Guest Post: Megg Geri {10 Steps to Revising Your First Draft}

I am extremely honoured to be hosting this guest post from Megg. I have been a fan of hers for some time now and follow not just her blog but her advice and book club. 

Megg Geri is the author of Write A Novel In 30 Days and also owns Megg & Co Editorial Boutique.

Today Megg is sharing her tips on what to do when you’ve finished the first draft of your novel. 

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Wow! You’ve finished your first draft. How amazing? How scary? How much hard work did that take? You’re freaking fantastic, let me tell you that! There are so many people who never even get to this step, who never manage to finish the first draft. Yes, you can give yourself a high-five for this one. As awesome as you are your first draft sucks (I’m allowed to say this because my first drafts all suck too). 

What now? How do you get this first draft not to suck? I’m not talking grammar corrections and typos here, I’m talking about your actual story. How can you get this story to be one that people will actually want to read? You do revisions.  These 10 steps to revising your first draft are the steps that I follow too. They take time, patience, and a tough skin. But you’ve gotten this far, so you owe it to yourself to take it one step further.

10 Steps to revising your first draft

  1. Wait it out!
    The worst thing you can do is jump straight back into your novel. It’s all still too fresh. You need to give yourself time to forget and time to allow yourself to become distanced from all the hard work you have already put into your novel. I always suggest putting your first draft aside for a month. What? A whole freaking month? Yes, one whole month. Take that time to work on a new story outline or start writing another novel. Try a different form of writing like poetry, and short stories. And, give yourself time to read more (reading is always a good idea).
  2. Reread 
    Now, after a month of sweating it out, you pick up that novel and you start your reread. Try not to throw it out the window, burn it, or tear it into shreds. Pretend for a second that this is not your first draft, but rather your best friend’s first draft. Read it with open eyes and optimism for the story. Your first draft is going to suck and it’s allowed to suck! After you’ve done this, reread it again and this time make as many notes as possible. Note down any changes, plot holes, parts of the story that irritate you, pacing problems. inconsistencies, unanswered questions, and major mistakes that you need to look at fixing. Always remember that your first draft is you telling the story to yourself, this is a rough version.
  3. Identify Plot holes
    Now that you have identified your plot holes take the time to fix them. Don’t rush through this step. Some of these fixes will be quick and easy and others will be terribly tedious and feel somewhat like torture to fix.By not skipping this step you’ll find the process rewarding as you will see your story come together to form an even better second draft than you ever imagined
  4. Pacing
    Focus on consistent pacing as well as appropriately varied pacing throughout your novel. Do parts read too slow? Do other parts feel rushed? Allow yourself the time to fix any pacing problems you may have found by this point of your revisions. 
  5. Kill your Darlings
    This is always a tough task to manage. You’ve worked so hard on creating this first draft and you’ve worked so hard on your story elements (that you already love to bits) but if it doesn’t have a purpose in your story, if it doesn’t move the plot forward, or reveal something about your story you need to cut it!Harsh? Yes! You need to be if you want your novel to be the best it can be. Some Darlings, may be able to be reworked into the story, but most must be cut.
  6. Make small changes
    Those irritations you found in your second reread, the character’s name that was hard to pronoun or didn’t flow off the tongue, the shocking yellow car that was super unbelievable, the constant over explaining, now’s the time to make these small changes. Change a character’s name if it doesn’t fit. Make sure all your quotation marks are consistent (single or double, baby).
  7. Sketch out character arcs
    I always have a good idea of my character arcs before I start writing, but they change as I write and I don’t always go back to my notes and relook the arcs. This step can be skipped if you’ve written on a story structure but it’s always a good idea to revisit this step and double check your own work.
  8. Create character sketches
    This is another thing that I try to do before I even start writing my novels. My characters develop so much through my writing process that I always have to rework, add, and take away parts of their character sketches. After writing my first draft I also know my characters so much better and find it so much easier to complete my character sketches.As part of my book, Write A Novel In 30 Days, I offer a free character sketch which I use myself too. I also like to add photo’s of my characters, diary entries, bag contents and things that will personalise my character even more. 
  9. Work on your character’s goals and motivations
    Wow, by now you have made a lot of changes to your novel. Do all of your character’s original goals and motivations still remain true? Have your changes affected them? Give your characters new goals and motivations if needed and give yourself and your character the time to accept these new changes. 
  10. The hook
    Yay! You’re almost there. Now re-read your first few pages. Is your hook clear? Is there too much information or too little information for your readers? Sometimes, as the writer we already know the backstory and so everything makes sense to us but they might not make any sense to the reader who knows none of the backstory. Think about this when you’re looking for that hook. This can be a quick and simple step, or this step can take a lot of time, and this will differ from novel, to novel too. Go pick up your favourite books and read their hooks for some inspiration. See how other authors hook the reader. A hook should be on the first page, preferably in the first chapter, and if you can have the hook in your first sentence then that’s even better. 

I know this is a lot to take in and it’s a lot of work too (you may want to skip some of the steps or rush through them) but you’ve put in all this hard work already that you owe it to yourself to really focus on each step individually until you’re happy with the results. 

The way that I manage to keep my focus on one step at a time is to use different coloured highlighters during step two of the process (during my second reread when I’m making my notes). I choose a different coloured highlighter for each major focus needed (small changes, darlings, characters, pacing, and plot holes), this way I can focus purely on that colour when I need to. I also tick off parts that have been revised as the process can get really confusing and it’s easy to forget where you are in this revision process.

Most of all, be kind to yourself and to your writing. You might absolutely hate your writing and your story when you reread it but through an effective revision process, you can sculpt it into something better. Allow yourself the opportunity to do this. Don’t give up on your story.

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You can find Megg on Instagram and Twitter under the handle @megggeri and on Facebook TheMeggGeri and her blog Megg.Co.

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this post for us Megg. 

Emma-Louise x

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Book Tour: Disturbing Works by Jon Richter {Review}


Today I have a review for you of the Jon Richter book Disturbing Works.

Blurb…

The first volume of my Disturbing Works is a collection of twelve twisted tales perfect for people who like their stories dark, despicable, and deeply unsettling.  Containing fantasy, sci-fi, dark humour and a lot of deliciously nasty horror, it should have something for every reader that has a sinister side and nerves of steel…

Review..

Disturbing Works is made up of small short stories and I have to say I really enjoyed them. 

I loved the darkness to each one and how it differed from the next. All 12 were completely unique and could quite easily stand up against a full length novel. 

Richter’s words flow naturally and he has an amazing ability to create tension and suspense along with a side of dread. 

I would absolutely recommend this to any thriller or horror lover and would give this book 5 stars. 

This chilling volume is available now for your Kindle or eReader at www.amazon.co.uk.

Thanks for reading. 

Emma-Louise x

Jennifer Gilmour – Isolation Junction {Freebie}

Today I’ve got a fab freebie from you from Jennifer Gilmour, below Jennifer will be explaining why she is offering this free to readers. 

My name is Jennifer Gilmour and I am a survivor of domestic abuse, I have published two books both with a focus on raising awareness about domestic abuse at their core. Whilst both aim to raise this awareness one is written as a work of  fiction whilst the other is a compilation of survivor stories and therefore non-fiction. Both work in different ways to educate and raise awareness of this insidious and unacceptable behaviour.

Over Christmas, incidents of domestic abuse reported to the police rise. Assault and domestic murders increase 25% during the festive period with a third of them been on Christmas Day itself. Bombarded with images of the perfect nuclear family gathered around the gold baubles of a Christmas tree, it can be easy to forget that Christmas is a time of coercion, punishment and violence for many women* and men.

Now I know it isn’t Christmas anymore but January can be just as bad because all those credit card bills come in alongside your usual direct debits. There is even a day in January called Blue Monday and this year its on the 15th. The date is generally reported as falling on the third Monday in January, but also on the second or fourth Monday, or the Monday of the last full week of January.

The formula uses many factors, including: weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action.

Can you imagine this formula and applying it to an abusive relationship?

For 5 days my debut novel Isolation Junction is going to be FREE on Amazon Kindle, this is the first time ever to happen. It’s the week before Blue Monday, I wonder if those reading will be inspired to take action?

I ask you all to share the link and break the silence surrounding domestic abuse.

UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LX4HLT0

US link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LX4HLT0


*https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/welfare/2015/12/it-s-hardest-time-year-why-domestic-violence-spikes-over-christmas

Blurb…

Rose is the mother of two young children, and finds herself living a robotic life with an abusive and controlling husband. While she struggles to maintain a calm front for the sake of her children, inside Rose is dying and trapped in Isolation Junction.

She runs an online business from home, because Darren wont let her work outside the house. Through this, she meets other mums and finds courage to attend networking events, while Darren is at work, to promote her business.

Its at one of these events that Rose meets Tim, a sympathetic, dark-haired stranger who unwittingly becomes an important part of her survival.

After years of emotional abuse, of doubting her future and losing all self-confidence, Rose takes a stand. Finding herself distraught, alone and helpless, Rose wonders how shell ever escape with her sanity and her children. With 100 reasons to leave and 1,000 reasons she cant, will she be able to do it?

Will Tim help her? Will Rose find peace and the happiness she deserves? Can Rose break free from this spiralling life she so desperately wants to change?

Thanks for reading and downloading thqis important book. 

Emma-Louise x

Book Tour: Divine Poison by AB Morgan


Today I have a review for the book Divine Poison by AB Morgan.

Blurb…

For a community psychiatric nurse, Monica Morris has an unhealthy interest in poison, and when, on impulse, she buys an antique Ship’s Doctor’s Cabinet with a set of leather bound journals she becomes fascinated by the content.

A few days later, she discovers the body of her patient, Jan Collins, and although police assume suicide by overdose, Monica is not convinced.

When more unexplained deaths involving poisoning occur, Monica realises they are linked and so does DS Adams who is investigating. But how are they connected? And why?

When it becomes obvious that she’s unwittingly stepped into a trap set for someone else, Monica’s career, her own sanity and her life are placed at risk. But where can she turn to for help?

Review

I really liked the sound of this book by AB Morgan and was quite excited to get started. However, I have to admit it did take quite a few chapters to pick up for me. I found the beginning bit quite tedious and felt the character was just ‘doing the rounds’ and it wasn’t really leading anywhere. If anyone else finds this I really urge you to keep reading. Once I got over than first quarter it soon picked up and I really enjoyed it. The pace picked up and the intrigue was great. I was kept guessing all the way through without there been any obvious predictable situations.

After that first part the writing flows much more naturally. The chapters are split into sections which I really like. As a busy mother I don’t always have the time to sit and read lengthy chapters so I appreciate the breaks that AB Morgan implemented. 

I liked all the characters on the book. Each brought something different. 

All in all I’d give this book 3.5 stars out of 5. Overall the book was great.

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise Smith

Top 17 Reads of 2017

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!

Well didn’t that year fly by?

It the start of the year I set a goal to read 50 books, at the end of the year I finished at exactly 90! I have read, read and read more. Mostly for blog tours so my TBR pile is now as big as my house lol.

As you can imagine picking 17 books from 90 has been quite a task, some have stood out more than others but I have read so many good books this year. 

So without futher ado, here is my Top 17 of 2017 (No particular order).

1) Wintersong by S Jae-Jones

2) Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

3) Gilded Cage by Vic James

4) Mythica by Kevin Nielsen

5) Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas

6) The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

7) Ashael Rising by Shona Kinsella

8) Rock n Roll Lifestyle by Kiltie Jackson

9) Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles by J.M Sullivan

10) The Carrero Effect by L. Marshall

11) Lullaby by LRW Lee

12) The Path To The Key by April Canavan

13) Sister, Psychopath by Maggie James

14) Flashfall by Jenny Moyer

15) A Court Of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

16) Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch

17) Ink by Alice Broadway

There are three more books I’d like to give a shout out for. 2 which are more non-fiction; Isolation Junction and Clipped Wings by Jennifer Gilmour and another I beta read which is not out yet called Colonial Prime by Kevin Nielsen, I advised you keep an eye open for this!

I would love to know your top reads of 2017. 

Thanks for reading. 

Emma – Louise x

Author Guest Post: Patricia M Osborne

 

Today I have a guest post for you from the author of The House of Grace, Patricia M Osborne who answers some questions for us about herself and her writing.

 


Thank you, Emma, for inviting me on to your blog.

Where are you from?

I was born in Liverpool but live in West Sussex

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing since I was around 5 years old but more seriously since 2011 when I embarked on a creative writing course with the Open University. From there I went on to study for an MA in Creative Writing at University of Brighton, I am now at my last hurdle, the dissertation.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve been saying I’m a writer for at least five years, but I only truly believed it about a year ago. Releasing my debut novel and spending a few months as Poet in Residence at my local Victorian Park gave me confidence to say, ‘I am a Writer,’ and know it’s true.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My debut novel originated from a short screenplay that I completed for my Open University dissertation. George Orwell, Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge and House of Elliot all played their part in inspiring me.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I tend to write family sagas. I like writing about people and their families and I’m inclined to write in first person. For my poetry I focus on imagery and narrative.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I just want people to enjoy it.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Some of the experiences are based on childhood memories, for instance, Bolton’s town hall with its museum containing Egyptian Mummies, and lion statues and fountains outside. Otherwise the storyline is complete fiction. In my short stories however, I’ve been known to use memories and fictionalise them to create extra drama.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

If I had a chance to choose a mentor I think it would have to be Barbara Taylor Bradford. A couple of my readers have suggested that my writing has elements reminiscent of BTB’s early works. That’s quite a compliment.

What book are you reading now?

I’m reading Matt Haig’s, How to Stop Time, Elizabeth Ducie’s, Deception and Fay Wentworth’s, Are you Lost?

What are your current projects?

My work in progress is The Coal Miner’s Son, the second in the series of House of Grace. Because this runs alongside the debut novel, rather than a sequel, it may be read as a stand-alone or follow on.

I am also about to start on a new poetry collection as part of my MA dissertation. The plan is to study Fairy and Folklore and compose works of fantasy and myth.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved to write stories and poems and won my first poetry competition when I was around six years old. Serious writing began when I studied creative writing courses with the Open University as part of my degree and I’ve become a more established writer over the last couple of years since beginning my MA in Creative Writing with University of Brighton.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

The following shows two passages taken from my work in progress, The Coal Miner’s Son. The first is from Chapter 1 using nine-year-old narrator, George, and the second is in the point of view of his Aunt Elizabeth. Both passages are subject to edit.

The Coal Miner’s SonGeorge – taken from Chapter 1

Mam was on the couch with her face hiding in Mrs Deane’s chest. Why was she even here? She didn’t even like Mam, she thought Mam was too posh. Our headmaster sent everyone home early today because there’d been an accident at the mine. The road to the pit was blocked and bobbies were all over the place, dust flying everywhere. I tried to push through the barriers to find Da but the policeman wouldn’t let me through, said it was off limits so I asked him about Jack Gilmore but he just told us to get on our way and straight home, mind. Alice pestered me all the way back to our house, questions like, what’s going on and is Daddy all right. ‘Yes of course he’s all right,’ I told her. I hoped I was right.

The Coal Miner’s SonElizabeth – taken from Chapter 2

My mind slipped back to walking down the aisle at Loxhurst Cathedral, my arm hooked into Father’s. Our feet paced in rhythm to Richard Wagner’s Bridal March, Here Comes the Bride. Faces I didn’t recognise squinted their eyes to capture a view of me, the teenage bride, in my crisp silk-laced gown, trailing six-foot on the ground. I cuffed a bouquet of red roses dressed with gypsophila tightly between my fists. Strangers, daughters of Father’s business acquaintances, tailed behind as bridesmaids in lemon, clasping baskets of mix-coloured chrysanthemums. I turned around to see the three-year-old twins, posing as pageboys, chasing behind in green plaid kilts. Martha, her grey hair piled into a bun, pointed a stern finger at them. She mouthed towards me, face the front, where a large framed man in his fifties, barely any hair on his round head, stood at the end of the first pew waiting eagerly for his prize.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Sometimes I find it challenging to write painful scenes as it triggers experiences of loss for me too.
House of Grace, A Family Saga Blurb

It’s 1950 and all sixteen-year-old Grace Granville has ever wanted is to become a successful dress designer. She dreams of owning her own fashion house and spends her spare time sketching outfits. Her father, Lord Granville, sees this frivolous activity as nonsense and wants to groom her into a good wife for someone of his choosing…

Grace is about to leave Greenemere, a boarding school in Brighton. She’s blissfully unaware of her father’s plans when she embarks on a new adventure. The quest includes a trip to Bolton’s Palais where she meets coal miner, Jack Gilmore. Grace’s life is never the same again.

Travel with Grace through two decades as she struggles with family conflict, poverty and tragedy. Is Grace strong enough to defy Lord Granville’s wishes and find true love? Will she become a successful fashion designer? Where will she turn for help?

Available to order via Amazon (UK) and (com) in paperback and kindle format

http://mybook.to/HouseofGrace

Author Bio

Patricia M Osborne was born in Liverpool and spent time in Bolton as a child.  She now lives in West Sussex. Apart from novel writing, Patricia writes poetry and short fiction. Her poetry and short stories have been published in various literary magazines and anthologies. She is studying for an MA in Creative Writing with University of Brighton.  House of Grace is her first novel.

Website: patriciamosbornewriter@wordpress.com

Facebook Page: Patricia M Osborne, Writer

Twitter: PMOsborneWriter

Email address: Patricia.m.osbornewriter@gmail.com


Thank you Patricia for taking the time to answer some questions for us.

Emma-Louise x

First Line Friday

It has been about 2 months since I’ve sat down and written anything. Life has just been so hectic that every moment has been spent catching up on what I missed when I was ill throughout November. Today I am breaking myself back in gently with a First Line Friday prompt from The Fiction Cafe Writer’s Group.

As always the task was to use the first line and create a story around it in no more than 750 words.

Word Count 376 – Unedited.

‘There was a strange wailing coming from the next room. Noises in this place weren’t exactly unusual but this was different. A chill ran down my spine and the hair on my arms stood on end.

The large white clock on my wall ticked loudly with each second that passed. I sat up in my bed, frozen to the spot unable to move. I let out my breath slowly afraid that I would draw attention to whatever it was that woke me from my slumber.

The silence was eerie, unusual for this place. I’d been locked up in de Luca Asylum now for around 7 months. It was hard to tell how long exactly anymore. A combination of pills and treatments had left me more confused than when I entered.  I still wasn’t sure why I was even here, I wasn’t the one who started the fire but they wouldn’t listen, they never did.

They told me that I was hallucinating, that the man I was with wasn’t real and I had imagined everything. He was the one who started the fire, the fire that destroyed my parents home and killed my father. It wasn’t me.

The wailing had stopped now. I pulled the scratchy white sheet off and slide my legs down the side of the bed onto the cold floor. I got up slowly, careful not to make a sound. I walked over towards my door to peer out of the little square window.

I looked out at the sheer white corridor, the bright lights were glaring, reflecting off the walls.  I couldn’t see anything. A few people moved around down the end at the nurses station but that wasn’t unusual. There was no sign of anything amiss.

It was then I heard a shuffling sound, then out of no-where the face of a woman appeared at the window. It looked wild, hair all over and eyes wide. Dirt smudged across her cheek. That noise again, the wailing came from her mouth. Behind her I saw the nurses trying to grab her and she thrashed about.

I saw the glint of the metal as the needle hit the woman’s neck sending her instantly to sleep. Another new patient,  welcome to the madhouse crazy lady’.

Thanks for reading

Emma-Louise x

After Leaving The Village by Helen Matthews

Today I have a review for you for the book After Leaving The Village by Helen Matthews. Helen and I are in the fabulous Fiction Cafe book group and she approached me asking if I could possibly read her book in exchange for a review. I always like to help out new authors and found I had time in my schedule.

Blurb…

Two women. Two villages. Different destinies. Odeta’s life has shrunk to a daily round of drudgery, running her father’s grocery store in a remote Albanian village. One day a stranger from Tirana walks into the shop and promises her a new career in London. Odeta’s life is about to change, but not in the way she expected. Journalist Kate lives on a quiet London street and seems to have a perfect life but she worries about her son Ben, who struggles to make friends. Kate blames the internet and disconnects her family from the online world so they can get to know their neighbours. On a visit to her home village in Wales, Kate is forced to confront a secret from her past. But greater danger lies closer to home. Perhaps Kate’s neighbours are not the friendly community they seem.

Review…

I am not sure what I expected when I read the blurb but it wasn’t what I got. I was glued to the book.

The story follows two very different women and I couldn’t put it down. There are elements of a graphic nature but it isn’t written in a way that makes you want to put the book away.

I really felt for Odette and I kept thinking how this must actually be a harsh reality for many women in the world today. I really felt hate for this who kept her that way.

I liked Kate and I understand all to well what she was trying to achieve though I did think towards the later chapters she acted irrationally and put herself in unneccessary danger when others wouldn’t have despite those circumstances.

The main story though and bits that kept me really turning those pages was Odette.

Helen is such a great writer, she really invoked feeling when I was reading. I felt all possible emotions when I went through the story and I would really love another book on Odette’s story after everything that happened. I feel like I’m invested in her, I want to see if she does get a happy ending.

I really would recommend After Leaving The Village. It’s an amazing and thrilling read that keeps you holding on to hope.

Thank you Helen for allowing me the honour of reading your amazing book.

Emma-Louise x

Author Guest Post: Jennifer Gilmour

‘Our wings were clipped, our restrictions were made, our boundaries were tested but now we are free, aren’t we?We look above in the sky at the birds and hope to be free. But the birds make their nests in the trees high above, to protect themselves from predators. Free birds must keep looking over their shoulders the same way all of us have to.’

-Jennifer Gilmour

Today I have a very special guest post for you from Jennifer Gilmour who will be discussing a very important topic with us. I have read and reviewed both of Jennifer’s books and they were fantastic. Jennifer is an Advocare for women in using relationships. Author of Isolation Junction, Clipped Wings and columnist for CCChat Magazine.

The Darker Side to Christmas

You may think I am going to write a piece of flash fiction or talk about a recently read thriller book – but I am not. What I am going to share with you is, in fact, reality for so many people all around the world – especially at Christmas.

My name is Jennifer Gilmour and I am a survivor of domestic abuse, I have published two books both with a focus on raising awareness about domestic abuse at their core. Whilst both aim to raise this awareness one is written as a work of  fiction whilst the other is a compilation of survivor stories and therefore non-fiction. Both work in different ways to educate and raise awareness of this insidious and unacceptable behaviour.

Over Christmas, incidents of domestic abuse reported to the police rise. Assault and domestic murders increase 25% during the festive period with a third of them been on Christmas Day itself. Bombarded with images of the perfect nuclear family gathered around the gold baubles of a Christmas tree, it can be easy to forget that Christmas is a time of coercion, punishment and violence for many women* and men.

Christmas for me was one of the loneliest times of the year and a time when I would try to be on ‘my’ best behaviour’, meaning that I didn’t even think of not doing as I was told because I didn’t want to ‘set him off’. I wanted to keep my partner happy and in trying to do so, I endeavoured to take on the financial pressures myself despite there being rules surrounding gifts for family members. Most of the time I handmade gifts for relatives and although this is a popular option now, compared with the glossy, manufactured offerings, my gifts looked cheap and homely. This made me feel guilty and embarrassed.

Alongside this, Christmas was a perfectly orchestrated opportunity for arguments and the reality was that my ‘best’ behaviour was never ever going to be acceptable to him. There was always something to nit pick at even if it was that I didn’t react to a gift the ‘correct’ way. This criticism nearly always escalated and I always felt he was  simply looking to create conflict with me and I could never understand why this should be the case. It was a relief to be able to look forward to him going back to work after Christmas and thankfully his job didn’t allow for much time off over the (not so) festive period.

I have reduced the price of Clipped Wings which is my latest publication until 25 December to mark this time of the year. I ask you all to share the link and break the silence surrounding this kind of behaviour this Christmas.

* https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/welfare/2015/12/it-s-hardest-time-year-why-domestic-violence-spikes-over-christmas

You can find link’s to Jennifer’s profiles below.

Website; www.jennifergilmour.com

Facebook; www.facebook.com/isolationjunctionbook

Twitter; www.twitter.com/JenLGilmour

Clipped Wings on Amazon UK; https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076KNZJZQ

Clipped Wings on Amazon USA; https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076KNZJZQ

Goodreads author profile; https://www.goodreads.com/JenniferGilmour

Clipped Wings on Goodreads; https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36449221-clipped-wings

Huffington post blogger profile; http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/author/jennifer-gilmour

Thank you so much Jennifer for taking the time to talk to us today.

Emma-Louise x

Author Guest Post: Liz Taylorson

Today I have a Guest Post from Author of The Little Church by the Sea, Liz Taylorson. Liz talks to us about Inspiration. 

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Inspired by …

Many authors draw inspiration from the view outside their study window. The rolling hills of the Cotswolds, perhaps, the Lakeland fells or a windswept Scottish beach … Ah, smell that sea air, how could anyone fail to be inspired?

The view from my desk is rather more suburban. I can see a wide patch of tarmac intended for turning vehicles but mostly used as a handy little car park by the neighbours, and a road beyond it. It’s not an exciting road, it’s a small hill that goes up towards the railway station. The most exciting things about it are the blossom trees in the spring and watching cars slide down it in the snow.

However I still spend an inordinate amount of time looking out of my window when I should be working … So other than gazing out of the window, where do I get my inspiration?

When it came to writing my first novel, the first thing I did was make a list. I love lists and pretty notebooks to write them in and I knew I wanted my story to have a wintery setting – I wanted the bleakness of the seaside in winter and I wanted the prettiness of Christmas, frost and snow. So I listed all the things that inspired me about winter – the contrast of dark nights and pretty lights, frost on the windows and flames in the hearth, holly and ivy hanging against a wood panelled wall and silver candlesticks. I listed half remembered childhood customs, songs and stories. And then I tried to imagine the kind of place I could set a story that included all these elements.

Then I came across a door. A picture of a door, in fact, an old wooden door belonging to a tiny cottage in Robin Hood’s Bay, a fishing village not far from Whitby on the North Yorkshire coast. It had a beautiful old door-knocker and a Christmas wreath hanging on it. It would be just the kind of place for wood panelled walls, silver candlesticks, mulled wine and mistletoe, but what kind of things might happen in a cottage like that?

Now I had a setting of the seaside in winter, I knew that with it would come an element of danger – high tides, storms, cold and a community that could easily be isolated by the wrong kind of weather, plenty of drama there! It gave a lovely contrast to the warmth and tradition of Christmas.

Finally I had to think about who was going to be at the heart of the story. I knew that I wanted to write about a lonely woman who had never had a full relationship with a man, so I asked myself who might find themelves in this position? The answer came quite quickly – someone with a strong belief that sex before marriage was wrong. Someone religious … a vicar perhaps? A female vicar. But why on earth would a single female vicar be living in a pretty cottage in the middle of a seaside village and not a in vicarage?

Because something had happened to the vicarage and she couldn’t live there. Something dramatic and unusual that would make a good starting point for her story, her quest to find a home and the right man to share it with … And this is where another kind of inspiration came in. I sometimes work with an author of local history books, helping him prepare his manuscripts for publication – and he had written a book about the North Yorkshire coast, which documented several cliff falls including the demise of the Holbeck Hall Hotel in Scarborough in 1993. So, what if her vicarage had fallen over the cliff?

And there you have it. The things that have inspired me – books, pictures, pretty notebooks to make lists in and looking out of the window!

Liz’s novel The Little Church by the Sea is published by Manatee Books and can be purchased from Amazon at: goo.gl/Wwr5uG  

Liz is on Facebook at @TaylorsonLiz and Twitter @taylorson_liz. She has a blog at liztaylorson.wordpress.com 

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Thank you so much to Liz who happens to live local to me, your time writing this is much appreciated. 

Emma-Louise x