Writing When You’re Scared

One thing I’ve never experienced when I started writing, was being scared *smile*

You know, scared of writing. I don’t know if it’s that innate fearlessness the youngest child has because we’re born with the knowledge that there will be someone taller, stronger, smarter, bigger, etc. than us. So we don’t compete with others, only ourselves. We don’t become paralyzed by performance anxiety, even when we do have anxiety it’s usually the ‘oh man I hope I don’t suck’ as opposed to ‘oh man I hope other people don’t think I suck’.

 

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Sam Winchester aka Jared aka Moose

People usually say the youngest child is self-centered. I tend to disagree with this. I’d say the youngest child is focused…on themselves *laughs*

There’s no time for gossip. There’s no time to keep up with what the Kardashians are doing because we simply are not interested. We’re working on keeping up with what we are doing. Not in a selfish way, but more in the way of knowing that we’ve got one life to live and only a short amount of time of living it. It can’t be wasted on the trivial and running scared all the time is a waste of energy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never met a person who hasn’t doubted themselves before or felt a sliver of fear. But I’ve never met a youngest child who didn’t face up to that in record time, shook it off and got down to the business of what they needed to do.

 

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Dean & Sam. Every Supernatural fan knows how the dynamic between the two brothers plays out.

I read this article (can’t remember where), that youngest children are great at team work. They are the best employable people. Why? Because they’ve grown up cheering their brothers and sisters on. They had to sit through every soccer match and play and ballet rehearsal, whether big brother or sister was good or not, they were in the crowd. They learned to be supportive. It’s become instinctive.

So here’s my advice to writers who’s looking for Beta Readers or Critique partners.Go with the youngest child.

They will tell you the truth because they’ve learned from older siblings that the truth does cause you to grow as a person. They’ll always have something positive to say. Not for the sake of saying it, but because they generally are wired to notice when someone’s done something good. (I should know because I do *wink*). And last but not least, when they are in your corner, they are in your corner. They’ll advocate for you without you even having to ask.

When we believe in you, we won’t just tell you about it, we’ll tell our ‘followers’, ‘friends’, ‘subscribers’, and families 🙂

Get us on your team and fear will become a distant second!

#happywriting

Africa Online Book Fair 2017

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It’s funny how some of the ‘worst’ days and experiences can turn out to be saving graces. And for me propelled a proposal I’ve been tinkering with since September 2016‒an online book fair for romance authors who are from Africa and authors who write romances set in Africa.

A traditional book fair is an exhibit of books typically by a group of publishers or book-dealers for promoting sales and stimulating interest, often authors are also featured with their own booths and engages with readers. It takes place at a certain venue over a specific period of time and requires those who are exhibiting their books to be physically present, as well as those attending the book fair.

An online book fair in contrast takes place on the internet, but with the same underlined principle as a traditional book fair, to exhibit books for promotion of sales and stimulating interest, typically designed to provide access for those who are unable or unavailable to attend traditional book fairs.

The main objectives with the Africa Online Book Fair will be building relationships, networking, creating a fun and relaxed environment where authors and readers can engage with each other. A place where authors can share information, have Q&A’s and create interest in their books through prizes, gifts, giveaways, competitions, promotional discounts, etc. So definitely something for readers too *smile*

The Africa Online Book Fair will take place in June 2017 and will feature Romance Authors from SA and the rest of the continent. The event will be hosted on Facebook by using their Groups tool and will span over 3 days with scheduled timeslots for each author.

We will give out more details as we start kicking off the promo.

I am so excited about this. I view it as a wonderful means to showcase romance novels & authors from the African continent. There’s amazing talent and stories from the authors we have lined up, so keep an eye out *wink*

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Hosts of the Africa Online Book Fair 2017:

Kathy Bosman @KathleenLBosman

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Zee Monodee @ZeeMonodee

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Inge Saunders @saunders_inge

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Blog Tour: The Wolf’s Choice

Today is the start of the blog tour for The Wolf’s Choice! And the first stop is a review stop by Splashes Into Books. If you haven’t got a copy of the book yet, read what they had to say about it 🙂

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Here are all the tour dates:

http://splashesintobooks.wordpress.com and on FB page – bookshook 4/18/17
http://2bibliophiles.blogspot.com 4/20/17
Http://wickedlyinnocentpromotions.blogspot.com 4/21/17
http://www.facebook.com/lexcade & lexcade.blogspot.com 4/21/17
http://bookedandloaded.com/ 4/22/17
http://thereadingspotblog.blogspot.com/ 4/23/17
http://evermorebooks.weebly.com/blog 4/24/17
 https://fransbooklove.wordpress.com/ 4/29/17
http://writtenlovereviews.blogspot.com 5/1/17
http://www.carolkittie.com https://www.facebook.com/CarolKittieReviews/ 5/2/17
https://readourthoughtsbookblog.wordpress.com/ 5/3/17
http://angelsguiltypleasures.com 5/4/17
http://musingsfromanaddictedreader.wordpress.com/ 5/5/17
https://www.facebook.com/Thosecrazybookchicks 5/6/17
http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/ 5/7/17
http://denagarson.net 5/8/17
http://louisesbookbuzz.blogspot.com/ 5/9/17
http://eskimoprincess.blogspot.com/ 5/10/17
https://www.facebook.com/LittleShopofReaders/ 5/11/17
http://mireillechester.blogspot.ca 5/11/17
http://dogsmomvisits.blogspot.com/ 5/12/17

 

Public and Private Position: A Commentary Piece

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The US elections are on everyone’s newsfeeds whether you’re interested or not. All of us (the rest of the world) are a bit stunned at what’s happening. To be honest, (don’t throw virtual tomatoes at me) I expected Donald Trump to have fallen out of the race early on. The fact that he has come so far (and yes so close) is astonishing to me. The man is a walking billboard for every type of ‘ism’ out there, except feminism of course *drum roll*

Yeah don’t sue me. That was my attempt at a joke. I’m not a comedian, I’m a romance author *cheeky grin*

What keeps coming back to me this week, and has me on this US election train of thought, was something Hillary Clinton said, something to the effect of having a public and private position. Many were up in arms at this statement. And at first I was like “What are they going on about?” Everyone has a public and private position. But if you think about it, that’s not what she meant. She didn’t mean what Ludacris rapped in that funky tune of Usher’s, “We want a lady in the street but a freak in the bed to say…” *bobs head*

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You know the sentiment that underlines the lyric, that there are facets about yourself that you keep private, personal. It’s no one’s business but yours…sometimes those closest to you too.

Though that’s not what I believe those who don’t agree with Hillary’s sentiment appose. Because if you really study the statement and I mean, really study it, not just from your frame of reference or world view, than it becomes problematic.

Because, according to her, you can have a different level of integrity in private than you have in public?

The answer to that is no. You need to be the same person when no one sees you, when you are not scrutinized. Your yes needs to be yes and your no, no. You can’t flip in public.

Here’s a definition of integrity, so that you know what I mean when I use the word. This is what I understand by it. It is “the quality of being honest and morally upright.” That’s the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition.

To me, no one’s perfect. I believe we all need to be a bit more gracious towards each other. Exercise understanding and consideration. You can work towards perfection, though let’s be honest, that’s not something you will achieve in your lifetime. We are all works in progress. Every day is a practical exercise in learning what it means to be human. And let me just say, this is not a pro-Hilary or pro-Donald or in any way a political post as much as it is a social one. I’m not interested in their political agendas, frankly, because I’m not from the US. I’m from South Africa. This election doesn’t impact me the same way it does an American. I’m not emotionally, mentally or physically tied it.

What inspired this post was a recent correspondence I had with someone who will remain nameless *smile*

You see, when you are in a position of leadership you are always under scrutiny. Whether you lead five or millions, you will get scrutiny. That’s why parents shouldn’t be shocked when their grownup kids give them a review of how they were raised, because from the child’s perspective that might not always have been a positive experience. But who wants negative critique? No one. We don’t like it, I certainly don’t. But we get it anyway.

So back to Hilary and her statement. After I got this correspondence I realized that there are people who live by that statement’s level of integrity every single day. They shape it according to who’s in front of them. If you are powerful enough to cause trouble for me, I won’t be honest with you. If your level of significance is the same as an ant’s in my life, I’ll be brutally honest and then some. Their level of honesty and morality adapts to their audience. And that’s what some people have a problem with. That’s what I learned, I don’t like.

It’s false, fake, phony…all those lovely words we use on a daily basis to describe someone we wouldn’t trust as far as we could throw them.

I don’t object so much to the fake and phoniness if you’re both that privately and publicly. Because then you’d be honest. I mean there I have to give it to Trump. The man is disgusting in private and in public. What you see is what you get.

Where the problem lies for me is when you profess to be ‘nice’ in the eyes of those whom you can benefit from, because they have a certain level of power over you, and then ‘rude’ to the people you think, doesn’t have the power to touch you.

Because, that’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it? Accountability and responsibility? If I have no one to answer to, if I’m a dictator, if I can’t be held responsible for my behavior, if there’s no checks and balances. Then what’s to stop me from flipping the integrity switch in how I deal with people, in my work life, in the societies I join and organizations I belong to. To one person I’m one thing, yet to another I’m something else. No one knows what they’re getting. And that’s problematic.

And when you are someone that’s under scrutiny that won’t just be problematic for you, but dangerous.

I’m thinking of Elorra’s Cave the e-publishing company that had this huge lawsuit going on with its authors. Before the paw-paw hit the fan, the company had a public position that turned out to be horse manure (yeah I don’t swear, get over it). Authors weren’t being paid, unprofessional behavior within the company, etc. (Just do a Google search on the publisher with the word lawsuit and everything will spill out.)

The integrity they professed to have to us (everyone on the outside) was not what they exercised in private. That, my dear people, in the blogosphere, is what I call corruption. See how far having a private and public position stretches when viewed in light of integrity. This isn’t on the side of that funky lyric of Ludacris. This is something else, much sinister. And when someone exercises this form of ‘integrity’ and they have no level of accountability, you have to start asking yourself whether you still want to deal with them and what your responsibility are here.

Because believe it or not, you do have a responsibility (this is where your integrity comes into play).

If you’re dealing with someone in leadership where there are checks and balances, it is simple; report to those checks and balances, especially where their behavior can lead to a lawsuit. If there are none, then you have to wake up and smell the horse manure. You are part of a dictatorship. And if history has taught us anything about dictatorships, they don’t get overthrown without a level of bloodshed *cringe*

Of course if you choose the pacifist route, than sit back, sip that glass of red you poured for yourself, because you and everyone else around you, are royally…you know what *laughs*

 

#HappyWriting

#haveanawesomeweekend

#seeyouontheblogosphere

 

 

 

 

Writing Tips & Motivation 2.0

I’m working on a new WIP (work in progress). I submitted the first three chapters of a WIP to the wrong Harlequin line and ended up with possibly one of the nicest and encouraging rejection letters I’ve ever received in my writing career. I was asked to resubmit something else since the story I sent in didn’t fit with the line and the editors liked my voice *slaps forehead* Can you say nut? Because that’s what I am. Should’ve triple checked. Anyway, I thought I’d share some writing tips that keep me centered as I work through my new WIP.

Hope it helps you too 🙂

*disclaimer: these images do not belong to me, I found them on the inter-webs.

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News, Views and Writing that Love Scene

Another week has gone and I woke up this morning thinking, ‘wow where did the time go?’ It’s been a hectic week writing wise. On Monday I got an email on a manuscript I submitted early this year and was asked to do revisions and resubmit. So I pushed back on a WIP I was working on for submission to Harlequin at the end of August.

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I’ve written about this manuscript I was asked to do revisions on before. My publisher (Decadent Publishing) had started a series, Black Hills Wolves, and I’ve read some of the books and love one of the co-creators behind the series, Rebecca Royce’s books, so I was more than intrigued. I queried about the series and then submitted a synopsis. The novels are short reads and I’ve always wanted to see if I could write a novella. During that time there was a lot of back and forth working through plot ideas and I’ve never had that with an editor before. It was amazing how easy, open and friendly; Laura Garland was as we went through this process. I also got guidelines from Rebecca and Heather Long, who’s also the co-creator of this multi-author series.

I had my Rupunzel story to complete while I was doing this, so I figured since I had a worked out synopsis writing would be fast. And yeah it was *smile*

A Wolf’s Choice was just one of those stories that flowed, and I think it had a lot to do with the level of investment and interest I had in the characters. I’ve worked from synopses before, even though I love the ‘discovery’ as I write. And I’ve learned to go with my gut. Some stories will always require a bit of more in-depth planning than others. Instead of viewing an outline and a synopsis as stifling, I rather see it as a road map, along the way side roads will probably be taken and a couple of hours spent admiring the view, but I know where I’m heading.

That’s what A Wolf’s Choice felt like writing. I knew where I was heading, I knew who my characters were and I knew what they were going to find at the end (not just a HEA *wink*).

A Wolf’s Choice is also my first foray into writing a love scene (I talked about it on my Facebook Page:http://bit.ly/1defI54 ). I did what every author does when confronted with something they’ve never written before, I went on the internet, researched, did silly status updates where I ‘voiced’ my anxiety but still tried to do it in a non-I’m-a-dunce way.

The best advice I got from the inter-webs was write what you’re comfortable with. Use words that doesn’t make you cringe and words your characters would definitely use, that fits with their personality. And most importantly be true to the story.

So I took the pressure off and decided to chuck out the guidelines for the series (which had a distinct heat level) and just write what the characters and story demanded of me. And the scene became effortless. In fact I think I surprised myself, which really shouldn’t have been such a surprise at all.

My bookshelf consists of such a variety of genres and heat levels that I should’ve known I wouldn’t have a problem writing a love scene. I think where the pressure or even fear comes in, was with what people who knew me would think. Even at thirty-two you can’t help but still care. I’m fairly open about my faith and what I believe; it’s a lifestyle to me. Every day, all day *smile* so how do you reconcile writing a love scene (not a sex scene mind you) with the conservative world of Christianity? (Of course you also have to ask how do you reconcile werewolves, but that’s a story for another blog post *smile*).

Two of my favorite Christian authors are Francine Rivers and Frank Peretti, two writers who write a distinct spiritual message in their stories, but don’t sacrifice the story or characters for preachy writing. It astounded me to learn at first that Francine Rivers was a romance writer, and then I went, “No wait that actually makes sense, since she writes romance in her books.” There’s a love story between a man and a woman, but also between them and God. Made perfect sense. Frank Peretti on the other end, writes nail biting suspense slash horror filled blockbusters you just want to ask Hollywood to make some big feature film out of so you can be scared witless again *laughs* They are open about human sexuality. They do not draw a veil over it as if it didn’t exist. They are honest in their writing. And that’s what I love about these two authors. They don’t conform to what a Christian book is ‘supposed’ to be, but they write the story that’s in their hearts to write and stay true to the characters.

I took a page from them and went for it. In the end I was pleasantly surprised. There are really a lot of varied emotions that goes on in that love scene and it’s vital to the plot of the story. A Wolf’s Choice couldn’t have happened without it. I’m glad I didn’t shy away from writing it. It’s become one of my favorite scenes in the novella. I’m hoping to complete the revisions and hit send soon, and God willing, come back with good news *smile*

Thanks for being on the writing journey with me xoxo

#HappyWriting.

 

 

 

Christine and the Queens: Art of Dancing

I form part of that weird sub-category of women that actually love a guy that can dance *smile* No seriously. A guy who knows how to move? Kryp-to-nite. We will become your slaves.

Why am I on this strange train of thought? Well I caught the Graham Norton Show that featured Christine and the Queens. First time I ever heard of them or rather I should say, her.

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Loved the song, Tilted, immediately became an obsessive listen. But more than that, I would watch the performance. Christine (stage name for Héloïse Leister) does a great job, but male dancers being my kryptonite I was for the most part focused on them.

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Here’s a link: http://tinyurl.com/h9zf7xh

Go check out the performance out.

I would actually pay someone to teach me how to dance like that. My love of dancing isn’t exactly a secret *smile* I did dedicate a whole book to it (check out my book here: http://amzn.to/1AaLcDS)

Yes Hollywood, I can also do product placement *wink*

Some of the dancing they incorporate reminds me of pantsula dancing, distinctive to South Africa. I’m reminded now also of Gwen Stefani’s Misery music video that features pantsula dancing throughout.

Here are some pictures of the dancers doing their thing.

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Check out the music video for Tilted and tell me what you think!