Little & Often: a tip for writing (& life?) by Colette McCormick

Today’s guest is fellow Headline Accent author Colette McCormick who’s here to talk about her writing regime. Colette’s latest novel An Uncomplicated Man is released on 5th December in paperback and e-book format – go on, treat yourself to a Christmas gift! Welcome, Colette! Smashing to have you.

One of the first things that I was asked after I told people about the book deal that I’d managed to secure was ‘So, are you writing full time now?’ Mmm…no!! I work full time and have to fit the writing in and around that.

Five days a week I leave the house about 7.30am and I get home just after 6pm. Tea is usually around 7pm, the dishes done by 8pm and I usually go to bed about 11.30pm. That leaves a window of approximately three and a half hours for everything else.

I enjoy watching TV as much as the next person so my writing time usually starts about 10pm. That’s the time that my husband used to get ready for work when he worked a permanent night shift and one of the conditions of him taking early retirement two years ago was that he didn’t interfere with my routine.

On days that I’m not at my job with Barnardo’s there is more opportunity for writing and I’ll usually manage to ‘write’ for double the amount of time that I do on work days. I could be editing or researching but it all comes under the umbrella of ‘write.’ Someone asked me recently if I wrote all day on my day off but the truth is that because I work full time, my days off are full of shopping, cleaning and all the other mundane things that need to be done.

So, my writing time is precious and I try to be disciplined about it. That’s easier said than done when you consider how easy it is to spend too much time faffing around on the internet. I find that having a deadline to work to focuses the mind so if I don’t have a deadline set by a publisher, I set one for myself. It would be too easy for me to think “I’ll do it later,” otherwise.

My first book took years to refine and get to the stage where a publisher would take a chance on it so it was a challenge to have to write subsequent books in just twelve months. Another friend, one that writes poetry for pleasure, said that I should tell the publisher that deadlines stifle creativity. Good luck with that one Gwen.

My writing regime is far from ideal and there are times, especially if there is a deadline looming, when I would love more time to do it but I’ve asked myself if I would like to be a full-time writer and I think the answer is no. I enjoy my job and I like the people that I work with. So, for now, I’ll have to make the most of the time that I have.

Blurb

What if the man in your life isn’t who he says he is?

Daniel Laither is a mild-mannered and uncomplicated bank manager, but when his boss asks him for a favour, things begin to get tangled. Introduced to businessman Arthur Braithwaite, Daniel reluctantly agrees to a financial arrangement that will create an unbreakable link between them.

When Daniel meets Lucy, Braithwaite’s daughter, he becomes a man obsessed. From the steamy afternoons spent together in hotel rooms, to evenings out with Lucy in fancy restaurants, Daniel’s life moves a million miles from the one he’d had.

He finds himself lying to his friends, his colleagues and, most importantly, his wife. He borrows money from a loan shark to afford this double life, but when the debt demands to be paid, he contemplates stealing from the bank. When Lucy falls pregnant and Braithwaite insists upon a marriage, Daniel has to choose between his two lives…

To buy Colette’s books…

Buy An Uncomplicated Man on Amazon

Things I Should Have Said and Done

Ribbons in Her Hair

Not My Brothers Keeper

Facebook Author page

@colettemcauthor

Colette McCormick on Books and Life in General

About Colette

Originally a city girl, Colette has made her home in a one of the many former mining villages in County Durham. When not working as a retail manager for a large children’s charity she will more than likely be writing, even if it’s only a shopping list. She also enjoys cooking, gardening and taking the dog on long walks in the countryside near her home. She has been married for almost forty years and has two grown up sons.

 

Filling the Empty Page – Lynne Shelby shares her top tips

As we brace ourselves for the last leg of NaNoWriMo, I’m utterly thrilled to have romance author Lynne Shelby guesting on my blog. There are many reasons to love Lynne. Here are three for starters: she writes fantastic romances set in the glitzy, heady world of showbiz, she’s a generous supporter of other writers and she shares a surname with Birmingham’s most (in)famous family, The Peaky Blinders. Today, she’s talking about the dreaded blank page and offering up some top tips. Take it away, Lynne.

Filling the Empty Page by Lynne Shelby

There must be few things as daunting for a writer as an empty page (or, more usually these days, a blank laptop screen), but every writer has their own writing process – the tricks and tools of their trade – that they use to fill the empty space with words, especially when they have a looming deadline! In fact, a deadline, whether it’s the date by which you have to send in your entry to a writing competition, or your edits back to your editor, or get your novel written for NaNoWriMo, is particularly effective for spurring a writer on to complete the first draft of their story. I’m a relatively slow writer, but I find that setting myself an arbitrary deadline – aiming to finish a book before going off on holiday or before Christmas – is one of the most effective ways to make me write faster!

My actual writing process hasn’t changed that much since I first started writing novels, but it has evolved as I’ve discovered which ‘tricks of the trade’ work best for me, especially when it comes to hitting a daily word count – as in NaNoWriMo. When I wrote my first novel, I edited it each day as I wrote, and also wrote the story in the order it would appear on the page, but with my second novel, on the advice of more experienced writers, I edited far less – and I found that I completed the first draft in less time, and that editing a whole manuscript resulted in less false starts and therefore less re-writing.

With my latest novel, There She Goes, I wrote the entire first draft without editing. If I came to a scene that wasn’t working, I made bullet points for the main events that needed to happen, and went on to the next chapter. Also, if I suddenly had a new and exciting idea about how an earlier chapter might be improved or thought of a scene that needed to be added, I resisted the temptation to go back and alter what I’d already written, but jotted down my new idea on a post-it note and added it in a later draft. The post-it notes spread from my noticeboard all around the walls of my writing room, but it meant that that I wrote the book more quickly!

Resisting the urge to edit until the whole story – or at least its outline – is written, is one of my most valuable writing tools. Every writer finds the tools and tricks that work best for them – and the way they do that is by writing. Don’t worry about finding the perfect word, sentence or paragraph. Write … and edit later.

Good luck to everyone taking part in NaNoWriMo.

Lynne Shelby

About Lynne

Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction/romance. Her debut novel, ‘French Kissing’ won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition. Her latest novel, There She Goes, is set among the drama, hopes and dreams of aspiring actors in London’s Theatreland. She has worked at a variety of jobs from stable girl to child actor’s chaperone to legal administrator, but now writes full time. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre or exploring a foreign city – Paris, New York, Rome, Copenhagen, Seattle, Athens – writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband, and has three adult children who live nearby.

Social Media Links

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LynneShelbyWriter

Twitter: @LynneB1

Instagram: lynneshelbywriter

Website: http://www.lynneshelby.com

There She Goes – blurb:

When aspiring actress Julie Farrell meets actor Zac Diaz, she is instantly attracted to him, but he shows no interest in her. Julie, who has yet to land her first professional acting role, can’t help wishing that her life was more like a musical, and that she could meet a handsome man who’d sweep her into his arms and tap-dance her along the street…

After early success on the stage, Zac has spent the last three years in Hollywood, but has failed to forge a film career. Now back in London, he is determined to re-establish himself as a theatre actor. Focused solely on his work, he has no time for distractions, and certainly no intention of getting entangled in a committed relationship…

Auditioning for a new West End show, Julie and Zac act out a love scene, but will they ever share more than a stage kiss?

Purchase link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/There-She-Goes-share-Theatreland-ebook/dp/B07PDZMMT2/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1572031291&sr=1-1

 

 

 

 

Five on Friday with Laura Wilkinson @ScorpioScribble #FiveOnFriday

Today I’m on the totally wonderful all-round book star blogger Jill Doyle’s Friday feature. It was a fantastic interview to do. Thanks for having me, Jill.

Jill's Book Cafe

Today I’m delighted to feature author Laura Wilkinson. I met Laura ealier this year at a Literary Lunch as part of  Northwich Lit Fest.  Never one to miss a trick, I jumped at the opportunity to invite her to take part. She’s warm, open, very real and very like-able and her books reflect those qualities.

no-1-dark-smile Photo: David Green of Shoot Me Now UK

About Laura:-

Laura Wilkinson is a feminist and lover of ginger hair. A resident of an unfashionable quarter of Brighton, she likes to write stories which entertain and provide food for thought. Her novels are Crossing the Line, Skin Deep, Redemption Song and The Family Line. Her work has been described variously as ‘compelling’, ‘poignant’, and ‘emotional’. Alongside writing, she works as an editor and mentor, and speaks at events nationwide. She has a passion for fashion and anything which glitters. In another life, she’d make…

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Kelly Florentia guest post: Magic in a Nutshell

Today, I’m delighted to hand over control of my blog to a woman with a touch of magic at her fingertips. Let’s have a huge, fat welcome to fellow Accent Press author, fitness fiend and all round top girl, Kelly Florentia. Take it away, Kelly.

If I had a pound for every time someone asked me where I get my ideas from, I’d be a millionaire. Well, okay, not quite a millionaire but I’d have several hundred quid in the bank. This, along with, ‘What’s your book about, then?’ is the most frequent question that I’m asked whenever I tell anyone that I write fiction. They’re both perfectly reasonable questions, yet I find them quite tricky to answer. I thought about this recently and concluded that it’s probably because they’re almost impossible to answer in a nutshell, which I think is what most people expect. But a story has many layers and elements, and the inspiration behind each novel often comes from several sources. I keep a little notebook of ideas that spring to mind; sometimes I use a couple to create a novel, sometimes more, sometimes less. For my debut, The Magic Touch, published in 2016 and relaunched and updated earlier this year, three ideas from my notepad stood out.

Firstly, I wanted to write about finding love again after a bad relationship. I like to create very ordinary characters, warts and all, and, thankfully, this had been well received by readers. In The Magic Touch, the heroine, Emma King, has quite a few insecurities, and this is because she’s been through a lot in her life – an unhappy marriage and a not so good relationship with her father as she was growing up. The second idea, the psychic app, came from a conversation I was having with my husband. We were sitting on the sofa one evening, phones in hands, marvelling at all the new apps, when I turned to him and said, ‘Imagine if there was an app that could predict your future.’ He told me there were lots of psychic apps doing the rounds. ‘Yes, but what if there was one that could predict it with alarming accuracy?’ I went on. ‘What then? Would you download it?’ And so the seed was sown. I quickly jotted the idea down in my notebook and left it to brew. I got the third idea, spying on your partner’s phone, from something a friend told me over coffee one afternoon. We were discussing the pros and cons of technology, and she let slip that someone she knows found out her husband was cheating on her by reading his texts – something my friend swore she’d never ever do herself because it’d be an invasion of her partner’s privacy. But then she turned to me and said, ‘Would you, Kelly?’ I replied in a heartbeat, and The Magic Touch now had legs to stand on and was good to go.

Answer in a nutshell: Ideas and inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere – a comment, people watching, something I might read online or in a magazine, and sometimes *whispers* from eavesdropping.

Now on to the second question – What’s your book about, then? The Magic Touch is a romantic drama set in north London. It’s about a very ordinary couple who seemed to have lost their way a little, the romance has dwindled, they don’t seem to have much time for each other anymore, complacency has well and truly set in. But things take a turn for the worse when Emma stumbles across a string of flirty texts on boyfriend Harry’s mobile phone. Fuelled with suspicion and the unbearable thought of losing him, she goes on a mission to get to the bottom of his affair with the help of her 93-year old neighbour, her best friend, and a psychic app. It’s an ‘is he or isn’t he?’ story. It has a ghostly milieu, a heroine who is addicted to her mobile phone, and a big, fat Greek family in the mix. Although it has been described as a rom-com, and it is, it does have a darker, more serious side, too.

Answer in a nutshell: It’s about a magic app, a woman who thinks her boyfriend is having an affair and starts spying on his phone, and a big, fat, Greek family.

I really enjoyed writing The Magic Touch and absolutely loved updating it. I didn’t plan on writing a sequel, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to ignore the little voice in my head that sometimes whispers, ‘Do it!’

Thank you so much, Laura, for inviting me to write this post as part of the blog tour for the relaunch of my debut novel.

Pleasure. If you’d like to buy a copy – and I recommend you do – click on the links below and abracadabra, one will wing its way to you!

Blurb:

Once bitten, twice shy, Emma King is in no rush to join Harry’s bustling, big, fat Greek Cypriot family and become Mrs Georgiades. So it comes as no big surprise when, after plenty of Dutch courage, his proposal of marriage at a family gathering is met with rejection.

Emma doesn’t think they need a piece of paper to prove how much they love each other. They’re solid – unbreakable. After all, Harry’s a loving and loyal partner whom she trusts implicitly. But when she accidentally stumbles across a flirtatious text message on Harry’s mobile phone from a female colleague alarm bells start going off in her head.

Overcome with suspicion and an impending fear of losing the love of her life, Emma goes on a mission to get to the bottom of his secret affair with the help of her best friend Ola, her ninety-three-year-old neighbour Alistair, and Harry’s sister-in-law’s app, The Magic Touch. Because no one is going to snatch Harry from her – no one!

Bio:

Kelly Florentia was born and bred in north London, where she continues to live with her husband Joe. HER SECRET (2018) is her third novel and the sequel to NO WAY BACK (2017).

Kelly has always enjoyed writing and was a bit of a poet when she was younger. Before penning her debut THE MAGIC TOUCH, relaunched and updated in 2019, she wrote short stories for women’s magazines. TO TELL A TALE OR TWO… is a collection of her short tales. In January 2017, her keen interest in health and fitness led to the release of SMOOTH OPERATOR a collection of twenty of her favourite smoothie recipes.

As well as writing, Kelly enjoys reading, running, drinking coffee, scoffing cakes, watching TV dramas and spending way too much time on social media. She is currently working on her fourth novel.

Links:

Buy link: https://amzn.to/2Mt17sM

Website: http://www.kellyflorentia.com

Twitter: @kellyflorentia

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KellyFlorentiaAuthor

Instagram: @kellyflorentia

 

Keep It In The Family: Guest post from Colette McCormick

Today, I’m welcoming a fellow Accent Press author to my blog to tell us all about her third novel, Not My Brother’s Keeper. Take it away, Colette.

Not My Brother’s Keeper, is not just a book about two brothers. it is a book about a whole family. Robert’s acts in his own best interest but those actions effect each member of the family in different ways.

As the mother of two sons I felt a lot of sympathy for their mother. I felt her pain when Robert left home and I could understand the way that she behaved. I am fully aware of the faults that my own son’s have but that wouldn’t stop me defending them and trying to excuse their behavior. When she says that Robert is scared, she is trying to justify something that she probably doesn’t agree with. I think that she is as disappointed in him as everyone else but it her job to defend him.

As a father, Keith isn’t able to hide his disappointment and I think in some way feels for what Robert does. Like he should have been a better father. When he says ‘I thought I’s brought my sons up better than that,’ it’s like he feels that he has let his son down, like his best wasn’t good enough.

For his brother Tom, things are more cut and dried. The brother that he idolised has fallen from grace and turns out not to be the hero that he thought he was. For years he had survived on the crumbs that Robert threw his way and was happy to live his brother’s shadow so when Robert leaves without a care for what he is leaving behind him Tom feels the disappointment acutely. However, is this Tom’s chance to finally live what could have been his brother’s life and subconsciously is that what he is doing? That is a question that he will ask himself many times over the years

For Michelle, Robert’s departure I her worst nightmare happening in front of her. She loved Robert and he deserts her when she needed him the most. Clearly, he isn’t the man that she thought he was. With Tom is she settling for second best?

Last but not least there is Robert himself. Like the rest of the family he has had to live with the consequences of the decisions that he made. At first it seemed like the right thing to do, the only thing that he can do if he is to live the life that he wants to but does he ultimately regret his choices and will it be too late to make amends?

Blurb

My brother. Not my responsibility.

Robert and Tom are practically identical – same height, same hair, equally good looking – but Tom never had the same confidence as his older brother, and for that reason, he is in awe of him.

When Robert’s girlfriend, Michelle, tells him that she’s pregnant, Robert disappears leaving Tom to clean up his mess. As Tom spends time with Michelle, reassuring her that she is not alone in this, they both begin to fall in love.

Sixteen years later, without warning, Robert comes home and Tom has to find the courage to stand against the brother he idolized.

Buy Not My Brother’s Keeper on Amazon

Facebook Author page

@colettemcauthor

Colette McCormick on Books and Life in General

About Colette

Originally a city girl, Colette has made her home in a one of the many former mining villages in County Durham. When not working as a retail manager for a large children’s charity she will more than likely be writing, even if it’s only a shopping list. She also enjoys cooking, gardening and taking the dog on long walks in the countryside near her home. She has been married for almost forty years and has two grown up sons.

Sounds fab! Thanks for popping by, Colette. And good luck with the book.

Follow the tour!

 

 

Not a Rock Star

But my novel’s on tour… Crossing the Line, a story of friends and enemies and being the best you can be, is published in paperback this Thursday, 14 March. It was originally published as Public Battles, Private Wars and I’m thrilled that Accent Press are republishing it. The blog tour kicked off in style yesterday, over at the super- fantastic Roaring Book Worm, with a gorgeous review from Vicky: ‘gripping, sad and very 1980s!’

Do join us for the rest of the tour. We’re stopping at a host of wonderful sites. Links below. And if you’d like to order a copy (or buy the e-book) click here.

blog tour

Cappuccino and Chocolate  

Bookish Jottings 

Lynne Shelby

Shortcake_Bibliophage 

Karen King

Anxious Bookworm 

Bookmark That

Zubscovered

 

All the Good Things, 2018

2018-06-07 20.51.59New Year’s Day is traditionally a time when I reflect on the past year, and today is no different. 2018 was a difficult year, personally and professionally, and I considered a ‘the Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ type post. But, thinking about it, I acknowledged there’s not been anything I can consider truly ugly, and I’ve decided to leave the bad where it belongs – the past – and focus on the good. Here are All the Good Things, 2018:

The consistent love and support from my family – the BigFella, Gingers, and extended families on both sides. Words are not enough.

Love, laughter, tears and friendship from my chosen family – my super-duper, fair weather and foul mates. You know who you are. You’re awesome; the best.

Love, laughter, tears, and support from my writing community (too many to mention personally; you know who you are and I adore you all)

An amazing writing week at Gladstone’s Library – one of my favourite places in the world to think, write and read.

A visit to London Book Fair for the first time.

A fabulous Northwich Literary Festival – such a treat to be invited there. And what a generous audience you were.

Self publishing a novel – The Prosecco Effect. A first.2018-05-03 19.33.20-1

Another trip to the special place that is Tarragona, Spain. And Barcelona for the first time.

A successful Write by the Beach 3 conference – it wasn’t all plain sailing (what is?) but the day itself was wonderful.

Mentoring a handful of dedicated and talented writers. It’s been a privilege.

A shed-load of fabulous books – reading nourishes my soul and I’m consistently awed by the talent out there.

One novel rewritten (and though it’s been rejected I am proud of it and it might yet find a home), another almost ¾ there…

News that Public Battles, Private Wars will be re-launched in early 2019 as Crossing the Line. Thank you, Accent Press.2018-06-23 22.28.59

Taking on CFLA18 and making it a success – while I won’t be running the awards in 2019, I met some gorgeous writers.

Running creative writing workshops for Little Green Pig – you kids blow my mind.

Here’s to 2019 – peace, love, creativity, kindness, joy.

Laura x