2013 first-ac-header

Mission Statement

This blog aims to encourage, empower and educate writers of all genres, so they can achieve their creative goals. You can find out more about Cate’s publication history, ebooks and courses on my web site. Blog Awards and kind compliments can be found on this page.

Get more writing inspiration! Cate shares interesting and useful resources for writers 24-7 through Twitter. Not all posts that are shared are the opinion of Cate Russell-Cole: Artios Communications. There are many different views on creativity and writing. A cross section of views is passed on to meet all tastes, and allow the reader to make up their own mind. Click on the bird to link up. She is also on Pinterest and has a limited involvement with Facebook.

Cate is unable to reply to all Twitter RTs and follows, due to health and time limitations, however, she does her very best! Please be understanding. Your support is deeply appreciated and where she can, the favour will be returned.

About Cate

artioscommavatarCate Russell-Cole is a qualified Creativity Coach and Social Worker, who is fascinated with the psychological and technical aspects of the writing process, characterisation and the overall science of creativity. She has a love of the science fiction – fantasy genre and has been writing diaries, appalling poetry and short stories since she was a child. Cate lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband and two cats and habitually writes everything in Australian English.

Over her career, she has researched, written and taught five creativity-orientated courses; worked as a freelance writer and has authored ten non-fiction books. Privately, she is a science fiction/ fantasy author who is working on The Chronicles of Mirchar Series. The first book, The Dragon Tree, is tentatively scheduled for release in 2015.

Cate writes and coaches online to an International audience, providing both how-to resources and writer support. Cate also teaches in Brisbane, with both Local Government and private training providers.


What’s Happening

Boundaries are incredibly important survival tools, especially if you are an author who is trying to build a following online to sell your work. There are cultural pressures to say thank you to every RT, talk to many people and become deeply enmeshed in every conceivable form of social media. Achieving that is nearly impossible. As I use blog promotion services, I can get up to 90 RTs a day on Twitter. Regardless of what I want, I simply can’t say thank you to everyone, every day. It’s the price I pay for growth.

I am not the only one who feels snowed under by the pressure of life online. This week my heart has hurt for a favourite Youtuber, who is snowed under with fan mail. He has spent over fifteen hours opening hundreds of pieces of mail on video, so no one was offended by being left out. Then when he has done the right thing and taken time out to plan and prepare content, he was attacked for being off his regular video posting schedule. It’s a crazy world out there and we are vulnerable when we open ourselves up to it. We all must have boundaries to retain our energy. One day, these things which are so vitally important to us now will be no longer relevant. Getting too attached is a mistake. Never let people pleasing sabotage your chance to succeed.

Watching the Youtuber’s struggle, I decided there was a need to make my boundaries clearer so I don’t offend people, or lose followers. I do value you all, very much. However, I cannot always respond to RTs, though as soon as I can, all comments and messages are attended to on Twitter, Facebook and my blog. Sadly, I often miss things with Twitter. Some tweets do not appear directed at me when multiple people are mentioned, so I can miss them. Plus, as my notifications tab is always crammed full, sometimes I just don’t see things. For this, I sincerely apologise. I do my best, but as you know, my health affects computer use, my time is limited and things slip. I have placed a notice on the front page of this site and my blog to let people know: I see you, THANK YOU, but please, be understanding.

On a cheerier tone, this month has kicked off with the launch of the Inspiring Spaces Blog Hop. Anyone can get involved, whether you’ve been tagged first or not. Grab the logo shown here, pick five or ten of your blogging friends and ask them:

~ where do they work and
~ what can’t they write without?

Inspire each other! Use photo, video, any medium desired, which will show off your muse’s playground. The purpose is to discover something in another blogger’s space that inspires you and to share the love around, so blogs are being seen by a new audience. Oh and please mention that the blog hop started here. (Thank you.)

Happy hopping!

Books to Empower You

Please click on the book cover for full book details, sample pages and ordering details. All books are available worldwide. For other countries, go to their Amazon site and search for “Cate Russell-Cole” to find the books.


http://virtual-desk.com.au/creative_spirit.html   http://virtual-desk.com.au/prayer_journal.html

http://virtual-desk.com.au/conflict_in_fiction.html    http://virtual-desk.com.au/emotional_realism.html

Amazon Kindle has free apps and programs which mean you can read any any phone, computer or tablet device, including Cloud. See the E-books for Writers page for direct links to Amazon’s Support and Download pages.

“Savvy Blogging for Time Starved Writers” is a free e-book containing the best blogging posts which have appeared on CommuniCATE. It places them together in one handy, downloadable volume. Click on the book cover to download the pdf.


…send the Trolls packing like this…

Cate Russell-Cole:

[standing ovation]

Originally posted on Seumas Gallacher:

…a dear friend on the Internet has been bombarded recently with some of the Troll scum… and many others of yeez from time to time do get pinged by them … here’s a wee piece I did as far back as December 2012… It still holds good… I hope it may be helpful for emb’dy wondering how to despatch these imbeciles… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!


…it won’t have escaped yer notice, Mabel, that I hail from Govan in Glasgow…an area not noted for its gracious handling of dispute…not for us from the Docklands area the niceties of gentle persuasion to settle conflict…the famous ‘Glasgow Kiss’... the abrupt coming together of a head butt from the giver’s skull  and the recipients’s nose-bridge area  is well-documented…the adage is, ‘why take months in court, when…

View original 249 more words

Book of the Month: Morale Boosters for Busy Writers

If your energy and enthusiasm for writing, blogging and marketing has left you drained, these quick-read ebooks will help. They are also priced as low as Amazon allows. Books are available in pdf or epub from Cate or from Amazon Kindle. Click on the underlined links for ordering information.

PR3DPhoenix Rising: Conquering the Stresses of the Writer’s Life, addresses the challenges and frustrations of writers in the digital age. It has been written for all genres of writers and all forms of publication. It has been written as a quick-read writer’s companion, with chapter topics that don’t require reading in any set order.

If your creative energy is low, your word count flagging or the downsides of being a writer are taking away your joy, this book will give you new strength and hope with which to spread your wings and find new freedom.

I chose the image and title of the phoenix rising from the ashes in response to the battles writers face. I personally relate to the need to choose to rise upwards: away from the fire and into a clear sky to start again.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Measuring the Value of Your Work in a Digital Age
  • Healing Creative Injuries
  • Bomb Proofing Your Writer’s Ego
  • Balancing the Blogging Load
  • Writers and Depression: Debunking the Stereotypes
  • Boosting Your Productivity



3dpthriveIf you buy a copy of this book, you will also receive a free copy of “Phoenix Thriving: Conquering Stress and Burnout in the Blogging Life.”

I frequently hear complaints and pleas for help from highly stressed bloggers. As a coach and fellow writer, I have been doing my best to assist people, then decided to write a helpful ebook. “Phoenix Thriving: Conquering Stress and Burnout in the Blogging Life,” will help to ease the burden of writing, marketing, social media and the annoyances that fly in the faces of online writers.

Some of the topics covered include:

  • Creative myth busting;
  • Placing value on yourself as a writer, despite your level of success;
  • Dealing with writer’s burn out and social media demands;
  • Search Engine Optimisation versus originality;
  • A balanced approach to writing challenges online;
  • Marketing and people connections: the plus side and
  • When is it time to keep or ditch your blog?

To claim your free copy, inside the book, next to the CommuniCATE Resources for Writers blog link, there is a code. Buy the book, find the code (it’s easy, it’s in the first few pages) and email me. I will send you a copy of the new book by email. Your email address will never be sold, compiled for mailing lists, or used in any other manner. So far it is not available on Amazon.




This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2014. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes images and text usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. 

Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

Cate's books for writers.

Cate’s books for writers.

Life always gets better, trust me…

This very nearly became the poster for my husband’s life in June this year.

Thank God, it didn’t. I would have regretted it more than he would have.

Thankfully, my attempt fell short, but led us to getting help for chronic pain. It also made everyone around me aware of the serious problems that I had, which were hidden. You can’t see pain: emotional or physical and people get used to you wandering off to bed, miserable. We all needed to open our eyes and see each other afresh, but the good will never justify what I did.

Speak out if you are having a hard time, no matter how hard it is. You may not be on the edge of drastic action yet, but you can stop it from happening if you act early. I was astonished that no one got mad at me, or judged me for what I did. You may discover that there are more people around you that love and care for you, than you knew.

After growing up in an abusive family and having health problems all my life, I have struggled with feeling suicidal before and have has several long-term, serious bouts of clinical depression. What I have learnt is that life does get better, even though it feels like it can never do so. If I had taken my life when I first considered it, I would have missed out on getting married, great jobs, knowing and loving some awesome people and so very much more.

Ask for help and hang in a little whole longer. Don’t lose your chance to walk away victorious, with a better life in your hands.

Get help: www.beyondblue.com.au


This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

Getting Your Characters Help! The Character Therapist

BLOG BUTTONThis is one of the most original writer’s resource blogs I have discovered, and it’s a goldmine of information on many topics including:

  • romantic scenes, break ups and all the soppy stuff
  • amnesia
  • mental illnesses of all kinds, including some you’ve never heard of
  • attachment
  • character archetypes
  • body image
  • backstory
  • character flaws and criminology
  • comic relief
  • conflict, defence mechanisms etc
  • social issues such as domestic violence, cults,
  • physical illnesses including autism, Down’s Syndrome and many things
  • dialogue and character inconsistency
  • emotional revolution
  • marital issues

… and if those haven’t piqued your interest, go look up Fascination by Mystique, countertransference, the Cotard Delusion, Nazism and Paris Syndrome. Plus, it is Christian friendly.

Screen-shot-2013-03-13-at-9.20.59-PMLink: http://charactertherapist.blogspot.com.au

The blog and accompanying services are run by Jeannie Campbell, who is a licensed and highly experienced marriage and family therapist. She has turned her skills into a helpful resource where she “diagnoses make-believe people” to assist novelists. Jeannie also has a newsletter you can sign up for.

Need more help?

“Creating and Resolving Conflict in Fiction,” dissects conflict into its component parts; looks at how it works and helps you generate conflict plot-lines and themes which will add richness and realism to your work. The principles apply to any kind of fiction, regardless of the length, characters or genre.

CRCF4DimCover3lowresThis book is not a “how to write” text. It is a user-friendly, introductory reference on the topics covered, which will enable you to write about them effectively. You don’t have to read it from cover to cover, it can be used as needed.

Some of the topics covered include:

  • How to Fuel Conflicts and Misunderstandings
  • What Character Traits Go With What Type of Person?
  • Human Behaviour Is All About Patterns
  • Using Power Dynamics
  • Making or Breaking Character Relationships

Available in Kindle and pdf formats from this site: http://virtual-desk.com.au/conflict_in_fiction.html


This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2014. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. 

Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.


Inspiring Spaces Blog Hop: Share What Ignites Your Creativity

IMG_1194Writers have to write anywhere and anyhow, to get anything done! Few of us enjoy a proper office, some don’t even have the sole ownership of a desk. I write from the corner of my bedroom. It may not be fancy, but it works (kind of… most of the time). So when I visit blog’s like No Wasted Ink, I drool over the wonderful desks and rooms that Wendy Van Camp shares.

Drooling is often as good as it gets, but it doesn’t mean that I hate my space, or that it inhibits my creativity. I keep objects I love and need close by, including books which I can’t live without. I have my leather bridle and a pile of horse books for novel research; a fake Claymore sword is tucked away where it doesn’t scare the lady who helps me clean the place… a piece of Irish Connemara marble sits on a shelf (as I keep meaning to use it in The Dragon Tree and keep forgetting); I love many coloured pens and pencils so they have to be there and just now, I need the videos I am swatting over, to fix my solar system building problems. Alright, I have a whole heap of sentimental junk too. (Of course that’s the Millennium Falcon. You even had to ask me that?)

Authors who must be present include Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones); Julia Cameron (The Right to Write and The Sound of Paper); Stephen King’s On Writing; The Idiot’s Guide to Writing Well (fast reference); my Horderns Home Dictionary which some of you have met in olde word posts; books of quotations which are brilliant for kick starting short stories; The Writing Book, by Australian author Kate Grenville; NaNoWriMo’s book, Ready Set Novel; Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich and Elements of the Writing Craft by Robert Olmstead.

I’m curious, what do you have in your writing space? What do you need to have around you to get into the creative groove?

This is a blog hop. Any of you can grab the logo and kick off from your own blog as well. I am picking ten of my writing buddies (below), pick five or ten of your own and ask them:

~ where do they work and

~ what can’t they write without?

Inspire each other! Use photo, video, any medium desired, which will show off your muse’s playground. The purpose is to discover something in another blogger’s space that inspires you and to share the love around, so blogs are being seen by a new audience. Oh and please mention that the blog hop started here. (Thank you.) Happy hopping!



Tima Maria Lacoba, Jade Reyner, Ciara Ballintyne, Lauralynn Elliott, Shan Jeniah Burton, Kathy Owen, Judy Feather Stone, Karen McFarland, Ruth Nestvold and Skye Fairwin, tag, you’re it!

#Ebook Readability and White Space ~ Thoughts to Ponder

2014-06-09_13-48-28When readers are deciding whether or not to buy a book, it may not just be the cover which puts them off. Stephen King made a great point in “On Writing:” you can tell how hard a book will be to read, by how close together the text is set. Heavy duty stories are crammed in, lighter novels appear more airy. The white space (blank parts of the page), paragraph spacing and layout are telling.

Complex literary works or in-depth fantasy novels, can be almost as painful to wade through as a phone book. I’ve placed books back on the shelf for that reason. I have flicked through, gone cross-eyed and said, “too hard and too heavy.” With ebook example pages, your reader can reject your work the same way. However, there are tricks which make even long books appealing to a reader’s eyes. First let me show you a few examples of what I mean.

Exhibit A: short paragraphs on an A4 computer page, appear as long blocks in an epub or mobi novel.
There is little white space to give your eyes a break. I’ve started saving my files as epub and double checking readability to avoid this problem. A two space indent may not be enough. Shorter paragraphs can also assist.

Don’t forget, reading from a backlit device is different than reading a paper novel. The affects on your eyesight need to be taken into account. A headache means a book will be put down. You can change size, background colour and font in e-readers, but that won’t help you digest big blocks of text.



Exhibit B: An easier to read page, though, some readers may consider this style to be choppy. I have no trouble reading it and it’s a relief to my ageing eyes.


Which layout appeals to you more?
Which gives you a chance to raid the fridge, then re-find the spot where you left off?

Can you believe that both books are by the same author? Publishing Houses don’t necessarily ensure that each ebook is formatted the same way, not even within the same author’s catalogue. That gives us room to move with formatting, as we don’t need to fret about accepted styles. As long as your layout is clean and consistent, you should be able to adapt your own ebook style for practicality. (Though frankly, some sort of set standards would be helpful!)

Experiment as much as you can before you send your book into the Smashwords meatgrinder or upload your document to Amazon. I know you can’t control everything, but if you set your styles right in your document, you have a fighting chance at getting what you want in the final book.

Creative Commons License
This work, created and Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2014 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.