Monday, 2 November 2015

Stop and Smell the Roses - you might find Chalk Dust

On Saturday morning I had an epiphany!  I would reorganise the spaces in our flat to make a writing space for myself in the box room (so I could shut the door).  Currently my writing space is the loungeroom - but there is way too much family traffic there, so I had this idea that if I bought a new wardrobe I could get rid of 2 other pieces of furniture and make more room in the long run in the box room.  I won't bore you with the details of the layout of my flat, but it worked.

However, what I did not consider was the stress, time and effor to actually put my plan into action.
Flat pack was the only option (the flat is way too small to navigate anything pre-built around it).  So online to Ikea I go and find the perfect wardrobe.  The dimensions will fit and they deliver.  Awesome.  Done.
The packages arrive and this past Saturday myself and Mr 5yo get out the drill and screwdrivers ready to build a wardrobe.  Of course Mr 5yo is an expert at all things handyman and proceeds to 'help' me.  All goes well as I get him to organise and count all the little screws etc.  Cool, I'm then unpacking the rest and reading the instructions.  Ikea always goes smoother for me if I read the instructions.
Then I get setup and part drill things so Mr 5yo can help by drilling the rest of the way.  All is going well and I'm putting bits together until I need the drill and Mr 5yo got bored and went to play in the lounge.  I found him in the lounge with the drill all setup on his little table and chairs drilling the star screw drill bit into a large piece of chalk.  I gathered by the amount of chalk dust on the table, the floor, the rug and himself that he'd been having a great old time.
Calmly I asked if I could have the drill back and the screwdrivers that also had pink chalk dust on them.
"In a minute Mummy, I'm working right now," was the serious reply.
"Oh, ok then.  What are you working on," I replied as I took a seat on the other small (did I mention small) chair.  Being the modern mummy that I am I don't like to stifle creativity.
"I'm making an invention.  See I wrote my name on the side too."  Yes, he has a sharpy out and had written his name on the side of the chalk and then drilled holes in it.
"Wow, that's awesome and well done for writing your name."  This is pretty cool when you child writes on their own as all parents will know.
So I then figured it was time for me to have a cuppa and a break and discuss this invention more.  In the end it took me about 6 hours to finish the wardrobe when it should have taken about 1hour, but I look back and I have some great memories from haning out with my son and making inventions and discussing stuff.

I decided a couple of years ago I was going to stop and smell the roses and then you get caught up in the day-to-day roller coaster of life.  Yesterday I conscioulsy decided to actually stop and take some time to appreciate the moment around me and I'm so glad I did.
It didn't matter the wardrobe took almost all day, I enjoyed hanging out with Mr 5yo and discovered more about what he was thinking and how he perceives the world rather than rushing through our days to work and school.  We even made up some stories between us and soon he may even want to write them down.

Tonight I have my little writing nook all ready to go.


Happy writing, Happy reading everyone.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Just let me write ..... Please

Is that something you are constantly saying in your head to family and friends, or maybe out loud, after numerous and repeated attempts to get your attention rather than let you just write.
It is nice they want you around, but can’t they feed themselves, tidy the house, play by themselves?  If you have a partner you are truly lucky if they help keep the hoards away from you during writing time, but for the solo mum with a nearly 5yo I really need to budget my time and hope the muse is still with me when I get my quiet writing time after 8pm at night.  That’s after the little one has gone off to dreamland and I’ve tidied the house, put on a load of washing and prepared for the next day.
All I really want to do is relax on the lounge and let my brain rest from all the activity during the day and everything I need to remember for the coming week.
As I write this blog I don't have the interruption of a cat on the keyboard as per the usual, but I do have Mr 5yo climbing onto my lap because it's been a whole 2 minutes since we spoke.  So my attention is required - again.  Silly me, I thought the game he was playing on the floor with his action figures would keep him amused for at least 10 minutes.
Actually if I just sat on the lounge and watched him, I would be ignored for a full 30 minutes.  I know because I tested this theory.  As soon as I divert my attention to a phone or laptop - he can't live without me.
How about you?  Do you manage any writing time uninterrupted?
For me I also have a full-time day job as I haven’t yet made it to the coveted ranks of a financially stable full time writer.   I won’t know what to do with myself when I’m a full time writer while the little one is at school.  Bliss - I’m dreaming about it now.
Recently I’ve started to meditate before I start my writing stint in the evenings and it’s really helping me to get that relaxation for my brain before I begin the creative side of my life.


How about you?
  
I’m curious how others find time to write uninterrupted with family and day-job work commitments.

How do you do it?

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Historical Accuracy in Romance novels - Love it, Hate it or Don’t care?

I’m a huge fan of Historical Romance fiction with a particular penchant for the Scottish Highlander.  That’s just me and I’m not ashamed of it.  Gruff and manly and written with a scottish brogue are my absolute favourite hero's.
Putting the Hero’s looks aside, I mostly enjoy a novel if the historical accuracy is pretty much there.  Like framing a sentence a certain way, or the characters sensibilities should acknowledge events/actions be done a certain way for the period.  I don't mind if the date an event happened is 25 years later than when it actually happened, but I do like to read about how life was while I imagine the romance between the 2 main characters.
A few of my favourite authors who do this really well are Diana Gabaldon, Suzi Love and Tea Cooper.  Their respective websites and blogs are littered with interesting tidbits of their research or extracts from their books and where they found that bit of info from to give more insight into their stories.
My current novel, Undercover Highlander, started out as a contemporary romance and then quite quickly morphed into a part historical, part paranormal, part contemporary romance.  The present day is impacted very strongly by the past which started in the Scottish Highlands around the time of the celts and picts.  
I began to research the time period and ended up on a very exciting journey through the Scottish Highlands to a small remote Scottish Island, Orkney.
My story has earth magic, evil who want the magic Jade Trio (a ring, amulet and wand) and the clan that moves to Orkney in the hopes of keeping the Jade Trio hiding places secret until Seraphina can locate them again.  Seraphina is a strong witch destined to save the Jade Trio from the hands of evil, who would use them for well, evil.  She is transported to the present day when the fates have deemed the time is right for her to be reborn and find the Jade Trio from their hiding places.  With the help of her twin sister, Merida, the Jade Coven was formed to ensure the legacy and secret hiding places were handed down through the centuries until the time was right for Seraphina to find them again.  The guardianship of the Jade Witch is also a position within the coven that is handed down through the centuries to a warrior descended from the clan.  He must find her in each of her incarnations and protect her through her mission to find the Jade Trio.  Unfortunatley Blaxor, who tried to steal the Jade Trio originally, the seriously evil guy, also ensures his bloodline will continue through the centuries to search and find the Jade Witch and then the Jade Trio.  He knows only she can lead them to the Jade Trio and only she can bring their magic to life again.  Then they can be his ....



How about you?  Do you like to know that the style of dress is exact for the period, or just something that seems like it is.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

To Review or Not To Review?

As a writer on the way to becoming self-published I've been researching this thing called Book Reviews with a lot more interest.

Authors NEED reviews to help improve their rankings (well if they are good reviews they improve), and to improve your rankings means the site you are selling your book baby on will in turn put your book closer to the top of the search list potential readers are looking at.  So it's important to get these reviews.

My post today is to ask: Who leaves reviews and how often?

I love to read and listen to audio books mostly in the Romantic Fiction genre.  Sometimes I branch out to a Mystery/Suspense without the romance, but rarely.
As a solo mum the time I have to read uninterrupted is limited and usually in bed before I fall asleep.  When I finish a book I'd be happy to leave a review, but I'm tired and it's late and always say "I'll do it tomorrow".  Then the next night I start a new book with the previous book review still not done.  Eventually I find some time and add a few reviews at the same time, but only if I find the time and the book really impressed me.  If it didn't, I don't go out of my way to leave a bad review.  I just don't review anything less than a 4 these days - life is too short.

I’d love to hear about your thoughts on writing reviews.  Do you or don't you?

If you enjoyed this post how about considering sharing on Facebook or Twitter.
I’d love also enjoy meeting you on Twitter here.


Happy writing to all the writers out there and Happy reading to all the romance readers out there 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Trust Yourself and Go for It

Recently I made a big decision - leave my day job and write full time.

I want to be a published author and sustain my family financially from it.  Sounds easy when you write it in one sentence like that.  Only I'm not a published author I'm just a person who likes to write and WANTS to be a published author.  I've been wanting to change my life for many, many years but keep making excuses to stay in my day job (installing financial software for large companies on 1-2 year projects).  My main reason is that I'll see how the 1st book goes and then I'll decide if I leave my day job. Only I never seem to have enough time to write to actually finish the 1st book.

Recently I’ve been looking very critically at myself and my life and realised the obvious:

If I don’t change something in my life, my life will not change

This could be my new home if my novels don't sell
Ok, not a new concept, but for some reason it struck me quite strongly that I’m like the lab rat that just keeps spinning the wheel and doing the same thing day in day out.  I don’t allow myself time to write. I make excuses for why I can't find time to write.  Mostly because I'm tired after being on a client site daily and then having to travel 1-2 hours each way, and then being a sole parent for a VERY, VERY energetic 5yo.  Life has been draining me - because I let it.  That is my recent realisation.  I let it.
I firmly believe if you really want to do something, then you find the time - right?.

So here goes - when I write this it will be real.  Scary real.

Today I made a decision to leave my day job and devote 3 months to writing full time and see where it leads.  Am I scared? - Absolutely!  Could I go bankrupt? - Hmmm, possibly.  Will I do it? - Hell Yes!!!!!!!!!

I've been writing romantic fiction and dabbling in childrens stories for a couple of decades now.  I have done my internship - it's time to see if I learnt anything.


Feel free to comment or drop me an email too say “Yeah - Good on you Kalysta” as you throw me a virtual high-5, or “Come on Slacko — stop blogging and write that book!”

I’d love to hear about others who have made changes to get a better life, or are in the process of making a change, and how it turned out in the comments.

If you enjoyed this post how about considering sharing on Facebook or Twitter.
I’d love also enjoy meeting you on Twitter here.


Happy writing to all the writers out there and Happy reading to all the romance readers out there 

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

If You Want a Change - Change Something

I whinge often to myself and my friends about getting up early to go to a job I don’t really like, in locations I’m not a fan of, which keeps me away from my young child who I’d rather be a stay at home mum to.

To all my readers (I’m hoping I have some out there), I am going to change that.

Recently I’ve been looking very critically at myself and my life and realised the obvious: if I don’t change something in my life, my life will not change.  Ok, not a new concept, but for some reason it struck me quite strongly that I’m like the lab rat that just keeps spinning the wheel and doing the same thing day in day out.  I don’t allow myself time to write and fit that into my lifestyle, because if you really want to do something, then you find the time - right?.
I have been writing fiction for many, many years now.  I’m actually getting up to nearly 2 decades.  Wow I sound old, let’s not go there today and just say I love to write stories and have been spending time to hone my craft.
I’ve also wanted to be a published author for the bulk of that time but other than telling friends I want to be a full-time writer I never progressed past that, especially after I had some rejections from the traditional publishers I sent my 1st manuscript to.  Having a day job as an accountant meant ‘doing my time’ to progress through the ranks because I convinced myself I wanted to be a Senior Manager, plus I wanted a life outside of work too.  So I didn’t allow a lot of time to my writing in any serious way.
Today I’m Changing my calendar and my mindset and deciding to write and exercise everyday.  Yep, I’m combining the two because I blame not writing on being too tired from my life to write and I’m tired because I’m not eating as well as I could and I don’t exercise.  That just facilitates a downward spiral that will never change if I don’t change something.

Today I choose to Change how I spend my time, to Change my Life!

Feel free to comment or drop me an email too say “Yeh - Good on you Kalysta”, or “Come on Slacko — get to work!”

I’d love to hear about others who have made changes to get a better life, or are in the process of making a change, in the comments.


If you enjoyed this post how about considering sharing on Facebook or Twitter.
I’d love also enjoy meeting you on Twitter here.


Happy writing to all the writers out there and Happy reading to all the romance readers out there 

Monday, 20 July 2015

Giveaway: Kindle Voyage + Origami Case

Every wanted to be part of a Clan?

Competition to win a Kindle Voyage


Join my Readers Clan and you could win a Kindle Voyage, 6" High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Adaptive Built-in Light, PagePress Sensors, Wi-Fi PLUS an Origami Black Leather case.

All you need to do is enter my Competition now and you get a couple of entries, share and you can earn even more entries to win this awesome prize.  Entries close 3/8/15.

I'm gearing up for the launch of Undercover Highlander (Book 1, The Jade Witch series), and I've immersed myself in the Scottish Highlands - literally.  I live in Edinburgh (well, OK, not exactly the Highlands but it's a quick drive away).

I'm living and breathing the locations I'm writing about and thought what better way to share my love of Scotland, than by starting my own Clan.  You can do that right!  Well I am, and if you want to join, be my guest.

I'm not a spammy kind of person, so I won't fill your inbox with useless noise, but I do like to share other Authors I like, reviews of books I've read recently that you may like and I absolutely love to give away cool stuff.

Keep an eye on your inbox for the great Jade Witch swag I'll be giving away closer to launch date.

Pop on over and check me out -- drop an entry or 2 and even drop me a message if you feel so inclined.  I'd love to chat more about your love of Romance and what you like in your books.

If you enjoyed this post how about considering sharing on Facebook or Twitter.
I’d love also enjoy meeting you on Twitter here.

Happy writing to all the writers out there and Happy reading to all the romance readers out there