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Free plug for a paid book blogging gig

Book collection

Book collection (Photo credit: Ian Wilson)

Would you like to be paid to blog about books?

No, I’m not kidding. I saw that in my Facebook feed recently and thought it was worth sharing. Not FB “sharing”, because that would have gone to a lot of my non-bookish friends, but blog sharing. Which means, of course, that I’m telling you lovely people rather than, say, my mum.

momentum logo

The offer comes from Momentum Books, which is the digital-only imprint of Pan Macmillan Australia, and essentially they are looking for someone to write 4-8 posts a month about books, reading, and book and storytelling culture. Essentially, if it’s about a book, it could well be what they’re looking for, and they are offering $AU20 per post. You don’t have to be Australian to enter, but the posts do have to be in English. (Australians are generally a monolingual bunch.) They are especially looking for bloggers who focus on romance, fantasy and/or science fiction, but more general blogs will also be considered.

Sound good? Or, maybe, just worth looking into? Well, go to this post of their blog to get full information and submission details – but do it soon. Entries close on April 25th Australian time (less than two weeks from now).

Good luck, and happy blogging. :)

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Novel excerpt: Pulse, by HJ Daly

Today I’d like to introduce author HJ (Helen) Daly, whose debut novel, Pulse, is getting some rave reviews on Amazon UK and Goodreads. The book is a YA story set in a post-apocalyptic world with both futuristic and magical/fantasy elements, and today Helen has very kindly agreed to let me post an excerpt from it. So, without further ado, here it is!

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Pulse, by HJ Daly

Pulse, by HJ Daly

The searing pain in her arms told her she was still tied to the tree, yet she felt very little from her shoulders down. As her head still fought against the fog she couldn’t think straight enough to worry about the absence of pain. Hearing the groan at her feet she forced her eyes open. Terry had been dragged to one side, but still in touching distance. Blood from her broken nose was smeared across her face.

Scanning the line of prisoners she noted Rootu, on his knees, blood pouring from a cut over his eye. Flo’s eyes were red; one half closed the bruising taking its time to show, and Ryan struggling to stay up right, blood matting his hair to his head. All those people injured, in pain because of her. If she could only concentrate long enough to put an end to this madness.

A deadly hush had settled over the clearing, black clouds covering the afternoon sky, spots of rain scattered over the bare branches.

“Ah, back with us I see.” Amy turned to face Esa. “Keep the others in line. If they move kill them.” A large number of guards had appeared and positioned themselves along the line, weapons in hand.

Esa met Flo’s eyes; all she saw was panic, which was no doubt mirrored in her own. It was easy to guess what Amy would do next, cause her as much pain as she could before finishing her off. If she could distract Amy long enough she would help the others escape, it was the least she could do.

“Let’s get on with this.” Esa whispered, “Just promise to leave them alone.”

“Let’s see what you have to say and I might consider it,” Amy breathed as her eyes flicked to the flames dancing across her blade in the stirring fire. “Now Ugarth here,” she gestured to the goblin “says you know more than you’re telling.”

“What more do you want to know?” Esa felt a dull ache in her side as Amy leaned in.

“Where to begin?” she whispered in her ear. “How about telling me the name of this famed mage, what she looks like, or where she is now?”

“I don’t know, she kept to herself, barely talked to anyone and left after crossing the boundary.”

“Liar!”

Esa tasted the blood in her mouth and the sting across her face. Fog clung to her mind and she tried to concentrate.

“Let’s try again. What does she look like?”

“Me, only not as pretty.” Spitting blood from her mouth Esa managed a smirk.

“Now that’s the girl I remember, pity Thomas isn’t here to see this. Wonder where he’s hiding?”

“I don’t know.” Her tone was full of bitterness as she let numerous images pop into her head. She would die here and he would never know, would never care.

“Oh, this just gets better.” Amy broke into Esa’s thoughts. “He dumped you here with this lot, it’s a shame I don’t have time for some real fun.” The tip of the dagger glowed when she pulled it from the fire and watched the prisoners heave at their bindings. “Tell you what,” she whispered in Esa’s ear, “once I’m through here, I’ll find Thomas tell him how you begged and screamed his name before Urgath had a little fun and then I’ll have great pleasure in watching him die.” She watched the pain fill Esa’s eyes and smiled. “Now where were we … ah yes, tell me where she is.”

Amy grabbed Esa’s bound hand, pulling her fingers forward. She braced herself as the blade touched her skin, the heat searing her knuckles. This time only a moan escaped her lips. She was too exhausted for anything else.

“I said where is she?”

The blade continued down her already bloody arm. Heat rose together with the scream that had been building in her throat. The prisoners moved as one, twisting and turning as they fought with the guards as best they could.

Ignoring her own pain Esa watched the other prisoners as the guards started to push them back. Even bound they gave all they could and in return the guards had drawn weapons and were hacking at those closest to them. She couldn’t let these people die for her, she didn’t deserve it. “Stop!” the shout carried over the clearing. “Enough, I’ll tell you everything just stop this. Please.”

“Esa no, don’t say a word, we’re not worth it,” Flo yelled as the guards continued to slash away.

“Stop!” Amy’s shout resounded around the clearing and the guards backed off. “Is this going to be something special?” Amy’s blade rested playfully on Esa’s throat and she could smell the burning of her own skin. “This will make a nice addition to the others,” Amy continued as she swiped Esa’s hair to the side and indicated to the snaking scar twisting around her neck. “That must have been a mighty beating. You’re always in the wrong place at the wrong time, aren’t you?”

———————

Well, that was a good way to whet the appetite, wasn’t it? Thanks again to Helen for the excerpt, and if you want to find more you can find Pulse at Amazon UK, or Helen on her blog, Facebook and YouTube.

HJ Daly

HJ Daly

HJ Daly is a first-time novelist who used to make up stories and poems for her kids, and then started taking writing more seriously when they went to school full time. Pulse was written very quickly but then sat in a drawer for some time before she pulled it out again and decided to send it out to make its way in the world.

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Guest post: Why 140 Characters isn’t the Limit, by Liam O’Dell

Yes, I know, I’m a day late this week, but that’s just the way things have worked out. Anyway, better late than never, right? And I’m thrilled to be able to introduce Liam O’Dell, who is an aspiring writer who is starting up a site that provides tips to bloggers (like me). And we all could do with a hand, right? Well, I could, at least. :)

Without further ado, here he is:

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photo

Why 140 Characters Isn’t the Limit…

 

Ah, Twitter, the quick and to-the-point way of social-networking. The site where people can share opinions, comments and critical viewpoints, all under 140 characters. But we’ve all had to make one grammatical or spelling error in order to allow us to write what we need to write. However, when writing a tweet, have you ever felt like you could write more than 140 characters?

For those wondering why I have omitted Facebook from this, it is because there’s no such limit to what we write on Facebook, and as well as that, only Twitter allows us to post opinions to the big wide world, rather than Facebook only allows you to post to “friends”, who already know what you think. However, what I’m going to write about today can apply to both sites. In fact, it can apply to anything. What I’m going to write about today is the idea that anyone can blog, but in particular, those on social networks.

A post on Twitter, Facebook etc. starts with an idea, but everyone knows that an idea can be developed. This is where a blog comes in. If there is a topic or idea that you could write endlessly about, then blog about it! 140 characters isn’t the limit on a blog! So, start a blog, and feel free to write!

 

The Blog Event – imPRESSive:

Thanks for reading my guest post, I really appreciate it! In case you didn’t know, I’m running a blog event, called imPRESSive (see what I did there?). imPRESSive hopes to provide tips to bloggers, but also aims to inspire more people to set up blogs. For more information and to view the blog post, click here!

But wait, there’s more! You can do me a massive favour and do some of the following things:

  1. “Like” me on Facebook!
  2. “Follow” Me on Twitter
  3. Tweet the Hashtag: #DocPRESS
  4. Confirm that you are “going” to my Facebook event
  5. Let me spread the word by Guest Blogging on your blog!

Thanks!

Liam

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Thanks Liam! The blog certainly sounds like a great idea, so I urge everyone to go check it out. In the meantime, if you’re not blogging already, why not give it a go? It’s not hard (proven because even I can do it) and it can open up a whole new world to you. :)

 

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Happy birthday to me!

one hundred

one hundred (Photo credit: Violentz)

Well, it’s not exactly my birthday (which, in case you are interested, is later this month), but this is a momentous day for my blog – my 100th post! *cue balloons and streamers* Yes, yes, I know. It seems like I’ve been doing this forever – or, at least, it does for me, which I’m not sure is a good or a bad thing. Anyway, to mark the occasion I thought I’d talk about social media or, put another way, internet engagement. Appropriate, no? :)

I’m the first to admit that I don’t engage as well as I should. In many ways I’m a parasite on the net: I put stuff out there, but I don’t give back. In other words, I post but I don’t comment. Now, I have been trying to be better at that this year, but like all good intentions it has fallen by the wayside a little. My participation is dropping off.

Of course, as Linda Lee Greene discussed so eloquently on my blog a couple of weeks ago, participation in social media can be a slippery slope. It’s all too easy to get sucked in and burn out, or ignore what you’ve been working on. On the other side of the coin, though, is that if you are engaging with people then they are more likely to have positive feelings about you and are thus more likely to check out your work. Talking with people online, and making them feel important, can have direct – and beneficial – impacts on your profile hits, Facebook likes, blog follows and, most importantly, sales.

It might sound callous to think of it like that – these are, after all, people with whom you are engaging – but we all have to be entrepreneurs these days, don’t we? If this is a professional engagement (that is, if you are using a professional Facebook page, Twitter account or blog, for example) then it all comes down to marketing. That’s why we have these accounts, and why we use them. And maybe that’s why I don’t engage as well as I should, because, at this stage, I don’t have anything to market. I know that the more I get out there, the more my name will be known when novel #1 does come out, but part of me feels that I’m pushing  myself on people too much. Sigh. Like Linda, I’m not cut out to be a marketer.

I will, naturally, attempt to work on this. After all, that’s part of what my new years resolutions this year were all about. But I am also wary of the slippery slope of becoming too engaged in social media. If I spend too much time talking to people I’ve never met, I run the  risk of alienating my real life friends, colleagues and family members. If I spend my computer time posting on Goodreads and Facebook, then I’m not going to be writing my novel. And that’s what this is all about, isn’t it?

So today I am using my 100th blog post to think about how I’m using social media. I love to interact with everyone here, and I do intend to get better at it (comment, Emilydarn you!!) but I do think that finding that balance is what I should really be focusing on. Because after all, if I burn out like Linda did, then what’s the point of all this anyway?

 

PS I’m including forum participation in things I should be working on. Yes, Peter, you will hopefully be seeing me around again soon! :)

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Working with distractions

distractions and arguments

distractions and arguments (Photo credit: Will Lion)

Who, me? Distracted? Never! Oh, look, a bird ….

We’ve all been there, surrounded by distractions when we’re trying to work. It doesn’t even matter what the work is, it’s just impossible to concentrate on it. Well, that’s me at the moment.

Of course, it’s largely self-inflicted, which I suspect is the same for a lot of people. For me, it’s the start of the international cricket season in the southern hemisphere. I have a real weakness for sport, which I alluded to when the Olympic Games were on, and it’s impossible for me to sit in a room with a television or a radio without keeping an ear on the score. Heck, even if there is no television or radio, that’s what the internet is for, right? I’m far more likely to be distracted by a sporting event than I am by Facebook or Twitter, and while the white noise that is the commentary doesn’t necessarily take too much of my attention, if something happens in the game then I’m going to turn around and watch it. During the winter it’s not such an issue, as a football match is over in a couple of hours, but Test cricket goes for five days. Hence, the distractions.

Of course, that’s not the only thing that’s keeping my mind from my work. The kids are getting excited about Christmas and much of our spare time is taken up making sure that all the shopping has been done. (Thank goodness for internet shopping, let me tell you. I’ve never bought so much at 9 o’clock at night.) Plus of course there are the usual school commitments, weekend sporting commitments and the like, and of course the sanity-saving gatherings with friends. Writing time? What writing time? It’s a good thing I’ve only committed to 500 words a day.

The good news, for me at least, is that I’m keeping to my schedule. 500 words a day hasn’t proven too onerous, even with everything else going on. I may be distracted but I’m managing to stay on target, so with any luck this manuscript will be done before I know it. I started reading it from the start the other day and didn’t want to stop, so I figure that’s a good thing. Now I just need these final bits to be done – fingers crossed by the end of the month – and that all-important first hurdle will have been overcome.

So tell me, is it just me, or is this just a generally distracting time of year? I’m trying to work out how I did the last two NaNos in November and won both, with all that’s going on. Of course, not everyone will have the same distractions as I do, but I’m sure that everyone has something that keeps them from being more productive, no matter what they’re trying to achieve. Sure, it comes down to priorities, but that’s something we all have to juggle all the time. It just seems, to me at least, that at the moment there are more competing priorities than usual.

No? Just me then? Oh well. I shall just keep juggling them like I always do and plod away with my 500 words. And to everyone else out there who is struggling to find time for everything, don’t worry. It’s just that time of year, and you’re not alone. :)

 

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Assorted writing tips #7 – finding inspiration

A woman searches for inspiration, in this 1898...

A woman searches for inspiration, in this 1898 painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

It’s not easy, is it? Finding inspiration on days when, quite simply, you’re just not inspired. After all, we are at the mercy of our muses, right?

Well, perhaps it’s not as simple as that. I’ve written before about dealing with writer’s block, and about just writing anyway when you have the time and opportunity to do so. And sure, that works, to an extent. It’s just not the same as doing it when you’re feeling inspired, though, is it?

So today I’m going to talk about ways you can find inspiration on days when it’s just eluding you. Ways you can perhaps pick up the threads and get going, rather than doing any number of writing exercises which, while they are generally beneficial, can also feel remarkably dull. Naturally these won’t work for everyone, but they will for some people so I figure that’s worth sharing.

  • Watch a movie. Or read a book, or watch a television show, or something like that. The important thing here is to subject yourself to someone else’s creativity, and it’s even better if it’s in the same genre as what you’re trying to write. You can see how other writers have crafted their plots, put in the twists and turns, dealt with what are very likely similar problems to what your manuscript has. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t in that story, and perhaps it will give you some ideas for your own.
  • Try something new. Do something you’ve never done before. It doesn’t have to be huge – something as minor as trying out a new recipe or going on a walk around your neighbourhood using a route you haven’t used before, but test your boundaries a little. Give yourself a new experience and see how you react to it – was it enjoyable? Did you learn anything from it? Was it worth it? The thing about this is, once you start thinking outside the square when it comes to your own activities, it becomes almost second nature to do it for your characters.
  • Watch / listen to / experience something that moves you. Whether it’s the cannons in the 1812 Overturethe World Cup final from 1990 or the end of Forrest Gump, there is bound to be something out there that moves you in a significant way. With the Internet, it’s also available at your fingertips. Subject yourself to something that tugs on your heartstrings, makes you irrationally proud or elicits some other major emotional reaction. Succumb to it. Enjoy it. Live it. Because if you’re moved to that extent, then that can set the creative juices flowing like nothing else.
  • Talk to a child. Children have a very different take on the world than adults do, and they make you look at things in different ways. For example, my five year old told me quite authoritatively yesterday that if a playground has bark chips underneath the equipment, it’s called a park, because the word “park” is a contraction of the words “playground” and “bark”. (Okay, the word contraction wasn’t used, but you get the idea.) It’s amazing how a conversation like that can make you re-think things.
  • Exercise.Sure, a lot of you are probably sedentary sorts who would rather sit in front of the computer or television than go for a run. Heck, I would too. But getting some exercise and raising a sweat works wonders for your mental activity. It reinvigorates you, wakes you up and gives you a real boost in your cognitive processes. More invigorated and more alert = more likely to find that inspiration that’s been eluding you.

Like I said above, these things won’t work for everyone. But, if you’re looking for inspiration and there’s something on this list that you haven’t tried, then why not give it a go? You never know what might happen.

Good luck!

 

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Assorted writing tips #6 – dealing with writer’s block

When struck with writer's block...

When struck with writer’s block… (Photo credit: kaniths)

 

We’ve all done it. Finally managed to get a couple of hours that will be free of interruptions, only to sit down at the computer and stare at the screen, unable to type because we have absolutely no idea what to say. The ideas are there, but the words just aren’t coming. We have writer’s block.There are a number of ways to try to get past this. What I want to do today is list some of the methods that – for me at least – work best, and also those that work worst.

Good ideas

  • Read through what you’ve already got. Do some edits here and there and maybe extend a scene or two. Just immersing yourself in your story
  • Jot down some ideas in freeform mode. It might be a whole scene, it might be a line of snappy dialogue, it might be an impression or an emotion. Even if it doesn’t make sense, write it down. You may find inspiration in your jottings at a later date.
  • If you’re a linear writer (ie, you start at the beginning and write in order till you get to the end), perhaps think about writing a scene that you haven’t got to yet. Most people have ideas about key points in their stories, and how they want them to go. Write them down. Construct the scene. Sure, when you get to it you might change bits of it (or lots of it), but it will get you writing again. (If you’re not a linear writer and simply don’t know where to start, do this too. Get those key scenes down in print. You can always change them later if you need to.)
  • Try free writing. Open a blank document and just type words (or, if you prefer longhand, open a new page of your notebook). Don’t think about the words, don’t try to modify them, and don’t worry if they don’t make any sense. Just the act of writing can be what you need to get back into it. (Also, free writing can sometimes free things from your subconscious. Don’t discount what you see on the paper once you’re done.)
  • Read something similar to what you’re trying to write to get your head in the right space for that genre.

Bad ideas

  • Opening Facebook or Twitter and scrolling through, telling yourself you’re looking for inspiration. Chances are you’ll just get distracted, start trolling through blogs and the like, and two hours later you’ll have achieved precisely nothing.
  • Letting yourself get bogged down in a particular scene. If there’s something you can’t seem to get past, just ignore it for the time being and come back to it when you’ve had a bit of a break.
  • Getting another coffee. Then noticing the kitchen bench needs wiping down, so getting out a dishcloth to do that. Then thinking that the dishcloth needs washing so putting a load of laundry on. Then noticing that the kids have tracked mud through the laundry so mopping the floor. Then thinking that since you’ve got the mop out you might as well do the bathroom and kitchen floors as well. Then noticing there’s a ring around the bath so cleaning that. Then remembering you haven’t brushed your teeth today so doing that. Then noticing that the toothpaste tastes odd because it’s not combined with the taste of coffee like it normally is, so going back to the kitchen to drink the coffee you made. Then realising you’ve taken so long to do everything else that your coffee is now cold, so tipping it out and making some more. Then noticing that the dishes need doing …

Of course, what works for me isn’t necessarily going to be what works for other people, but from what I can tell a lot of what works for me is almost universal. Naturally, sometimes writer’s block isn’t going to respond to anything listed above, whether recommended or not, but often – I find at least – it will. It’s just a matter of trying things out and seeing how you go.

Good luck!

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Guess what? I’ve been published!!

In a real book that you can buy and everything!  How exciting is that?

As you can tell, I’m rather stoked by this. It’s all of six months since I decided to really start taking this writing malarkey seriously, and so far I’ve submitted a grand total of one story to be published. This makes my success rate 100%, which is rather unusual in writing circles. Don’t worry, I’m not under any illusions whatsoever about maintaining this rate, but I might as well enjoy it while I can, right?

100 RPM

The book is a collection of flash fiction, all inspired by music, and it’s called 100 RPM. It’s the brainchild of Caroline Smailes, and features one hundred stories (all 100 words long) inspired by music. Intrigued? I was, which was why I submitted a (somewhat gruesome) story. My contribution was inspired by DOA by the Foo Fighters, which was chosen because (a) they’re one of the only bands I listen to who are known worldwide, and (b) it’s one of those songs that just sticks in my mind whether I want it to or not, so it seemed a logical choice.

All proceeds from the book go to the UK charity One in Four, which raises money to help victims of sexual violence. On top of that, the book is CHEAP – but only for the first week of release. It came out on Thursday so you’ve got till this Thursday to get it at the discounted price, which is 99p (UK) or $1.55 (US). After that the price will rise (though not by a huge amount), which means more cash per book to One in Four, but possibly less sales because it’s dearer.

So, please go out and buy the book. This isn’t to line my pockets because I make absolutely nothing from it (I bought the book myself, even though as a contributing author I could have had a free copy), but to help out a very worthy charity – and read some great stories in the meantime! If you could leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads (or both) that would be awesome too, as we’d like as many people to find out about this as possible. Other ways you could help are tweeting using the hashtag #100RPM or liking the Facebook page.

Besides, you’re curious as to whether I can actually write, aren’t you? :)

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For more information about 100 RPM, please check out Caroline Smailes’ blog entry from last week.

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Guest post: Why Writers should Blog, by Holly Kench

Why Writers Should Blog

Image of me blogging was created by today’s guest poster, Holly Kench

When I first decided to start writing seriously, I desperately sought advice wherever I could get it. Everyone I spoke to made a lot of good suggestions: write every day, write what you’re passionate about, find your niche, create a writing routine, enjoy your writing, etc. Yet, there was one recommendation that I hadn’t expected and that kept popping up:

Write a blog.

A what? I would ask, scratching my technologically malnourished brain. At the time, the only blog I frequented was that of Ricky Gervais, and I remained unconvinced that ‘blog’ could actually be a real word.

However, it wasn’t long before I was following many MANY blogs and writing my own. I haven’t looked back since.

But just why is blogging such a positive endeavour for writers?

Let’s start with the basic reasons that blogging is beneficial for writers. The most essential of these would have to be in creating a home for yourself on the net. People need to be able to look you up online; just as you need a place to direct readers. In this increasingly virtual world (yes, it’s a cliché because it’s true), home is where the link is. For writers, this is your blog. It’s your online centre, and from your blog you can direct readers to your other social media (ie. Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads), to other relevant sites, and, most importantly, to where they can read/purchase your work.

Your blog is so much more than a Yellow Pages entry, though. It’s also a place where you can advertise your writing skills and generate an audience. You can promote yourself as an author, as well as specifically promoting your available work. Even more exciting, you can write to an interactive audience. This is a luxury that the traditional world of books doesn’t have. By writing a blog you become part of a developing community in which readers can respond and contribute to texts directly. On a blog, writers and readers communicate, discuss and consider writing as part of an ongoing conversation. I find the possibilities of this terribly exciting.

In terms of your writing itself, blogging is also a wonderful exercise. Blogging gives you the opportunity to write without restraint. You can write for the joy of it, at those times when you know your brain will burst if you don’t get those words down, or when you really need to write out problems and explore questions about your primary writing. And you have a waiting audience ready to read and contribute to your thoughts. Of course, the topic of your blog affects this to a certain extent – though I don’t really let that bother me too much. While my blog mostly consists of humorous short stories, I’ve discovered that my readers are more than willing to read and comment on my concerns about fiction and pop culture, and, for that matter, anything else I feel like blogging about at the time.

There’s a freedom in blogging that you don’t always experience from other types of writing. You don’t have to prove anything to a publisher or agent when you’re blogging. All you have to do is write for you and your wonderful followers, who are just waiting to give you their two cents worth (and that’s worth so much more).

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Thanks Holly! If you’d like to know more about this week’s guest blogger, she identifies herself as a Tasmanian (Australian) writer and feminist, with a classics degree and a fear of spiders.  She enjoys writing fantasy and humour for adults, as well as young adult and children’s fiction, and is currently writing her first novel, a young adult paranormal fantasy. Oh yeah, and she also likes writing stories about herself and drawing pictures of herself as a stuffed olive. To see more of her work, you can check out her website.

Holly as a stuffed olive :)

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On being a “writer”

There are a lot of articles and quotes online about what it is to be a writer. There are those who say you can’t be an aspiring writer – you are either one or you are not. There are those who say you have to tell the world you are a writer, otherwise it is merely a hobby and not a serious pursuit. And there are those who claim they know all the ins and outs of what it is to write.

I am none of these, though I do see the logic in the aspiring writer thing. Maybe people should call themselves aspiring authors instead. After all, anyone can write, but to finish a book, to have it in print or online in Amazon – that’s something else. But this is by the by. I have looked at all these views, and sifted through them, and come to my own conclusion: you are a writer if you believe you are.

I’m going to take myself as an example, because who else do I know as well? :) I don’t tell many people that I write. Most of my friends have no idea, and I certainly haven’t broadcast it among those I know in real life. (Hence the low numbers on my Facebook page.) There is a reason for this, but I won’t go into that right now. Suffice to say that by the time my novel has gone through a couple of betas I want to have a look at it, I’ll start spreading the word. I have stories published online under another name that only my husband knows about, despite the fact that within their online communities they are quite popular. But, for me, that has been a very personal part of my life, a private outlet for telling stories that I had in me.

However, I do see myself as a writer. I am taking this current novel very seriously and I do intend to publish it when the time comes, whether traditionally or independently. (I prefer the idea of traditional publishing, but am very aware that it’s very hard to break into. But again, that’s another issue for another day.) The fact that very few of my inner circle know about it is irrelevant to my dedication to the project. I am just as serious about trying to get a bit of an online profile before the novel is finished, and am trying to get involved in some new communities to boost my name awareness. In short, even if I’m being furtive in real life, I want to give myself the best possible chance of getting people in the wider world to read my book.

Does my reluctance to talk about it to my real life friends make me any less of a writer? I think not. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed about it and I don’t doubt they will support me, I just want to have the finished (albeit perhaps unedited) manuscript in my hand before I share this part of my life. According to some pundits, this means I’m not taking it seriously. To me, though, I’m taking the same steps. I’m just taking them in a different order from other people.

Image by Hector Gomez

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