Friday, 25 January 2019

Q&A ✨

I've decided to answer a few writer/writing questions for this blog post today. I think posts like these are beneficial sometimes because they give an insight into a writers unique thought process. Every writer is different and we all tackle our process uniquely.

What do you believe are common traps for aspiring authors?
1. Believing traditional publishing is the only option. This is not true. Of course, a lot of writers want to be traditionally published and go down that route but self publishing is a viable option that can be done successfully. Obviously it is not an option for everyone because it requires capital and intense self promotion. But the important thing is that it can be done. Many authors have found success through self publishing.

2. Writing to the market. If you're only writing what's popular now then you're not being true to yourself. You should always write what feels right and what feels true to you, even if it's not a popular genre. The most important thing, I believe, as a writer is to always remain who you are and write what makes you feel passionate about writing.

What's your writing kryptonite?
I don't necessarily have a writing kryptonite because I used to be able to work through distractions. My struggle now is lack of time. I wish that there were more hours in a day so that I could devote more time to writing.

What is the best money you ever spent as writer?
Editing. There are some indie authors that are fantastic editors as well as writers but that's just not me. I need a second professional opinion. With Deadly Obsession, my editor absolutely helped me to make it into a better story so my advice is to always hire a professional unless you are confident in your own editing abilities. Your writing career will thank you for it.

As a writer, what animal would you have as a mascot/spirit animal?
My mascot would be a dog. Since I've started writing my books I have always had my dogs by my side during the whole process.

What does literary success look like to you?
It's not millions of euro (but that would be great!) but instead being able to not stress about money, making enough to write full time. Literary success to me is actually being able to say that your full time job is writing.

How long do you spend researching before starting a book?
I usually spend a couple of weeks researching, making notes, looking up aesthetics, and creating characters and settings. I then take about a week or two to write up rough chapter outlines. Once I have all of this solid information then I start writing.

Have you read anything that made you feel differently about fiction?
I read Endless Night by Richard Laymon and it terrified me. I'm a huge crime and horror junkie but there was something about this book that made my skin crawl, maybe it was his indepth descriptions of the serial killers wearing the skin of their previous victims when they were committing new crimes. It was not one of my favourite books nor is Richard Laymon one of my favourite authors, but the reaction I had to this book was something that I wanted to instill in my readers. I wanted to write something that made a reader feel something the way that I felt reading that book. I think if you can write and create something that makes someone feel something then you've succeeded. That feeling gave me a whole new appreciation of fiction and how authors work tirelessly to give their readers that sense of feeling.

Have you ever gotten reader's block?
Occasionally I have, but only in latter months. I was always the type to read anywhere and any time I had a spare few minutes. Now, sometimes, I find it hard to get into the zone to crack open a book because I feel like there are a million other things I should be doing. Becoming a mama has made me have to reevaluate my time.

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
At the beginning of my publishing journey I did consider it but I think it was a lot to do with nerves. I was so nervous about unleashing my book into the world and into the hands of people I knew. So many thoughts ran through my head, particularly if my book wasn't any good did I really want the people who knew me to know that it was me. When it came down to it, I'm glad that I decided to write under my own name and I'm proud to have my name on that work.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I originally wrote Deadly Obsession as a standalone novel but the more I fleshed it out and wrote more, I saw that there was room for a series. Each of the characters have their own stories to tell so I feel like it's worthy of a series. I'm initially planning a series of 4-5 books but of course this may change. I do have other standalone works in progress that will not develop I to a series.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
So many! I get ideas and flesh out some chapters but never actually get around to finishing the book. Or I lose the inspiration for the story. Some day I'll get around to getting those stories finished!

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
I do! I have been lucky enough to not receive any bad reviews... Yet. However, I think if I were to receive a bad one then I believe I'd take it on the chin. Everyone is not going to like the same thing so it's only fair that people will have different opinions. As an avid reader myself, I know I've read some books that I didn't like but a lot of other people loved.

What is your favourite childhood book?
It would have to be Harry Potter. I read the series as a child and loved them. Even now at almost twenty seven, I adore all things Harry Potter. It takes something special to instill a love of a series of books in a child that lasts all the way through adulthood.

That's all from me today, folks. I hope answering these questions gave you a little insight into my writer mind and my writing process. ✨

S. xo

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

⭐ 2019 Goals ⭐

I have big goals and ambitions for 2019 and my biggest hope is that I can achieve those goals. 2018 was an incredible year for me - we welcomed our baby girl into our lives and I spent all of my time enjoying being her mama and making the most of those baby months - but I didn't spend a lot of time writing. I don't want the same to happen in 2019. So I'm making a list of everything that I want to achieve in my writing career this coming year.

2019 is going to be a great year ✨

1. Release book two. It's going to happen. I'm so close I can almost taste it and I'm not going to slack. Come hell or high water, the second installment of the Mason Investigations series will be released this year.

2. Release a story on Wattpad. It's something that I've been putting off for a long time but I have the story planned, outlined, and researched so it's just a matter of getting it up there. I think a chapter a week is manageable while working on my Mason Investigations series. I always wanted to work with Wattpad but never had the time to keep up with it. I'm going to make the time in 2019.

3. Plan and organise. With an almost seven month old and being back to work I'm going to have to use my time wisely and having plans and schedules seems to be the best way to manage my time and make the most of that slotted time.

4. Promote like a mother. I didn't do half as much as I should have with my first book. When I had my baby in June, I let book related work lapse and focused on her. This year, I need to put a lot more effort into promoting my work. I need to follow every avenue possible to get my work out there.

5. Blog more. I'm terrible for keeping up with my blog. Sometimes when I have the time to blog, I feel my time is better used to work on my book. Other times I just don't have much to blog about or, at least, nothing much of interest to people. This year, I've created an intense blog plan for each month and will try get a post up every week or at least every second week. I'm also in the throes of revamping and redesigning the whole blog, it needs a fresh new feel.

I hope that everyone is keeping up with the resolutions they made this year - you can do it! - and if you didn't then that's OK too. We put too much pressure on ourselves, especially in the age of Instagram and social media where we see so many influencers pushing us to be better, do better, achieve better. But we're already the best versions of ourselves, sometimes we just have off days. I don't think we should measure ourselves in our fitness levels, makeup abilities, or how many likes a selfie can get. We need to be ourselves and be passionate about the things we love, not the things that are being forced down our throats.

On that note, I hope everyone has a fantastic 2019 and you achieve all of the goals you set for yourself, big or small. I know a few small changes in my life will help me to achieve my goals and I'm hoping for a successful writing year. Remember, making a change doesn't have to start on January 1st.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

One Year: Deadly Obsession.

Deadly Obsession turned one on 13th December 2018. I can't believe it's been a year already, it doesn't feel like that much time has passed because so much has happened in that one year. This time last year I was a ball of nerves releasing something I had written into the world, hoping that people would react well to my work and, most of all, enjoy something I had written. Hitting the "publish" button was terrifying. I felt confident that the book was the best it could be - I had spent years writing it and had invested in a professional editor and cover designer. There was nothing more that I could do to make it ready for the world so I just had to publish and hope for the best.

For years, I had been a closet writer, barely telling my family and closest friends that being a writer was in my DNA and that it was all that I wanted to do. I was scared of the reactions - would they laugh? Would they call it a foolish dream? - so I kept it to myself for a long time. I was never one to brag about something I had done but I realised that publishing a book meant that I would have to brag in a way. I was self-publishing so that meant that I also needed to self promote. I didn't have a marketing team behind me, all I had was myself.

Many years ago, I stumbled across Lauren Gilley and her books and she proved to be not only a great writer but a supportive and helpful ally. Even though she lives thousands of miles away she became a friend that helped me in my writing journey. Without her I don't think I would have had the courage to self-publish, she helped me to see that it was possible to do it on your own. Not only have her books changed my life but her support has been invaluable. The writing world truly does have some supportive and lovely people.

Happy one year anniversary, Deadly Obsession. It's been a bell of a year and I'm so proud of my book and myself for actually accomplishing my dream of publishing a book. From the time I was a little girl I was writing and I finally have a book with my name on the cover. It still feels surreal.

2019 will be a much more productive year and my goal is to have book two published by late Summer/early Autumn. I plan on being more organised and professional in my efforts - setting up weekly word count goals, blog planning, and social media planning.

Thank you to everyone who has been so patient waiting for book two and I promise that it will be worth the wait. You will be pleased to know that I have book three completely planned out so will be able to get that written quite quickly after releasing book two so the wait won't be as long next time, I promise 😉

Lastly, wishing you all a very happy Christmas 🎄

Sunday, 28 October 2018

October Update.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Quite a lot of people have been asking me in recent days when book two will be ready to release. It feels like I've been saying "soon" a lot lately without giving any actual real timeline. I'm aiming for early in the new year but a definitive month or date is just not possible at the moment. I don't want to rush myself into finishing by booking a slot with my editor because I know then that I won't be doing my best work but rather giving myself an unrealistic deadline.

I'm in the process of finishing the last quarter or so of the book and then will do an edit myself before arranging a timeframe with my professional editor which will then be based on her schedule and when she can fit me in. I'll also arrange the cover design at the same time. Once I arrange both of these then I will be able to give a better of idea on a finish date - these are the difficult, time consuming phases but once complete then publishing will be quick. I do have a couple of other projects that I'm working on which do, unfortunately, take up valuable writing progress on book two but I will give more information on these at a later time.

I feel like I'm letting people down, mostly letting myself down, but I really have to work around Millie and her schedule right now. Currently she's going through a stubborn phase and she has started teething so I'm really working around her for the moment. I'm writing when she naps or when she's quiet and occupied with toys but sometimes it's hard to get the concentration needed to focus fully on the page in front of me.

Of course I will share updates as soon as I'm finished, when I've booked my editor and cover designer, and when I'm getting ready to publish. I just wanted to let everyone know that a release date this year will not happen but will be sometime in early 2019.

Moving on from that... 

It's October, my favourite time of year, and I'm so excited for Millie's first Halloween.

Here's a little breakdown of my October faves:

I decided to reread Anne Rice's Interview With The Vampire because its one of my all time faves. It's October after all and what's better coming up to Halloween than a classic horror series. I'm moving on to Lauren Gilley's new installment to Prodigal Son next.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I loved the original show growing up and I'm really loving this darker version. It's weird, it's gory, and it's spooky. Perfect for Halloween.

For now, I wish you all a happy and spooky Halloween.


S. xo

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