Friday, March 30, 2012


Happy Friday! Can you believe it's still sunny here?

I can't remember exactly how many novels I've written now, but as I finished Draft 2 of Construct A Couple, it struck me how my emotional writing journey usually remains the same -- even with all I've learned along the way.

Planning stage: This will be the one novel where I actually stick to my pre-planned plot. I've definitely got it all spot on this time. It's going to be easy!

Draft 1: This plot sucks. What if I just do this . . . or this . . . or maybe this . . . I'll fix it all later. Hey, this is going well, isn't it? Oh great, another new character! Sure, I haven't mentioned them until 3/4 of the way through, but that's okay... I'm done! Well, that wasn't so bad, was it?

Draft 2: Oh. My. God. What have I done? What have I done? I have written a huge pile of crap. This can never be a novel Never. What am I going to do? Okay, deep breath. Small steps. Here I go.

Draft 3: Phew. It might just work. Maybe. But there's still this to fix, and this, and this... oh yes, and THIS! How on earth did I miss that?

Draft 4: Okay, I think I'm finally getting there. But why is this sentence so long? And why is there a comma there? And why do all my characters roll their eyes? Where are there eyes eyes eyes everywhere?

Draft 5: Holy crap, there's a typo on page 1. I must do another 10 read-throughs.

Draft 6: If I read another word of this, I'm going to be sick.

So there you have it! Novelution!

What is your emotional writing journey?

(I will likely be on a blog break next week as I try to dig into Draft 3 and get as much work done as I can. Best of luck to everyone starting in on the A to Z Challenge!)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The London Undergrub

Continuing on the random city posts (I swear, I'll get back to normal topics once I've pulled my brain out of Draft 2!), I'd like to introduce you to a wonderful thing: a food-map of the London Underground. Every station has been changed into a sort-of similar sounding food... brilliant. (Click to link below to enlarge.)

My station is Nutty Hill Gate. Now I'm starving.

If you could live at any food station of your creation, what would it be? Cow's Hind Quarters? Mornington Croissant? I'd love it if there were a Twizzlers station. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Tale of One City

Happy Monday! Thank you all for the birthday wishes! I had what can only be described as an absolutely idyllic weekend tootling around Paris. The weather was perfect, the hotel was perfect, the wine was . . . well, you get the picture. But because perfection can also leave one feeling a bit exhausted, I will leave you with these photos.

Lounging on the grass at the Places des Vosges.

The Promenade Planteée, an elevated walkway on a disused railway line.

Graffiti and blossoms on the Promenade Plantée/

Cutting through the buildings.

Drinks on a boat in the Seine, just across from Notre Dame.

The view from our hotel window, right outside the Places des Vosges.

Scary tunnel as our boat makes its way from Bastille to the Canal St-Martin.

One of the many locks on the Canal St-Martin.

The Basin de Villette.

Budding trees at the Jardins des Luxembourg. 
Phew! And there you have it. Paris in the springtime: done.

How was your weekend?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Word of the Day

I'll keep this short and sweet: it's my birthday tomorrow (yay!); I'm off to Paris for the weekend (yay!); it's sunny outside (double yay!); and I'm done with my work for the day (YAY!).

Let the games begin.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring in Your Step

It's a glorious day here in London, and I'm in a springy kind of mood -- thanks in part to your wonderful support and comments on my Monday post. Time and again, I'm reminded what a wonderful community of bloggers I'm a part of, and I'm so grateful.

Anyway! *wipes eyes* Some of you may remember that before I had my fiction published, I wrote guide books: 24 Hours London and 24 Hours Paris. As I'm off Paris next weekend and plan to post about it next week, I thought it only fair to tell you about some of my favourite spring-like places in my adopted home. Most of my novels are set in and around London, and I love writing about the city!

The text below is lifted from my London guide.

The Serpentine Lake, though budding trees at Kensington Gardens.
 First up, it's got to be Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park -- the site of my (almost) daily run.

These interconnected parks offer a wide variety of jogging routes or, if you're up for it, you can take a plunge in the Serpentine Lake. Enter the park from High Street Kensington. You’ll see Kensington Palace straight ahead. Saunter by the former home of Princess Diana and past the black railings where mountains of flowers were heaped when she died in 1997. Run by the man-made Round Pound, taking in the ornate Albert Memorial through the trees to your right, and go down to the Serpentine Lake. So-named for its snake-like shape, the lake is actually a river that was dammed by order of Queen Caroline as part of the redevelopment of Hyde Park. As you jog by the long arm of the lake, take in the oval shaped Diana Memorial to your right, then cool off by braving the water at the roped-off swimming area at the Lido.

Next, it's across the city to Postman's Park. It's beautiful this time of year with all the daffodils. Located between King Edward Street, Little Britain and Angel Street, the park contains a wall with 47 hand-crafted tiles commemorating the bravery of ordinary Londoners who died saving others. Each tile, made by Royal
Doulton, is hand-lettered. The park features in Mike Nichols’ film Closer.

If you're looking for something to get you in the spring-like spirit, head to an iconic East End market at Columbia Road. Moved to Sunday to accommodate Jewish traders, the market served the area’s former Huguenot immigrants whose interest in cut flowers has remained a legacy amongst East Enders. A variety
of bulbs, shrubs and freshly cut flowers – along with breads, cheeses and garden accessories – is available.

Little Venice.
For a bit of Italy in London (sort of), wander through the weeping willows by the Regent and Grand Union canals in Little Venice, one of the prettiest and most serene spots in the whole city. InPaddington runs free
walks along the Grand Union Canal, while London Walks offers guided tours exploring the whole area. If you really want to see canal living first hand, you can take a narrowboat trip down the canal towards Camden. The boat is indeed as the name suggests – no wider than seven feet in order to navigate the canals of Britain and Wales.

I could go on and on and ON, but I'll stop there. Hope the new season is treating you kindly so far.

What are some of your favourite places to visit in Spring?

Monday, March 19, 2012

I Am Not My Book

Hello, Monday! Hope everyone had a great weekend. It's slowly turning into Spring in London Town, and for that I am happy. I love to hear those birds chirping right outside my window as dawn comes at 5:45 a.m., oh yes I do!

Speaking of chirping, I like writing mainly about chirpy things on my blog: wine, coookies, Twizzlers, and such. But sadly, not everything in the world involves sweetness and light -- and that's certainly true when it comes to publishing books.

As any author or aspiring author knows, the opportunities for disappointment are endless. We get rejected. We get bad reviews. Our books don't sell -- or not as much as we'd like them to. Our contracts are not renewed . . . are you depressed yet?

Over the past few weeks, I've been fighting a little disappointment of my own (you can read about it here, if you wish). To many, a disappointing post-promotion result may not seem like a big deal. In the grand scheme of things, it probably isn't. But most authors would agree that after investing so much time, head-space and emotion into a novel, it's hard not to sink into a tailspin when you're faced with a disappointing outcome, no matter what it is. It's easy to believe that you and your happiness are dependent on the success of your book.

That's when I tell myself: I am not my book. It's out there now, independent of me, and my happiness should not depend on how it fares. There's more to me than that one novel; there's more to my life than Amazon (well, sort of). I love writing, I love creating, and that's what I need to focus on. And maybe drink a little wine.

How do you get over disappointment?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Stop the Bull

Happy Friday, all!

Over on Shari Larsen's blog, she's spreading the word about National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence, which happens to be today!

Now, I'm not in America, but I'm all for speaking out against bullying and violence. Truth be told, though, I struggled thinking about what to write for this. Honestly, I've been pretty lucky: I can't recall being bullied to an extent where it affected me. Sure, I was called names, pushed & shoved, all the things that mark out a 'normal' childhood. As an adult, my work colleagues and bosses were -- for the most part -- respectful and considerate. So . . . what to write?

Well, how about this.

Now picture a human, ten times sadder, and ten times lonelier.

Would you want to make someone feel that way? Would you want to stand by and let someone else make another person feel that way? All it takes to stop a bully is one person to stand up to them. (Or, in the case of Syria, China and Russia... but that's another story!). From children to politicians, we can put an end to bullying and violence if we work together.

 Maybe the world should just drink wine...

Have a great weekend, everyone. And treat everyone like a precious Persian kitty you don't want to upset!

The following bloggers are also taking part today. Drop by and say hi if you get the chance.

Sheri Larsen -
Dawn Dalton -
Jessica Bell -
Candace Ganger -
LM Preston -
Donna Martin -
Jonathon Arntson -
Nicole Zoltack -
PK Hrezo -

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Staying Upright

There's been a lot of talk lately in the blogosphere about maintaining balance.

As my writing career progresses, I find striking a balance harder. Mornings are spent writing ('coz without that, I'm not actually a writer!), and the afternoons are filled with answering reader emails (yay!), answering questions from fellow writers (yay!), preparing presentations and workshops (yay!), and writing guest posts (yay!). All great stuff that I feel incredibly lucky to do, but also time-consuming.

When wine o'clock rolls around, I often realise I haven't spent any time blogging nor responding to comments I've received, and I'm faced with a difficult question: blogging or wine (I learned the hard way you can't do both at the same time, ha!)? I bet you can guess which one wins out. Plus, sometimes I just want to close the lid on the laptop and enjoy real life.

I used to be fanatical about blogging every day and get sharp pangs of guilt if I didn't reply to each and every comment promptly. Now, I blog three days a week and although I do try my best to get around to everyone quickly, well . . . I don't always manage it. But that's okay, because I've come to the conclusion that blogging should be fun. I love popping around and visiting the people who've become my friends; seeing what they're up to. I blog because I want to, not because I think it will help me sell a zillion trillion books.

I'm not going to ask why you blog, because I think we've all answered that question a lot! Instead, I'd love to know: have you ever experienced blog fatigue? And if so, how do you get back on track?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Daffodils and Desks

Yay! It's Monday! Can you hear the enthusiasm in my voice?

Actually, for the first time in a bit, I'm happy Monday is here. Why? Because I had a lovely London weekend, starting with a walk through Hyde Park and a concert at Wigmore Hall on Saturday, and ending with a stroll down the South Bank and through the Tate Modern yesterday.

Not only that, but the weather was glorious.

Daffodils outside the Tate Modern.

Crazy dude playing guitar in the Thames under the Millennium Bridge.
And -- since Mr TR is back to work today after a stint working from home -- I have my office to myself again! I must admit, it's much better for concentrational (not a word! I know!) purposes.

So, Monday or not, I'm happy. What's your state of mind this week?

PS - Thank you for the lovely comments on Friday's post. :)

Friday, March 09, 2012

A Girl Can Dream

And sometimes, it might come true!

I'm in second draft hell at the moment and somewhat brain dead, but this little snippet (below) from last Sunday's The Mail on Sunday gave me a lovely little boost. Okay, a lovely BIG boost!

I''ve included the whole page because if you're anything like me (better hope not!), you love looking at top ten charts. Hint: look at Ebook Downloads.

Did someone say wine? :)

Have a great weekend, everyone. 

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Complicated Creatures: Alex J Cavanaugh

Yes, I'm here on a Tuesday! And all because of Alex Cavanaugh, who is continuing his blog tour for Cassafire, his new novel. Welcome, Alex!  It's early, I need more coffee, so I'll turn you over to him.

Thank you for letting me invade your spot today, Talli! I’m nowhere near as cute as you, but hopefully I can at least amuse…

Women are complicated creatures. Admit it! You’re complex, multi-faceted, and wrapped in many layers. (Like parfait, not onions - thank you, Shrek!) You’re so observant and you possess this “women’s intuition” thing. (Is it like the Sixth Sense? Do you see dead husbands all the time?) And your emotions range beyond what we can even imagine. Quite frankly, they are a little frightening.

But hey, I’m a guy! From my perspective, writing about women is a daunting challenge. One I entered with reservations. But I had no choice. Fans of CassaStar clamored for a female character.

(Insert moment of panic here.)

So, I held nothing back. Want a strong female character? Fine! I’ll write one so feisty that even Byron may have met his match…

To say Athee is strong-willed would be an understatement. She is driven, determined, and accustomed to getting what she wants. A pilot of exceptional quality, she also possesses mental abilities that rival Byron’s skills. Even worse, Athee is determined to figure out what makes the solitary and reclusive Cassan tick.

Obviously, tension ensues!

Will readers like Athee? I think they’ll admire her strengths and determination to succeed in a profession dominated by men. They’ll be moved by her motivation and efforts to keep those she loves safe. Readers will enjoy the new relationship aspect she brings to the story when her world and Byron’s collide.

Hopefully this exercise has given me some insight into the complex female mind.

Now back to football and hitting things and other manly stuff. (Does hitting one’s Xbox controller count?)

 Visit the author’s site and leave a comment during his book tour for a chance to win CassaFire, CassaStar, and a CassaFire tote bag and mug!

by Alex J. Cavanaugh

CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities.

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

You can visit the author’s site at
Book trailer available at

Amazon Kindle

Thank you, Alex! I'll be back on Friday. Until then, have a great week. 

Monday, March 05, 2012

Pin It, Baby

It's Monday, and it's sunny and fresh here in London after a dire day yesterday. Hope everyone had a great weekend! Although I know we all need another social media outlet like we need err... um... okay, a hole in the head (my brain isn't processing quickly), I must admit I've become rather enamoured with Pinterest. It's a bit like Tumblr without the words, and I love trawling through all the pretty pictures and putting together my own boards.

Last week, I even created a board for Serenity, the main character in Build A Man, showing her neigbourhood and the places she travels to in the novel. Apart from being fun, it really brought her to life for me.The photo below is of Borough Market (duh!), where she goes with Jeremy -- the man she and half the country are 'building'.

Source: via Talli on Pinterest

Now don't tell me you're not interested in some pinning action! Get yourself over to Pinterest and get busy. (No, I haven't been paid by Pinterest to post this. Yet. Ha!)

In other non-sponsored news, Rachel Morgan's new novel Guardian (Creepy Hollow #1) is out today! It looks fantastic, so run out and get your copy now. Many congrats to Rachel! Amazon USAmazon UK,  Smashwords .

Are you on Pinterest? Do you need a hole in the head? 

Friday, March 02, 2012

Novels 'n' Newspapers

Happy Friday! I'm pleased to welcome Stephen Tremp to my blog today, talking about strategies he used to get coverage for his novels in newspapers -- great information!

Take it away, Stephen.

Thanks Talli for hosting me again! You hosted me on my Breakthroug Blog Tour and here we are again. 

Okay, here we go ... Since Borders Books is no longer with us, I had to make some serious changes as I sold a lot of books through them. I took a serious kick in the ol’ knickers with that one. To quote Tom Cruise from Collateral: “Okay, look, here's the deal …. Still breathing? Now we gotta make the best of it, improvise, adapt to the environment, Darwin, #%^$&**# happens, I Ching, whatever man, we gotta roll with it.” 

 So I revisted some of the promo strategies I used in the past and the word “newspapers” jumped out at me. Newspapers? Are they still relevant? Do people still read them? I did a little homework and looked at circulations of newspapers (print and online) in the two areas I’ve lived; Lansing, Michigan and southern California. Turns out, there is still a lot of opportunity in this department. They’re not just for lining my birdcage anymore.

I contacted the good people at the Lansing State Journal and sent them a Press Release. The Hook: Local boy does good. They printed it! Glory hallelujah! So I contacted the Detroit News, a much larger circulation. The decision is still pending. But at least they’re considering it. Stay tuned! 

Next up: The Orange Coast Register and the Los Angeles Times. These are two papers with very large circulations. The OC Register reaches 1.5 million adults every week. Problem: I don’t have any contacts. Steve who??? I can’t just send them a Press Release and expect them to print it. Or can I. 

Fortunately, I’ve been lining up book signings with local Indie bookstores. And they have contacts at these papers. Will the OC Register print a Press Release for me? Maybe. Maybe not. But they will announce the book signing because the Indie bookstores, who have a great working relationship with the paper, have a name for me to contact!

 So I’ll at least get my name in the Events Section. Perhaps an image of my smiling face or book cover. Then I’ll have a second book signing announcement. And a third. Now I’m building a relationship. Then perhaps a Press Release will follow. I’m working it. It’s all about building relationships and that’s what I’m doing. Stay Tuned! 

Finally: don't forget the smaller, local papers. They can be easier to work with and reach a lot of people. And thanks to the Indie bookstores, I now have contact names for local papers that will advertise the book siging events! You can check out the press release from the Lansing State Journal here: SELECT LINKI hope this helps and perhaps stokes the fires of promotion and marketing for you. 

Stephen Tremp: author of the BREAKTHROUGH series, has a B.A. in information systems and an MBA degree in global management. Stephen has a background in information systems, management, and finance and draws from this varied and complex experiential knowledge to write one-of-a-kind thrillers. His novels are enhanced by current events at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and other scientific research facilities around the world. These potential advances have the ability to change the way we perceive our universe and our place in it! You can visit Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs. BREAKTHROUGH and OPENING can be downloaded: Download Breakthrough: Amazon Kindle $1.99 Download Opening: Amazon Kindle for $1.99

Have a great weekend, everyone! Oh, before I forget: Fabulosity Reads is doing a giveaway for Build A Man! Head over for your chance to win