I keep my friends in my Kindle…

blog-award-one-lovely-blog-awardFirstly, a huge thank you to Helen Holshouser for giving me a One Lovely Blog Award. (I came fourth!) It was a lovely gesture and it made my day, which needed to be made… you know how it is when your lava lamp shorts out, cooks it’s power board, takes out the bulb on the reading lamp and then gives you a small electrical shock… yeah.

I am going to pass this award onto my writing friends whose books I treasure, to give them a shout out. But first, seven things about me.

1. I tend to work too fast. My brain’s clock speed is fast, but it means I loathe long projects and it stinks when I’m getting paid by the hour.

2. This will likely result in massive unfollows, but… I don’t drink coffee. Yes, I know, I’m weird. But for some reason, I don’t like hot drinks and find them hard to swallow. If you approach me with a cup of tea you won’t be popular. That one I am blaming on the old tannin lined silver teapots, that were passed down through my family. If tea does that to metal, what does it do to your stomach?

3. I love pink, but a lot of people think that blue is my favourite colour, as my home is always decorated in blues. Maybe it’s my Pict bloodline surfacing?

4. I love most animals. My husband and I never visit a Zoo or pet shop without saying hello to everyone… except the snakes. He’s been told I want a Clydesdale for my birthday. He only has 27 shopping days left (he reads most of my posts for the sake of marital warfare, um, harmony.)

5. We once had an axolotl named Elvis. He was black and when the pet shop owner tried to catch him, he legged it into the neighbouring fish tank to escape capture, terrifying all the fish. Thus, he had “left the building.” He was a stinker of a pet!

6. If shop, favourite and colour haven’t given me away, yes, I am Australian and live in Brisbane, which is a brilliant, mid-sized city, with lots of cultural events and an increasing traffic volume problem. It is sub-tropical and everyone wants to live here.

7. I adore ice hockey. Blame it on being married to a Canadian.

heart water handsMeet my friends…

~ Christy Birmingham, who blogs at Poetic Parfait and is the proud author of Pathways to Illumination.

~ Eric Kobb Miller, who blogs at Spit Toon’s Saloon and has several great comedy books.

~ Kathy Owen, who writes the most delightful mysteries which capture the period and capture your heart!

~ Rags Daniels, who is sadly, still offline recovering from his stroke, but has great crime novels available.

~ Sharon Lippincott who writes books which inspire me to write better! Check out her blog and her books. She will have you either laughing or working hard!

~ Sonia Marsh, who is striving ahead and winning awards for her open-hearted anthologies. If you need encouragement, get Sonia’s books! Also, get on board and write your own Gutsy Story.

~ Sir Seumas Gallacher, crime writer and big, hearted Knight! You’ll love his crime novels and his warmth.

~ Sandra Nikolai is another master crime writer and a lady who is a joy to know.

~ Mary Gottschalk is my enneagram buddy. (See yesterday’s post.) She has a new novel out, A Fitting Place, and her Memoir is a delight. She blogs here.

~ Madeline Tasky Sharples is a special lady who has a message we all need to hear about suicide and grief. She is very close to my heart and blogs here.

~ Kathy Pooler is a dear friend, who has posted on this blog several times and has just released her first book. Please visit Kathy and be inspired by her story of overcoming emotional abuse. (I love your new site look Kathy.)

I could continue and continue and continue, and…

Giving Antagonists Depth and More Effective Roles in Plot Resolution


Villains with a purpose.

Whether you want to believe in personality typing or not, for writers building characters, the enneagram is one of the very best gold mines you’ll ever find. It is similar to a road map for human behaviour, which shows our basic motivational needs, strengths, weaknesses, temptations and what we can do to balance out our negatives (and thus resolve interpersonal conflicts in plots).

Using the Enneagram has been a wonderful tool for fleshing out the motivation of my antagonists. It’s given them depth. Instead of the good guys just being good, and the bad guys inherently having to be bad, now the bad guy is bad because he is a Reformer (the 1). He is compulsively motivated by a need to make things better, but he’s handled the challenges he is facing the wrong way. It has created fights and barriers, not change. He is out of balance (the enneagram shows you how to create balance) and is a danger to himself, as much as he is to others. I have a relatable, humanised bad guy, who doesn’t mean to be a rat and has no idea why people are opposing him, but he can’t stop himself. He isn’t a one-dimensional, one-task piece of the novel puzzle.

Let me give you another example of how this can work. Let me use an intellectual personality as an example. They are referred to as the Thinker or Observer (the 5). Out of balance, they can be withdrawn, thought-driven, self-motivated, happy to be alone and have a strong need for independence and privacy. Often they don’t fit in with social groups. This is a weakness of their personality type. Problems for fives include isolation, pride, power-seeking and their intellectual approach can drive people in the other direction, seeking friendlier company. The five can become one very frustrated, lonely individual, with answers no one will listen to.

No one has just one type they solely fit into. They have parts of all the types and two other, less dominant types which are called wings. They balance the psyche out. A five will have the wings of a four: the romantic, withdrawn ideal-seeker who wants authenticity, self-expression and who can also be deeply empathetic; and a six wing, which is the attachment-making loyalist. They can work towards balance by utilising their ability to empathise and be loyal, alongside their need to think, rather than coldly retreating.


One-dimensional villains, who simply exist, as a bad guy is needed for the story line to work.

Enneagram research will also give you lists of ways that the various types can get along with other people. It flags sources of conflicts, how to approach them and other techniques which will have writers in seventh heaven! This is a mystically based theory which has been around for centuries. At it’s simplest level it is an excellent idea generator, that you will find useful and intriguing.

Enneagram Resources

http:// www.enneagraminstitute.com/  and   http:// www.enneagram.com.au/

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.

Written Acts of Kindness: Laura Sapala

WrittenActsofKindnessAwardbycateartiosWhile many writers blog for themselves, the ones that we gain the greatest benefit from, are the writers that cheer the rest of us on and equip us with the knowledge we need to add finesse to our writing skills. Today I would like to thank and introduce you to one of my favourites, Lauren Sapala.

In her own words: I’m a writer who has always struggled with writing. I took creative writing classes in college, hated them and did miserably. Then I stopped writing altogether for six years. When I finally embarked on writing my first novel it took me two years to finish the sloppy first draft and another four years to revise it. Hardly anyone knew how much writing meant to me, or that it was the thing I felt born to do, because I hardly ever talked about it. I was embarrassed and ashamed that writing was so difficult for me and that it took me such a long time to produce anything.

“During this time I scoured the online world looking for guidance. I found a lot of blogs devoted to agents and publishing, and a lot of online writing guides. But I never found what I really needed, which was someone to tell me that I wasn’t crazy. Someone who could say, “Look, it doesn’t matter that you haven’t ever written a novel before, you have it in you to do it, you just have to try.”

Lauren-1-300x199I have been following Lauren’s work for a few years and have been delighted to have her as a guest blogger and to have reblogged her excellent work. She is a must-share on Twitter and if you visit her blog, you’ll see why. Please support her, subscribe to her and by doing so, know that you’re also doing yourself a huge favour.

~Blog: http://laurensapala.com 
~Twitter: https://twitter.com/losapala
~Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/LaurenSapala
~Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/101006682663888916290/posts?partnerid=gplp0

Lauren, when you have the time, here are the rules for passing the award on.

  1. You are welcome to give it out as many times as you like, but it is only to be given to a maximum of one person per blog post. If you wish to give multiple rewards, please space the blog posts so the sincerity is maintained.
  2. Introduce the person; say how they encourage, help or inspire you; then link to their work and/or social media profiles. There may be a specific post you wish to link to which helped you. It’s up to you.
  3. Please publicise your award post to Twitter or Google Plus using the hashtag #writtenkindness so that others can find and follow the award winners.

This award is open to anyone to use. You don’t have to receive it, in order to be able to give it. Once you have received it, it isn’t obligatory that you must pass it on.

Get the Button and Code

Written Acts of Kindness Badge

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The Rules

Cate Russell-Cole:

Common sense for your writer’s survival kit. We all need to hear this message from Jo Robinson. Thanks Jo!

Originally posted on Lit World Interviews:

Jo Robinson

Jo Robinson

A lot of indie authors are pretty rigid with their writing rules. There’s nothing wrong with this when it’s your style, and self-imposed. You’ll have problems though if rigid rules don’t fit well with your character, and you’ve only inflicted them on yourself because a successful and well known writer said that that’s what you should be doing if you ever want to succeed. “Must” is often the word lurking behind procrastination in any field, and when it comes to creative souls, I believe it could shut down production pretty well.

The minute we’re told we must do something, our subconscious goes into overdrive, bombarding us with all the ways we could fail, and settles like a lump in your mind, effectively blocking all those wonderful sentences that had been champing at the bit to leap onto your pages. This fear can be good in small doses. When…

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Sir Terry Pratchett’s Wisdom on Writing

Prachettmain_2334426b“If you have enough book space, I don’t want to talk to you.”

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” “First draft: let it run. Turn all the knobs up to 11. Second draft: hell. Cut it down and cut it into shape. Third draft: comb its nose and blow its hair. I usually find that most of the book will have handed itself to me on that first draft.”

“Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can. Of course, I could be wrong.”

“[Science fiction is] out in the mainstream now. You can tell by the way mainstream literary authors pillage SF while denying they’re writing it!”

“There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.”

“Let grammar, punctuation, and spelling into your life! Even the most energetic and wonderful mess has to be turned into sentences.”

“Go anywhere you wish, talk to everyone. Ask any questions; you will be given answers. When you want to learn, you will be taught. Use the library. Open any book.”

Terry Pratchett

“I read anything that’s going to be interesting. But you don’t know what it is until you’ve read it. Somewhere in a book on the history of false teeth there’ll be the making of a novel.”

“Writing is the most fun you can have by yourself.”

“I do note with interest that old women in my books become young women on the covers… this is discrimination against the chronologically gifted.”

“Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often a result of lack of wisdom.”

“I have no use for people who have learned the limits of the possible.”

“Books must be treated with respect, we feel that in our bones, because words have power. Bring enough words together they can bend space and time.”

“Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous. Do not attempt it in your own home.”

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.

NaNoWriMo, Should You or Shouldn’t You? A Balanced View

My current planning for my next novel. I need time to put in all those plot points which are mapped out. I just can't get this, work and health commitments all in sync and completed in a month!

My current planning for my next novel. I need time to put in all those blank plot points which are mapped out. I just can’t get this, work and health commitments all in sync and completed in a month!

Each November, my blog visit stats drop as everyone focusses on their plans for National Novel Writing Month. Then later in the month, the visits pop up again as the dream of winning NaNo is abandoned or hijacked my real life. So should you sign up? I won’t be. I tried it a few years ago and stressed right out. I need more flexibility. Some of us need a push to get into gear, some of us need creative time and space. I am the latter.

Last year I wrote a post on how to assess whether or not initiatives such as NaNoWriMo are suitable for you, individually, or not. Please read it, you may find it very helpful. If you want an alternative to NaNoWriMo, try the links below. They are far, far less stressful and will suit those of you who don’t fit the “full steam ahead, hell or high water” mould.

Don’t forget that October is OctPoWriMo, October Poetry Writing Month: http://www.octpowrimo.com Write 31 poems in 31 days.

Try this post for NaNoWriMo planning and tracking tools.



ROW80Logocopy~ A Round of Words in 80 Days: http://aroundofwordsin80days.wordpress.com There are 4 rounds of 80 days a year. Rounds start in January, April, July and October, but you can participate in as many as you wish. ROW80 is the challenge that champions the marriage of writing and real life where you post your own goals, check-in twice a week and can change your goals as needed. Join at any time.

~ Creative Every Day: http://creativeeveryday.com This is a low pressure, all-inclusive, year-long adventure for bloggers. You can join at any time.

~ #writemotivation by K.T. Hanna. http://www.kthanna.com/category/writemotivation/roll-call/  This initiative runs periodically through the year. You need to sign up, make a realistic list of blogging goals for the month, check-in once a week and visit your team mates to encourage them.


November also has these two challenges:

LeNoWriCha: a “rank-and-reward system is to provide an escape from the “success/failure” paradigm that seems to evolve from NaNo.” Started by David Shelverman Grimes and accessible through here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/david-shelverman-grimes/lenowricha-an-upgrade-to-nanowrimo/10151561140712496

WNFINNOVWrite Non-Fiction in November: http://writenonfictioninnovember.com “Challenges nonfiction writers to spend the month of November writing and completing a work of nonfiction. It also discusses nonfiction writing and publishing and provide a way for nonfiction writers to comment on their writing experiences during November each year. This is not a contest!”



Writer’s Resources on Twitter: September 2014 Update

I started this post in 2012 to give writers and bloggers a list of resources on Twitter which would provide promotion, inspiration and industry resources. The list of excellent Tweeters I have discovered has grown so much, I’ve had to start multiple lists, which I regularly update. Also there are now too many to name here. So here are the links to my lists.

You can subscribe to these lists as a Twitter user so you are kept in the loop with new additions. My Twitter username is @cateartios  and posts I share are writing related, not personal.

  • Publishers and Magazines covers everything publishing and is a list of 380+ Literary agents, publishers, industry news providers etc. Use at your own risk. Always get legal advice about publishing contracts and check industry news and trends via multiple sources. http://twitter.com/#!/cateartios/publishers-and-magazines

  • Books and Readers is a public list for readers of all genres, plus it lists some tweeters that publicise books and may also publicise yours on request. 196 members. https://twitter.com/#!/cateartios/books-and-readers