Holiday Reading – Patricia Sands

Author Patricia Sands has been busy reading and will share her three recent good reads to add to your holiday reading list.
Here’s Patricia:
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3 books recently read (click on the book titles for more information):
The Red Notebook ~ The owner of a bookshop in Paris finds a woman’s handbag on the street and becomes obsessed with finding the owner although there is no identifying information apart from a dry cleaning tag. It’s a quirky, creative read that becomes addictive. Who is that woman?
~ My Wish List ~ Also set in France. A woman leading a simple life in a small village wins a BIG lottery and can’t decide whether to upset her life by cashing it. This is a quick, light read and gives pause to the question of what you might do. My Wish List on Kindle
All The Light We Cannot See ~ On a completely different literary level (and, yes, also set in France … but then you know that country is my addiction), from the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr. This is the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
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And here are Patricia’s own books for your reading pleasure.
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Work in Progress

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Renee Rivers

Renee Rivers has tagged me to participate in a “Work in Progress” blog tour. Renee is almost finished writing a book that I can’t wait to read. Find out about it by clicking her link here: unpacked writer.com

The “Work in Progress” blog tour rules:

Link back to the post of the person who nominated you.

Write a little about and give the first sentence of the first three chapters of your current work-in-progress. Some writers give more than the first sentences, and I like that idea, too.

Nominate some other writers to do the same.

My nominations are:

Patricia Sands at http://patriciasandsauthor.com/

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Patricia Sands

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else.  An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France, for her annual visit.

As of January, 2015, along with being a proud indie author, Patricia is also delighted to be under contract with Lake Union Publishing for her Love In Provence series. This is the women’s fiction arm of Amazon Publishing.

With a focus on travel, women’s issues and ageing, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship. Encouraging women of all ages to stare down the fear factor and embrace change, Patricia has heard from readers (men too!) ages 20 to 83.

Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010 and the audiobook, read by Patricia, will be ready by December 2014.

*****

Darlene Jones at https://emandyves.wordpress.com

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Darlene Jones

Darlene says:

A long time ago, I lived in Mali. Every single day, I wished I could wave a magic wand to relieve the heart-wrenching poverty. The story line of my books reflects my desire to wave that wand and make the world a better place. If only wishes could come true. And of course, every novel needs its love story, so along with the sci-fi magic, I’ve added the requisite romance.
I’ve always believed we can’t be the only beings existing in the vastness of the universe. There must be others “out there somewhere” and I brought some of them along for the ride.The setting stays, for the most part, within the realities of our world, but I’ve found that I love the magic the sci-fi element of other beings can bring to the story.

*****

I was thrilled that these accomplished writers have agreed to take part in this work-in-progress blog tour. Please stop by their sites and get to know them and their work.

*****

Anneli[7]

Anneli Purchase

And then there’s me. I live on Vancouver Island, where I write and work as a freelance copy-editor. I have always loved animals and the outdoors, so much of my writing reflects that. I have three novels published and am working on my fourth.

My “work in progress” is just that — in progress. I have finished the first draft but still have a lot of work to do before it’s ready for publishing. In a way, it feels wrong even to “publish” anything about it on my blog, but as long as you understand that there are still big changes underway, I don’t mind sharing some of my first efforts.

The story is a sequel to The Wind Weeps. It is meant to continue that novel and resolve some issues that were purposely left unfinished.

My main character, Andrea, is no longer as naive as she was, and is making better decisions in the sequel. She is still trying to avoid being found by the husband she ran away from. It is difficult to tell much about the sequel without spoiling the first book, so suffice it to say that the sequel continues where the first book stopped, and resolves the situations that developed in both novels.

Here are short samples of “not polished” beginnings of the first three chapters of my WIP.

Chapter 1

Setting – St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver.

“Nurse!” I screamed. “Nurse, come back!”

Robert’s smile vanished. He advanced and tossed the three orchids onto the foot of my bed.

I twisted around grasping for the call button. “Get away from me!” I hit the button frantically.

Robert lunged for the cord. “No, Andrea. Don’t!” He ripped the cord away from me. I pulled my fist back to punch him, but he was quick and caught my wrist in an iron grip. His eyes narrowed into slits.

Chapter 2

Setting – St. Paul’s Hospital

The next day I woke up feeling groggy, struggling to make my brain work, struggling to remember where I was and why I was in bed with sunlight streaming in through the window. Why wasn’t I up and … doing what? Where was I anyway? Flashes of memory formed in my scrambled mind—hospital. Why was I here anyway? I was running away…. Robert—Robert! I lifted my head off the pillow with a cry.

My eyes quickly took inventory of the room. Oh my God! There he was! Behind the curtain, I could see his legs sprawling out from a chair in the corner near the foot of my bed. He must have heard me. He was getting up. I opened my mouth to call for the nurse again when I heard him say, “Sh-sh-sh, Andrea. It’s okay. You’re safe.”

Chapter 3

Setting – In the parking lot outside the hospital

I must have dozed off for a few minutes. Stupid to fall asleep. I might have missed them. I’d give it five more minutes and if they didn’t show I’d go back in and look around.

Hah! There they were, him all huddled over her in case she fell. What a namby-pamby. He looked stupider than usual without his glasses. I took care of those all right. Bloody four-eyed freak. Can’t figure what she sees in him. Ah, piss on it. What did I care? Let him look after her until her leg got better. She wasn’t much use to me until she had two working legs anyway. I could always grab her in a few weeks when she was stronger and could do a good day’s work around the place. Building a cabin was going to be a bit of a grunt and she could damn well help me. After all, it was her fault the cabin burned down. She shouldn’t have made me so mad. And anyway, she was my wife.

*****

While I’m working on the sequel, you may want to read the first book. Click on the link to order The Wind Weeps.

The Wind Weeps

To find out more about The Wind Weeps, click on:  amazon.com

Hooked? – 6

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? These books probably target women more than men, but we appreciate all opinions.

1. Getting to Mr. Right by Carol Balawyder

Missi Morgan hoped this weekend would bring the magic back into her marriage with Max. She pictured the resort where they were going with its indoor pool, sauna and Jacuzzi and imagined how relaxed they would both feel, their daily preoccupations forgotten as they focused on the pleasure of being together. She couldn’t even remember their last romantic getaway.

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2. The Bridge Club by Patricia Sands
“Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright. It wasn’t Christmas, and it’s not about religion, but whenever I think of that night, those words filter into my head. Kind of bizarre I know, but that’s how thoughts are sometimes.”
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3.  Julia’s Violinist by Anneli Purchase
Men’s voices, harsh and abrupt, sent a stab of fear through her. She peered cautiously up an alleyway towards the town square.
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Girls on Retreat

My sisters get away for a girls’ weekend now and then. They call themselves “The Tiara Club.” Often they rent a beach cottage and have fun cooking together. They have a few drinks going, laugh and tell funny stories, go for walks on the beach and just generally relax and enjoy their weekend.

My guest today is Patricia Sands, author of The Bridge Club and  The Promise of Provence. In The Bridge Club, a group of eight friends meet and have getaways just as my sisters’ Tiara Club does. Here is Patricia Sands with an excerpt from her novel The Bridge Club. 

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Patricia Sands

Excerpt:

Draped over the arms of the comfy, softly-plumped chairs, sinking into down-filled sofas or lazily stretched out on the carpet, they passed the basket from one to another with the fire roaring inside and storm raging outside.

Another whoop of laughter filled the room as Dee fanned the air wildly with the photo in her hand, barely managing to get her words out. “Without question the award-winning group shot from the ski weekend at the Alton Spa, when my farmhouse was being renovated.”

“What a weekend that was!”

“We know without looking exactly which one it is! In the restaurant Marti had been rather over-served, as our kids like to say, and when we went back to our cottage on the grounds we partied on.”

“To put it mildly. Remember Lynn sitting in the veggie dip?”

“She insisted it was okay for her to do that because she had brought it.”

“Trust me. You both have portraits in the Hangover Hall of Fame after that night!”

Tears were rolling down cheeks as they relived so many good times and recalled frequent silly behavior that does everyone a lot of good every once in a while no matter what age. Particularly when you’re with people you trust, who won’t judge you.

Lynn rolled her eyes and nodded. “How can I forget those youthful hangovers? It’s amazing how having kids gets you right out of that habit!”

“Or having to be on call for clients 24/7. Running the shelter certainly put an end to those days for me—although in a perverted way I kind of miss that bad behavior,” Marti finished with a sigh and a giggle.

“Marti, you still manage to encourage us all into bad behavior from time to time. We’ve simply become adept at not needing booze to fuel it.”

“Wait, wait, wait.” Danielle was rummaging through the basket. “There’s one more shot from that weekend that I must find.”

Waving the photo triumphantly, she passed it around to more peals of laughter at the image of them unloading all the gear for skating on the pond and cross-country skiing from the car. “I love this. We had such plans for that Saturday. Unpacked all of our equipment only to pack it all up again unused. Nobody could move after our party that first night except to go out to the hot tub … or play bridge.”

“And I brought all those outfits for nothing,” moaned Cass, who always managed to have some wild costume in her bag to make any event special.

“Yup! No question though, your day at the races with the polka dot skirt and matching tulle hat with the brim no one could see around still is the prize-winning couture moment.“

“Yuh think?”

They laughed until their sides ached recounting other stories. If one of them did not get the details exactly right, someone else did. Their forty years had been too full for one person to remember everything although Dee was the acknowledged master retainer of detail. They had not called her “Steel Trap” for nothing.

However these days it definitely took a group effort, which was one of the reasons it was so much fun reminiscing.

La recherche du temps perdu,“ sighed Danielle, rubbing her eyes and yawning. “Such great times.”

Agreeing it was time to call it a night, Pam set the camera timer as they organized themselves in a disorganized fashion in front of the fireplace. Complaining, joking, and mugging were part of the process and she always insisted on more than one shot. Everyone knew, but no one said out loud, these would be the last group photos with eight of them.

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Patricia’s real life “Bridge Club” (her version of The Tiara Club)

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Click on the link to Patricia’s media page for more info on her novels:

http://patriciasandsauthor.com/media-page/

Turning Points – Patricia Sands

Let’s go to Provence for a visit!

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My guest today is author Patricia Sands.

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Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France. With a focus on travel, women’s issues and ageing, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship. Encouraging women of all ages to stare down the fear factor and embrace change, she has heard from readers (men too!) ages 20 to 83. Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010 and her second novel, The Promise of Provence was an Amazon Hot New Release in April 2013 and a USA Best Book 2013 Finalist. She returned to France in September 2013, for a month to research her next novel, due for release in 2014. In June 2014 she will lead two 11-day tours of the south of France, based on her last novel, for 14 women with the Women’s Travel Network.

 Find out more at Patricia’s Facebook Author Page, Amazon Author Page or her blog where there are links to her books, social media, and monthly newsletter that has special giveaways and sneak peeks at her next book. She would love to hear from you!

From her book, The Promise of Provence, here is an excerpt showing a turning point in the story:

 

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Intro:

Suddenly on her own in her mid-fifties, Katherine Price steps out of her comfort zone and goes on a home exchange to Provence. In this excerpt, she has just picked up her rental car after taking the train from Paris to Avignon. Little does she know that her life will begin again in ways she could never have imagined.

Excerpt:

Starting the car, she pulled onto the road with a lurch as she changed gears. She was overcome for a moment with memories of her dad teaching her to drive a stick shift. He had been so patient with her.

Once you learn to drive a manual transmission you don’t forget, she heard his words, smiling as she sailed smoothly along after she awkwardly finished the necessary gear shifting.

Leaving the more urban area, Katherine encountered her first challenge: roundabouts. Ronds-points, she reminded herself. Think in French here!

Holding her breath, she entered as confidently as possible and as the GPS directed made a left at the second exit. The vehicles already circling have the right of way, she had read. After a few more, Katherine felt she had them mastered.

Oops, perhaps not, she muttered as she found herself not quite sure of her exit in a later one. Shifting gears hesitantly and going around a second time, someone swerved in front on her right, cutting off her exit, and around she went again.

Oh brother, I’m having a Griswold moment, she sighed, remembering European Vacation, which she had watched with her nephews and niece many times.

Gripping the wheel, she took a deep breath as she swerved quickly, counted to the third exit, and veered off onto it.

Maybe I do need a bit more experience, she conceded, for a moment unsure whether to laugh or cry.

The roads gradually became narrower and less busy which allowed her to take a longer look at the pastoral countryside. As she rounded a corner, cresting a small hill, she suddenly pulled the car to the side of the road and burst into tears.

In front of her was a postcard scene from Provence in June. An enormous field of golden sunflowers glistened with an intensity that was hard to believe, as if someone had plastered a Visit Provence poster smack in her face.

To one side was the classic mas, with its outbuildings, the shades of the yellow-gray limestone farm structures softened by the mid-afternoon sun. Traditional weathered blue shutters on the south facing windows and doors were flung open on this fine day. It was a scene Katherine had admired in so many books and movies. She couldn’t begin to count the number of images exactly like this that had filled her computer screen in the past month.

And now there it was.

And there she was, overwhelmed by the moment.

She stepped out of the car and hollered at the top of her lungs, “I’m here. I’ve done it! Je suis arrivée!”

Grabbing her camera, she let the lens caress the fields, buildings, and sky, knowing this was just the beginning. The pleasure of composing each shot was like eating a divine piece of chocolate. She could almost taste it.

Katherine leaned against the hood of the Citroën letting the reality sink in. Not simply the scenery but the truth of it all: she was in France, of her own doing, by herself.        The “by herself” part at this moment felt a bit raw. She felt as if she were on a precipice, unsure of what was coming next in her life. But it wasn’t danger or fear that she was experiencing. Rather there was a sense of excitement and an urge to quickly proceed to see what lay ahead.

I’ll deal with being alone. I can do it. This adventure is full on, she thought as she settled back into the car. Pulling off the grassy shoulder, she grinned, thinking, I can’t wait to see what happens farther down the road—in more ways than one.

Then she laughed out loud.

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Bubble Baths in France

I had no idea when I invited Patricia Sands to contribute to this Valentine’s Day countdown, that she was such a free spirit! I know she loves France, but…. Here she is to tell us more!

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In 1967 the Beatles were singing “All you need is love.” Twenty-two, single, and travelling around Europe for a year with friends, I was falling in love. Madly. Truly. Deeply. In love with travel. In particular, in love with France.

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Image courtesy of Felipe Muve of DeviantArt.com.

The love affair has never waned and continues to this day. Fortunately my husband is fully accepting of this affaire de coeur. I get to experience the passion of my life with the man I love and that includes bubble baths in Paris!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIs it any wonder that one of her favourite quotes is:

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Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France. With a focus on travel, women’s issues and ageing, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship. Encouraging women of all ages to stare down the fear factor and embrace change, she has heard from readers (men too!) ages 20 to 83. Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010 and her second novel, The Promise of Provence was an Amazon Hot New Release in April 2013 and a USA Best Book 2013 Finalist. She has recently been invited to lead an 11-day tour of the south of France for 14 women in June 2014 with the Women’s Travel Network.

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Find out more at Patricia’s Facebook Author PageAmazon Author Page or her blog where there are links to her books, social media, and monthly newsletter that has special giveaways and sneak peeks at her next book. She would love to hear from you!

Loveahappyending Lifestyle Magazine

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A team of writers of diverse backgrounds and interests has collaborated, under the leadership of Linn B. Halton, to put together a quarterly online magazine that will appeal to many with a wide range of topics.

If you are looking for a movie review, a cooking recipe, outdoor articles, humour, or advice for your personal problems, you’ll find it all in the Loveahappyending Lifestyle Magazine. And it’s all for FREE.

Simply click on the link and you’ll have it.

http://issuu.com/llmlifestyle/docs/issue_3?e=8377918%2F6408538

Here’s a sneak peek at the Table of Contents:

5. An interview with Downton Abbey’s food stylist – Lisa Heathcote
9. Pairing red wines and vegetarian food
11. An interview with celebrity chef, Martin Blunos
15. Screen vs. stage – Les Miserables
16. Website hijack – who do you call?
17. Nice La Belle
21. Exhausted parent’s playbook
24. Meet artist Elizabeth Cassidy
29. A love affair with Corfu
32. X-rated satire with Adam’s rib
35. Janice Horton’s Bookshelf Reviews
40. Land Ahoy!
43. When first love goes awry … relationship advice with Bonnie Trachtenberg
44. Romantic fiction writing course in Italy
47. Home project – mirror magic
51. News from the book world
53. Fall/winter fashion
57. Feeding fish in paradise
60. Vancouver Island – seasonal visitors
64. Building those skills – children and education
68. A tower for two
72. Tandemocracy – climb every mountain …
76. Meet the team

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Christmas Interview – Patricia Sands

I managed to find Patricia not traveling in France, long enough to answer a few questions about her Christmas traditions. Welcome, Patricia.

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1. Do you celebrate Christmas?

Always and with great gusto!

2. What are your thoughts on gift giving?

I love giving gifts more than receiving. The joy has always been watching our children and now grandchlldren revel in the excitement and wonder of this time of year.

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3What was the most fun activity you’ve done at Christmas?

Skiing at Whistler with our family.

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

Once children came along, the stockings were just for them.

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

Drawings from our grandchildren.

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

Every year I give all of our children tins of shortbread made from their great-grandmother’s recipe.

7. What would you change about Christmas?

I would want to make “peace on earth” a truism.

 8. What would you keep the same if you could?

Have a white Christmas every year.

9. What is your favourite Christmas music or song?

English cathedral choirs singing carols.

10.  What do you like best about Christmas?

Everything.

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 Patricia is the author of two novels:

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The Promise of Provence amazon link

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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.”

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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.
Clever!

Patricia.

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

CHOCOLATE ICING:
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!

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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/

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

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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.”
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Nicky Wells

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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.”

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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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