Holiday Reading – Melanie Robertson-King

Author Melanie Robertson-King joins us today to share her favourite books to add to our holiday reading list. Here she is:

melanie with book babies

 

The Missing and the Dead by Stuart MacBride:  Another page turner by this Scottish crime writer. I picked this book up on a recent trip to Scotland and read it on the plane coming home. One of the things I love about Stuart’s books and especially this one, is they’re set in places I’ve visited. Dark, heinous crimes, and in this latest book, Acting Detective Inspector Logan McRae is removed from his comfort zone (Aberdeen) to rural Aberdeenshire. This novel is different from the earlier books starring this detective, but well worth reading.

The Highland Lass by Rosemary Gemmell:  Set in present-day Scotland, this novel ties in the love story between Robbie Burns and his beloved Highland Mary when Eilidh Campbell returns to Scotland to discover the identity of her biological father.

The Farran Mackenzie Mystery Series by Maggie Wheeler: There are four books in this series and I’ve read and re-read them. All  have been recently re-released in e-book format. Maggie spins a series of cozy mysteries (A Violent End, Brother of Sleep, All Mortal Things and On a Darkling Plain) set in Eastern Ontario and tying in to the creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project of the late 1950s with Farran Mackenzie (a modern day Miss Marple) in the middle of it all, trying to solve the crimes without getting herself killed.

Melanie’s latest release: Tim’s Magic Christmas

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Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Melanie’s website http://www.melanierobertson-king.com/

Hooked? – 3

Here are three more books and their opening lines.

Assuming the book is in a genre that might interest you, do you want to continue reading after the first lines? The authors hope so. What do you think? Are you interested enough to turn the page?

1. Embattled by Darlene Jones

She turned her hands over and over. No sign of a wound. No pain. So, where had the blood come from?

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Website: www.emandyves.com 

Amazon: http://ow.ly/HZ6am

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2. The Mount Hope Explorers Club in Madagascar by Pooben Narayanen (Youth Fiction)

Madagascar!” Omkara, better known as Om, said as the Air Mauritius A319 touched down on the runway. He bumped fists with Ételle, his cousin, and Aditya, his best friend.

“The Mount Hope Explorers Club is in Madagascar,” Dr. Gail said. “Excited?”

“Yes!” Ételle said.

“I can’t believe we’re here!” Aditya stared outside.

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amazon.com

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3. A Shadow in the Past by Melanie Robertson-King

Sarah lay on her bed, a pillow bunched up under her chest. In her hands, she gripped a photo of Blair and herself taken in front of the Mercat Cross in Aberdeen the previous summer. A mascara-stained tear dripped off her cheek and splattered on the picture.

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Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk 

 

A Shadow in the Past

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When nineteen year old Sarah Shand finds herself in Victorian Era Aberdeenshire, Scotland, she has no idea how she got there. Her last memory is of being at the stone circle on the family farm in the year 2010.

Despite having difficulty coming to terms with her situation, Sarah quickly learns she must keep her true identity a secret.

Still, she feels stifled by the Victorians’ confining social practices, including arranged marriages between wealthy and influential families, confronts them head on and suffers the consequences.

When Sarah realizes she has fallen in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, she faces an agonizing decision. Does she try to find her way back to 2010 or remain in the past with the man she loves?

Excerpt:
When Sarah’s eyes flickered open, the young girl and her wrecked car were nowhere to be seen. Instead of the asphalt surface of Kendonald Road, Sarah lay sprawled out on a narrow gravel lane.
Sarah’s chest felt like the family’s herd of cows sat on it and she gasped for air. Stones gouged her elbows as she tried to prop herself up.

Using her last ounce of strength, Sarah hauled herself to her feet. Her head throbbed as if it were about to explode, and something wet and sticky ran down the back of her neck. Dirt and blood covered her rugby shirt and jeans, and her trainers were gone. Sharp gravel bit into her stocking feet as she staggered, trying not to fall. Sarah was surprised she was able to stand. She was certain the impact with the car had broken her legs and maybe even her back.

She wiped her hands on her shirt and cried out in pain. Dirt and blood covered her palms, and her knees felt like they’d been scraped with sandpaper. Her chest hurt with every breath, and she wondered if her ribs were broken. Where were the terrified driver and her wrecked car? They seemed to have vanished into the mist.

Sarah barely made out a faint light shining in the distance, and she stumbled toward it, thinking it was the yard light near her father’s barn. She clapped her hands over her ears in an attempt to block out the incessant ringing, but it didn’t work. Taking those pills had been a huge mistake. No matter how badly she wanted to hurt Blair and Niamh, she realized that she didn’t want to die. She couldn’t do that to her family.

Sarah blinked and stared at one of the ghostly trees lining the roadway. The trunk expanded and contracted before her eyes as if it were breathing. A gust of wind rasped through the branches and a sudden cry of a long-eared owl made her jump. Shivering, Sarah crossed her arms and rubbed, but pain shot all the way down to her fingertips, forcing her to stop.

At the narrow stone bridge, she stopped and rested. As she stood there trying to catch her breath, the bridge began to vibrate and black smoke filled the air. A shrill whistle pierced the silence, drowning out the ringing in her ears. Sarah wheeled around and gasped. Off in the distance she saw the tiny speck of a headlight. It grew larger and brighter as the train drew closer and thundered beneath the bridge. Sarah watched the disappearing train and tried to understand what she had seen. There was no railway line near her house, only a flat dirt trail leading to the village.

Soon the smell of freshly cut hay, manure, and farm animals replaced the lingering aroma of the train’s oily coal smoke. If the barn was this close, she was almost home. Drawing closer, she heard the sounds of hooves pawing…

What readers are saying about A Shadow in the Past:

A Shadow in the Past is the ultimate romance fantasy.

A Shadow in the Past is a period drama/time travel combined with romance. The author’s research into life in Victorian Scotland, alongside her study of the horrors of being incarcerated in an asylum, is exceptional. The book is a must-read for me.

A Shadow of the Past brought a unique new voice to time travel.

A Shadow in the Past is an amazing story and the way author has described it, it’s really fantastic. When you read the book, you feel as if all this is happening right in front of you!

And what a great story developed.

A charming time-slip love story with vivid description and authenticity throughout!

A great first novel and I will look forward to reading more books by Melanie Robertson-King in the future.

Melanie author photo cropped

About Melanie: 

When Melanie isn’t writing, she’s reading. The writing bug first bit when she was thirteen but the itch subsided and it wasn’t until a number of years later that she put “pen to paper” and began writing again.

Prior to returning to fiction, Melanie wrote articles for various publications for a number of years and has been published in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K.

In addition to writing, her interests include genealogy, photography, and travel, especially Scotland. On one of her trips to the Auld Country, she had the honor of meeting The Princess Royal, Princess Anne.

Author links:


Website: http://www.melanierobertson-king.com/
Blog: Celtic Connexions http://www.melanierobertson-king.com/wp02/
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Melanie-Robertson-King/221018701298979
Twitter: @RobertsoKing https://twitter.com/RobertsoKing
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6543072.Melanie_Robertson_King

Purchase links:

Publisher:  http://www.4rvpublishingcatalog.com/robertson-king.php
Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Past-Melanie-Robertson-King-ebook/dp/B00IGLS692/
Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-shadow-in-the-past-melanie-robertson-king/1112348992?ean=9780983801887
Kobo:  http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/a-shadow-in-the-past-1

A Shadow in the Past would make a great addition to your Christmas reading list, or someone else’s.

Christmas Interview – Melanie

We’re off to Ontario today to interview Melanie Robertson – King. She is the author of a novel and an anthology. Melanie has been to Scotland, enjoyed it, and talked about it so much I thought she was Scottish. Maybe she has some Scottish relatives?

Here is one of the many nutcrackers in Melanie’s collection.

scottish nutcracker

Christmas Interview

1. Do you celebrate Christmas?

Yes.

 2. Have you ever spent Christmas alone?

No.

 3. Have you ever had a non-traditional Christmas dinner? What did you have?

I’ve always done things traditionally since I started cooking Christmas dinners. When I was young, we always went to my grandmother’s and after that my mother’s or husband’s family’s so I never had to cook. But I do turkey (usually just a breast), mashed potatoes, gravy, turnips and stay traditional right down to the plum pudding for dessert.

4. What are your thoughts on gift giving? 

I don’t mind the gift giving, but don’t like the shopping so much. Lately, there haven’t been as many places to shop locally (I refuse to shop at Walmart) so it means having to shop elsewhere, although the choices are getting better here at home.

5. What was the most fun activity you’ve done at Christmas?

I’m not sure I would describe it as fun, but I loved going to church Christmas Eve for the 11:00 p.m. service.

6. Do you have stockings either at Christmas, or on St. Nicholas Day?

Yes. We always hang our stockings on Christmas Eve on the banister of the stairs leading to the upper level of our house. Usually, there is garland and white mini LED lights on it, too. It looks really festive.

 7. What was the best gift you ever received at Christmas?

Books. When I’m not writing, I’m reading so a book is the best gift ever – any time of year.

 8. What was the worst gift you ever received at Christmas?

It was a knit pants/top outfit that I got when I was at teenager. Bleurgh… hated it. Wore it once then stashed it at the back of my closet.

9. What do you do with gifts you hate?

I think the outfit mentioned above went to a church rummage sale. I don’t think I’ve re-gifted anything but I have sold things in garage sales.

10. What was the best homemade gift you ever received?

Probably one of the sweaters my sister-in-law knit.

11. Have you ever given a homemade gift? Tell about it.

I used to sew and make a lot of our clothes. One year, I made dresses with pinafores for my daughter and all the nieces and trousers and vests for my son and the nephews. I’ve also made pies to give as gifts.

12. What would you change about Christmas?

Slow down on the time the decorations come out in the stores. I’ve seen Christmas stuff out on the shelves cheek by jowl with the Halloween merchandise. That’s way too early.

back yard dec 27 2012

13. What is your favourite Christmas music or song?

Even though I’m not a huge fan of Christmas Carols, I love Carol of the Bells.

14. What do you like best about Christmas?

Where do I start? The movies. I have a huge assortment on DVDs. Christmas Eve is always A Christmas Carol (B&W Alastair Sim version), then Christmas morning after we’ve had our big fry-up with mimosas, Holiday Affair first followed by Christmas in Connecticut (Barbara Stanwyck version). In the lead up to the big day(s), I watch The Bishop’s Wife, Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, Holiday Inn, White Christmas. And since my husband  doesn’t like the movie Christmas Story, I watch it when I’m decorating the tree.

The food. So many good things that are only available that time of year (or we only ever ate it at that time of year) – plum pudding, mincemeat tarts, cranberry tarts, fruitcake, shortbread.

 Melanie’s Books:

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About Melanie:

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Always a fan of the written word, Brockville born and raised, Melanie spent many of her formative years reading.

The writing bug first bit when she was about thirteen, but the itch subsided and it wasn’t until a number of years later that she put “pen to paper” and began writing again.

Prior to returning to fiction, Melanie wrote articles for various publications for a number of years and has been published in Canada, the US and the UK.

In addition to writing, her interests include genealogy, photography and travel – especially to Scotland, although Paris rates high on her “must return to” bucket list as well. On one of her trips to Scotland, she had the honor of meeting The Princess Royal, Princess Anne.

Melanie’s links:

Website:  www.melanierobertson-king.com

Blog:  Celtic Connexions

Facebook Author Page

Goodreads author page

Amazon author page

Loveahappyending Lifestyle magazine author page

Twitter:  @RobertsoKing

COVER REVEAL + e-launch of The Consequences Collection by Melanie Robertson-King

COVER REVEAL + e-launch of The Consequences Collection by Melanie Robertson-King

“If you could see the consequences – would you?”

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Special thank you to Madliz Coles whose kind permission made it possible to use her evocative photograph as the cover image for my anthology.

Blurb: 

The Consequences Collection is an eclectic compilation of twelve stories ranging from non-fiction through creative non-fiction to pure fiction, in prose and poetry.

The story of a Scottish Home Child is based on fact and told from the child’s point of view; The Mystery Woman of Kinettles is a non-fiction article on the appearance and subsequent disappearance of a woman’s body near the Wellington County House of Industry (Poor House) in 1879 Southwestern Ontario.

Some of these stories are lighter than others, and some might even beg you to leave the lights on.

Excerpt from the cover story Consequences:

Splat! The mail landed on the ceramic tile floor of the foyer. Usually, the noise was followed by the snap of the mail slot door closing. Today it wasn’t.

Something must have stuck in it. Sylvia put her coffee down on the counter and walked to the front door. A large white envelope remained suspended in the door. She pulled it the rest of the way through. The flap snapped shut and even though she was used to hearing the metallic sound, it startled her.

She’d expected a letter from her solicitor regarding her divorce from Bill but it wasn’t there. However, that one in particular had piqued her curiosity. Emblazoned on the top left corner was an official-looking crest. The addressee’s name and address were correct. It was her. Why would this person or agency be sending her a letter? She’d never heard of them before.

Sylvia turned the envelope over and worked her thumb under the flap. Those self-sticking envelopes are a bugger, she thought as she tried to rip it open. Finally, she gave up and tore down the side and yanked the contents out.

She skimmed over the letter but it didn’t make any sense so placed it on the small table by the door. It could be dealt with later. In the meantime, she looked at the rest of her mail. Nothing else untoward – just the electric bill, gas bill, and the usual assortment of junk – mail. She dropped them on top of the letter and returned to the kitchen.

The coffee she’d poured earlier had gone cold. She dumped it down the sink and turned the water on to rinse it away before getting a fresh one.

Drawn by some inexplicable force, Sylvia went back to the foyer and collected the letter and the mangled envelope. She returned to the kitchen, flipped on the radio and sat down at her small table. Why had she opened it in the first place? She should have just binned it. That’s what she usually did with unsolicited mail. But there was something strangely familiar about it. The addressee information was on a computer printed label so there was no clue there. The sororities from University had crests or emblems to differentiate one from another. She wracked her brain trying to remember what they looked like. It had been over thirty years since she’d attended. Sylvia never belonged to a sorority because she thought the girls who did were snooty and stuck-up.

She’d call her friend, Laurie and tell her about the letter. They’d been friends since childhood, attended the same elementary and secondary schools and even the same University. She could tell her anything, couldn’t she?

About the author:

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Melanie Robertson-King has always been a fan of the written word. Growing up as an only child, her face was almost always buried in a book from the time she could read. Her father was one of the thousands of Home Children sent to Canada through the auspices of The Orphan Homes of Scotland, and she has been fortunate to be able to visit her father’s homeland many times and even met the Princess Royal at the orphanage where he was raised.

She lives in Brockville, Ontario, Canada a few short city blocks north of the St Lawrence River with her husband of thirty-eight years and is ‘housekeeping staff’ to a big, goofy, but loveable, dog (cross between lab, shepherd and black and tan hound).

A Shadow in the Past, published in 2012 by 4RV Publishing, was Melanie’s debut novel.

Where to buy The Consequences Collection:

Paperback:

Lulu.com

Epub:

Lulu.com

Kindle:

amazon.com

amazon.ca

amazon.co.uk

Coming soon to amazon in paperback and to Barnes and Noble for the nook and the iBookstore.

Melanie’s links:

Website

Celtic Connexions Blog

Facebook Author Page

Goodreads author page

Amazon author page

Loveahappyending Lifestyle magazine author page

Twitter:  @RobertsoKing

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.

Melanie:

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.

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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:

http://4rvpublishingcatalog.yolasite.com/robertson-king.php

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

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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.

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

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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 …

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Bonnie Trachtenberg

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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.”

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Mandy Baggot 

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

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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.”

 

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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.”

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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

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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.

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Carol E. Wyer

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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.”

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Anneli Purchase

Anneli[7]

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

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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

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

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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.

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Patricia Sands

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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

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

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TBC Kindle cover

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