Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mr TR Says...

Working at home every day, it's easy to become oblivious to my surroundings. As such, it's always a quite a treat when Mr TR makes his grand re-entry late-afternoon. Here's a few select utterances from the man himself:

1. Have you noticed how many coffee cups are on your desk? (I have a habit of collecting them.)

2. Did you realise you have the window wide open and it's been raining onto our leather sofa? (Oops. So that's what that dark patch is -- a water stain!)

3. Why is there bread burning in the toaster? (Because our toaster sucks?)

4. You've got chocolate on your face. (Goes without saying.)

5. Maybe it's time to plug in your mobile... it keeps beeping. (I know; I've been ignoring it all day.)

6. You do realise there's a big spider on the wall behind you, right? (Yes. I'm too lazy to kill it.)

What do you ignore when you're writing? Besides the obvious, that is (housework, kids, etc).

Monday, June 27, 2011

Full Exposure

Just to manage your expectations -- I'm not going to flash you from underneath my mac. So sorry. Maybe next time!

No, today I want to talk about the feeling of being exposed. Whether you're sending your first draft to beta readers or you're a published author putting a finished product into the world, you're still offering up a piece of work for judgement. And you can't help feeling that, by default, people are judging you.

It's hard to keep your distance when you've poured yourself into a novel. But I think it's important to remember that readers aren't commenting on you. You might be a great writer -- the next Dickens, even -- and still have readers who don't warm to your creations. Not everything you write will appeal to everyone. And it probably shouldn't!

So wrap yourself up in a hard, deflective metal (um... is there a name for that?), or gird your loins with Teflon, and remember: it's not all about you. It's about your novel. It still might not be fun to take, but I promise you: it will be easier!

How good are you at dealing with less than complimentary feedback?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Telly Time

It's Friday. How that happened, I don't know. Could it have been the blur of cocktails and glorious puddings that hastened the week's end?

I was supposed to have a guest blogger but they seem to have vanished into the ether. So today, I thought it'd be interesting to present a snapshot of telly time! I might be the only one, but I always find adverts from around the world really interesting. It's like a sneak pick into a different culture.

So please bear with me while I snap on the telly and wait for the next commercial break. Oh, while I'm waiting, I'll announce the winners of Catherine Ryan Howard's Self-Printed.

Hard copy goes to... India Drummond! Whee!
Ebook goes to... Janice Horton!
Another ebook copy goes to... Lani Wendt Young!

Congrats, ladies!

Right, here we go with the adverts (yes, this is what my blog has come to today).

Jonathon Ross hosts Penn and Teller: Fool Us! I admit I did like Jonathan Ross until he got together with Russel Brand and started behaving like a five-year-old. Think I'll take a miss on this one.

Butlins Happy Days. I'm not quite sure how to explain the concept of a holiday camp. It's a uniquely British thing where loads of parents bring their kids and eat fried food in the rain. Butlins has a chain of holiday camps and I can't help but snigger at the name!

DFS Sofa Half-Price Sale. Ever since I moved to the UK seven years ago, DFS has been having half-price sales. It's a wonder they're still in business.

Homebase. This is a DIY store that I'm quite fond of after they gave me and Mr TR a water-heater timer for free when they couldn't find the price. Score!

Evian, the official water of Wimbledon. I reckon Wimbledon doesn't need any more water this week after all the rain!

There you have it. Welcome to my advert world! Have a great weekend, everyone.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Here in Spirits

I'm not actually here! I'm over at Nas Dean's blog, talking about how much I love Friends. Until tomorrow, here are a few photos for you from yesterday's jaunts.

Massive thanks to Cat from HarperCollins and authors Fanny Blake and David Nobbs for making the day so wonderful.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Self-Publishing the Not-Saying-Gatekeepers Way

Wooo, it's Wednesday! I've got a big day ahead: lunch in Covent Garden, afternoon tea at the Oxo Tower on the South Bank, and then a book launch at the Tower of London. Please send my be-sandalled feet your most positive vibes to make it through relatively unscathed.

Since I'm about and about, I'm delighted to welcome Catherine Ryan Howard to the blog. If you're contemplating self-publishing and you haven't been over to her blog, you need to get there right now!

Just a small announcement before I go: from now until Monday, my publisher has reduced The Hating Game on Kindle to 98p ($1.59 US). Yay for summer sales! If you need something for the beach, well... you know what I'm sayin'.

Right, over to Catherine!

Five years ago this summer, I moved from Ireland to Orlando, Florida, to start an eighteen-month training program in a Walt Disney World hotel.

Four years ago I started writing a book about it, and three years ago I finished it.

Two years ago I realised that thanks to the spectacularly niche audience for a book about an Irish girl working in Disney World, Space Shuttle launches and the challenges of long, thick hair in near 100% humidity, it was never going to get published, so eighteen months ago, I decided to do it myself.

It sounds a whole lot simpler than it actually was. Because truth be told, I was a certifiable self-publishing snob who thought that publishing your own book was nothing but a pointless and shameful pastime indulged in only by deluded losers...

I had never been traditionally published, but I was a self-proclaimed expert on the publishing world. For nearly ten years or ever since I turned 18, I’d been daydreaming non-stop about a six-figure deal and a well paid job you could do in your pyjamas, faithfully buying a new edition of The Writers and Artists Yearbook every year. This took pride of place in my (frighteningly) extensive collection of How To Write Books books: despite having never actually written a book, I knew exactly how to write a good query letter, create an elevator pitch and decipher a publishing contract. And as for formatting a manuscript – well, that would be my specialist subject should I ever end up on Mastermind. I signed myself up for workshops, sidled up to - gasp! - Real Life Writers at signings and other events and practised perfecting my pseudonym signature, just in case. I drew up a wish list of five literary agents and jotted down some notes about what questions I’d ask them when they called to offer me representation. (Because that’s what the books said: Don’t forget to ask them questions too. Makes you look professional.)

Clearly it was only a matter of time before I got published. All I had to do was write a book.

My expert and utterly unnecessary knowledge of the publishing world meant that whenever I heard of people self-publishing, I rolled my eyes so much that my pupils threatened to disappear forever into my head. I’d sneer at pictures in the local newspaper of what I assumed to be dangerously bored housewives proudly clutching their debut short story collections. How pathetic! There was extra sneering for those who hadn’t even tried to get properly published, and were presumably blissfully unaware that there was, in fact, an established path to publication and they had foolishly wandered off in the opposite direction. Because at the end of the day, if your book was good enough for other people to read, it would eventually get published. Right?

Well, no – as I discovered when I started submitting Mousetrapped to publishers. I got pretty much the same answer wherever I went: we enjoyed reading it and we think it’s a good book, but there isn’t a market for it. What they meant by this was if they – and “they” are Irish and/or UK publishing houses – edited, designed, printed and distributed a couple of thousand copies of the book, paying for all costs including the salaries of the staff who’d have to do it and royalties to me, chances are they wouldn’t sell enough copies of it to recoup their investment. And publishing is a business after all.

But if I self-published it using a Print On Demand service – who allow you to upload your book for a very small fee and only print a copy of it when an order is placed – and e-book websites where no cost at all is involved, and I used these to pitch Mousetrapped to a global market and did everything I could to promote and sell it... well, maybe I would recoup my investment or even, dare I dream, make some money.

So that’s what I did. I self-published a paperback using CreateSpace, and e-books using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Platform and

But my years of sneering at self-publishers had – thankfully – left a mark. I knew that what I was doing was not making a book that looked like the ones I bought and read, that my book wouldn’t be available in stores and that this story was not going to end with me wallpapering my office in real gold leaf. (Or even in Laura Ashley.) I didn’t have a literary agent-shaped voodoo doll, didn’t whine about editors not even “giving my book a chance!” and I refused to use the word gatekeepers. Nor did I moan about low e-book prices “devaluing my artistry”, insist that everyone call me an “indie author” [very loud groan] or claim that by the end of next year, no one will even remember what – and it pains me to use this term, even like this – “dead tree books” looked like.

I was realistic. I was modest. And I did everything I could to make my book look right.

And I did okay. I released Mousetrapped in March 2010 and sometime this month I’ll sell my 6,000th copy. I’m self-publishing another travel memoir, Backpacked, in September, and even self-publishing a novel the month after that.

But I’m not on the self-publishing cheer-leading squad, or giving up my dreams of traditional publication. All I’m saying is this: you too can self-publish without sounding like a bureau chief at the Self-Publishing Ministry of Truth, and sell enough copies to afford a few ink cartridges or even – if you’re lucky – to write full-time.

All you need is are realistic expectations and some common sense. Oh – and to ban words like “gatekeepers” from your vocabulary. Forever.

Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing is available now in paperback and e-book. Find out more on

The lovely Catherine is offering one paperback copy of Self-Printed, sent anywhere in the world and three Self-Printed e-book from (multiple formats available)! To be in with a chance, just leave a comment below.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Too Hot to Handle

Happy Monday!

Last year, Mr TR and I purchased some Scotch Bonnet chili peppers at our local supermarket. We like spice in our food and these were on special, so we grabbed them, figuring if they had anything to do with Scotland, they couldn't be tooooo spicy (apologies to anyone Scottish reading this, but the Scots aren't exactly known for their spicy food).

Mr TR mixed them into some beef mince and 30 minutes later, dinner was ready. One bite into the meal, our eyes were streaming and our mouths were on fire. Little did we know that Scotch peppers are some of the hottest in the world. Lesson learned: never take anything at face value!

As a reader, I've learned not to do the same. I've put aside some of my misconceptions about science fiction and enjoyed some wonderful novels; similarly with YA. I've soldiered on through boring-looking literary fiction and found it rewarding, and I've purchased dodgy-covered self-published novels that are amazing!

Do you have misconceptions about any genres, authors, or types of books? And have you managed to overcome them?

PS - The next few weeks will be 'blogging light'. I'll be posting on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays until I've finished the bulk of my revisions. Drop by on Wednesday, when Catherine Ryan Howard will share her self-printing wisdom and give away copies of her new book! And on Friday, Australian Michael Hearle will also be giving away copies of his new YA novel.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wonderfully Profane

I'm posting a bit late today due to a lengthy bleaching session at the salon. One of the perils of platinum hair.

Anyway, thank you all so much for the wonderfully supportive comments yesterday. Now, this is why I blog! I've met such a great community of people through this blog and I really appreciate you reading my drivel and responding.

It's Friday, it's raining, and something tells me it's wine o'clock (newly christened as TalliBell... you'll have to ask Jess about that one!). So, for your viewing pleasure, I present the following. You may have seen it around and -- if you're not a big fan of profanity -- you may not find it amusing. But you have to admit, it's killer marketing!

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Curse of the Second Novel

You'd think that after getting published, securing positive reviews and even becoming a bestselling author on Amazon, writing a second novel would be a breeze, right?

Well, you'd be wrong.

Because writing the second novel, in my humble opinion, is even harder. Now, you have something to live up to. Now, you're lucky enough to have people who've loved your first work. And now, you know how critical some readers can be.

It's not only me -- I've heard over and over again how writing Novel Number Two for publication can mess with your mind. All the excitement of 'firsts' with your debut (I can't wait to get a book out there! I can't wait to hold it my hands!) is now replaced with doubt. (What if it sucks? What if it doesn't sell as well? What if... *insert your own personal demon here*?)

Caught up in the seemingly endless cycle of revisions, I admit I've struggled with this over the past few weeks. But, as I've been reminded by those close to me, all I can do is my best and make my work the strongest I can. After that, I won't have any control over it, but right now, I do. Enjoy it!

Well, I'm trying.

Any words of wisdom from my blogging buds? I could use some right about now!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Why hello there, Wednesday. How did it get to be the middle of the week already? No matter, because today I have author Stephanie Haefner on my blog to celebrate the release of her new novel, Soap Dreams. Over to you, Stephanie!

TGIS - Thank God it's Summer!

Well, almost! It's not technically summer yet but the weather is nice and the days already feel lighter, lazier.

The meaning of summer has changed for me over the years. When I was a kid, it was 2-1/2 months of nothing. No more homework, early bedtimes, or alarm clocks. Swimming in the lake, basking in the sun. The nights were warm with no need for a coat. It was true bliss! Then I grew up a bit, and though I still was in school, summer meant a job to earn a little bit of money. But there was still tons and tons of time for being lazy!

Then I graduated from college, and the real world fell on me. It was summer, but I still had to get up early. I still had to go to work. All. Day. Long. And I had to be in bed at a decent time so I could do it all again the next day. Didn't matter if it was 85 and sunny. There was nothing worse than being at work and looking out the window at a gorgeous day. The only time for relaxation were my two days off each week. But Mother Nature didn't always plan her rain schedule by my work schedule.

Fast forward a few years to mommyhood. I am lucky enough to be able to stay home with my kids and work from home. It use to be a home-based business; now I stay home to write. And it's a combination of both of my old worlds. I can stay up late and sleep in if I want. I can make rainy days my work days, though I do still have to work on sunny days. I love the flexibility my life now has. My husband has wacky days off and they are different each week. While school is in session, we rarely get the chance to do anything as a family. But in the summer, our daughter doesn't have school and dad's days off are everyone's days off!

What was your favorite part of summer when you were young? And now?

A huge thank you to Talli for having me! And thanks to everyone for stopping by! I wish you all a fabulous summer. Any fun plans? All commenters will be entered in a drawing to win a digital copy of my newest release, Soap Dreams! All commenters will also be entered into a Grand Prize Drawing to be held at the end of my blog tour!! A signed copy of A Bitch Named Karma (US only, sorry) and digital copies of both Paradise Cove and Soap Dreams.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cats and Frogs

I'm a big fan of animals in novels -- so big, in fact, that I've often put a few in mine for no apparent reason and ended up having to remove the poor things at later stages. Cats, guinea pigs and roosters have all abounded! And a few will even live to tell the tale!

Do you put animals in your novels? If so, which ones?

On the animal theme, today I'm over at Catt Hughes' blog answering her wonderful questions. And courtesy of India Drummond, here is the cutest cat video I have ever seen.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Mash-Up

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a good weekend -- mine was spent in a flurry of dress shopping for the upcoming RNA Gala (nothing but mink, mink and more mink as far as the eye could see, thanks to the Duchess of Whatevershire for making that hideous colour so fashionable again)!

It's been awhile since I've done a round-up of recent books I've read, so here are a few for your reading pleasure.

It's been awhile since I've read a memoir as gripping as 'In the Mirror'. Written in a clear, forthright style, Ann Best's life story unfolds in a seamless manner, avoiding the mundane and tangents some non-fiction falls prey to. Dealing with not only her husband's homosexual affairs but also a tragic car accident and her second husband's alcoholism, one would expect a certain amount of self-pity to be present. But, in fact, it's nowhere to be seen. Instead, Ann gives us insight into a strong, brave woman who has coped and persevered -- and overcome.

Fun and fresh, it's a great read about finding what's important and hanging onto it.

Read this. Now.

Love. Cupcakes! Need I say more?

And a big thank you to Christine at the Imagination Station for her review of The Hating Game today! Much appreciated - mwah!

(Book links coming soon, after I throw-up. First run back after three months away... and I'm feeling the exercise-nausea.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Can Medical Romances Be Funny?

Happy Friday! Today, I'm delighted to have Wendy S Marcus stopping by on her blog tour. But before we get to that, I want to thank Stephen Tremp for posting a lovely review of my novel The Hating Game (published by Prospera Publishing) over on his blog. Many thanks, Stephen!

Now, over to Wendy:

Hi Talli! Thank you so much for hosting me on the 10th stop of my blog tour to promote my debut Harlequin Medical Romance, WHEN ONE NIGHT ISN’T ENOUGH, which is currently available for purchase at the Mills and Boon website and Amazon UK. It will be in stores in the UK in June as well. It will also be in stores and online in Aus/NZ on July 11, 2011, and online in the U.S. as of July 11, 2011.

For my post today I’ve decided to address the question: Can medical romance be funny? It’s a valid question. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of hospitals? Gorgeous doctors? Probably not. Most people think of the Emergency Room. Trauma and drama. Sickness, injury, and pain. Not much material for funny stuff there.

But being a nurse, I can tell you with first-hand knowledge, medical professionals are some of the funniest people I know. And in Medical Romance, like in actual medical settings, humor is most often found in the interactions between people and not in the medical situations themselves.

Something you may not know, in Harlequin Medical Romance, the books do not take place solely in hospitals. There are many different medical settings that span the continents. Our characters have full lives outside of work. And while there are medical scenes, the focus of our stories is on the hero and heroine. While we strive to make our medical scenes as realistic as possible, gore and tension and high-stakes medical drama is not our main focus.

Here’s a scene from WHEN ONE NIGHT ISN’T ENOUGH. It may not be laugh out loud funny, but I hope it shows that medical romance can be light and entertaining, even in the midst of the medical setting:

“You okay?” Ali asked, coming to stand beside him.

Damn it. He thought she’d gone back inside.

“Just peachy. How about you?”

“You were great with Jimmy. I’m sorry you lost your dad so young.”

He couldn’t look at her. “It’s why I became a physician, so no kid would have to deal with what I went through. I’m doing a great job of it, huh?”

“You’re not God, Dr. P.” She set her hand on his forearm, sending a flare of soothing warmth throughout his body. He craved her touch with a ferocity that excited him as much as it unnerved him.

“You coded Jimmy’s dad twelve minutes longer than any other physician here would have,” she said. “You did your best.”

He tilted his head down and to his left, and their eyes met, held. Hers conveyed genuine concern, empathy. He’d seen it dozens if not hundreds of times over the months they had worked together, directed at her patients, never at him. Yet, instead of using the moment as an opportunity for a sincere conversation between them, he chose to ignore the unwanted, long-suppressed feelings starting to stir deep in his damaged soul for a chance to play, to forget.

“Careful, Kitten,” he said in an exaggerated whisper, taking care to make sure there was no one around to hear his term of endearment that delighted him as much as it aggravated her. “I might get the impression you’re starting to like me.” His mood lifted. “That as hard as you’re trying not to, you can’t help yourself.”

“Nah.” She looked down at her watch. “The hospital pays me to be kind and compassionate. Lucky for you I’m still on the clock.”

“Good.” He leaned in close to her ear. “Maybe we can go someplace private and you can give me a little more of your commm…passion.”

She pinched him.

Good for her. The girl had spunk. “Ouch.” He rubbed his upper arm. “Where’d the kindness go?”

She looked up at him, her light blue eyes narrowed.

“I’m on the verge of breaking down.” He wiped at his dry lashes. “Hell, I think I feel some tears coming.”

She turned and walked back toward the E.R. without giving him a second glance. And she looked just as fine from the back as she did from the front, her lavender scrub pants hugging her perfectly shaped rear, her long brown hair up in a loose knot, and sensible little gold hoop earrings curving under her kissable earlobes.

“Don’t women like it when a man shows his emotions?” he called after her.

She stopped. “Lust is not an emotion, Dr. P.,” she answered over her shoulder.

“It sure is.

Come over to my place after work and we’ll do a Google search. Whoever’s right gets to choose what we do next. You wanna know what I’ll pick?”

Ali hit the button beside the electronic doors.

As they started to open he called out, “Time’s running out, Ali.”

She hesitated before walking back into the ER.

Jared waited a minute, trying to contain his smile. He knew she wouldn’t bite, but provoking her was so much fun. No one entertained him like Ali. For the first time in the two years he’d worked as an agency physician, traveling from hospital to hospital throughout New York State, Jared might actually miss someone when an assignment ended. A sure-fire sign it was past time for him to move on.

So what’d you think?

As part of my blog tour I’m running some contests. To enter for a chance to win an Amazon Gift Card, visit my website: While you’re there check out the excerpts from my books.

And now some questions for you. Have you ever read a Harlequin Medical Romance? If so, did you like it? If no, why not? And would you be willing to make mine your first?

One lucky commenter will win a copy of my 2in1 UK release which includes a complete novel by Janice Lynn. Visit me on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Thanks, Wendy. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Don't You Wish Your Girlfriend...

It's Thursday and folks, I fear my brain has temporarily left the building. But... my latest round of revisions is done, so I reckon I deserve a little downtime in the form of funny e-cards. Here you go! Have a great day, everyone.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Squirrels: The Next Big Thing in Publishing

I've got the inside track on a new trend in publishing: squirrels. First there was vampires, then dystopia, then Greek myths. Now, it's the secret lives of squirrels.

You know, all those things they get up to away from the human eye: shopping for new tails, eating mini-cupcakes, torrid love triangles... maybe even a little DIY. There's more than enough material for eighty-thousand words, and children and adults alike will flock to read about these vastly under-appreciated creatures.

But the novel I'm writing now has no squirrels, I hear you cry. Well, it's quite simple. Just take an existing query, and change out all the humans to squirrels. I'll give you an example, using the blurb of my new (now) squirrel-based novel, Watching Willow Watts.

For twenty-five-year-old squirrel Willow Watts, life has settled into a predictably dull routine: days behind the counter at her father's antique shop; nights watching fuzzy telly whilst the elderly squirrels of Britain's Ugliest Tree bed down for yet another early night. But everything changes when Willow's epically embarrassing Marilyn Monroe impersonation is uploaded to SquirrelTube. A canny squirrel spots Marilyn's ghostly image hidden in the film and Willow becomes an international sensation. Her dire little tree is suddenly overrun with fans proclaiming her to be the 'new Marilyn'. Egged on by fellow squirrels - whose shops and businesses are cashing in - Willow eagerly embraces her new identity, dying her fur platinum and scoffing nuts to achieve Marilyn's legendary curves. But when the only squirrel she has ever truly loved returns, seeking the old Willow, it's decision time. Should she risk stardom and the tree's new-found fortune on love? Or is being Marilyn Willow's real ticket to happiness?

See how easy that is? So be a part of publishing's next big thing. Bring on the squirrels!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Ten for Tuesday: Street Slogans

I live on a very busy street, and I thought today it would be great fun to offer you the first ten slogans/ adverts that pass by on the sides of buses, lorries, etc. (Who am I kidding -- the reality is, my brain has gone into slow-mo and this is all I can offer).

1. Sightseeing Tour of London - Big Bus Tours. Hello, tourists!*waves* (Bus.)

2. Bad Teacher. In cinemas June 17. (Ugh, it certainly looks bad. On a bus.)

3. Petit Forestier. Refrigerated vehicle. (Why in French? Who knows? On a white van.)

4. Celebrating 125 years of proper breakfasts. Anchor Butter. (Yum! On a bus.)

5. ServEquip. (Another French one! They're taking over! On a white van.)

Damn. A traffic jam. Come on, traffic, move!

6. Borderline. Specialists in carpets. (On a white van)

7. Sharm el Sheikh. Egypt: Where it all began. (On a bus)

8. Sightseeing Tour of London - Big Bus Tours. (Bus - again!)

9. Seville, Verona and Bologna. EasyJet. (On a bus.)

And another traffic jam...

10. Kung Fu Panda. In cinemas June 10th. (On a bus.)

Wasn't that informative? Let me end this super stellar post on a high note: fellow blogger Tracy Spaine needs our help for her book to succeed. For more details, hop to her blog or head over here to buy her book!

Happy Tuesday, everyone.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Dreaming of... Sleep

Happy Monday! And thank you all for the wonderful messages here and on Facebook about my last post. Very much appreciated.

I write this now with a heavy head and that oh-so-tired sick feeling in my stomach. Why, you ask? Well, it's because Mr TR had a conference call for work last night at 3 a.m. Yes. 3 BLOODY A.M.! Silly Australians, what are they playing at? Don't they know people's wives need their beauty sleep? I've always been a light sleeper, and having Mr TR shuffling around talking about God knows what kind of organisms in the middle of the night is not exactly conducive to resting.

But I've noticed a funny thing. Sometimes, the less sleep I have, the more writing I do. I reckon it's because my mind stays put -- I'm too tired to flit from Facebook to Twitter and back again. I can only focus on the document at hand. My butt stays put, too. No wandering around looking for floors to clean or Twizzlers to munch.

What about you? Do you write more when you're rested? Or does it matter?

Friday, June 03, 2011

When Will I Feel Like an Author?

Yesterday, in one of my daily fits of angst, I posted the following on Facebook:

I wonder when I will finally feel like a 'proper' author. When I have five books published? Ten? Or never?

Facebook friends being the wonderful people that they are, I got back a chorus of words of wisdom that made me feel like I wasn't alone in my angst. I thought I'd share some of the responses (anonymously), many from best-selling novelists I'd never in a zillion years suspect of doubting their 'proper' author status!

  • I don't think anyone feels like a proper author until they're had a feud with Martin Amis or VS Naipaul.

  • I'm still waiting....but on the otherhand being paranoid and insecure are the SURE signs of a proper author so.....we're in!!!!!!
  • My mother constantly worried about her writing and whether she was any 'good', even after she'd published well over a hundred books and was a million bestseller. Knock that inner critic on the head and repeat after me, 'I am a proper author. I am a proper author.
  • Not only are you a proper author, you're a *published* author! I suspect the *proper* feeling doesn't come until you've paid off the mortgage with the proceeds from writing. ;-)
  • Remember when you were 5 sweetie and the world was your oyster..... When you could be whatever you wanted to be? Well..... What changed....... Get that feeling back.... Because whether you think you are an author or whether you think you are not..... either way you are right xx
  • I don't feel like one - yet. For all kinds of reasons. And the reasons are probably becoming irrelevant anyway... I don't feel like an author at all when I'm writing - I keep thinking: Proper authors wouldn't just be writing train of thought
    stuff but have neatly arranged have post-it notes on the door and a detailed plan - and not have an illegible ms because they were so scared of losing the moment. They'd have coloured index cards for research and character arcs , not bits of paper all over the floor or a total flipping mess in their head.
  • I know what you mean - it was like before I published anything (short story/essay) I felt funny calling myself a writer - even though that's just what I was doing - then when I was published, I thought "well now I have to have to be paid
    something" then that happened, then it was "well now I have to have a novel published" then that happened, then it was "now I need to have another one published" - then another one, then it was "I should be on a best seller list or win an award to really be ligit" GEEEZ-it'll never end, so best enjoy all the little moments and be proud of what you have accomplished - there are always so many people behind you who'd kill to be where you are right now :-D
  • nineteen books in and I still feel like I'm an
  • Talli, trust me, the 'big names' have the same doubts as those just starting out - it feels the same, no matter how many books you've had published and how many awards you've won. So I guess that makes you a proper author ;o) In a weird way, the doubts are a positive thing because it means you're trying to do the best you can for your readers - when you stop feeling that way and stop caring, that's when you're not a proper author, imho.
  • When you can give it as your occupation without feeling a fraud. :-)
  • J K Rowling is my ideal of a proper author (that is, a multi-zillionaire) and I think she has written about nine books - the HPs and some little ones about Quidditch and fairy tales and stuff. So let's say ten?
  • Never:) The more books the bigger the insecurities which lead to a desire to stack shelves in Tesco. Authors thrive on 'I am not worthy'. But we still do it so we must be okay really.

Interesting, hunh? It's funny, because I always thought that once I got published, I'd immediately feel validated. And although being published rocks, it's not the cure-all to the niggly doubts and worries that existed before publication. In fact, I might even say it makes those doubts worse! But the good thing is -- I'm not alone. Thank goodness for writer friends and their support and encouragement.

How about you? What will it take for you to consider yourself a 'real' author?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Write to Be Published by Nicola Morgan

Right, so I know I talked up a book yesterday, but I just have to mention Nicola Morgan's fantastic new book for writers, Write to be Published. It launched yesterday, and I have the pleasure of attending an event tonight at the world's oldest independent bookshop, Foyles, to see the Crabbit Bat in action.

Nicola's been such an inspiration to me. Back in the day when I was flopping about in a sea of rejections and had only just begun to discover blogs, I happened across one that gave such practical, clear and forthright advice I was hooked: Help! I Need a Publisher. I read each post eagerly, trying to soak up every little bit of Crabbit Bat wisdom. When I finally signed a contract to publish my non-fiction, I sent Nicola a thank-you email for all the help she'd given me -- and others -- through her blog. And she responded, inviting me onto her blog as a Blog Baby! I was truly honoured. It was there I met now-blogging-buddy Karen Jones Gowen, who won a copy of my book.

I've met up with Nicola a few times since. I have to say she's anything but Crabbit and has proven herself very adept at ham-eating and salad-sharing. With several zillion books published and her latest novel Wasted receiving critical acclaim, if anyone's qualified to give writers advice on how to be published, it's her!

Right, I must go pick out my shoes... but before I go, a quick apology for falling down slightly on blog commenting the past couple days. My wrists are hurting -- my body's way of telling me to STOP TYPING! And when my body speaks, I'm afraid I must listen. I hope taking a break tonight will mean I'll be back in full action soon.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Blood Faerie Launch Day!

Woo! It's Wednesday, and it's launch day for Blood Faerie, a fab new book by India Drummond -- the best writer pal a gal could ever hope for. India and I met through our blogs a few years ago and since then we've both experienced the highs and lows of the writing life. I'm thrilled to support her latest release, not only because she's been so supportive of me, but also because it's a bloody fantastic read. And I'm not even into faeries!

Here's my review:

I started reading India Drummond's 'Blood Faerie' on a noisy plane, but within seconds I was drawn into the world of Eilidh and the mystery surrounding the strange murders in a small Scottish town. A faerie who has been cast out for using forbidden magic, Eilidh watches humans from a distance. But when the murders continue and she might have the powers to stop them, she can't help but get involved. Drummond skilfully intertwines human and faerie worlds, drawing the reader easily into both the delights and horrors each entails. Quite often in books such as these, I feel bogged down by all the rules and rituals of the world the author has created. I never felt that way here -- every detail unfolds in such a natural way I could almost believe faeries do exist! If you're looking for a compelling, well written mystery with a touch of romance, I highly recommend this book. Having read Drummond's debut novel 'Ordinary Angels' as well as this one, I can't wait to see what's next!

So, to get your copy of Blood Faerie, go to: Amazon USA, Amazon UK, and Amazon DE (Germany). And you can read and post reviews on Goodreads, Shelfari, and Library Thing.

And if you have a chance pop over to India's and say hi!