,

Here’s what my draft novel made me do last week:

  1. Add more conflict. I am changing as a writer. In some of my early novels I shied away from conflict. With this book I have had a little devil on my shoulder whispering, ‘make them suffer more,’ and for once I have listened to it. You should ask yourself as you write – am I making life too easy for my characters?
  2. Hack away pointless scenes. I have been a lot tougher with this book than my others. This was something I also used to avoid. I have found the more you hack the deeper you get into your story because you end up being left with scenes which all serve a purpose.
  3. Experience a range of strong feelings 🤣frustration, anger, happiness, joy, sadness and hope were all felt last week as I knocked this story into shape.
  4. Ignore my inner critic at certain times of the day. I should NOT make crucial decisions on my book before 6.30am. My mind is not rational before 6.30am. Even better I should not think about changes until after I have eaten. About 9am I start thinking clearly. This week I saw how my mind and perspective shifts after breakfast. Also I should not make book decisions after 10pm as I am always tired and I will go for the easiest option. A big shout out to all my past stories which suffered because of this.
  5. Go for more walks. Fresh air is a writer’s friend
  6. Cry. I have found that the books you write which make you cry whilst writing they have something special about them. Last week I cried. Historic moment.
  7. Get impatient. I do hate it when draft novels try to hurry you up. They want to be out in the world seeking their fortune but you know there’s more work to do.
  8. Accepting the following with editing: editing can be soul destroying, there will be some chapters littered with typos and incorrect character names but structurally they will work, there will be some chapters where there will be no typos but structurally they will be a wreck and some chapters where even I, the author, won’t have a clue about what’s going on 🤣
  9. Skip some household chores. I do love novel writing when it makes me do this.
  10. Wear a bolder lipstick – hot pink for writers in 2023 👏🏻

Have a good week 🤩

Lucy x

Things To Consider When Writing Second Chance Romance #amwriting

This blog post is going to help my writer brain focus on one of my current projects. I do hope someone else out there writing a second chance romance finds it useful.

Second chance romance is one of my favourite romance tropes. I could read these stories all day.

One of my current projects focuses on a second chance romance so I could really do with going back to basics with the trope in order to revise my story.

Below I have come up with a list of all the things to consider when writing a second chance romance.

As I am madly in love with this particular artwork on Canva I am going to use it to pose the questions which I need to answer when writing this trope.

How did they initially connect? Were they childhood sweethearts? Maybe they met at work? The secret here is readers need to see and feel how good that connection was between these two beautiful characters. This breathtaking romance has to be unforgettable for both readers and the characters.

Why did they split up? What made them walk away from each other? Were they too young? Was it a case of bad timing or did one hurt the other? What broke them? Readers need to understand what made these characters go blubber into a box of Kleenex, wedge chocolate into their mouth and go for long solitary walks in the rain.

What personal growth have they experienced? What has life taught them in the years they were apart? What did other relationships teach them? Have they thought about why they have never connected with anyone on the same romantic level as they did with each other?

What made them want to give their relationship another chance? Why can’t they disentangle from each other’s lives? What has made them come together again? Why salvage a broken relationship? The reader must understand and agree with these decisions. There must also be that old connection and the chemistry.

What stuff have they overcome? Have they resolved the old conflict? Readers need to see how these two characters might have had different priorities that caused their breakup. But now that those priorities have changed, so, maybe there is still a chance for them to work it out. It could also be a case of these two characters making mistakes and generally causing an emotional mess. The reader needs to believe these two have changed for the better.

I feel better now.

Do you have any things I should add to my list of considerations?

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

10 Lessons I Learned From 6 Years of Blogging #Blogger

This is a strange time to be living in right now. The world feels like it’s in chaos. So, this week I have decided to write about something which gives me strength and makes me positive; my blog.

I am a few weeks away from my 6th year blogging anniversary. Still can’t believe I have been blogging for that long. What started out as something to give me a break from my squabbling children, rugby mad husband and boisterous pets on wet Sunday afternoons has turned into a big part of my life.

Here are 10 lessons from my 6 years of blogging:

1. Blogging is like a fertile creative soil and other things grow from it. This is the thing which has surprised me. My blog has grown and nurtured so many creative projects; my Roxy Collins diary which went super crazy on Wattpad, my Roxy Collins podcast which I recorded whilst locked inside my teenage daughter’s cupboard every Friday after a few gin & tonics, my novel, my book blogging and a LOT of short stories.

2. My happiest times have been when I stopped caring about blog stats. When I wrote The Diary of Roxy Collins as a weekly serial I never gave two hoots about my blog stats. This was one of my best times as a blogger. There’s something in this because when I recorded my podcast deep inside my daughter’s shoe cupboard and put each episode live I didn’t care about stats or numbers. I had so much fun. It lit me upside. Like someone had turned on a light. It was only when I started looking at my blog stats and podcast data that the good times ended.

3. The bad blogging times have been signals in disguise that I need to change direction. Looking back now I can see this more clearly. However, when you are fed up with blogging and can’t face turning up to write a post each week it’s hard to see. All my bad blogging times have been the start of change.

4. Blogging breaks are marvellous things. You don’t have to quit blogging, you just need a break. I am so glad I found blogging breaks and took them. It’s so nice to come back after a few months feeling rejuvenated and created.

5. Blogging is a stress buster. Writing a blog post is for me one of the best ways to relieve stress.

6. Blogs are like trees. They take years of nurture and love to grow. They will chart your creative journey and they will one day bear creative fruits. These fruits might not bring you fame and fortune but they will be of great value to you in other ways. The great thing about life is that you won’t be able to see their value straightaway. One day you will stop and think – ‘wow – that blog post changed my life.’

7. Getting my blog links to work was one of my biggest struggles. Oh my goodness – other bloggers struggle with SEO rankings and branding. Me – well I struggled with copying, pasting and inserting a link into a little box for 2 YEARS! 🙈

8. My blog has been a great teacher. Its taught me about all sorts of things like checking for typos, grammar and resilience.

9. Fictional characters who were born inside my blog posts will never leave me. Roxy Collins – I will do something with you. I promise ❤️

10. I have met some fabulous and life changing people on my blog. They have been a huge part of my journey and without them I wouldn’t be here today.

Thank you to everyone who reads, comments and shares my posts week in and week out. You are all fabulous. 🌸📚

If you don’t have a blog and want something creative to do during these strange times, I would strongly recommend starting one. Blogs are great stress busters, they make excellent journals and you never know what might come of it 📚

How To Survive Writing Your Second Novel – Fab Guest Post by @bookish_yogi

Many creative moons ago I asked bestselling romance author Rachel Burton to write me a guest post. If you don’t know Rachel, let me tell you about her. She’s the author of The Many Colours of Us, The Things We Need To Say and The Pieces of You & Me.

Here is the guest post from Rachel. I love this post because Rachel gives good practical advice. 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that second books are difficult beasts. There is a lot of expectation, particularly if your first has done well, there is usually a deadline and often a lot of people’s opinions to take into account.

All in all it’s very different to writing your first – which in general you are often writing completely for yourself.

I spent the best part of three years on my first book. I wrote my second in eleven months. In that time I re-wrote the whole thing twice and went through two big structural edits; one with my agent and one with my editor. It was eye-opening to say the least and here are a few things I learned:-

1. Trust your gut

As I said, there will probably be a lot more people involved in this book. With your first will mostly have been all alone, or at most being buoyed along by friends or a writing group. I wrote my debut The Many Colours of Us by myself in my free time, while working full-time and running a business. I didn’t take it very seriously until it was almost finished. In truth I never really believed it would be finished until it got there.

Book 2 was very different. I had a lot of people around me offering support and advice – my publisher, my editor, my agent. On the plus side this was great because when I got stuck I had people to bounce ideas off, people to suggest different themes that I could explore, people to help me develop characters. On the negative side…I had a lot of people around me offering support and advice!! Ever heard the phrase ‘too many cooks spoil the broth,’?

If you don’t trust your gut with your second novel there’s a chance this might happen. I got to a point where my agent, myself and my editor all had a different set of ideas about where the book should go. In the end I had to back away, spend some time alone with my characters – and this is what led to the first major rewrite.

Your editor and agent want your book to do well, they want to help you produce the best work you possibly can. But at the end of the day you know your characters, you know how they would behave – take all the advice you’ve been given but ultimately trust your characters and yourself.

2. Plan, plan, plan

Confession. I didn’t plan my first book at all. I just sat down and wrote and waited to see what would happen. This is part of the reason it took three years.

Now I know planning doesn’t work for everyone, but I realised that if I had to write a book in a year I needed to know exactly where I was going. I split the book into three acts and I worked out exactly what would happen in each act – beginning, middle and end. This helped me write a specific number of words per week that I would need to reach my goal. I can’t plan chapter by chapter like some people do, but I really found this method helped me have a clearer path to my end goal.

3. Get a betareader

Betareaders are kind people who will read and comment honestly on your work. There will come a point in your drafting and editing when you, your agent and your editor will all be a little bit too close to the book to get perspective. This is where a betareader is invaluable. I was lucky enough to have three wonderful readers who all read different drafts and all helped immeasurably (you guys know who you are!).

I know it’s a scary prospect letting other people read your book but remember, by this point you’ve got a book out in the world and lots of people are reading it. Take a deep breath and give it a go – I have never regretted asking a betareader to help out.

4. Read, read, read

This one is self-explanatory. Keep reading – read in your genre, around your genre, outside of your genre. Read fiction and non-fiction, read the news, read everything. You never know where inspiration might come from. I tend to read in my own genre while I’m sitting on an idea and during the first draft and then when it comes to second drafts and subsequent edits I read outside of my genre (mostly in case I accidentally plagiarise, but also for a break).

5. Keep being you!

You are completely unique, your narrative voice, your characters, the way you choose to tell a story.

Write the story you want to tell. Your agent and editor will help you tell that story in the best possible way so that it can (hopefully!) be commercially successful – but ultimately this is all you.

While working with my editor on the last edit of my second book we came across an idea we didn’t agree on. Eventually (after a sleepless night) I broached the subject of not being happy with this edit. When I explained why to my editor she was on my side and helped me work the book in a different way.

So before you start work on an edit you are not 100% comfortable with remember: it’s your name on the cover.

Thank you Rachel. 

If you are about to start writing your second, I wish you well, my friend.

Have a great day.

How To Connect With Your Inner Bridezilla – Read ‘Without a Hitch’ 👰🏼❤️@BeautySwot #SundayBlogShare #BookReview #bridetobe

Even though I got married many moons ago I still find myself gazing longingly at engagement rocks in jewellers, getting urges to try on beautiful wedding dresses, drawing up family seating plans with post it notes (when I should be plotting my novel), restraining myself from throwing a bunch of flowers at a crowd of people and…*whispers* secretly buying boxes of pink confetti to chuck over myself in private.

So, when I saw Bettina Hunt’s latest book Without a hitch I thought it was about time I reconnected with my inner bridezilla.

Here is my review:

What did you think of the book cover?

I loved the image of the elegant bride and the groom standing behind her. The blue background is really striking and the cover definitely stood out.

What was the book’s blurb?

The path of true love never runs smooth, the path to the perfect wedding, even bumpier.’

Three brides-to-be, nine months to plan the dream wedding. What could possibly go wrong?

They have been dreaming of this day for as long as they can remember, but what happens when fate intervenes…

Sienna is determined not to become a bridezilla but planning a wedding is proving much harder than she thought. With obstacles flying from every direction, can she take back control without upsetting those closest to her?

Bryony is the bride on a budget dreaming of a big white wedding. A family full of secrets threaten to ruin her big day, can she find it in her heart to forgive and forget?

Agnes is the career woman who appears to have finally found Mr Right, but will her scheming boss come between her and her new-found love?

One date, three brides-to-be, united in their quest for the ‘perfect’ wedding.

Loved the idea of reading about three different brides and their respective emotional journeys towards the big day.

I was keen to find out more Sienna’s obstacles, Bryony’s family secrets and Agnes’s new love.

What did you think of the book’s characters?

I thought the characters were great and relatable.

Sienna and Charlie made a great comedy duo and the part at the start regarding the purchase of the engagement ring left me in stitches. We all have different ideas on engagement ring styles, size and price range but sometimes our loved one doesn’t always share our thinking. Loved his reaction to the three months salary stipulation.

I think Sienna represents all of us who were ‘hard work’ in the run up to our weddings.

Bryony and Thomas were sweet and had an old-fashioned type of love. Their family secrets, money worries tugged on my heartstrings. These characters represented those of us who have dysfunctional families and how things sometimes don’t go entirely to plan.

Agnes and Simon were a complete surprise to me. Agnes deserves a book of her own as she is a fab character (Bettina – hope you are making a note of this 😍) and her fussy mum is great too. Every good wedding journey needs a fussy mother.

What did you think about the story?

I loved reading the different wedding journeys of three brides. This book goes through all the main pre wedding stages, even proposal and wedding fayres. This author has wedding planning covered!

The three stories are cleverly woven together by the author and this keeps the reader interested. For me this is what made the book stand out.

There is humour in this book and it did make me chuckle in places. I did love Sienna’s experiences with trying on wedding dresses and Charlie’s diplomatic attempts with his mother. I also loved the relationship between Agnes and her fussy mother. I have said it before but I adored Agnes by the end of her story.

This book was hard to put down and an enjoyable read. It puts you in the mood for getting engaged and planning a wedding.

Did you reconnect with your inner bridezilla?

Living through the eyes of these three brides reconnected me with my inner bridezilla. By the end of the book all my wedding dress cravings had subsided, I could hold onto a bunch of flowers whilst standing in front of a crowd of people and my table planning post it note fuelled urges had disappeared. However, I did still want to chuck confetti over myself in private… *sigh*

Thank you Bettina Hunt for an enjoyable and fun reading experience 😍

If you fancy giving Without a Hitch a read please click here.

Author bio

Bettina Hunt lives in England with her husband and two young sons.

Without A Hitch is her second novel and again she found herself writing about what she knew…

She blogs about beauty, afternoon tea, spas and travel, as well as sharing poems and short stories at http://www.beautyswot.com. She can be found on Twitter most days – join in the chat @BeautySwot

10 Things I’ve Learned About Writing A Novel @toodletinkbaby #Books

Here are my reasons for letting author Roxie Cooper guest post on BlondeWriteMore today:

  1. Her guest post is fab. It is written from the heart and it resonated with me in so many places.
  2. She has the name ‘Roxie’. Anyone who has same first name as my fictional character Roxy Collins is always welcome on my blog.
  3. Roxie Cooper is a fellow blonde romance writer.
  4. Her new book ‘The Law of Attraction’ is destined to be on my ‘To Be Read Pile.’
  5. Like me she can dance. I am not a professional or anything but I like to think of myself as a professional dancer, once I get on a dance floor at a party. *Sigh*
  6. She sounds like she would be great company for a coffee and a chat.

So, here she is, Roxie Cooper, author / Barrister / Ex-ish dancer and Classicist.

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Hi,

Before I started writing The Law of Attraction I researched all the technical stuff; how to create good characters with internal conflict, what story arcs were, and what made a good sub-plot. But there are some things you simply can’t learn in a book. Between plotting the outlines of what became my debut novel all those years ago and my publication day last week, I’ve learned so much.

So here are my top ten most surprising things.

1) Writing is cathartic

People have their own reasons for starting to write. I’d never written anything before this book. I started writing it when I was in an unhappy marriage with two babies, living in a town where I didn’t know anyone, and I’d go weeks without speaking to another adult. I was in a very bad place. Writing suddenly gave me something to focus on and allowed me to ‘escape’. As the book progressed, so did my self-esteem. Words are powerful.

2) People can get a bit judgemental

Some people have written six novels whilst holding down three jobs, five kids and a circus of pets. Others have written one novel with no ‘real’ job or responsibilities. And then there’s everything in between. I think everyone on this scale is pretty impressive, to be honest. But some people like to be a bit judgy-face about it.

I don’t have a ‘proper job’ at the moment. This means that a lot of people think I spend all day sitting in a beautifully lit orangery, smiling smugly, sipping on chilled chardonnay as I gently type my latest novel out off the top of my head. Comments like “Oh! You must be well-off if you don’t have to work!” and “Alright for some!” are standard. Rarely can I be bothered to explain that I gave up my lucrative career as a barrister after much consideration to care for my son who has special needs. After home-schooling him for several years, it became impractical for me to return to the Bar once he finally settled in school, for various reasons. Everyone has a story behind them, everyone makes sacrifices, but many are quick to judge.

But…

3) People can be wonderfully supportive

You truly do find out who your friends are when you write a book. It’s such a gruelling, exhausting process. You’ll be so grateful for the little “Keep going!” comments when you’re close to collapsing, which then lead onto “I bought your book!” when you’re published. These people who prop you up all the way through the whole writing, edits, submission, book deal, revisions polava are the special ones. The week before I was published I had a little local drinks gathering for my friends to thank them for their support, because I couldn’t have done it without them. They made me feel so very loved and I couldn’t thank them enough for that.

4) You read other novels and watch films in a completely different way

I find it impossible now to read novels without deconstructing them. Even films follow a formula (if you want a classic, basic template for a story – watch any Disney film). Breaking down films and books has really helped me find out what makes a great character, plot and twist in a story.

5) Your house will become a rubbish tip.

As you get more into your book, the more time you will dedicate to it. When you have a deadline, don’t even think about doing anything else remotely important like eating, dressing your children or cleaning your house – all of these things can wait until you press SEND. If you’re a dust control freak like me, this WILL drive you crazy, but you’ve kind of just got to run with it.

6) People will ask you wildly inappropriate questions.

Because you’ve created a literary piece of work and thrown it out into the world, some people think it’s okay to ask things like “So, how much money do you earn now?”, “How much was your advance?” and, most cringingly, “Who was that sex scene based on?”. The best way of dealing with these questions is to throw it back in their face: “Tell me how much YOU earn first…” and “Well, Gordon, that scene isn’t based on you going by what your wife tells me… *all the sarcastic LOLZ *”

7) You’ll develop amnesia at the most inconvenient moments.

You’re in the shower. You’re walking to pick the kids up with your iPod on. You’ve thought of THE most incredible scene; rich dialogue, beautifully descriptive, the whole thing is swoon-a-rama. “My God”, you think. “I have NAILED THIS!” You finally sit down to type it up…and you can’t remember a damn thing. You remember bits of it, but on the screen it literally sounds like a half-asleep toddler has written it.

8) You develop the patience of a saint

This one is hard, but it pays off. So, you’ve started writing this new book and the first three chapters are GREAT. You’re desperate to send them off to an agent. DO NOT do it. Why? Well, not only because – even if it’s brilliant – they will tell you to write the rest of the book. Some wise soul said “You can’t write the beginning until you’ve written the end” and this is 100% true. Your characters and plot change so much by the end, you may want to change those early chapters. So much depth was added to The Law of Attraction by adding the prologue…which was done after I’d finished the entire book. Don’t be in a rush to show your book off to the world, make sure it’s the best it can possibly be.

9) You become obsessed

Writing consumes you. You cannot switch off. I no longer watch TV on an evening (well, apart from Game of Thrones, obviously). Every non-child weekend I spend writing because I’d feel guilty doing anything else and, ultimately, I am addicted to it. Who knows if I’ll be successful? All I know is that I love it and can’t stop.

10) Some stuff you type will be the worst writing the world has ever seen…

Terrible. I mean, REALLY awful. The words won’t come. You’ll cringe. You’ll hate yourself. You might cry. Okay…STOP. Shut your laptop down. Go out with friends and have a drink. Go dancing. Go to the cinema. Forget about it for a day. There will be other days when you write stuff so bloody brilliant, you’ll read back on it and think “Yeah…I got this”.

***

Roxie was born and bred in Middlesbrough. After studying Classics at University, she became a dancer in a nightclub for a few years, before going travelling and living in Australia. When she returned, she swapped dancing on a bar, to practising at the Bar, and became a barrister for 7 years.

It was after being constantly told “Ooh! You don’t look like a barrister!” by absolutely everyone she met, that the idea for her debut novel was born.

Roxie lives in Yarm, a pretty little market town in the North-East. She’s a bit (lot) obsessed with Prince and spends far too much time watching him on YouTube. Her hobbies include watching musicals, making her hair as big (and blonde) as possible, and wishing she was Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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THE LAW OF ATTRACTION

Amanda Bentley has always dreamed of being a barrister…

But as a platinum blonde bombshell from the wrong side of town, with a perfect tan and sleek high heels, she doesn’t exactly look the part – or fit in with the brash public school boys and cold posh girls of Newcastle Crown Court’s robing room. Amanda’s never been one to back down from a challenge, and so when she wins a prestigious pupillage following law school, she’s determined to make the most of her chance – and make all her dreams come true.

Only three things stand in her way: Sid Ryder – the sexy, irresistible barrister who she absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, sleep with. At all. Marty Gregg – her smarmy law school nemesis, who she’s in direct competition with for the top job. And her big, dark secret that could jeopardise everything she’s worked so hard for.
Who said that following the laws of attraction was going to be easy…?

Isn’t Roxie Cooper fab?

I think this is an excellent guest post Roxie and thank you for taking over BlondeWriteMore today! Yay – blonde romance writers rule 🙂

You can contact Roxie on Twitter at @toodletinkbaby or on Facebook here. 

Have a great day all.

5 Things I Wish I Had Known Whilst Writing My First Novel #Writing @bookish_yogi 

Today’s post is a little bit special.

Rachel Burton, author of The Many Colours of Us’, has written an amazing guest post for me. ‘The Many Colours of Us’ is her fabulous debut novel and it is attracting some great reviews.

Rachel is definitely one to watch and I just hope she remembers taking over my little blonde blog for the day when she’s uber famous. Sigh.

So here she is – Rachel Burton with her guest post ‘5 Things I Wish I had Known Whilst Writing My First Novel’. 

Rachel B pic

Writing your first novel can be a frustrating business. You lurch between the highs of your writing actually coming together for, perhaps, the first time in your life to the lows of rejection and wondering if it will ever happen for you; if you’ll ever get an agent or a book deal.

Hindsight is always a wonderful thing, but when I look back on writing my first novel I realise what an amazing time it was and it’s something that I’ll never experience again. Yes there were some terrible lows, but I wish I’d celebrated the highs a little bit more instead of constantly stressing about getting on to the “next” thing or being able to put the word “writer” in my twitter bio without feeling like fraud.

So, if you’re writing your first novel, try to enjoy it and here are a few things I wish I’d known then.

1. Take your time.

I was in a rush to get finished so that I could send my book out to agents and begin the exciting process of getting published. Firstly, that process isn’t as exciting as you might think. Rejection aside it takes forever and is the biggest test in patience I have ever known. Secondly, if this book you’re writing does get published you may never get this kind of time and freedom to write again.

I wrote my first novel to my own time frame, my own agenda and my own plot twists. I had no idea about market trends or submission dates or any of that. I just wrote. I tried to hurry it and I wish I hadn’t because writing my second novel under a deadline is stressful. Don’t get me wrong, I love it and I am so delighted to have the chance to write a second novel, but nothing beats the slow languorous pace of your first time!

2. Write what you like

Like I said, I had no idea about market trends when I was writing my first novel, but I did have an idea about my genre – after all aside from historical, contemporary romance is my favourite! I made the mistake in the beginning of trying to be like other people, of trying to write for a market I thought was out there. With your first book you get to write what you like and what you love. And if you don’t you will never find your voice. I never really found out who Julia (my heroine in THE MANY COLOURS OF US) was until I stopped caring about what anyone else was doing.

3. Share

All new writers are scared of showing their work to other people, but it really wasn’t until I started to share my work with other writers that my writing really kicked up a gear. If you want your writing to be of the high-caliber literary agents are looking for, you must be brave enough to share. I have been incredibly lucky to meet amazing writers who have helped me so much along the way, giving constructive criticism and support.

I highly recommend the WoMentoring project – this project offers free mentoring by professional literary women to talented up and coming female writers.

I’m a mentor on the project and am currently accepting mentees – you can apply to be my mentee and I can help get whip your WIP into shape (apply here https://womentoringproject.co.uk/fiction-writers/rachel-burton/).

4. Be Persistent

When it comes to sending your novel out to agents, don’t give up. Remember that just because one agent rejects you, doesn’t mean the next one won’t fall in love with your book. I can’t remember how many times I’ve been rejected over the years and I know for a fact I was rejected twice by the agency that signed me in the end! Be persistent, keep sending your work out and do take on board any criticism or advice an agent might give you. And keep polishing your work all the time, keep honing your craft, keep getting better. Just keep writing.

5. Be Unequivocally You

This is probably the most important one of them all really. No matter what, no matter how hard it gets or how many rejections you might end up with always be true to yourself. You have a unique voice, don’t let it get silenced by comparison, or self-doubt. Use it to write what you love, to say the things that are important to you and to wear your heart on your sleeve. Because when you do get published those are the things your readers will love about you the most.

 

RACHEL BURTON

Rachel Burton has been making up stories since she first learned to talk. After many false starts she finally made one up that was worth writing down.

She has a BA in Classics and an MA in English and has never really known what to do when she grew up. She has worked as a waitress, a legal secretary and a yoga teacher.

She has spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but is currently on a sabbatical in the North with her boyfriend and three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.

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What if your life was built on lies?

Julia Simmonds had never been bothered about not knowing who her father was. Having temperamental supermodel, Philadelphia Simmonds, as a mother was more than enough. Until she discovers she’s the secret love-child of the late, great artist Bruce Baldwin, and her life changes forever.

Uncovering the secrets of a man she never knew, Julia discovers that Bruce had written her one letter, every year until her eighteenth birthday, urging his daughter to learn from his mistakes.

Julia begins to dig deeper into the mysterious past of her parents, opening up a history she’d never have imagined, but as she discovers the truth she needs to decide if she is willing to forgive and forget…

A huge thank you to Rachel for this wonderful guest post! 

If you want to learn more about Rachel and her work click here.

photo credit: iNCH. <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/132770869@N08/17085296210″>inch_01</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

10 Thoughts on First Kisses in Romance Books #firstkisses #AmReadingRomance

The first kiss between a romance book’s main characters is a huge turning point for a romance story. Up until this point both the hero and heroine will have been denying their true feelings, casting smouldering looks and giving each other weird tingling sensations.

It won’t have been easy for the characters as the author will have been busy chucking a myriad of life obstacles at their characters, designed to keep them apart and to keep the reader guessing about when they will get their romance fix.

However, there will come a point in the story where the hero and heroine will suddenly find themselves in close proximity of each other. Hearts will start to gallop, hopes will get raised, temperatures will rise and you, the reader, will be standing on their sofa, book in hand, screaming “JUST KISS HER!”

Here are ten thoughts on the first kisses in romance books:

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