Guest Post by Isabella Muir

I’m Isabella Muir, the author of the Sussex Crime Mystery series.  This series of three books is based around the character of Janie Juke, a young librarian. Set in the late 1960s, Janie Juke turns out to be an excellent amateur sleuth, following in the footsteps of her hero, Hercule Poirot.  The stories are based in the fictional Sussex seaside town of Tamarisk Bay and are perfect for anyone who loves Agatha Christie and the swinging sixties.

And now – to celebrate the birthday of the great Queen of Crime – Agatha Christie – THE SUSSEX CRIME MYSTERIES is available as a compilation for a special discounted price – only until 15th September.

This collection of three previously published books, includes THE TAPESTRY BAG (Book 1), LOST PROPERTY (Book 2), and THE INVISIBLE CASE (Book 3). All three books can be bought individually.

ABOUT BOOK 1: THE TAPESTRY BAG

A young woman, Zara, goes missing, one year to the day that her boyfriend, Joel, was killed in a hit and run.   Is Zara in danger?  Is she still alive?  What really happened to Joel and who is to blame?

In the quiet seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, the police appear to be doing little to find Zara.  Her friend Janie decides to make it her mission to track her down.   It’s the ‘swinging sixties’ and Janie fears that Zara may be mixed up with drugs, alcohol, or worse.  As Janie explores the strange circumstances of Zara’s disappearance, she starts to question the truth about Joel’s death.

Janie runs the mobile library and has a passion for crime fiction, especially Agatha Christie.  Can Poirot help Janie solve the mystery of Zara’s disappearance?  As she looks for clues Janie comes across some unsavoury characters who each have a reason for wanting Joel dead.  Can she untangle the web of lies and find out the truth?

ABOUT BOOK 2: LOST PROPERTY 

Janie Juke has developed a reputation for finding missing people.  When Hugh Furness asks Janie to track down an old friend, she discovers there is much more at stake than a missing person. 

This new case takes Janie back in time to the Second World War, where she learns about secret missions and brave deeds.  It is the past that holds the key, but she needs to be at her most intuitive to work out what lies behind the rumours and conjecture.

Following in the footsteps of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, Janie enlists the help of local journalist, Libby Frobisher.  Racing around the seaside towns of Tamarisk Bay and Tidehaven, Janie and Libby track down clues and piece together the facts.

A new decade is looming.  In these last months of the 1960s, time is against them.  Hugh Furness is seriously ill and Janie is just months away from the birth of her first child.   Can Janie and Libby find out who is telling the truth before it is too late?

ABOUT BOOK 3: THE INVISIBLE CASE

It’s Easter 1970 in the seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, and for one family the first Easter of a new decade brings a shocking tragedy.

Amateur sleuth and professional librarian, Janie Juke, is settling into motherhood and some quality time with her family. When her Aunt Jessica is due back from Rome after nine years travelling around Europe, she arrives back in town with a new Italian friend, Luigi, and the whole family soon get embroiled in a tangle of mystery and suspicion, with death and passion at the heart of the story.

As time runs out on Luigi as prime suspect for murder, Janie has to use all of her powers of deduction in the footsteps of her hero, Hercule Poirot, to uncover the facts. Why did Luigi come to Tamarisk Bay? What is the truth about his family?

As Luigi’s story unfolds, tragedy seems to haunt the past, present and unless Janie acts fast, possibly what is yet to come.

What’s coming next?

I have the embryo of an idea for Number 4 in the Sussex Crime mystery series, which will see the young journalist Libby Frobisher lead the investigation – with Janie Juke taking a bit of a back seat!

I am also just putting the final touches to THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN, which deals with the heart-breaking topic of the child migrants who were sent by the UK to Australia in the post-war era, right up until 1970.  THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN is available for pre-order, and will be published 29th November.

And when I’m not writing…I help my husband run a small campsite in West Sussex, ably supported by our gorgeous Scottie dog, Hamish!

Readers can keep in touch with me by:

Email: theisabellamuir@gmail.com

Website: https://isabellamuir.com/

Twitter @SussexMysteries            

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMuirAuthor/

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Isabella-Muir/e/B074F18ZSY/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

                        The Sussex Crime Mysteries 3D

A massive thank you to Isabella for taking the time to write this guest post.

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x


                 

Advertisements

September 2018 {Book Releases}

Hey and welcome to my new feature. I decided to start doing a monthly new releases post but rather than include the generic big hitters that can be found all over the place I turned to the world of Twitter and one of my favourite groups The Fiction Cafe for authors. We are lucky as readers that we have such a vast pool of talented author’s to chose from when deciding our all important read list. Let’s face it there are more books on our TBR piles than we will ever get to read in this life time.

I wanted to share with you some of the lesser known authors, we often overlook the authors who we have not heard of or have self-published and don’t have a massive budget to spend on promotion. That is where this feature comes into play, I will be helping them on their journey by highlighting books coming for release in the month and including purchase links, blurbs and where available book covers.

So without further ado, here are some September 2018 releases which may interest you.

The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper

Paperback Release

20th September

Purchase Links: eBook | Paperback

Fans of Jojo Moyes, Cecilia Ahern and Marian Keyes will love The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper, a laugh-out-loud, funny and heartbreaking novel of love, loss and what it means to be a family.

If Melody hadn’t run out of de-icer that day, she would never have slipped and banged her head. She wouldn’t be left with a condition that makes her sing when she’s nervous. And she definitely wouldn’t have belted out the Arctic Monkeys’ ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ in assembly at her son’s school.

If Dev hadn’t taken the kids to the zoo that day, then the accident wouldn’t have happened. He wouldn’t have left Flynn and Rose without a dad. Or shattered the love of his life’s heart.

But if they hadn’t seen the missing person report that day, they might never have taken the trip to Cornwall. And, in the last place they expected, discovered what it really means to be ‘Us’.

The Songs of Us

Lake Effect by Nicole Tone

Paperback and Digital

25th September

Purchase Links: eBook U.S | eBook UK

After the death of her fiance, Sophie Daniels is struggling to keep herself together. Painting is the only way she’s able to clear her head and stay grounded. For her art isn’t a hobby—it’s her religion. With a semester away from finishing graduate school, she knows that, despite her loss, things are going to get better. In fact, her thesis advisor has even taken a special interest in her. Sophie’s convinced that she’s found the mentor that she’s been looking for. When he shows he’s interested in her in more than just a student/teacher way, she obliges him. Until his wife leaves him.

Sophie learns the hard way what happens when a man cannot take responsibility for his own actions.

Now she’s back to square one in pulling herself back together. She hasn’t just lost her fiancé anymore: she’s lost parts of herself she’s not sure she’ll ever get back.

Like her ability to create.

Lake Effect is a raw exploration of human emotion and what it takes to save your own life

Lake Effect

Lake Effect by Nicole Tone

Eternal Seas by Lexi Rees

Paperback

28th September

Purchase Link: Paperback

Such a small parcel
shouldn’t cause experienced
smugglers much trouble,
but this parcel is far from normal.
Chased across the seas, Finn and Aria must solve the
mysteries within the parcel.
What does it mean? Who should they trust?
What will happen?
The fate of an ancient people depends on them
and time is running out …
Eternal Seas

Eternal Seas by Lexi Rees

Website

The Westwood Witches by Sarah Northwood

Digital

September 30th

Purchase Links: eBook | Paperback

Aero trembled as she held the box sealed inside black paper. The dilemma was a difficult one – her mum had told her the box contained secrets she might not be ready for. Once she opened it, there would be no going back…
Aero has always felt like a misfit and an outsider. Thankfully, having a best friend like Lilly, along with a grandma like Joanna, makes life worth living. But a terrible event tears her world apart, and Aero Westwood is about to discover that her family has more secrets than most.

Facebook | Website

cover The Westwood witches

The Westwod Witches by Sarah Northwood

Daisy Daydream The Nursery Rhyme Bus by Sue Wickstead

Paperback

30th September

Purchase Link: Paperback

Daisy was a happy red bus who loved travelling the busy streets of London. When newer and shinier buses came along, the older buses like Daisy began to disappear. would Daisy become one of the forgotten buses, or was something else planned for her?

40137803_169634373877402_8944368092268462080_n

Daisy Daydream The Nursery Rhyme Bus – by Sue Wickstead

I hope that you find something here that will tickle your fancy.

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x

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.

*****************************************

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.

***********************************************

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

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. 

*****************************************

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 

 ****************************************

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

Emma-Louise x

Author & Editor Guest Post: S.D Mayes

Today I have another amazing Guest Post for you. Author S.D Mayes not only discusses her writing but offers some fantastic tips to others who want to write.

*****************************************

S.D. Mayes – Journalist, Author and Editor

I always liken editing to cleaning the skirting boards. I don’t really want to do it, but afterwards I feel so much better. However, after doing many rewrites and edits – and that was around eighteen drafts of Letters to the Pianist, my historical suspense novel, I was ready to throw the blimmin’ laptop out of the window. Yep, this novel was probably one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done in my life. Timewise, I spent a year writing and nearly two years editing and rewriting, so getting it finally published at the end of September this year was a huge relief.

I’ve worked as a journalist for over twenty years and had already written a best-selling self-help book, Be Your Own Psychic, published by Hodder & Stoughton – one of the big five, so I thought writing a novel would be easy. How wrong I was. I had chosen a complex multi-layered plot with a parallel father and daughter story, simply because the story popped into my mind years back and I loved the premise of it – a Jewish man who loses his memory and marries into a family of Nazi sympathisers. I thought it was going to be hard work, but it just kept popping into my head, and one rainy Sunday afternoon I got started. I had two protagonists: teenage Ruth Goldberg, and her father Joseph Goldberg who was renamed Edward Chopard by his new aristocratic wife Connie.

A protagonist is the character your story revolves around. And I chose to write Ruth in the first person so her story was right up front and in your face. I then chose to write her father, Joseph and all the other characters in third person – both of which was clearly delineated by change of chapter. Many of the reviews I’ve received have said that they like getting the many third person point of views of different characters, but this book was a steep learning curve in many ways – and as I also beta read and edit other authors manuscripts as part of my other work, I’ve seen the many mistakes we can all make as new writers.

Show not Tell

I’m sure you have heard this phrase. It is essential for good writing, and most new writers don’t fully understand what this means. With ‘telling’ many paragraphs can end up being summarised instead of really engaging readers in the powerful elements of a story, so there is a huge lack of description throughout a book where the writer generalises far too much and expects the reader to join the dots as to what’s happening. As writers we need to be painting a story with pictures. A good parallel about the difference between show and tell is that with ‘telling’ the reader becomes an observer of your story. When you ‘show’ however, the reader really experiences your story, often becoming one of the characters in their minds. So that’s a huge difference in the experience of reading.

Here’s some examples with the authors consent on manuscripts I’ve edited.

Telling

‘My father died when I was young and my mother raised me. She was very pious, prayed constantly and took me to church every Sunday. The bitch didn’t allow me to read any book other than the Bible and she didn’t allow me to listen to music either. She was very strict. Every minor infraction would lead to a severe beating with a belt, rod, or cane.’

This paragraph gives a quick summary ‘telling’ us. There needs to be description and detail about how the relationship developed between mother and son. There is barely any description of Jack as a boy and no description of his mother’s character.

Showing

‘One afternoon I walked into our house after school. I was only seven, a small, thin waif of a boy because I didn’t get fed much, only rice and beans if I was lucky. My mother was scrubbing the kitchen floor on her hands and knees, pushing the bristles back and forth. It was a strange sight to behold as she barely did a scrap of housework. As usual, she stank of rum and her shirt was partly undone showing her huge breasts wobbling about.  I stood in the doorway staring.  ‘Mom’, I muttered, feeling ignored yet again. ‘Mom’, I’m starved. Can I have some bread?’  Finally, she looked up at me with bloodshot eyes, peering at me strangely. ‘Hungry, huh, well there’s no food for you, boy. Get upstairs and read that bible,’ she shouted. You have a darkness in you, I can see it oozing it out of every pore – the spirit of Beelzebub is in you, and you need to read that bible over and over to get it out. Do you hear me?’

With ‘showing’ the reader gets an immediate understanding of the dynamics of this boy’s childhood and relationship with his mother.

Another example of ‘telling’ from a sentence is this.

‘The food was retrieved from a counter where a team of cooks worked furiously to get enough food out for the encroaching students.  They ate well, the food was good. Few words passed as the food went down.’

So what’s wrong with this paragraph?

Firstly, the word ‘food’ was used four times in one paragraph. It’s important for a writer to vary their language. Repetition of the same words too close together reveal boring lazy language – and you want to keep your reader on their toes. But it’s also important to be descriptive to state what this food is. The author needs to make sure it sounds delicious. For example, a description of ‘showing’ with food would be this. ‘There before us, was a long table set out in front of the bay window with the most mouth-watering display of food: platters of buttery smoked haddock and crispy potato cakes, bagels oozing with cream cheese, a dish of boiled eggs, a sponge cake trickled with honey, and my favourite, big round sugary doughnuts all set out on lace doilies. I was drooling, picturing the sweet jam exploding into my mouth.

You get my drift? This kind of detail is what brings stories alive so the reader can see and taste the food.

POV

POV relates to the point of view of a character and many writers resort to head hopping which can confuse the reader. And this is very common. When you write from first person it’s obvious you are in your protagonists head, and that can be up front and powerful as the character tells their story. The problem with first person is that it is limited to that one perspective. So events can only unfold from that characters perception as they tell their story.  Many novelists such as Paula Hawkins author of ‘Girl on the Train’, and Gillian Flynn author of ‘Gone Girl’ use this first person POV for all their characters by putting the name at the top of the chapter, so they get another characters perspective. And in my view ‘first person’ is the easiest way to write.

Third person is far more complex when you go from one character to another, and this is something many authors struggle with where they resort to ‘head hopping’. There is a golden rule with POV. The rules in writing are that you cannot head hop from one character to another without first changing scene or chapter. For example, in this para the characters headhop from Jenny’s thoughts to David’s in two consecutive paras.

Get up, you two! Quickly!” Jenny yelled. The emphasis in her voice appeared to be sharp and impatient. Knowing that assisting the slumbering twins could get her in trouble, she quickly removed her head from underneath the ivy-covered entrance.

David was shocked that Jenny still had such pent up energy despite being up all night. Although he overslept, he felt like an extra hour would have helped him feel less groggy.

So this has gone from Jenny’s point of view to David’s in the same scene. Dialogue can of course go back and forth between characters, but you need to choose whose head you are going to be for that scene or chapter and stick to it, or create a new scene if you are changing POV to another character.

Adverbs: I often find new writers over complicate a sentence by using too many adverbs. I know I did initially. Strong, direct language is best. Adverbs are fine in moderation, but many manuscripts I’ve seen use very similar phrases within a few paragraphs, so there’s a lot of glaring eyes, saddened eyes, brooding eyes and bulging eyes. Writing is about being creative in how you write, not saying the same thing with a few different words.  Find different ways of physically showing how your characters express themselves. For example, instead of saying saddened eyes which is technically ‘telling’ – say ‘she hunched over, clenched her hands together, her eyes wet with tears.’  Leaving in adverbs can look amateurish and lazy as if you can’t be bothered, so describe things properly instead of generalising and be confident with leaner sentences that read in a cleaner, crisper way.

Cliché’s

It’s considered a big no no to mention too many clichés. Expressions of speech, are different if they allude to a certain way of speaking, but it’s important as a writer to find ways of saying the same thing in different ways and finding unique metaphors. Who can forget ‘Hills like White Elephants’, a short story by Ernest Hemingway. What a great description, and one that immediately evokes a visual picture.

What I did in Letters to the Pianist was if a cliché came to mind, I would try and put my unique spin on it, so instead of saying ‘trapped in a gilded cage’ which is a well known cliché, I used, my own – ‘Everything else came under his list of possessions and she was merely another, ‘trapped in a mink-lined dungeon.’

None of this came easy to me at first, and it takes consistent work to keep going through a manuscript and cleaning it up. And I don’t profess to be an expert on any of this, but I have learnt a lot through the years, and as tough as it might be, it definitely gets your creative mind ticking over, and that to me is what writing is all about.

Letters to the Pianist is out now in hardback, paperback and eBook

****************************************

Thank you for taking the time to speak to us Sherron. You can follow Sherron on Goodreads or via her Facebook Page.

Emma-Louise x

Author Guest Post: Carol Warham

Today I have the lovely author Carol Warham on writing her book Resolutions.

*****************************************

Many thanks to Emma Louise for inviting me along to her lovely new look blog. I opted to do a guest post as I’ve had something very much on my mind recently. That is my debut novel Resolutions, which was released on August 9th this year.

I thought writing a book was hard work. I thought editing it was extremely hard work. Little did I know that the real hard work was only just starting- marketing and promoting your work. This has turned out to be very difficult. 

There is a lot of advice ‘out there’. As ever, most writers generously give their advice and support. As you’ll appreciate a lot of marketing and promotion is done over social media and it’s a worry that you are boring the same people with your posts. I’m very grateful for the help, advice, ‘likes’ and ‘shares’, which friends and other writers gave. It’s also quite a trial to force yourself to promote yourself, when it doesn’t come naturally!

As Resolutions is an e-book, I couldn’t hawk it round some local, independent bookshops. Neither could I organise myself a talk with ‘signings’ (should anyone actually want to come along!). So, what do you do?

I’m lucky enough to have had the support of my local library and community. I was offered our small village library as a venue for my ‘launch’. My daughter helped me put together a power point presentation on the locations I’d use, all which would be familiar to my audience. I was delighted with the turnout. The local Women’s Institute helped with the refreshments but the star of the night was the cake baked by a friend with the book cover iced onto it.                                                          

My husband designed and made some bookmarks for me to give away that evening. They proved so popular I’ve since had them professionally printed. A number of people have even asked me to sign them, which has been most unexpected! I’ve also taken to sneakily leaving a few around in hotels, the gym changing room, anywhere I can. Well, you never know who might pick one up!                           

Two local newspapers gave me a little coverage. I think this was particularly because I’d based the story around localities people would recognise. I was also invited onto a podcast that the library runs for the visually impaired. That was great fun going down into the bowels of Huddersfield Town Hall to record it. Although it was nerve wracking, I hate the sound of my own voice.

Of course, there are websites and books which will tell you what you should be doing. However finding the time to read, write and market is proving difficult. If you discover a way of juggling all three, please do let me know!

I’m so thankful for the bloggers and reviewers that have invited me onto their sites, either for guest posts or interviews. These wonderful people are the life blood of the author. I’m about to hold my first blog tour, organised by the amazing Lucy Felthouse. In the last few days I’ve also taken part in an online ‘party’ covering the UK, the US and Australia. That was hard work but great fun. Both the winners of a PDF of Resolutions and a Yorkshire calendar live in America. Hopefully this will lead to some new readers. Yes, I did put some signed book marks in with the calendar!

I’ve learned how to tweet – at least just about! To be honest I’m always looking for new ways in which to promote the book.  I’ve been advised that the work put into promoting this novel goes a long way in helping to promote the next, and the next and so on. 

Whatever your way of trying to market your book, I wish you good luck with it. 

Meanwhile, I’d again like to thank Emma-Louise for giving me this opportunity to be on her blog. Without bloggers like her I’d struggle to know what to do and be well and truly stuck.

Many thanks to all of you who have come along to read my thoughts. It’s been good to meet you here.

***************************************
Thank you Carol for your amazing Guest Post. If you want to check out Carol’s books you can do so via the publisher link here.

Carol’s FacebookTwitter and blog can be found on these links.

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x

Author Guest Post: Julie Ryan

Hey! Today I have a Guest Post for you from author Julie Ryan. Today Julie discusses with us 10 things that she wished she had known before she started writing.

**************************************** 

Things I wish I’d known before I started – Julie Ryan

1. If I’d read more about planning and plotting a novel, I might not have had to write my first book twelve times!  Even though I can’t change the way I write, I do now spend more time plotting and less on rewriting.  I’ll always be a bit of a pantser though as I love the surprises.

2. When the writing process starts, everything else will be put on hold. Don’t expect to have clean clothes, cooked meals or be able to find anything. This is a necessary process to facilitate creativity and will last until approximately two weeks after you finish writing. See point 3 below.

3. You never finish writing! I wish I’d known that when you write ‘The End’ it’s just the beginning and the real work of editing and polishing begins. In my case this can take longer than the actual writing of the book.

4. Writing is addictive. Nobody warned me that once you start you can’t stop. My initial goal was to write a short story. The next goal was to turn it into a novel. After that the goal was to self-publish on Amazon. Then one book became a series. Once you go down that path then I think you are compelled to write even if nobody else ever reads a word of it.

5. You will eat your own bodyweight in chocolate.

6. You will become the Queen of procrastination. Jobs that you used to hate such as filling in the tax return suddenly become quite attractive when faced with a major plot hole or writer’s block.

7. You can receive US royalties from Amazon tax- free if you are UK resident/national but you have to fill in a special form. I discovered this after a year of being self-published. 

8. If you are self-pubbed you will need to become a marketing expert as nobody else is going to do it for you unless you can afford a PR assistant. I would never have thought that I would be running several blog sites, be an avid reviewer, network with the mega famous (who I always thought were so out of my league) and have developed a range of skills to be proud of.

9. Prioritise your time. Until I started blogging and building up a network of followers I had no idea how time-consuming it would all be. Admittedly hours on Facebook looking at kittens doesn’t count. Seriously though you need to ‘Work smart, not hard.”

10. I wish I’d known how much I love this passion for writing and wish I’d discovered it years ago. However, I’m enjoying every minute and making up for lost time.

Biography

Julie Ryan’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and she lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. Her spirit enriched, her imagination fired, Julie started a series of mystery romances, thrillers set in the Greek Isles. 

Jenna’s Journey is the first novel in Julie Ryan’s Greek Islands Series, a series she did not set out to create but which took on its own life and grew, rich and fascinating. This is the first of three published so far and promises to delight readers looking for the hidden dark sides of dream vacations in the Greek Isles.


In a new venture, Julie’s latest book is a short rom-com called Callie’s Christmas Countdown.

A prolific and well-known book review blogger, Julie does her writing and reviewing from rural Gloucestershire, where she lives with her husband, son and dippy cat with half a tail.

You can find Julie on her websites:

Website/blog for book reviews

http://www.allthingsbookie.com/

Blog

http://julieryanbooks.blogspot.co.uk  

on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/julie.ryan.3114

and on Twitter @julieryan18

Buy links

JENNA’S JOURNEY

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jennas-Journey-Island-Mystery-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01GGOCKLK

SOPHIA’S SECRET

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sophias-Secret-Greek-Island-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00LFJGCWA

PANDORA’S PROPHECY

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pandoras-Prophecy-Greek-Island-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00V6CWVBW

CALLIE’S CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Callies-Christmas-Countdown-Julie-Ryan-ebook/dp/B0188T7H2I

*********************************************

Thank you so much Julie for your post. I can relate to  number 5 100% 🙂 

Emma-Louise x

It’s A Family Thing: Jay-Jay Playbus Books by Sue Wickstead {Review}

Welcome to the first Mummy and Toddler joint review. Today we are reviewing the books Jay-Jay The Supersonic Bus and Jay-Jay and His Island Adventure both by Sue Wickstead. Both are children’s books for age 3+

Sue was generous enough to send us these copies to review when she found out how much Alexis loved to read. It’s so nice to share my love of reading with my children.

We read The Supersonic Bus first and really enjoyed it. We learnt all about how Jay-Jay had transformed from an ordinary bus into a super Playbus. 

Alexis really enjoyed this book, especially when Jay-Jay had all the toys put inside for the children to play with. 

When I asked Alexis what she thought of this book she said “she enjoyed it very much and liked the bus”.

We then read the Island Adventure book. This was a great story about Jay-Jay traveling to an Island on a Ferry and meeting new children. Alexis loved the pirate theme of the book and very enthusiastically kept saying “yarr” all the the way through.

When I asked Alexis what she thought of this story she said she “wished she had a Playbus” which even as an adult I can sympathise.

As an adult reading these books I found them enjoyable. They were interesting and educational without been too in your face about the lessons they taught. I was a little worried that Alexis may lose interest as they are a little wordier than her normal book but it wasn’t a problem, the stories were entertaining enough to keep her fully engaged.

We both really liked these books and will definitely be reading more by Sue. 

For more information;

Sue’s Author Page

Original Playbus Page

Sue’s Website

Sue is a supply teacher and has worked with children for over 20 years, it was through her charity work with The Bewbush Playbus Association that she got inspiration for her Jay-Jay series. 

You can find Sue’s books for purchase here.

Thank you for reading.

Emma-Louise and Alexis x

The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle {Review}

​A contemporary romance inspired by Christina Rossetti’s eerie, sensual poem, “Goblin Market.” Four neighbors encounter sinister enchantments and a magical path to love in a small, modern-day Puget Sound town, where a fae realm hides in the woods and waters…

Today I bring to you my review of Molly Ringle’s The Goblins of Bellwater.

Blurb…

Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out.

Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.

Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.

It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own. 

Review…

I was lucky enough to get a copy of this via NetGalley and I have to admit when I requested it that initially it was the gorgeous cover that dragged me in. Once I read the blurb I just had to read the book. I seem to have a bit of a thing for books featuring Goblins. I find them really interesting and full of fantasy.

The Goblins of Bellwater proved to be a book full of Magic, Intrigue, Bravery and Sadness. When I say sadness I mean it in the best way. 

Following the story of Skye it’s so easy to feel sorry for her, suck in a situation she cannot control and more importantly cannot discuss. Skye choses actions she knows are wrong but is compelled to do and she feels such sorrow for the situation she puts others in.

Livy is someone who would die for her sister, she’s at a loss now to help but once she finds a way she stops at nothing to break the spell. Facing the biggest challenge of her life and putting all her trust into something unknown she shows courage and bravery.

Kit is a great guy, I instantly liked him and felt bad for him stuck under the curse. Building a life around the complexities of such it’s great to see him let others in and to let himself find love.

Grady is a cool guy who just wants to help. He ends up stuck in a situation which is equally as frustrating as Skye’s. Together they find a way to endure what is happening to them, their reliance on each other ultimately saves them from the prospect of a life of misery. 

I liked how all the characters developed over the duration of the book, each learning about themselves on the way.

The Goblins as much as I dislike them are so fantastically written that you cannot help loving to hate them especially Redring.

I thought the story was magically, and beautifully written in many ways. It completely sucked me in with the vivid details and descriptions. 

Molly’s writing style flows so naturally and she created a world I wanted to be part of. I found it really hard to put the book down as I wanted to keep going and find out what happened. The pacing is perfect, nothing felt too drawn out or equally rushed. I feel like I want to read it again just to get back into the world.

The Goblins of Bellwater has definitely earned a place on my Top 10 of 2017.

5 star all the way.

You can purchase a copy from Amazon UK and it’s currently under £4 on kindle. An absolute bargain. I’m going to hunt down the rest of her works!

To find out more about Molly and her books you can find her here.

Thank you for reading.

Emma-Louise x

P.s look at this beautiful cover.