Monday, 21 May 2018

Taking a break from your writing career doesn't mean its broken

I've barely written for the last 3 years, and I haven't blogged in a long time either.  Yet here I am, thinking about what I want to say, carefully choosing my words and remembering how much I enjoy the social media aspect of being a writer.

I was first published way back in 2007, and have been published seven times since.  These days only two of my books are available in e-book form - feel free to check them out!  I'm immensely proud of both of them.

Writing is one of those things that never leaves you.  You can take 3 years off, 10 years... whatever... it doesn't matter it is always there.  The trick is knowing when to stop and when to start, and that question is not nearly as easy as it sounds.

My decision to stop writing was a consciously made one, and the whys-and-wherefores of it would fill a blog post on their own.  Simply put, I burnt out. Big time.  That said, it never occurred to me that I would never write again.  I just knew that for a time writing was not going to be a part of my life.

Then in the middle of last year, the urge to write started to nag.  But I didn't listen, made many excuses, put it off, didn't feel like it, promised myself I'd start tomorrow... this went on for weeks and weeks until a couple of things came together.

First I read The Alchemist - a stunning tale about finding your life's purpose.

Then I had a delightful morning tea with Alyssa Montgomery ... and this led to an invitation to join Breathless in the Bush - putting me right back amongst a group of passionate and knowledgeable writers.

And finally it was the discovery of a woman called Mel Robbins.

Mel's TED talk resonated with me in so many ways, and I immediately grabbed the audio version of her book The Five Second Rule (which I highly recommend, Mel is a talker, not a writer and the audio version of her book works a lot better than the written version).  Well, that book changed EVERYTHING.  Using her techniques I sat down, stopped making excuses, and figured out a plan of what I wanted to do, and how to do it.

Easy huh?

Nope.  Not at all.  I'm still lazy, easily distracted, procrastinating, often napping... but, I'm doing something, every day, towards my writing goals.  I want to write. I want to. I haven't wanted to for the longest time but now the joy is back and I want to.

Taking a break from your writing career, no matter how long or short, doesn't mean its over or broken.  Writing (or music, or quilting, or bog snorkelling... ) is part of who you are, and you can't flick it on and off, it's always there.  But its ok to rest for as long as you need.  It's ok.

Tory x

Monday, 14 May 2018

The Crazy Things I Do in the Name of Research

by Kendall Talbot

I'm so excited to have a new series coming out. My Maximum Exposure series is three stand-alone, romantic suspense novels all set in a wonderful remote location that I've visited. The first book, Out of Reach, is set in Mexico's Yucatan jungle. In 2017, I went to Chichen Itza, which is a 1400-year-old complex of Mayan ruins in the middle of the Mexican jungle. I found it hard to believe something so magnificent was abandoned and left to be swamped by the relentless creep of the voracious vegetation. But it was.

My visit to the temple was just one of approximately 1.4 million people who visit the ancient site each year. And whilst the bucket-list experience was truly incredible, it had me pondering how wonderful it would be to discover an ancient temple. That thought inspired Out of Reach.

Many scenes in my action-packed books are inspired by personal experiences. For example, a few years ago I was thrown from a rubber raft while white water rafting in Bali. I was sucked under, and in the few seconds I was trapped in the swirling torrent, I was completely at the mercy of the water. I clawed for the surface yet it was impossible to know which way was up or down. It was terrifying. In Out of Reach, I drew on those terrifying moments to bring life to my character's peril.

When I did a four-day mountain hike over Milford Track, New Zealand, my 18-kilo pack contained my food, water, clothes, bedding and, of course, blister Band-aids. It was a brutally challenging, yet utterly rewarding experience. This came in handy while writing about my character's battle through the Mexican jungle.

In the late 1980s, I visited Pompeii and it's still one of the most fascinating places I've ever been to. Back then we could get close enough to touch the artifacts and I always knew that those memories would feature in a book one day. Out of Reach is that book.

For my first book, my characters were lost in the Australian wilderness, so they had to eat some god-awful things to survive. One day, whilst digging in my garden, I found some witchetty grubs. I decided that the only way I could describe their taste was to actually eat these nasty-looking creatures. So that's what I did. Much to the disgust of my children, I ate the grubs both raw and cooked, just like my characters did. FYI cooked was much better.

So, whilst I've never experienced a plane crash, helicopter crash, snake bite, nor some of the other hell I put my characters through, I do try to experience as much as I can to give authenticity to my books.

eating snails

If you want, you can follow my travel experiences in my blog:

Out of Reach: When an ancient lost Mayan temple is discovered by a team of archaeologists deep in the Mexican jungle, Liliana Bennett is thrown a lifeline to a family mystery that's taunted her since her father's sudden death. Out now:

I Love to Love: good food and great wine. Bring it on.

I Love to Laugh: always. Especially at myself. I don't like to take life too seriously.

I love to Learn: anything. Learning doesn't necessarily mean something that has a certificate at the end, it can be something as simple as a new recipe, or a new word.

Monday, 7 May 2018

How Easy is it to Add to Your 'To Be Read' Pile?

Miranda's May Musings

Hello beautiful readers, welcome! I have a very serious question to ask this month: how big is your To Be Read pile? Ha, stop laughing... Is it like mine? Enormous? Even if I live to be eleventy billion years old I'll never finish. Such a thrilling dilemma.

Today fellow BITB blogger Alyssa J Montgomery and I went to a wonderful High Tea run by the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA), and it was divine. Held in a beautiful boutique hotel in Sydney, there were three tables, each hosted by an author: Kandy ShepherdShannon Curtis, and my table's lovely hostess Avril Tremayne.

You know where this is going, don't you? Yes, more books! I don't care that I've got a trillion books at home (slight exaggeration only). I staggered home full of tea, scones, sandwiches and cake, with a bag of free books and divine swag (unicorn pen! tiara! chocolates!) from Avril. So now, deliciously, these books are on my TBR:

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Here Comes the Bridesmaid is a beautiful hardback (isn't the cover sumptuously bridesmaid-y pink? I adore it!), and of course both books are signed by Avril. Swoon. Thankyou, Avril, thankyou.

...But wait, there's more. Our recent guest blogger Melanie Milburne was also at my table (read her recent column here). Congratulations Melanie on your 75th book (wow!). These are now on my TBR:

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Somehow or other I missed getting a book from Kandy Shepherd. I love her sweet romances, they are gorgeous to read, and Kandy is the nicest person to meet and chat to. So I've pre-ordered her latest, which sounds right up my alley and has a divine wedding pic on the cover. I love it already.

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I did get this book from Shannon Curtis, quite outside my normal genre picks, which will be interesting to read. Shannon suggested I read Lycan Unleashed first, to get the gist of the world building. Alrighty then.

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Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand there was more: some books by Penny Reid in the Knitting in the City series. And so many others to choose from - I honestly couldn't carry them all home, such a tragedy. Everyone staggered out from that High Tea with happy tummies and books spilling out of their arms, adding to their TBRs with gay abandon. Alyssa's bag was just as heavy as mine.

It is so, so, SO easy to add to the TBR, isn't it? Life is sweet! ...I'm off to read.

Until next time, my friends,

Love from Miranda xxx

Love to Love:

Free books! High teas! Meeting new authors and old friends! Thankyou ARRA.

Love to Laugh: how dead easy it is to add to one's mountainous TBR. Awesome.

Love to Learn:

Has something fabulously wonderful like this happened to you? Free signed books poured your way? Or are you disciplined (unlike moi) and finish your TBR before you add more? (But seriously, does such a person even exist?!)