Spring in Romsey

My guest today is Emma Calin. She is a talented writer who spends part of the year in the UK and part in France. Sounds very exotic to me. Welcome, Emma!


It’s great to be back on your blog, Anneli Purchase. Thanks for having me.


Names and words are the stuff of writing aren’t they. A character’s name may be all you need to describe them. A few days ago I was in a church where my daughter was suffering a music exam. My mind had drifted onto the contents of this guest blog post. I had to do a bit of a double take since I was staring at a plaque commemorating the lives of different members of the Purchase family. What a coincidence.



Well into the 1960s, the principal grocer’s shop in the country town of Romsey in Hampshire was run, named, and owned by the Purchases. William Overbury Purchase (Doesn’t that name draw a fine Victorian Alderman in your imagination?) was the mayor and Justice of the Peace. A daughter, Florence, was a leading light of the abstinence movement, having taken the pledge as a child – one imagines at the instigation of a parent.

Florence Overbury Purchase

So, seated in the church I pondered the nature of life in which names, seasons, and beliefs form so many links in the flow of time. Looking at church inscriptions always takes my mind back to those great tomes of the glamour and shoulder-pad saga period, where books were sold by weight. I just don’t have the focus or work ethic to write one, but I do occasionally sketch one in my head. I think William Overbury could be some kind of patrician tycoon.

William Overbury Purchase

This is a beautiful part of the world, where spring is running desperately – trying to catch up with my aspirations for it. Here are some pictures from in and around Romsey to compare with the spring where you are. Perhaps, Anneli, some of your family may have seen these very woods?

Bluebells in Romsey Woods

Bluebells in Romsey woods





On the subject of writing, which was supposed to be my focus for this post, take a look at this video – I did not create it but it says it all (although I have not actually been banned from anywhere – yet.)


Emma Calin Quartet

Find more from Emma Calin here:

Amazon: Emma Calin Amazon Author Page
Emma Calin Blog: http://www.emmacalin.blogspot.com
Emma Calin Website: http://www.emmacalin.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/emma.calin
and pages: http://www.facebook.com/Knockout.Romance.Novel & http://www.facebook.com/TheChosenbyEmmaCalin http://www.facebook.com/Escape2Love
Twitter: @Emma Calin
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/emmacalin/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4915751.Emma_Calin

Tell a Story Day

My guest today is Melanie Robertson-King. Her idea of suddenly finding oneself in the past is something that has always intrigued me. What if you found yourself suddenly transported into the middle of a threatening situation? What if you liked being in the past so much it would be heartbreaking to leave it? What if … so many what ifs….

But here’s Melanie to tell us more.


Thanks for hosting me today, Anneli, especially since April 27 is Tell a Story Day. I’m going to share the story of Sarah Shand, the heroine in my YA Crossover Novel – A Shadow in the Past.

a shadow in the past cover 500x773

Sarah is an average teenager with huge dreams of escaping life in rural Aberdeenshire, Scotland. You know when you read When a contemporary teen is transported back through time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past… that things aren’t going to follow the plan Sarah had laid out for herself.

Okay so I’ve teased you with my “one-liner”. Want to hear some more? Okay, here goes…

Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself thrust back into the past. There she struggles to keep her real identity from a society that finds her comments and ideas strange and her speech and actions forward, unlike Victorian women. When Sarah verbally confronts confining social practices, including arranged marriages; powerful enemies commit her to a lunatic asylum. After falling in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, Robert Robertson, she must decide whether to find her way back to her own time or to remain in the past with him.


I told you things didn’t go according to Sarah’s plans for the future. I mean how could they when she ends up in the past? I’m not going to tell you any more other than if you want to find out what happens to Sarah, you’ll have to read A Shadow in the Past and find out for yourself.

In the US you can buy A Shadow in the Past from my publisher:


as well as amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.


In Canada from Chapters Indigo (including Coles bookshops), amazon.ca and various brick and mortar stores in the eastern Ontario region.

And finally in the UK from amazon.co.uk.

About the author

Melanie author photo 500x590

Prior to turning her hand to fiction, Melanie Robertson-King wrote articles and has been published in Canada, the US, and the UK. In addition to writing, her interests include genealogy, photography, and travel. On one of her trips to Scotland, she had the honor of meeting The Princess Royal.

Melanie is a member of Romance Writers of America and their Ottawa Chapter.

She lives in Brockville, Ontario, Canada along the shore of the majestic St. Lawrence River with her husband, son, and oldest grandson.

A Shadow in the Past is her first novel.

Chocolate Cake, Anyone?

My guest today is a lady who would probably rather be in France. Welcome Patricia Sands, author of “The Bridge Club” and  “The Promise of Provence.”


Is there anything you like better than reaching for something chocolate as you turn the pages of a good book? To me, the two just go together! The only difference is that there’s no limit to the pages you can turn.

As a special treat for those of you who love chocolate as much as I do, here’s the recipe for what I think is THE most delicious chocolate cake ever. Our future daughter-in-law, surprised me with this cake at the book launch for The Bridge Club two years ago. Not only is it scrumptious, but she iced it to look exactly like my book cover.


1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar 1 ½ cups buttermilk
2 eggs ½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp each baking powder and baking soda 1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour ¼ tsp salt

1 ½ cups butter, softened
½ cup whipping cream
1 tbsp vanilla
3 cups icing sugar
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled

In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time; beat in vanilla. In separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir into butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, making 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of buttermilk.
Spoon into 2 greased then parchment paper-lined 9-inch round metal cake pans. Bake in centre of 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre come out clean. Let cool on rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pans; let cool completely on racks. Cut each cake horizontally into 2 layers.

CHOCOLATE ICING: In a bowl, beat butter until fluffy; gradually beat in cream. Beat in vanilla. Beat in sugar, about 1 cup at a time. Beat in chocolate until fluffy.
Place 1 layer, cut side up, on cake plate. Slide strips of waxed paper between cake and plate. Spread cut side with about ¾ cup of the icing; cover with remaining half. Cut side down. Spread top with another ¾ cup of the icing. Repeat with remaining layers.
Spread remaining icing over the side and top. Remove paper strips.
( Make-ahead: cover loosely and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.) Makes 16 to 20 servings.

Now plans are underway for the launch of my next novel, The Promise of Provence, and I can’t wait to see what Nicole is whipping up for that!


Amazon.com                            http://amzn.to/YXmpy7

Amazon.ca                               http://amzn.to/16zMZOa

Amazon.co.fr                            http://amzn.to/10Et8vm

Amazon.co.uk                         http://amzn.to/ZDZyU7

Patricia’s Goodreads link:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4381348.Patricia_Sands

Patricia’s blog: http://patriciasands.wordpress.com/

The Restaurant @ The Mill

Today’s guest is the lovely Linn Halton from the UK. Welcome Linn.

Linns bookshelf

About the author: Linn writes contemporary women’s love stories that reflect life, the baggage we all carry around with us and the complexities of relationships. You are always guaranteed an uplifting ending that won’t disappoint and often a psychic twist that will make you stop and think… what if? Linn lives in the small village of Arlingham, in the UK.

Linn signed with US publishing house Sapphire Star Publishing in 2012; The Quintessential Gemini, a heart-warming romance was released in June 2012 and The Restaurant @ The Mill, a collection of life/love stories based around an old mill, was released in August 2012. Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.


Linn’s links:


Twitter: @LinnBHalton

Facebook: Linn B Halton

Amazon.co.uk (buy)

Amazon.com (buy)


A Loveahappyending Lifestyle feature editor

Signed by: http://www.sapphirestarpublishing.com/linnbhalton

Romantic Novelists’ Association page


It’s lovely to be here with you today Anneli. Wish it was in person as I would love to visit your very beautiful part of the world!

The mill featured on the cover

Setting is so very important when writing a novel and when I wrote The Restaurant @ The Mill it was crucial. The mill around which this novel is based is actually a composite of two existing buildings. Both are beautiful, old mills that have been preserved and retain a sense of atmosphere. One is a working water mill, which was one of the features in the book and allowed me to provide some accurate description. The other was a pin mill, and had a layout that would work if I were converting an old building into a restaurant. The composite building became very real to me. I could walk around it in my head and see it as if it were a place I had visited!

It was important though, as I wanted the readers to fall in love with what was essentially the heart of this book. I needed them to regard it as having an existence of its own; the characters were simply a transient part of the life of the old building. It is the restaurant that is the common theme, bringing together the stories of love at every stage in life – from newlyweds to a couple in their twilight years. Whilst the spirit of “Sarah” is a cameo role within the novel, she helps to gently remind the reader of the age of the building. She sees everything that is happening through the eyes of a Victorian mill owner’s wife, albeit a slightly confused and disorientated one at times. Her purpose was to bring a sense of generation and history, and a reminder that what was happening in the here and now was simply another passing phase in the life of the mill.

Some of the individual stories of the couples who dine there play out to a conclusion, some are a work in progress – in the same way that life itself is never “complete” because no one knows what tomorrow will bring.

My favourite restaurant is in a very old building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire in the UK. When I sit there I can almost feel the presence of the past – I do hope that is what the readers take away from my story.

The Restaurant 3d

The Restaurant is not just about the owners, Hilary and Ben, but as “The Restaurant @ The Mill” thrives and comes alive with the conversations and emotions of people unconnected in their day-to-day lives, another five stories unfold. Only one thing is certain, life is an eternal struggle and that is the common thread, which ties us all together. Life, love, sadness and happiness….

The Restaurant @ The Mill; the owners, the staff and the customers – each of the six individual stories reflect a different set of life and love problems. One thing ties them together, they all frequent the Mill.

Is happiness guaranteed? Not necessarily, but when love fails it simply means it’s time to move on. Can young love survive when two people have been parted for most of their lives? Can a lonely man ever find the peace and true love he seeks? Will old wounds ever heal and can people learn to love again?

And then there is the spirit of a young woman named Sarah, who wanders the Mill looking for her beloved husband. Will she ever be able to rest? The Restaurant sees it all.

The Earth Shifter


My guest today is Lada Ray. Welcome to Anneli’s Place!

Born in Russia, Lada is a world traveler, linguist, financial consultant, Feng Shui Master, shaman, futurist, and metaphysics/spirituality researcher. Lada holds a Master’s Degree in comparative linguistics, is fluent in several languages and has traveled to over twenty-six countries on most continents. She is the author of the Accidental Spy Adventure Series, including GOLD TRAIN (Accidental Spy Russia Adventure), STEPFORD USA (Accidental Spy Small Town Adventure), and Green Desert (Prequel). Lada has just released a visionary fantasy/thriller, THE EARTH SHIFTER. Coming soon: EARTH KEEPERS CHRONICLES: ORIGINS (Catharsis, Lemurian Crystal, Atlantis).

The Earth Shifter by Lada Ray


A top-rated visionary fantasy/thriller set on Sacred Lake Baikal in Siberia, in Moscow and New York. Immerse yourself in global conspiracy and remote viewing, visit fantastic realms of Heaven and Earth, rub shoulders with shamans, shifters, psychic spies and Russian oligarchs. Grab onto and hold close the endearing and spectacular characters, and root for Time and Mind Shifter, Sasha, in her quest to find her destiny.

“Mankind would never know how close it came to annihilation on June 30, 1908. Somewhere in the murky depths of the Cosmos, the Comet of Karma is born. When all hope fades, it’s sent to planet Earth. It has happened before, and it can happen again, except this time, the Earth Keepers would not interfere….”

Sasha is no ordinary teenager. She is Time and Mind Shifter, yet even her mentor, famous Siberian shaman Tengis, doesn’t know how far her powers will develop when the time comes to create the Earth Shift.

The Earth Shifter is a metaphysical fantasy cleverly intertwined with true history and modern world events. Don’t look for swordfights or deadly lightning bolts; the powers described here are much more subtle, and therefore, infinitely more Earth Shifting.

ES COVER ebook 2


Yuun Lin’s only son, Hao, was already eight at the time the Lee twins were born. He was a good boy, respectful and helpful, but he became jealous of all the time Yuun spent with the Lee brothers. He felt neglected and when he was eighteen, he enlisted in the army. As many Chinese, he was good at science, math, and computers. He was quickly assigned to the Army Intelligence unit, which serviced the U.S. advance weapons technology. Yuun was very proud of her son, telling everyone she knew how the U.S. army trusted him with state secrets.

And that’s when disaster struck. Hao downloaded secret information and sold it to the Chinese government. At least, that’s what the U.S. government was saying. Whether it was true or not… He was accused of spying and was now in jail, awaiting trial.

Yuun felt that it was all her fault. She had neglected her baby, while spending so much time with other people’s kids. She made her son feel unwanted and unwelcome. She never saw the signs. And now it was too late. Or was it? She had to do something, she had to bargain for her son’s life. That’s what the Chinese did: they bargained. She was as good a bargainer as any of her compatriots, but what could she offer in exchange for her son’s life? She didn’t know any important foreign government secrets; she wasn’t privy to any information of that magnitude. Despite her big title—Famous Feng Shui Master—she was just a humble Chinatown merchant, with a modest income and small nest egg. She had nothing to offer in exchange for her son’s life.

But then she remembered! Yes, there was something she could offer. Something very big! In fact, something much bigger than just a mere government secret! It was the secret that affected life on Earth as we know it!

It was something she was never supposed to know. But when she was nursing Dao-ming back to health after the difficult delivery of the twins, she overheard her speak in her sleep. At first, Yuun dismissed these strange, feverish utterings of the sick woman, but after she kept hearing the words Key, karma, and the future of mankind over and over again, she started listening. That’s how she learned the secret of the Key. Dao-ming soon got better, but Yuun never mentioned to anyone what she overheard, having solemnly promised herself to take her friends’ secret with her to the grave. Yet, the circumstances changed and now she was ready to betray her best friends in order to save her son’s life.

A knock on the store’s back door made her jump. A stocky man stepped through the threshold wearing a trench coat, hat and dark shades that partially concealed his face. He took off his shades and hat to reveal a balding head with an oversized forehead and sharp eyes. Then, he hung his coat on a coat hanger in the corner, remaining in a gray jacket with white shirt, white-red-and-blue tie and an American flag pin in his lapel.

“I was expecting you, Mr. Drakley,” uttered Yuun.

“What was it that you wanted to share, Ms. Lin?” said Drakley without preamble, depositing his large body into the kitchen chair. The old chair made a pitiful screech.

“I have important information which I want to exchange for my son’s life and freedom. It is something that affects not only the United States, but life on Earth as we know it.”

Drakley scanned the surroundings skeptically. Somehow, he still doubted that this woman could have such earth-shattering information. But on the slim chance that she did, it was worth the visit.

“I can tell you all about a special person that will serve as the Key to open the new era of human civilization… in exchange for my son’s life and freedom.”

Drakley observed the Asian woman intently, trying to figure out whether this was a ploy, and whether he was dealing with another Chinese agent. His eyes drifted to Yuun’s hands. They were trembling, as her fingers nervously crumpled the hem of her red Chinese jacket. That convinced him more than anything else did that she was for real.

“I am listening,” he said.

“First, I need assurance that my son will be released.”

“Ms. Lin,” said Drakley impatiently. “If your information proves to be of value, I will do everything in my power…”

“This is not good enough!” The poor woman almost shrieked. “You have no idea what it cost me to make this step! What I had to sacrifice…” She stopped, her breathing heavy.

Drakley observed the woman with surprise. What if his assessment was incorrect and she was really losing it? What if she decided to take him hostage, if he wasn’t too cooperative? He surreptitiously felt for his gun.

Should she make the wrong move, I’ll shoot her, he decided. But that was his very last option. He’d only do it if there were no alternative left. He would much prefer to leave here discretely, and without any unnecessary complications. Besides, if she really knew something about the Key, then this woman was invaluable; therefore, he needed to appease her. It was imperative to find out whatever he could. The Society knew miserably little about this subject of utmost importance.

He took a steadying breath and said in the most calming tone he could muster, “Please understand, Ms. Lin, I cannot guarantee anything until I know that you really have the goods.”

“No,” stubbornly repeated Yuun. “I will not tell you anything until you promise me that my son is safe.”

“Fine,” said Drakley, shrugging his shoulders. “I promise. Your son will be safe, if your information proves valuable.” He made this verbal promise lightly.

“No,” Yuun shook her head. “Not like that.” She took out a clean sheet of paper and pen.

“Write: I, Assistant Director of the CIA, Aloysius Drakley, guarantee that Hao Lin will be exonerated from all charges of espionage against him and set free in exchange for the valuable information provided by Yuun Lin.”

Drakley wrote everything down obediently, but in the end, instead of: “in exchange for the valuable information provided by Yuun Lin,” he put down: “if the information provided by Yuun Lin proves valuable enough to warrant such actions.”

“Look, Ms. Lin,” he said in his most soothing voice. “I want to work with you, I really do. But you have to understand my position. I can’t just promise something like this out of the blue. This is a matter of American National Security! I can’t throw around such promises. I have to be sure first that the information is really worth it.”

“Trust me, it is.” Yuun carefully folded the piece of paper containing the promise of her son’s life. She opened a Chinese box with painted dragons on the lid, which was displayed on the nearby shelf, and hid the paper inside. She closed the box, which made a very distinct clicking sound as it locked in place.

Drakley observed her movements with avid interest. If need be, later he could always raid the place and retrieve this compromising piece of paper. But for now, he wanted his information. That’s what he came for. He had to make this woman trust him.

“Fair enough,” he said soothingly. “And now, why don’t you start from the beginning, Ms. Lin.”

Available as both e-book and paperback at Amazon, Barnes&Noble and other retailers.

The Earth Shifter:  Amazon US   UK

Official author site: LadaRay.com

Author blog: LadaRay.wordpress.com

Geopolitcs/predictions blog: Futuristrendcast.wordpress.com

Twitter: @LadaTweets


Also by Lada Ray:

Stepford COVER ebookGT COVER ebook

Writing Challenges

I asked fellow writers to give us some insights into situations they face with regard to their writing. If you’re a writer, you may recognize some of their complaints and solutions. Let’s see what they have to say.

What are your greatest challenges in writing and how do you deal with them?

Sue Fortin, author of United State of Love

Sue profile pic 1I have to say my biggest challenge is The Voice of Guilt.  It’s not often I get a long stretch at writing and when I do, always at the back of


my mind, there’s a little niggling voice whispering things like “Don’t forget that pile of ironing,”’ or “Doesn’t the bathroom need cleaning?”

To combat this, I try to plan ahead and have in my mind a set day or time I’m going to write. That way, I can make sure

everything at home is done beforehand so when I sit in front of my laptop, I have a clear conscience and can concentrate on my WIP. I know I shouldn’t really have to feel guilty but …


Bonnie Trachtenberg


My greatest challenge in writing is getting myself to finally sit down and do it. I wish I was one of those writers who looked forward to it, but I’m just not. Sometimes I’d rather do anything else, including laundry or cleaning! Unfortunately, what gets me to finally force myself to sit down is anxiety that I haven’t accomplished anything. I sometimes ease myself into it by having a television on while I pull up my latest pages. Once I get started reading them over and correcting any problems, I’ll mute or turn off the television altogether. Soon after, time begins to fly by and I’m back under “the spell”.


Bonnie Trachtenberg is the author of “Wedlocked” and “Neurotically Yours.”




Mandy Baggot 

Author of contemporary romance, Taking Charge and upcoming romantic suspense novel, Security


Distractions! They are everywhere! Children, pets, husband, Twitter, Facebook, You Tube music videos, TV, dancing babies, interesting blog posts, pictures of half naked men. Some days I think someone is deliberately out to get me! You will not write Lady Baggot, you will waste the day leering at the work of other people while you get nothing done! When this happens there is only one thing to do. Switch it all off! Turn off the internet, the radio, the television, the half-naked men and FOCUS. Let nothing else into your world. Remain focussed for as long as possible or at least until the children scream for attention and food. As writers we feel we need to stay on top of what’s going on at all times – constantly comment on everything that happens on social media – I know I do! But if I didn’t stamp on those distractions sometimes I’d never get a book written!

Besides “Taking Charge” and “Security,” Mandy Baggot is also the author of “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” “Public Property,” “Excess All Areas,” and “Breaking the Ice.”





Stephanie Keyes Stephanie-Keyes-180x240 The greatest challenges that I face in writing…

  1. The first is editing. It’s exhausting for me! As liberating as writing and creating are, editing is a drain.
  2. The second is time. As a mother with two little ones, I find that coming up with time to write is just as challenging. When you add in public appearances and other responsibilities, pulling together a few moments to write can be challenging.

Regardless of the challenges, I don’t know that I’d change a thing. Both challenges help me grow in my writing.

Stephanie Keyes is the author of “The Fallen Stars” and “The Star Child.”



Linn B. Halton Linn-B-Halton-180x240 Self-pub or submission? Deciding whether to self-publish or submit to a publisher is the hardest decision of all. Having one foot in both camps has made that decision even harder for me personally. Both routes work well and I do love the support that my publishers – Sapphire Star – are able to give; also their advice and guidance plus technical expertise. Being able to hand over a manuscript and only having to get involved with the edits and cover design, is easier than having to go through the whole publishing process yourself. But there’s a part of me that likes to be in control of everything and whilst it’s been a HUGE learning curve, there’s a lot of personal satisfaction in acquiring new skills. Marketing isn’t easy but the same thing applies whether you self-pub or sign a contract; no one will buy your book if they don’t know it’s out there! For the moment I hope that I can continue to use both routes to publication and enjoy honing the new skills I’ve learnt. Here’s my latest, newly-acquired skill – 3D book covers!

Linn B. Halton is the Author of “Never Alone,” “Touched By the Light,” “The Quintessential Gemini,” The Restaurant@ the Mill,” and “Being a Sceptic is Oh So Easy.”

Linn's 3-D books


Darlene Jones 100-0059_IMG One often hears of “writer’s block.” It’s happened to me with each of my novels. I come to a point when I just don’t know where to go with the story or the characters. My solution is to stay away from writing for a time. I’m lucky in that any time lines are self-imposed so I have the luxury of not writing for a bit. Then, when ideas start whirling in my head, I get back at it.

Darlene Jones is the author of three novels. Her fourth novel is forthcoming.

Embattled jpg smaller

Empower jpeg smaller?????????????????????????????????????????????


Carol E. Wyer


Being left alone to type is the biggest problem I face. My husband can’t seem to understand that when I am writing, I need to be left alone, even after five novels. My age helps me hugely. A couple of years ago, I developed insomnia but I turned it to my advantage. Nowadays, I wait until he is snoring in bed, then get up and type until the early hours of the morning. Only to be recommended if you can manage being sleep-deprived for several weeks and don’t mind looking like  a hung over panda who has had a few rounds with a champion fighter. I also find that my eyes get tired more easily these days and I make quite a few typos. I use the “Search” feature in Word to ensure I haven’t made my usual mistakes of typing “form” instead of “from” and so on. It is surprising how useful that tool is.

Carol E Wyer, author of “Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines,” “Surfing in Stilettos,” “How Not to Murder Your Grumpy,” and “Just Add Spice.”

Mini-Skirts-and-Laughter-Lines.jpg-180x240 How Not to Murder Your Grumpy cover frontSurfing-in-Stilettos-cover-180x240 



Anneli Purchase


When no bright ideas are blowing around the trade winds of my mind, the doldrums set in. Some call it writer’s block. I call it the doldrums. I dread them. They usually settle in after I’ve written a scene that doesn’t work and I don’t have a new idea yet. I despair of ever writing another good sentence. The solution? When I can’t stand the lack of creativity anymore, I find a quiet place. I take my pen and paper and scribble out possibilities in a brainstorming pattern, making circles around keywords and linking possibilities to them also in keywords. Eventually, a new thread appears and I can’t wait to get back to the computer to try the new scene. Saved again, until the next weather system moves in. Funny thing is, the doldrums happen when the trades are becalmed, and yet my personal doldrums are anything but calming.

Anneli Purchase is author of “The Wind Weeps,” “Orion’s Gift,” and “Julia’s Violinist.”
Front Cover  jpg (1)(2) The Wind Weeps [1] thumbnailOrion's Gift


Nicky Wells

Author - Nicky Wells

Author – Nicky Wells

Challenge #1 ~ Second-guessing myself. This is a new phenomenon that has presented itself after receiving fabulous edits and suggestions for my first two books. Now, while I write, I can almost hear the editor say, “show, don’t tell” or “can you prove that?” which means I occasionally question my writing even while I write. My response? If it’s an obviously valid point, I make an immediate adjustment (e.g. more dialogue, do the research on a particular point, etc.) If it isn’t, I follow my writing heart and keep writing, perhaps making a note of the uncertainty for future consideration. If in doubt, I’d always advise to keep ploughing on  rather than getting caught up in second-guesses!

Challenge #2 ~ Length. Or rather, limiting the length. I am a prolific writer! The first draft of my second novel came in at nearly 150,000 words. The knives had to come out and some drastic cutting took place. Now, when I write, I listen to myself and my “gut” for cutting. If I know a scene is beautiful but non-essential, I cut it out immediately or, better still, don’t write it at all. Of course it’s not a perfect process (and it ties in with challenge #1 a lot of the time) BUT my most recent WIP finished at 106,000 words ~ a perfect word count, as far as I’m concerned, and a much sharper, fast-paced manuscript from the start.

Nicky Wells is the author of “Sophie’s Turn” and “Sophie’s Run.” Forthcoming on Sept. 5, is her next novel, “Sophie’s Encore.”

Sophie's Turn



Melanie Robertson-King, author of A Shadow in the Past.

Melanie author photo 500x590

a shadow in the past cover 500x773

I work full time as well as write. So juggling work, promoting my current book, and writing requires a sense of balance and sadly, I’ve not found it yet.

I try to do promotional work in the mornings before I head off to the day job.


Patricia Sands


My greatest writing challenges:

Condensing my thoughts into fewer words is my primary goal for future projects. Both of my novels have hovered around the 130,000-word mark and the ideal is 80,000 – 90,000. I realize now that I should have made The Promise of Provence into two books and could easily have done so.

My advice: Pay close attention to your word count from the beginning of your WIP. If you see it is getting out of hand, take a look and see how you might tighten up.

My second goal is to be more organized about thoughts and research. I tend to write notes to myself on post-its and end up with an enormous stack. My basic and most important research I keep in notes on my computer and can easily refer to them but the random ideas, words, and bits of information always end up on post-its. I have to stop doing that!

My advice: Develop an organized method of making all of your thoughts and ideas easily accessible. I like the idea shown here and am going to try to do this for my next novel which is slowly simmering as I write this!


Patricia Sands is the author of “The Bridge Club” and “The Promise of Provence.”


TBC Kindle cover


Readers, please share your comments with us. We want to know what you think.