Friday, 29 July 2011

Author interview

Hello everyone

Just popping in quickly to let you know I've been interviewed for the Romantic Novelists' Association blog and it has been published today. If you want to know all about how I got published, what I like writing, my favourite place to write, my advice for new writers and so on - please go over and have a read at

Hope everyone has a good weekend, whatever you're doing!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Self-promotion - how much is too much?

I was just going to make this a quick post to remind anyone who hasn't yet entered the competition on my website ( to win a signed book, that this is the last week before the competition closes. Just answer a simple question - the answer is on the website - and choose which book you'd like if you win. 'Simples' as they say!

But while I'm at it, I thought I'd also bring up the subject I've been discussing with my Facebook friends today - and which has also been a topic recently on the RNA members' forum. Self-promotion. Of course, you'll realise that the above paragraph is a form of promotion; I'm happy for lots of people to rush and look at my website, and in return I'm more than happy to give away a free book to the lucky winner. But if EVERY post I wrote on this blog - or everything I ever put on Facebook, or every time I commented on a forum or on anyone else's blog, was a blatant bit of promotion for my own books, it'd be too much. Well, it would, wouldn't it - you'd quite rightly all be sick of me! (And I hope you're not!).

But someone made an interesting point the other day, asking if continual postings about someone's own writing work are really any worse than continual postings about the 'minutiae' of life. You know the sort of thing - this isn't a criticism because I think we've all done it - a status update on Facebook saying you're going to bed now because you're tired, or you're going to have a glass of wine, or you've bought a new dress. Or writing blog posts about our cats, dogs, or (gulp!) grandchildren!

Some of us expressed a little concern at this point. Most of us have, as FB 'friends' (and I presume Twitter friends, although I'm still resisting having a Twitter account myself), and blog followers, etc, a mixture of 'real-life' friends, family, other writers, and readers of our books. So it's a tricky act to balance our posts. Of course we all want to share our writing successes and inevitable failures, but we don't want to come across as being self-obsessed or even writing-obsessed, unless promoting our writing is the ONLY reason we're on social networking sites. Equally, like anyone else we like to share snippets of our lives with family and friends, but don't want people who only know us as writers to think 'Who cares if you've got a new kitten or fancy a cup of tea!'

Too much promotion, being too much in-your-face, I think can be counter-productive. But perhaps too much 'wittering on' (as someone put it) can also make people stop reading your posts!

Well, I asked my FB friends to let me know what they thought about this whole issue, and I'm pleased to say the consensus is that people are generally happy to read the anecdotes about our everyday lives ('like we're all working in the same office and stopping for a natter' as one of my writing friends said!) and happy too to read the writing news but not non-stop posts of promotion, copying all our reviews for everyone to read, etc.

So I think we can all pretty much carry on as before (phew!) and with that in mind I'll just quickly let you know I've got a story in the People's Friend Summer Special out now! And my gorgeous new baby granddaughter will be two weeks old tomorrow and is doing fine. There - that's a bit of each for you! Now I'm off to put the kettle on ...

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

A new arrival !

This is going to be a very quick post ... (that makes a change!) ... just to explain why I haven't been on Blogger recently. I also haven't done much writing! In fact, it's just been too exciting around here to think about much else, because look who's arrived:-

Our new little granddaughter Caitlin Emily was born on Sunday 10th July. She's the first baby of our youngest daughter & son-in-law and she's absolutely gorgeous! They're bringing her round again to see us today - can't wait! And she's the first of our THREE new grandbabies due this year ... young Noah is going to have two baby cousins and a baby brother or sister, and we're going from one grandchild to four within the space of three months!

OK ... needless to say, not much writing news to report apart from several of the dreaded R-words flying back from various magazines; but the e-books are starting to sell on Amazon which is very encouraging! Will be back soon ... hope everyone else is being more productive than me!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Do we want to be alone?

I've always believed that one of the characteristics helpful for being a writer is the ability to enjoy your own company. After all, writing is usually a solitary occupation (I know there are people who co-write books, but personally I think I'd find that difficult!). I wouldn't go so far as to say it's absolutely necessary to be on your own in order to write; I wrote plenty of stories, and chapters of novels, years ago while the family were buzzing around the house. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who has sometimes needed so desperately to carry on with something I've been writing while it's going well, that I've sat working on my laptop even while the TV is on, pretending to spend a bit of time with Himself but obviously ignoring both TV and husband! I've written bits of stories in notebooks on crowded noisy trains and buses, and I've grabbed half-hour lunch breaks when I was at work, to continue with a chapter of a novel on my work computer while my colleagues chatted around me. Yes, it can be done - but I think most of us would agree it's easier to write in glorious solitude.

So is the solitude always glorious? The reason I ask is that this weekend, starting today, Himself isn't going to be around at all. Don't tell him, but I've been quite looking forward to three days of uninterrupted 'ME' time, to press on with editing and re-submitting some short stories, and finally getting down to the next novel. In fact, I actually get quite a lot of time on my own since I've been retired, as Himself has his own hobbies so we give each other a lot of space. Everyone's different, but although we enjoy each other's company, neither of us are the sort of people who want to spend our retirement living in each other's pockets, doing everything together. So I can rarely say that I haven't got time for my writing, or that it interferes with anyone or anything else.

And here's the funny thing. We're such contradictory creatures, aren't we! I think most writers understand Sod's Law of Procrastination. Because I'm sitting here today with limitless time available, and the idea in my head that I'm going to write several thousand words at the very least, what am I doing? Well, apart from writing this blog post and dealing with e-mails, I've been shopping on Amazon, checking my website stats, downloading some photos, reading various forums, have been for a walk, made another cup of tea (!) ... and oh look, it's nearly lunchtime!

When I was a working mum trying to fit in a bit of writing around everything else, I just Got On With It! So is all this solitude really the best thing for a writer after all? Is it too much of a good thing? Do I need someone around me, nagging me for things and interrupting me all the time just so that I can say 'No! I need to get on with this writing!' and actually do it?!

Well, anyway. I'm just off to have a quick look at Facebook and then ... maybe after lunch ... I really will start something! Have a nice weekend everyone.