Monday, 26 October 2015

Nanowrimo - Get Ready, Go! Or Not....

with Enisa Haines

November's approaching. The month where writers all around the globe seclude themselves from family and the outside world. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, in fact all forms of social media, are swept aside. It's Nanowrimo time! 50,000 words in 30 days.

Image: courtesy of

Via caffeine hits, sugar highs and a non-stop workout of the fingers, writers thrash through a novel from its start to its completion. A daunting and yet awe-inspiring challenge that intrigues, so I set out to learn more about it, and wow! Discussions abound, sprinkled with shouts of, "Oh, yeah, I'm there!" and laments of, "Not possible." Emotions overflow, a chaotic mix of anticipation and glee and frustration and resentment.

Why the intense divide in opinions? Here's what I discovered.


1. It diminishes the loneliness you endure when writing. Other writers are reaching for the same goal and you all share your joy as you achieve your daily word counts.

2. You have a goal. For the month of November you will write a 50,000 word novel. You might think that unachievable but divided into 30 days and you have a word count of a little over 1,500 words per day. Not such an impossibility, and in the end you have a whole book written.

3. You conquer fear and shove aside the temptation to procrastinate.

4. Watching your progress and being encouraged by other writers motivates you to keep writing.

5. You silence your ever-critical inner editor and the story flows.

6. The story you've written is full of faults: implausible plotting points, characters aren't consistent in behaviour, the pacing isn't right. That's okay. What you have written is the first draft which you can then revise until your story reveals itself as the gem it is.

7. Writing continuously, and finding the time to write, fosters the habit of writing every day. A discipline writers must adhere to if they are serious about writing as a career.

Image: courtesy of


1. You focus wholly on your writing and live your story. The cost is isolation from your family and friends.

2. If your focus is split between producing the daily word count and life's obligations - for example, driving your children to school or football training or ballet lessons; taking a parent to their doctor's appointment - you may crash at the end, your desire to write burned out..

3. Writing a complete novel, ensuring the characters are likeable, the plot believable and the conflicts strong enough to carry the story to the end, is no easy venture. Committing to writing the work in 30 days - quantity over quality - adds an extra layer of stress.

4. The online meetings and discussions with other writers committed to Nanowrimo take away time from your writing.

5. You have the premise of your story and your characters but are unclear about the conflict, how to solve the conflict (goal), why it needs to be solved (motivation), or how the story unfolds. You falter and waste time wondering what to write.

6. The story you've written is full of humiliating faults and requires a complete rewrite if you wish the book to shine.

7. Your full-of-faults first draft reveals you are no good as a writer. You don't dare reveal your failure to anyone and you wonder if you should stop writing, give up your dream of being a writer.

Image: courtesy of

Nanowrimo is a contentious undertaking with as many pros as cons. It can be discouraging. It is certainly exhausting. But if you plan and prepare your novel beforehand, it is exhilarating.

Will I do it this year? Absolutely, I will. Why? Simply because it motivates writers to write and cultivates discipline, a sure-fire cure for procrastination.

Image result for discipline to write
Image: courtesy of

Are you committed to Nanowrimo this November? Are you steering clear of it? If you've participated before, do share your experiences and any words of advice or caution.

Love to love - writing...and writing...and writing.

Love to laugh - at all the crazy ideas I can think up while brainstorming.

Love to learn - how to make Nanowrimo work best for me.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Google+ for Writers Part 2: Engaging Your Audience

with Dee Scully

Regardless of what genre you write or what business you are in there are five essential steps to successfully engaging with your Google+ audience.  

1.  Pictures/Graphics

In the world of social media, books…or rather posts are judged by their cover. With Google+, viewers often have dozens of posts to read, most of which will be skimmed. You need a great visual to snag a viewer's attention. (Of course, you need awesome content to keep that attention, but that’s a whole other blog post!) A great picture will entice Google+ers to stop and read your post. Google+ even allows you the option of using animated graphics!

2.  Linking

Once you have that all-important visual, you need to get viewers to link into your blog or website and you need to make it easy for them to do! After all, this is the 21st century—no one wants to go searching for a new post…there are too many other posts with easy access links to click into! Utilize the LINK ATTACHMENT to ensure easy access to your blog or website.

3.  Key Words

So your graphics weren’t the best and you didn’t utilize the link attachment. What’s left to grab a viewer’s attention? Key words. The first 40-50 words of your Google+ post should not only summarize your article but should also spell out in black and white text why a viewer should click into your link and read your blog/website content. Having said that, often viewers won’t read beyond the first line, so I prefer to make that first line all about them e.g. ‘Wanna win a red kimono? Visit the Breathless blog and leave a relevant comment for your chance to win.’

4.  Circles & Communities

Image courtesy of Nanette Nielsen & Flickr.
Tailor your key words/first lines for specific circles and communities. This article, Google+ for Writers, can be tailored to market to writers of any genre…Google+ for Romance Writers or Google+ for Suspense Writers, but beware: some communities don’t allow marketing and you could get booted from their community if you don’t adhere to their particular policies.

Also, remember to click the ‘Also send emails from you to Circles.’ This lets those in your contacts know a new post has gone up and helps when there is a time element to your post e.g. "Leave a comment by Friday for your chance to win a gift pack."

5.  Content and Posting Regularly

You want viewers to be attracted to your visuals, click into your links, read your content, and return often.  If your marketing is spectacular but your posts are abysmal (or even just ok) viewers will not return. It’s just like writing a book. You’re only as good as your last one. If you missed the mark with your most recent post, viewers won’t be swayed by pretty graphics and easy links again. Make sure everything you put out is your best work. 

Dee Scully Romance Author
Post regularly. People come to expect your weekly Google+ posts. If you skip a week or two, attentions will wander to the next best thing…and you’ll have to start all over again.
Do you adhere to all five steps?  Is there any one step you don't fully utilise?  Why/Why not?

I love to love...helping other newbie writers connect with a larger audience via Google+!

I love to ways to use Google+!

I love to all the silly mistakes I've made marketing myself and my writing!

Check back for Dee Scully’s Google+ for Writers Part 3:  Optimizing Your Profile.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Miranda's October Musings

Let's talk about NOVELLAS! So PERFECT for your busy life!

Spring has sprung here in Oz, darlings. Beautiful blossoms abound, and the beaches and swimming pools look sparkly and inviting... Perfect to sit beside and read, yes?

So, do you like novellas? Have you ever thought about reading any? Novellas are sometimes vastly under-rated, dismissed because they're 'not long enough' (snort) - and yet often are just so incredibly fabulous they become a Discovery Doorway to that author's body of work. It's like, wow, yes, I love this so much, who knew how terrific this short length could be, what else can I read by her/him?!?!?!?! Getting goosebumps just thinking about it.

I read some gorgeous novellas in the past month, the perfect length because I was busy. With Christmas (gasp!) just around the corner, what better way to keep romance reading in your busy schedule than by indulging in some novellas? So here's some recommendations, with much love from me to you.

Photo credit:

The Seduction of Lord Stone by the always delicious Anna Campbell was absolutely un-put-downable. I sat down to read it, and whatever I was going to do that afternoon was not done until I finished reading. You have been warned. Anna's gorgeous hero and heroine, Lord Stone, and Caroline, Lady Beaumont, simmered and prowled around each other, trying to deny and ignore everything they felt (which was pretty hot stuff, let me tell you). The tension mounted, and I was about to yell 'Kiss the girl!' when he suddenly did. And then things got really interesting (ooh, ooh). This is the opener for Anna's new series, The Dashing Widows. Bring them on! And oh my, that stunning frock on the die for.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Paris For One by Jojo Moyes was another charmer, a chick-litty, optimistic novella in the City of Light (and who doesn't love Paris?). A terrific quick read about a romantic weekend that goes from dire to delightful. Jojo Moyes is a fresh and realistic writer, and weaves magic reader spells to keep you hooked. I swear she does, and so yes, I'm looking for more books by her. And, did I mention Paris For One is set in, you know, Paris? No need to say anything more, really, except that I adored revisiting some of my favourite Paris sights. Eating croissants by proxy. Drinking coffee. Being romantic in Paris... Ooh la la. Le sigh.

Maggi Andersen's terrific novella At The Earl's Convenience  was my first read by her, and it's sent me straight to her back list (as I predicted). Just look at that cover. Doesn't the kiss make your heart melt? And another sumptuous frock in rich ruby red to lust over. What is it with these Regency dresses? Always so lovely. The story is a little bit different from the usual Regency 'marriage of convenience' fare. I'm so hooked on the marriage of convenience trope, it's pure romance catnip to me, so I dived into this with great expectation - and was transported. Selina is a wonderful, strong heroine, and the somewhat elusive hero Giles, the earl of the title, has quite a few surprises up his sleeve. I love a good earl story (of course), and this one has a fair bit of mystery to unravel, so it's great reading.  

Have I convinced you to try a novella, darlings? Oh go on, have a go, they are Such! Fun! To! Read! Sit down with a drink and a couple of hours, relax, and you'll be so rewarded and refreshed. Really, you owe it to yourself; novellas are like a big de-stressor pill. Consider them therapy. Or medication. Convinced yet? Yes? Good! And do comment to let me know what you discover? Can't wait to find some more to enjoy.
Till next time,

Miranda xx


Love to Love... 

Paris! I've only been there once and it was the most magical week of my life. What about you?

Love to Laugh...

With fun, optimistic plots. Paris For One certainly did the trick.

Love to Learn...

What all you beautiful people are reading. Really, it fascinates tell all!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Newbies’ Corner: Why is Romance Writing so much Fun?

with Sharon Burke

Hello Everyone,

As this is my first blog, I’d like to introduce myself. The most important people in my life are my husband and three adult children. I teach chemistry full-time and write whenever I can. My writing career began over 25 years ago, but most of my publishing credentials are in non-fiction. As a romance writer I am a hopeful newbie.

I hope my blogs will serve as a “Newbie’s corner”. Writers, I believe, are on a journey of professional and personal growth. It would be great if published and yet-to-be-published authors would come and share their ideas on my blogs. I look forward to “talking” with you soon.

Best wishes, 

Why is romance writing so much fun?
Here are some of the reasons why I think we enjoy our shared occupation:

Romance writers have a positive world view:

There is so much conflict and suffering in our world, it is easy to lose sight of the good. Romantic fiction describes the joy and fulfilment love can bring. I believe romance writers recognise human foibles and frailty, but have a strong belief in people’s power to take positive steps together as they grow in love, self-knowledge and understanding.                                                                                   

It is fascinating to create characters, place them in novel situations and watch them interact:

I think romance writers enjoy trying to understand people. Perhaps some are “people watchers” who know and value human strengths and weaknesses. Strengths enable us to achieve much; weaknesses give us something to strive for. They make us human. As a romance writer I enjoy playing “what if”. What if a strong, independent, feisty heroine with a goal she simply must achieve encounters a hero with equally powerful reasons to stop her? What if the stakes are raised? It is compelling to create vibrant characters with conflicting goals, put them together, and describe the joys and trials of their shared journey.                                         

Romance writers are positive people who support one another:

One of the greatest joys I find in romance writing lies in being part of the writing community itself. It is rare to find such a positive group of authors, eager to help and to learn from one another.

Relationships can make or break us:

I believe much of the joy in life comes from our shared humanity. Relationships can provide a place where each partner, supported by the other, grows and learns to be the best they can be. But, sadly, they can also be destructive. So, in this imperfect world, Romance writing provides the opportunity to promote the best of partnerships by creating characters who overcome conflict to pursue shared goals as they love, learn and grow together. Our job is crucial. We offer a path of positivity and hope.

So what do you love to love about romance writing? Leave a comment and let me know.

I love to love to create new characters.

I love to laugh; life is full of surprises.

I love to learn new things, to never stop learning.