February Writing Tip 1

All my books have different openings. And I’m sure a lot of writers can say that.

My latest work in progress starts with an action. I had rewritten it so many times. I do believe the type of opening allows the reader to know what pace the story’s going to be.

JRR Tokien let’s you know off the bat you need to sit back, get comfortable because you’re in for a journey. While Jane Austen makes you think “oh crap, she’s going to let us have it” and you sit up with a grin on your face.

We all know this, our opening setences/chapters are the most important. Which explains why we struggle with it so much.

One thing I do to get over that struggle is to give myself permission to suck horribly with the knowledge that I can always rewrite! *laughs*

#happywriting

#happypublishingjourney

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February Publishing Tip 1

This chart isn’t the full tea sis…okay I’ve been watching too many Shane Dawson and Sister Squad YouTube vidoes.

What I meant to say in my adult voice was this: Up until the agent part this chart is a sure fire way to get you started. But an agent isn’t the only option to get a publishing deal. It’s a traditional way, but not the holy grail. Let’s just put it out there.

I got my first publishing contracts from e-publishers I queried myself with a full self-edited manuscript. There are traditional publishers and e-publishers that don’t require you to have an agent. And of course when you self-publish this whole chart isn’t for you. You’ll go about publishing differently than someone who wants to work with a publisher.

Though the chart is still helpful for someone just entering the publishing world.

#happywriting

January Writing Tip 4

Funnily enough, this was a hard one for me to grasp in recent years.

As someone who wanted to write for Harlequin, I literally entered their So You Think You Can Write competition as a newbie author with no know-how whatsover. I wrote the kind of novel I thought they would want.

When I didn’t make the cut, I looked at my novel again and rewrote some of it. But it still had that Harlequin vibe. My second contemporary romance I wrote again for a Harlequin writing competition. I made it to the top 5, but didn’t win. That novel was also geared towards the publisher and though I cared about the story (like I do with all my writing), it wasn’t like this quote from Laini Taylor.

The Wolf’s Choice became this quote for me. If I walked into a bookstore or if I was browsing online in an e-bookstore…what book, what story will intrigue me?

It took me three books to get to a place as an author where I’m more interested in writing stories for myself than what I think I publisher wants.

Nothing wrong with that.

It just didn’t work for me.

#happywriting

#publishingjourney

January Writing Tip 3

I’m a romance author. If you didn’t know I just wanted to put it out there before you burn me at the stake for putting a ‘kissing tip’ here.

The topic got my attention last year when a Facebook writer friend had a mini ‘rant’ about kisses in romance novels that start with the guy kissing the girl to silence her. I didn’t know that could be upsetting to a reader. So I went and did a little search on kisses and also different types of kisses in novels.

So here are a top 20 kisses you can find in romance novels and of cousre other types of novels too.

Thank you to the person who compiled this list!

#happywriting

#happypublishingjourney

January Writing Tip 2

This writing tip I stumbled on on Pinterest and it’s been the most helpful in creating a balance between ‘showing and telling’. I’m on of those people who doesn’t need someone to write a mini-thesis on a subject in order for me to understand it.

Would reading/studying a comprehensive book on the subject be helpful? Yes. Will it take a lot of time you could’ve spent using the above little nugget and putting it practice? Yes. Am I being extremely helpful right now by confusing you, by suggesting you can read a compregensive book on the subject and by also saying you don’t really have to? Absolutely.

I’m not an expert *laughs* I’m just sharing what works for me when I need to ground myself in the basics when writing and editing.

#happywriting

#writingjourney

January Writing Tip 1

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I live for this type of advice, because it is honestly sound. I used to question the things I would become obsessed over. Whether it’s a new TV show, food or book series…even *whispers*stores in the mall *gasp*. I don’t anymore.

As a creative person, I do believe, our obsessions leads us to our next projects or makes our work richer. It’s where we draw from the most. Sometimes it’s an academic persuit like getting your Masters or PhD. Other times it’s simply just becoming intrigued with an idea.

For January I’m definitely paying closer attention to the things I’m intrigued by.

#happywriting

Our last “teen”: 20NineTEAn

So it’s been a minute since I blogged, so I decided to do an actual OG blog post. On people freaking out about it being the last year with a “teen” at the end…*crickets*

Yeah that’s not just what this post will be about.

Today I will amuse you with the fact that two months ago I started watching The Walking Dead. Now you’re thinking, “Inge, you’re late to the game. We’re already at Season 9. This aint it sis.” Well, I don’t care. And here’s why.I didn’t want to jump on the zombie apocalypse train simply because I honestly am not a zombie apocalypse fan. Zombies was just not that scary to me.

What? You’re going to slow walk your way into my nightmares? Get out of here!

Not my cup of tea.

But towards the end of 2018 I needed a show that could replace some of my other supernatural creatures like vampires and werewolves. I decided to give TWD a try. And man do I not regret this one.

I’m now in the middle of Season 8. I’ve already ‘stumbled’ across some spoilers, but that’s fine. I’m okay, just don’t ruin Season 9 okay *fake smile*

I am impressed with this show. It has the right amount of human struggle in a zombie world, action, violence and intrigue that I need to keep me glued to the screen. TWD is definitely a modern horror movie/TV lover’s series. Slow moving zombies that go into a frenzy when they spot the living. I am down for this type of zombie.

And before you think this is just a Walking Dead post, I’m going to end all talk of them right after I add, Glenn should not have died. I’m still upset, triggered and view it as a mistake on the writers part.

Okay moving on *laughs*

2019 is upon us. We can do absolutely nothing about it. It’s the last year of our “teens”, which might explain why everyone’s having a crisis about it.

Remember how nostalgic people got their last year of high school or varsity? This feels like that. Only I’m not participating because I’m that one kid who couldn’t wait to “get out” and see the world.

I want 2020. There are so many great movies and projects to look forward to in 2020. Not that I’m dismissing 2019, but let’s face it. Uneven numbers just don’t do it so much for us as even numbers.

I view 2019 as a gap year. The year I’m going to get a lot of things done and setup for 2020. The launch year. And then 2020 is the year I’m in space discovering new worlds in the Kuiper Belt.

2018 for me has been a learning curve on a personal level, as well as in publishing. So many things have gone down with the latter that I’m not at liberty to reveal right now, but will definitely speak about here at a later stage. I love to share my experiences in publishing on here because I do believe it adds information and a different point of view to what’s already out there.

2018 was a year of meeting new writers, joining new writing organizations, rediscovering internet spaces like YouTube, and making use of Facebook as a marketing tool for my author page, and trying to balance the personal with the professional life (and failing miserably *laughs*).  The year was overall just me reacting to everything that got thrown at me, whereas 2019 is going to be a year of me throwing stuff at it, building a strong foundation and moving on from there.

I want to end off this post with this nugget, because it’s going to be my author-moto for the rest of my life: Work with people you can reasonably trust on a professional level on the internet. A lot of my writing world/work is connected to the internet and having a level of good faith with the people I interact with on here, brings so much peace of mind. Luckily I’ve been around for a solid minute to know how to spot these types of people.

And yeah, that’s it. I wish you a wonderful 2019 #writingjourney and #publishingjourney

Let’s get it! (She says while posting a picture of herself sitting with her feet up. But it’s the 3rd of Jan…surely, I can *wink*)

My Reading Binge

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This is not my reading nook. I wish!

 

I’ve done a ridiculous amount of reading recently. And if you’d been following my blog for awhile, you know that I love reading. Reading got me into writing.

So I’ve been on a reading binge. The main reason for that being, I was stuck in bed for two weeks. I couldn’t go anywhere. And while that may be fun for some, it’s not so fun when you’re in pain, drugged and feel like you want to die. (Okay that’s a tad dramatic. But true.)

Books were the only thing that made the whole experience less annoying. And YouTube videos. And Instagram. But mostly books *grin* And let me just take a moment to give a big, fat thank you to all my fellow authors. Seriously, thank you for writing these stories. The world would be a vast and empty place without writers. Just saying.

Now I would love to write comprehensive reviews about all the books I’ve read but that would take the amount of time I need to spend working on the book series I’m planning. So not gonna happen any time soon *wink*

What I am going to do, because these books entertained my bedridden-self like you wouldn’t believe, is list them all below as a sort of recommendation for anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation and need distraction.

So without further adieu here they are:

  1. The Wounded Souls series by Leah Sharelle. Honestly, going into it I didn’t know if I would like it or not, because I’m not into biker club romances (I also didn’t watch that US biker club TV show either). But this group of ex-military men turned bikers actually intrigued me and how the author dealt with their PTSD. And of course the romance is off the charts. Plus it’s gritty in the emotions department. And I like characters that hurt before it gets better…does that make sense? Anyway, I will definitely be continuing the series. So far there are three books that I know of.
  2. The Governess Game by Tessa Dare. This book had me at, “The morning began in the same way as most of Chase’s mornings lately. With a tragic demise.” Filled with humor and romance. Sign. Me. Up.
  3. Rule#1 You Can’t Date the Coach’s Daughter by Anne-Marie Meyer. The title alone drew me in. I already knew what the conflict was going to be about, so fun times. It’s also teen fiction, a genre that I do read though not often the straight-up romance kind. Usually it has to be an alien invasion slash apocalypse slash loner over-thinking life type of book for me to get into, but this time the title alone got me. It’s also a fast read, 148 pages.
  4. The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne. This book was interesting because it didn’t follow the usual Duke meet’s Commoner romance storyline. The plot as much as the romance between the characters keeps you intrigued. I love murder with my romance *smile*
  5. Her Duke of Secrets by Christi Caldwell. I really liked this story because it focused on women in medicine and how history treated them. How their skills were not as valued. This book also has a lot of intrigue, secrets (obviously) and shows how the dynamic can shift between the sexes when one of them is more knowledgeable than the other. Okay now I sound like a literary major. Btw, I wasn’t.
  6. Respect by Jay Crownover. I’ve read Jay Crownover since I stumbled on her Marked Men Series. Needless to say, I highly recommend it if you like stories about men who own tattoo shops and play in rock bands. Or the quintessential bad boy. Her Welcome to the Point Series was the next one I dived into. I loved the first book, but couldn’t get into the second book and the third, was okay. I’m not surprised the publisher dropped the series, but there were characters from the series I hoped would get their own stories. Jay didn’t disappoint us readers. She self-published under a new series name, The Breaking Point Series. I read Honor, and then jumped to Respect. This book is definitely one where you need context at first, so you have to know the book universe beforehand. This said, if you just want to get into this book first, she sets everything up so that you don’t become too confused about what’s going on or why certain characters ‘act’ the way they do. It was definitely a good read for a die-hard Jay Crownover fan.
  7. Wicked Scandal by Carole Mortimer. I love this author. She’s my bias. Anything she writers I enjoy. Honestly, not going to lie. This story is straight-up romance packed into 122 pages. It forms part of a series. And yes, I’m working my way through the series.
  8. Almost a Wedding by Ruth Cardello. This is just one of those sweet, sparks flying, opposites attract type of stories. It’s entertaining and a palate cleanser from heavy emotional reading or biker books. As a romance reader, you need this type of book in your arsenal.
  9. Bullied by the Alpha by Sam Crescent. I don’t usually read paranormal books when I’m writing my own paranormal stories, but the concept of this one intrigued me. It definitely moves away from the typical supernatural super-perfect on all levels idea of werewolves. It was nice to read about supernatural misfits getting a happy ending. Oh and it’s a…uhm…hot read. So if that’s not your cup of tea, than stay away from this one.  But if it is, go get it!
  10. Born to be Wilde by Eloisa James. I enjoyed this story so much because it reminded me of the books I read in high school. The type of stories where the two main characters actually like each other but keeps on misunderstanding the other…you know. And the story is well written and so worth every dime you spend on it. I really enjoyed this.

 

Of course there were other books I read too, but…yeah I’m not going to get into it or them here. I thought I’d only mention the ones I really liked and would have no problem recommending.

Also, if you’re on Instagram, here’s my handle @ingesaunders I spend so much time over there lately. I don’t know why, but I am.

And if you have any book recommendations for me, because I’m not just on a reading binge, I’m also on a book buying binge, write them in the comment section.

#happywriting                                                                                            

 

 

Spotlight on Dangerously Curvy series

 

Spotlight today on Siren Allen’s latest release. Enter #giveaway below.

 

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Siren ‘M’Renee’ Allen presents….

Warning: Dangerous Curves Ahead

Book one in the Dangerously Curvy series.

 

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He’s a dangerous criminal.

She’s dangerously curvy.

Together, will they sizzle or will they crash and burn?

 

Dean Collins wasn’t born evil. This cruel world turned him into the cold-hearted killer he is today. Death and destruction follows him everywhere he goes. So, when he crosses paths with the very sassy and very curvy food truck owner, Rain Delaney, he does everything he can to push her away.

But situations beyond his control keeps pulling them back together. It isn’t long before the darkness in his life seeps into hers and she ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now his enemies are after her. Staying away from her is no longer an option. To keep her safe, he has to keep her near him.

It’s sad that the safest place for her is in the arms of a killer.

A killer who has no intention of letting her go.

Available on Amazon. FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FKT8WRW/
CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07FKT8WRW/
UK: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07FKT8WRW/

Be sure to enter the Dangerously Curvy Giveaway!

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a576fb1c25/

And join M’Renee’s Facebook group for a chance at winning more great prizes!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/sassysirens/

 

It’s the half year mark

IMG_20180706_134751It’s the half year mark and everyone’s obsessed with “Where did the time go?” At least everyone around me.

Everyone’s evaluating what they’ve done so far, checking their list of things for the year and depending on how many are checked off, they might either be embracing the next six months with open arms or sighing at the mountain that’s still ahead.

I prefer to take the ‘easy lane’, as in I don’t obsess about what I’ve accomplished so far or haven’t gotten to yet. I also keep the big picture in mind. Because at the end of the day, that’s the ultimate goal. Life happens and it happens whether you want it to or not. For a writer that can set you back. Because let’s face it, we all know when it comes to our writing time we literally have to shout from the rooftops for some “respectful distance” from those around us.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been off Facebook, because that’s the social platform that sucks most of my time. Personally I’ve also kept a low profile in relationships, because like I said above, sometimes we need to enforce a “respectful distance”. (I don’t know why I’m making quotation marks; it just feels like it’s needed. Sue me.)

This helped me to get to where I want to be by July in regards to my writing. And it also made me realize just how healthy it is for a writer to get away from the clutter of voices that constantly bombard you on social media. Though I have to add, I find the clutter less on platforms like Twitter (surprising I know) and Instagram, probably because I tend to not follow as many people in my industry on those platforms. This honestly keeps me sane. There’s only so much shoptalk a person can take without blowing your brains out…uh too much? Yeah, that’s how it feels like sometimes. Way too much writing and publishing “talk” that I literally want to gauge my eyes out. Can’t help it, my creative mind is sensitive like that.

But I do appreciate how accessible our information society is (ooh look at me using that one module I hated at university’s lingo. Seriously, that class was just not my cup of tea. The very young tech savvy lecturer was, but not the class. Sorry not sorry). Without it I wouldn’t have embarked on this writing journey. But I digress.

It’s the middle of 2018. So far I’ve come a long way with my rewriting project *laughs* That’s such an awkward sounding sentence.

But I have. And I’m kind of proud of myself for rewriting a book from the foundation up, sentence by sentence and really getting into the nitty-gritty of who my characters are and what they want and how they are going to get it and what obstacles are going to be in their way.

While rewriting I realized the foundation of my story, the conflict was just too shallow and I couldn’t submit a book that didn’t build on the level of emotional upheaval that my previous stories had. It would’ve been a step back from what I normally write. And I like writing characters that have to fight for a happy ending, characters that come with their own internal struggles. It’s what makes writing so much fun for me.

I also love that I’m still learning with each book. I recently read an article that brought everything back to the heart of why I write and how to write.(http://romanceuniversity.org/2018/07/09/on-writing-by-ella-carey-2/) It’s just one of those things that will never get old for me.

So, have I checked everything off my list for the first half of the year? Uh no. But then again, I didn’t really have a list. I had an idea of what I wanted to accomplish throughout the year and there were definitely dates on each one of them, but not many were set in stone, hence the reason I’m so relaxed about the half year mark and everyone around me is going nuts! No seriously, they are. And I’m not just referring to the writing world.

I am still working on my latest project, but I’m not stressed over it. Why? Because I’m rebuilding. I’m reworking chapters and loving it. I’m learning new skills and applying them. I’m focused on telling a story that I love.

I’ve also personally and professionally accomplished most of what I wanted to. The book fair, for one. That’s done. I also joined the South African Writers’ Circle this year. Something I’ve wanted to do for ages but hadn’t gotten to. I’ve also set out the goal of branching out and reaching out to more writing communities/authors. I’ve done that. And will keep on doing it. I do believe that sometimes you can get stuck in a comfort zone, a bubble with the same group of people and become so used to a certain way of thinking/seeing that you don’t realize how narrow that can be. Not all writing groups are toxic, but some do encourage toxic behavior (with writing, publishing or otherwise), case in point #Cockgate and #Getloud.

It’s good to get in touch with people who might not necessarily write what you write. I’m not particularly fond of the ‘us against, them’ mentality in the writing world. Probably because I live in South Africa and that’s pretty much what you get here pre-and post-Apartheid SA.

But enough of that *smile*

So far 2018 has been back breaking work…but worth it. I’ve gotten a lot done, but with others I am taking my time because at the end of the day I want a product I’m pleased with.

Hope your half year mark doesn’t look bleak and that you’re not being too hard on yourself if it is. We are only human after all *wink*

#happywriting

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