Welcome to my Blog

Welcome to my blog, where I share my love of books and anything bookish, including my own novels every now and then, but mostly I share **Book Blog Tours** **Author Features** **Guest Posts** **Book Blitz's** **Give-Aways** and **Competitions**

Thanks for visiting ~ Bella x

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Blog Tour!

Hi Everyone,

Just to let you know that later this week we'll be having a Guest Author featuring here on a Blog Tour...

So get ready for a new and exciting book that's available right now. I'm not going to spoil the suspense, but just so you know I've already bought it and it's fabulous!

See you in a few days

Bella xx

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Write that book because...

Write that book because...

Write only the book you can write, the book that no one else can, the book that resides deep inside your soul, your psyche, your very essence, the core of the your eternal being. The book that only your unconscious  imagination can thrust forward onto the endless blank pieces of virtual paper that span into infinity, crafting and weaving a story which delights, fascinates, scares and even terrifies at moments, twisting and turning with the poise and skill that only you can write, the story that only you can tell and the one you always wanted to read.

That is the beginning of the journey, write because you love it, write because that is your souls purpose, what you are driven to do, write because if you don't your mind which is filling all the time with millions of thoughts, feelings, notions, ideas and emotions will explode like a galaxy of stars reaching critical mass without warning.  

Creativity is the centre of your being, without creativity you are lost, drifting in the ether of nothingness, a black void of emptiness, sucked into a vortex of spiralling chasm, bleak and full of despair. A place where you don't belong, a place where the cold reality of an empty existence prevails, one which sucks the creative essence from your core like a magnet picking scattered pins from out of the very air you breathe.

Taking the very lifeblood from your soul, write, let it happen, it comes naturally, second nature, you have a gift with words and a talent for wordcraft, show this talent, use it to the very best of your ability and let your true nature shine brightly in the cosmos just as you were destined to do.  Worry about nothing, just do what you do and be happy that you can.

Shine as brightly as you can, after all you are the only one of your kind, you are a unique being with a unique perspective on life, use this to the best of your advantage and the rest will follow. Trust and believe that all things are possible and everything is perfectly real. This is true, everything is real in your world, as it is for others in their own worlds.

The time is right to begin and never forget - never ever doubt yourself, be true to yourself and all good things will follow.

Salute your spirit and be grateful everyday for the smallest things and finally, remember one word always leads to another....

This is what I tell myself now, it's my own personal message written very late one night and helps me to focus when I feel like I'm losing my way or getting off track.

Bella xx

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Writers Block...

Writers Block

Today I hope you don't mind me talking a little bit about my experience with the aforementioned title, as it is part of being a writer, so we can loosely say this is part of the writing tips segment.
While a lot of writers say they never suffer from this particular writers nightmare and that they don’t understand writers that do suffer from it, because they've never experienced it first hand.  I can say that I did suffer from a bout of Writers Block that lasted nearly a couple of years.  Every time I went near the novel I was trying to write, it was as if the proverbial word well had run dry.  I spent nearly two years walking in the desert, the words, or water in the well just wouldn’t spring forth like it had before,  gushing in unstoppable torrents filling page after page effortlessly.  I wasn’t sure what had happened and I even tried to start writing other novels that were waiting in the ‘To be Written Pile,’  to see if it was the one I was working on was the actual problem.  However, it didn’t matter what I tried to write it was the same – Gobi Desert Syndrome (Dryer than a grain of sand in the desert at midday) or we can call it GDS for short (This is my terminology for writers block.)
I would stare at the same paragraph for hours, wondering where the story was going, what the characters were doing, trying to recognize the plot threads I was supposed to be stringing together, but just getting caught in a ravel on knots.  It was as if I was looking at someone else’s work without a clue of what they were trying to say.  After a few months of GDS, I stopped writing altogether and did nothing for a while.  I thought that perhaps my head was too full of idea’s all trying get out and vie for my attention, to get each and every one of them on paper and that, perhaps my mind needed time to defrag and re-organise all the files, putting them in a manageable order. Creating harmony from chaos.   
So I walked a lot, through beautiful forests, near meandering rivers, over  lush green fields avoiding all bovine inhabitants, especially the ones with horns and let my mind wander as I walked, at the time I thought I’d go mad without an constant outlet for my overly creative mind.  So I let the beauty of nature distract me every day for an hour or so, and after a while I tried to write again, it was still a complete no fly zone.  This was fast becoming a major frustration and I had no idea how to get around it, over it, under it or even on it. Whatever I tried I hit a wall. 
One day I just thought, “Bugger it! Maybe I’m not meant to write, maybe that’s not who I am, so from now on, no more writing!”  and I packed all my note books,  all my lose notes, all my printed manuscripts, my earlier published work, everything got neatly put away to bed.  It was RIP to my writing life, however I still needed a creative outlet, I’d been to art school, fashion college and I liked ceramics.  First I got my acrylic paints out and painted some truly heinous canvasses (they have since been destroyed to protect the eyes of any innocent party who may have inadvertently stumbled across them – I couldn’t have that on my conscience!)  It had been a long time since I’d painted, but slowly I got into it and began to really enjoy it, painting some canvasses that people actually paid money for and good money too.
Then I became interested in jewellery, I’ve always loved crystals, so I began to make crystal gemstone jewellery, which also sold really well.  I made lots of different things, from door stops to hand painted silk scarves, I even began to make crystal essence sprays, I never made too many of any one thing as I liked to keep things special, too much is a big overkill.  All my jewellery items were/are unique pieces, all my paintings are unique, plus I don’t like to do anything that anyone else has already done, so much of my stuff is for a small select market, it wouldn’t appeal to the masses.  But I digress,  while I was absorbed with my new found creative outlets, I wasn’t bothered about the writing at all, I figured that it was just a phase and I’d grown out of it and this was my new artistic vocation.  
I also read a lot of books, and really enjoyed all the different writing styles and genres that are available, life was great.  I had my creative outlet and everything seemed awesome, then I began to read  YA Paranormal  fiction, I devoured these books with a passion (when I was a teenager there was a big gap in this part of the market.)   So I read and read and read, then one day like a bolt from the blue, the word well erupted out of nowhere,  it was like the Californian geyser ‘Old Faithful’  I’m sure there was probably steam coming out of my ears too!   
The idea for Scarlett Phoenix was just sitting there in my mind, it was all there, in glorious Technicolour and in every last detail just waiting to spill all over the empty pages on my computer screen.  I was a little tentative at first, wondering whether my mind was just playing a rotten trick or not, but as I sat and began typing my fingers couldn’t keep up with my brain.  I wrote 60,000 in less than a month, I was on fire, not literally, figuratively of course.  The book just poured out of me as if it was writing itself, I was just the facilitator or vessel to channel the words.  It was quite a surreal experience and I was quite shocked that after nearly two years of a dried up well that something like this had happened. 
I’m glad it did, because writing always was and always will be my number one favourite creative outlet and I’m sure in the future that I’ll probably go through other bouts of GDS, but at least I know that it doesn’t last forever and I can go and paint some awful pictures (because I will be out of practice again, then they’ll need burning!)  make some jewellery and do some other fun stuff and read lots and lots and lots of books.
What I’m trying to say is, don’t worry if you’ve lost your groove, just do something else for a while and when the time is right for you,  you’ll get that bolt from the blue and be right back at it. 
Wishing my readers an awesome day!
Bella xx

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Writing Tips... Part II

Beginnings, Middles and Endings

So we continue our writing journey with beginnings, middles and endings.

At this point, you should have concocted your characters and a realistic realm, world or whatever dominion you have chosen to place your ‘players’ in to begin their journey. Next, you will need to work on the action and plot, enticing your reader further into your story. Every novel should have a beginning, middle and an end. Short of these important things, your novel will be a lemon, a no-hoper, a non-starter and an utter washout.

If you aren’t sure what each of these things should be, take a look at the layout below, you will ascertain what origins of your novel fit into each division.

Beginning:-      Birth/Current Situation/Basics/Setting the Scene
Middle:-           Life/Conflict and Stressors/Confrontation/Relationships/Hardships
End:-               Death/Loss/Resolution/New Order/Finality  
At the ‘beginning’ of your manuscript, introduce your main character as soon as possible or as soon as you can. The beginning of your novel should be anywhere from 1 to 15 pages, if you go much further than this, you will more than likely lose your reader, due to lack of direction and the fact that nothing much is happening, your reader will be thinking ‘What is going off, who is this about?’  You need to firmly establish who your main character is, plus other important details such as, when it is set, where they live, and what they’re doing. The easiest way to remember this is:- who, when, where and what. For example, your main character, let’s call him Sam, is taking a gap year from Uni and is planning to travel around Peru, perhaps he is planning to meet up with a couple of friends at some point in Lima, but for the start he is travelling alone.

Now we come to the ‘middle’ of your manuscript, and to some extent this can be quite deceiving, since it actually takes up the majority of your novel. The start of the middle is the first and most crucial turning point at this stage of your writing, the precise moment at which your main character’s life changes for better or worse (for instance, the bus Sam was travelling on through over winding mountain pass, is washed over the edge by a freak mud slide, leaving him the only survivor stuck at the bottom of a ravine surrounded by jungle and mountains with no hope of rescue in the immediate future) and the key plot is revealed. As in the preceding paragraph, this should happen around page 15 (ish) if you want to keep your reader attentive and hungry for more. From this point on, there should be character development and growth with several subplots unravelling and shortly after the first turning point is ‘the point of no return.’  What happens to your character that means they can’t change their mind/situation? (The bus crash) Why do they have to go on the journey? (He has no choice if he wants to survive) This is the precise point of no return, where your story starts to surge forward.

Obviously, you will need to introduce subplots to keep things interesting and to keep the pace, (for instance, Sam actually got on the wrong bus and was heading away from Lima deeper into the jungle, he could also run across some rebels in the jungle and a game of cat and mouse ensues as he tries to evade his pursuers – there are many permutations or deep doodoo for you to drop your main character into to keep the excitement happening.) Keep doing this for the majority of the manuscript, keep that engine running and on full choke, your main character needs to be in the thick of things with the pressure on, and then you come to the second turning point - the thing or the big surprise that shocks the reader and your character, this is usually something that no-one saw coming and usually happens just before the big climax. This is the thing that puts your reader on the edge of their seat, gripping the book so tightly; their knuckles are white as they frantically read on to discover what is going to happen next.

The big climax should really be in the last few pages of your manuscript. If you have your climax closer to the middle of the middle, then your reader will be bored beyond imagination reading the rest of the book because there’s nothing to look forward to, resolution has met its maker and there’s no point going on. But, you already know this!

Finally, as soon as you’ve dispensed with the climax and all the emotions/trauma/relief (i.e.: Sam, after being captured by the rebels, tortured and beaten, escapes and makes it out of the jungle alive, just.)   You have the desired conclusion and you move on to the ‘end’ of your manuscript post haste, wrap it up and tie a nice neat bow around it.  This segment of the story should be very short and whatever you do, don’t be tempted to drag out the ending with long explanations as this will culminate in your big climax becoming an anti-climax faster than you can say: The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog,  and you leave your reader feeling robbed, annoyed and cheated. So, as I said a few lines previously, tie up all the loose ends swiftly in a nice neat bow and type ‘The End.’  

Thanks for stopping by and until next time...

Bella xx

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Writing Tips... Update...

Writing Tips ~ Update

I will be posting more writing tips at the weekend or at the very latest Monday, (pending no disasters at the weekend) so get ready for Beginnings, Middles and Endings!

If there is anything anyone would particularly like to know, leave a comment and I'll get back to you.

Until then...

Bella xx

Cartoon me!

 I have to admit that I'm a little camera shy, so I made a cartoon avatar of myself!!!   I had great fun playing about with the cartoon generator and here's the result

Ok, so it may not be an exact replica, but it's as good as it's going to get!!! LOL

Bella xx

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Writing Tips...

I thought I'd share some writing tips with you all over the next few weeks, so you get an idea of how to write. Not that I am professing any expertise in the area, this is just what I've found that works for me.

So I'll start at the beginning:

Genre and Audience

You finally have a solid idea for the novel/novella you would like to write, now you must decide on the genre and target audience. I know that it sounds ridiculous to mention this but it’s very important, because you must know before you start writing your novel who your audience is.

Most of us know what genres we like to read and possibly which ones we'd like to write, so this decision shouldn’t be too hard or taxing. However, if you are struggling with your target audience I have included a list of genres for you to mull over. 

If I’ve missed anything off the following list, please let me know by leaving a comment.

Firstly, you must ask yourself: Am I writing Fiction or Non Fiction?

Then move on to which category you want to write for.

There are several categories for children's books:

If we start at the youngest audience,  up to age 12, and move up:

Picture Books
Story Picture Books
Traditional Literature including: Folktales, Fairy Tales, Fables, Legends and Myths
Historical Fiction
Modern Fantasy
Realistic Fiction
Poetry and Drama

The Young Adult Genre is next, this is usually between the ages of 12 - 18 years and the following list is a typical round up of what is expected.

Problem Novels
Realistic Fiction
Supernatural + Paranormal Romance (PNR)
Sci Fi
Historic Fiction
Short Stories

So after checking out the children's section we move onto the adult categories, encompassing the following:

Science Fiction
Speculative Fiction

Historical Fiction

Some of the genres do overlap and some have many sub-categories as well, however this list will help you get started and whittle down the possibilities, leaving you with a clearer idea of where you want your story to go.

Then you have to decide who you want to tell your story to and why. This is the audience you are potentially stalking.

What is the message, meaning and/or concept you want to get across?

Are any Agents/Publishers looking for this type of story/idea right now?

Are there other stories in the market that are already published which would help you decide if you’ve made the right decision with your chosen genre?

If you want to write for a younger audience, what content is deemed acceptable for your targeted age group?  (you need to be very clear from the outset on what age group you are writing for as there are many many guidelines for different age groups)

This is most important:

Take the time to do the research now and save yourself the disappointment spending months, if not years writing a novel that no-one wants to read when you've finished it and begin pitching it to Agents and Publishers, who will send you a veritable forest of rejection letters because what you've written isn't in vogue at the time you present it - That Ship has Sailed.  So keep in the loop of what's in and what's not.  You must also know your target audience from the beginning and stick to it.

That brings us to the end of Genre and Audience Tips, I hope it helps you on your writing path and I look forward to next time when I'll talk about Beginnings, Middles and Ends.  If there is anything in particular you'd like any info on, leave a comment and I'll get back to you

Thanks for stopping by

Bella x

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