My time travel romance novel, Fifty-One, is published by Filles Vertes Publishing on 12th February. It’s a twisty tale, as time travel stories should be, with romance, excitement and tragedy. And a surprise ending you won’t see coming.
It’s also a story with strong roots in the part of London where I live. It was a terrible event in our local history that planted the seed of the story in my mind.
Half a mile from my home is Lewisham High Street. There’s nothing special about it – shabby, even by London standards: a street market, cheap restaurants, phone shops and chain stores. It’s seen better days.
One day that definitely was not better – indeed, it was probably the worst – was Friday July 28th, 1944.
On the wall outside Marks and Spencer, is a plaque. I stopped one day and read it.
HERE’S THE SCOOP! Fans of Cora Carmack’s Rusk University, we have a SUPER exciting announcement:
ALL CLOSED OFF, Book 4 in the Rusk University Series, is coming!!!
Check out this message from Cora!
*WARNING: This letter contains spoilers for All Broke Down. If you haven't yet read that book, read at your own peril.
SECOND WARNING: this letter talks about fictional characters as if they are real people. Sorry I'm not sorry.
THIRD WARNING: The letter below broaches a serious topic that could be a trigger for some people*
Hello beloved readers!
The first person who read one of my Rusk University books was my older sister. I gave her All Lined Up when I finished, and her first question was "Are Ryan and Stella going to be together?"
At the time, I told her no. I had plans for both of them that included their own storylines. I thought they were too much alike. They'd make great friends. They might even hook-up, but in the end... I couldn't envision anything serious for them. So I actually rewrote some of their scenes trying to make that aspect of their connection more obvious. And still, when All Lined Up released, amidst the chatter about sweet Carson and sassy Dallas, I had people asking if Stella and Ryan were next. I denied it again (and again and again).
I'll reach to the stars
I'll reach to the moon
I'll reach through the galaxy far
To find you, my dearest,
My darling, my love,
And be in the place where you are.
Story Behind A Poem
When the first breeze of spring
dances through open car windows
and brushes the hair off my neck
or tickles my arm...
that is poetry.
What makes a poem, a poem? I'm sure there are many poets, professors, and professionals who could base entire books and lectures on that question. However, I'm not quite that ambitious. So, when the youngest daughter of a family of visitors asked me to teach her to write poetry... I took a slightly less traditional route.
I told her that emotion sparks poetry, and that's what makes it good. I mentioned meter and touched on tools like alliteration and metaphor, but I skimmed over meter, stanzas, and sonnets to get down to what I believe is the heart of a poem: feeling.
About the Book
My name is Olivia Bloom and I. Am. Engaged.
When Berkeley proposed, I thought we’d live happily ever after—we’d plan our wedding and he’d tour with the Brightside while I continued designing lingerie. Instead he dropped a bombshell: he’s starring in a movie with his gorgeous ex, Christina Carlton. And what’s more? I’ve been erased from the public eye. All anyone can talk about these days is #Berkstina.
To be together, Berkeley asked me to work on set as a costume designer--a dream come true--but there’s a catch: we have to keep our relationship secret. I’m okay with not being photographed, but the sneaking around, the lies, his love scenes; it’s not how I imagined our engagement. Berkeley is passionate and driven; it’s one of the reasons I love him. But he has so much going on—am I ready to drop everything to become Olivia Dalton?
Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle
Olivia Bloom On Picking the Dress(es)
Time to play dress up! It’s dress shopping time and Gemma and I are headed to Les Habitudes on Robertson to find the perfect wedding and bridesmaids dresses for my upcoming nuptials. We’re armed with inspiration boards, the only problem is I’m not sure which film-inspired gown will be the perfect one…
The Grecian Beach-Wedding:
Rustic Romantic Renaissance:
Maybe I’ll just have to try them all…
Book 1 of The Brightside Series
My name is Olivia Bloom and I. Am. Free.
I left for LA with everything I owned piled into my old Volkswagen and dreams of becoming a costume designer. Little did I know I’d wind up designing for a lingerie company—yeah, not sure how I landed this gig—and taken under the wing of two young Hollywood insiders. The fashion shows and parties were great, but life really got exciting when the seriously hottest lead singer of my favorite band started to fall for me.
How does someone like me, an ordinary girl from Pittsburgh, wind up in the arms of the world’s sexiest rock star—surrounded by celebrities, fashion, and music—and not be eaten alive? Berkeley is everything I've ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, but the paparazzi, the tabloids, the rumors, it's all getting a bit too crazy. My life has become every girl’s dream come true, if only I don’t blink and lose it all…
Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle
About the Author
Katie Delahanty is a fashion designer turned novelist. She holds a BA in communication studies from UCLA and a professional designation in fashion design from FIDM. It never occurred to her that she was a writer until an economic crisis-induced career shift from fashion designer to lingerie e-commerce webmistress led her to start the company blog. Not being an expert in lingerie, she decided to write the blog as a fictional serial starring a girl named Olivia Bloom who worked for the lingerie line. And that's when Katie fell in love with storytelling. She's been waking before dawn to write ever since. For more info please visit her website at katiedelahanty.com. She loves hearing from you!
About the Book
The creature hiding in the barn can’t exist. Fifteen-year-old Jason Hewes knows it’s impossible. A live dinosaur would be more believable; at least dinosaurs once roamed the land which is now the Hewes Montana farm. But this beast from legend? Quite impossible—although it doesn’t seem to be going away just because it shouldn’t exist.
Jason is about to reevaluate what is or isn’t possible. His discovery is very real, leathery wings and all. Nor is his new friend alone. Others of his kind are awakening from a centuries-long slumber. Realizing how traumatic contact between mythological beast and modern life could be, Jason and his impossible new ally devise a plan to integrate the newly awakened creatures into society through teenage interaction. What could possibly go wrong?
As the sound of giant wings becomes a common occurrence on the Hewes family farmstead, a malignant force senses his old enemies are flying again. Determined to end an eons-long war forever, this being turns his attention to a small rural Montana town, a family farm, and Jason Hewes.
Buy on Amazon | Read a Sample
1. When did you start writing?
I started writing several years ago on some on-line fan fiction sites. I got a lot of great responses over the three stories that I did
2. What inspired you to be an author?
I enjoy telling stories and exercising my imagination. When I wrote fan fiction, I knew it really couldn't go anywhere since they were in established and copyrighted world. That led me to decide to write something that was completely original and that my own kids would enjoy reading.
3. What was your favorite book as a child?
I am a HUGE comic book fan, so those were my favorites. Walt Simonson's Thor run and the Chris Claremont/John Byrne years on the X-Men stand out to me. But the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit were also really huge for me.
4. What is your current favorite book?
I am currently really enjoying Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn and Stormlight Archive series. But I really recommend a book by Andy Weir called The Martian. Good stuff!
5. How did you think of the idea for Jason and the Draconauts?
I love dragons but I feel like most dragon stories are set in the time of knights and castles. The movie Reign of Fire intrigued me because it brought dragons back in modern times (even though the movie was quite the stinker). So I decided to go the route of bringing dragons back in the 21st century and put my own take on what would happen.
6. What was the best part about writing/publishing this book?
The creativity, the bringing of ideas to life, and when someone tells you they enjoyed your book.
7. The worst?
The marketing :(
8. What is some advice you have for other writers?
Take your time telling your story. Don't try to rush to what you think is the "good stuff". The readers want you to take them on the journey, go give them a journey they can enjoy.
About the Author
Paul Smith lives in upstate New York with his wife and two sons, where he works with emotionally disturbed and mentally ill children. He earned a master’s degree in social sciences from Binghamton University in 1999.
A lifelong love of science fiction, fantasy, and superhero stories influences Paul’s writing. His most recent work was a popular weekly online series that generated over 20,000 views. Jason and the Draconauts is his first novel.
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Zara, thanks so much for letting me drop by to talk about my publishing experiences.
When I first began my journey on the path to being a published author, I considered self-publishing, but decided I'd give the traditional route a chance first. I queried agents with my first project. Of course, I sent it too early, and received nothing but rejections. Undeterred, I moved on to a new project. And, once that baby shone, I sent it off to a new round of agents. This time, I received a few nibbles, but no takers.
So, I went back to my first project, and revised, and wrote, until it barely resembled the original story I'd begun with. I thought about sending it to agents, but decided to try a different track, and sent to a few small publishers who took unagented submissions. I got two bites. Then I got an offer. And that started my publishing story.
With three stories at MuseItUp, and a new series releasing from BookFish books, I turned back to my thoughts of self-publishing. A control-freak at heart, this really seemed something I should try. I'd be in complete control of everything.
When the anthology I'd submitted a short story to seemed to be gaining no traction, I pulled my submission and got to work. I wrote, and edited, and sent it to CPs and Betas. And I edited some more, taking it from short story length to novella length. I knew this would be the one I'd test the self-publishing waters with.
All books need a cover, so I contacted Charlotte Volnek. I'd worked with her two times before and loved the way she captured my books. She sent me a sample. We tweaked it a few times, and then, BOOM! There is was. Something to look at and squee about and renew my sense of excitement about the story.
No story is ever complete without being edited. I contacted Judy Roth, my very first editor, (judy-roth.com) and she read and commented, and I polished and tweaked (and learned my newest writing vice!) With her help, life was breathed into my story, and the characters began to shine like I knew they would.
Next up was formatting. Not being one to do things the easy way, I read, and re-read Susan Kaye Quinn's chapter on formatting the hard way (from Indie Author Survival Guide- I totally recommend this book to anyone considering self-publishing) I read about HTML coding, and studied some of the books I'd downloaded to see just how they did that, and slowly my book took shape the way I wanted it to.
And now, it's been released out into the world for others to read.
Every step on my journey has taught me something new, and this is no exception. Reach for your dreams, work to achieve them, and you will find them in your grasp.
About the Book
Tristan enjoys being in the shadows as Prince Rand's bodyguard. Similar in looks, the two often exchanged places in their youth, but he never expected the king to order him to impersonate the heir to the throne in order to win the hand of a princess.
Princess Zoe needs to find a husband. After a year of searching with no success, her father insists on hosting a masquerade ball for the eligible princes of the nine kingdoms. Not one prince piques her interest, until she meets the mysterious stranger who won't tell her his name.
When Tristan meets Zoe he finds the girl of his dreams. The only problem? She's a princess and he's impersonating a prince―a crime punishable by imprisonment and floggings. Unable to tell Zoe his real name, he gives her a special navigation device. One that leads to the owner's true love. Will this magic device lead Zoe to Tristan, or will her true love forever remain a mystery prince?
Buy on Amazon
About the Author
Mary lives with her husband, son and two cats. When she isn't twisting fairytales, she enjoys reading, playing games, watching hockey, and camping. She is an author and editor at BookFishBooks.
Her Princess of Valendria series (Quest of the Hart, Charmed Memories, Different Kind of Knight) are available for purchase. Her Faery Marked (book 1 in the Faery Series) will be available this summer.
Fire of Stars and Dragons is here! *fangirl flail* It's finally here! And I happen to have control of the Dragon Blog on release day. No pressure. To celebrate, I'm doing a FOSAD Coke or Pepsi game, and a guest post on why Caitriona Hayden is a kick-ass heroine and great female role model. Both will be posted on Melissa's blog, and below.
FOSAD Coke or Pepsi
And there you have it! Hope you had fun reading my answers.
**my answers are red**
Eternal Love or Immortal Romance
Past or Future
Personal Assistant or Lawyer
Vampire or Demigod
Oliver or Corrin
Blue Oyster Cult or Pink Floyd
Fae or Elf (not even a question in FOSAD)
Waltz or Tango
Claaron or Jai (I love both!)
Pendragon or Graywyne (read more)
Dine In or Dine Out
Bastille or Imagine Dragons (full FOSAD playlist)
Fire or Lightning
Taylor Kitsch or James McAvoy
Dragons or Stars
I am an avid reader. I can finish a book in 3 hours, maybe a little less if it's fantastic (like Fire of Stars and Dragons). And while I love all the teen and NA books I've read (romance and otherwise), I always feel like the industry has yet to offer a great, strong female role model (aside from Hermione Granger, who ROCKS).
I loved The Hunger Games, but Katniss Everdeen avoided anything "girly" like it was the plague. THG made it seem like if Katniss really liked the clothes Cinna designed, she wouldn't be as formidable as she is when armed with her bow and arrow. This isn't true. Being in touch with one's femininity doesn't necessarily negate her strength.
Another example, Tris Prior from Divergent. Yes, she's an ordinary girl, but with the help of her dark, mysterious, and handsome male trainer, Four, she quickly rises to become a powerful player in her dystopian world. But without him, she'd probably have ended up dead. I'm not saying she isn't strong, but the way the story is framed, she needs a man to unlock her full potential.
Caitriona Hayden: Kick-Ass Heroine and Female Role Model
Bliss Edwards from the ever-popular Losing It by Cora Carmack is awkward and shyâmore so when in the presence of her hot teacher/love interest, Garrick. I'm not saying everyone needs to have everything figured out by college, but like Tris, Bliss seems dependent on her mentor/love interest.
Abby from Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire knows Travis is a bad influence but continues to pursue a relationship with him. It's more than a simple attraction to the "bad boy" persona. It's an active decision and sets a bad precedent (though I still found it an entertaining read).
In FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS
Caitriona Hayden is different. She tells readers to take what they know about female heroines and shove it in a corner. Cait redefines strong female heroine by being truly independent (not looking to a man to tell her how to be, besides explain her destiny).
You will learn within the first chapter that Cait is not your usual docile female protagonist. She knows what she wants and has a plan to achieve it. But unlike other female characters, she doesn't go to the extreme of being super masculine or asexual (because honestly where would that leave this steamy romance?).
Cait doesn't cower in the presence of the 3 powerful, supernatural men courting her. When something or someone displeases her, she makes it known. She is educated, classy, assertive, and takes her life in her own hands. It's because of these qualities that Ms. Hayden is a worthy literary female role model. She's by no means without some personal flaws, but her proactive attitude sets a great example.
And that is why I love Cait and FOSAD!
~Witch Writer Zara
If you didn't already preorder Fire of Stars and Dragons, BUY IT NOW (scroll to the bottom)!
About the Book
I can’t say I really started thinking about writing seriously until I was starting Sixth Form and sixteen years old. I’d completely NaNoWriMo the November before, but I’d used it more as a way to stave of my distraction in class than as a tool for crafting a manuscript. Yet, a manuscript I had. I’d written ‘novels’ before (and failed to get published) but I’d never had such a wordcount so high (the first result of 60,000, which later turned into the novel’s 80,000, was a total beyond my imagination at that point) or a plot so complex (that’s what one gets for a fascination with time-travel…).
Indeed, I didn’t get my first proper Critique Partner until the site Teens Can Write, Too! held a CP match-up service – and, as with every writer at my stage of their career, I was suddenly aware of the fact that my writing needed work. A lot.
I guess that’s the moment I thought “yeah, I’m serious enough about this writing thing to take critique and edit what I didn’t want to before”. But, by that point, my academic workload and my creative workload needed a bit of juggling if I was to pass my first year of Sixth Form to start applying to university.
Yet, somehow that year, I still got a short story published in a charity ebook. I couldn’t keep my mind from straying towards plots and my own internal progression.
As is probably obvious from the title of this post, I did pass that first year, and I did get into university. Whilst I should have known, from the previous abrupt absences of online writer friends in the years above me, that university takes up more time than one realises (even with less contact hours), I didn’t anticipate how much I’d be battling the urge to write and the duty to my studies.
In school, one has ‘independent study’, but ultimately, learning is a case of noting down everything a teacher says and being able to accurately memorise it for an exam; in uni, all study is ‘independent’. Technically, the lectures I go to are optional and only my tutorials are compulsory – for which I have essays to write. However, this means that some of what I have to learn for my exams next month is research from journals I have to find myself.
The biggest difference, I’d say, is how time saps away. I had homework at school, but somehow, every evening I could complete it with time to edit a bit more of my novel or to scribble out a few lines of new works-in-progress. Nowadays, I write as if I myself live in a temporal vortex!
The truth is that the way I write now is almost counter-logical. I may wake later and have two-hour clubs after dinner, but I give my evenings almost solely to writing now, unless I have an assignment due in (even then, I would hope to have made progression on it during the day). In general, as we mature from the schedule of being ‘teens’ to being ‘young adults’ (or should that be ‘New Adults’?), we alter our circadian rhythm, our innate bodyclock, to a pattern that should allow us to make the most of the day.
I have always written better in the evening, but before I moved into halls, I had limited time (yes, until I was eighteen, I had a designated bedtime…except, of course, we didn’t call it that!), but now I’m surrounded by people who stay up until the wee hours of the morning. In true human nature style, I adapt. And my writing adapts with me.
Yet – and this may be because I’ve concentrated on editing for far too long – my writing progress is definitely less than when I was writing whilst at school.
Who can say from where this change comes? Perhaps it’s something to do with the freedom of my own schedule and the fact I no longer have to get up at stupid times in the morning to attend classes. I have one theory that I’m getting lazy! Perhaps, though, it’s because I have more on my mind: not only do my characters call to me in the middle of lecturers, but ideas of theoretical research call to me when I’m surrounded 24/7 by people who are also studying and discussing their subjects.
In my very last year of school education, I took three subjects and, though I attempted readingaround the subject, I took them superficially. For instance, I loved my Latin classes, but in the end, I knew that translating into Latin wore me down so much I strayed away from doing more than necessary. On the other hand, the two subjects I’m taking for my degree are dear to me. Whilst I may not enjoy the precision of crafting a lab report, I revel in knowing how the perceptual system works or being able to say “left inferior temporal gyrus” and knowing (give or take an inch) to where in the brain I’m referring.
As such, it’s not time that’s running out for me in terms of how my writing schedule and pressures have changed in my first year of uni, but, rather, the mental capacity that changes with the additions of uni. The working memory system can hold a maximum of 7 stimuli information pieces at once – this means that no matter how well one can juggle one’s activities, one can never truly juggle one’s thoughts.
So, Teen Tuesday readers, life changes are inevitable. I’m not going to be cliché and say that with birdsong in the background. Whilst we can’t deny that the writing progress is going to change after we move to a new ‘level’ of life – and nor can we change it – we can automatically adapt. And it’s worth spending some time thinking about that.
Alexandrina Brant is an eighteen-year-old Englishwoman about to start the final term of her first year at Reading University, studying a BA in Psychology and Philosophy. Aseclectic as her reading/writing tastes are, she gravitates towards witty mysteries and clever romances, and, whilst always twirling her parasol about Victorian manners (a la Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes), she’s recently developed an interest-that-won’t-go-away in all things Steampunk. She’s currently querying an NA Fantasy Romance about love, loss and temporal paradoxes.
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Life on Earth is predicted to end on 15 July 2015. But the oncoming megatons of rock and ice break up shortly before impact. Now humanity must live in a world most believed would not exist. Across the planet, people are haunted by the future they did not fear, and even those who did not embrace death must face the consequences of others' decisions.
A collection of twelve stories about rebuilding hope by eleven authors from all over the world.
Book Website | Kindle | Amazon | Smashwords
It is my pleasure to share the spotlight with author friend and fellow Go Teen Writer member, Adriana Gabrielle.
Making time to write, For me that’s a hard thing to do.
I’m a homeschooled high-schooler, I take ballet, I do weight training, I play volleyball, I attend church and youth group on a weekly basis and I spend a lot of time with my family and friends… Oh yeah, did I mention that I am the oldest of 8 kids?
As you can tell. I’m a very busy teenager. So, how do I fit writing into my schedule?
I have found that in order to get the best out of my writing I wake up early. It seems to work out very well for me and my busy schedule because A.) I write better in the mornings and B.) There is just those times where I am too busy throughout the day to find time to write or my siblings are running around making lots of noise and it’s hard to focus. (I have learned to focus with all the noise but early mornings are more preferable…and peaceful…)
So everyday, to get my writing in, I wake up at 4:45AM and by the time I put on a warm comfy sweater, get upstairs, make some tea (I'm an Twinning's Earl Grey kinda Gal ;) ), power up my laptop and get my youtube playlist going, it's 5AM..or shortly thereafter depending how sluggish I am that morning.
My family's morning routine starts around 7:30AM which gives me time to write my novels, plot, write blog posts, chat with some of my friends (who are up at weird hours in the morning as well) or sometimes just dance around to music when I should be writing. (Because I'm cool like that )
Let’s be honest most of the time when writing it’s 99% being distracted with writing related things and 1% actually writing a novel or whatever. Anyone else know what I mean?
So, back to my point…Everyone has different times where writing fits best into your own schedule. So maybe a writing schedule that works for me might not work for you (or vise versa). All it takes is those few extra minutes in your day to sit down and just figure out, ‘Okay when does writing best fit in my schedule?’
I know that once I figured that out I something.
Having a consistent writing time eventually helps you have a good writing session.
I find that now that I automatically know that when I wake up early in the morning the creative juices start doing their job a little more therefore helping me get the most out of my writing session.
If you have a consistent time then your brain will eventually learn to go: “Okay it’s [insert time here] it’s time to write.”
So, as I mentioned a little earlier in the post, I write at 5AM every morning. You’re probably wondering why it’s so dang early in the morning that I write. Here are two reasons. The first reason I explained earlier about wanting to get some peaceful writing time and the second reason is NaNoWriMo.
Who here has done NaNoWriMo before?
Well, November 2013 was my first year doing NaNoWriMo and writing for an hour in the afternoon was not helping me get my word necessary count in so I decided, about a week in to NaNo, that I was going to experiment waking up early and see if that would help me get at least my minimum word count in. The first few days I wasn’t noticing a difference (but believe it or not, I am NOT a morning person…Okay, well I am now…) because I was getting distracted but once I buckled down and actually did it I found I could get the minimum word count in (and sometimes a little more).
Every since NaNoWriMo I have woken up early and had some of the best writing sessions ever.
My suggestion is this: Look through your schedule, pick the same time everyday to write, and once you have done that, watch your writing show up on those blank pages like lightning and see your novel finished. Yay!
So I only have one thing to say:
(Warning: Teen nerd girl alert) Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor. (If you don't get the reference, read The Hunger Games immediately)
About Ariana's WIP: Unbreakable is a YA Christian Contemporary novel and is currently in its second round of edits.
All of Billie Crane's memories, as far back as she can remember, are tainted by abuse. Never once had she considered running away, but all that changed when friend turned on friend and she became not only a victim of physical abuse but also a victim of rape. She avoided telling her father, knowing he would blame her, but when she found out she was pregnant she realized that she couldn't hide it forever. Left with few options, she abandoned her home and hunted down relatives in a city nearby.
They took the poor girl in with open, unquestioning arms. While with her family Billie meets Kenton McCarthy and his sister Finley, both of whom befriend her easily. Billie confides in Finley but pushes her brother away in fear of what he – or any young man – would do to her.
With the help of her supporting family Billie finally faces the phantoms of her past, battles bitterly against depression and stands against the pressure of deciding what to do for her unborn baby.
Will this God she's been told about truly love her again? How could a God who supposedly loves her allow all these horrible things to happen? What about him? Would he find her? Hurt her? Can she really trust her newfound family and friends?
Adriana Gabrielle is a 16 year old writer and has been writing fantasy novels since the age of 9. She started writing contemporary novels at the age of 13. Adriana hasn’t had any published novels but it is a goal she has made in her life to get at least one of her many WIP’s published. When she’s not writing she is dancing, spending oodles of time at the library, watching the occasional TV show, drawing and reading. She has alos loved the whole process of making movies. Usually, Adriana spends more time reading about the process behind making her favourite movies and watching all the bonus features than actually watching the movie…
She lives in Alberta, Canada with her Amazing parents and 7 younger siblings.
Blog | Nerd Girl's Life | Peculiar Pen Pals | MAE Movie Productions
About the Book
When sixteen-year-old Tiffany Winters strolls past Willowtree Care Home for the Elderly, she notices that something isn't right. There is just a certain 'feel' to the place. After she quizzes her Mum, she discovers that her great-grandfather lived and died there, and she wants to know more about him and the Home-- but things are never that simple. Willowtree has been taken over by a new management team that nobody ever knows anything about, there are no records or memories of her late grandfather, and-- as if that wasn't enough-- there is a mysterious boy on the loose. Together, Tiffany and her new best friend, Betty, must piece together what they know to 'build the full puzzle', and only then will they be able to solve the mystery behind the Care Home and her great-grandfather. But the only way to do so? Wander into a secret warehouse that leads into another world full of ghosts, secrets, and rows upon rows of suitcases...
Add on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon UK | Buy on Kindle
Guest Post: How to Stay Motivated
Hello, everybody! First of all, thank you very much to the wonderful and talented Zara for hosting me on her blog as part of the THEIR TIME TO GO Blog Tour. Released January 25th, this is the second stop on the tour, and it’s a lovely place to host it.For those of you who haven’t heard of my new book, or you have but aren’t quite sure exactly what the book is about, it’s a Young Adult paranormal book that is the first in a series of five books, making up the Tiffany Winters series (see above).
However, today I’m here to discuss motivation, and how to stay motivated. Whether you write books or not, or even if you just write a single book at some point in your life, you will know or discover that it is a long process— and not just the writing of it, either. You’ve got the idea, the plotting, the planning, the outlining, the writing of the first draft, the second draft, editing, revising, and so on… and then *takes a deep breath* you’ve got all the steps of publishing— agent, editor, publisher, or— if you’re going indie— editing even more so, cover design, promotion… the list seems endless.
So, during all of that, the question that is often raised is this: how do you stay motivated during it all?
Sure, loving to write and loving to share your stories your stories with the world is a good reason, but what about on the bad days? The days when writer’s block happens? The days when you realize that you have to re-write three chapters but that contradicts what you said in scene X?
The answer, I’m afraid, is different for everybody, but after writing six books for publication— THEIR TIME TO GO is my fourth, I have a contemporary crime fiction novel in April, and an unannounced Summer 2014 YA book— I’ve managed to come up with five tips that I find have helped me, and others, too.
1. Plan ahead. This is something that, I admit, I used to struggle with, and I know that many other writers do, too. Sometimes, when you first get that spark of a new idea in your mind, the urge to put pen to paper straight away can be a pretty strong one, but sometimes it’s best to wait and let it stew. Sure, jot the idea down somewhere so that you don’t forget about it, or bring in a few pictures of inspiration or pieces of dialog or so on, but that’s it. Over time, your mind will build on this idea, and then you can start plotting. Plotting does actually come in really useful— if you wish to change something as your plotting, you’ve got less material to have to go back on and change than if you were two-thirds of the way into your manuscript, after all! Not only that, by having a strong outline, no matter how long it takes you to plot it all out and put it all together,can often helping with writing a quicker draft, because you know where you’re going and the end result. However, I understand that not every writer wishes to do this— in the past I have myself written books with no outline made, although I’m not sure I would want to do that with a series! Still,you have to do what works best for you, and nobody else.
2. Manageable goals. The idea of writing a book that’s 60,000-80,000 words, sometimes even longer, can be a pretty daunting task, no matter much you love writing. If you don’t think you will do your story justice, or you think you’ll lose the drive to continue on with your novel in progress, breaking it down into smaller chunks can really help. Set yourself a monthly goal, or a weekly goal, or even a daily goal. After all, just writing 250 words a day— about one paperback page of a book on average— will result in a full manuscript at least after just one year. After doing this and making it part of your routine, then you can consider building this up to 500 words a day, or 1,000 words a day, and so on.
3. The sticker chart. This is something that I first saw Victoria Schwab— author of The Near Witch, The Archived, Vicious, The Unbound, and Everyday Angel 1,2, and 3— doing, and after she began tweeting about it and made a video about the method of which she uploaded on to YouTube, soon caught on! Basically, if you’re a visual person, get yourself a calendar and some stickers, and make each sticker represent something— for example, for every 1,000 words I write, I get a sticker: that way I can see how productive I’ve been during a day, a week, and a month. If you don’t wish to purchase a calendar and stickers, though, you can always download an app; Jackson Pearce— author of As You Wish, Sisters Red, Sweetly, Fathomless, Cold Spell, Purity, Tsarina, The Doublecross 1 and 2— is another example of an author who had done this via an app!
4. Doing something other than writing. Being motivated to write a book is a good thing, but don’t allow yourself to get burnt out. Even if you’re a published author and writing books is your job, it’s still important to doing something other than just writing. Being an author can be a quiet job when you’ve just got the voices in your head— I swear, it’s expected in this profession!— to talk to throughout the day, and spending hours upon hours everyday at the computer screen can really start to wear on your motivational levels. So, go out and write at a cafe if you really want to continue on writing, or try going longhand, but if you’re beginning to feel this way and losing motivation, simply going out to see friends, catch a move, or go for a fun, can be a nice way to take time out and then bounce back even more productive than you were before!
5. Reading. It’s important to read just as much as write. If you’re beginning to lose motivation, step back from your book and your words, and begin to read the words of somebody else. You’ll often find that reading a good book that really pulls you into the story is the perfect way to make you want you to write, as you’ll want to write a book just as good as the book you’re reading now!
So, that’s all. Thank you once again to the amazing Zara for having me on her blog, and if you do decide to take a chance on my book, THEIR TIME TO GO, then please, please, please know that I will be eternally grateful.
All the best,
*Zara's Addition: BookBaby just posted this awesome infographic about motivated writers, so I thought I'd share the link*
About the Author
Joshua J. Johnson is an author who lives on the East Coast of England. He began writing books after he learned that they don't just randomly appear on the shelf, but rather people actually sit down and write them. When he isn't writing his next novel, he enjoys reading, watching How To Train Your Dragon, and drinking milkshakes. He is also the author of Bones on the Surface, Soulless, and The Sweet Life, as well as Their Time to Go and the upcoming The Diamond Hotel.
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I'm a self-published author— because being a college student wasn't hard enough! I write YA multi-genre fiction for young adults or the young at heart. I love This Is Us, NCIS, BBC's Sherlock,
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