Monday 30 November 2015

Google+ for Writers Part 3: Customising Your Profile

There are four simple profile customizations you can do to maximize your Google+ exposure… (Tweet this)

**To edit your profile page, you must view your profile as yourself.**
1.  Improve Your Profile Tagline
In your Google+ profile About page, scroll down to Story and click edit (near the bottom of the section). Write a tagline that captures what you, your voice, and your writing is about. This enables viewers to quickly see what you are all about. Be specific. This is not the place to be frivolous. 

2.  Include Key Words
Google combines your tagline and the first two sentences of your introduction for their metadata search, so make the first two lines about what you want viewers--again potential readers--to know about you and your writing.

Google+ allows you to keep your points clear and easy to follow with bullet points. Use them to list your published books or awards that you’ve won.

3.  Claim Your Custom URL
After you’ve had your Google+ page for a month and you have more than ten followers in your Circles, Google+ rewards you with a customized URL. Make sure to claim this URL and use it on business cards, on your website, your blog, and more.

4.  Add Links-To and From

When blogging or updating a webpage, be sure to add your customized URL. When inserting it as a hyperlink, tick the add ‘rel+nofollow’ attribute in the hyperlink box. This will enhance your posts search results and increase your click through rates.

How have you used this article to improve your profile?  Share your thoughts in the comments.  We love connecting with you!!
One lucky Australian commenter will win a writer's gift pack.  Be sure to check back next Monday to see if you're the winner!!

 I love to love...connecting with people through Google+!

I love to all the funny pictures people Google+!

I love to learn...about others via Google+!

Monday 23 November 2015

Newbie’s Corner: Viewpoint

With Sharon Burke

One challenge encountered by many first time authors is writing effectively in viewpoint. If you are not sure what viewpoint is, pick a novel you’ve enjoyed and reread it. Try to identify which character’s experiences, feelings and insights you are seeing each part of the story through. This character is the viewpoint character.

Modern romantic novels generally contain the viewpoints of the hero and heroine, though switching between them can present traps for the new author. Another trap for the unwary is writing in omniscient viewpoint where the writer sees everything and knows what every character is thinking in a godlike way. Readers frequently find this irritating, but may not be sure why they feel this way. Some new writers “head hop” from one viewpoint character to another – also frustrating for the reader and a result you certainly don’t want to achieve. If you recognise these problems in your own writing, take heart. Many new writers have made the same mistakes.

The viewpoint most often used in romance novels is third person subjective. Romance author Valerie Parv believes this is the easiest viewpoint for new writers to handle. The writing is in the third person, but everything is portrayed through the experiences and feelings of the viewpoint character.

Cassandra Samuels writes in third person subjective in A Scandalous Wager. The viewpoints of the hero and heroine are used. Sometimes a scene break (***) is utilised to show a viewpoint change. Each viewpoint character’s thoughts are written in a distinctive voice, helping the reader to effortlessly adapt to viewpoint changes.

For example, compare the following extracts:

“Lisbeth couldn’t give a fig about tea. Had Oliver read her letter yet?
She looked out the window. The rain was still falling and it was cold, but no amount of shawls or heated bricks could comfort her.”

It is easy to identify that this extract is written is Lisbeth’s viewpoint.

On the other hand, the following is clearly the viewpoint of the hero, Oliver.

“Last night he had been committed to leaving, to rusticating in the country, to being forgotten. This morning all he could do was think about how he would never see Lisbeth again. And it bloody-well hurt.”

Valerie Parv suggests authors try rewriting a passage replacing “she” with “I”, then reread it to ensure it makes sense. If it doesn’t, the author may have slipped out of viewpoint. She also recommends remaining in the one viewpoint for several paragraphs or pages to avoid confusing the reader.

Clearly, viewpoint is a huge subject. If these ideas are new to you, try reading with an eye for viewpoint then try rewriting your work with viewpoint in mind.

Has the heroine in a romance novel ever thought or said something that caused you to immediately identify with her? What was it?

Love to Love: Watching our children grow up. Our middle daughter is currently teaching in the UK. It's wonderful to be able to talk with her on Skype. We are so proud of how well she is doing.

Love to Laugh: Very few books make me laugh out loud, but to me The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is the funniest book ever written.

Love to Learn: Reading the Saturday Herald over a coffee with my husband is so much fun. We split the newspaper then share what we find out.

Monday 16 November 2015

Advice for Writers from the Wonderful World of Disney

Image courtesy of
with Marilyn Forsyth

A lighthearted post this week in honour of the release, nearly ninety years ago on November 17, of Steamboat Willie, starring Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse. For your inspiration this week, here are 6 quotes from Disney movies that I believe hold meaning for writers and their writing.

1. ‘Fairy tales can come true. You gotta make ’em happen; it all depends on you. So I work real hard each and every day, now things for sure are going my way.’ Tiana from The Princess and the Frog.

The only way to get that book written is to sit down and do it. Writing a book is damn hard work and ‘butt on chair’ time is what it’s all about. Are you participating in Nanowrimo? Good on you! (But what are you doing here? Taking a well-earned break? Okay then.) Even if you don’t reach 50 000 words during the month, and what you’ve produced is not of a publishable standard, at least you have something to edit. As the saying goes, you can't edit an empty page.

Image courtesy of

2. ‘I was just scared. And the thing is I’m not scared anymore.’ Rapunzel from Tangled.

Fear can be a great motivator. Whatever your biggest writing fear is—success (yes, that is a thing), not being able to translate what’s in your head onto the page, that nobody will want to read your book—you won’t get anywhere unless you push past the anxiety.

Image courtesy of 

3. ‘Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’ Alice from Alice in Wonderland.

Like Alice, set your imagination free. If you let your ‘Goofy’ out (pun intended), those creative juices just might start to flow. Play the ‘What if…?’ game. Write by hand. Start your story in the middle if the opening is too intimidating. Have fun with it!

Image courtesy of 

4. ‘Your identity is your most valuable possession.’ Elastigirl from The Incredibles.

‘Identity’ is another word for ‘voice’. Your writing voice - your style - should be unique to you; it’s what sets you apart from other writers. Ensure your personality comes through in your writing and it will help you to connect with your potential audience. Don't be like Elastigirl, here - let your voice be heard!

Image courtesy of

5. ‘The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.’ The Emperor of China from Mulan.

Rejection hurts, there’s no denying that, but if you accept it as a challenge to improve, your writing can only benefit from it. Pick yourself up and take heart from the fact that Walt Disney himself was rejected over 300 times before he got the financial backing to create Disneyland. And of course let's not forget J. K. Rowling's experience.

Image courtesy of

6. ‘If you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true.’ Cinderella from Cinderella.

Believe in yourself! Remember: Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way, you’re right. ’Nuff said.

Image courtesy of

Do you have a favourite movie quote? Love to hear it.

Love to Love: Gabrielle Battistel's Trailermade Production. You'll find fantastic trailers for some of your favourite authors' books at Be sure to check it out!

Love to Laugh: at some of the memes I found when searching for gifs for this post (despite the spelling error :)).

Love to Learn: how long it's going to take me to read Kate Morton's The Lake House. A bit over 3 hours, according to the experts at Follow the link to find out how long it will take you to read your next book.

Monday 9 November 2015

Writing Life: Why I Feel Compelled to Write

By Cassandra Samuels

Last month I talked about the people around us not "getting" it about our writing. This month I delve a little more inward: what it is inside myself that compels me to write. 

It could be different for everyone, but for me it has been a yearning for a long time. When I was in high school, I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It changed my life. I hadn't really sought out books to read for pleasure before and, although I had enjoyed other books I was made to read, this book made me want to write.

By Jane Austen

Is it any wonder I write Regency Romance?

That year I started a novel. I hadn't any experience and, at fifteen, I hadn't experienced much, but I knew some things about history - Australian history. I'd studied convicts and the gold rush, so that is where I began. I still have it today; half typed, half handwritten. And the premise is still a good one, if I do say so myself. One day I may re-write that story. Inside of myself I had found a storyteller.
Author unknown

It is still a mystery to me what kind of spark was lit inside of me that year, but it is a spark that has turned into an inferno over time. Although I loved to write, I was logical too. Even my teachers steered me towards journalism, well aware that the odds of writing a novel and actually getting it published were against me. I did do that journalism course and, while I loved it, it didn't give me what I was looking for. I let my dream slip away for more practical things. 

I got married, had children and, when I was about thirty, I suddenly realised I was in a funk. I was a wife, a mother, an employee, but I had lost the essence of myself somewhere. My spark was pressing to be fed some fuel to burn. It wasn't that I was unhappy, it was just that I was missing something, or perhaps had ignored my need to write. I rang my mother one day and told her I was thinking of starting to write again. She was all for it, urging me to see this thing through. 

I started to write but I really needed some guidance. These were the days before books on writing were readily available in stores, and buying them online from the US cost a fortune in shipping. I wrote to the only Australian Historical Romance author I knew - Stephanie Laurens. I received an email back with lots of helpful information, but the best part of the email was that she urged me to join RWAustralia. All I can say is Thank You, Stephanie!

author unknown
I didn't even know such an organisation existed. I joined that very week. Not only that, I asked if there was a local chapter I could join. That group was Breathless in the Bush. I cannot begin to tell you all how much I have absorbed and learned and put into practice from these two amazing groups. They fed my soul with the knowledge that if I really wanted to write a book, I could. The spark turned into a flame that I have been fanning ever since.

 For me, writing is that 'something' inside you that drives you back to the 
keyboard/notepad no matter what. (Tweet this)

And you know what else? The more you do it, the more that 'something' grows inside you. The 'something' is creative passion and drive. It isn't something that can be turned on and off. It's just there. Sometimes we can successfully shove it to the side for a while but eventually, if you really want it, it will keep nudging you until you give in.

Some say writing is like an illness that takes over the body and mind. Illness to me means something negative and in a lot of ways the need to write does take over you, but for me writing is most definitely a positive.  

Writing is an ever present bubble of creative thought that swims about in
 one’s subconscious. (Tweet this)

But, boy, am I happy it’s there. It doesn't always cooperate, but when the words are flowing it is the best feeling in the world.

I’m lucky, my husband wants me to succeed, wants me to follow my dreams. Secretly I think he just wants total control over the tv remote, but what does it matter? Without him, and the support of my family and the fabulous groups I belong to (not to forget my amazing critique partners), I would never have finished my ms - the one that turned into my published book, A Scandalous Wager.

Are you compelled to write? What compels you to write? 

Love to love - supporting other writers.
Love to learn - that I can achieve anything I want to.
Love to laugh - at my beautiful grandson's funny faces.

Monday 2 November 2015

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Writing a Series

with Karen M. Davis

When I first set about writing Sinister Intent - my first published manuscript - I had no idea it was going to turn into a series. How could I? I had no idea if it would ever get published, let alone be the first of three (at this stage) Lexie Rogers crime fiction books. So when I got that incredible news every writer dreams of - that I was going to be published - I was of course elated.  Then I heard, "You have a two book contract."

What? I had to write another one? This was my first thought. Then I was told, ''Don't worry, you have  ten months to write it.'' What?! Elation quickly turned to panic. It took me four years to write the first one!

However, there were a lot of positives. I already had my main characters - their descriptions, their traits, issues, and back stories. I had the settings and location - the eastern suburbs of Sydney - a place I knew well. I had a police station, support characters and many more police experiences to throw at Lexie and her colleagues.

Dilemma: since I hadn't even considered another book, I'd put Lexie through a lot in the first one and she needed a break. How much was a young policewoman able to bear? How unlucky could she be? And how believable was it that everything seemed to happen to her? I decided somebody else had to "cop it" this time. Although Lexie still needed to be in possible danger. And solve the crime. And sort her love life. Just like everyday life...

Hard part: I found writing book two, Deadly Obsession, and now, currently writing book three, challenging in a number of ways. The characters need to develop, be stretched to their full potential, learn a different life lesson. They can't just stay as they began. Relationships have to grow, alter, be tested. Snippets of events from previous books need to be inserted at the right time to remind the reader of past happenings, or to explain something. I have to refer to the other books, and check notes constantly, to ensure I don't contradict something written previously. This can be tedious and repetitive.

These are not problems encountered with stand alone books because the characters and story are, as it states, stand alone. The characters may have baggage but it is not set in stone.

I do love reading a series, seeing how the characters develop, whether the girl gets the guy she wants, etc, and I do enjoying writing a series - most of the time. But I must admit, I am looking forward to finishing my half-written, stand alone mystery, next.

Or perhaps that will turn into a series... Could I be that lucky?

Anyone thinking of writing a series?

I love to love...spending time with family and friends.      
I love to laugh at anything...especially cute animals.

I love to learn...all there is to know about writing.